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Discover the Best Things to Do in Buffalo, NY: A Guide to Exploring the Queen City

Photo things to do in buffalo ny

Buffalo, New York, is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie, Buffalo has played a significant role in the development of the United States. From its early days as a trading post to its rise as an industrial powerhouse, Buffalo has seen it all. Today, the city is known for its stunning architecture, thriving arts scene, delicious food, and passionate sports culture.

Buffalo was founded in 1789 and quickly became an important center for trade and commerce. The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 further solidified Buffalo’s position as a major transportation hub. The city’s strategic location near the Great Lakes and its access to the canal system made it an ideal location for shipping goods across the country. Buffalo’s industrial boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to the construction of many iconic buildings that still stand today.

In addition to its fascinating history, Buffalo is also home to a vibrant cultural scene. The city boasts numerous museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues that showcase both local talent and internationally renowned artists. From the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the Shea’s Performing Arts Center, there is no shortage of cultural experiences to be had in Buffalo.

Key Takeaways

  • Buffalo, NY is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture.
  • Must-see attractions in Buffalo include iconic landmarks and hidden gems.
  • Buffalo’s art scene offers museums, galleries, and public art installations to explore.
  • The food and drink scene in Buffalo features local delicacies and craft breweries.
  • Experiencing the outdoors in Buffalo includes parks, trails, and waterfront activities.

Must-See Attractions in Buffalo: From Iconic Landmarks to Hidden Gems

1. Niagara Falls: No visit to Buffalo would be complete without a trip to Niagara Falls. Just a short drive from the city, this natural wonder attracts millions of visitors each year. Whether you choose to take a boat tour to get up close to the falls or simply admire them from one of the observation decks, Niagara Falls is a sight that will leave you in awe.

2. Buffalo City Hall: One of Buffalo’s most iconic landmarks, City Hall is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture. Visitors can take guided tours of the building to learn about its history and admire its beautiful interior. The observation deck on the 28th floor offers panoramic views of the city.

3. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House: Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Darwin D. Martin House is a masterpiece of Prairie School architecture. Guided tours of the house and grounds provide insight into Wright’s design principles and the history of the Martin family.

4. Elmwood Village: Located just north of downtown Buffalo, Elmwood Village is a vibrant neighborhood known for its charming shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Take a stroll down Elmwood Avenue to explore the unique boutiques and grab a bite to eat at one of the many local eateries.

5. Canalside: Situated along Buffalo’s waterfront, Canalside is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. The area offers a variety of activities, including concerts, festivals, ice skating in the winter, and boat tours on the Buffalo River.

6. Buffalo Zoo: Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is home to a wide range of animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants. The zoo also offers educational programs and special events throughout the year.

7. Albright-Knox Art Gallery: Recognized as one of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art museums, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of works by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Pollock. The museum also features rotating exhibitions and hosts various events and programs.

Exploring Buffalo’s Art Scene: Museums, Galleries, and Public Art Installations

1. Burchfield Penney Art Center: Located on the campus of Buffalo State College, the Burchfield Penney Art Center is dedicated to the art and artists of Western New York. The museum features a diverse collection of contemporary and historical works, with a particular focus on artists from the region.

2. CEPA Gallery: As Buffalo’s premier contemporary photography and visual arts center, CEPA Gallery showcases the work of local, national, and international artists. The gallery hosts rotating exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs for all ages.

3. Silo City: Situated along the Buffalo River, Silo City is a unique cultural destination that celebrates the city’s industrial heritage. The site is home to a collection of historic grain elevators that have been transformed into a space for art installations, performances, and events.

4. Buffalo Arts Studio: Located in the heart of downtown Buffalo, Buffalo Arts Studio is a nonprofit arts organization that supports local artists and promotes contemporary art in the community. The studio features rotating exhibitions, artist residencies, and educational programs.

5. Public art installations throughout the city: Buffalo is known for its vibrant public art scene, with numerous murals, sculptures, and installations scattered throughout the city. From the colorful “Greetings from Buffalo” mural to the giant shark sculpture at Canalside, there is always something interesting to discover.

Discovering Buffalo’s Food and Drink Scene: Local Delicacies and Craft Breweries

Category Data/Metrics
Number of Craft Breweries 25
Number of Local Delicacies 50+
Most Popular Craft Brewery Community Beer Works
Most Popular Local Delicacy Beef on Weck
Number of Food Festivals 10+
Number of Food Trucks 30+
Number of Farmers Markets 15+

1. Buffalo wings: No visit to Buffalo would be complete without trying the city’s most famous culinary creation – Buffalo wings. These spicy chicken wings are typically served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Anchor Bar and Duff’s Famous Wings are two of the most popular spots to indulge in this local delicacy.

2. Beef on weck: Another iconic Buffalo dish is beef on weck. This sandwich features thinly sliced roast beef piled high on a kummelweck roll, which is topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds. Schwabl’s and Charlie the Butcher are known for serving up some of the best beef on weck in the city.

3. Sponge candy: A sweet treat that originated in Buffalo, sponge candy is a light and airy confection made from sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda. It has a sponge-like texture and is typically coated in chocolate. Watson’s Chocolates is a local favorite for sponge candy.

4. Craft breweries such as Resurgence Brewing Company and Community Beer Works: Buffalo has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries offering a wide range of styles and flavors. Resurgence Brewing Company and Community Beer Works are two popular choices for beer enthusiasts looking to sample some of the city’s best brews.

5. Local restaurants and food tours: In addition to its iconic dishes, Buffalo is home to a diverse culinary scene that offers something for everyone. From farm-to-table restaurants to ethnic eateries, there are plenty of options to satisfy any craving. Food tours, such as those offered by Buffalo Bites Food Tours, provide a fun and delicious way to explore the city’s culinary offerings.

Experiencing the Outdoors in Buffalo: Parks, Trails, and Waterfront Activities

1. Delaware Park: Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Delaware Park is a beautiful urban park that offers a peaceful escape from the city. The park features walking paths, tennis courts, a golf course, and the Buffalo Zoo.

2. Outer Harbor: Located along Lake Erie, the Outer Harbor is a scenic waterfront area that offers stunning views of the lake and downtown Buffalo. The area features walking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking.

3. Niagara River Greenway: Stretching along the Niagara River from Buffalo to Niagara Falls, the Niagara River Greenway offers miles of scenic trails for walking, biking, and rollerblading. The greenway also provides access to several parks and recreational areas.

4. Buffalo RiverWorks: Situated on the banks of the Buffalo River, Buffalo RiverWorks is a unique entertainment complex that offers a variety of outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, zip-lining, and rock climbing, as well as ice skating and curling in the winter.

5. Kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake Erie: With its proximity to Lake Erie, Buffalo is a great destination for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the lake’s calm waters, or join a guided tour to learn more about the area’s natural and cultural history.

Buffalo’s Sports Culture: Catching a Game and Embracing the Spirit of the City

1. Buffalo Bills football: Buffalo is known for its passionate fan base, especially when it comes to the Buffalo Bills football team. Catching a game at New Era Field is an experience like no other, with fans known for their dedication and enthusiasm.

2. Buffalo Sabres hockey: Hockey is another sport that holds a special place in the hearts of Buffalonians. The Buffalo Sabres are the city’s professional hockey team, and attending a game at KeyBank Center is a must for any sports fan.

3. Buffalo Bisons baseball: For a more relaxed sporting experience, head to Sahlen Field to watch the Buffalo Bisons, the city’s minor league baseball team. The stadium offers a family-friendly atmosphere and affordable ticket prices.

4. College sports at the University at Buffalo: The University at Buffalo fields several competitive sports teams, including football, basketball, and soccer. Attending a game on campus is a great way to support local athletes and experience the excitement of college sports.

Shopping and Entertainment in Buffalo: Unique Boutiques, Theaters, and Nightlife

1. Elmwood Village shopping district: Elmwood Avenue in the Elmwood Village neighborhood is known for its eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, and galleries. From vintage clothing stores to independent bookshops, there is something for everyone in this vibrant shopping district.

2. Shea’s Performing Arts Center: Located in a beautifully restored historic theater, Shea’s Performing Arts Center is the premier venue for Broadway shows and other live performances in Buffalo. Catching a show here is a must for theater lovers.

3. Tralf Music Hall: For live music in an intimate setting, head to the Tralf Music Hall. This iconic venue has hosted a wide range of artists, from jazz legends to up-and-coming indie bands.

4. Chippewa Street nightlife: If you’re looking for a night out on the town, Chippewa Street is the place to be. This bustling entertainment district is home to numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Historical Landmarks in Buffalo: Preserving the City’s Past and Celebrating its Heritage

1. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site: Located in the house where Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office following the assassination of President William McKinley, this historic site offers guided tours that provide insight into Roosevelt’s presidency and the political climate of the time.

2. Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park: Situated on the Buffalo waterfront, the Naval & Military Park is home to several decommissioned military vessels, including the USS Little Rock and the USS The Sullivans. Visitors can explore the ships and learn about their history through interactive exhibits.

3. Forest Lawn Cemetery: Established in 1849, Forest Lawn Cemetery is not only a final resting place for many notable individuals but also a beautiful park-like setting that showcases stunning architecture and sculptures. Guided tours are available to learn about the cemetery’s history and notable residents.

4. Buffalo History Museum: Housed in a beautiful neoclassical building, the Buffalo History Museum offers a comprehensive look at the city’s past. The museum features exhibits on topics such as Native American history, the Erie Canal, and Buffalo’s industrial heritage.

Family-Friendly Activities in Buffalo: Fun for All Ages

1. Buffalo Museum of Science: With interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, the Buffalo Museum of Science is a great place for families to learn and explore together. The museum also features a planetarium and hosts special events and workshops.

2. Explore & More Children’s Museum: Located at Canalside, Explore & More Children’s Museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and play areas designed for children of all ages. From a pretend grocery store to a water play area, there is plenty to keep little ones entertained.

3. Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens: Step into a tropical oasis at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. This historic greenhouse features a wide variety of plants from around the world, as well as seasonal flower displays and educational programs.

4. Martin’s Fantasy Island amusement park: Located just outside of Buffalo, Martin’s Fantasy Island is a family-friendly amusement park with rides, games, and live entertainment. From thrilling roller coasters to gentle kiddie rides, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Planning Your Trip to Buffalo: Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit

1. Best time of year to visit: Buffalo experiences all four seasons, with cold winters and warm summers. The best time to visit depends on your preferences – if you enjoy winter sports, then the snowy months are ideal. Spring and fall offer milder temperatures and beautiful foliage, while summer is perfect for outdoor activities.

2. Transportation options: Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the main airport serving the region, with flights from major cities across the United States. Once in Buffalo, public transportation options include buses and light rail trains operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Taxis and rideshare services are also readily available.

3. Accommodation recommendations: Buffalo offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury hotels in downtown Buffalo to cozy bed and breakfasts in historic neighborhoods, there is something for everyone. Some popular choices include the Hotel Henry, the Mansion on Delaware Avenue, and the InnBuffalo off Elmwood.

4. Additional resources for planning your trip: The Visit Buffalo Niagara website is a great resource for planning your trip to Buffalo. It provides information on attractions, events, dining options, and more. The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center also offers visitor information and can help with planning your itinerary.

In conclusion, Buffalo, New York, is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. From its iconic landmarks to its thriving arts scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this dynamic city. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors, indulging in local delicacies, or catching a game, Buffalo offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all ages. So plan your trip to Buffalo today and discover all that this incredible city has to offer.


What is Buffalo, NY known for?

Buffalo, NY is known for its rich history, architecture, and food. It is also home to several museums, parks, and cultural attractions.

What are some popular things to do in Buffalo, NY?

Some popular things to do in Buffalo, NY include visiting the Buffalo Zoo, exploring the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, touring the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Darwin D. Martin House, and trying the famous Buffalo wings.

What are some family-friendly activities in Buffalo, NY?

Some family-friendly activities in Buffalo, NY include visiting the Buffalo Museum of Science, taking a boat tour of the Buffalo River, exploring the Buffalo Naval and Military Park, and visiting the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

What are some outdoor activities in Buffalo, NY?

Some outdoor activities in Buffalo, NY include visiting Niagara Falls, hiking in the Niagara Gorge, exploring the Tifft Nature Preserve, and biking along the Buffalo Niagara Riverwalk.

What are some cultural attractions in Buffalo, NY?

Some cultural attractions in Buffalo, NY include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

What is the best time of year to visit Buffalo, NY?

The best time of year to visit Buffalo, NY is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is warm and there are many outdoor events and festivals. However, the fall (September-November) is also a popular time to visit due to the beautiful foliage and seasonal activities.