Although it is often upstaged by the festivities happening in New York City, Buffalo is not a city to be overlooked for New Year's Eve celebrations. The weather is likely to be cold, but that doesn't stop Buffalonians from flocking to the streets for an outdoor party and a ball drop of their own. From elegant meals with black tie attire to live music and pints in a brewery, you're sure to find some type of plan that appeals to you in this hip city.
Electric Tower Ball Drop
Billed as the county's second-largest ball drop event, the New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Buffalo may not have the same fanfare as New York City's, but with 40,000 spectators it's still a worthwhile event. The iconic Electric Tower in the center of Buffalo hosts the ceremonious ball, and the historic Beaux-Arts facade makes for a dramatic backdrop.
Festivities begin at 10 p.m. in Roosevelt Plaza, right in front of the Electric Tower building. Local artists perform on the main stage in the hours leading up to midnight, helping spectators to fight off the cold by moving around and dancing. Once the ball drops and the new year arrives, a spectacular fireworks display ignites over the city that rivals the show put on in Times Square.
Statler City Ice Ball
For a night of elegant celebrations with dinner, dancing, and formal attire, the Ice Ball at Statler City is just up your alley. This venue was originally a hotel built in the 1920s, and the interior still maintains a distinct Art Deco style. The ambiance gives the impression that Jay Gatsby could walk into the party at any moment.
Your ticket gives you a seat in one of the three luxurious ballrooms, some a little more expensive than others based on the size or amenities (for example, only those seated in the Golden Ballroom can order drinks from their table). But all guests are treated to a full buffet dinner including assorted antipasti, shrimp cocktail, and a carving station with herb-crusted strip loin. Best of all, the open bar serves premium cocktails from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Go back and forth between rooms to listen to a live band or a DJ spinning the latest hits. At midnight, everyone comes together for a final countdown and champagne toast to welcome in the new year.
Statler City Niagara Room NYE
While guests at the Statler City Ice Ball are enjoying a sitdown meal, just a few rooms over other guests will be partying away in a nightclub event in the Niagara Room. Although slightly more casual than the Ice Ball, this is still a dressy event and sneakers, t-shirts, and loose pants will not be permitted.
The party goes on from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., with an open bar between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. (drinks are available to purchase for the first and final hours). The premium drinks, laser light show, and house DJ all contribute to the discotheque vibe of the night for an end-of-year party you're sure to remember.
Note that even though the Ice Ball and Niagara Room NYE are in the same building, these are two separate events. If you want to go from one to the other, you will need a ticket for each one.
Family-Friendly Activities With First Night
Whether you're looking for fun New Year's plans for your kids or just something to tire them out before you head off to your own event, First Night is a family-friendly party on December 31 filled with activities geared toward children. The event starts at 5 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m., and is conveniently located one block away from the Electric Tower Ball Drop.
Toddlers and the youngest party-goers can play in the Tiny Tyke Zone and meet characters from popular children's books, like Cat in the Hat, Rainbow Fish, and Peppa Pig. Kids a bit older will go wild for engaging activities like laser tag and roller skating. All ages (adults included!) can enjoy the many performances happening throughout the evening, including acrobats, trampolinists, magicians, and comedians. In order for kids to make it home in time for bed—and parents to their next party—the big countdown happens at 9:45 p.m., as balloons fall from the sky and confetti shoots across the air.
New Year's Eve at Big Ditch Brewing Company
If you want to see the ball drop but can't handle the cold, then the party at Big Ditch Brewing Company is the perfect solution. Ring in the New Year with craft beer, a DJ, and food, all with an unobstructed view of the Electric Tower Ball Drop and fireworks show.
Two limited-release craft beers are served special for New Year's Eve, and attendees can try them both plus others using four provided drink tickets. Try not to gorge yourself on the included dinner menu, which includes a variety of elevated bar snacks like prime sirloin skewers, lobster rolls, and beer bratwursts that are sure to tempt you.
For the 2020 celebration, doors open at 8 p.m. and the party goes on until 1 a.m.
Resurgence Brewing Company NYE Party
Resurgence Brewing Company hosts a New Year's Eve party at their Chicago Street location in the Old First Ward neighborhood. The entire first floor of the brewery is open to the public and the full list of beers brewed on-site and dinner menu are available to purchase.
For an extra special experience, book tickets for the exclusive VIP floor upstairs. In addition to an open bar serving not only beer but also wine and cocktails, servers walk around with platters of hot hors d'oeuvres and the buffet table is filled with items like chicken and waffles, a taco bar, and crab legs. If you're booking with a group of five people or more, discounts are available for each ticket.
Enjoy good beer and live music throughout the night, and while revelers downtown will be watching the ball drop at midnight, Resurgence stays on-brand with a new year "keg drop," where a keg full of beer falls to ring in 2020.
Rusty Nickel Brewing Company New Year's Eve Party
Breweries in the area are truly stepping it up for New Year's Eve, and Rusty Nickel Brewing Company is no exception. This local favorite is hosting not one but two New Year's parties, one at their original brewhouse in West Seneca and another at their downtown Buffalo bar. The theme at both events is "Roaring 20s," and attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best pinstripes and flapper dresses.
Both locations will be serving an open bar with Rusty Nickel beer plus wine, cider, and cocktails. Appetizers will also be available so there's more than just alcohol in your stomach. Designated drivers can take advantage of discounted tickets while still enjoying all of the food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Both parties are sure to be a roaring good time, although the Buffalo location has one significant perk: it's located just two blocks away from the Buffalo ball drop. Step outside right before midnight and you have a prime view of the fireworks.