17 Best Performing Arts Venues in Niagara Falls and Western New York, New York

Allentown Arts Festival

Allentown Arts Festival, a nationally acclaimed fine-arts–and–crafts show, brings nearly 500 exhibitors, food vendors, live music, and outstanding people-watching to the Allentown district for two days in mid-June.

America's Grape Country Wine Festival

Making its debut in August 2008, this annual two-day festival in Dunkirk celebrates New York State wines. Other attractions are a farmers' market, music, and homemade foods and crafts. Events take place at the county fairgrounds.

Artpark State Park

Artpark State Park, Niagara's premier performing-arts center, hosts reasonably priced, world-class musical theater, dance performances, and classical, big-band, pop, and jazz concerts. Performances are held in the 2,400-seat Mainstage Theater or the outdoor amphitheater, which will be completely renovated for the 2010 season. Free Tuesday- and Wednesday-evening concerts, from June through August, draw big crowds, and this is the summer home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra plays a variety of classical and pop concerts throughout the year at Klienhans Music Hall, which was designed by architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen and is renowned for its excellent acoustics.

Canal Fest of the Tonawandas

Nautical displays and a midway with rides and games are set up along the Eric Canal for eight days in late July during

Chautauqua County Fair

A large part of this seven-day fair, held at the end of July, centers on animals: livestock exhibits, horse shows, goat-milking contests. Other attractions include demolition derbies, tractor pulls, line dancing, magic shows, and carnival rides.

Craft Festivals at the Chautauqua Institution

Two annual shows are held in early July and again in mid-August, during the Chautauqua Institution season. More than 60 artists and craftspeople participate, displaying their paintings, jewelry, pottery, carvings, and other works.

Fredonia Opera House

The Fredonia Opera House, in a restored 1891 Victorian building downtown, presents music, theater, dance, and other live performances, as well as independent, foreign, and documentary films. It's the site of a baroque-music festival in June. Free walk-in, guided tours of the opera house are available.

KeyBank Center Formerly known as HSBC Arena

The 18,690-seat HSBC Arena presents family shows and concerts with big-name musicians. It's also a major sports venue.

Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center

I. M. Pei and Partners designed the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus, which opened in 1969. It has two theaters, a 1,200-seat concert hall, and two art galleries. The busy year-round schedule includes about 180 plays and productions each year.

Red, White & Blues Festival

One of Fredonia's most popular annual events, this festival, held the first weekend after Labor Day, brings blues music to various indoor and outdoor venues around town, accompanied by local wines (and a few brews) and plenty of food.

Roycroft Festival

Held at the Roycroft Campus, the Roycroft Festival encompasses an antiques show, juried art show, and crafts and art sale with live entertainment twice a year. The two-day festivals are held in late June and early December.

Shakespeare in the Park

Bring a picnic basket and a blanket and enjoy free full-length plays with Shakespeare in the Park most nights from late June through August.

Shea's Performing Arts Center

Shea's Performing Arts Center presents concerts, opera, dance, and touring theater performances in an old movie palace reminiscent of a European opera house.


Notable and historic toys from various periods and manufacturers are on display during three-day ToyFest, which also brings a parade, an antique-car show, rides, and other entertainment to the Toy Town Museum. The event is usually held in late August.

Tralf Music Hall

Tralf Music Hall hosts first-class jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock, and alternative acts. The box office opens two hours prior to shows.

University at Buffalo Center for the Arts

The University at Buffalo Center for the Arts encompasses four theaters, the largest of which is the 1,744-seat main stage. Operas, concerts, dance performances, theatrical productions, and musicals are among the events that take place here.