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Canalside, Buffalo

4.5
#4 of 100 in Things to do in Buffalo
Landmark · Tourist Spot
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Canalside, formerly known as Canal Side and Erie Canal Harbor, is the recreation of the western terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo, New York. Canalside is situated on the Buffalo River, where the area was historically home to the Seneca people.

In the early 20th century, the predominantly Italian area known as Dante Place and Canal Street was subjected to the forces of urban renewal, and the canals were filled in and dense neighborhoods were razed. The Buffalo Skyway, Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and Niagara Thruway took its place, with parking lots interspersed.

With the completion of Marine Midland Arena (now KeyBank Center) in 1996, the Memorial Auditorium stood vacant. Empire State Development Corporation created a master plan for an Erie Canal Harbor redevelopment project in 1999, which addressed developing parcels of land underneath the Buffalo Skyway. In 2004, a new plan was created, centered around the creation of historically-aligned canals and mixed-use development.

Several delays and controversies surrounding the planning, redevelopment and construction of the district drew reaction from the public, notably the inclusion of a flagship Bass Pro Shops store in 2007 that was later scrapped. The Memorial Auditorium was demolished by July 2009, and the land it occupied was subdivided into the historically aligned parcels from the 19th century, now known as the North and South Aud Block. Since 2010, the district has seen an uptick in construction projects and touring concerts and events. Projects completed or underway in the vicinity include LECOM Harborcenter adjacent to Main Street and Explore & More Children's Museum on the South Aud Block.
A visit to Canalside represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Buffalo online holiday maker to plot your vacation.
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Canalside reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,058 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We were visiting naval park and witnessed one of the beautiful sunset on canal side by chance. The views were super awesome and just etched beautiful memories about this visit in our minds forever. 
    We were visiting naval park and witnessed one of the beautiful sunset on canal side by chance. The views were super awesome and just etched beautiful memories about this visit in our minds forever.  more »
  • When I visit Canalside today, I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I have a hard time believing it’s the same place. But it is! And it’s so much cooler now. The ships and other military....  more
    When I visit Canalside today, I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I have a hard time believing it’s the same place. But it is! And it’s so much cooler now. The ships and other military....  more »
Google
  • It was beautiful but there's really nothing to do but chill and enjoy looking at the water
  • When I visit Canalside today, I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I have a hard time believing it’s the same place. But it is! And it’s so much cooler now. The ships and other military stuff (tank, plane, etc) were always there. If they weren’t so big, you might not even know there was a tourist attraction, with all the dirt and gravel and chain link fences under a highway overpass… But now, they’re surrounded by flowers and trees and green grass and nice landscaping! Plus there’s shops and museums and restaurants. There’s a merry-go-round and a pit of sand for kids to play in. There’s a skating rink. Events are hosted here all summer long. It’s morphed from “oh yeah, the dirty area with ships next to the arena” to one of my favorite parts of Buffalo. It’s small. It’s charming. It’s a perfect little encapsulation of some Buffalo culture.

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