A cloudless sky brought beaming sun to the Ice at Canalside on Friday morning as ice skating kicked off for the season along Buffalo's downtown waterfront.
Conditions were not ideal. Most of the chill was out of the air as the temperature approached 50 degrees shortly before noon.
That didn't stop families and friends from lacing up their skates and hitting the ice.
Clare Neinhaus, of Buffalo, came with her children and grandchildren as part of a day of activities together. They also planned to stop for lunch and see a movie.
It was Neinhaus' first time coming to the Ice at Canalside, though she regularly visits the area to walk around and visit restaurants, usually during the summer months, she said.
"We have a beautiful waterfront," she said. "We're lucky."
The Ice at Canalside will be open for public skating until 10 p.m. Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Public skating will resume Dec. 1. During the season, there will be public skating Wednesdays through Sundays. Hours can vary depending on weather conditions.
When public skating reopens next Friday, the facility will have a new "welcome tent" near the corner of Main Street and Marine Drive. The public will be able pay their admission and rent skates in a covered, heated area, said Erin Marra, marketing coordinator for Canalside.
The "Winter Lodge" area will become more of an area for the public to gather and where there will be an expanded food menu including chili and soup, Marra said. The changes are part of an effort to make the Ice at Canalside more comfortable, she said.
If ice skating's not your thing, you can always try an ice bike or give curling a whirl. The facility also offers skating and hockey lessons. For a full calendar of events and public ice skating hours, visit canalsidebuffalo.com. Skating hours are also updated on Canalside's social media accounts.
Admission is $6, $4 for ages 6 to 12 and free for kids 5 and under. Skate rentals are $4. Blue Cross Blue Sheild members can get $1 off admission and skate rental if they show their insurance cards.
Will Stachowski of Elma came to Canalside Friday morning with his family, including his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, who came into town from Milwaukee for Thanksgiving and to celebrate an early Christmas.
They came to the Ice at Canalside last year, but the lines were long and they didn't stay, Stachowski said.
While his family had fun on the ice, Stachowski watched from the side and complimented the downtown waterfront area.
"It's come a long way," he said.