Perched along Lake Erie, Buffalo's weather is influenced by what's called "lake effect," where lake temperatures moderate air temperatures. The most popular time is summer, when the weather is warm, annual festivals flourish, and families are on vacation. Spring and fall bring cool but pleasant weather, colorful landscapes, and fewer visitors than summer, making them ideal times to visit.
The winter brings cooler temperatures, snow, and fewer visitors, but many people come for various outdoor activities, including skiing and snowboarding south of the city in the area referred to as the "snow belt." The city gets busy during November and December because of holiday shopping and entertainment offerings including performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
- high season: June to mid-October
- low season: January to March
- shoulder season: April to May, mid-October to December
Buffalo experiences four distinct seasons, with temperatures rarely jumping above 90 degrees or falling below zero. Summers can be mild, with breezes from Lake Erie keeping things cool and humidity low. The spring and fall typically offer bright, cool days filled with blossoming flowers or vibrant foliage. Snowfall can begin as early as November and last well into March, but the heaviest snow falls in December.
The summer is the busiest, although the city rarely gets overcrowded. It may be difficult to secure a room, and roads may be blocked to vehicles during major festival weekends, including the Allentown Art Festival in June, the Taste of Buffalo in July, and the National Buffalo Wing Festival in September. The NFL Buffalo Bills' home games also tend to attract large crowds during football season.
Most hotels and shops remain open year-round, but some may close for major holidays. Some attractions maintain seasonal business hours and close for the winter.
When to Save
Buffalo is an affordable destination year-round, but the summer and early fall tend to be the most expensive times to visit. Prices drop for midweek. Hotel packages are offered year-round, but especially in the off-season.
When to Book
Visitors with flexible travel plans can take advantage of low last-minute airfares. However, those with a set schedule should book flights at least three weeks in advance to obtain lower prices and ensure availability, especially for travel during the high season.
Last-minute lodging is available most of the year, but book at least two to three months in advance for visits during the high season, conventions, or popular events to ensure availability.
Information provided by the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau.