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The largest city in New York State's Niagara Frontier, Buffalo is a city full of surprises. Though Buffalo is sometimes the butt of jokes about chicken wings, its long-suffering sports teams, and the mountains of snow under which it is supposedly buried each winter, local residents and others who are in the know tell a different story: one of vibrant nightlife, world-class museums and cultural attractions, tight-knit neighborhoods with community spirit and a real sense of place, a winning combination of high quality of life and low cost of living—and the sunniest summers in the Northeastern United States. A great part of Buffalo's appeal to visitors is the still-palpable sense of its history as an important industrial center. Majestic historic buildings and sites around every corner tell the story of a city that was great once and has all the tools in place to be great again someday.
Buffalo is New York State's second-largest city, with (as of 2010) a population of 261,310 in the city proper and 1,135,509 in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area. Buffalo is the cultural and economic center of the Western New York region. Though for the past half-century it has been rightly considered a stagnant working-class city that has suffered from the aftereffects of deindustrialization, Buffalo's economy has turned around significantly, with an unemployment rate in August 2011 of 7.3%, significantly below the national rate of 9.1% for that month. Perhaps surprisingly given its history as a center of heavy industry, Buffalo has also recently been cited as the third-cleanest city in the United States. Recently, Buffalo was named one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2009 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, whose 2011 National Preservation Conference was held in Buffalo and was the largest and best-attended of these annual conferences in the history of that organization. Other titles bestowed on Buffalo in recent years include a placement among the "44 Places to Visit in 2009" by the New York Times, the "All-America City Award" for the years 1996 and 2002, and one of the 10 best cities in the U.S. to raise a family, according to a 2010 feature in Forbes magazine.
Though the Buffalo area had been settled by the Iroquois since well before Columbus and was visited periodically by French fur trappers beginning in the 17th Century, Buffalo's history per se begins in 1804. That year saw the arrival of Joseph Ellicott, one of the most important agents of the Holland Land Company, a syndicate of investors from the Netherlands that had purchased a huge tract of frontier land in Western New York. Though the Holland Purchase was almost all wilderness at the time, Ellicott felt that the confluence of the Buffalo River and Lake Erie had the potential to be the site of a thriving settlement. He gave the name New Amsterdam to the village he laid out there, though it was soon renamed Buffalo after the adjacent river.
Despite Ellicott's aspirations, Buffalo remained a tiny frontier outpost whose main claim to fame during its very early history was as the site of several important military installations and battles during the War of 1812 (famously, the village was burnt to the ground by British troops in December 1813 as part of the Niagara Frontier Campaign of that war). That all changed with the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825; the status of the western terminus of the canal was granted to Buffalo after a hotly contested dispute with the neighboring village of Black Rock (later to be annexed by its rival). The Erie Canal extended eastward from Lake Erie to the Hudson River at Albany, a distance of 363 miles (584km) in all. The most ambitious work of infrastructure undertaken in the U.S. up to that time, the Erie Canal greatly lowered transportation costs and singlehandedly made large-scale settlement of the lands west of the Appalachians economically viable. The magnitude of the Erie Canal's commercial importance is illustrated by the fact that in the first five years after its completion, Buffalo's population more than tripled (to 8,668); two years later, in 1832, Buffalo was finally incorporated as a city.
Located in the shadow of downtown, the Commercial Slip (seen here) was once the western end of the Erie Canal. Today it is the centerpiece of the Canalside redevelopment, featuring museums, restaurants, historic exhibits, and a full slate of annual festivals.
Buffalo's early economic mainstay was as a transshipment port, where grain from the Midwest was unloaded from lake freighters and transferred to canal boats headed for New York City; it was in Buffalo where the world's first grain elevator was constructed in 1843, and indeed there are still many elevators that remain standing around Buffalo Harbor. Over the second half of the 19th Century, the Erie Canal gradually became obsolete, but that scarcely affected Buffalo's explosive growth. Instead, the city maintained its status as a transportation hub by transitioning into the second-most important railroad center in the U.S. (after Chicago); the New York Central, Pennsylvania, Michigan Central, Nickel Plate, Erie, DL&W, West Shore, and Lehigh Valley Railroads all passed through Buffalo at the height of the railroad era. In addition, the steel industry became a major player in the local economy in 1899, when the Lackawanna Steel Company moved its base of operations from Scranton, Pennsylvania to a site just south of the city line. By 1900, the city boasted a population of over 350,000 and was one of the ten largest cities in the United States.
The Pan-American Exposition was a World's Fair that was held in Buffalo in 1901, at the apex of the city's glory days; it was intended to showcase, among other things, the technological marvel and economic possibilities of electric power (Buffalo's proximity to Niagara Falls, a site of early ventures in the generation of hydroelectricity, gifted it with the cheapest electricity in the nation at the time). Though the dazzling sight of the fairgrounds, illuminated by night with this new technology, earned Buffalo the enduring nickname "City of Light", the Pan-American Exposition's main historical significance is much more somber in nature: it was at the Exposition on September 6, 1901, when U.S. President William McKinley was fatally shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz, moments after concluding a speech at the Temple of Music.
Buffalo continued to grow during the first part of the 20th Century. However, trends were beginning to emerge that would, by 1950, cause the city's growth to slow, stop and then reverse. As in other American cities, wealthier residents began to leave their homes in town for quieter, greener suburban properties outside the city line. This began in the 1910s and 1920s—many of Buffalo's older suburbs, such as Kenmore, Eggertsville, Pine Hill, and Snyder, date to this time—and kicked into high gear during the post-World War II economic boom. At the same time, the growing American middle class began to migrate in ever-larger numbers to areas in the West and South with milder climates, at the further expense of the cities of the Northeast. The construction of the Interstate Highway System fueled suburbanization at the same time that it contributed to the decline of the railroads and of Buffalo's port, as goods could be shipped more cheaply by truck.
However, the single most important cause of the free-fall that Buffalo suffered during the late 20th Century was the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. Historically, Buffalo's importance as a port was largely due to the barrier that Niagara Falls posed to shipping. However, thanks to the expansion of the Welland Canal as part of the Seaway, freighters loaded with grain and other goods could now access the ocean directly via the St. Lawrence River, rather than stopping at Buffalo to transfer their cargo to railroad cars headed east. Within ten years of the Seaway's inauguration, most of the grain elevators at Buffalo Harbor had been abandoned, and the port that was once filled to capacity with ships was now nearly empty. As well, the steel plant in Lackawanna closed its doors for good beginning in 1977, unable to compete with cheaper foreign steel. By 1980, Buffalo's population was roughly equal to what it had been in 1900, down nearly 40% from its peak of 580,132 just thirty years earlier.
To add insult to injury, during the 1960s and '70s Buffalo's civic leaders responded to the deteriorating social conditions in the city by demolishing (in the name of "urban renewal" and "slum clearance") ethnic neighborhoods in such places as the Ellicott District and the Lower West Side that, though working-class, were in many cases healthy and vibrant. In particular, the splendid brick Victorian cottages of what was once the Lower West Side's "Little Italy" were nearly all lost to the wrecking ball, while the new public housing projects erected in the Ellicott District soon became high-rise versions of the slums they replaced, as the mere construction of new buildings did nothing to address the underlying social problems in the neighborhood. At the same time, noisy and intrusive expressways were constructed directly through Delaware Park and Humboldt Parkway, destroying the verdant ambience of what were (respectively) the largest park and the grandest parkway designed for the city by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted; thankfully, forceful opposition from neighborhood residents spared the Allentown Historic District a similar fate. In downtown, only one of the many examples of the senseless destruction of Buffalo's architectural heritage occurred in 1969, when several blocks of handsome Victorian commercial blocks as well as the stunning, castlelike Erie County Savings Bank building were demolished to make way for the Main Place Tower, a bland modernist office tower with an attached suburban-style shopping mall that utterly failed to attract shoppers back downtown in favor of the strip malls and plazas of the suburbs.
Despite these grave problems, the mentality in Buffalo never crossed the line into total defeatism, which was helpful when Buffalo's decline started to level off in the 1990s. The broad-based grassroots protests that accompanied the opening of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in 2007, which had been presented to the city as a means of spurring development and attracting tourists, serves as perhaps the quintessential example of the city's new approach: rather than relying on one-shot "silver bullet" solutions to the city's problems such as the casino, Buffalo has begun to model its strategy on the successful revival of other Rust Belt cities such as Pittsburgh and Cleveland—a strategy that has consisted of accepting the reality that heavy industry is gone for good and, instead, using the valuable resource of Buffalo's unusually high number of colleges and universities to encourage development of a diverse range of high-tech industries, such as the medical research and biotechnology ventures that have sprouted north of downtown under the aegis of the University of Buffalo Medical School. The business district, once replete with boarded-up storefronts and nearly deserted after the end of the workday and on weekends, has enjoyed a new measure of vitality due largely to the conversion of disused office space into high-end downtown apartments and condominiums, a commodity for which many Buffalonians were surprised to discover there was considerable pent-up demand. Additionally, Buffalo can boast of an architectural heritage that is still substantial despite the misadventures of the 1960s, a vibrant range of cultural institutions, and a perennially low cost of living. In the past few years, this new approach has engendered a newfound strength among Buffalo's preservationist community, a dogged devotion by its citizens to cultural attractions such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo Zoo, and continued diversification of the local economy. Conversely, what remains of Buffalo's traditional heavy industry has benefited from the mini-rebound in American manufacturing after the most recent recession; for example, despite General Motors' recent financial troubles, that company made substantial investments in its plant in nearby Tonawanda in 2010, adding several hundred new jobs in the process. Though Buffalo has not completely stemmed its population losses and there is still much progress yet to be made, the bit of swagger with which residents of the "City of No Illusions" carry themselves today, finally reinvigorated after decades of decline, is unmistakable.
A typical winter day in Buffalo's historic West Village.
Buffalo, although most famous for its winters, has four very pronounced seasons.
In the first half of winter, beginning in approximately November, the city can get lake-effect snow: cold winds blowing over the warmer waters of Lake Erie pick up a lot of water vapor, which is dumped as snow as soon as they reach land. This usually ends in January, when the lake finally freezes over. Contrary to popular myth, however, Buffalo is not the coldest or snowiest city in the country—or even in New York. The Buffalo airport averages 93 inches (236cm) of snow per winter. On average Buffalo only has 3 days per year where the recorded temperature dips below 0ºF (-18ºC). Buffalo's snowy reputation is based in large part on some of its most famous storms: The Blizzard of '77, and the October Storm of 2006, both which received a lot of media coverage; however, neither is a normal occurrence in the average Buffalo winter.
Spring is rainy and cool up through the end of April. The temperatures can fluctuate wildly in March and April. It is not unusual to see snow one day, and a temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (almost 20ºC) the next.
Summer tends to be very comfortable and sunny. The moderating effects of Lake Erie have allowed Buffalo to be one of very few places in the United States where the temperature has never reached 100ºF (38ºC). Most summer days are in the 70s or 80s Fahrenheit (25-30ºC) with evenings in the comfortable mid-60s Fahrenheit (slightly below 20ºC). On average Buffalo has 60 days a year with temperatures reaching over 80°F (27ºC). Buffalo has more sunny summer days than any other major city in the Northeastern U.S.
Fall is warm and beautiful as well. The temperature usually stays warm enough through mid November, and one can watch the trees change colors in comfort. The days are warm, the nights are cool, and the first frost doesn't usually come until well after Halloween. Leaf hunters will be pleased with the number of trees (Buffalo is also one of the most tree-filled cities in the nation!) as well as in the surrounding areas.
The history and extent of Buffalo's association with the American motion picture industry may come as a surprise to some. Early on in movie history, downtown Buffalo's Ellicott Square Building was home to the world's first purpose-built, permanent motion-picture theater, the Vitascope Theater, which was opened on October 19, 1896 by Mitchel and Moe Mark, who some years later would go on to build the world's first "movie palace" in New York City. Also in 1896, Thomas Edison sent camera crews to Buffalo, making it one of the first cities in America to appear in the movies. Edison also had the Pan-American Exposition filmed in 1901.
Under the aegis of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, an embryonic film industry has developed in the area which is beginning to produce some quality independent features. These and the more than 100 other films that have been shot in the Buffalo area over the last century include:
Hide in Plain Sight (1980). Based on a true story. A working-class husband (James Caan) tries to track down his wife and children who are hidden away by a witness protection program.
Best Friends (1982). Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn play a couple whose lives turn upside-down when, after years of living and working together, they decide to get married.
The Natural (1984). Robert Redford and Glenn Close star in an adaptation of Bernard Malamud's novel about Roy Hobbs, a mysterious baseball player who appears out of nowhere to turn around the fortunes of a 1930s team.
Buffalo '66 (1998). Buffalo native Vincent Gallo directs and stars in this critically-acclaimed dark comedy about a man who, after being released from jail for a crime he did not commit, vows to track down the Buffalo Bills kicker who put him there.
Bruce Almighty (2003). Jim Carrey stars as a hapless field reporter for WKBW-TV's Eyewitness News who, after complaining to God about his misfortunes in life, is allowed to stand in for the Supreme Being to see how well he performs in the role. Though the bulk of Bruce Almighty was shot in San Diego, the movie is set in Buffalo, most of the exterior shots were filmed there, and many real-life WKBW anchors make cameo appearances in the film.
Unstoppable (2010). Based on the true story of the CSX 8888 incident of 2001, Denzel Washington and Chris Pine are two Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad workers tasked with stopping a runaway train carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals.
Henry's Crime (2011). Keanu Reeves stars as a former Thruway toll collector who, after spending time in jail for a crime he did not commit, decides to get his revenge by holding up in real life the same bank he had been falsely convicted of robbing.
Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau, 617 Main St, ☎ +1 800-BUFFALO (283-3256) (firstname.lastname@example.org), . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-2PM. The official visitors' association for the Buffalo–Niagara Falls region. Their location on Main St. (which is closed to vehicular traffic between Tupper and Scott Streets downtown; park in a lot off Pearl St.) offers information, brochures, and souvenirs.
English is spoken in Buffalo and the surrounding area on a virtually universal basis. Though the West Side is well-known as the home of the city's Hispanic community (mainly Puerto Ricans and Dominicans), the majority of Buffalo's Latinos are able to speak English at least to an adequate conversational degree. Those who venture into Canada will note that, despite that country's officially bilingual status, the only place the French language is usually encountered in the parts of Canada near Buffalo is on official signs and documents at the border crossings. Though Buffalo's neighborhoods include many vibrant ethnic enclaves, very few residents of these districts (other than perhaps a few elderly individuals) can speak more than a word or phrase or two of their respective ancestral languages.
The regional dialect of English spoken in Buffalo—especially among Italians and Poles of the working class—falls within the framework of Inland Northern American English, with the hard, nasally, slightly pinched-nose vowel sound in words like "car" and "stop" and the defricativization of the hard "th" sound (whereby "this" and "that" become "dis" and "dat") that will be instantly familiar to those who remember the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch, "Bill Swerski's Superfans". Nonetheless, Buffalo's twist on the Inland Northern American dialect involves some unique features such as the devoicing of voiced word-final plosives ("cold" becomes "colt", "rug" becomes "ruck"), and a habit of ending sentences with the word "there" (pronounced "dare") in much the same way Canadians use "eh?"—two speech patterns that are notoriously prevalent among Buffalo's Polish community.
For a somewhat outdated but quite accurate description of the particular phonetics and vocabulary of the area, see the website "The Guide to Buffalo English": .
Despite this photograph, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the busiest airport in Upstate New York.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (IATA: BUF) (ICAO: KBUF), +1 716 630-6000, . The Buffalo Niagara International Airport serves Buffalo as well as Niagara Falls, the rest of Western New York, Northwest Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. The airport is particularly popular with the latter group; Canadians looking for fares lower than those found at Toronto Pearson make up about 40% of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport's passengers. Averaging approximately 110 daily flights, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport offers nonstop service to 18 cities. Airline carriers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport include AirTran, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways and its affiliates.
From the airport, Buffalo is accessible via four NFTA bus routes:
NFTA Metro Bus #24B — Genesee  makes frequent departures, seven days a week, from the airport terminal to downtown via Genesee Street, servicing both the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center and the Buffalo-Exchange Street Amtrak station.
NFTA Metro Bus #47 — Youngs Road  runs 15 times per day from Monday to Friday from the airport through Williamsville to the University Metro Rail Station, from which point downtown is easily accessible via the subway.
NFTA Metro Bus #68 — George Urban Express  makes one trip in each direction Monday through Friday between the airport and the Buffalo-Exchange Street Amtrak station downtown, leaving the airport at 6:56 AM and leaving the train station at 4:38 PM. Outbound trips (towards the airport) also serve the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center.
NFTA MetroLink Route #204 — Airport-Downtown Express  makes 12 runs in each direction Monday through Friday between the airport and the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center.
Routes #24B, #47, and #68 are boarded at the bus lane on the east side of the terminal, on the arrivals level. Route #204 is boarded at the Holtz Road Park-and-Ride, located at Long-Term Parking Lot B on the eastern end of the airport property.
The New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) runs east to west and connects Buffalo to other major cities and regions—New York City, the Hudson Valley, Albany, Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester to the east, and Erie, Pennsylvania and Cleveland to the west. The New York State Thruway is a toll highway over most of its length, with the sole exception of the toll-free portion between Exits 50 and 55, which roughly corresponds to Buffalo's inner-ring suburbs. Interstate 190 begins at Exit 53 of I-90 near the city line, extending west into downtown. At that point, it turns northward and mostly parallels the Niagara River, linking Buffalo to Niagara Falls and extending onward to Canada via the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. Interstate 290 links I-90 with I-190 via Buffalo's northern suburbs. Interstate 990 runs southwest-to-northeast through suburban Amherst between I-290 and the hamlet of Millersport, after which point Lockport is easily accessible via State Routes 263 and 78.
If coming from Ontario, the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) is the best way to access Buffalo. The most direct border crossing into Buffalo is located at the end of the QEW in Fort Erie. Other bridge crossing options include the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, along with the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Lewiston, New York. All of these bridges are easily accessible from the QEW; follow the well-posted signs.
By car, Buffalo is about two hours from Toronto, one to one and a half hours from Rochester, two and a half hours from Syracuse, and six to seven hours from New York City.
Average wait times at the various border entries vary: at the Peace Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, wait times over 30 minutes are unusual on most days other than holiday weekends, whereas at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, the norm is 30-60 minutes, more on holiday weekends.
Buffalo is accessible from the east and west by Amtrak trains, which service two stations in or near Buffalo.
Buffalo-Depew (BUF) is in the suburb of Depew, about 8 miles (12km) east of the city, and served in each direction by two daily Empire Service trains (New York City to Niagara Falls), the daily Maple Leaf (New York to Toronto) and the overnight Lake Shore Limited (New York or Boston to Chicago). This station can be reached by cab or (with considerable difficulty) via NFTA Metro Bus #46 — Lancaster .
The downtown Buffalo-Exchange Street (BFX) station is near the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center and is serviced by all the aforementioned trains except the Lake Shore Limited, which uses a different line. Unlike Buffalo-Depew, there is no QuickTrak Machine and the ticket office is not open for certain departures. Passengers needing to purchase or pickup tickets for a departure when the ticket office is closed will need to do so in advance of the date of departure, or allow enough time to have tickets mailed. Fares, schedules, and reservations are available at  or by calling +1 800-USA-RAIL.
Greyhound Buses, 181 Ellicott St, ☎ +1 716 855-7533, . Buffalo is serviced directly by Greyhound. The city has a large Metropolitan Transportation Center downtown.
Megabus provides service from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Harrisburg, Syracuse, Rochester and Toronto; fares start at $1 when ordered far enough in advance. Buses arrive and depart at gate 13 in the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, located at the corner of Ellicott Street and North Division Street in downtown Buffalo. There is a second stop at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport terminal, at the same place the NFTA buses stop. Megabus utilizes state-of-the-art, closed-top double-decker buses, free Wi-Fi, and power outlets. Wheelchair accessible.
For most visitors to Buffalo, access to an automobile will prove extremely useful, if not quite utterly necessary. Buffalo's public transportation system provides access to the majority of the metropolitan area. Travelling around the city proper by public transit can be relatively hassle-free, especially on weekdays; however, transit riders travelling to the suburbs should be prepared for service that is infrequent (and, on the weekends, often non-existent).
In addition to the Interstate highways mentioned in the "Get In" section, Buffalo has several intraurban expressways useful to visitors:
The Kensington Expressway (State Route 33) begins at the airport on Genesee Street, proceeding westward through the suburb of Cheektowaga and the East Side before turning southward and concluding downtown at Oak Street.
The Scajaquada Expressway (State Route 198) is a short highway that connects the Kensington Expressway with Interstate 190. The Scajaquada is a convenient route to the neighborhoods of Parkside and the Elmwood Village, the popular commercial strips of Hertel Avenue and Grant Street, as well as attractions like Delaware Park, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum, the Darwin D. Martin House, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
The Buffalo Skyway (State Route 5) begins downtown at I-190, extending southward parallel to the shore of Lake Erie with access to Gallagher Beach, Tifft Nature Preserve, and other Outer Harbor attractions. After passing over the Union Ship Canal via the Father Baker Bridge, the divided highway ends, but Route 5 continues as a wide, busy six-lane surface road (variously known as the Hamburg Turnpike, Lake Shore Road, or simply Route 5) that passes through the suburban areas of Lackawanna and Hamburg and continuing southward along the lake shore.
Rental car facilities are located mainly at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty all have offices there. For long-term visitors to Buffalo, another option is Buffalo CarShare. Buffalo CarShare is a not-for-profit organization that provides access to cars for up to 36 hours at a time, at rates that range from $5 to $8 per hour depending on the level of membership, plus a surcharge of 20¢ per mile driven (about 13¢/km). Buffalo CarShare's "hubs" are located in Allentown, University Heights, the Elmwood Village, the West Side, and near Canisius College. Membership in Buffalo CarShare begins at $5/month; prospective members must have been in possession of a valid drivers' license for at least 2 years, have a valid credit card, and undergo a check of their driving record.
Buffalo's highway system was designed for a city twice its size (a reflection of the population loss the area has undergone between the 1950s and today); as a result of that, the city does not suffer nearly as much from traffic congestion as other U.S. cities. Rush hour, such as it is, occurs on weekdays roughly from 6:30AM to 9AM and from 4PM to 6:30PM. A good rule of thumb the locals know is that, even at the height of rush hour, it generally takes no more than 20 minutes to drive from downtown to the outer edge of suburbia.
By public transportation
An outbound NFTA Metro Rail train pulls into Fountain Plaza Station.
Buffalo's public transportation system is operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) . They run a single-line light rail system (the Metro Rail) as well as an extensive bus network. The NFTA system is focused around three main nodes. From largest to smallest, these nodes are located in downtown Buffalo, at University Station (located at the outer end of the Metro Rail), and at the Portage Road Transit Center in Niagara Falls. Most of the buses whose routes begin and end downtown access the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center directly; many also service the Buffalo-Exchange Street Amtrak station.
The Metro Rail extends along Main Street from the University at Buffalo's South Campus at the northeast corner of the city southward to Erie Canal Harbor in downtown Buffalo, a distance of 6.4 miles (10.3km). With nearly 25,000 riders per day, the Metro Rail boasts the third-highest number of passengers per mile (km) among light-rail systems in the United States. The northern portion of the system is below ground. As the subway enters the downtown core, at the Theater District, it emerges from the tunnel and runs at street level for the remainder of its length. Rides on the above-ground portion of the Metro Rail are free of charge. To ride in the underground portion of the system, it costs $4.00 for a round-trip ticket, or $2.00 for a one-way ticket. The Metro Rail is a popular mode of transportation for employees and residents who live along the line and north of the city to commute downtown, and also for attendees of downtown events who want to avoid paying high prices for parking.
The NFTA eliminated the zoned fare system in October 2010. All rides on a single bus or light rail vehicle now cost $2.00 regardless of length. There are no free transfers; passengers who will need to transfer from the bus to the Metro Rail, from the Metro Rail to a bus, or between bus lines should consider purchasing a day pass for $5.
For further information on public transit in Buffalo including schedules and maps of individual routes, visit the NFTA Metro System webpage: .
To Niagara Falls
For those who want to travel to Niagara Falls from Buffalo on public transit, there are two NFTA bus routes that run directly between the two cities. Keep in mind that all trips on a single NFTA bus or train, to Niagara Falls or anywhere else, cost $2.00.
NFTA Metro Bus #40 — Grand Island  makes 18 trips per day (fewer on weekends and holidays) to Niagara Falls from the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, at the intersection of Elm and North Division Streets and two blocks east of the Church Street Metro Rail station. The bus will drive straight to downtown Niagara Falls and then continue on to the Niagara Falls Transportation Center.
NFTA Metro Bus #60 — Niagara Falls Express  makes two express runs from Niagara Falls to the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center in the morning, and three runs in the afternoon in the opposite direction. This bus runs on weekdays only and primarily serves Niagara Falls residents commuting to jobs in Buffalo.
In Buffalo, taxis can generally be dispatched quickly and with ease; however, in general, the only places where they can be hailed on the street are at the airport and around the Metropolitan Transportation Center, the Chippewa Street entertainment district, the various downtown hotels, and (at certain times, and with some luck) the Elmwood strip and around the colleges and universities.
As in many cities, bicycling as an alternative method of transportation is growing more and more popular in Buffalo. However, in terms of the development of infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes on city streets and bike parking areas, Buffalo lags behind many other "bikeable" cities such as Minneapolis, Portland, and Boston. Despite this, scenic bike routes such as the Riverwalk, the Scajaquada Creekside Bike Path, and the Outer Harbor Bike Trail are immensely popular with locals. A walk or bike ride along these paths is certainly a pleasant way to spend a summer day.
GO Bike Buffalo (formerly Green Options Buffalo)  is the local organization that promotes and advocates for cycling and other sustainable transportation alternatives in the local area. The Community Bicycle Workshop they operate at 98 Colvin Ave. in North Buffalo offers bike repair, spare parts, bikes for sale, and special programs periodically throughout the year.
Set to be launched in late summer 2012, Buffalo BikeShare is a program borne of a partnership between GO Bike Buffalo, the University of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Much like Buffalo CarShare, Buffalo BikeShare will provide its members with access to bicycles with the revolutionary new GPS-enabled SoBi (Social Bicycles) system, the first large-scale implementation of this technology anywhere.
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, One Naval Park Cove, ☎ +1 716 847-1773, . Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM daily, Nov Sa-Su and F after Thanksgiving 10AM-4PM, Dec-Mar closed. Located adjacent to the Canalside redevelopment downtown, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park opened in 1977 and consists of three historic warships: the USS Little Rock, a cruiser which served in the Mediterranean Sea during the Cold War as a flagship for the Second and Sixth Fleets of the U.S. Navy and is now the only guided missile cruiser in the country on display; the USS The Sullivans, a destroyer that saw intense action in the Pacific theater of World War II; and the USS Croaker, a submarine that also saw action in the Pacific during WWII. These ships are open for self-guided tours during the warm months. There is also a museum on site that displays memorabilia such as Medals of Honor awarded to area residents.$10, seniors and ages 6-16 $6.
Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy., ☎ +1 716 896-5200 (toll free: +1 866 291-6660), . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Located in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, an Olmsted park on Buffalo's East Side, the Buffalo Museum of Science is located in a lovely building built in 1929 by the prominent Buffalo architectural firm of Esenwein & Johnson. The emphasis of the Buffalo Museum of Science is on natural and physical sciences; 700,000 specimens and artifacts are displayed at this world-class museum encompassing almost every conceivable aspect of anthropology, botany, entomology, mycology, paleontology and zoology, especially as it relates to the Buffalo area. The Buffalo Museum of Science also operates the Tifft Nature Preserve, 264 acres (105ha) of reclaimed industrial land in South Buffalo discussed below. Warning: the surrounding neighborhood is not a particularly nice one, especially at night.$9, seniors 62+ $8, ages 2-17, students, and military $7, museum members and children under 2 free.
Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, 263 Michigan Ave., ☎ +1 716 853-0084, . Th-Sa 11AM-4PM. Operated by James Sandoro, a former curator of exhibits at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum and a lifelong collector of historic artifacts, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum draws 10,000 visitors per year to their museum complex in a historic neighborhood just east of downtown, despite minimal advertising. As one might expect, the exhibits at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum run heavily towards antique cars and automotive memorabilia, especially Pierce-Arrows, the luxury sedans produced in Buffalo in the early 20th century to which the museum owes its name. The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum is also working to build a filling station on its premises from a design by Frank Lloyd Wright that, when complete, will be the seventh Wright-designed building in Buffalo and its environs.$10, seniors $8, children $5, guided tour $15.
Ira G. Ross Niagara Aerospace Museum, First Niagara Center, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, ☎ +1 716 297-1324, . 2012 opening hours to be announced soon. After a large bequest from the estate of local businessman Ira G. Ross, the erstwhile Niagara Aerospace Museum relocated to Buffalo in 2008 from Niagara Falls; its temporary home in the First Niagara Center will be replaced eventually by a new facility in the burgeoning Canalside redevelopment. The museum's collection includes the first commercially licensed helicopter in the United States, the Bell Model 47, a replica 1910 Curtiss Pusher, a Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" of the type produced locally during the First World War, and a Bell P-39 Ancobra. These and other artifacts retell the rich history of the aviation industry in Buffalo, which was at its peak in the first half of the 20th Century when pioneering companies like Bell Aviation and Curtiss-Wright had their headquarters here. The Ira G. Ross Niagara Aerospace Museum also contains artifacts from the early years of space exploration, such as a control panel used at Mission Control during the Apollo moon missions. In addition, the museum's library contains historical documents, films and records related to the aerospace industry that are useful to researchers.$7.
Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum, 25 Nottingham Ct., ☎ +1 716 873-9644, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W until 8PM, Su 12PM-5PM, Resource Center by appointment during business hours, Research Library W-Sa 1PM-5PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue in the Museum District and adjacent to Delaware Park, the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum has by far the most extensive collection of artifacts relevant to the history of Buffalo and Western New York from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Housed in a resplendent Neoclassical building designed by local architect George Cary and built for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, it is perhaps not surprising that the World's Fair that was Buffalo's shining hour is a particular focus of the exhibits at this wonderful museum. A Pierce-Arrow roadster built in Buffalo, the medal presented by George Washington to Chief Red Jacket, prototypes of the cardiac pacemaker invented by Buffalo native Wilson Greatbatch, and artistic renderings of historical scenes and people flesh out the collection. Further historical records, manuscripts, photographs, and personal documents are housed at the Research Library. The Historical Society Museum is also an invaluable resource for local residents interested in genealogy.$7, seniors and students 13-21 $5, children 7-12 $2, members and children under 7 free. Research Library $7, free to members.
Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum, 1850 William St., ☎ +1 716 892-8400, . Sa 10AM-4PM and by appointment. The Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum is located in Lovejoy, a blue-collar neighborhood that is home to many Buffalo firefighters. This modest-sized building houses an amazingly extensive collection of antique fire trucks, apparatus and other artifacts, as well as historic photographs and exhibits related to the history of the Buffalo Fire Department. The museum's mission also encompasses educating the public about fire safety and prevention, as well as firefighting as a career.Donation.
Iron Island Museum, 998 E. Lovejoy St., ☎ +1 716 892-3084, . M 2PM-6PM, Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-1PM, also by appointment. With a history linked closely to the railroad industry that was so prominent in Buffalo at the turn of the century, the East Side neighborhood of Lovejoy is nicknamed "Iron Island" because it is surrounded by railroad tracks on all four sides. The Iron Island Museum was opened in 2000 by the Iron Island Preservation Society and is dedicated to retelling the history of Lovejoy with a particular emphasis on the railroads that have shaped its identity. Formerly a funeral home, the Iron Island Museum's reputation for ghost sightings has attracted the attention of paranormal researchers from around the region and further afield, as well as the television shows "Ghost Lab" and "Ghost Hunters". Accordingly, overnight ghost hunts, conducted periodically by reservation, are a popular offering of the Iron Island Museum.$2, ghost tours $5.
Karpeles Manuscript Library, 453 Porter Ave. (Porter Hall) and 220 North St. (North Hall), ☎ +1 716 885-4139, . Porter Hall Su-Tu 11AM-4PM, North Hall Th-Sa 11AM-4PM. The brainchild of California real estate magnate David Karpeles, the Karpeles Manuscript Library is the world's largest privately-owned collection of historic documents and manuscripts. The library consists of twelve branches nationwide, including two in Buffalo: Porter Hall, located at the beautifully restored former home of the Plymouth Methodist Church on the Lower West Side, and North Hall in the former First Church of Christ, Scientist in Allentown. In addition to the travelling exhibits that rotate among all twelve branches of the library, the permanent collection of the Buffalo branch of the Karpeles Manuscript Library includes the William McKinley Room, where original documents concerning the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley at Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition are displayed.Free.
Nash House Museum, 36 Nash St., ☎ +1 716 856-4490, . Th & Sa 11:30AM-4PM and by appointment. The Nash House Museum is located on the Near East Side, one block from Michigan Avenue, the birthplace of Buffalo's African-American community in the mid-19th Century and the current focus of redevelopment efforts by community groups. This Nationally Registered Historic Place was once the home of Rev. Dr. J. Edward Nash, who—aside from being the pastor of the Michigan Street Baptist Church from 1892 until his retirement in 1953—was a personal friend of such nationally-known luminaries of black history as Booker T. Washington and Adam Clayton Powell, and was instrumental in the founding of the local chapter of the NAACP and in advocacy on behalf of Buffalo's African-American citizenry in the years before the Civil Rights Movement. Today, his house is open as a museum that contains engaging exhibits and archival records chronicling the history of Buffalo's African-American community. Also, the house itself is architecturally significant as a particularly good example of the wood-frame, partially prefabricated "Buffalo doubles" that were built here by the thousands around the turn of the century.$10.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, 641 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 884-0095 (fax: +1 716 884-0330), . M-F 9:30AM-3:30PM, Sa Su 12:30PM-3:30PM. The only property in Western New York operated by the National Park Service, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site is located in Allentown, in a handsome 1838 Greek Revival mansion that was the residence of Ansley Wilcox, a Buffalo lawyer and politico. In September 1901, several days after President William McKinley died in Buffalo of gunshot wounds he sustained while greeting attendees of the Pan-American Exposition, Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the home of Wilcox, an acquaintance of his, and the Oath of Office was administered to him there. A planned demolition of the house in the early 1960s was averted at the last minute, and today the Wilcox Mansion has been thoroughly restored inside and out, and features historical displays related to Roosevelt, McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition as well as occasional temporary exhibits. The grounds of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site are planted with herb and flower gardens in season.$10, aged 62+ and students $7, ages 6-18 $5, families $25, free for children under 5 and members.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-8700 (fax: +1 716 882-1958), . Daily 10AM-5PM (F until 10PM). The centerpiece of the Museum District, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery boasts one of the premier collections of modern and contemporary art in the nation, with the impressionist, cubist, surrealist, abstract expressionist, and pop art styles - and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol - all well-represented among its permanent collection. Works of other styles and periods are also on display, and the Albright-Knox plays host to travelling exhibitions on a frequent basis. The Albright-Knox is housed in a magnificent Neoclassical structure that is a work of art in itself - built in 1905 from a design by Green & Wicks, the greatest Buffalo architectural firm of all time, the building emulates the Erechtheion in Athens, with caryatids designed by eminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and, at the time of its construction, more columns than any building in the United States with the exception of the U.S. Capitol.$12, seniors/students $8, children 6-12 $5, free for children 5 and under, museum members, active military, and on first Friday of each month; $5 parking fee ($3 for museum members).
Buffalo Religious Arts Center, 157 East St., ☎ +1 716 481-2350, . Docent-led tours Sa 1PM or by appointment. Located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Black Rock at the former St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, the mission of the Buffalo Religious Arts Center is to salvage and display some of the works of religious art contained in the many churches and other places of worship (particularly on the East Side) that have closed their doors in the wake of Buffalo's half-century of population loss. In addition to the priceless works from other churches that curator Mary Holland has collected, such as statuary from St. Mary of Sorrows, icons from SS. Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Church, and various items from Temple Beth El, St. Francis Xavier itself is a magnificent old building full of beautiful and uplifting art which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was a longtime cornerstone of the historic neighborhood of Black Rock.$10, students $5, members free.
Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 878-6011, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th till 9PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Opened in 1966 and greatly expanded in the early '90s through the charitable largesse of Dr. Charles Rand Penney, the Burchfield Penney Art Center finally moved into its new museum building in 2008 after over a decade of planning and construction. An important addition to the Elmwood Avenue Museum District operated by Buffalo State College, the mission of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is to showcase the unique culture of Buffalo and Western New York and the vibrancy of its creative community with displays of works by local artists. The backbone of the Burchfield Penney's offerings consists of the world's most extensive collection of paintings by Charles Burchfield, a renowned watercolorist who spent most of his career living in or near Buffalo. Temporary exhibitions, often with a local flavor, are also frequently presented. The involvement of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in the community is exemplified by its "Art On Wheels" program, as well as "Herd About Buffalo", a popular phenomenon whereby local businesses have displayed personalized papier-mâché buffaloes or bison as an expression of community pride. $10, seniors $8, students $5, Buffalo State College students and children under 10 free.
Buffalo City Hall is seen in this view down Court Street from Lafayette Square. Built in 1931 from a design by the local firm of Dietel & Wade, it is widely considered one of the world's finest examples of Art Deco architecture.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. Most recently, Buffalo's architecture took center stage when the 2011 National Preservation Conference was held in the city to unanimous acclaim. Buildings from almost every decade of Buffalo's existence are still preserved, with more being restored each year. As of December 2011, there are seven historic neighborhoods in Buffalo listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as six additional ones that have been granted landmark status by the Buffalo Preservation Board. Of those historic districts, there are three main ones of interest to architecture buffs:
The Allentown Historic District was the first Buffalo neighborhood to be listed on the National Register. Located north of downtown, Allentown was settled in the middle and late 19th century and is characterized by small but lovely red brick houses in styles that were popular at that time, such as the Italianate and French Second Empire. Among Allentown's most architecturally exquisite buildings are the Allendale Theatre and the seven houses that make up the Tiffts Row, both of which are located on Allen Street; the William Dorsheimer House on Delaware Avenue, and the former Buffalo Catholic Institute building on Main and Virginia Streets that is now home to the Church of Scientology.
The Delaware Avenue Historic District consists of the stretch of Delaware Avenue called "Millionaire's Row". The National Register of Historic Places defines the Delaware Avenue Historic District as being located between North and Bryant Streets, though large mansions can frequently be found along Delaware Avenue almost as far north as Gates Circle. The opulence of Millionaire's Row testifies to the fact that Buffalo once had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the U.S. Most of the mansions have since been converted to office space for local corporations and not-for-profit groups. Among the many mansions along this stretch of Delaware Avenue are the Butler Mansion (at #672), the Clement Mansion (at #786, now the local chapter of the American Red Cross), the Richmond-Lockwood House (at #844), and the Charles W. Goodyear House (at #888).
Parkside is the neighborhood that consists of the streets in North Buffalo immediately north and east of Delaware Park. Along with the park itself, Parkside was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted; the houses there date from between 1890 and 1920. Houses in the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Bungalow, and Prairie styles can be seen in this pleasant middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhood. A centerpiece of Parkside is the Darwin D. Martin House, described in detail below.
Designed and built in 1905 for the president of the Larkin Soap Company, the Darwin D. Martin House is one of the most important works of Frank Lloyd Wright's early career.
Darwin D. Martin House Complex, 125 Jewett Pkwy., ☎ +1 716 856-3858, . Basic Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM, 12PM, & 1PM, Su 12:30PM, 1PM & 1:30PM; In-Depth Tours leave M, W, F & Sa 11AM & Su 12:30PM. The most important work of the first half of Frank Lloyd Wright's career, and the first commission for that renowned architect outside of Chicago, the Darwin D. Martin Complex is one of the crown jewels of Buffalo's huge architectural cornucopia. The complex includes not only the Darwin D. Martin House itself—built in 1904-05 for the president of the Larkin Soap Company and Wright's longtime friend and benefactor—but also the George Barton House, where Martin's daughter and son-in-law lived, the Gardener's Cottage, and three buildings—a carriage house, conservatory and pergola—which were demolished in 1962 and recently reconstructed according to Wright's original blueprints, the first Frank Lloyd Wright buildings ever to be rebuilt after demolition. Following over half a century of neglect, vandalism, and decay, the complex was purchased by the Martin House Restoration Corporation in 1994, with the extensive restoration process finally completed in 2010. For many local residents, the rebirth of the Darwin D. Martin House symbolizes the increased attention Buffalo's citizens are paying to their city's world-class architecture. A one-hour Basic Tour is offered, as well as a more extensive two-hour In-Depth Tour.Basic tour $15, $13 seniors, $10 students, members free; In-Depth Tours $30, $28 seniors, $25 students and members.
An enormous wealth of information about Buffalo's rich architectural heritage is available at the award-winning website, Buffalo Architecture and History: 
Nearly 150 years after it was constructed, Delaware Park continues to fulfill the intent of its designer, allowing citizens of Buffalo to escape into nature without leaving the city limits.
Most of Buffalo's largest parks were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who is also famous as the designer of Central Park in New York City and the "Emerald Necklace" of parks in Boston. For Buffalo, Olmsted designed a network of six large parks and six smaller green spaces (three of the latter have been lost) connected by tree-lined avenues or "parkways" that are still where some of Buffalo's finest homes can be found. All the Olmsted parks are lovely, but the two that are of greatest interest to tourists are Delaware Park and South Park. At 234 acres (93 ha), Delaware Park is Buffalo's largest park and the central node in the Olmsted park system. Convenient to the Elmwood Village, Parkside, and the Museum District, Delaware Park offers breathtaking views year-round and is a popular location for jogging, golf, tennis, basketball, and the renowned Shakespeare in Delaware Park outdoor festival,  which takes place here each summer. Hoyt Lake, the 46-acre (18.5ha) lake at the center of the park, is surrounded by a lovely walking/biking trail and features rowboats and paddleboats for rent at the Marcy Casino during the summer months. Delaware Park is also the site of the Buffalo Zoo. Conversely, South Park is another Olmsted park located at the southern extremity of the city, adjacent to South Park Avenue, Ridge Road, and McKinley Parkway. Though it contains a golf course and a lake, South Park is of interest to tourists mainly as the site of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Both the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens are discussed in detail below.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., ☎ +1 716 827-1584, . Daily 10AM-5PM. Located at South Park, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens were founded in 1898 and today consist of several collections of plants—the Panama Cloud Forest & Epiphyte Pavilion, the Palm Dome, the Florida Everglades pavilion, the Victorian Ivy & Herb House, the Orchid House, and the Rose Garden are only a few—arranged carefully in Victorian style. All in all, 1,500 varieties of plants are displayed here to more than 100,000 visitors annually. The lovely Victorian conservatory building of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens was designed by Frederick A. Lord and William A. Burnham, who went on to design the conservatory at the National Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C. some years later.$7, seniors and students $6, 12 and under $4, members and children under 3 free.
Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave., ☎ +1 716 837-3900, . Summer: Sa-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-7:30PM Winter: Daily 10AM-4PM. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest zoo in the United States (founded in 1875 on the former site of the Deer Paddock at Delaware Park) and is second in popularity only to Niagara Falls among tourist attractions in the Niagara Frontier, welcoming 400,000 visitors each year. The 23-acre (9.5ha) Zoo boasts exciting thematic displays that play host to 1,200 different animals, such as elephants, bears, otters, sea lions, hyenas, and of course, bison. Some of the animals, such as a resident peacock, are allowed to roam freely on the walkways, allowing visitors to get closer to nature than they would in most zoos. In 2002, a new Master Plan was unveiled that will see the Zoo thoroughly modernized over the next 15 years. Under this framework, the Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove and South African Rainforest exhibits have already opened, with a new Children's Zoo and other exhibits slated for the near future.$10, students and seniors $8, children 2-14 $7, children under 2 free. Parking $3.50. Train and carousel rides $2.
Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 885-1600, . Daily 8AM-5PM, summer until 7PM. It may seem strange to place a cemetery on a list of tourist attractions, but Forest Lawn is more than just a burial ground. Located immediately south of Delaware Park, Forest Lawn was founded in 1849 as a rural-style cemetery on what was then the outskirts of town, and serves today as an arboretum, nature preserve, and celebration of Buffalo's rich history. "Sundays in the Cemetery" tours are offered seasonally; conducted variously on foot (sensible shoes are recommended) and on trolleys, each of these themed excursions explores a different aspect of local history through an exploration of the lives of individuals buried at Forest Lawn. Famous people who have been laid to rest here include President Millard Fillmore, Prince Kyril Scherbatow of Imperial Russia, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, aviation pioneer Lawrence Bell, Seneca Indian chief Red Jacket, singer Rick James, and many mayors and other prominent citizens of Buffalo. Deer, birds and other native wildlife are commonly seen strolling these 269 acres (108 ha) of impeccably landscaped greenery, and architecture buffs will love the mausoleums and memorials designed by such Buffalo architecture luminaries as Richard Waite and George Cary, and especially the Blue Sky Mausoleum, completed in 2004 from a design by Frank Lloyd Wright.Cemetery grounds free, guided walking tours $15, guided trolley tours $25.
Gallagher Beach State Park, Fuhrmann Blvd., ☎ +1 716 852-2356. For many decades an "unofficial" swimming hole and summer recreation area for South Buffalo residents (including inimitable former mayor Jimmy Griffin), Gallagher Beach has recently come under the ownership of the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is now open to visitors. A growing number of Buffalonians now flock to Gallagher Beach in the summer months to walk and bike along the new boardwalk and to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. Gallagher Beach is located on the brand-new Outer Harbor Parkway, an Olmsted-inspired greenway on Buffalo's waterfront, and is adjacent to the NFTA Small Boat Harbor, Dug's Dive restaurant, and Tifft Nature Preserve. The beach is accessible via the Outer Harbor Loop of the Queen City Ferry.Free.
A sunny September afternoon at Tifft Nature Preserve.
Tifft Nature Preserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., ☎ +1 716 825-6397, . W-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 12PM-4PM. Operated by the Buffalo Museum of Science, Tifft Nature Preserve is 264 acres (106 ha) of greenery that serves as an important wetland habitat for native wildlife such as beaver, fox, turtle, deer, and 264 species of native and migratory waterfowl. Originally the site of George Washington Tifft's dairy farm, what is now the nature preserve was later used as a transshipment terminal for the Lehigh Valley Railroad and then as a garbage dump; by the time it became a nature preserve in 1976, it had already "rewilded" on its own to a great degree. The preserve has been thoroughly cleaned up since the days of heavy industry, and today the nature trails and wildlife viewing stations at Tifft are one of the best ways for Buffalonians to get "back to nature" without leaving the city limits. The 75 acres (30 ha) of freshwater cattail marsh are one of Western New York's largest natural expanses of this type of ecosystem. Fishing on Lake Kirsty is popular in the summer, as are guided nature walks; in winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are on offer. The Makowski Visitors' Center is open all year.Donation.
Times Beach Nature Preserve, Fuhrmann Blvd., . Like Tifft, Times Beach Nature Preserve is situated on former industrial land that has been reclaimed and cleaned of pollutants. These 50 acres (20 ha) adjacent to the harbor were the site of coal docks and a contained disposal facility for industrial waste before its opening to the public in 2004 as a nature preserve. Though no facilities are available, boardwalks, nature trails and wildlife viewing blinds are on offer at this photogenic expanse of greenery that, in addition to its role as a haven for native flora and fauna, is one of the most important stopovers on the Great Lakes for migratory birds. Times Beach Nature Preserve is also the northern terminus of the Outer Harbor Parkway, a 3.3-mile (5.3km) thoroughfare inspired by the Olmsted parkways elsewhere in the city that extends southward along the lakeshore to the new park currently under construction at the Union Ship Canal.Free.
Beaver Island State Park, 2136 W. Oakfield Rd., Grand Island, ☎ +1 716 773-3271, . Dawn-dusk; beach open daily 11AM-7PM Jun-Sep, Nature Center open Jul-Sep Th-Su 12PM-5PM. Grand Island's beaches and lovely waterfront views made it a popular summer resort community for Buffalonians of the 19th Century, and visitors to Beaver Island State Park, a 950-acre (380ha) expanse of greenery at the southern tip of the island which was founded on the site of several old summer estates, will quickly see why. In addition to the main attraction—a wonderful beach that is one of Western New York's most popular during the summer months—Beaver Island State Park boasts an 18-hole championship golf course as well as facilities for other sports such as disc golf, baseball, and horseshoes. Other activities enjoyed by visitors to the park include fishing, boating (the park boasts several boat launches), and walking and biking along the trails that crisscross the woods. River Lea, an old wooden farmhouse built about 1850 by Lewis Allen which has been restored as the home of the Grand Island Historical Society, is also located on the grounds of the park.Vehicle entry fee $7 ($6 when beach is closed).
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (formerly Amherst Museum), 3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst, ☎ +1 716 689-1440, . Tu-F 9:30AM-4:30PM, also Sa-Su 12:30PM-4:30PM during summer. Formerly known as the Amherst Museum, the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is situated in the suburb of Amherst adjacent to the historic Erie Canal. Its 35 acres (14 ha) of land comprise the main exhibit building as well as several restored historic structures from around the vicinity, situated on the grounds of the museum and accessible via self-guided and (on a seasonal basis) organized tours. The main exhibit building contains a variety of folksy historic exhibits that paint a vivid picture of rural life in 19th Century Western New York, as well as an extensive research library of historic records that detail the evolution of Amherst from a rural farming community to a modern suburb. Special events, such as the Fall Festival and the Amherst Scottish Festival, occur on a seasonal basis.Summer rates: $5, children $1.50; Winter rates: $4, children $1; members always free.
Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, ☎ +1 716 693-1885, . Summer M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 12PM-4PM; spring and fall W-Su 12PM-4PM, winter closed. North Tonawanda is a former lumber port on the Erie Canal that, in 1915, became home to the Allan Herschell Company, America's largest producer of amusement park rides, particularly carousels. Though the company closed in 1970, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum lives on in the former factory buildings, providing 15,000 visitors annually with exhibits and demonstrations on the history of the Herschell Company and amusement rides in general. An original Allan Herschell carousel from 1916 is the centerpiece of the museum's collection. Special programs offered by the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum include beginner and advanced woodworking courses, and a short walking and biking trail leads from the factory complex through historic downtown North Tonawanda to the banks of the old Erie Canal.Adults $5, seniors $4, children $2.50.
Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center, 2001 Union Rd., West Seneca, ☎ +1 716 677-4843, . M-F 10AM-4PM, Su 12PM-3PM, Sa various hours. Charles Burchfield was one of the most accomplished watercolorists in American history, and from 1925 until his death in 1967, he lived and worked in the village of Gardenville, now part of Buffalo's suburb of West Seneca. In 2000, the Town of West Seneca opened the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center on the former site of Gardenville Park, where Burchfield painted some of his most famous nature scenes. Today, these 29 acres (11ha) of woodland are traversed with footpaths and peppered with gardens and interpretive exhibits regarding local flora and fauna as well as the art of Charles Burchfield. Trees such as maple, birch, aspen, hickory, and oak, plants such as wild rose, raspberry, and dogwood, and a wide array of native animal life are to be found at the Burchfield Center.Donation.
Graycliff, 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby, ☎ +1 716 947-9217, . Derby, the hamlet in which this lovely historic home is located, is located on the shore of Lake Erie 30 minutes south of Buffalo. Of the six Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings and structures that remain standing in the Buffalo area today, Graycliff is one of two that is open to public tours. Graycliff was the summer home of Darwin D. Martin, president of the Larkin Soap Company and a friend and benefactor of Wright, and his wife Isabella. The Graycliff Conservancy acquired the property in 1999; unlike the Darwin D. Martin Estate in the city, the rehabilitation of Graycliff is still an ongoing process, with much of the interior yet to be attended to. Nonetheless, architecture buffs will be enraptured once again by Wright's creativity. The guided tours offered by the Graycliff Conservancy include a basic 90-minute tour, a more extensive In-Depth Tour two hours in length led by a Master Docent, and a Master Architectural Tour personally conducted by Patrick Mahoney, a Frank Lloyd Wright expert and President of the Graycliff Conservancy. Private and group tours are also available.$15 for basic tour ($10 students).
Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center, 4050 North St., Hamburg, ☎ +1 716 627-4560, . Jun-Sep: M-Sa 9AM-4PM, Su 11AM-4PM. May & Oct: Sa 9AM-4PM & Su 11AM-4PM. Owned and operated by the Hamburg Natural History Society, the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center is an outdoor site where visitors can find and collect many extraordinarily well-preserved fossils of sea animals such as trilobites, gastropods, and cnidarians that date from the Devonian Period, a time 380 million years ago when Western New York was under a tropical ocean. As well, the Penn Dixie site boasts a wide variety of habitats, such as wetlands, forest, and treeless brush, that serve as home to a similarly wide variety of animal life such as wild turkey, deer, coyote, reptiles, and migratory birds. Hiking and birdwatching are also popular activities, and special events occur on a regular basis.$7, children 2-12 $6, members and children under 2 free.
Steel Plant Museum, 560 Ridge Rd., Lackawanna, ☎ +1 716 823-0630, . Summer: M & W 1PM-9PM, Tu & Th 10AM-9PM, F 10AM-5PM. Winter: M & W 1PM-9PM, Tu & Th 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Between 1903 and 1982, Lackawanna, the industrial city immediately south of Buffalo, was home to the largest steel plant in the world, which covered 1,600 acres (640ha) and employed 20,000 workers at its height. Established in 1984, the Steel Plant Museum tells the story of the Lackawanna Steel Plant and its workforce, as well as other area steel companies such as Republic Steel and Hanna Furnace, by displaying memorabilia such as union records, safety gear, signs, tools, steel specimens, and technical literature both at the museum's main location on the premises of the historic Lackawanna Public Library, and at the satellite location two blocks away. A café is also located on site serving coffee and light refreshments.Free.
Festivals and Events
Buffalo's calendar of annual festivals, parades and events is huge and growing. Ethnic pride festivals such as the Buffalo Greek Fest, the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival, and Dyngus Day play a preeminent role, though a diversity of events of all kinds is enjoyed by citizens. Naturally, the lion's share of these festivals take place during the warm months, but efforts have been made recently to expand the slate of offerings in winter as well.
Flurrious!, . Held annually at Delaware Park, this brand-new addition to Buffalo's growing array of annual events is not only a celebration of the winter season for which Buffalo is well-known, but also has as a primary mission the preservation of, appreciation for, and investment in Buffalo's system of Olmsted parks. The 2012 Flurrious! festival included a foot race around Delaware Park's Ring Road, bike ride, snow golfing, snow tennis, igloo building, kickball tournament, live music all day, and food and drink in a heated tent at the Parkside Lodge.
Buffalo Winterfest & Powderkeg Festival, . The Buffalo Winterfest is a way for Buffalonians to, in the words of its official website, "thumb... [their] frosted noses at the wintry misconceptions and stereotypes that pervade the national consciousness" with a celebration of the winter season. After being held diversely at Delaware Park and Canalside, Winterfest moved to the center of downtown in 2012, with events held at Niagara Square as well as in nearby venues including the adjacent Statler Towers, one of the most high-profile restoration projects of Buffalo's architectural masterpieces which hosted food, music and entertainment. Other events include a Buffalo Historical Hike, the Police vs. Fire Olympics, a snowman-building competition, ice sculptures, dogsled demonstrations, and more. Proceeds benefit the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade, . Since 1940, on the closest Sunday to March 17th, downtown Buffalo has been the scene of New York State's second-largest St. Patrick's Day celebration, held by the Buffalo United Irish-American Association. Traditionally, Mass is said by the Bishop of Buffalo at St. Joseph's Cathedral on Franklin Street immediately before the participants gather at Niagara Square, marching up Delaware Avenue as far as North Street. The grandeur of this event is testimony to the continuing importance of Buffalo's Irish-American community. In addition to the downtown event, for 19 years running the Valley Community Association has sponsored the Old Neighborhood St. Patrick's Day Parade, which traces the route of Buffalo's first St. Patrick's Day parades along South Park Avenue through the old South Buffalo Irish neighborhoods of the First Ward and The Valley.
March or April
The Polish Heritage Dancers march down Broadway in the 2012 Dyngus Day Parade, one of many ethnic festivals that take place year-round in Buffalo.
Dyngus Day, . Dyngus Day is a traditional Polish holiday that falls on the Monday after Easter; on this day, young boys are known to "slap" girls who catch their eye with pussywillows or squirt them with water guns in a courtship ritual called "śmigus". Today, Buffalo hosts the largest organized Dyngus Day celebration in the world—including Poland, where the festival has largely been forgotten. Since the mid-2000s, Buffalo's annual Dyngus Day celebration has once again been held in the traditional Polish neighborhood of Broadway-Fillmore at the grand old New York Central Terminal, a majestic old Art Deco train station that is yet another of Buffalo's architectural masterpieces that is undergoing extensive restoration. After the Dyngus Day Parade through the streets of Broadway-Fillmore opens the festivities, traditional Polish food and (even more popularly) drink are served in the old dining room, with polka bands attracting revelers to the dance floor. Celebrations are also held at St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr Church (the so-called "Mother Church of Polonia"), the Adam Mickiewicz Library, and the many Polish-owned bars and taverns that continue to soldier on in the old neighborhood.
Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, . An international film festival for and by filmmakers and screenwriters that has in the past been visited by such luminaries as Robert Redford, Richard Dreyfuss, Lou Gossett Jr., Lou Ferrigno, and Buffalo native William Fichtner, the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival uses the backdrop of majestic Niagara Falls and historic Buffalo as a setting for a modest but growing selection of independent feature-length and short films. In addition to film screenings, seminars, panel discussions, and workshops are presented on topics of interest to cineasts of all kinds, as well as a Festival Expo where festival sponsors can promote their wares.
Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, . Each year at the beginning of June, Buffalo becomes one of dozens of cities nationwide to host a Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The tournament is designed to hold true to the purity and integrity of ordinary basketball games played on driveways and in parks, encouraging players of all ages, genders and skill levels to participate. The Buffalo competition is held yearly at Niagara Square and is divided into men's, women's, and junior tournaments, with co-ed teams admitted as part of the men's competition. Since 1987, the Gus Macker tournaments have raised over $15 million nationally for various charitable causes, and the gathering of increasingly large numbers of players and spectators around the events has had a noticeable economic impact on the host cities.
Buffalo Greek Fest, . The Buffalo Greek Fest serves as the traditional start of the summer festival season in the Buffalo area, and, since 1978, has been held each year at the beginning of June at the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation on historic Delaware Avenue. Aside from showcasing the cuisine, traditional music and folk dances of Greece, enlightening exhibits are displayed that encompass aspects of Greek culture, and architectural tours are conducted of this beautiful church which has been inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Allentown Art Festival, . Every June, the Allentown Art Festival brings throngs of artists, craftspeople, food vendors, and visitors to the streets of one of Buffalo's most charming and historic neighborhoods. What was conceived in 1958 as a small art fair which would raise community pride in a then-dilapidated area, the Allentown Art Festival has grown into arguably the best-known of Buffalo's street festivals, with over 450 artists and craftspeople each year from all over the U.S., Canada and even Europe displaying and selling their wares to tens of thousands of visitors. High-quality paintings, sculptures, jewelry, crafts, and other works are available for purchase each year, often at excellent prices. Cash awards are given to artists in about a dozen different categories, as well as to the winner of the perennially popular competition to design the festival's annual poster. All proceeds from the festival are invested back into community improvement projects by the Allentown Association.
Buffalo River Fest, . Every June since 2000, the Valley Community Association, in conjunction with Rigidized Metals Corporation and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, has held the Buffalo River Fest. Since 2009, this celebration of the history of Buffalo's waterfront has been held at Buffalo RiverFest Park, a lovely new green space located at the foot of Chicago Street in the Old First Ward, adjacent to the Buffalo River. Events during this three-day festival include a local artists' and artisans' show, a beer garden, rides on the historic fireboat Edward M. Cotter ($10 per person), the Rigidized Metals River Regatta, live music, and a fishing contest. On display also are historical exhibits with an accent on the grain elevators, shipyards, and other waterfront industrial facilities that drove Buffalo's economy in earlier times; a historic walking tour of the Cobblestone District, Elevator Alley, and Canalside is held annually. Food and refreshments are available.
Juneteenth Festival, . Springing from a commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, Juneteenth is celebrated in the black community of the U.S. today as a holiday that signifies African-American pride and cultural heritage. Today, each June 19th sees Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on Buffalo's East Side host the nation's third-largest Juneteenth festival. Beginning with a parade that proceeds westward down Genesee Street from Moselle Street to the park, Buffalo's Juneteenth festival is a lively two-day celebration that includes demonstrations of traditional African and African-American art, music and dance, ethnic foods, crafts and wares, and activities for children.
Canadian rockers Sloan play at Thursday at the Harbor, a long-running summer music series that recently moved to Canalside from its former home at Lafayette Square.
Thursday at the Harbor, . Since 1986, Buffalo Place has hosted this long-running series of free summer outdoor concerts downtown, every Thursday evening from early June through early August. Originally known as "Thursday at the Square" and held at Lafayette Square in the heart of downtown, in 2011 event organizers responded to the increasingly large crowd sizes by moving the second half of the schedule to the much larger Canalside area. Beginning in 2012, the entire series will be held at Canalside, with the name change made official that year. Evolving from its humble beginnings as mainly a showcase for local bands, Thursday at the Harbor has grown to host internationally known artists and groups such as Blues Traveler, Parliament/Funkadelic, the Violent Femmes, Hootie and the Blowfish, They Might Be Giants, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and dozens more, and is also well-known for regularly showcasing Canadian acts such as Sam Roberts, the Lowest of the Low, Sloan, and 54-40. In addition to the free concerts, Buffalo Place also presents several top-tier acts a year at Canalside as part of Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor, with admission charges of $10 for advance purchases and $20 on the day of the show.
Shakespeare in Delaware Park, . Delaware Park's Shakespeare Hill has since 1976 been the setting of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. With a goal of enriching, inspiring and entertaining diverse audiences through performance and educational programming with a focus on the works of William Shakespeare, this not-for-profit professional theatre company performs two selected Shakespeare plays annually from June until August at their striking Tudor-style outdoor stage adjacent to Hoyt Lake, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Delaware Park Rose Garden. Performances are free of charge at this longstanding summertime tradition, though donations are greatly appreciated.
National Garden Festival, . This "five-week-long garden party" has, since its inception several years ago, turned Buffalo into one of the premier destinations in the U.S. for garden tourism. Under the aegis of the National Garden Festival fall not only Garden Walk Buffalo, the centerpiece of the festivities that The Atlantic magazine recently cited as the best event of its kind in the nation, but also many other garden walks throughout the various neighborhoods of Buffalo (and, beginning in 2012, even in the suburbs!) where participating residents design and maintain beautiful gardens in their front yards for walkers to enjoy. In addition, there are bus tours of the area's various urban farms, nurseries, and community gardens, weekday Open Gardens, speakers, symposia and the popular Front Yard Garden Competition. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Erie Basin Marina Gardens, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden and Rose Garden, and even the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer's Market are, understandably, replete with visitors during the National Garden Festival.
Friendship Festival, . Shared between Buffalo and neighboring Fort Erie, Ontario, the Friendship Festival is a weeklong celebration of almost 200 years of friendship and mutual cooperation between the United States and Canada, and coincides with both Independence Day in the United States (July 4th) and Canada Day (July 1st). Beginning in late June, festivities are held on both sides of the Niagara River, notably Riverside Park in Buffalo and Mather Arch Park in Fort Erie. On both sides of the border, parades, classic car shows, War of 1812 reenactments (at Old Fort Erie), live music, and fireworks are enjoyed.
Taste of Buffalo, . Every year since 1984, the first weekend of July has seen foodies descend on Niagara Square and the few blocks of Delaware Avenue north of there for the two-day Taste of Buffalo festival, where Buffalo's most popular restaurants offer samples of their finest dishes to the public. Local wineries often show up to showcase their vintages, and food demonstrations and even live music are also on hand to please 450,000 festival attendees from all over Upstate New York, Southern Ontario, and Northwest Pennsylvania.
echo Art Fair, . Launched in 2010, echo Art Fair is a juried fine art exposition that connects experienced collectors and first-time buyers with established and emerging local, regional and international artists in a centralized and creative environment. echo Art Fair showcases a broad scope of fine-art disciplines, including painting, photography, sculpture, print, works on paper, video and mixed media. The mission of the fair is to provide a platform for independent artists and galleries to present their work to a jury of contemporary art experts, and for galleries and artists to showcase and sell their work in one location. echo Art Fair highlights the vitality of the fine arts community in Buffalo and the wider region.
Sorrento Cheese Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival, . The second-largest Italian-American heritage festival in the United States as well as one of the five largest street festivals of any description in the country, the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival was held for ten years on Connecticut Street before it followed most of the city's Italian population, moving in 1988 from the Lower West Side to North Buffalo. Today, 600,000 visitors crowd the vicinity of Hertel and Delaware Avenues for four days each July to enjoy live music, carnival rides, and revelry of all kinds. The star of the show, of course, is the food, with offerings from such well-known Italian markets as Guercio & Sons and Mineo & Sapio Meats as well as demonstrations by chefs from Italian restaurants in the area such as Marotto's, Marco's and the North End Trattoria.
Old Home Days, . Old Home Days is held every year at Island Park in Williamsville, a charming village a short distance northeast of Buffalo that has maintained its quaint character and sense of community even in the face of encroaching suburbia. Held in the middle of July, the festival traditionally consists of a parade that kicks off five days of music and dancing in the bandshell, a 5K foot race, a beer tent, carnival rides and games, kids' activities, and a healthy dose of village pride.
Polish-American Arts Festival. The Polish-American Arts Festival has been held annually since 1979 at Cheektowaga Town Park to honor Casimir Pulaski, the Polish nobleman and mercenary who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Aside from the General Pulaski Parade down Harlem Road that kicks off the festivities each year, the Polish-American Arts Festival offers polka dancing, food and drink, and live music over three days in mid-July.
Canal Fest, . Held on the third full week of July in the twin cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda a short distance north of Buffalo, Canal Fest is the largest annual festival held along the banks of this historic waterway. The live music performances the festival holds yearly at Gateway Harbor are legendary; additionally, the eight-day run of Canal Fest 2011 boasted a parade, a boat-building competition, a sack race and other activites for kids, boat races along the canal, and a fireworks finale.
Buffalo Infringement Festival, . This new festival, which takes place annually on the last week of July and the first week of August, is a celebration of genre-defying, boundary-pushing DIY art and spectacle by artists who may not have the straight-world cachet or blockbuster budgets that those who display at the Allentown or Elmwood Avenue festivals have. Displays of music, dance, theater, and visual arts, as well as more offbeat genres such as puppetry, fire art, mime, and "miscellaneous insurrection", can be seen at a multiplicity of venues around the city free or for a nominal price.
Buffalo Brewfest, . The Buffalo Brewfest is an annual event that takes place in early August to benefit the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center and the New York State Brewers' Association. A "beer tasting" expanded to massive size, the Buffalo Brewfest sees over a hundred craft brewers from Western New York and around the world converge on both levels of the First Niagara Center as well as the outdoor courtyard, offering samples of their wares to festival attendees. Fine food, live music, raffles, giveaways and more round out the offerings.$25 advance purchase, $35 day of.
Erie County Fair, . The Erie County Fair is the third-largest county fair in the United States by attendance, and is by far the longest-standing annual event in the area. The first fair was held in 1820 on what is today the site of Coca-Cola Field; the fair has been held continually since 1841 with the exception of 1943, when it was cancelled due to World War II. Today, nearly a million Western New Yorkers pour into the suburb of Hamburg each year for two weeks in the middle of August that have long symbolized the bittersweet end of summer for locals. The fair still serves its original purpose as an agricultural exhibition intended to promote and showcase the area's traditions, talents, diversity and heritage in that field, but today it also features a huge midway with a wide range of carnival rides and games, a range of live music performances each year, gaming, and myriad other attractions.$10, seniors $7, children 12 and under free. Parking $5.
Buffalo Irish Festival, . The Buffalo Irish Festival has taken place at various locations downtown for 31 years running; as of 2012 it seems to have found a permanent home at Canalside. Beginning with a parade that features the proud flags of each of the 32 counties of Ireland, these three days of revelry in late August see the historic cobblestone streets near the harbor ringing with performances of traditional Irish folk music, step-dancing and theatrical productions, and full of shops and stands selling Irish-made handicrafts and imported food and drink. Genealogical experts are on hand to guide those interested in tracing family roots, raffles and souvenirs are offered, and Sunday Mass is conducted in both English and Gaelic.
Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts, . Held for the past thirteen years on the final weekend in August, this two-day event is to the Elmwood Village at the end of summer what the larger, longer-standing Allentown Art Festival is to Allentown at the beginning of summer. The Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts distinguishes itself from its counterpart with a broader focus, including not only over 170 artists and artisans but also performances of live music by local bands, a dance tent, displays on such topics as environmental conservation and cultural awareness, and Kidsfest, where young people can participate in hands-on activities and march in the Kidsfest parade.
National Buffalo Wing Festival, . Each Labor Day weekend sees Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo host the National Buffalo Wing Festival, two days dedicated to Buffalo's best-known addition to the annals of American cuisine. Inspired by the 2001 movie "Osmosis Jones" as well as a column by iconic Buffalo News editorialist Donn Esmonde, the National Buffalo Wing Festival has, since its inception, drawn nearly 600,000 hungry guests from all 50 states and 33 foreign countries to Buffalo, who have collectively eaten over 3 million chicken wings and raised over $200,000 for various local charities. Showcased by a long list of national media such as "The Today Show", "The View", "Live with Regis and Kelly", numerous Food Network series, and even a PBS documentary, the National Buffalo Wing Festival sees over 30 restaurants in Buffalo and around the country—including the Anchor Bar, where chicken wings were first served in 1964—serve up their individual recipes and compete for prizes.
Curtain Up!, . Curtain Up! takes place in mid-September, when downtown Buffalo's Theater District toasts the opening of the theater season with a slate of new shows generating excitement anew among Buffalo's theater fans. Opening performances in the various theaters are preceded by a gala black-tie dinner at Shea's Performing Arts Center and followed by an outdoor party on Main Street that is open to the public.
Music Is Art Festival, . The brainchild of Robby Takac, longtime bass guitarist for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, the Music Is Art Festival was founded in 2004 and originally was held in Allentown in June to coincide with the Allentown Art Festival before moving to Delaware Park in 2008, where it now takes place in mid-September. The Music Is Art Festival "celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about [the] arts scene in Western New York" (in the words of a recent feature article in the Buffalo News) by presenting a constant stream of creative performances of live music of all genres by artists of local provenance, on several stages.
Buffalo Oktoberfest. Of the several Oktoberfest celebrations that occur in Buffalo in late September and early October, the largest and arguably the most noteworthy one takes place annually at the end of September at the old New York Central Terminal on the East Side. The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation was founded in 1997 with the goal of preserving the beautiful but decaying old Art Deco train station that had been abandoned nearly 20 years previously, and with a full schedule of events such as Oktoberfest held there annually, a great deal of progress has been made in that regard. For Oktoberfest, the grand old hall of the Central Terminal is transformed for a night into a Munich-style biergarten, with imported beers served up alongside Teutonic specialties such as bratwurst and mettwurst as oompah bands play in the background.$10, $5 for students with valid college ID.
Buffalo International Film Festival, . Founded in 2005, the not-for-profit Buffalo International Film Festival is presented yearly by the Buffalo Film Society in late September and early October with a mission of highlighting the cinematic contributions of individuals of the past and present who hail from Western New York. Furthermore, the Buffalo International Film Festival's focus also includes exposing people in Buffalo and the surrounding region to exciting works of film by lesser-known individuals around the world who represent a diverse array of cultures, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds. An exciting array of workshops and symposia are also presented.
The World's Largest Disco, . The largest event of its kind in the world, the World's Largest Disco brings back the 1970s for one day each Thanksgiving Day weekend, with the Buffalo Convention Center transformed into New York State's largest dance floor. Every year, thousands of locals and visitors age 21 and over dance the night away to the retro tunes that are played on the festival's 500,000-watt soundsystem, and have the chance to meet disco-era celebrities that have included Henry Winkler, Erik Estrada, Leif Garrett, and the cast of "The Brady Bunch". The World's Largest Disco has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as well as such television programs as "CBS This Morning", VH-1's "Where Are They Now", and the Travel Channel's "Secrets". All proceeds go to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times, a local summer camp for children with cancer.
Downtown Buffalo Christmas Tree Lighting, . In addition to serving as the official opening of the ice skating season at the Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza, the lighting of downtown Buffalo's Christmas tree has unofficially kicked off the holiday season in the local area since 1984. Immediately after the tree lighting, the crowd can enjoy an exciting fireworks display over Fountain Plaza, followed by horse and wagon rides, clowns and balloon art, face-painting, free ice-skating (skate rental $3, $2 for children) and, of course, visits with Santa Claus.
First Night Buffalo, . A drug- and alcohol-free New Year's celebration, First Night is a celebration that takes place in various cities in the United States. Beginning in Boston in 1976, First Night made its way to Buffalo in 1989. In addition to the "ball drop" that takes place at the stroke of midnight from the top of the Niagara Mohawk Building (second in annual attendance in the U.S. only to the famous Times Square ball drop in New York City), live music can be had downtown; other venues around the city present a diversity of free entertainment such as poetry, dance, comedy, puppet shows, and other performing arts, as well as activities for children such as bounce houses and jungle gyms.
Buffalo Bandits, First Niagara Center, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, ☎ +1 716 855-4100 (toll free: +1 888 467-2273, fax: 1 716 855-4122), . The Buffalo Bandits have been a member of the National Lacrosse League since 1991. Buffalo's most successful sports team in recent years, the Bandits won the league championship in 1992, 1993, 1996, and 2008, as well as the championship of their division in 1994, 2004, 2006 and 2011. Games are played at the First Niagara Center downtown from December through April. Tickets to these family-friendly events are affordable and easily available.
Buffalo Bills, Ralph C. Wilson Stadium, One Bills Dr., Orchard Park, (toll free: +1 877 BB-TICKS), . A member of the National Football League (NFL), the Buffalo Bills were conference champions for four straight years in the 1990s but have had declining fortunes since then. They play their games at Ralph C. Wilson Stadium in the suburb of Orchard Park. Still, the citizens of Buffalo follow the Bills' trials and tribulations religiously during football season (August through December), and home games at "the Ralph" almost always sell out.
The Buffalo Bisons are the AAA farm team of the New York Mets. Their home games are played at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo.
Buffalo Bisons, Coca-Cola Field, One James D. Griffin Plaza, ☎ +1 716 846-2000 (email@example.com, fax: +1 716 852-6530), . Seats are usually available and cheap, and provide a great view of downtown. The Bisons have been the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets for several years now. The Bisons won the International League pennant in 1933, 1936, 1957, 1961, 1998, and 2004, and the American Association pennant in 1997. Coca-Cola Field is a great place to see up-and-coming talent before it makes the big leagues, and it hosted the AAA All-Star Game in 1988 and 2012. Coca-Cola Field is a "new classic" ballpark, built in 1988 by HOK (now known as Populous), the renowned firm that went on to build Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Buffalo Sabres, First Niagara Center, One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, ☎ +1 716 855-4100 (toll free: +1 888-GO-SABRES), . Member of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Buffalo Sabres advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 1975 and 1999 and, in 2007, won the Presidents' Trophy for the best win/loss record in the NHL. The Sabres' home games at the First Niagara Center sell out on a regular basis.
FC Buffalo, Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium, 2885 Main St., . Founded in 2009, FC Buffalo is a member of the National Premier Soccer League; the team plays its home games at All-High Stadium on Main Street. Nicknamed "the Blitzers" (in honor of the locally born CNN anchor and FC Buffalo fan, Wolf Blitzer), FC Buffalo's dedication to the well-being of the Buffalo community is exemplified in their motto, "For Our City". Tickets are reasonably priced.
Buffalo Bulls, 102 Alumni Arena, Amherst, (toll free: +1 877 UB-THERE), . The college sports teams of the University of Buffalo have a large following among the city's residents. The UB football team has struggled in recent seasons, but a successful 2008 season saw the UB Bulls play in the Bowl Championship Series for the first time. Football games are played at UB Stadium, on the university's North Campus in Amherst. Basketball games are played at Alumni Arena, also on the North Campus. Though the Bulls have never participated in March Madness, they have a reputation of playing competitive games against much higher-ranked teams on their home court.
Buffalo Harbor Cruises, ☎ +1 716 856-6696, . Narrated Sightseeing Tour: July-Labor Day Tu-Su 12:30PM & 3PM, Historic Buffalo River Tour: July-Labor Day daily 12:30PM, Landmark Tour: July-Aug Wed 3:00PM. During the warm months, the Miss Buffalo II takes visitors on their choice of three sightseeing cruises that cover various parts of Buffalo's waterfront. The basic Narrated Sightseeing Cruise takes in the sights along the upper Niagara River including the old Buffalo Light, the Black Rock Canal, and (on the opposite side of the river) Old Fort Erie. The Historic Buffalo River Tour explores Buffalo's mighty industrial past with a visit to the old Erie Canal terminus and "Elevator Alley", a stretch of the Buffalo River adjacent to the harbor that is lined with historic grain elevators. The Landmark Tour uses Buffalo's scenic harbor as a base to explore the magnificent architectural landmarks of downtown. Tours leave from the Erie Basin Marina rain or shine. Parties, corporate events, and private charters are also available.$16, children $11, lunch cruise $28.
Forgotten Buffalo Tours, 244 Potters Rd., ☎ +1 716 833-5211 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Since 2007, the ubiquitous local television personality and booster, "Airborne" Eddy Dobosiewicz, has teamed up with local historian Marty Biniasz to conduct a dizzying range of tours that lead aficionados of local history "off the beaten track", exploring lesser-known aspects of Buffalo history. Tours of old ethnic neighborhoods such as the Lower West Side, Broadway-Fillmore, South Buffalo, and the German East Side are offered, as well as culinary tours, pub crawls that hit old working-class watering holes, and "The Last Fine Time" Tour, exploring the old Polish neighborhood haunts mentioned by local author Verlyn Klinkenborg in his novel of the same title. For fans of the "real" Buffalo, the Forgotten Buffalo Tours simply cannot be recommended highly enough.$45.
Haunted History Ghost Walks, ☎ +1 716 655-6663, . From July through October, local author Mason Winfield, whose nine books explore reports of supernatural and paranormal phenomena in Upstate New York and especially the Buffalo area, leads a variable schedule (check website for details) of guided walking tours conducted rain or shine that explore local history and culture from a paranormal perspective. The 2011 schedule featured Ghost Walks in downtown, the Theater District, and Allentown, as well as the suburbs of Williamsville, East Aurora, and Lewiston.$10, children 7-11 $5, children under 7 free.
Moondance Cat, 2 Templeton Terr., ☎ +1 716 854-SAIL, . Cruises leave May-Oct 12:30PM, 3PM, 6PM, 8:15PM. The Moondance is a 51-foot catamaran that has been offering two-hour cruises on Lake Erie for over 30 years. Four cruises depart daily from Erie Basin Marina, and passengers can take advantage of an open bar, sound system, and ample space for sunbathing. Group charters and banquet packages are available.$23, seniors $20, children $11.50.
Motherland Connextions, ☎ +1 716 282-1028 (toll free: +1 866 726-0864), . By reservation. Motherland Connextions runs a unique series of 3-4 hour tours that focus on the Niagara Frontier's status during the years before the Civil War as the last "stop" for many slaves on the Underground Railroad. Motherland Connextions currently offers three tours: the Underground Railroad Tour of the United States, focusing on the Michigan Street Baptist Church and other safe houses on the U.S. side of the border where fugitive slaves hid before making their final escape to Canada; the Underground Railroad Tour of Southern Ontario, focusing on sites in nearby areas of Canada of importance to escaped slaves who settled there; and a combination tour that emphasizes the continuity between the African-American and African-Canadian experiences. Tours are led by guides in period costume and depart from Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Lewiston; all tours include a stop at Niagara Falls. Those who will be taking tours that enter Canada should take note of the requirements for passing through Customs; see the "North of the Border" section at the end of this article. Motherland Connextions has been featured on the Travel Channel series "Secrets of Niagara".$78, children 5-12 $48.
Open-Air Autobus of Buffalo, 561 Forest Ave. #3, ☎ +1 716 854-3749, . Whirlwind Tour Sa 10AM & Su 11AM May-Sep, also F 6PM Jun-Sep, see website for other tours. The Open-Air Autobus of Buffalo is a common sight on city streets during the warm months. The product of 25 years of research and planning by the Campaign for Greater Buffalo, these open-air bus tours run rain or shine (ponchos are available for a nominal price) and use Buffalo's majestic architecture as a basis for an in-depth exploration of local history. The Whirlwind Tour is the flagship offering, and covers the residential neighborhoods of the Elmwood Village and Allentown as well as the downtown business district and waterfront. Other tours include the Historic Neighborhoods Tour (covering many of Buffalo's upper-class residential areas of old), the Frank Lloyd Wright Tour (self-explanatory), as well as tours focusing on Elevator Alley, the old "Belt Line" of the New York Central Railroad, and even suburbia.$20, children under 12 $5.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara Tours, 617 Main St., Suite M108, ☎ +1 716 852-3300, . Preservation Buffalo Niagara offers a dizzying array of guided walking, bike, boat and bus tours that run rain or shine throughout the year. The full gamut of tours offered is far too extensive to list, but tours are offered of well-known Buffalo historic neighborhoods such as Parkside, Millionaire's Row, and the waterfront, neighborhoods further off the beaten track such as Hamlin Park, the Larkin District, and Black Rock, and suburbs such as Tonawanda, Hamburg, and Kenmore. Tours are also held which allow visitors inside such architectural masterpieces as the old Central Terminal, the H. H. Richardson-designed Buffalo State Hospital, and the majestic old churches of the East Side. These and the many, many other tours offered by Preservation Buffalo Niagara are highly recommended for anyone interested in local history. See website for complete schedule.$10, students $5.
"Elevator Alley", the stretch of the Buffalo River immediately adjacent to the harbor that is lined with historic grain elevators, is visited by several of the tour boats that operate out of Buffalo Harbor - including the Queen City Ferry, from which this photo was taken.
Queen City Ferry, ☎ +1 716 796-4556, . May-Oct; schedule varies seasonally. Debuting in 2011, the Queen City Ferry runs a water taxi service seasonally that takes visitors around Buffalo's scenic and historic harbor. Tours leave from the main dock at Central Wharf in Canalside and include the Inner Harbor Loop, which serves the Erie Basin Marina as well as the new Buffalo RiverFest Park in the First Ward; and the Outer Harbor Loop, which parallels the lakeshore as far as the NFTA Boat Harbor. Additionally, a River History Tour begins daily at 10:30AM that covers Elevator Alley, retelling the history of the old grain elevators and other points of interest along the Buffalo River that played an important part in Buffalo's mighty industrial past.Round trip $6, children $4; day pass $12, children $10.
Spirit of Buffalo, ☎ +1 716 796-7210, . Cruises leave May-Oct, call for schedule and availability. Since 2009, visitors to Buffalo's harbor have enjoyed serene and scenic cruises on Lake Erie and around the harbor aboard the Spirit of Buffalo, an unmissable 73-foot schooner that affords them the opportunity to experience a trip aboard a traditional 19th-century sailing vessel. Day cruises, sunset sails, and a Wednesday "Wine in the Wind" package featuring local vintages from the Niagara Peninsula are all offered; kids love the Pirate Cruises that sail on Saturdays and Sundays. All cruises leave from the Commercial Slip at Canalside. Private charters are available as well.$28, children $18, Pirate cruise $23, children $19, Wednesday Wine in the Wind cruise $38.
For more amusement park options, see the "Further Afield" and "North of the Border" sections below.
Martin's Fantasy Island, 2400 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, ☎ +1 716 773-7591, . Open yearly from May through September, Fantasy Island opened in 1961 on Grand Island, about midway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Though it has come a long way (especially in terms of its safety record) since local businessman Martin DiPietro bought it in 1994, Martin's Fantasy Island is still a distant second behind Darien Lake on the list of Buffalonians' favorite amusement park destinations, and the park has a somewhat old-fashioned feel. Martin's Fantasy Island boasts about two dozen amusement rides including two roller coasters (the "Crazy Mouse" and the "Silver Comet") as well as a water park with three water slides, a lazy river, a log flume, and a wave pool. A KOA campground is located adjacent to the park.
For more gaming facilities, see the "Nearby", "Further Afield" and "North of the Border" sections below.
Buffalo Raceway, 5600 McKinley Pkwy., Hamburg, ☎ +1 716 649-1280, . Daily 9AM-4AM. The Buffalo Raceway features exciting live harness racing on its half-mile track from January through July, which is located on the grounds of the Erie County Fair in the suburb of Hamburg. Visitors can watch the races from the comfort of The Clubhouse, which offers food and drinks as well as simulcast wagering year-round, with video feeds from tracks such as the Meadowlands Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Churchill Downs. At the Hamburg Casino at the Fairgrounds, located in the same facility, fans of games of chance can enjoy nearly 1,000 slot machines as well as video poker.
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, 1 Fulton St., ☎ +1 716 299-1100 (toll free: +1 877 8-SENECA), . Daily 24 hours. Located in the historic Cobblestone District and convenient to downtown and the waterfront, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has used the lengthy appeals process to defy repeated federal court rulings and remain open in its bunkerlike temporary building. Even so, 750,000 people per year come to the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino to try their luck on the more than 450 slot machines there. The snack bar serves a full range of options, including local specialties such as Wardynski's hot dogs and Red Osier roast beef. Though construction on the glitzy high-rise hotel and resort planned for the site was abrupty aborted in 2008 due to the legal wrangling as well as the economic recession, Seneca Gaming has recently broken ground on a new, scaled-down design for the permanent casino which is slated to open in late 2013.
The heart of downtown Buffalo's Theater District, with its great variety of performance venues, restaurants, and other attractions.
For a city its size, Buffalo has a surprisingly large, active, and diverse theater scene. Even after the closure in 2008 of the biggest producing theater in town, the Studio Arena Theatre, the Theater District, bounded roughly by Washington, Tupper, Pearl, and Chippewa Streets, has remained vibrant, with Curtain Up!, the gala event that marks the opening of the theater season, drawing larger-than-ever crowds downtown each September.
For further information on many of the theaters listed here, and on the shows currently running, please visit the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo's website: .
Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley, ☎ +1 716 852-2600, . Located in a striking Art Moderne building in the heart of the Theater District that once housed Buffalo's Greyhound bus station, the Alleyway Theatre has, since its opening in 1980, presented a full slate of plays and musicals year-round in a comfortable and intimate setting. Popular features of the Alleyway Theatre's annual schedule include "Buffalo Quickies" (a festival of one-act plays by local writers), the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, and the theater's annual presentation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" each December.
Buffalo United Artists, 119 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 886-9239, . Celebrating its 20th anniversary as an active theatre company in 2012, Buffalo United Artists is a professional theatre collective that, under the tireless leadership of founder Javier Bustillos, has produced a wide range of groundbreaking, provocative "off-Broadway" style material such as acclaimed performances of "The Boys in the Band", "The Baltimore Waltz", and "Love! Valour! Compassion!". BUA's goal is to present exciting and engaging theatrical productions to a local audience, with an eye to artistic excellence and with attention consistently paid to contemporary trends in theatre.
Irish Classical Theatre Company, 625 Main St., ☎ +1 716 853-4282, . Housed since 1999 at the Andrews Theatre in the downtown Theater District, the Irish Classical Theatre Company was founded in 1990 by a pair of brothers from Dublin with a mission "to present the greatest works of dramatic literature: international classics; modern plays of exceptional merit; and Irish plays, both traditional and contemporary... at the highest level of artistic excellence for the public of Buffalo, Western New York and Southern Ontario, and subsequently, for national and international audiences." Despite its name, the Irish Classical Theatre has a broad and international focus; over the course of its history, the company has presented performances by the late French mime Marcel Marceau, the renowned Polish dramatist Kazimierz Braun, and Buffalo native Jesse L. Martin, whose work includes performances in the Broadway musical "Rent" and the television series "Law & Order".
Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave., ☎ +1 716 829-7668, . The Kavinoky Theatre is located on the campus of D'Youville College, in the up-and-coming Prospect Hill neighborhood of Buffalo's West Side. Over the course of its history, not only has the Kavinoky Theatre thoroughly restored the historic former Porter-View Room under the auspices of the D'Youville Capital Campaign, but this local repertory company of professional actors has produced nearly 150 plays and musicals of a consistently high quality, earning them more awards than any other troupe in Buffalo. The Kavinoky Theatre has given many actors of local extraction their start in the business.
New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park, ☎ +1 716 853-1334, . Buffalo's premier alternative theatre, the New Phoenix Theatre opened in 1996 in a historic house in Buffalo's West Village and has quickly gained an impressive reputation for the high-quality, diverse range of performances it has hosted in its tiny space, trending heavily towards bold contemporary works of theatre as well as avant-garde reinterpretations of old favorites. The New Phoenix Theatre hopes to foster a spirit of community collaboration not only through its exciting theatrical offerings, but also by playing an active role in the ongoing revitalization of the West Village neighborhood.
Paul Robeson Theatre, 350 Masten Ave., ☎ +1 716 884-2013, . The Paul Robeson Theatre is the oldest African-American theatre in Buffalo, founded in 1968 and run under the aegis of the African-American Cultural Center. The 130-seat theater is located inside the cultural center's headquarters on Masten Avenue in Buffalo's East Side, and features a handful of productions each year with an especial focus on the African-American experience. Among the famous personalities that have performed on the Paul Robeson Theatre's stage include Ossie Davis, Phylicia Rashad, and Woodie King, Jr.
Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St., ☎ +1 716 847-1410, . Located in an dazzlingly ornate former movie palace that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Shea's Performing Arts Center has been the cornerstone of downtown Buffalo's Theater District since the late 1970s, when its opening thwarted plans by civic leaders to demolish the grand old building. Today, Shea's is Buffalo's premier venue for lavish Broadway-style musicals such as "Dreamgirls", "The Lion King", and "Wicked", as well as live music and performances such as "Sesame Street Live" and the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular". The Mighty Wurlitzer organ, installed in the theater in 1926 to provide musical accompaniment to silent movies, is also occasionally dusted off for performances of various types. Next door to the main theater is Shea's Smith Theatre, which hosts smaller shows, local productions, and stand-up comedy.
Subversive Theatre Collective, 255 Great Arrow Ave., ☎ +1 716 408-0499, . The Manny Fried Playhouse, named after a former Buffalo theatre actor, union organizer, and political radical and located in the former Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex in North Buffalo, is the new home of the Subversive Theatre Collective. This bold new troupe's mission is to present provocative works of drama that are "dedicated to the needs, concerns, and aspirations of those who are oppressed, exploited, and disenfranchised by the existing social order". The Subversive Theatre Collective has staged performances of works such as Maxine Klein's "The Furies of Mother Jones" and Bertolt Brecht's "The Mother", and has traditionally been an integral part of Buffalo's annual Infringement Festival.
Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 819-9653, . The Theatre of Youth is a not-for-profit professional theatre company that is the only one in the Niagara Frontier dedicated to presenting works for young people and families. At the Allendale Theatre, yet another former silent movie palace that fell into disrepair before being lovingly restored back to greatness, the Theatre of Youth stages performances such as "Pinkalicious" and "Charlotte's Web" for 30,000 audience members per year with a goal of instilling in young people an enduring appreciation for the performing arts.
Ujima Theatre Company, 545 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 883-0380, . The Ujima Theatre Company is a multiethnic theater company that boasts the longest-established professional troupe in Buffalo. Under the longtime leadership of Lorna Hill, the Ujima Company uses its deep roots in the vibrant traditions of African and African-American theatre to produce engaging works that speak to all types of audiences, but especially to people of color. The Ujima Theatre Company presents dramas, comedies, musicals, and collaborative productions at TheaterLoft, in the heart of the Elmwood Village.
Hayes Hall is almost inarguably the most iconic landmark on the South Campus of the University at Buffalo, the largest institution of postsecondary education in Western New York.
Buffalo is home to a large number of private and public colleges and universities. The largest school in the area is the University at Buffalo (UB). One of the four "university centers" of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, UB is renowned as a large public research university. For this reason, it is one of 62 elected members of the prestigious Association of American Universities. UB has two campuses: the smaller South Campus is located in the University Heights neighborhood at the city's northeast corner, and the larger North Campus is located in the suburb of Amherst, about four miles (6km) northeast of the South Campus.
Buffalo State College, also part of the SUNY system, is located across from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, at the north end of the Elmwood Village. Canisius College is Buffalo's largest private college, located near the intersection of Humboldt Parkway and Main Street. Other colleges and universities in the city and its surrounding area include Trocaire College, Medaille College, Villa Maria College, D'Youville College, Daemen College, and the three campuses of Erie Community College.
The University at Buffalo has an annual Distinguished Speaker Series  which has played host to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart in recent years. These events take place on the North Campus and are open to the public; tickets are available from the University's box office. UB has a free series of summer lectures available to the public  and Buffalo State regularly has events  open to visitors.
The Elmwood Village is located along Elmwood Avenue from Buffalo State College south to North Street. This area contains a variety of small shops with a very "independent" feel—you won't find many national chain stores or restaurants here. Used books, specialty coffee, one-of-a-kind fashions, organic and local produce, artists' studios, and musical instrument shops line Elmwood Avenue in this commercial and residential district. On Bidwell Parkway at the west corner of Elmwood Avenue is a farmers' market on Saturday mornings from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Allentown is centered along the entire length of Allen Street from Main to Wadsworth Streets, but especially west of Linwood Avenue. Adjacent, and similar in some ways, to the Elmwood Village, Allentown has more of a bohemian and artsy vibe compared with the college students that frequent Elmwood. Amid the proliferation of bars, you'll see bookstores, studios, and antiques in this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood north of downtown.
Hertel Avenue, between Delaware Avenue and Parker Avenue in North Buffalo, is home to a wide assortment of shops as well. All along this thoroughfare, there are art stores, used bookstores, excellent bars and restaurants (especially Italian), as well as eccentric independent stores such as Terrapin Station and the Virgil Avenue Tobacconist.
University Heights, more specifically the Main Street corridor between the city line and LaSalle Avenue, features a diversity of bars, restaurants, and stores that are especially popular with students of the nearby South Campus of the University of Buffalo. The University Plaza (which is, technically speaking, located just over the city line in the town of Amherst) has anchored the outer end of the strip since 1939; mainstream retailers like AJ Wright and Starbucks have been located at this site on the north side of Main Street between Kenmore and Bailey Avenues, just across from the university. Further south and west along Main Street, there are a good number of video, specialty, comic, and other secondhand stores that are worth a look.
Grant Street, which runs north-to-south through the Upper West Side, is the main thoroughfare of two newly revitalized shopping areas in this rapidly gentrifying area of town. The stretch between (approximately) West Delavan Avenue and Hampshire Street, centered on West Ferry Street, is an up-and-coming commercial strip known as Grant-Ferry. A traditionally Italian neighborhood that became Puerto Rican from the 1970s onward, Grant-Ferry, along with the West Side as a whole, is now a true "melting pot", with Somalis, Southeast Asians, and students of nearby Buffalo State College increasingly rubbing elbows with the Puerto Ricans. Accordingly, Grant-Ferry is now home to a modest but growing collection of clothing stores, ethnic food markets, restaurants, and other establishments. At the center of it all is Sweetness 7 Café, whose opening in 2007 is widely seen as the beginning of Grant-Ferry's ascent to the status of Buffalo's newest hip neighborhood. Also, Grant-Amherst, a short distance north along Grant Street at the corner of Amherst Street, was named Buffalo's "Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhood" in the "Best of Buffalo 2011" competition in Artvoice. Grant-Amherst boasts a small but growing collection of art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants within walking distance of Buffalo State College. Despite the ongoing upswing, the neighborhoods around Grant Street are, for the time being, still a good deal "grittier" than places like the Elmwood Village and Allentown. It would not be a bad idea to take extra care if visiting after dark.
Visitors looking for a more suburban-style shopping experience should check out the Walden Galleria on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, 10 minutes from downtown via the Kensington Expressway and/or Interstate 90. The Walden Galleria, as the region's largest mall, has recently added 60 new stores and services to their original 200+. Original stores include many standards such as Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Dick's Sporting Goods, Old Navy, and more. New stores include Bebe, Lucky, Sephora, Coach, and other high-end retailers. New restaurants include Bar Louie, the Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's, Hyde Park Steakhouse and more.
Additionally, the smaller Boulevard Mall is situated about 20 minutes from the city via Interstate 290. The oldest shopping mall in Buffalo (opened in 1962), the Boulevard Mall is named for its location on Niagara Falls Boulevard, at the corner of Maple Road in Amherst, and is anchored by Sears, JCPenney, and Macy's.
The McKinley Mall, on the border between Hamburg and Orchard Park, is the main shopping center for Buffalo's southern suburbs. Located 10 miles south of the city, at McKinley Parkway and Milestrip Road, the McKinley Mall is easily accessible via Interstate 90, US Route 219, and the Milestrip Expressway. Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, The Bon-Ton, JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Barnes and Noble, and Old Navy are some of the anchor stores here.
Though it is not a shopping mall in the traditional sense of the term, with enclosed corridors, the Southgate Plaza is a greatly important suburban shopping destination for locals. Founded in 1955, the Southgate Plaza was the first shopping plaza to be built in Buffalo's southern suburbs. The Southgate Plaza is located at the corner of Union Road and Seneca Street in the suburban town of West Seneca, and boasts over 100 retail stores, restaurants and offices including its anchor tenants The Bon-Ton, AJ Wright, and the Market in the Square, a community-owned food market.
In addition to shopping malls, there are, of course, a number of commercial thoroughfares in Buffalo's suburbs where "big box" stores, chain restaurants, and shopping plazas can be found in proliferation. These include Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan Drive in Amherst and Tonawanda, Transit Road in Amherst and Clarence, Union Road and Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, and Milestrip Road and McKinley Parkway in Orchard Park. Also, in Buffalo itself, there is a small area between Delaware and Elmwood Avenues at the northern edge of the city where stores and restaurants of this nature can be found.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
The canonical Buffalo wings: wings, celery, blue cheese, beer, and moist towelettes.
Buffalo is a haven for great food. Whereas the area was once largely the domain of unimaginative, cookie-cutter chain restaurants and "greasy spoons", local residents agree that the dining scene in Buffalo has come a long way in the past twenty years. Increasingly innovative and high-quality establishments have popped up more and more often in places such as downtown, the Elmwood Village, Allentown, and the Hertel Avenue corridor. Visitors—even those who have been to Buffalo in the past—may be pleasantly surprised by the array of options.
No visit is complete without trying some Buffalo wings. Oh, sure, everyone thinks they've tried them, but nothing compares to the ones you can get in Buffalo. For the uninitiated, an authentic Buffalo wing is a chicken wing slathered in a mixture of homemade hot sauce and butter and fried up crisp. Best served with celery and blue cheese. Head to the Anchor Bar on Main Street if you want the original, but there's a strong local consensus that Duff's in Amherst has the best recipe.
Another local specialty is beef on weck (sometimes pronounced "beef on wick"), a sandwich that consists of slices of tender, juicy slow-roasted beef layered on a kümmelweck roll (a Kaiser roll topped with caraway seeds and Kosher salt) and traditionally garnished with horseradish. Any place that serves hot sandwiches is likely to have beef on weck on the menu, but Charlie the Butcher's Kitchen (1065 Wehrle Drive at Cayuga Rd. in Cheektowaga) and Schwabl's (789 Center Rd. at Union Rd. in West Seneca) are the two restaurants whose beef on weck has the best reputation among locals.
Texas hots, despite their name, were not invented in Texas, but in Buffalo, where they began as a unique offering in the area's many Greek restaurants (Seneca Texas Hots claims to be the first to serve them, though this is a matter of some dispute). The Texas hot is a hot dog slathered with spicy meat sauce or chili, mustard, and onions; the finished product bears some resemblance to the "Coney Island" hot dogs served in Detroit, though the chili sauce on Texas hots is lighter and thinner in consistency.
Loganberry is a non-carbonated fruit drink that is a local specialty. It is often served as a fountain drink at restaurants and is available in bottles at supermarkets and convenience stores in the area. This sweet, dark purple beverage is flavored with loganberry juice; as such, its flavor is somewhere between raspberry and blackberry. Aunt Rosie's and PJ's Crystal Beach Loganberry are the two major brands you will see—"Crystal Beach" in the name of the latter brand is a reference to an amusement park that was once located just over the border in Ontario, which was popular with Buffalo's residents in the 1950s and '60s and where the drink first originated.
Bada Bing Bar & Grill, 115 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 853-2464, . Though more famous, for the time being, as one of the many lively and popular bars on Chippewa Street, head chef Dominic Paladino has set to work transforming the identity of Bada Bing to that of an authentic Italian restaurant where guests are treated like family. A recent Artvoice feature story described Bada Bing's fare as "pub grub with an Italian twist" and gave a succinct description of the "sangwiches" served there—garlic bread and grated cheese concoctions that are Paladino's own creation. Pasta, chicken and sausage parmigiana, chicken wings and fingers, and salads are also available.$10-15.
The Hatch, 329 Erie St., ☎ +1 716 851-6501, . The Hatch is the snack bar at the Erie Basin Marina, serving tasty burgers, hot dogs, fries, and a wide selection of ice cream and other frozen treats. The real appeal of The Hatch, though, are the lovely lake breezes and the stunning waterfront views that grace its visitors on hot summer days. This is why the Erie Basin Marina is popular not only with boaters but also with joggers, sunbathers, and people-watchers. Convenient to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park and all downtown attractions. Watch out for seagulls!Under $10.
Pettibones Grille, 275 Washington St., ☎ +1 716 846-2100, . Situated directly inside Coca-Cola Field at the first base side of the stadium, this is a restaurant and banquet facility that is open year-round, but is obviously busiest during Buffalo Bisons baseball games between April and September. A cut above usual ballpark fare, Pettibones serves a wide range of entree salads, wraps, and, on a section of the menu dubbed "Hall of Fame Bistro", a range of gourmet sandwiches named after prominent Buffalo Bisons of the past. Local specialties such as wings and beef on weck are available too. This is a great place to come during ball games, and the views of the field are first-rate.$10-15.
Prima Pizza & Pasta, 38 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 852-5555, . Serving the best pizza in downtown Buffalo, Prima Pizza & Pasta is situated at the east end of the Chippewa Strip and is a popular place to grab a bite to eat after a night of clubbing; it is open until 3:30am on Friday and Saturday nights. In addition to the astounding variety of pizza, subs, wings, pasta, salads, and tacos are served.$10-20.
Anchor Bar, 1046 Main St., ☎ +1 716 883-1134, . Birthplace of the original buffalo wings. Still has great wings, pizza, etc.$10-20.
Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant, 54 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 854-9463, . The wine here is top notch, but so is the eclectic and unique menu. $20-30.
Bijou Grille, 643 Main St., ☎ +1 716 847-1512, . One of the Theater District's finest dining establishments, the Bijou Grille specializes in upscale Continental and Italian cuisine in a prime setting just across the street from the historic and beautiful Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Burgers, sandwiches, and salads are also available, and the second floor features two elegant and spacious banquet rooms.$15-30.
Cabaret, 490 Pearl St., ☎ +1 716 842-4181, . In the heart of the Theater District, Cabaret is a popular place to enjoy high-quality upscale cuisine before or after shows and musicals. A wide variety of delicious salads, sandwiches, and entrees are on offer, with Continental and Italian selections predominating. A banquet room is also offered.$15-30.
Century Grill, 320 Pearl St., ☎ +1 716 853-6322, . Conveniently located across the street from the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, the Century Grill serves fine food in the majestic ambience of the historic former Ancient Landmarks Masonic Lodge. Entrees such as steaks and chops, roasted chicken, and pasta dishes are complemented by sandwiches, salads, and an extensive and creative array of appetizers. Local specialties such as fish fry and beef on weck are also served.$10-25.
Liberty Hound, 1 Naval Park Cove, ☎ +1 716 845-9173. Located inside the Buffalo & Erie County Naval Park Museum at Canalside, the brand-new, long-awaited Liberty Hound is a celebration of seafood from across the U.S. and the world, in a wonderful lakeside setting convenient to all downtown and waterfront attractions. Traditional offerings such as Maine lobster rolls and crab boil share space on the menu with exotic and innovative offerings, such as steamed littleneck clams with chorizo garlic butter and a Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwich stuffed with crispy fried calamari, that can be found nowhere else in Buffalo. Best of all are the refreshing lake breezes and lovely views over the waterfront and downtown.$15-30.
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St., ☎ +1 716 856-2337, . Downtown hotspot. Free Wireless internet, gourmet chefs, belt driven fans, three patios, and a great bar and game room on the third floor. Has a multi-level buffet and piping hot dishes. They brew their own beer in-house, and their pulled pork is the best in the city. This place is very busy on nights the Buffalo Sabres play at home, due to its proximity to the arena.$10-20.
Seabar, 475 Ellicott St., ☎ +1 716 332-2928, . Aside from being one of Buffalo's finest sushi restaurants, Seabar is one of the premier destinations in downtown Buffalo for cocktails and a wide selection of entrees, with Japanese cuisine accompanied on the menu by specialties such as short ribs, glazed duck breast, and linguine with clam sauce. Convenient to the Theater District and the Chippewa strip.$10-30.
Templeton Landing, 2 Templeton Terr., ☎ +1 716 852-7337, . Formerly Shanghai Red's, Templeton Landing is located at Erie Basin Marina, a popular summertime hangout for boaters, walkers, joggers, and people-watchers. Boasting fine food and stunning views of Lake Erie from their patio that is open seasonally, Templeton Landing's entrees comprise hearty and high-quality fare such as steaks, pork loin, burgers, and ribs, but the true pride of this place is their side dishes, which often share the spotlight with the main course rather than mere afterthoughts. These include one of Buffalo's only decent caprese salads. Open all year, but summer is when you really want to come.$10-30.
Buffalo Chop House, 297 Franklin St., ☎ +1 716 842-6900, . Constantly busy. A favorite among business travelers. Not cheap, but the food and service is top-notch. $80-90.
E. B. Green's Steakhouse, 2 Fountain Plaza, ☎ +1 716 855-4870, . Rated one of America's top ten steakhouses, E. B. Green's is located at the elegant Hyatt Regency Hotel & Suites, and is named after the man who was almost inarguably Buffalo's greatest architect, whose firm designed some of Buffalo's most architecturally significant buildings including the Hyatt itself. Skillful and attentive service, high-quality cuisine, and an upscale ambience combine to furnish patrons with a singularly elegant dining experience. Entrees include veal chops, seafood, duck, rack of lamb, and—of course—a dozen or more different cuts of steak. Sandwiches are available as well.$20-70.
Papaya, 118 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 856-2444. The "Chip Strip" is known mostly for its rowdy bars and dance clubs, but it also boasts a few decent restaurants. Papaya is one of these. Serving daring Asian fusion cuisine with an accent on Thai and Vietnamese influences, as well as sushi, Papaya's menu is one of Buffalo's most innovative. Beer, wine, sake, and cocktails are served including excellent martinis.$20-45.
Rue Franklin, 341 Franklin St., ☎ +1 716 852-4416, . One of Buffalo's finest French restaurants, Rue Franklin has served creative and upscale cuisine for over 20 years in a setting redolent of an intimate café in Paris. This lovely establishment also boasts a large and carefully selected range of fine wines. Rue Franklin is located in Buffalo's Theater District and is popular before and after shows, as well as for holidays, anniversaries and special occasions.$20-35.
The 31 Club, 31 N. Johnson Park, ☎ +1 716 332-3131, . The 31 Club began in the 1940s as Buffalo's premier supper club; though its original incarnation closed in 1983, it has now reopened in its original historic brick building on Johnson Park at the north end of downtown. The style and sophistication of the original 31 Club has returned, but with a contemporary twist. Freshly prepared Continental cuisine, such as Australian rack of lamb and filet mignon au poivre, is the rule at the 31 Club, as well as martinis and other specialty cocktails. Brunch and lunch are also served.$30-50.
Colter Bay Grill, 561 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-1330, . Colter Bay Grill takes its name from a small bay on Jackson Lake in Yellowstone National Park, and it pays tribute to the American West with a wide range of hearty fare such as burgers, chicken, pizza, sandwiches and wraps, as well as a wide range of beers on tap.$10-20.
Towne Restaurant, 186 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 884-5128, . A Greek restaurant located at the corner of Allen Street and Elmwood Avenue in the heart of Allentown, the Towne has been a neighborhood fixture for many years. Though its souvlaki leaves much to be desired compared to places like Pano's, Alton's, and the Acropolis, the Towne makes up for this with its avgolemono and Greek salad, which are to die for.$10-20.
Allen Street Hardware Cafe, 245 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 882-8843, . Owned by eminent Buffalo restauranteur and historian, Mark Goldman, "Hardware" is a great small place located in a former hardware store on Allen Street, with a good seasonal menu and a stellar beer and wine selection available at their always-packed bar. Highly recommended for a true Allentown experience.$10-20.
Betty's, 370 Virginia St., ☎ +1 716 362-0633, . Betty's opened on Virginia Street in 2004 and quickly won the hearts of Allentown's hip community of bohemian urbanites with their friendly and funky staff, their cheerful ambience, and—of course—their fine food, including a legendary breakfast and Saturday and Sunday brunch. For dinner, Betty's serves a wide variety of entrees with a Mediterranean bent; the lentil salad plate is a personal favorite. Sandwiches, salads, and a kids' menu flesh out the offerings.$10-20.
Cantina Loco, 191 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 551-0160, . Cantina Loco is arguably Buffalo's most highly-anticipated new restaurant in recent memory, with myriad local sources such as the Buffalo News, Artvoice, and Buffalo Rising keeping Buffalonians abreast of the progress of chef and owner Mike Andrzejewski. Now open for business in the heart of Allentown, Cantina Loco offers what is by far the most authentic Mexican cuisine in the city. Tacos, burritos, and carnitas are prepared with aplomb using high-quality ingredients; one of the more interesting choices on the menu is the fusion-style Koreatown Taco, with barbecue short ribs and kimchee served in a flour tortilla.$10-20.
Fat Bob's Smokehouse, 41 Virginia Pl., ☎ +1 716 887-2971 (FB@FatBobs.Com, fax: +1 716 332-1201), . Generous helpings of slow cooked southern comfort food. A carnivore's paradise of St. Louis pork ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, barbecued chicken, catfish & more. Sinful sides include collard greens, cornbread, creamy mashed potatoes, baked beans, sausage gravy, and mac & cheese. Come hungry. Decent selection of domestic and imported beers.$10-20.
French Quarter Café, 220 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 883-3663, . Since 2007, Chef Chris Silverstein has served up a wide range of Cajun, Creole, and Southern American specialties at his French Quarter Café (formerly known as Lagniappe's), located in a charming setting in the heart of Allentown. Diners rave about such delectable selections as chicken-fried steak, oysters Rockefeller, and andouille sausage po' boys, as well as the wine list and the alligator roast that is held here every Fat Tuesday. The French Quarter Café is also well-known for integrating locally-grown produce into its dishes.$10-25.
Gabriel's Gate, 145 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 886-0602. Located in a two-story brick house on the historic mid-19th-century Tiffts Row, Gabriel's Gate has been a popular restaurant and bar in the heart of Allentown practically forever. Though Buffalonians continue to sing the praises of this place, in this reviewer's opinion the luster of Gabriel's Gate has dimmed now that there are so many other interesting and charming eateries in Allentown to choose from. Still, entrees such as ribs, sandwiches, and souvlaki are perfectly good; their wings, though a bit different from the traditional Buffalo style, are still renowned; and the back patio is undeniably a pleasant place to enjoy food and drink on a summer evening.$15-25.
Merge, 439 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 842-0600, . A hip Allentown destination for trendy young urbanites, Merge offers not only high-quality food at great prices, but also displays paintings, photography, and other work by local artists, and is a venue for live music where local bands strut their stuff. As for the food, healthy and upscale gourmet sandwiches, wraps, salads, and entrees abound, with the menu utterly dominated by vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.$15-20.
Mother's Restaurant, 33 Virginia Pl., ☎ +1 716 882-2989. Dominated by its lively wood-panelled bar and with a patio that is one of Allentown's hottest spots on warm summer nights, Mother's boasts a menu that makes up for in quality and creativity what it lacks in length (it is one page long). An upscale restaurant equally popular with downtown businesspeople as with hip Allentown bohemians, Mother's menu features exciting takes on chicken and steak, as well as a host of seafood options. Look for the image of the classic "Mother" tattoo that serves as the restaurant's sign.$20-25.
Sample, 242 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 883-1675, . A unique addition to Buffalo's dining scene, Sample serves not only the self-proclaimed "Best Martini in Buffalo", but also a menu that consists entirely of small dishes in hors d'oeuvre-sized portions—hence the name of the resturant. Patrons are expected to order several of these, making for an experience not unlike a trip to a tapas bar or a sushi restaurant. Culinary influences on Sample's ever-changing menu include Creole, Mediterranean, and French, with the beer-steamed mussels and pommes frites especially recommended. The "Chef's Tasting"—a six-course "epicurean journey" designed by the chef as a true representative Sample experience—is available for $36.$20-40.
Tempo, 581 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 885-1594, . The brainchild of locally famous chef Paul Jenkins, Tempo is a new addition to Buffalo's dining scene. Tempo serves innovative Italian-inspired cuisine in an upscale environment, with an extensive and high-quality wine list. Dinner is served nightly at 5pm; reservations are recommended.$20-50.
Casa-di-Pizza, 477 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 883-8200, . A neighborhood pizzeria and Italian restaurant, Casa-di-Pizza's food is as well-loved as it is unpretentious. Chicken fingers, subs, salads, and pasta are all on offer, but the pizza is the real star of the show here.$10-15.
Mangoz Restaurant, 577 Forest Ave., ☎ +1 716 551-0691, . Located at the north end of the Elmwood Strip an easy walk from Buffalo State College and the Albright-Knox, Mangoz is a new addition to Buffalo's modest roster of Jamaican restaurants that has been lauded in the pages of Buffalo Rising. Fans of jerk spice will be in heaven at Mangoz, with jerk chicken, jerk shrimp and other standard Caribbean fare accompanied on the menu by such innovations as orange jerk chicken, sweet and sour jerk pork, and even jerk cabbage (as a side dish). Also on offer is an impressive roster of sandwiches and burgers (Jamaican and otherwise) and a delectable array of "rum-inspired desserts" among which Jamaican bread pudding, mango guava cheesecake, and red velvet cake are prominent options. Vegetarians and vegans are also very well cared for at Mangoz.$10-20.
No Noo, 480 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 867-5877, . The newest addition to the Elmwood Village's eclectic slate of eateries, No Noo is already receiving rave reviews in such trusted local sources as Buffalo Rising. Chef Chris Van Every, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, operates No Noo as Buffalo's first Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen—a Japanese soup consisting of thin wheat noodles in meat or fish broth, flavored with a multitude of different toppings. In addition to ramen, other entrees such as okonomiyaki, mapo tofu, and grilled fish are available; drinks such as Japanese beer, sake, and shochu are also served.$10-15.
Organic 3 Café, 739 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 551-0536, . Organic 3 serves an adventurous and healthy range of fresh organic fare both at its suburban location and here in the Elmwood Village. Sandwiches, wraps, soups, panini, and organic smoothies are all available, as is espresso and an extensive raw juice bar. Myriad options are available for vegetarians and vegans.$10-15.
The Place, 229 Lexington Ave., ☎ +1 716 881-1178. Though newly renovated and updated—with a new plush-wrapped bar, stainless-steel kitchen, and a 50-inch flat-screen TV—The Place still boasts a "where everybody knows your name" ambience that contrasts with the cutting-edge trendiness of the rest of the Elmwood Village. To go along with the bar, The Place's menu includes unpretentious but reliably good pub grub such as sandwiches, burgers, wings, and simple entrees.$10-15.
Thirsty Buffalo, 555 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 878-0344, . More familiar as one of Elmwood Avenue's most popular bars, Thirsty Buffalo nonetheless also serves inexpensive pub grub such as a wide variety of wings, sandwiches (including an excellent beef on weck), burgers, and a small but surprisingly interesting choice of salads. 22 plasma HDTVs make Thirsty Buffalo a happening place during Bills and Sabres games.$10-15.
Wasabi Japanese Restaurant, 752 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 887-8388. One of a growing number of Japanese restaurants in Buffalo, Wasabi operates two suburban locations in addition to this small one on Elmwood Avenue. Wasabi's menu is about evenly divided between teriyaki and tempura selections and a sizable collection of sushi and sashimi that is among Buffalo's best. A limited range of other entrees are available too.$10-15.
Zetti's Pizza & Pasta, 976 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-2500, . The newest of Zetti's three locations is located in the heart of the Elmwood Village. Zetti's has built a reputation for itself as a purveyor of some of Buffalo's best New York-style pizza, with a wide range of toppings to choose from including the usual suspects as well as offbeat ones such as broccoli, hot cherry peppers, and pineapple. Salads, subs, calzones, chicken fingers, chicken wings and pasta are also available.$10-15.
Small, locally-owned bars and restaurants abound on Elmwood Avenue, to the almost complete exclusion of national chains. The stretch of Elmwood between North Street and Forest Avenue, together with the residential side streets adjacent to it, make up the Elmwood Village, one of Buffalo's most fashionable areas.
Acropolis, 708 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-2977, . Following Pano's lead, Acropolis has reinvented itself from a Greek "greasy spoon" to a trendy and upscale Elmwood Village destination. Pay no attention to those who say Acropolis' food has gone downhill since the renovation was completed! However, compared to Pano's, Acropolis has stuck more rigidly to the Greek and Mediterranean specialties they have always served. The Greek salad, souvlaki, moussaka, and hummus are all first-rate. Acropolis also boasts an ample and ever-changing gamut of beer and wine available.$10-20.
Ambrosia, 467 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 881-2196. Greek diner with reasonable prices and a slightly more upscale Mediterranean menu at night.$10-20.
Bistro Europa, 484 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 884-1100, . A small establishment specializing in simple and fresh fare that incorporates local produce, Bistro Europa serves an eclectic range of cuisine from all over Europe. The wide-ranging beer list includes imports, domestics, and microbrews.$15-30.
Blue Fin Asian Bistro, 765 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-1886. This small establishment at the heart of the Elmwood Strip boasts an eclectic pan-Asian menu. Various culinary influences of the Orient—Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and others—come together here, with offerings ranging from familiar yet well-prepared standbys (General Tso chicken, shrimp and vegetable tempura) to such inventive choices as red snapper in Thai chili sauce. Sushi is on offer as well—particularly interesting is the sushi pizza, which consists of ahi tuna, eel and avocado served on layered soybean paper, with wasabi mayo taking the place of tomato sauce—as are reasonably priced bento boxes.$10-20.
Blue Monk, 727 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-6665, . Buffalo's first European-style gastropub, the Blue Monk finally opened in October 2010 after months of red-tape limbo and, by all accounts, the hype was 100% justified. In addition to the dozens and dozens of domestic and imported beers and microbrews available on tap and in bottles, Blue Monk has a menu that relies heavily on gourmet Belgian-style pub fare such as pommes frites, beer-steamed mussels, and (as an entree) carbonnade flamande. More conventional sandwiches and burgers are also on offer, as is Buffalo's only authentic Québec-style poutine. Highly recommended for lovers of both fine beer and fine food.$10-20.
Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-1449, . Located in a former Pierce-Arrow showroom, Cole's serves reasonably-priced pub grub to a clientele that trends toward students of nearby Buffalo State College. However, Cole's is better known for its beer selections, featuring imports and locally produced microbrews on tap.$10-20.
India Gate, 1116 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-4000. The Elmwood Village's longest-standing purveyor of Indian cuisine, India Gate prides itself on serving upscale yet reasonably priced food with an accent on healthy ingredients and cooking methods. They offer a wide range of vegetarian selections as well.$15-25.
J. P. Bullfeather's, 1010 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-1010, . A lively bar and restaurant in the heart of the Elmwood Village, J. P. Bullfeather's has been a popular hangout for Buffalo State College students and visitors to the shops and attractions of Elmwood Avenue since 1971. Aside from the wide selection of beer and wine at its large bar, Bullfeather's features two floors of dining space and an eclectic variety of light yet creative fare on its menu, such as bistro-style sandwiches, salads, burgers, and heartier entrees. Off-street parking is provided.$10-20.
Kuni's, 226 Lexington Ave., ☎ +1 716 881-3800, . At Buffalo's oldest sushi restaurant, chef Kuniyuki Sato prepares not only Buffalo's best-loved and most innovative sushi and sashimi, but also a full menu of authentic Japanese cuisine. Kuni's new location on Lexington Avenue has an ambience that is trendy and upscale, yet comfortable. Beer, wine and sake are served.$15-30.
Mezza Restaurant & Lounge, 929 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 885-4400, . Mezza is the place to be in the Elmwood Village to enjoy a hookah and some of Buffalo's finest authentic Lebanese cuisine in a relaxed, upscale atmosphere. As its name indicates, the restaurant's specialty is "mezza", a platter of assorted Middle Eastern-style appetizers that is a meal in itself. Shawarma, pita wraps, flatbread pizza, and salads are also offered, as well as a full bar and specialty drinks.$10-25.
Pano's, 1081 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-9081, . Pano's opened over 30 years ago as a small neighborhood Greek diner, and has grown since then into arguably the largest and most popular restaurant on the Elmwood Strip. After the newest round of renovations which were completed in 2009, some might say Pano's has gone over the top with neon glitz. However, it serves a multifaceted array of foods based as always in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but with a wide variety of other dishes to choose from. The spicy chorizo burger—a newcomer to their menu—never fails to astound. No reservations are accepted.$10-20.
Saigon Café, 1098 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 883-1252, . A multiple-time winner of "Best Thai/Vietnamese Restaurant" in Artvoice's annual "Best of Buffalo" competition, Saigon Café is popular with Buffalo State College students. Their tom yum goong is among the best Buffalo has to offer.$15-20.
Tokyo Shanghai Bistro, 494 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-3839, . Located near the southern end of the Elmwood Village, Tokyo Shanghai Bistro features diverse Chinese and Japanese fare including extensive and innovative sushi offerings, as well as a small selection of Thai dishes. The coconut mushroom soup is unbelievable.$10-20.
¡Toro!, 492 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-9457, . Toro is Buffalo's first restaurant to specialize in tapas, appetizer-sized portions of cold and hot dishes popular in Spain. The size of Toro's portions is somewhat larger than traditional tapas, but the restaurant is well-loved by Buffalo residents. Toro's wine list is extensive and highlights high-quality sangrias.$10-25.
Vera Pizzeria, 220 Lexington Ave., ☎ +1 716 551-6262, . Italian for "true", Vera's mission is to serve pizza that is true to what is served in Naples, where pizza was first made. This brand-new restaurant just a block from Elmwood Avenue is already earning rave reviews for its tantalizing take on gourmet pizza and other upscale Italian fare, and—perhaps even more so—for the interesting and exciting cocktails served at its full bar.$10-25.
Cecelia's, 716 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 883-8066. Italian food and martinis. In the heart of the Elmwood Village. Summers are wonderful, as the patio is typically jammed.$25-35.
Solé, 810 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 362-0356, . Solé recently moved to the Elmwood Village from its original location in the suburb of Williamsville. Solé is a dining destination that is one-of-a-kind in Buffalo, offering its patrons a taste of the sublime and seductive flavors of South America. Solé's delicious guacamole is prepared tableside, and they also serve tapas-style appetizers and some of Buffalo's best cocktails at their full bar. Reservations recommended.$15-40.
Trattoria Aroma, 307 Bryant St., ☎ +1 716 881-7592, . Trattoria Aroma serves authentic, rustic Italian cuisine in an upscale trattoria setting. Homemade bread, sausage, pasta, and delectable Italian pastries and desserts are complemented by some of Buffalo's best espresso. Trattoria Aroma also operates a location in the suburb of Williamsville featuring a full wine bar.$15-35.
Hutch's, 1375 Delaware Ave, ☎ +1 716 885-0074. One of the best known city restaurants. The Jambalaya is great, as is the Stuffed Poblano Pepper, which has been a "special" for years.$20-30.
Hertel Avenue/North Buffalo
Frank's Sunny Italy Family Restaurant, 2491 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 876-5449. Hearty, unpretentious Italian meals at a reasonable price are the stock in trade of Frank's Sunny Italy. Though the menu is not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, familiar Italian standbys such as veal parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza keep Buffalonians coming back for more. Portions are notoriously massive at this family-style Italian eatery in North Buffalo.$5-15.
Gramma Mora's Authentic Mexican Restaurant, 1465 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 837-6703, . Owned for over 30 years by the Mora family, Gramma Mora's has been a mainstay of Hertel Avenue since it moved here in 1996. Despite the legions of Buffalonians—including reviewers for Buffalo Spree and Artvoice—who sing the praises of this place's pleasantly mediocre traditional Mexican fare, it is undeniable that Gramma Mora's has been going steadily downhill for the past ten years or so. Still, the food is far from bad, and even by Buffalo standards, the portion sizes are very generous for the price.$10-20.
Jimmy's On Elmwood, 1680 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 362-2602. Formerly the Buffalo Barbeque and Brew, the friendly and always impeccably groomed Jimmy Hambridge has, to the delight of Buffalonians, made a good thing even better since purchasing the place in 2008. The original smoky barbecue fare has now been augmented with a variety of new items such as fresh fish, salads, and an expanded range of sandwich options. The homemade French fries, hand-cut from whole potatoes, have earned rave reviews from such sources as Buffalo Rising. Jimmy's features food and drink specials during Bills games, a respectable kids' menu, and live blues music on a frequent basis. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Kostas Family Restaurant, 1561 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 838-5225, . Of Buffalo's many, many Greek diners and family restaurants, Kostas has one of the most interesting and extensive menus. Since 1977, Kostas Family Restaurant has been serving familiar standbys such as souvlaki, gyro, and Greek salad, as well as harder-to-find Greek specialties such as tirokafteri and taramosalata. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and other such fare is also on offer, as is a modest selection of wines.$5-20.
Guttuso's North End Trattoria, 1458 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 446-9464. Of the many Italian restaurants located along Hertel Avenue, the North End Trattoria is one of the oldest and still among the best-regarded. Now under new ownership, the North End Trattoria still serves high-quality, authentic Italian recipes that Buffalonians rave about. Delicious wood-fired pizzas, a wide variety of appetizer and entree salads, and delectable desserts figure prominently on the menu. Diners should note, however, that the North End Trattoria does not have a liquor license.$15-25.
Jewel of India, 1264 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 877-1264. Given that Jewel of India is run by the same people who own India Gate on Elmwood Avenue and Taste of India in Amherst, patrons of this brand-new addition to the Hertel Avenue strip can expect the same healthy, high-quality fare here as at those other fine establishments. Jewel of India boasts an extensive menu featuring beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp and vegetarian entrees; diners enjoy their meal in a lovely, spacious, and impeccably decorated dining room. Lunch and dinner buffets are also available.$15-30.
La Dolce Vita Caffe & Bistro, 1472 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 446-5690, . The Hertel Avenue area is known for its many Italian restaurants, and La Dolce Vita is one of the newest and best. This small bistro serves Italian cuisine that is creative and upscale, yet homey, and is becoming well known for its delectable desserts.$20-30.
Ristorante Lombardo, 1198 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 873-4291, . At the center of the action on Hertel Avenue, Ristorante Lombardo calls their food "the best Italian in Buffalo", a claim that is hard to refute given the extensive menu of elegant and authentic Italian dishes served to patrons in a setting that is among the most exquisite and upscale on Hertel. Ristorante Lombardo boasts a full bar and patio and an expansive wine list.$15-25.
Taste of Thai, 1460 Hertel Ave., ☎ +1 716 833-8423. One of a growing legion of Thai restaurants in Buffalo, Taste of Thai distinguishes itself from the competition by providing a fairly interesting selection of Thai dishes in an upscale setting, for a reasonable price.$10-20.
Tokyo II Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, 2236 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 877-2688, . Tokyo II is Buffalo's newest hibachi steakhouse and Japanese restaurant. Steak, seafood, rice, and other entrees are prepared for diners before their eyes on the hibachi in an entertaining spectacle. In addition, a wide range of sushi and sashimi is available, as is other Japanese fare, a small selection of Thai entrees, domestic and imported beers including Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo, wine, and sake.$15-30.
Oliver's Restaurant, 2095 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 877-9662, . "Fine Dining in the Old-School Tradition" is Oliver's credo, and true to form, it is one of the most elegant restaurants in Buffalo, with prices to match. With myriad different permutations of Continental cuisine present on the menu, Oliver's is a foodie's dream come true, with veal milanese, strozzapreti, and foie gras torchon among the most popular delicacies on offer. The wine list is, to quote the restaurant's website, "deeper than deep". Oliver's also prides itself as one of Buffalo's best caterers.$20-60.
Amy's Place, 3234 Main St., ☎ +1 716 832-6666, . A popular dive where the latest indie tunes can be heard on the soundsystem and people-watchers can enjoy a clientele that trends heavily toward bohemian urbanites and other alternative types (not to mention students of the nearby South Campus of the University at Buffalo), Amy's Place is among the hippest eateries on Main Street. By day they serve a range of Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare of respectable quality, including abundant options for vegetarians and vegans. However, Amy's Place is perhaps best known for their substantial, delicious and reasonably priced breakfasts.$10-$20.
Doctor Bird's Caribbean Rasta-Rant, 3104 Main St., ☎ +1 716 837-6426. This humble take-out (with a few tables for indoor seating) offers what is by far and away, without a doubt, the best Jamaican food in Buffalo. The jerk chicken, rotis, curry goat, and oxtail are all simply fantastic, and are universally served with a side of fried plantains and rice and beans. Wash your food down with a bottle of strong ginger beer. Reggae, calypso, and soca records are also for sale at the counter.$10-20.
Nette's Fried Chicken, 3118 Main St., ☎ +1 716 715-9592. Nette's Fried Chicken is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall on Main Street within easy walking distance of UB South Campus. Don't be put off by the exterior, though—for several years now, Nette's has served tasty, crispy, and not-too-greasy fried chicken that puts KFC to shame. Other Southern-fried soul food specialties such as mac and cheese, collard greens, flaky buttermilk biscuits, waffles, and desserts are on offer as well. One of Buffalo's best-kept secrets.$10-15.
Lake Effect Diner, 3165 Main St., ☎ +1 716 833-1952, . The Lake Effect Diner is a '50s-style affair located in one of the last remaining "diner cars" in America, carefully restored under the direction of local restauranteur Tucker Curtin. With oldies on the jukebox and waitresses dressed in '50s-style pink skirts, the Lake Effect Diner is as authentic as it gets. Decent diner fare—burgers, club sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes and malts—is available here for reasonable prices. The Lake Effect Diner has been featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network television series, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives".$15-20.
Shango Bistro & Wine Bar, 3260 Main St., ☎ +1 716 837-2326, . Though bouillabaisse, crawfish, po' boys and bananas Foster feature prominently on the menu, it would be a disservice to pigeonhole the lovely bistro run by owner and head chef Jim Guarino as simply a "Creole" or "Southern" restaurant. Instead, the cuisine offered at Shango is as diverse as it is high-quality. Additionally, the wine list is one of Buffalo's most extensive and has been honored with an award by Wine Spectator magazine; a carefully selected variety of import beers and microbrews is also available at Shango.$20-35.
The Steer, 3151 Main St., ☎ +1 716 838-0478, . The Steer is best known for its sometimes rowdy bar frequented by students from the nearby South Campus of the University of Buffalo, but let's not forget that it is also a restaurant that serves pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and—as the name suggests—mouth-watering steaks and chops. The Montana Room, located on the second floor of this unmissable Main Street landmark, is a banquet room equipped for up to 60 guests.$10-30.
Grant-Ferry/Upper West Side
Sweetness 7 Café is not only a great place to enjoy coffee, baked goods, and other delights, it has also been key to the revitalization of its West Side neighborhood.
Santasiero's Italian Restaurant, 1329 Niagara St., ☎ +1 716 886-9197, . A relic from the days when the West Side was Buffalo's "Little Italy", hearty family-style Italian meals have been served at Santasiero's for almost a century now. The Italian wedding soup is spectacular, and sandwiches and dishes such as chicken parmigiana are available, but Santasiero's is most famous for the heaping portions of pasta they serve along with legendary red sauce. Reasonable prices, too.$10-20.
Sweetness 7 Café, 220 Grant St., ☎ +1 716 883-1738, . Since 2007, Prish Moran has operated her friendly old-world coffee shop from this beautiful and historic old Victorian building on Grant Street. The opening of Sweetness 7 is largely the reason why the Grant-Ferry area has been as trendy and up-and-coming as it has been for the past few years. Popular with artists, hip urbanites, and Buffalo State College students, Sweetness 7 serves fresh gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, pizza, and pastry along with the coffee, and their breakfast is also very popular with locals. An art gallery, a flower shop, and an upscale urban boutique are all on site as well. Sweetness 7 also operates a second location in Parkside that specializes in crêpes.$10-15.
Black Rock Kitchen & Bar, 491 Amherst St., ☎ +1 716 551-0261, . Owned by restauranteur and eminent local historian Mark Goldman, Black Rock Kitchen & Bar is a new restaurant that is a proud component of the revitalization of the Grant-Amherst neighborhood. Black Rock Kitchen & Bar is already earning rave reviews for its selections which show distinct influences from Italian and French cuisine. The duck leg confit BLT, the ditalini with sweet peas and prosciutto, and the foie gras French toast are only a few of the mouth-watering speciaties on offer at this newly minted gem. Now open for brunch.$10-20.
Swannie House, 170 Ohio St., ☎ +1 716 847-2898. This historic tavern in the First Ward is Buffalo's oldest continually-operating restaurant, opened in 1882 or earlier. Though there are few if any grain scoopers and canal workers left in Buffalo of the type that used to frequent the Swannie House, the ambience is still blue-collar and Irish. Standard pub grub and draft beer is the rule here, but the real draw is the historic ambience of the place, nestled among the grain elevators, railroad tracks and warehouses of Buffalo's mighty industrial past. Current owners Timothy and Marlene Wiles have lovingly restored the Swannie House inside and out, including the vintage advertisement for "Old Hardie" Kentucky whiskey painted on the side of the building. $10-15.
Chef's, 291 Seneca St., ☎ +1 716 856-9187, . Since 1923, Chef's has been serving hearty Italian cuisine that is comparatively adventurous for neighborhood family-style establishments of its kind. Entrees range from familiar fare such as veal and chicken parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, and spaghetti to more elegant selections such as dandelion salad. Reasonable prices and generous portions. Buffalonians love this place.$10-20.
Dug's Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., ☎ +1 716 821-9600, . Named for a famous 19th-century Canal District saloon, Dug's Dive is located adjacent to Gallagher Beach, Tifft Nature Preserve, and the new, tree-lined Outer Harbor Parkway on the lakefront south of downtown. Dug's Dive is open each summer serving soups, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees with an emphasis on seafood, but more than that, Dug's Dive is a place to enjoy unparalleled views over Lake Erie on sunny summer days. Ample docking is available for those arriving by boat.$10-30.
Lagerhaus 95, 95 Perry St., ☎ +1 716 200-1798, . Buffalo's self-styled "new best restaurant", Lagerhaus 95 is a deli, stube and gastropub located in a restored warehouse in Buffalo's historic Cobblestone District, within walking distance of the First Niagara Center and also convenient to downtown and Canalside. On offer are high-quality, authentic Central European specialties such as pierogi, rösti, and a variety of wursts, along with an impressive variety of domestic and imported beers in bottles and on tap which are served with dinner and at Lagerhaus 95's heated outdoor biergarten. Wine is also available. Lagerhaus 95 also boasts an express lunch counter serving freshly-prepared European-style sandwiches and soups, and is open before and after all events at the First Niagara Center with a special menu available.$15-30.
Lower West Side
Niagara Café, 525 Niagara St., ☎ +1 716 885-2233. Located on Niagara Street, the main thoroughfare of Buffalo's West Side Latino community, the Niagara Café has been recognized by Artvoice as Buffalo's best Puerto Rican restaurant. Latin American specialties like pastelillas, alcapurillas, pollo guisado, and rice and beans are all available here in a friendly environment for prices that cannot be beat. This place has won multiple awards at the Taste of Buffalo. More than its food, however, the Niagara Café is about Puerto Rican cultural pride and community identity.$10-15.
Left Bank, 511 Rhode Island St., ☎ +1 716 882-3509, . One of the most elegant restaurants in Buffalo, Left Bank serves high-quality cuisine of diverse culinary influences in a rapidly gentrifying area not far from Allentown and the Elmwood Village. As at Hutch's, getting a weekend reservation can prove difficult. Sunday brunch is typically booked two weeks out.$20-30.
Prime 490, 490 Rhode Island St., ☎ +1 716 882-3328, . A newer restaurant, but with some of the best food in Buffalo. The steaks are incredible and the sides range from Salt and Vinegar Mashed Potatoes to Lobster Mac n Cheese. $20-30.
Acqua Buffalo, 2192 Niagara St., ☎ +1 716 874-5400, . The former Harry's Harbour Place Grille has been reborn as Acqua, an upscale dining destination with an innovative menu and the same breathtaking views over the Niagara River that it has always boasted. Upscale fare with an Italian twist is showcased at Acqua, along with steaks and chops, burgers, and salads.$15-25.
A word of warning: many parts of the East Side have a reputation as tough neighborhoods. Though the danger of visiting the East Side is certainly overhyped in many cases, it's never a bad idea to exercise caution, especially after dark.
GiGi's Restaurant, 257 E. Ferry St., ☎ +1 716 883-1438. Located at the corner of East Ferry Street and Jefferson Avenue, GiGi's opened in 1960 and is almost unanimously considered to serve the best soul food in Buffalo, lauded by such sources as Artvoice and Buffalo Rising. A friendly restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, GiGi's is the kind of place where the regulars all know each other's names. Collard greens, mashed potatoes, smothered pork chops, and mac 'n' cheese are just some of the Southern-fried comfort food on offer at GiGi's. To be clear, though: this is not the kind of neighborhood you want to hang around in after dark.$10-20.
Pho 99, 3398 Bailey Ave., ☎ +1 716 836-6058. Founded in 1999 (hence the name) and located since 2003 on Bailey Avenue within walking distance of the University at Buffalo's South Campus, Pho 99 is a Vietnamese restaurant that is popular with students and faculty. The noodle bowls, fried rice plates, and entrees are all excellent, but this place's specialty is pho, a Vietnamese soup made with rice noodles and flavored with bean sprouts, green chili peppers, basil and mint leaves, and lime juice. Raw beef is added to the soup; the piping hot broth cooks the beef before the soup is served. Pho 99 serves some of the best pho anywhere, and that is no exaggeration. Pho 99 is located in a transitional area between the relatively "nice" neighborhood of University Heights and the sketchy working-class residential area of Kensington-Bailey, but the neighborhood is fairly safe, especially during the day.$10-20.
Locations of most national chain restaurants can be found in Buffalo. However, Buffalo also boasts several local and regional chains that are beloved of Western New Yorkers and that serve as staples of the local cuisine.
Anderson's Frozen Custard, . Since 1946, the Anderson family has operated this chain of drive-ins which are immensely popular with Buffalonians, especially in the summer months. One of Anderson's specialties is roast beef; by local reputation their beef on weck is of passable quality, but pales in comparison with Charlie the Butcher's and Schwabl's. Anderson's true strength, though, lies in their dessert selections, with a dizzying variety of frozen custards, milkshakes, flavored ices, hard and soft-serve ice creams, and sundaes on offer. Anderson's seven locations include restaurants in North Buffalo and the suburbs of Amherst, Cheektowaga, Kenmore, Lancaster, Lockport, and Williamsville.
Charlie the Butcher, . Charles E. Roesch was not the inventor of beef on weck—that honor goes to Schwabl's restaurant, which opened in 1837 in the Near East Side and later moved to suburban West Seneca—but he and his descendants have certainly done the most to popularize that Buffalo specialty outside the immediate local area. The butcher shop of Charles E. Roesch and Company was founded in 1914 and operated for over eight decades in the Broadway Market, with its titular owner also serving as Mayor of Buffalo from 1930 to 1934. His grandson, Charles W., carries on the family business, both at his restaurant, Charlie the Butcher's Kitchen, in Cheektowaga—which has been visited, according to the photos hanging prominently on the wall, by such famous names as Mark Russell, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Denise Austin, Tim Russert, and Regis Philbin—and at five Charlie the Butcher Express locations in downtown Buffalo as well as the suburbs of Cheektowaga, Williamsville, Orchard Park, and East Aurora. In addition, Charlie the Butcher's carved roast beef is available at Buffalo Bisons games at Coca-Cola Field and at many supermarkets and grocery stores all over Erie and Niagara Counties. Charlie has also taken beef on weck to the national and international stage on TV shows such as "Good Morning America", "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee", and "FoodNation with Bobby Flay", and in the pages of magazines such as Gourmet and Martha Stewart Living.
Jim's Steakout, . The credo of Jim's Steakout—"If You're Up, We're Probably Open"—has endeared this chain to clubbers, college students, and miscellaneous night owls all over the Buffalo area (indeed, most locations stay open until 5:00AM). Burgers, tacos, wraps, chicken wings and fingers, and fast food of a similar nature is served at Jim's, but it's their famous steak hoagies (the classic variety of which is dressed with lettuce, tomato, melted cheese, fried onions, and Jim's Secret Sauce) that really put this place on the local radar. Jim's Steakout has five locations in the City of Buffalo (in Allentown, the Chippewa Street entertainment district, the Elmwood Village, University Heights, and North Buffalo) as well as five suburban locations (two in Amherst and one each in Tonawanda, West Seneca, and East Aurora).
Louie's Texas Red Hots, . Founded in 1967, Louie's Texas Red Hots is a locally-owned chain of five restaurants that is probably the best-known place in Buffalo that specializes in Texas hots (see description in the beginning of this section). Louie's menu also includes other standard fast-food staples such as regular hot dogs, burgers, milkshakes, chicken fingers, French fries, and the like; the origin of Texas hots among Buffalo's Greek immigrant community manifests itself on the menu as well (cheeseburgers made with feta are an interesting option, pita bread is listed as a side order, and Greek desserts such as rice pudding and baklava are available). Louie's has two locations in the city of Buffalo (in North Buffalo and Kensington-Bailey), as well as three suburban locations (West Seneca, Depew, and Orchard Park).
Mighty Taco, . Perhaps the largest and best-known chain restaurant of local provenance, Mighty Taco is a Mexican fast-food outfit that was founded in 1973 and now boasts nineteen locations in the Buffalo metropolitan area. Mighty Taco has also recently expanded to the Rochester market, with one restaurant there. Though the local consensus is that Mighty Taco's food has gone downhill over the past years, the chain still has legions of loyalists which swear by such signature specialties as the El Niño Burrito and their extensive line of "Roastitos", as well as seasonal offerings such as Chipotle Chili and BBQ Beef Burritos. Mighty Taco is also well-known for the unique, somewhat psychedelic commercials they run on local television, especially during the late-night hours.
SPoT Coffee, . A longtime Buffalo tradition, SPoT Coffee's stock in trade is not only high-quality coffee roasted in-house and gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods and other light meals, but also a keen attention to the history and identity of each of the communities they serve that is reflected in the individualized recipes and decor of each of their coffeehouses. SPoT Coffee was purchased in 2004 by a group of investors from Toronto, but Buffalonians still claim SPoT as their own as the chain was founded in Buffalo, has an identity that is still entwined with that of Buffalo, and still has more coffeehouses in the local area than any of the new markets they have entered since the change in ownership. Aside from the new locations in Rochester, Toronto and Delray Beach, Florida, SPoT Coffee's four Buffalo-area locations are situated in the Elmwood Village, the Chippewa Strip, North Buffalo, and in the suburb of Williamsville.
Ted's Hot Dogs, . The charcoal-broiled hot dogs that have been served up here since 1927 by three generations of the Liaros family has made Ted's among the best-loved of Buffalo's local traditions. Locally-produced Sahlen's frankfurters are broiled slowly before your eyes on a charcoal-fired grill, with the standard condiments of ketchup, mustard, onion and pickle relish available as well as chili and cheese for a nominal extra cost (it should be noted, though, that Ted's chili sauce is distinctly different from the sauce that comes on Texas hots). Burgers, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, and soft drinks (including Aunt Rosie's loganberry) round out the offerings here. Sadly, Ted's original location on the lovely waterfront of Buffalo's West Side closed in the 1990s, but the chain still boasts seven locations in the suburbs of Amherst, Lancaster, Lockport, North Tonawanda, Orchard Park, Tonawanda, and Williamsville (with an eighth location soon to open in Cheektowaga)—as well as one in Tempe, Arizona, where owner Spiro Liaros has lived since his retirement.
Last call in Buffalo is 4:00 AM. For this reason, many bars in Buffalo don't get going until sometime after midnight on weekends. As a historically blue-collar town, Buffalo has traditionally had a fairly dense concentration of bars and taverns; therefore, there are many lively nightlife districts in Buffalo today. As elsewhere in the United States, the legal drinking age is 21.
More information about many of these establishments can be found in the "Eat" section, immediately above.
West Chippewa Street between Pearl Street and Elmwood Avenue is the largest and loudest entertainment district in Buffalo, where lively bars and thumping dance clubs attract a youthful—in many cases, underage—crowd comprised heavily of students from the University of Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Canisius College, and the many other colleges and universities in the area. A word of warning: the rowdy "Chip Strip" is well known for incidents of pickpocketing and (occasionally) violence. Whether the local media's coverage of these incidents is over-sensationalized is a point of debate among Buffalonians, but nonetheless, it is a good idea for visitors to Chippewa Street to be aware of their surroundings, particularly on weekend nights. In addition to Chippewa, the Theater District is home to a sizable selection of more upscale establishments, especially along Franklin Street on its western periphery.
Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant, 54 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 854-9463, .
Bada Bing Bar & Grill, 115 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 853-2464, .
Bayou, 79 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 854-5444.
Big Bad Wolf, 250 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 551-0700, .
Bottoms Up, 69 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 939-2526.
Chocolate Bar, 114 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 332-0484, .
La Luna, 52 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 855-1292.
Noir, 88 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 853-2762, .
Pure, 75 W. Chippewa St., ☎ +1 716 853-5555, .
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St., ☎ +1 716 856-2337, .
Washington Square Bar & Grill, 295 Washington St., ☎ +1 716 849-0619.
For a long time, Allentown has been a mecca for artists, hipsters, and bohemians of all kinds; the bars in this neighborhood reflect this to a great degree. Many longtime fans of the Allentown bar scene lament the fact that, over the past few years, the formerly laid-back bars of the area have begun to attract a rowdier crowd, perhaps influenced by the burgeoning Chippewa Street entertainment district a short distance further downtown. As the longtime epicenter of Buffalo's LGBT community, Allentown (in particular, near the corner of Main and Allen Streets) is also the home of the vast majority of Buffalo's gay bars.
Allen Street is the main drag of Allentown, and is home to a dense concentration of trendy restaurants, bars, and nightlife.
Allen Street Bar & Grill (The Old Pink), 223 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 884-4338.
Allen Street Hardware Café, 245 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 882-8843, .
The Bend, 256 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 884-1030.
Cathode Ray, 26 Allen St., ☎ +1 716 884-3615, . LGBT bar.
The Elmwood Village is trendy, upscale and urban in a somewhat more "accessible" way than Allentown. Buffalo State College is located at the northern end of the Elmwood strip, thus there is a large cluster of bars at the north end of the district that cater to a youthful (often underage) crowd of fraternity members and other college students, and can be quite crowded on weekends during the school year. It should be emphasized, however, that drunken violence is far rarer in the Elmwood Village than on Chippewa. Further south along Elmwood, the bars quickly transition from college dives to upscale establishments catering to trendy, upwardly mobile urbanites.
Blue Monk, 727 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-6665, .
The popular Hertel Avenue strip can be seen as a middle ground between the upscale, relaxed Elmwood Village and the rowdy, (some might say) seedy Chippewa Street. North Buffalo is known for having a large Italian-American population; aside from the ubiquitous Italian restaurants that line Hertel Avenue, visitors to the bars in this section will definitely meet their share of Jersey Shore types.
The stretch of Main Street between Niagara Falls Boulevard and LaSalle Avenue features a modest selection of rowdy dives popular with students of the adjacent University of Buffalo.
Broadway Joe's, 3051 Main St., ☎ +1 716 836-9555, .
Mojo's, 3148 Main St., ☎ +1 716 836-3756.
The Steer, 3151 Main St., ☎ +1 716 838-0478, .
3rd Base, 3264 Main St., ☎ +1 716 833-1284, .
A rapidly gentrifying neighborhood centered around the intersection of Grant and Amherst Streets just north of Buffalo State College, Grant-Amherst boasts a handful of bars that, not surprisingly, attract a mix of blue-collar neighborhood stalwarts, college students, and hip young urbanites.
The working-class Irish-American enclave of South Buffalo has a great deal of colorful and unpretentious bars and pubs to choose from on the main drags of Seneca Street, South Park Avenue and Abbott Road. In particular, the First Ward, the oldest part of South Buffalo, features some taverns (such as the Swannie House) that have been in business since the late 1800s, when the neighborhood was home to Irish canal workers and grain scoopers. Well-known as the home of an especially large proportion of the city's police force, firefighters, and other civil servants, South Buffalo is an especially great place to have a pint with one of Buffalo's finest after the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Located in the Old First Ward in the shadow of the mighty grain elevators, the Swannie House is Buffalo's oldest continually operating bar and restaurant.
Malamute Tavern, 211 South Park Ave., ☎ +1 716 855-8981, .
Swannie House, 170 Ohio St., ☎ +1 716 847-2898.
Lower West Side
A historically poor neighborhood that in recent years has begun to experience a resurgence as a mecca for artists and other bohemians, the Lower West Side's emerging bar and dining scene is centered on and near Rhode Island Street just west of Richmond Avenue.
Essex Pub, 6 Essex St., ☎ +1 716 883-2150.
There is a wide range of high-quality lodging to choose from in both Buffalo and its suburbs, encompassing hotels, motels, B&Bs, hostels, and guest houses. Unless otherwise mentioned, all hotels listed here offer their guests free wireless Internet, private bathrooms, and (except downtown accommodations) free parking.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
The number and quality of hotels available in downtown Buffalo has exploded in recent years, with new hotels opening their doors, such as the Embassy Suites in the Avant Building, as well as renovations and modernizations at existing ones such as the Adam's Mark and the Hotel Lafayette. This boom shows no signs of slowing, with several new hotels slated to open in the near future—in many cases under the framework of the myriad rehabilitation projects of historic buildings that have come to pass recently.
Adam's Mark Buffalo-Niagara, 120 Church St., ☎ +1 716 845-5100, . Convenient to the First Niagara Center, Coca-Cola Field, and Canalside, with excellent waterfront views. Airport shuttle available. Dry cleaning and laundry service, gift shop, pool, fitness club, business center, restaurant ("Deco") and bar. Will soon be re-branded as a Crowne Plaza.
Comfort Suites Downtown, 601 Main St., ☎ +1 716 854-5500, . Located in the Theater District and also near the Chippewa Street entertainment district. Business center and fitness club. T.G.I. Friday's is located on site.
DoubleTree Club by Hilton Hotel Buffalo Downtown, 125 High St., ☎ +1 716 845-0112, . Located in the heart of the Medical Corridor, adjacent to Buffalo General Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and also convenient to Allentown. Business center, fitness center, bar, dining room and the only Au Bon Pain café and bakery in Buffalo.
The Hotel Lafayette is one of a growing number of new or newly-remodeled hotels that are mushrooming in downtown Buffalo.
Embassy Suites Buffalo, 200 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 842-1000, . Brand-new hotel opened in 2009 to great fanfare. Complimentary breakfast every morning and nightly manager's reception featuring complimentary appetizers and cocktails. Pool, fitness club, business center, "Della Terra" restaurant.
Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo Downtown, 220 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 855-2223, . Located in the heart of the Chippewa strip and directly connected to many of the street's most popular bars and restaurants, including the Chocolate Bar, Papaya, and Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. Coin laundry ($1.50), gift shop, information desk, valet service, lounge, business center, fitness club, pool.
Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington St., ☎ +1 716 853-1505, . An architectural masterpiece in the French Renaissance Revival style built in 1903 from a design by Louise Blanchard Bethune, America's first important female architect, the Hotel Lafayette re-opened in May 2012 after an extensive renovation that has brought it back to its former glory after years of neglect. The Hotel Lafayette is located on Lafayette Square in the heart of downtown and boasts shops, apartments, and a 57-room luxury boutique hotel. Flat-panel TVs, banquet facilities, two restaurants (including the "Pan-American Grill") and two bars/lounges. Suites available that contain full kitchens with refrigerator and stove. Complimentary breakfast.
Hyatt Regency Buffalo, 2 Fountain Plaza, ☎ +1 716 856-1234, . Convenient to the Theater District. One of Buffalo's finest business hotels. 3 bars and restaurants including Atrium Bar & Bistro, E. B. Green's Steakhouse, and Starbucks. Spa, fitness club, business center. Connected to Buffalo Convention Center.
Hostel Buffalo Niagara, 667 Main St., ☎ +1 716 852-5222, . Buffalo's only hostel is a friendly, safe, and clean facility in the heart of downtown Buffalo's Theater District. The charming innkeeper and her hip staff run a first-rate facility—Hostelling International named it the third-best hostel in the United States in 2007, though Hostel Buffalo Niagara is no longer HI-affiliated—and are knowledgeable about local points of interest and worthwhile events and activities. Hostel Buffalo Niagara offers a choice of dormitory-style accommodations or private rooms, and boasts a full kitchen, game and media room, living room, small library, and free WiFi. The hostel is only steps away from Shea's Performing Arts Center, the Alleyway Theatre, and the Chippewa Street nightlife.
Allentown boasts a modest selection of accommodations, including a pair of chain hotels along Delaware Avenue that are similar to, but somewhat less expensive than, the properties downtown. Perhaps more interestingly, Allentown also boasts a few grand old historic hotels that have soldiered on to the present day, catering to travellers in search of a more distinctive experience.
Lenox Hotel & Suites, 140 North St., ☎ +1 716 884-1700, . The oldest continually operating hotel in Buffalo (opened in 1896), the Lenox Hotel and Suites began its existence as a luxurious hotel and apartment building that counted a young F. Scott Fitzgerald among its early residents. Under new ownership, this stately old beauty has recently been renovated to its former glory. Boasting an art gallery and the elegant "North" restaurant on its ground floor and lovely views of downtown Buffalo and the waterfront from its upper floors, the Lenox Hotel also has a limited number of executive suites with kitchens.
Best Western Inn on the Avenue, 510 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-8333, . Business center, free wired and wireless Internet in all rooms.
Holiday Inn Buffalo Downtown, 620 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-2121, . Newly renovated. Business center as well as wired and wireless Internet access in all rooms. Fitness center, outdoor pool, laundry and dry cleaning, restaurant ("Grille 620").
The Mansion on Delaware Avenue, 414 Delaware Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-3300, . Rated 4 diamonds by AAA and named one of the top 5 hotels in the United States by the 2007 Zagats survey. Buffalo's finest luxury boutique hotel is located in the Sternberg House, a beautifully restored 1870 French Second Empire-style mansion near the border of Allentown and downtown that was owned by a succession of wealthy Buffalo aristocrats of the 19th Century. Free WiFi and wired Internet access, as well as a business center. Butler service, fine dining, working fireplaces in most rooms. Popular for formal receptions such as weddings.
Elmwood Village Inn, 893 Elmwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 886-2397, . Located in an unmissable orange house in the heart of the Elmwood Village with a dizzying range of art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants within easy walking distance, the Elmwood Village Inn boasts four individualized guest rooms—the Middle West Room, the Middle East Room, the Skylight Suite, and the Master Suite—and works of art by local artists on the walls. Guests are provided with such complimentary amenities as central AC, wireless Internet, newspapers, and white noise generators. A common kitchenette is available, and light but lovely breakfasts are served in the Salon. On-street parking.
Richmond Place Inn, 45 Richmond Ave., ☎ +1 716 881-3242, . In a quiet residential neighborhood near where the Elmwood Village, Allentown, and the Lower West Side converge, the Richmond Place Inn is a lovely bed and breakfast in a distinctive old house. In addition to on-site parking, laundry facilities, and a delectable breakfast available in the dining room or delivered directly to the guest rooms, the Richmond Place Inn's units boast air conditioning, cable TV with HBO, and (in some cases) private baths.
Beau Fleuve Bed & Breakfast Inn, 242 Linwood Ave., ☎ +1 716 882-6116 (toll free: +1 800 278-0245), . Legend has it that the city of Buffalo owes its name to French explorer Louis Hennepin, who, when he passed by the mouth of the Buffalo River in 1679 on his ship Le Griffon, exclaimed joyously about the "beau fleuve" (beautiful river) that lay before him. The Beau Fleuve Bed & Breakfast Inn has operated since 1990 in the former Albert J. Wright House, a handsome Stick-style mansion built in 1882 on Buffalo's lovely, historic Linwood Avenue. The themes of the Beau Fleuve's five guest rooms were chosen in honor of the immigrant communities who populated Buffalo over the course of the 19th century and fueled its industrial might—French, Irish, German, Italian, and Polish people predominant among them. The Beau Fleuve offers its guests central AC, minibars, coffeemakers, and other amenities in their impeccably decorated and luxuriously appointed rooms. Large, sumptuous breakfasts are served daily in an upscale atmosphere in the American Indian-themed dining room. On-site or on-street parking.
The Parkside House, 462 Woodward Ave., ☎ +1 716 480-9507, . Christopher Lavey, Johnny Mora, and their three dogs operate the Parkside House, one of Buffalo's most charming B&B's, in a restored Queen Anne-style house from the 1890s. Located on the curving, leafy streets of the historic neighborhood of Parkside, within walking distance of Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo, and Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece, the Darwin D. Martin House, the three units of the Parkside House are large and airy, and boast comfortable yet contemporary furnishings, plasma televisions, and full private baths. Common areas include the dining room, where a sumptuous breakfast is served daily, and a front porch. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the property. Limited off-street parking.
Lower West Side
Porter Avenue Pied-à-Terre, 361 Porter Ave., ☎ +1 716 881-2866 (email@example.com). Combining the charm of a B&B, the efficiency and space of an apartment, and the convenience of a hotel, the Porter Avenue Pied-à-Terre is perfectly suited not only to travellers, but also to house-hunters or businesspeople who require extended stays. Located in the rapidly gentrifying Lower West Side neighborhood of Prospect Hill, the Porter Avenue Pied-à-Terre is situated on the first floor of the Patrick E. Stanton House, a Queen Anne-style mansion that won the Preservation Coalition of Erie County's Restoration Award in 2000, and is operated by Sandy Hertelis, whose knowledge of the ins and outs of Buffalo is matched by her experience managing charming B&B's of this type. The 800 square feet (73m²) of living space here includes a private side entrance, a lovely sitting room with a futon for extra guests, spacious parlor, full bath, galley kitchen, and even a backyard garden.
Moreland Guest House, 110 Moreland St., ☎ +1 716 893-1419, . Situated in a restored former convent on a residential side street in the out-of-the-way East Side neighborhood of Lovejoy, the Moreland Guest House boasts inexpensive yet secure and high-quality accommodation for budget travelers. Single or double rooms are available, with complimentary satellite television and high-speed wireless Internet. The bathrooms are shared, dormitory-style, and a kitchen and common room is available. On-site parking can be had for a nominal fee, but on-street parking is free and nearly always easy to find.
Since 2000, when the advent of Southwest Airlines and other low-cost air carriers began making the Buffalo Niagara International Airport an ever more popular one (especially among Canadians), the number of lodging options in the vicinity of the airport increased drastically. These lodgings are located 10-15 minutes from downtown Buffalo and are clustered in three main areas. A wide range of mid-priced chain hotels catering to airport travellers and (in the latter case) cross-border shoppers from Ontario can be found along the stretch of Genesee Street directly across the street from the airport, as well as around Exit 52 of Interstate 90 near the Walden Galleria. Also, a cluster of mainly budget chains that cater to a mix of highway travellers and airport passengers can be found around Exit 49 of I-90, as well as northward along Transit Road toward Williamsville. Generally speaking, all of these hotels offer their guests complimentary airport shuttle service; for an additional daily or weekly fee, almost all of these hotels offer "Park-and-Fly" ("Stay-and-Park"; "Stay-and-Fly") service whereby guests can depart from the airport and leave their cars in the hotel lot, picking up their vehicle upon their return. Parking is almost always free for guests for the duration of their stay.
La Quinta Inn Buffalo Airport, 6619 Transit Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 633-1011, . Business center, fitness center, data ports in all rooms, limited number of whirlpool suites available.
Microtel Inn Buffalo/Lancaster/Williamsville/Airport Area, 50 Freeman Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 633-6200, . Flat-screen TVs in all rooms, free breakfast.
Motel 6 Buffalo Airport, 52 Freeman Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 626-1500, . Cable TV, outdoor pool. WiFi available for an extra charge of $2.99 per night.
Red Roof Inn Buffalo Niagara Airport, 146 Maple Dr., Bowmansville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 633-1100, . Free newspaper, convenient to restaurants. Mini-fridge, microwave, and data ports in all rooms.
Super 8 Williamsville/Buffalo Airport, 7200 Transit Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 634-1500, . Business center, fitness center. All guest rooms contain microwave, iron and ironing board, and satellite TV with HBO and other premium channels. Rooms recently updated with new carpeting.
Best Western The Inn at Buffalo Airport, 4630 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 631-8966, . Fitness club, business center, data ports in all rooms, cable TV with HBO.
Clarion Hotel Buffalo Airport, 6700 Transit Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 634-7500, . Business center, fitness club, indoor pool and whirlpool, laundry facilities. Free shuttle to Buffalo-Depew Amtrak station.
Comfort Suites, 901 Dick Rd., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 633-6000, . Business center, fitness club, indoor pool and whirlpool, laundry service.
Hampton Inn Buffalo-Airport Galleria, 1745 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga (I-90 exit 52W), ☎ +1 716 894-8000, . Fitness center, business center, coin laundry, indoor pool and whirlpool spa.
Holiday Inn Express Buffalo Airport, 131 Buell Rd., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 631-8700, . Business center, fitness center, indoor pool and whirlpool, laundry and dry cleaning service, Global Newspaper service.
Millennium Airport Hotel Buffalo, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga (I-90 exit 52E), ☎ +1 716 681-2400, . Immediately adjacent to Walden Galleria and convenient to Walden Avenue shopping. Indoor pool, fitness center with his-and-hers saunas, business center, valet services, guest laundry, satellite TV in all guest rooms. Fine dining at Waldens Restaurant and casual poolside fare at Twigs Lounge.
Oak Tree Inn Buffalo Airport, 3475 Union Rd., Cheektowaga (I-90 exit 52E), ☎ +1 716 681-2600, . Guest rooms have been specially designed and constructed to optimize quality of sleep, including special HVAC units, soundproof walls, and sound therapy digital alarm clocks. Fitness center, whirlpool, laundry service, fax and copy service. Free breakfast for hotel guests at Alton's Restaurant, located next door.
Quality Inn-Buffalo Niagara International Airport, 4217 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 633-5500, . Business center, whirlpool rooms and suites available. Best Park-and-Fly rates on Genesee Street. Wall Street Journal, USA Today (weekdays), and Buffalo News (Saturdays and Sundays) available free to all guests. Complimentary hot and cold continental breakfast served daily. New management is renovating the hotel ambitiously, with a brand-new breakfast room, a newly renovated lobby and fitness center, and all-new furniture and flat-screen TVs in each room. Microwave ovens and refrigerators available on request. Friendly and helpful staff. Highly recommended.
Sleep Inn & Suites Buffalo Airport, 100 Holtz Rd., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 626-3370, . Business center, fitness center, guest laundry facilities. Deluxe continental breakfast in the morning and fresh cookies in the evening. Whirlpool suites available.
Courtyard by Marriott Buffalo Airport, 4243 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 633-2700, . One of the many new hotels to be constructed on this part of Genesee Street in recent years. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access, business center, fitness club, restaurant, HDTV in all rooms, indoor pool and whirlpool spa. Outdoor patio with fire pit.
Days Hotel Buffalo Airport, 4345 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 631-0800, . The oldest hotel on the strip, and still one of the nicest. Indoor pool, hot tub, and steam room, fitness center, business center, HBO in all rooms. Sandwiches, light meals, and beer and wine are available at Landings Bar & Grill.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Buffalo Airport, 4271 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 633-2488, . A brand-new hotel directly across the street from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Large HDTVs with LCD screens available in all guest rooms, with premium channels available. Wired and wireless high-speed Internet in all rooms. Business center, fitness center, coin laundry, valet dry cleaning, and lovely indoor pool.
Hilton Garden Inn Buffalo Airport, 4201 Genesee St., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 565-0040, . Business center, fitness club, indoor pool, airline desk, coin laundry, newsstand, on-site convenience store. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily at the Great American Grill.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Buffalo Airport, 760 Dick Rd., Cheektowaga, ☎ +1 716 685-0700, . An all-suite property. Business center, fitness center, basketball court, indoor pool, on-site convenience store. All suites contain full kitchens with stove and dishwasher and have separate living and sleeping areas.
Residence Inn Buffalo Cheektowaga, 107 Anderson Rd., Cheektowaga (I-90 exit 52W), ☎ +1 716 892-5410, . Business center, fitness center, indoor pool and whirlpool spa. Buffet breakfast and evening reception daily in lobby. Delivery available from local restaurants.
Salvatore's Garden Place Hotel, 6615 Transit Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 635-9000, . In keeping with the local reputation of its owner, Russell Salvatore, this hotel is luxuriously appointed throughout. A wide variety of suites are available, many with jacuzzis, big screen TVs, or working fireplaces. Fitness club, sauna, laundry and concierge services, currency exchange, full breakfast. Premium cable TV available in all guest rooms.
Salvatore's Grand Hotel, 6675 Transit Rd., Williamsville (I-90 exit 49), ☎ +1 716 636-4900, . Yet another property owned by Russell Salvatore, whose commitment to superior customer service is perhaps more evident here than any of his other facilities. Fitness club, complimentary breakfast. A popular place for romantic getaways, many of the rooms here have whirlpool tubs and/or working fireplaces. Connected to Russell's Steaks, Chops & More restaurant and is staffed partly by students of Trocaire College's Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality and Business, which is also adjacent.
There is a large selection of chain hotels in the budget and mid-range categories in Buffalo's northern suburbs, mainly located in Amherst and Tonawanda around the various interchanges of Interstates 290 and 190 heading toward Niagara Falls. An especially large cluster of hotels can be found around Exit 5 of I-290 in Amherst, adjacent to the North Campus of the University of Buffalo. Additionally, several hotels can be found around Exit 1 of I-190, on Dingens Street near the border between Cheektowaga and Buffalo.
Center Way Hotel (Formerly Microtel Inn Tonawanda-Buffalo), 225 Crestmount Ave., Tonawanda (I-290 exit 1 or 1B), ☎ +1 716 283-3899, . Fax/copy service, free continental breakfast.
Lord Amherst Hotel, 5000 Main St., Amherst (I-290 exit 7A), ☎ +1 716 839-2200, . The Lord Amherst Hotel has the ambience of the quintessential 1960s-era roadside motel, though the quality of its rooms are well above the average facility of that kind. Fax and copy service, well-equipped fitness room and outdoor pool, dry cleaning service. All rooms contain coffee makers; microwaves and refrigerators also available on request. Fine dining on-site at the Sonoma Grill. Convenient to boutiques, restaurants and other amenities in the Village of Williamsville.
Motel 6 Buffalo-Amherst, 4400 Maple Rd., Amherst (I-290 exit 5B), ☎ +1 716 834-2231, . Extended-service cable TV, kids stay free. Convenient to restaurants and to UB North Campus. Wireless Internet available for additional charge of $2.99/nt.
Pink Fountain Motor Inn, 5474 Transit Rd., Depew, ☎ +1 716 683-1245. Well-furnished medium-sized rooms with free high-speed Internet. Friendly and helpful staff. Convenient to Buffalo-Depew Amtrak station.
Red Carpet Inn Grand Island, 3030 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island (I-190 exit 20), ☎ +1 716 773-3902, . Convenient to Niagara Falls via the North Grand Island Bridge. All guest rooms have extended-service cable TV, refrigerator, and air conditioning. No wireless Internet service.
Red Roof Inn University at Buffalo Amherst, 42 Flint Rd., Amherst (I-290 exit 5B), ☎ +1 716 689-7474, . All rooms recently renovated with new furniture and bathrooms. Data ports and premium cable TV available in all rooms. Rooms with mini-fridges and microwaves also available. Wireless Internet not available.
Super 8 Kenmore/Buffalo/Niagara Falls Area, 1288 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda, ☎ +1 716 876-4020, . All rooms have coffee maker, hair dryer, cable TV with HBO. Continental breakfast.
Scottish Inn Kenmore, 1346 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda, ☎ +1 716 876-4489, . Newly renovated. All rooms have microwave, and cable TV with over 60 channels including HBO. Coffee makers and irons/ironing boards available on request.
University Manor Inn, 3612 Main St., Amherst, ☎ +1 716 837-3344, . Continental breakfast, fax service. All rooms contain coffee maker; suites with kitchens and microwave available on request. Convenient to University at Buffalo South Campus and NFTA Metro Rail via University station; shuttle to UB North Campus and airport available on request.
Comfort Inn Near Walden Galleria Mall, 475 Dingens St., Cheektowaga (I-190 exit 1), ☎ +1 716 896-2800, . Fitness center, business center, indoor pool, guest laundry, complimentary hot breakfast. All guest rooms contain refrigerators, irons and ironing boards, and coffeemakers; whirlpool suites are also available.
Galleria Inn & Suites, 601 Dingens St., Cheektowaga (I-190 exit 1), ☎ +1 716 896-2900, . Fitness center, business center, satellite TV with premium channels, free continental breakfast. Heated outdoor pool open in season; indoor whirlpool open all year.
Holiday Inn Buffalo-Amherst, 1881 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst (I-290 exit 3B), ☎ +1 716 691-8181, . Business center, whirlpool spa, indoor pool, guest laundry service and same-day dry cleaning. Small fitness center, with free passes to nearby location of Bally Total Fitness also available to guests. Meals available at the Boulevard Bar & Grill. Complimentary shuttles to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport, Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, and Buffalo-Depew Amtrak station.
Holiday Inn Grand Island, 100 Whitehaven Rd., Grand Island, ☎ +1 716 773-1111, . Conveniently located about midway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Fitness center, business center, dry cleaning services, concierge services, newsstand. Indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and whirlpool. Located in a lovely setting along the Niagara River, the hotel is adjacent to the River Oaks Golf Course and boasts fine dining at Currents "A Bistro on the Niagara".
Sleep Inn, 75 Inn Keepers Ln., Amherst (I-290 exit 3B), ☎ +1 716 691-3454, . Newly renovated. Business center, indoor pool with whirlpool, deluxe continental breakfast buffet. All rooms have flat-screen TVs with HBO.
Buffalo Marriott Niagara, 1340 Millersport Hwy., Amherst (I-290 exit 5B), ☎ +1 716 689-6900, . Express and video check-in and check-out. Coffeemaker and tea service, turndown service, electrical adapters, luxurious bedding, iron and ironing board, wireless and "Wired-for-Business" high-speed Internet access, and WebTV available in all guest rooms. Full-service business center, extensive fitness center, indoor and outdoor connecting pool with whirlpool spa. Fine dining at the recently remodeled Bluefire Grille with local specialties on the menu, also complimentary hot breakfast buffet daily. Concierge service available for additional price. Airport shuttle available.
Courtyard Buffalo Amherst, 4100 Sheridan Dr., Amherst (I-290 exit 6), ☎ +1 716 626-2300, . Fitness center, business center, indoor pool, coin laundry, valet dry cleaning. On-site dining is available at The Courtyard Café, as well as delivery from local restaurants.
Hampton Inn Buffalo-Williamsville, 5455 Main St., Williamsville, ☎ +1 716 632-0900, . Complimentary breakfast, coin laundry, business center with photo copying service, audiovisual equipment rental, fitness center and indoor pool. Located in the heart of the Village of Williamsville convenient to shops and restaurants.
Hotel Indigo Buffalo-Amherst, 10 Flint Rd., Amherst (I-290 exit 5B), ☎ +1 716 689-4414, . A high-quality property whose stylishly decorated rooms feature hardwood floors, plush bedding, and 32-inch flat-screen LCD TVs. Extensive fitness center, indoor pool with whirlpool spa, game room. Dry-cleaning service. Airport shuttles. Fine dining available at Golden Bean Café and drinks at Phi Bar.
Residence Inn Buffalo Amherst, 100 Maple Rd., Amherst (I-290 exit 5B), ☎ +1 716 632-6622, . Suites with full kitchens that are ideal for long-term stays. Complimentary hot buffet breakfast, fitness center, outdoor pool, volleyball court, playground with sandbox and slide for children.
Sassafras Bed & Breakfast, 5454 Broadway, Lancaster, ☎ +1 716 683-3753, . The Clark-Lester House, a Nationally Registered Historic Place in the historic village of Lancaster that was built in 1891 as the home of pioneering female psychologist Olive Lester, has been restored as the charming Sassafras Bed & Breakfast. The four guest rooms, as well as the two-room Emma E. Deters Suite, all boast private baths and air conditioning and are furnished in lovely Victorian style with genuine antiques as well as reproduction pieces. Working fireplaces original to the property can be found in the living room and dining room, where a lovely breakfast is served daily. The house is surrounded by lovely greenery including impeccably manicured gardens in front and a backyard filled with large old trees that slopes gently downward toward Plum Bottom Creek. Located within walking distance of the historic Lancaster Opera House.
As in the northern suburbs, the accommodation options in Buffalo's southern suburbs tend to cluster around major highway interchanges. The largest agglomeration of hotels in this area can be found around exit 57 of Interstate 90 in Hamburg; these are mainly budget chains catering to travellers along the Thruway. A smaller group of mid-scale and upscale chain hotels can be found around exit 55 of I-90, in West Seneca.
Bluebird Motel, 1630 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca, ☎ +1 716 674-3174, . All rooms feature refrigerators, microwaves, and 72 channels of cable TV.
Red Carpet Inn Buffalo, 3940 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park, ☎ +1 716 649-5890, . Walking distance from Ralph Wilson Stadium, also convenient to Hamburg Fairgrounds and ECC South Campus. All guest rooms have coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, and expanded cable TV with HBO. Jacuzzi rooms also available.
Red Roof Inn Buffalo Hamburg, 5370 Camp Rd., Hamburg (I-90 exit 57), ☎ +1 716 648-7222, . All rooms offer data ports, expanded cable TV, coffeemakers, and free long-distance calls within the continental United States.
Stadium View Inn, 4414 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, ☎ +1 716 649-6206 x10, . Convenient to Ralph Wilson Stadium, Hamburg Fairgrounds, and ECC South Campus. Free cable TV with over 70 channels including HBO; refrigerator and microwave in every room. Rooms with kitchenette also available.
Super 8 Hamburg, 5442 Camp Rd., Hamburg (I-90 exit 57), ☎ +1 716 649-0505, . All rooms contain coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. Rooms with microwave and refrigerator also available. Continental breakfast.
Tallyho-tel Hamburg, 5245 Camp Rd., Hamburg (I-90 exit 57), ☎ +1 716 648-2000, . All rooms include 55 channels of cable TV; newly remodeled kitchenette suites also available. Guest laundry, outdoor pool and patio, free coffee and tea in the morning.
Best Western Plus The Inn of Lackawanna, 2500 Hamburg Tpk., Lackawanna, ☎ +1 716 821-0030, . All guest rooms feature mini-fridges, coffeemakers, data ports, and satellite TV with HBO. Indoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, business center. Deluxe continental breakfast included.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Hamburg, 3565 Commerce Pl., Hamburg (I-90 exit 57), ☎ +1 716 834-5613, . Business center, small fitness center, indoor pool, WorldNews global newspaper service, laundry and dry cleaning service. Continental breakfast.
Hampton Inn Buffalo South, 1750 Ridge Rd., West Seneca (I-90 exit 55), ☎ +1 716 824-2030, . Business center, audiovisual equipment rental, fitness room, indoor pool, laundry and valet service, complimentary continental breakfast. Multi-lingual staff.
Staybridge Suites Buffalo/West Seneca, 164 Slade Ave., West Seneca (I-90 exit 55), ☎ +1 716 939-3100, . An extended-stay hotel that consists of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom/2-bathroom suites. Business center, courier service, 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour guest laundry, same-day dry cleaning service, indoor saltwater pool and hot tub, outdoor patio with barbecue grills. Continental breakfast, evening guest reception Tu-Th.
Sharon's Lakehouse, 4862 Lake Shore Rd., Hamburg, ☎ +1 716 627-7561, . Sharon DiMaria operates this charming lakefront bed & breakfast 15 minutes south of Buffalo. The property's two rooms are beautifully furnished and boast stunning views of Lake Erie; ceiling fans, cable TV and DVD players are all provided. A gourmet breakfast is served each morning in the intimate atmosphere of the lovely dining room. Guests can enjoy swimming, fishing and canoeing, or simply relax on the private beach at the rear of the house.
The area code for the entire Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area (as well as Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties to the south) is 716. It is not necessary to dial the area code for local calls.
Publicly accessible wireless Internet is mainly limited to coffee shops, bookstores, and other such establishments; Internet cafés are virtually unknown in Buffalo. In particular, McDonald's, Starbucks, Coffee Culture, and Barnes & Noble offer free WiFi and boast many easy-to-find locations throughout the region. Public libraries also usually offer Internet access.
Buffalo's main post office and mail processing facility is located at 1200 William St. in the city's Lovejoy neighborhood.
The reputation of Buffalo's East Side as a rough part of town can be over-exaggerated by locals, but it's not entirely undeserved. The East Side is, generally speaking, the city's poorest residential district; it is bounded roughly by Main Street on the west and north, the city line on the east, and Seneca Street on the south, with the Grider, Humboldt Park, and Genesee-Moselle neighborhoods suffering particularly from urban blight. That said, crime rates in Buffalo have fallen in recent years to levels not seen in half a century. What violent crime does occur on the East Side is usually drug- and gang-related and does not target tourists; generally speaking, other than the Museum of Science and a handful of attractions in the relatively safe neighborhood of Lovejoy, there is fairly little on the East Side of interest to visitors anyway. Follow general precautions that would apply in any urban area—locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight, being aware of your surroundings, etc.—and you should be fine pretty much anywhere.
Panhandlers can be found occasionally on Chippewa Street downtown and in Allentown and the Elmwood Village, though not nearly to the degree of most other cities. Aggressive panhandling is virtually unknown.
In case of medical emergency, Buffalo is well-served by a wide variety of hospitals and other medical facilities. The Erie County Medical Center on Grider Street is Buffalo's largest hospital and is a teaching facility for students of the University of Buffalo Medical School. Kaleida Health operates Buffalo General Hospital, Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, and (in the suburbs) Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and DeGraff Memorial Hospital. Catholic Health Systems of Buffalo operates Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital, which each have one city location and one suburban location.
Newspapers and print media
Since the Courier-Express went bankrupt in 1982, the Buffalo News has been the city's sole daily newspaper. With a circulation of nearly 155,000 daily and over 235,000 Sunday, the Buffalo News is the most widely circulated newspaper in Upstate New York. Journalists employed by the News have won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for Editorial Cartooning and one for Local Reporting; in 2009, the New York State Associated Press Association named the Buffalo News New York State's "Newspaper of Distinction" for that year in recognition of the quality of its journalism. These facts may come as a surprise to locals. Listings for concerts, movies, theatre productions, and other events around town are published in Gusto, a weekly supplement to the Buffalo News published on Fridays.
Fans of alternative papers have two choices: Artvoice is a weekly publication that, despite its name, covers not only Buffalo's thriving arts community but also local news, politics, and commentary with a bent that is decidedly progressive and often critical of the Buffalo News. The Buffalo Beast is a biweekly alternative paper founded by Matt Taibbi, now famous as a writer for Rolling Stone and Men's Journal magazines, that leans left-libertarian. The Beast is famous as the employer of Ian Murphy, who made news in 2009 by impersonating billionaire financier David Koch in a phone call to controversial Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Buffalo Rising is an excellent online publication whose "beat is New Buffalo" and which features "original content written by fellow Buffalonians knowledgeable and passionate about their city".
The Buffalo Criterion is one of the oldest continually-published African-American newspapers in the country. Panorama Hispano publishes news relevant to Buffalo's Latino community in both English and Spanish, and also serves the Hispanic communities in the nearby cities of Dunkirk, Jamestown, and Rochester. The Am-Pol Eagle is a weekly paper featuring news and commentary of interest to the Polish-American community in the Buffalo area. Also, many of Buffalo's neighborhoods boast community newspapers of their own, such as the Allentown Neighbor and the North Buffalo Rocket.
Buffalo Spree is a monthly magazine featuring articles on dining, events, and the arts in the local area.
In the field of radio broadcasting, Buffalo's history is one of the longest in the nation; its oldest radio station, WGR, has been on the air since 1922. Sadly, though, Buffalo radio leaves much to be desired in the present day, a fact that has led many locals to become listeners of radio stations based in Toronto and elsewhere in Southern Ontario. Buffalo's highest-rated radio stations as of 2011 are WYRK, WBLK, WGRF, and WHTT on the FM dial, and WBEN on the AM dial; these and other stations are listed below.
Radio stations serving the Buffalo area include:
WBFO 88.7 FM: Formerly a full-service NPR news and jazz station owned by the University at Buffalo, since WBFO's purchase in March 2012 by the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association it has broadcasted NPR news and talk over most of its schedule, with news from the BBC World Service during the overnight hours and weekend evenings devoted to blues music.
WFWO 89.7 FM: Gospel music catering to an African-American audience.
WFBF 89.9 FM: Christian radio.
WGCC 90.7 FM: Album-Oriented Rock broadcast from Genesee Community College in Batavia.
WBNY 91.3 FM: "Buffalo's Original Alternative". College radio from Buffalo State College.
WBUF 92.9 FM: "Jack FM". Radio hits from the '70s through today.
WBLK 93.7 FM: Hip-hop and contemporary R&B.
WNED 94.5 FM: Classical music from Western New York Public Radio.
WJYE 96.1 FM: "Joy 96". Soft rock and adult contemporary.
WGRF 96.9 FM: "97 Rock". A classic rock station and staple of Buffalo radio culture. Boasts Buffalo's top-rated morning show hosted by Larry Norton, and is the radio voice of the Buffalo Bills.
WKSE 98.5 FM: "Kiss 98.5". Top 40 hits with Janet Snyder and Nicholas Picholas in the morning.
WDCX 99.5 FM: Buffalo's highest-rated Christian radio station.
WLOF 101.7 FM: "The Station of the Cross". Catholic radio.
WTSS 102.5 FM: "Star 102.5". Hot AC.
WEDG 103.3 FM: "103.3 The Edge". Active rock; Shredd & Ragan in the morning.
WHTT 104.1 FM: Classic hits.
WYRK 106.5 FM: Contemporary country. Buffalo's highest-rated radio station.
WLKK 107.7 FM: Formerly an album-rock station that was one of the area's best, WLKK now simulcasts WBEN 930 AM with its original format ("The Lake") continuing on its HD2 digital subchannel.
WGR 550 AM: Sports talk. The radio home of the Buffalo Sabres. One of the oldest commercial radio stations in the country.
WBEN 930 AM: Conservative news/talk.
WNED 970 AM: Simulcasts WBFO 88.7 FM, which was purchased by WNED's owners in 2012.
WUFO 1080 AM: Urban gospel and soul.
WBBF 1120 AM: "Fiesta Latina". Spanish-language music and talk.
WECK 1230 AM: Light oldies and sports programming including New York Yankees baseball and UB Bulls basketball.
WHLD 1270 AM: "Swing 1270". Adult standards and nostalgia.
WXRL 1300 AM: Classic country as well as Ron Dombrowski's locally famous polka show Monday through Saturday.
WLVL 1340 AM: Conservative news/talk.
WWWS 1400 AM: Solid gold soul featuring James "The Doctor" Cornelius on afternoons.
WJJL 1440 AM: Oldies.
WWKB 1520 AM: "The Voice of the New Majority". Liberal talk, also broadcasts Buffalo Bisons baseball games.
Canadian radio stations with significant popularity among Buffalonians include:
CJRT 91.1 FM (Toronto): Jazz. A popular station among fans of the jazz music that was formerly broadcast on WBFO.
CHTZ 97.7 FM (St. Catharines): Active rock.
CHFI 98.1 FM (Toronto): Top 40.
CKFM 99.9 FM (Toronto): Top 40.
CKEY 101.1 FM (Fort Erie): Top 40.
CFNY 102.1 FM (Toronto): Alternative rock.
CHUM 104.5 FM (Toronto): Hot AC.
CILQ 107.1 FM: (Toronto): Classic rock.
CFZM 740 AM (Toronto): Solid gold oldies.
The quality of reception from Canadian stations may vary (especially stations from Toronto).
Buffalo's television stations represent all major American television networks. In addition to these, many Canadian television stations based in Toronto are available through Time Warner Cable; however, over-the-air reception of these stations is generally very poor.
Television stations based in Buffalo include:
WGRZ Channel 2: NBC.
WIVB Channel 4: CBS. One of the oldest television stations in the nation, WIVB went on the air (as WBEN-TV) in 1948.
WKBW Channel 7: ABC.
WNED Channel 17: PBS. One of the oldest public television stations in the U.S. and still a cornerstone of the network, WNED has produced a great deal of PBS's original programming, including Reading Rainbow and the political comedy specials of Buffalo native Mark Russell.
WNLO Channel 23: The CW.
WNYB Channel 26: Tri-State Christian Television.
WUTV Channel 29: Fox.
WDTB Channel 39: Daystar Television Network. Christian television.
WNYO Channel 49: MyNetworkTV.
WPXJ Channel 51: Ion Television.
WBXZ Channel 56: Home Shopping Network.
WBBZ Channel 67: Me-TV.
Places of worship
The foundation of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr in 1872 gave rise to the Polish community centered in Broadway-Fillmore. Unlike most East Side Catholic churches, St. Stanislaus is still an active and vibrant parish.
From early in its history, Buffalo's population has been predominantly Roman Catholic. Today, the city of Buffalo—particularly the East Side, historically a neighborhood of German Catholics—is still replete with massive, ornate stone churches and cathedrals, some still in use, most not. St. Joseph's Cathedral, at 50 Franklin St. downtown, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Other Catholic churches of note in the city include St. Louis Roman Catholic Church at the corner of Main and Goodell Streets in Allentown, Buffalo's oldest Catholic congregation whose current building was erected in 1885 and still boasts the tallest unreinforced stone church steeple in the United States, as well as St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr Roman Catholic Church, the so-called "Mother Church of Polonia" whose foundation caused a massive and enduring Polish community to gather in the East Side neighborhood of Broadway-Fillmore. St. Stanislaus was once home of one of the largest Roman Catholic congregations in the country, with 20,000 parishioners at its peak, and is still a center of Buffalo Polish culture. Also located in Broadway-Fillmore is St. Adalbert Basilica, a former Polish congregation which closed for regular worship in 2011 but is still open for special events such as weddings and funerals; this was the first church in the U.S. to be named a basilica. Outside of Buffalo, Our Lady of Victory Basilica is a massive marble structure in the neighboring city of Lackawanna that is a testament to the charitable institutions headed by Father Nelson Baker, who is currently being considered by the Vatican for sainthood. Our Lady Help of Christians is a congregation in the suburb of Cheektowaga whose Maria Hilf Chapel was built in 1853 by Alsatian immigrant Joseph Batt; this Nationally Registered Historic Place was (and, to a lesser extent, still is) a destination for religious pilgrims from the local area, who arrive on May 24th of each year in hopes of being healed of various physical ailments.
Protestant churches are far more numerous in Buffalo's suburbs than in the city proper; however, there are a few large and active congregations within Buffalo, especially in Allentown, the Elmwood Village, and Parkside. St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, at 125 Pearl St. downtown, is a stunning, 274-foot (83.5m) Gothic sandstone edifice that is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, as well as a Nationally Registered Historic Place and a National Historic Landmark. First Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church, both located in Allentown, are the largest churches in Buffalo of that denomination; the former is located on Symphony Circle and was designed by the prolific local architect E. B. Green. For those of the Lutheran faith, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, on Main Street north of downtown, is a notable option. There is a large Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Ferry Street, in the heart of the Elmwood Village.
The Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is not only the place of worship for Buffalo's Greek Orthodox population, but is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is well-known as the site of the Buffalo Greek Fest each June. It is located on Delaware Avenue. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a location near downtown as well as churches in the suburbs of Amherst, Lancaster, and Orchard Park.
Two longstanding cornerstones of Buffalo's African-American community, the Macedonia Baptist Church and the Durham Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, are located on or near Michigan Avenue in the traditional heart of Buffalo's black community. The former is better known by its original name, the Michigan Street Baptist Church, and is famous for having been a "station" of the Underground Railroad during the years immediately before the Civil War.
Buffalo's modest-sized Jewish community, long centered on the Near East Side and later in North Buffalo, has largely moved to the suburbs, principally Amherst. Congregation Shir Shalom (Reform), Temple Beth Tzedek (Conservative), and Young Israel (Orthodox) are all located in Amherst. Temple Beth Zion, situated in a boldly modernist building in the heart of the Delaware Avenue Historic District, is the largest Jewish congregation in the area and also one of the oldest and largest congregations of Reform Jews in the United States.
The Jaffarya Islamic Center of Buffalo is located on Transit Road in the hamlet of Swormville, about 20 miles (30km) northeast of the city. The city of Lackawanna, immediately south of Buffalo, is well-known locally for its large community of Muslims who hail mainly from Yemen; the Lackawanna Islamic Mosque is located at 154 Wilkesbarre St. in that city.
Adherents of other religions may be interested in the SGI-USA Buffalo Community Center at 121 W. Tupper St., a Buddhist temple; the Buffalo Zen Center in suburban West Seneca, and the Buffalo Gurdwara Sahib, a Sikh temple at 6569 Main St. in Williamsville.
The nonreligious community may be interested in the fact that the Center for Inquiry, one of the largest secular and skeptical advocacy organizations in the world, has its headquarters in the suburb of Amherst, adjacent to the North Campus of the University of Buffalo. Special events are held periodically throughout the year.
East Aurora is a charming village of just over 6,000 citizens located about 25 minutes south and east of Buffalo via State Route 400. A quaint middle- and upper-middle-class suburb today, East Aurora began as a frontier settlement and is historically important for two main reasons: as the site of the Roycroft Community, a colony of printers, furniture makers, metalsmiths, bookbinders, and other artisans founded in 1895 by writer, artist and philosopher Elbert Hubbard that was an important component of the Arts and Crafts Movement of American art in the early 20th Century, and as the longtime home of the Fisher-Price toy company, whose founding in 1930 earned East Aurora the nickname "Toy Town, U.S.A." Though the Toy Town Museum is currently in search of another home after its original facility closed in 2009, the still-active Roycroft Campus boasts popular tours, classes and demonstrations on offer to the public. Visitors to East Aurora may also be interested in the Explore & More Children's Museum which features engaging educational exhibits for children of all ages, Knox Farm State Park, 633 acres (256 ha) of forests, ponds, and meadows that were once the summer estate of wealthy Buffalo businessman Seymour Knox and which now feature guided nature walks, wildlife, hiking and cross-country skiing, and the Millard Fillmore House, a restored historic home operated by the Aurora Historical Society where the future U.S. President lived and practiced law from 1826 until 1830. On weekdays, NFTA Metro Bus #70 — East Aurora Express  departs downtown Buffalo for East Aurora at 4:14 PM and 5:08 PM, though those travelling to East Aurora by bus will need to arrange alternate transportation for their return as departures from East Aurora to Buffalo occur in the morning only.
Niagara Falls, New York is a short 30-minute drive up Interstate 190—or a 35-minute bus ride via NFTA Metro Bus #40 or #60—from downtown Buffalo. In comparison with the neon glitz of its counterpart in Ontario, Niagara Falls, New York might seem at first like yet another down-at-the-heels industrial burg of the Rust Belt, with chemical plants and other moribund industrial facilities lining the highway as you approach downtown. Those who look beyond that, though, will come to appreciate charms such as the revitalization of Niagara Falls' Little Italy along Pine Avenue, the attention that is finally being paid to the historic downtown area, the world-class Aquarium of Niagara, and especially the Niagara Reservation State Park adjacent to the falls, which, unlike the cacophonous tourist area of the Canadian side, is understated and even serene, with no hoopla to distract attention away from the main attraction. Of course, Niagara Falls themselves need no introduction as a mecca for honeymooners and other tourists and as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Fans of Niagara Falls, Ontario-style neon glitz need not be completely disappointed, either: the Seneca Niagara Hotel and Casino, a flashy, high-rise affair run by the Seneca Indians, has been in operation in Niagara Falls, New York since 2003.
Clarence is a quaint upper-middle-class suburb of Buffalo, located about 30 minutes north and east of the city via State Route 5 or exit 49 of Interstate 90. Appropriately for the oldest town in Erie County (Clarence was settled in 1799, a few years before Buffalo), Clarence is well-known locally as a paradise for antique shopping. Most of these antique shops are located in Clarence Hollow, a quaint business district centered along Main Street about 15 miles (24km) east of Buffalo. Antique World, which is actually located just over the town line in Newstead, about a mile (1.6km) east of the Hollow, is the largest antique market in and around Clarence.
With a population of 21,165 as of the 2010 Census, Lockport is the county seat of Niagara County, New York, and is located about 25 miles (40km) northeast of Buffalo via Interstate 990 and State Routes 263 and 78. Like Buffalo, Lockport is a historic industrial city that owes its existence to the Erie Canal, which still runs directly through downtown. Specifically, Lockport grew up around a series of five locks located at the site where the canal crosses the steep Niagara Escarpment. Canal-related attractions in Lockport include the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises along the Erie Canal (including a trip through the locks), a boat tour through the Lockport Cave, and the Lockport Erie Canal Museum. Also of interest to visitors is the Niagara County Historical Society Museum, a large complex whose mission is to retell the rich history of Niagara County. Users of public transportation will note that NFTA Metro Bus #44B — Lockport  departs the University Metro Rail Station for downtown Lockport 14 times a day from Monday through Friday, and NFTA MetroLink Route #201 — Lockport Shuttle  loops around the city nine times daily from Monday through Friday, serving the downtown area, Lockport Memorial Hospital, the suburban shopping centers along Transit Road south of downtown, and other Lockport destinations.
Lewiston is a quaint and historic village on the Niagara River located about 10 minutes north of Niagara Falls via the Robert Moses Parkway, and 30 minutes north of Buffalo via Interstate 190. Aside from the cute boutiques, restaurants, B&Bs, and historic buildings that line the restored streets of the business district, visitors flock to this village of 2,701 citizens to enjoy Earl W. Brydges Artpark, the only state park in the U.S. devoted to the arts, which also offers hiking, cross-country skiing, and one of the area's foremost venues for the performing arts. Lewiston's riverfront is centered on Water Street Landing, which boasts the Freedom Crossing Monument, marking the spot where many escaped African-American slaves embarked on the last stage of their journey to freedom in Canada, and the Whirlpool Jet Boat, which takes passengers on a thrilling ride through the Class 5 rapids of the Niagara River. Mondays through Fridays, Lewiston is accessible (with considerable difficulty) via NFTA Metro Bus #50B — Main-Niagara , which departs the Portage Road Transportation Center in Niagara Falls six times daily for downtown Lewiston. Visitors to Buffalo interested in traveling to Lewiston by bus should first board NFTA Metro Bus #40 or #60 for Niagara Falls as directed in the "Get Around" section.
Calling itself "Western New York's Coaster Capital", Darien Lake is a 980-acre (300ha) theme park resort in rural Genesee County, about 40 minutes east of Buffalo. Darien Lake is hands-down the most popular amusement park for Buffalonians in the summer, as well as a major destination for thrill-seekers from all over Upstate New York, Southern Ontario, and Pennsylvania. Over 40 rides are on offer, including 6 roller coasters and a water park. Also, there is a resort hotel, campground, laser light show, and the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, one of Western New York's premier venues for live music. From late June through Labor Day, NFTA Metro Bus #97 — Darien Lake Express  runs one trip in each direction between downtown Buffalo and Darien Lake. This bus runs seven days a week and drops passengers off at the park's main entrance for a price of $2.50 one-way or $5.00 round-trip (i.e., a surcharge of 50¢ one-way or $1.00 round-trip over the standard NFTA fare.)
The hills south and southeast of Buffalo bear the brunt of the often heavy lake-effect snow that falls between November and January; as such, this is Buffalo's ski country. The closest ski resort to Buffalo is Kissing Bridge. This 700-acre (280ha) facility is located on Glenwood-East Concord Rd. in the town of Colden. An average of 180 inches (450cm) of snow falls annually at Kissing Bridge, creating perfect conditions for the 36 slopes offered there for skiers of all skill levels. These slopes are served by two base lodges, and Kissing Bridge also offers a ski and snowboard shop as well as equipment rental. Adjacent to Kissing Bridge is the Colden Tubing Company, Western New York's premier destination for downhill tubing. Additional ski resorts are located in Chautauqua County and in Ellicottville, discussed below.
The beaches along Lake Erie south of Buffalo are popular summer day trips for locals. Though many are privately owned or restrict admittance to residents of their respective towns, several are accessible to the general public. The most popular of these is Evangola State Park, just before the county line in the town of Brant. Evangola offers not only a natural sandy arc patrolled by lifeguards that is one of Western New York's finest beaches, but also baseball, volleyball, tennis, disc golf, horseshoes, and (by reservation) picnic shelters and campsites. Other public beaches further afield can be found in Chautauqua County, in Silver Creek (Sunset Bay) and Dunkirk (Wright Park and Point Gratiot Park).
Genesee County is located along I-90 about midway between Buffalo and Rochester. Batavia is the largest city in Genesee County and one of the oldest and most historic towns in the area; visitors to Batavia may be interested in Batavia Downs Casino, which features harness racing, slots, and video gaming. Other Genesee County attractions include Darien Lake, described above, as well as the JELL-O Gallery, a kitschy roadside museum dedicated to the gelatin dessert located in the town of Le Roy, where it was invented.
Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY, ☎ +1 716 745-7611, . Daily 9AM-5PM, until 7PM Jul-Aug. Old Fort Niagara is a state park and a National Historic Landmark located 40 minutes north of Buffalo in the village of Youngstown. Fort Niagara is a former trading post and military base built in 1678 by the French; the "French Castle", built in 1726, is the oldest existing structure in the United States between the East Coast and the Southwest. Today, Fort Niagara welcomes 100,000 visitors each year as a state park and historic site, a museum with displays on archaeology and local history, and a living history center where historical reenactments and other events are often held.$12, $8 children.
Chautauqua County is located southwest of Buffalo and is easily accessible via Interstate 90. Chautauqua County is full of worthwhile attractions such as sprawling forests, waterfalls, Lake Erie beaches, and the wineries sandwiched between the lake shore and the hills. The Chautauqua Institution is a dry (non-alcoholic) resort community located on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, about halfway between Fredonia and Jamestown, that offers intellectual summer vacations based around performances, lectures and educational workshops in music, arts, dance, theology, philosophy, etc., as well as lodging, dining and attractions steeped in Victorian charm. . Lily Dale is located a few miles (km) south of Fredonia and is famous as a center of the Spiritualist movement; dozens of psychic readers, fortune-tellers, and mediums have set up shop in this small, quaint hamlet, and lectures by such prominent individuals as John Edward, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra are frequently held. For winter visitors to Chautauqua County, Peek 'n Peak Resort, at 1405 Old Rd. in the town of Clymer, offers 27 downhill ski slopes, downhill tubing, and ski and snowboard rental. In the summer, two golf courses are on offer to visitors.
Cattaraugus County is located southeast of Buffalo. An expanse of mountainous rural farmland, Cattaraugus County includes several notable sites of interest to the tourist. First and foremost, the resort town of Ellicottville has much to offer the visitor in all four seasons, but is known as mecca for skiers and snowboarders during the winter, with two ski resorts including Holiday Valley, the largest and most popular winter destination in Western New York, and HoliMont, the largest private ski club in North America. Just north of Ellicottville, in the town of East Otto, Griffis Sculpture Park is the oldest sculpture park in the United States, founded in 1966. Adjacent to the border with Pennsylvania is Allegany State Park, the 100-square-mile (263km²) "wilderness playground of Western New York" that offers camping, skiing, hiking, and natural beauty. Near Allegany State Park, in Salamanca, is the Seneca Allegany Hotel and Casino.
New York State's third-largest city, Rochester, is a short drive of 60 to 90 minutes eastward along Interstate 90. Museums, art galleries, street festivals, exciting professional sports, and more are to be had in a perfect combination of big-city amenities and small-town intimacy.
The Finger Lakes region is located between Rochester and Syracuse, about two hours east of Buffalo along Interstate 90. Named for the series of eleven long, slender lakes found across the region, the Finger Lakes region offers natural beauty and small-town charm, but is best-known among locals for its status as the most important wine-producing area in the Eastern U.S. Over 100 wineries are located in the region, many of which offer tours and tastings in season.
North of the Border
All people, including U.S. citizens, are required to produce a passport or an enhanced drivers' license to cross the Canadian border as well as on their return trip to the United States. Vehicles may be stopped and searched, but more often travellers will be sent on their way quickly after showing their passports and being questioned briefly about the purpose of their trip and the planned length of their stay (this is especially true of U.S. and Canadian citizens). There are three border crossings in the Buffalo area: the Peace Bridge, by which travellers cross from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario for a toll of $3.00 (payable in either U.S. or Canadian funds), the Rainbow Bridge between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario (toll $3.25 U.S. or Canadian), and the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge a short distance north of Niagara Falls (toll $3.25 U.S. or Canadian). For travellers to most Canadian destinations other than Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge offers the most direct route, but is also the one that is most prone to delays. Also, it is worth mentioning that the Rainbow Bridge can be crossed by pedestrians and bicycles for the rate of 50¢; this also offers excellent views of the Falls. The Peace Bridge can also be crossed on foot (no charge), though in practice this is rarely done. For travellers to Toronto, Greyhound/Greyhound Canada has 12 daily departures from the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center ($20 one-way, no reservations required), while Megabus has six (starts at $1 each way; average is around $17). There's also a single daily Amtrak/VIA train from Buffalo-Exchange Street Station to Toronto via Niagara Falls, although compared to the much more frequent bus service, the train takes longer and is significantly more expensive. For more information about Customs regulations, see the Canadian Border Services Agency website: .
Fort Erie, Ontario is located immediately west of Buffalo and is easily accessible via the Peace Bridge. There are several worthwhile attractions in this small city of about 30,000. Old Fort Erie is a reconstructed British military garrison that was the scene of several battles of the War of 1812. From May to October, Fort Erie Racetrack & Slots offers exciting thoroughbred horse racing including the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown. Games of chance can be enjoyed at Uncle Sam's Bingo Palace and Golden Nugget Bingo. Also on the shores of Lake Erie near town are some of Canada's finest freshwater beaches, such as Crystal Beach, Waverly Beach, and Bay Beach.
Niagara Falls, Ontario is directly across the river from Niagara Falls, New York, and accessible via the Rainbow Bridge. Niagara Falls, Ontario is very different from its U.S. counterpart: the views of the Falls are almost unanimously considered to be better, but rather than the comparatively quiet greenery that abuts the falls on the American side, Niagara Falls, Ontario boasts Clifton Hill, a gaudy tourist area adjacent to the falls that consists of swanky high-rise hotels, a pair of casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, and gimmicky tourist traps such as the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and the Movieland Wax Museum. Though gritty urban streets such as those of Niagara Falls, New York are almost unheard of on the Canadian side, it's often said that the Las Vegas-style neon jungle that has sprouted in Niagara Falls, Ontario detracts from the majesty of the falls themselves. It's considerably quieter outside of the main tourist district, with romantic B&Bs, verdant parkland, and (further north) wineries lining the Niagara Parkway, one of the area's most scenic drives that runs along the Canadian side of the Niagara River from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara Falls is also home of Marineland, an amusement park popular with Buffalonians and Canadians alike that features exhibits of sea animals such as dolphins and killer whales, about a dozen rides, and a campground.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is located north of Niagara Falls, Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River, an hour's drive from Buffalo. Niagara-on-the-Lake is rich with history: at the end of the 18th century it served briefly as the capital of Ontario, and it was of strategic military importance during the War of 1812. Today, visitors to Niagara Falls often make side trips to Niagara-on-the-Lake to take in the picture-perfect streets of the town center, whose stone buildings give off the ambience of a prim British village. Wine lovers will note that the town is located in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula wine country, and history buffs can tour restored military sites such as Fort George. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also notable as the home of the long-running Shaw Festival; each year from April until November, performances of selected plays of George Bernard Shaw or his contemporaries are held in three historic theatres in the town.
The Niagara Peninsula extends between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, immediately west of Buffalo. Aside from the region's fertile farmland and historical importance as a battleground during the War of 1812, the Niagara Peninsula is greatly popular with tourists as Canada's most productive wine-producing region. There are dozens of European-style wineries straddling both sides of the Niagara Escarpment that are open to visitors in season. The unique microclimate of the Niagara Peninsula is particularly suited to producing ice wine, an extremely sweet variety popular as a dessert wine.
Toronto is located about two hours from Buffalo (assuming no significant delays at Customs). With over five and a half million people living in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada's largest city is an exciting and dynamic metropolis that offers all the big-city excitement one could want.