The Ultimate Buffalo Tourists’ Guide
Okay, so I’m not a Buffalo expert, but I’ve been living in the city for about 3 years now and I’ve got a pretty good handle on this place. Buffalo has gotten a good share of flack in it’s day, but it’s making a come-back. Economic revival, small business growth, cultural resurgence, national attention…these are things Buffalo natives have been waiting for and they’re finally here. Buffalo has been actively developing it’s tourism. By providing activities and one-of-a-kind Buffalo experiences for visitors, it’ll leave a good impression and encourage a word of mouth, grassroots kind of promotion. Buffalo is a marvelous city with a plethora of history and an even more exciting future. Here is my list of the top 10 things to do in this beloved city.
The Must Sees & Dos
10. Go see a water fall
Alright, not just a water fall. A 176 foot tall one. Niagara Falls. Buffalo natives sometimes take this wonder for granted, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. Walk up the Cave of the Winds if you’re down to get drenched under the American side of the falls. Have a picnic at Goat Island Park. There’s also a boat ride called the Maid of the Mist. It takes you under and around the Canadian Falls. Ride comes complete with a souvenir poncho. You know, like in Jim and Pam’s wedding day from “the Office”? Could be romantic.
9. Get your mural hunting skills on
If you’re into urbex, Buffalo’s the place to be. You’ll be able to find some adbandoned areas with vibrant graffiti and streets full of commissioned murals and sculpture. Be sure to see them and share your favorites on IG.
Here is an all year round destination. In the Summer you’ll find a load of outdoor activities like kayaking, water biking, fitness classes, yoga, free concerts on Thursdays, you name it. Restaurants and bars in walking distance. In the winter the pools are converted into ice skating rinks.
7. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House
Have I mentioned that Buffalo is home to some of the most interesting/historical architecture sights in the US? Frank Lloyd Wrights Darwin Martin House is no exception. You have to buy tickets to see the inside and join a tour, but it’s a trip you won’t forget. While you’re in the Parkside Neighborhood, consider going to the Buffalo Zoo or stopping by Delaware Park. One of my favorite coffee shops lives in the middle of all of those things: Sweetness Seven. They’re all in walking distance of each other.
6. Albright Knox/Burchfield Penney
Also bias here. I’m an art lover. If you are, these museums are a must see. The Albright Knox is an architectural treasure; it was originally built to be a Fine Arts Pavilion for the Pan American Expo in 1901, but wasn’t finished in time. It took another 4 years to be completed. It features touring exhibitions and a permanent, but rotating collection featuring artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Braque, Matisse, among others. Check their website for current exhibitions and events:
The Burchfield Penney is located directly across the street from the Albright on Buffalo State’s campus. It features contemporary and modern art from local artists. Check it out:
5. Delaware Park
The first park and parkway system built by an American city. A Fredrick Law Olmstead (designed Central Park, NYC) masterpiece. The Park features Hoyt Lake, the Japanese Gardens at the Buffalo History Museum, Shakespeare in the Park during the Summer, Tennis Courts, Tracks, and more.
4. Buffalo’s Theater District
The heart of downtown. Restaurants, concert/show venues, art galleries, bars, beautiful architecture. A new upscale hotel with a rooftop bar opened recently called “the Curtiss”.
3. City Hall tour with panoramic view from the top.
City Hall offers historical tours of city hall and access to the observation deck for FREE. That’s right! Free public tours everyday 12-1 PM. You’ll learn a bit about Art Deco style architecture in the city and possibly meet the mayor? You never know.
2. Nom on buffalo wings
This is a touchy subject for natives, but we’ll let you make the decision. There are a lot of options (and opinions) when deciding where to go for chicken wings here in Buffalo. But where’s the best place for chicken wings? I’ll give you my top 5 places.
1. Nine-Eleven Tavern – 11 Bloomfield Ave
A fan favorite. Nine-Eleven was the most popular recommended place to get chicken wings among my FB friends. I have yet to try them, but I’ll take their word! Go get ’em and let me know how they are!
2. Gabrielle’s Gate – 145 Allen St.
A literal gate *Gabe’s Gate* adorns the facade of this eclectically decorated bar and grill. Some of the hottest wings around! Be sure to take a selfie with one of the animal busts hanging on the wall.
3. Anchor Bar – 1047 Main St, Buffalo, NY
The home of the original chicken wing. Yup, here’s where it all started. You’ll find Buffalo relics on the walls and an aroma that only the Buffalo Wing Gods could create.
4.Essex St. Pub – 530 Rhode Island St, Buffalo, NY
Right down the street from me. A dive bar that have unexpectedly impressive wings. Gotta try ’em.
5. The Bar Bill Tavern – 185 Main St, East Aurora, NY
A little bit out of the way, but while you’re there visit the Roycroft Campus where the Art & Crafts movement spurred in the US. Viddlers is a fun 5 & Dime shop out that way.
Other buffalo wing destinations recommended by my FB friends: Duff’s, Gene McCarthy’s (Old First Ward, South Buffalo), Providence Social, Swannie House and Brennan’s.
VEGAN WINGS: Amy’s Place & Cafe 59
I live in the Elmwood Village so I’m definitely bias here. BUT. It’s no doubt the number one destination spot for boutique shopping and bar hopping. Elmwood Village *the shopping/bars/restaurants part of it* begins at Forest and Elmwood and ends near Bryant and Elmwood. There are too many places to mention so I’ll let you find them yourselves! Have fun exploring.
Allentown is Buffalo’s Gay Village and also the hub for bars and clubs, and art galleries. You’ll find most of what you’re looking for along Allen St. Favorite Allentown restaurant: Allen Burger Venture for the best burger you’ll ever have. Bar: Billy Club. Bar/Club: Allentown Hardware.