Staycation: Rooftop Fireworks

Rooftop fireworks. Martinis. 24/7 kitchen. Modern. Views.

There’s a new staycation in town and it may not be where you would first think of one. It’s the Hyatt Place in Niagara Falls, NY and it’s perfectly located within steps of the Seneca Casino, Old Falls St., and the Canadian border.

We packed up for an overnight stay, dropped Chloe off with the grandparents, and rushed on up to the new Hyatt. Already impressed with its location, we were surprised again once we stepped inside and noticed the modern décor: large sphere lights, wood panel walls, a hand-drawn map of downtown Niagara Falls, and wood with metal detail tables that made us wonder if we could sneak one in to the car and take it home.

Greeted by smiling people, we found our room filled with a charcuterie board, fruits, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Prosecco. (Ooo, who are we right now?!) Our room overlooked the mist of the Falls and peered in to Canada. It made us reminisce of our old Clifton Hill days (amiright?!). We spent time at the bar downstairs, noshing on tacos, sliders, and cheesecake while having a breather to finally just be together again. That’s the point of a staycation for two, after all.

Every Saturday they have live music up on their rooftop that overlooks Niagara Falls State Park. Being a little rainy, it was moved to the lower level where people gathered to just chill and enjoy the music. 90s tunes while we had some drinks? Living our best live in our thirties. At 9:45pm, we went up to the rooftop to get cozy for the fireworks. Each Friday and Saturday night, fireworks roar over the Falls and the Hyatt rooftop is the perfect location to watch! The fire lit up the sky and with the city lights as the backdrop and a wave of new appreciation for this part of WNY rushed over us. Low-key, modern, fun…this was everything the Hyatt was bringing to this night.

We took advantage of the location and stopped by the Casino where we ran in to people we knew, had some drinks, danced in the aisles, downed some coffee, and basically broke even on what we spent at Blackjack. Beau is decent at it and I am like a little old lady hitting up the old-school penny slots. Heading back to the Hyatt, we were once again greeted by smiling faces who asked if we were hungry and if there was anything they could get us. Heck ya! A quesadilla and flatbread were ready in under 20 minutes and we relaxed back in our room, this time enjoying the lights across the way.

There we were, 1:30am and way past our bedtime. Parents night out. Oh, it’s a real thing and we thought our friends made it up. Nope. Somewhere between Planet of the Apes, chugging water, and the last flatbread- we fell asleep and slept in until 8am. Oh em gee, 8 fricken in the morning. Is that as late as our bodies would let us? We’ll take it.

Breakfast was light and fresh- French toast, greek yogurt and granola bar, eggs, juice, coffee…the hotel was bumpin’ and we were glad to see it filled with all types of people visiting the area. We got in a workout at the on-site gym and went for swim at the pool which made for a nice morning.

As we packed up, we said goodbye to the GM Stacey at the Hyatt who was so glad to hear our stay was above and beyond our expectations. The service we encountered was wonderful and the view from the roof was what changed our thoughts on having Niagara Falls as a staycation. While we missed Chloe, it was so awesome getting away together for a night and pretending we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. We all need that…us married folk, that is. Think outside the box…go somewhere you normally wouldn’t…uncover new adventures…eat a quesadilla in bed at 2am…reminisce…watch the fireworks from the rooftop. See what happens.

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls // 310 Rainbow Blvd. S Niagara Falls, NY 14303

716.285.5000 // Facebook page // Instagram

Location: minutes to the Seneca Casino, around the corner from Old Falls St., walking distance to Niagara Falls State Park, right at the Canadian border

Breakfast included, contemporary rooms, rooftop

Perfect for: staycations, telling your family and friends where to stay while visiting the falls, event space

Expo Market: Newest Buffalo Hot Spot

Finally! Expo Market hit the ground running today, 2/18/16, with its open-market style and five eateries inside for you to grab ‘n go or sit ‘n stay. The newest hotspot to open in downtown Buffalo is located in the 600 block of Main St., diagonally across from Shea’s and connected to the Market Arcade. We are extra excited because it’s a 10 minute walk from our home and offers a healthier option for not only for a quick lunch but also for a later dinner in downtown.

inside EXPO
We’ve been watching and peering in over the past few months and knew it would be a very small version of girl bird’s favorite food markets in Europe but, hey, we’ll take it. Here is the run down of what we experienced:

We walked in to happy hour vibes at the bar, classic 80’s music pumping out, pockets of people laughing and taking pictures, and smiling pop-ups ready to serve. You can park on Main St. or Washington St. or if you’re coming in from the Northtowns and do not wanna drive- make sure to park at UB and take the subway in. It will drop you off at Fountain Plaza and you walk one block to Expo.

Let’s talk who’s here:

Newbury St. 

The original location makes home in Elmwood Village and is, in our opinion, one of the best salad joints in the area. Build your own or grab one of their specialty items. Perfect for lunch or to take outside and bask in the sun (when the heat comes back to WNY).

newbury st.
GBGB’s (Gypsy Bohemian Grove Bar)

Here is where you’ll want to grab your drinks and hang with friends. No food here (that we noticed) but is definitely where you’ll want to pop in to for your happy hour. Craft beer and specialty cocktails. In the morning, espresso and coffee will be served. Yes, please!

 

GBGB’s
Sun Roll

This child comes from Sun on Niagara St.- home of Black Rice and a local favorite on the West Side. Rolls, Thai iced tea, and Mango Black Rice pudding are at your fingertips here and it is nothing short of amazing.

 

sun roll

Crush Juicery**as of December 2016, Crush is no longer at Expo and instead set up with Newbury St. on Elmwood***

The little sister of Newbury St., Crush is the juice and smoothie bar that concocts up wheatgrass shots and oatmeal bowls for breakfast. They’re opening at 8am for those pulling in to the city in the morning.

Osteria 166’s ‘Mercato’

Create your own pasta, gourmet sandwiches, and meatballs. We ‘built’ a tortelli alfredo and continued to salivate after we had finished. This is the child of Osteria 166 on Franklin in downtown- which never ever disappoints.

Mercato’s pasta station

Bobby Alfman’s Old World Deli

An old world deli perfect for those looking to grab and go. Classics that are sure to leave you satisfied. We can’t wait to try the Number Three: porcetta, sauteed greens, gravy. Guy bird took home an Italian Trio.

While there, we went for a Nickel City roll at Sun and a create-your-own pasta at Mercato. Grabbing a sandwich to go and ending with black rice pudding- we commented on how great this is for Main St., the lunch crowd, and for those who tend to finish their day later and sometimes want something quick to eat that isn’t fried fast food.

 

pasta from Mercato
nickel city roll from Sun Roll

We ran in to Ashley, the General Manager, who we knew from the Hotel Lafayette and helped us with our wedding guests last summer. She was thrilled to be part of this new downtown adventure. Make sure while you’re taking it all in that you scope out Casey Milbrand‘s colorful murals throughout the space. Thank you to Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Paul Tsouflidis (Crush Hospitality- which brought us Acropolis and Newbury St.) for making this concept a realty and adding on to the nonstop growth of our city. We’ll be back again and again.

EXPO 

617 Main St. Buffalo 14202

716.220.8468 

M-F 11am-9pm (Crush & GBGB’s start at 8am for breakfast & espresso)

Sat 11am-8pm

Sunday: closed

cash/credit at all

There in the day time? Shop local at two of our favorites inside Market Arcade: Buffalo Adore and Rust Belt Love. 

Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Website

date night approved // kid friendly // girls night out // meet up with the boys //happy hour 

Buffalovebirds’ Resource Guide: Things-to-Do In Buffalo

Sometimes your brain is just DONE come Friday at 5:01pm. You want to relax and have fun, but sometimes you just can’t think of what to do. We often find ourselves with this dilemma, especially after a long week, and make sure to touch base with our favorite resources online to figure out a date night. We compiled our top ones for you to check out and save on your bookmarks via computer or smartphone:

photo: stepoutbuffalo.com

stepoutbuffalo.com

We love this crew! If you want numerous ideas on things to do in and around the city, this is a great site to scroll through. Everything from food & drink, music, the arts, a city guide…there is bound to be several events and places in here that any couple would LOVE to venture out to. The site is extremely user-friendly and perfect for a last minute decision.

Follow Step Out Buffalo on: Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

photo: buffalorising.com

buffalorising.com

Set this as your homepage so you always know what is happening around here. From new construction to local events, music to art, politics to cleanups- Newell’s site is what keeps you up-to-date with the area. You can also navigate the tabs for city, food, lifestyle, and more to make sure you know all about the latest restaurant opening or underground event to attend.

Follow Buffalo Rising on: Twitter // Facebook

photo: visitbuffaloniagara.com

visitbuffaloniagara.com

It’s been fun to see sites, like Step Out Buffalo, really beef up their websites the past couple of years since our city resurgence has taken flight. (we will get there, one day!) Another kick-butt site is Visit Buffalo Niagara. The ultimate go-to site (and visitor center- located across the street from the Hotel Lafayette) for the entire region of Western New York. It breaks down everything from history to Niagara Falls, neighborhoods to itineraries, food and drink, and where to stay in the area. Excellent for out-of-towners and locals alike. I mean, just look at the website. We are obsessed.

Follow Visit Buffalo Niagara on: Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

photo: wutsupbuffalo.com

wutsupbuffalo.com

Wuts Up Buffalo was started by ‘a group of distinguished gentlemen’ over ‘many cases of beer’, ‘breakups’, and something about a zebra in order to bring you a calendar list of events happening in Buffalo. Literally our favorite part on this site is the calendar- you can view by month or day and each event listing links to everything you need to know. We often peruse this on those Saturday evenings where we go, ‘ehhh, what do ya wanna do?’ WutsUpBuffalo has never failed us.

Follow Wuts Up Buffalo on: Twitter // Facebook

Now you have no excuses that there is ‘nothing to do’ or you ‘can’t find anything’ out there! These are four of our favorite resources to use and there are a great many more out there to discover! Happy dating 🙂 Where will you go this weekend?

Canalside: The Ice Rink!

Oh, we are back! The beauty of a new computer! You can blog once more! Thank you to everyone who has been following along on our Instagram & Twitter accounts! You guys rock! We feel everything should end with an exclamation point right now! Our first post back? Our goosebump-inducing Canalside Ice Rink opener- what better than to get back in to things with Buffalo’s newest destination??

Canalside Ice Rink (photo by Insta user: @jordanschneider1
Canalside Ice Rink (photo by Insta user: @jordanschneider1

On Thursday 12/18/14, we were a handful of the lucky people who were able to experience the NEW Canalside Ice Rink in downtown Buffalo! You guys…you MUST go. Watching this once-Aud-then-grass-and-dirt site transform in the past 2 years has been quite the experience. Finally, Buffalo has another family, friends, and tourist destination to enjoy!

We were part of a sponsor team which means we were fortunate to get there and ‘Rush the Ice’ before the public could. As you know, we make our city life at the Hotel Lafayette and we love to walk or use the subway whenever we can in order to promote the city and its offerings. So we walked to Canalside in the early evening and met up with a few sponsor colleagues. Upon arrival, we beamed with excitement to see the massive transformation. You watch it unfold for months, but seeing the finished project at the end is always a surprise and incredibly rewarding.

The Ice at Canalside is huge and it is BEAUTIFUL. Being the former Erie Canal and old Aud- the bridges are up, the ice is down, and the waterfront has open a new chapter on Buffalo development. Decorated with lit pine swags along the bridges, a Christmas tree (sponsored by First Niagara), a Winter Cafe stocked with hot chocolate, popcorn, and warm pretzels…a skate rental ‘crate’ with fresh out-of-the-box skates (same building idea of reused shipping containers at Dog E Style), the summer Canalside Adirondack chairs sprawled through out so you can prep yourself, modern tables and chairs adorn one bridge, food trucks lined up, and Larkinville’s Market Stalls loaded with local vendors sprinkled the entire ice rink area. Heated stone walkways, a rubbery surface along the perimeter (so you can walk in your skates), heaters, and speakers pumping out holiday music filled the space. This being opening night, the crowd was trickling in for a couple hours before the big countdown!

The Zamboni clearing way in prep for the evening
The Zamboni clearing way in prep for the evening

With brief speeches, a holiday set performance by Neon Trees atop the Commerical St. Bridge, and demos by speed skaters, the Ice Bikes, and figure skaters- the time came! We ice-skate-stomped on to the rink among the first small crowd allowed on the ice as part of the lead sponsors. EVERYONE was smiling and laughing, hooting and hollering! Little hockey kids zipping by, couples holding hands trying not to fall, Mom’s with their cameras on the rails, old-school men skating with swagger, and hundreds watching on the sidelines- waiting to let loose in the rink. There was a wild rush we felt once we stepped on the ice- here we were- the original Erie Canal once stood here…the Aud (demolished in 2009) was once here <<and you can see the exact spot on the ice rink where an emblem is placed>>…to see so many people from all over WNY (and further!) here to enjoy DOWNTOWN left us with tons of cheesy warm & fuzzy feelings.

With being on the ice for only 10 minutes, a wild and gorgeous fireworks display shot off to the north of the rink. It was literally a constant ‘finale’ for minutes on end- hey, someone hire this guy for the 4th. People stopped mid-skate to watch. It was probably one of the best fireworks displays we have seen- ever. We kid you not. It was the perfect opening to the new rink and yet another surge of the city.

Thursday was an open skate- and free!- and anyone from age 2 to 102 could be found on the rink. Scattered among the skaters were some ice-bikers (the same fellas that bring you water bikes are now bringing you ice bikes to rent on the rink). We congratulated guy birds’ colleague (part owner of the water & ice bikes) on his new endeavor.

Ice bikes for rent at Canalside
Ice bikes for rent at Canalside

IMG_8101[1]

After skating for a good half hour, we hopped off the rink and walked across the street to the new Tim Hortons (located on the corner of the new Harborcenter), which was packed with people of all ages. Knowing (716) would be totally nuts (we were right), we hopped on the subway and got of to walk on to Chippewa and grab a a bite at The Lodge (gimme that Fish Taco). <<and here is to hoping the Liberty Hound will coincide more winter hours now?>> We didn’t stop talking about the evening and how excited we were to see OTHER PEOPLE excited about the city. The only thing is- the city has been revitalizing over the past two years. The rink isn’t the beginning- it’s another milestone of awesomeness and excitement for downtown. Congratulations to Canalside, its sponsors, and all of the workers to make this rink happen! (And thanks to Bass Pro Shops who ditched us a few years ago muahaha!)

waiting to get ice skates
waiting to get ice skates

With a surface LARGER than Rockefeller Center in NYC, the new Ice at Canalside is huge and you don’t have to wait long to get on (if there is a line). With music filling the air, there is something magical you feel while gliding around and seeing new development everywhere in downtown. We can’t wait to bring our families and friends to show it off (and to keep changing their minds about downtown!!). If there is ANYTHING you must do this winter in Buffalo- make sure you head to Canalside to skate your cares away!

DETAILS:

Canalside Buffalo // Ice at Canalside

44 Prime St. Buffalo, NY 14202

canalsidebuffalo.com

(click above for the ice rink times & details!)

TICKETS: 13 & up: $5 // ages 6-12: $3 // 5 & under: free!

SKATE RENTALS: $3

HOW TO GET HERE:

you can drive in and park in surrounding streets and lots (check Canalside website!)

OR we suggest if you’re a northtowner or above, park at UB on Main St. and take the subway in! The last stop drops you off at Canalside- no hassels!

OK, I’M DONE AND NOW I’M HUNGRY:

(716): 7 Scott St. —> right across the street from the Ice 716.855.4716

Tim Horton’s: 100 Washington St. —> right across from the Ice

Liberty Hound: 1 Naval Park Cove —> literally right behind the rink; only seasonal hours in winter 716.845.9173

Lagerhaus 95: 95 Perry St. —> walkable from the rink; awesome African Peanut soup & beer 716.200.1798

Iron Works: 49 Illinois St. —> walkable from the rink; often has live music 716.200.1893

The Archer: 268 Main St. —> get on the FREE subway and get off at Seneca, it’s right in front of you 716.768.4661

coming soon in 2015 : Pizza Plant

anxious ^ pumped up- people wait to get on the ice (scene from Winterfest, Jan. 2015)
anxious ^ pumped up- people wait to get on the ice (scene from Winterfest, Jan. 2015)
get on it!!
get on it!!
you & your buds can reserve slots to go curling! check out the website for details
you & your buds can reserve slots to go curling! check out the website for details

Weekend Bash: 6/6 – 6/8

Summer is here, Buffalonians! You know it when you look at the events occurring this weekend and you just do not know where to start. We listed a brief weekenders to-do here, but make sure you check all sources to get ALL of the fantastic WNY dates!

FRIDAY 6/6

  • Kiss the Summer Hello- SOLD OUT. Who is gonna propose on stage tonight while Jason Derulo sings ‘Marry Me’? Oh boy…Hit up some after parties downtown.
  • Red Cross Mash Bash: From 8pm-midnight, dance the night away at this military-themed fundraiser happening at the American Red Cross on Delaware Ave. Food, drinks, music, and…LANCE DIAMOND. ’nuff said. All proceeds support the Buffalo American Red Cross in emergency responses. $75/person. Read all the details here: The Bash
  • Eclectic Improv at Burchfield-Penney: 8pm, $15/person…have you seen these guys? Go laugh your butt off. *great date night
  • Polish Heritage Fest (Friday & Saturday): Head to the Hamburg Fairgrounds for a pierogi eating contest, live polka band, vendors, Polish Genealogy, and more. $10

 

 

SATURDAY 6/7

  • Closing party for the Congress for New Urbanism. 6pm at Larkin Square and open to everyone. Music, food, drink- you know the drill in Larkinville. Mix and mingle with some great minds of architecture, design, builders, and revolutionists.

Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss at Artpark: You do not want to miss out on this performance in Lewiston. Hit up Tin Pan Alley, The Silo, or Town Hall American Bistro for dinner.

Saturday Artisan Market at Canalside: From 10-5, venture around the waterfront and check out numerous artisans and vendors while enjoying the sunshine.

East Aurora Music Festival: 33 bands, 10 venues, auction, 50/50, Del Aureo’s pizza, sliders, beer & wine, and kettle corn…you can literally walk the town from band to band! $10, wrist band. Look over the site for info & get your mobile map.

Master of Great Architecture Walking Tour: Meet up at The Archer on Main St. for a walking tour of Buffalo’s greatest architects’ buildings. $10, $5 for students. 90 minutes to 2 hours- good exercise! 😉 Enjoy dinner afterward at The Archer with 10% deal.

 

SUNDAY 6/8

Battle of the Blues Bands: from 3-6:30pm, head to Canalside to check out the competitors to open for George Thorogood on 6/27. Bring your chairs.

Woodlawn Beach: $7 to park in lot….or sneak in from the other side. We never said that. Get some Vitamin C. Grab your towels, sunscreen, cooler, shades, and frisbee. Also, the new tiki bar is open. Once we sun it up, we will take some photos for you guys. (instagram: buffalovebirds)

Down By the River Tour: $15, $5 student with ID…explore The Erie Canal, Old First Ward neighborhood, Cobblestone District, and the railroad history of the waterfront. 90 minutes to 2 hours. Meet up at The Swannie House 170 Ohio St.

Weekend Bash 5/9 – 5/11

Spring is seriously here, finally! Cherry blossoms, warm weather, sunshine, green grass, markets, extended hours, outdoor patios…it’s a Buffalonian’s dream!

 

FRIDAY:

Plan ahead for Mother’s Day! The Black Market Food Truck has a catered meal planned out for you to treat your Mother! Two options of 10 people or 20. Delicious asparagus & parmesan strata; bacon jalapeno biscuit strata….nom nom. Ordering ends TONIGHT at midnight and pickup is Saturday 5/10 between 10am and 4pm. www,thebmft.com …(716) 491-0127…contact@theBMFT.com

Second Fridays with M&T at the Burchfield Penney Art Center: free! 5:30-8pm. ***a free date night!

Head over to check out the Mummies exhibit at the Buffalo Science Museum while they still sleep here in Buffalo. You can purchase your tickets and select your time online- fast & easy. $18- $22.

 

SATURDAY:

Buffalo Bandits playoff against Rochester Knighthawks Saturday at 7:30pm, First Niagara Center. Start Game 2 with a brew at Lagerhaus95 in the Cobblestone District and cap off your evening at Pan Am Grill inside the Hotel Lafayette. Outdoor patio seating is here, Buffalonians!

Get the Led Out performs at The Tralf at 8pm (doors open at 7pm). Led Zepplin fans have something to dive in to. Tickets $29.95. We suggest Soho, Dinosaur BBQ, or Founding Fathers to wet your whistle nearby. This group is superior- we kid you not. Go rock out.

Elmwood-Bidwell Market starts Saturday morning! This is the ultimate event when you KNOW that spring is seriously here- it is going to be a beautiful sunny day! Grab your reusable bag and pick up fresh flowers and fruits. Enjoy an iced drink outside Caffe Aroma or at Ashker’s Juice Bar. Market runs 8am-1pm.

 

SUNDAY:

It’s Mother’s Day! Have you planned something special for Mom/Grandma/Sister/Friend/Aunt? All moms are to be loved today! On Saturday, pick up gorgeous flowers downtown at Woyshner’s (inside the Hotel Lafayette), Maureen’s Wholesale (on Ellicott), Edible Arrangements downtown in Lafayette Square (click here for the info), Bloom on Main St. downtown, or at the Elmwood-Bidwell Market!