Best Things to Do in Buffalo, Buffalo, a pleasant city right on the shores of Lake Erie, offers a direct view of Canada.
As one of New York State’s northernmost settlements, it is well-known for its extensive Polish and German immigrant cultures, which are celebrated annually with the exciting Dyngus Day and great Oktoberfest-style beer blowouts, respectively.
Slavic blood sausage and Bavarian pils are delicious, but that’s not all Buffalo has to offer. The town has a fascinating maritime history, and surrounding forts recount tales of the American Civil War and the Revolutionary War.
Then, of course, there are the spectacular Niagara Falls themselves; a must-see if ever there was one.
When you get back to the city, you may visit the oldest zoo in the United States, marvel at Frank Lloyd Wright’s design on the city’s street corners, and contemplate some thought-provoking examples of modern art in a gallery.
Best Things to Do in Buffalo
Wonder at the awesome Buffalo City Hall
This towering specimen of powerful American Art Deco architecture stands proudly in the center of Buffalo and never fails to elicit a gasp.
Visitors should be prepared with a camera to record the impressive sight of its cluster of towers, which includes some of the tallest buildings in Western New York.
The building’s outside is a kaleidoscope of sunbursts and stark metallic filigrees, and it’s capped off with an observation deck located more than 120 meters in the air. The building was constructed in the 1920s.
Those who ride the elevator to the top deck will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Erie and the Queen City below.
Walk the old streets of the Allentown Historic District
Allentown, Buffalo’s first entire neighborhood to be added to the National Register, is rich with history and tradition.
The neighborhood, named for a prominent politician from the early 1800s, Lewis F. Allen, is a mishmash of red-brick structures and painted timber homes, with boho music places and dive pubs sprinkled throughout and the occasional bit of graffiti adorning its walls.
In the summer, street performers line the streets and quirky art shops and craft stores call out from behind the scenes while impromptu music shows spring up on the street corners.
Arlington Park, Kleinhans Music Hall, and the beautiful peristyle and façade of Butler Mansion are all within walking distance.
Enjoy a Buffalo brew at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
The brews of Buffalo’s earl Street Grill & Brewery have been some of the best in the city for for two decades.
The business, which began in 1997 thanks to a partnership with brewers from beer-crazed Denver, Colorado, now occupies a four-story, 19th-century structure on Pearl Street and features nine separate pubs.
Beers like the Trainwreck Amber Ale, a house specialty with a ripe, spicy scent, and the Lake Effect American Pale Ale, a peculiar blend of English and American hops, are among the options.
Food is plentiful, including stuffed hot peppers and nachos, cheesy fries, soups, salads, and piled-high steak sandwiches.
Sample the delights of the Italian Boot at Mulberry Italian Ristorante
Located in the city’s south end, not far from Smoke Creek’s winding waterways, Mulberry has earned a reputation as one of Buffalo’s finest restaurants.
The kitchen staff is well-known for its homey and genuine takes on Latin American standards, such as the ricotta-stuffed eggplant panino and the rigatoni with tomatoes on top.
Meanwhile, inside, you’ll find an atmosphere that’s equal parts casual and romantic, thanks to the abundance of windows and low lighting that make it ideal for hosting everything from intimate dinners to professional gatherings. If hunger strikes, you may want to choose the layered lasagne.
See the birds of the Times Beach Preserve
The Times Beach Preserve is located on the outskirts of Buffalo’s historic downtown, where the winding waters of the magnificent Niagara River flow into Lake Erie. It has been hailed as one of the most significant wild bird pollinating sites in the entire Great Lakes region.
From red-throated loons to palm warblers, snowy owls to great horned owls, meadowlarks to western sandpipers, this area is teeming with avian diversity throughout the year.
Drop by the nature paths in the hot months for some of the best bird-spotting in New York State, or visit in the winter to view the ice-caked banks coated in snow.
See New York’s long history at the Buffalo History Museum
The Buffalo History Museum, with its imposing Greek peristyles overlooking the waters of Delaware Park, is an excellent starting point for learning about the rich history of the Queen City and the Empire State.
Artifacts from well-known Buffalo native and NBC newscaster Tim Russert are on display in the museum’s permanent collection.
An antique Victorian bedroom set is included in the collection of exquisite quilts. The grounds, which exude a soothing Japanese Zen atmosphere, also play host to traveling seminars for kids on a regular basis.
See the modern masterworks at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery
The Albright-Knox art gallery, now known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, was founded in 1862 as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and has since earned a reputation as one of the greatest in the country for modern and contemporary art.
That makes it not only one of the oldest galleries in the country, but also a mainstay on the itinerary of visitors to Upstate New York.
The collections mostly feature significant works by various 20th and 21st century artists.
There are paintings by famous impressionists like Vincent van Gogh and Gaugin, as well as cubist and absurdist masterpieces by artists like Picasso and Henri Matisse.
In addition to daily public tours of the entire facility, there are also frequent traveling exhibitions and events.
See American architecture at its finest at the Darwin D Martin House
The Darwin D. Martin House, designed and constructed by Frank Lloyd Wright of Guggenheim renown in the first decade of the 20th century, is emblematic of one of the world’s most revolutionary and forward-thinking architects’ perspectives on city life.
It is a beautiful representation of Wright’s Prairie House style, down to the central hearth and cantilevered roof.
Daily excursions take tourists through the complex, including the main Martin House and Barton House, as well as past innumerable instances of the architect’s famed art glass.
Get a glimpse of the wild at the Buffalo Zoological Gardens
The Buffalo Zoo on Parkside Avenue is one of the country’s longest continuously operating zoos, having opened its doors in 1975.
It has expanded greatly since then to include weird and amazing animals from all corners of the globe.
In 2002, the theme park had a massive makeover that brought the Arctic Edge, the Highlands Zone, and the African attractions to the forefront, among many others.
It’s possible to observe the ultra-rare polar bear with the more commonplace lions, grey wolves, tamarins, Japanese macaques, and lowland gorillas.
Popular attractions include the Siberian tiger display, snow leopards, and venomous snakes and lizards.
Taste your way through the Niagara Wine Trail
The Niagara Wine Trail, which spans three New York counties and innumerable wineries, is nestled between the rolling hills of upstate New York and Lake Ontario.
The cool weather is ideal for growing distinctive grapes, and the region’s distinctive soil imparts a touch of Europe to the barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling reds and whites.
Top tipples include the region’s famous ice wine, made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, and popular destinations include the Midnight Run Winery and the lovely Vizcarra Vineyard.
Check off the bucket-list with a trip to Niagara Falls
In this far flung part of Upstate New York, no trip would be complete without at least a brief excursion to the area’s most famous landmark: the thundering Niagara Falls.
These massive waterfalls that span the international boundary between the United States and Canada are among the greatest in the world.
Horseshoe Falls, the crowning feature of the Niagara Gorge, can be seen in the center, and visitors can explore the various viewpoints and even take a trip on the famous Maiden of the Mist boat, which travels down the Niagara River to the foot of the cliffs.
You can also add a visit to Canada’s so-called Honeymoon Capital if you have the time; it’s filled with five-star hotels and skyscraper observation decks with panoramic vistas of both Ontario and the United States.
Tour the Forest Lawn Cemetery
This iconic cemetery, located just north of Buffalo’s downtown between Delaware Park and the city streets, has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
The graves feature a wide variety of famous people, including former presidents and famed doo-wop singers, many of whom are documented at the on-site resource center/museum, the Margaret L. Wendt Archive.
There are also numerous tombs erected for some of America’s most prominent businesses, such as the tiered Blue Sky Mausoleum created by Frank Lloyd Wright.
See colonial history at Old Fort Niagara
Old Fort Niagara stands tall and majestic on its own grass-clad hill, protruding out over the waters of Lake Ontario about 40 minutes’ drive north of Buffalo.
Long on history, its origins may be traced back to the 1670s, when New France’s defenders erected fortifications to secure the southern borders of Paris’ new overseas dominion.
During the Seven Years’ War, the fort was a focus of conflict between the British and the French and Indians in the north.
After serving as a key stronghold throughout the American Revolution and becoming famous for its unwavering allegiance to the British crown, the site now plays host to everything from historical reenactments to modern-day guided tours of its historic barracks, armories, and cannon-studded battlements.
Enjoy the energy and action of Canalside Buffalo
The Canalside neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, located right in the middle of the city, on the shore of Lake Erie. In recent years, it has grown rapidly to become one of the city’s most prominent cultural and social centers.
In the warmer months, visitors gather here to relax on the sun chairs outside, let their kids run wild in the sand pits, hire kayaks and sailboats, or just take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalks.
Skaters take to the frozen canals that wind through the area in the winter, and hockey games at the neighboring HarborCenter, a hotbed of regional competition, may turn physical.
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Wander the pretty streets of Elmwood Village
Little Elmwood Village is a maze of intertwining streets and sidewalks filled with numerous picturesque Queen Anne-style cottages and mansions, and it is widely considered to be Buffalo’s most attractive neighborhood.
These charming small neighborhoods of houses are lined up in bright colors and coated in weathered wood to provide an authentic representation of an American suburb.
There is a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the neighborhood, which can be felt in the cafes and shops, heard in the chatter among the piled-high stands of produce at the farmer’s markets on the weekends, and seen in the summertime picnickers on the lawns along the streets.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a pleasant area to spend the day in Buffalo, you’ve found it here!