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Explore Buffalo offers tours of Buffalo’s waterfront on a regular schedule from May through October. Two regularly scheduled waterfront walking tours at Canalside give an overview of waterfront history and current waterfront development. The Intro to Canalside tour is a one-hour walking tour of the area surrounding the Commercial Slip, the Erie Canal’s western terminus. Or you can get right on the water for the Disasters of Buffalo Harbor Cruise aboard the Miss Buffalo!

For more information on all Explore Buffalo tours, please visit explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032.

Intro to Canalside
Dates: June 8, 11, 15, 18, 25 @ 12 p.m.
Meet: Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 125 Main St.
Cost: General $10, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free 

Buffalo's waterfront is a rapidly evolving destination, with construction transforming the Canalside area around the foot of Main Street. As the location of the western terminus of the Erie Canal, this area of the city is where Buffalo grew from after the Canal's opening in 1825. A bustling commercial district that thrived on Great Lakes and Erie Canal trade, this area was also well-known for its rowdy atmosphere. Join us for this one-hour walking tour to learn about Buffalo's Erie Canal history and see the ongoing development of this waterfront area. Reservations are not required, however only cash or check payment is accepted at the site of the tour.

Canalside Then & Now
Dates: June 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27 @ 10 a.m.
Meet: Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 125 Main St.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Canalside Then & Now is a two-hour walking tour that covers a wider area including the adjacent Cobblestone District. Buffalo grew from the water's edge, as the Erie Canal and later the railroads brought unprecedented commerce and industry to the city. This waterfront walking tour will explore some of the oldest neighborhoods of Buffalo, many of which have gone through numerous transitions and are in the midst of yet another change as the city returns its focus to the water. The redevelopment of Canalside and new waterfront attractions are featured on this tour, along with the history of the opening of the Erie Canal and development of the grain elevator and other waterfront industry. Reservations are not required, however only cash or check payment is accepted at the site of the tour.

Go back in time onboard “The White Electra Launch,” a turn-of-the-century water taxi, as we share stories from the birth of the Buffalo Harbor to the present day revitalization. On this tour, guests will see waterfront highlights like the 1833 Lighthouse, Connecting Terminal elevator, Elevator Alley and the SS Columbia right from the water! A lot has changed since the Buffalo Harbor’s 19th and early 20th century heyday. Join us on this intimate cruise to see it all up close!

Elevator Alley Kayak Tours
Dates: June 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 @ 9 a.m.; June 13, 20 @ 6 p.m.
Meet: The Barrel Factory, 65 Vandalia St., Buffalo
Cost: General $45, Student $40, Explorer Pass Holders $40

The best way to appreciate Buffalo's many grain elevators is from the water! From a kayaking perspective, the massive scale of the grain elevators and silos will be even more awe-inspiring. Join us for a kayak tour of the Buffalo River and its grain elevators in partnership with Elevator Alley Kayak, who will provide the kayaks for this urban adventure tour. Learn about the history of the grain elevators in Buffalo and have many terrific photo opportunities on this guided kayak tour!

Meet at Elevator Alley Kayak at The Barrel Factory, 65 Vandalia St., Buffalo, at the corner of Hamburg and Republic streets and across from Gene McCarthy's. The tour will launch from Mutual Riverfront Park, a one-block walk from The Barrel Factory. Parking is available at the Barrel Factory (parking lot on Vandalia Street, or street parking on surrounding streets).

Reservations are required for this tour as a limited number of kayaks are available. The minimum age for this tour is 14 years old. Please arrive at least 20 minutes before the tour begins. The tour departs promptly at the starting time, and we are unable to accommodate late arrivals. 

For check-in at the beginning of the tour, please print your reservation confirmation email or be prepared to show it on your phone. This tour is approximately two and a half hours in length, including time at the beginning of the tour to review basic kayaking technique and launch the kayaks.

Tour participants must be able to kayak approximately four miles, from Mutual Riverfront Park to Canalside and back.

Kayak rental is included in the tour price. All kayaks used on this tour must be from Elevator Alley Kayak; bringing your own kayak is not permitted.

Weather cancellations: In the event of strong winds (generally over 15 MPH), heavy rain, lightning or other serious weather, the tour will be cancelled. The tour will proceed with light rain.

In the event of a tour cancellation, you will be notified by email and/or phone call. You will have the option to transfer your reservation to another tour date or have your payment refunded.

What to wear and bring: 

Footwear: Sandals and water shoes that fasten securely are your best option. Cotton socks are not recommended.

Clothing: You will get splashed on this tour; cotton and other absorbent fabrics are not recommended.

Hats & sunglasses: There's very little shade on the Buffalo River! You'll want a hat and/or sunglass to shield you from the sun and reduce the glare. 

Sunscreen: You will be in the sun on this entire tour, so sunscreen is essential. Waterproof sunscreen is best. 

Dry bag: A dry bag to protect your valuables from getting wet is highly recommended. A zip lock bag works well as an inexpensive option.

Water: Bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated on the tour as there are no stops along the way. 

Cameras: Photos are encouraged on this tour, but please note there is a good chance your camera may get wet.

Waterfront Views by Bike
Date: June 10 @ 10 a.m., June 20 @ 6 p.m.
Meet: Meet at the north end of Fuhrmann Boulevard, outside the Buffalo Coast Guard Base at the entrance to the Buffalo Lighthouse walkway. Parking is available along Fuhrmann Boulevard.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Buffalo's waterfront is bustling with activity! Join us on this bike tour to see all of the waterfront rapidly transforming while learning some of the area's history. This bike tour will begin on the Outer Harbor, enjoying some of the new bike trails recently constructed there. Following the Buffalo River, the tour will pass some of Buffalo's grain elevators which now share the river's shores with newly built apartments and parks. Arriving at the Inner Harbor, the tour will finish with an overview of Canalside and the development of the surrounding area.

Please bring $1 exact change to take the Bike Ferry across the Buffalo River from Canalside at the end of the tour. 

Helmets are required for all tour participants. Each tour participant must have a bicycle in good working condition; participants are also required to sign a waiver before the tour. The minimum age for this tour is 14 years old. Advance reservations are encouraged but not required for this tour.

All credit card payments must be made in advance. Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks are accepted at the start of the tour.

If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email, or be prepared to show it on your phone. This tour is approximately two hours in length. In the event of heavy rain or other severe weather, this tour will be canceled.

Visit explorebuffalo.org for more bike tours.

Disasters of Buffalo Harbor Cruise
Date: June 17 @ 2 p.m.
Meet: At the Miss Buffalo launch.
Cost: General $20, Student $15, Explorer Pass Holders $15

Any busy harbor is a dangerous place and Buffalo's harbor has been no exception. Ships collided, boilers exploded, and fires and explosions were almost commonplace. Join us for a cruise aboard the Miss Buffalo and listen to the stories of many of Buffalo's maritime disasters and enjoy the scenic views of Buffalo's waterfront. This tour is being given in cooperation with the Buffalo Harbor Museum.

Space is limited and reservations are required! The Miss Buffalo will leave the dock promptly at the tour starting time; please arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in and board. This tour is two hours in length. Explore Buffalo will contact you if this tour is cancelled due to weather. All food and beverages must be obtained through Buffalo Harbor Cruises. Cameras are encouraged!

One Symphony Circle Buffalo, NY
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Joe Kirchmyer

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