2024 Buffalo Visitors Guide
As the second-largest city in New York, Buffalo stands above many others as a great place to take a significant other or an entire family on a trip. It is located alongside Lake Erie and offers everything from watersports in the summer to winter sports during the cold months, and dining, shopping, and lodging opportunities abound in this city as well.
Buffalo got its start as a fur trading community in 1789 and its growth took off once the Erie Canal was completed. Through the years it served as a major railroad center and stop on shipping routes. During the 1970s much of the trade and transportation routes through Buffalo were abandoned and its population bottomed out in the 1990s. However, the city then experienced revitalization as the economic, health care and education industries began to take off, and today Buffalo is home to approximately 1.2 million people. The city was named one of the best places to raise a family by Forbes magazine in 2010.
Buffalo New York Travel & Vacation Guide
One of the greatest attractions of the city is its proximity to Lake Erie. It is also found at the start of the Niagara River and offers easy access to Niagara Falls. The city enjoys spring summers with temperatures in the 70s and 80s and enough rainfall to keep grass, trees, and flowers green. In the winter, Buffalo regularly receives snowfall and enough cold weather to bring winter sports enthusiasts out in droves.
In addition to outdoor activities, Buffalo is a mecca for those who enjoy architecture, the arts, food, and music. Buffalo got its start as a “melting pot” of different nationalities, and many cultures are still experienced today in the food, theater productions, music, and art produced in the area. Cultural tourism is an expanding draw to the Buffalo area for this reason. Restaurants abound, offering everything from chain-style dining to “mom and pop” shops offering specialized goods that can be obtained nowhere else.
The city is home to more than 50 private and public art galleries that regularly offer shows of both contemporary and modern artwork. Art festivals bring thousands of people to the Buffalo area each year to sample some of the artistic tastes of the people there. Finally, you have nightlife, which starts early and ends late in Buffalo. The last call at public establishments is at 4 a.m, and there are plenty of places to have a good time. If festivals are more your style, Buffalo has something to offer in the form of food, wine, theater or music during every season.
The Downtown Buffalo Area is experiencing a Renaissance of change and transformation. There is a growth of residential and affordable housing, schools, libraries, grocery stores, shops, services and parks and trails for recreational purposes. There are open public spaces such as The Barkyard, Lafayette Square, Riverwalk, and Veterans Park. Shops and services are available throughout Downtown and include fitness centers, car repair shops, dry cleaners, jewelers, beauty shops, media networks, and financial institutions. Downtown Buffalo is also a place of high employment.
The Central Business District in Downtown Buffalo is the center of commerce. Major buildings include Asonia Centre, City Centre, the Kissling Building, the Ellicott Square Building, the Olympic Towers, The Swan Building, and M&T Plaza. Downtown Buffalo is also the hub of entertainment with a thriving theater district that hosts Broadway and professional shows as well as AAA baseball, professional lacrosse, and hockey games, restaurants, bars, public events, and movie theaters. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Buffalo that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!
Buffalo New York is one of those wonderful locations within the United States that gets to enjoy the changing seasons. As this city goes from snowy white winters to warm springs, enjoyable summer temperatures, and then crisp fall there is always a special beauty to be found.
Summers are ideal in the Buffalo area. The warm, but not too hot, days are nicely balanced with cooler nights. Daytime temperatures are in the mid to high 70s on average, but there are plenty of days in the ’80s that are perfect for swimming and sun-worshipping along Lake Erie’s beaches. The best part of summer in this city is that even on the hottest days you can count on cooler evenings, great for sleeping.
Autumn is spectacular in this part of the country. Buffalo is within a short drive of several beautiful forested regions with rolling hills. When the cooler days bring on a change of color in the leaves, this area is amazing. Bring along plenty of warmer clothing at this time of year. During the day you can expect temperatures in the 50’s, and expect the nights to drop as low as the 30s. Keep in mind that November is Buffalo’s wettest month, with 3.92 inches of rain each year.
Autumn heralds in Buffalo’s winter wonderland. Experiencing a white Christmas is pretty much a given in this city. Due to their position along Lake Erie, they get plenty of snowfall from the lake effect precipitation, meaning the flakes start falling earlier than in most places. This is wonderful for the many ski resorts found in this section of New York. Bring along plenty of clothing to bundle up in, and enjoy some time on the slopes skiing, tubing, or snowboarding. January is the coldest month with a temperature hovering around 17 degrees Fahrenheit.
February is Buffalo’s driest month with only 2.42 inches of rainfall on average. This is followed by a much-anticipated spring season. Daytime temperatures slowly creep up through the 50s and 60s over the course of the next few months. Nights are still quite chilly, but the warm sunshine brings about all of the first flowers of the year. The surrounding forested areas come alive with Mountain Pinks and all sorts of natural wildflowers. Rainfall stays about the same as the rest of the year, with around three to three and a half inches per month.
Transportation around Buffalo, NY residents and visitors in Buffalo, New York may be in need of transportation services that can take them from place to place. Because of its city atmosphere, walking to and from each destination can take some time. There are several different transportation options that can take visitors from one end of the city to the other in just a matter of minutes.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority offers a metro bus service that is an affordable transportation solution throughout the Buffalo Niagara area. There are more than 332 buses that travel the lines on a regularly scheduled basis throughout each day. Stay on the move by boarding buses that can take visitors to many points of interest including downtown Niagara Falls, the airport, and factory outlet centers.
27 rail cars are used through The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to take passengers by fast-moving train to and from the city of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The metro rail lines connect downtown to the Buffalo campus, Erie Canal Harbor, University Station, and more. When looking for a fast, efficient, and reliable way to travel, the metro rail is by far the best transportation option within Buffalo.
Taxicab services can be found all throughout the city of Buffalo. Pick up a taxi from the airport, flag one down on the streets, or call up a company to request their transportation services. Rather than using public transportation systems that can be running late and have to make a wide range of stops before coming to your destination, taxi cabs will take you to where you want to go, exactly when you need to get there with no additional stops. Fees may vary depending on the length of travel.
The Buffalo Niagara International Airport sees thousands of visitors come in and out of their doors on a daily basis. With an average of 110 daily flights, the airport plays an essential role in getting travelers to and from their destinations. Non-stop service is available to 23 different airports throughout the country with services from popular airlines such as Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines.
Upon arriving in Buffalo, New York, you may opt to take advantage of car rental. This transportation method is ideal for those who desire their own vehicle while away. Make your way from point A to point B without stepping foot on public transportation. This is also a great way to explore the city, exactly the way that you want to see it.
The city of Buffalo is located in western New York and is the second most populated city in the state after New York City. On the shores of Lake Erie and along the Niagara River, this beautiful city has continued to grow since its founding in 1789. When traveling to the area, there are lots of top attractions that will add a little excitement, education, and fun to your trip.
Spirit of Buffalo
Because Buffalo is located along Lake Eerie, there is no better way to explore the true culture of the area than by enjoying a sailing adventure on the Spirit of Buffalo. This 73-foot coastal sailing vessel transports visitors back into the days of old-world sailing. Hoist the sails and float along the lake as you take in the beautiful water views with the Buffalo skyline in the background.
Buffalo City Hall
Buffalo City Hall is the most well-known government building. Many come to simply view the beautiful architecture of the building’s design while others make their way to the 28th-floor observation deck. The observation deck is the perfect spot in the city to see western New York from above and have a grand view of Lake Eerie from all angles.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Make your way into a Victorian architecture glass-domed greenhouse to see some of the state’s most beautiful gardens. The botanical gardens were designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmstead and are home to a variety of plants, flowers, and herbs. This is the perfect spot to relax and get away from the busy city lifestyle any day of the week.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center
If interested in seeing a theatre performance while in Buffalo, there’s no better place to go to than this quaint little venue. Concerts plays, and improv sketches are held at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on a regularly scheduled basis. Many award-winning plays make stops at this theatre, making it one of the city’s most loved attractions.
The Buffalo Zoo
The Buffalo Zoo is the United States’ third oldest zoo and was first founded in 1875. Visitors will find a wide variety of animal and plant life in the many different exhibits located around every corner. Wild and exotic animals can be seen from behind fences and glass walls in exhibits that replicate their natural habitats. Elephants and gorillas are just a few of the animals that you may see here. The Buffalo Zoo is open year-round for family fun every day of the year.
Dining in Buffalo, NYLeft Bank
This is a modern restaurant located in the heart of the city. It offers a variety of dishes including lobster, steak, and pasta. A light appetizer that is filling is the peppers in the sauce. It is a mixture of green and red peppers that are sliced and laid in a thick sauce that has a hint of spice. The shrimp pasta has a creamy sauce on top of it and there are small bits of lobster in the pasta. Jazz music is played during the week, and the atmosphere is eclectic.
If you are looking for a sweet treat between meals or for dessert, then try this amazing little shop. There is a wide variety of pastries with different fillings. The red velvet cake is one of the most popular donuts in the store. It has a light cream cheese frosting on top, and the cake is very moist. You can order a box of treats to take home, or the shop can cater to an event.
When you visit the Mulberry Café, you will think that you have traveled to Italy. The restaurant serves authentic Italian meals including lasagna and spaghetti. The portions are very large. It is a great place to go on a date or with the family. Bread comes with your meal, and you can order a drink at the bar while you are waiting for your food. Reservations are advised.
Suzy Q’s Barbecue Shack
This is the place you want to eat at if you crave pulled pork BBQ on a large bun. The restaurant cuts its own fries and serves a large scoop of slaw with each meal. You can get the meat with no sauce on it and a cup of sauce on the side or your meal can come with sauce already on the meat in the flavor that you want. The ribs fall off the bone, and the cornbread is light and fluffy.
This friendly restaurant serves possibly the best pizza in the area. It is great for families, but there is a bar. Items at the salad bar include lemon chicken, peppers, and a variety of other meats and vegetables. The restaurant gives children a small piece of dough to play with and shape before the meal arrives. You can choose from a large selection of toppings, and the sauce is made in the restaurant.
Buffalo is the second-largest metropolis in the state of New York. This city celebrates its beginnings, leadership during the Industrial Revolution, and modern cultural diversity. Buffalo has numerous events and festivals that help keep history, culture and the arts alive. Here are examples of the spectacular celebrations held in this city:
Spring Events in Buffalo NY
- The Dyngus Day Parade – The Monday after Easter is set aside for Polish pride. A traditional Polish holiday, Buffalo has the largest celebration of Dyngus Day worldwide. The evening parade starts at the Corpus Christi Church after 5:00.
- Buffalo Niagara Film Festival – Every year in April, a film festival for screenwriters and filmmakers brings in film greats from around the world. The festival encourages independent film people to attend. Included with the festival is a Festival Expo for industry vendors.
- Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament – In June, Buffalo hosts this tournament that encourages families and friends to get together in twos and threes and play basketball. Age-based competitions are held. The event raises money for various charities.
Buffalo Summer Events
- Thursday at the Harbor – Free outdoor music concerts are held every Thursday evening from June to the first weeks of August. The place is Canalside.
- Friendship Festival – Commemorated on Independence Day in Canada on July 1 and July 4 in the United States, the event celebrates more than 200 years of cooperation between the two countries. Parades, car shows, fireworks, and more are held. The main events take place both the Ontario and the New York sides of the Niagara River in the two parks, Fort Erie’s Mather Arch Park and Buffalo’s Riverside Park. Both cities share sponsorship of the event.
Autumn Events in Buffalo NY
- The World’s Largest Disco takes people back to the 1970s for a day on Thanksgiving Weekend. Special guests from the era like Henry Winkler and Leif Garrett make appearances, and many bands celebrate the songs and sounds of the disco era. Profits go to a local camp for kids who have cancer.
- Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration – The tree is lit and fireworks are lit after the lights go on the tree. The skating rink is opened for the season, and people can take rides in horse-drawn wagons.
Buffalo Winter Events
- First Night Buffalo – The ball drops from the Niagara Mohawk Building on New Year’s Eve. Free from drugs and alcohol, the evening includes music, puppetry, and other performance art shows. Children can jump in bounce houses, and other activities are fun for everyone
Family Fun near Downtown Buffalo
Planning a trip to Buffalo, New York can be fun for the whole family. Family-friendly fun comes in a wide variety of forms throughout Buffalo. Whether you choose to animal-watch at the Buffalo Zoo or experience a tour of the city by boat, there’s no better way to spend time together as a family while vacationing. These top spots are recommended for all ages, providing visitors with an amazing travel experience.
The Buffalo Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the entire United States. It is the only area in the city where guests can view animals in exhibits that resemble their natural habitats throughout the entire year. Some of the most popular exhibits within the zoo include the Rainforest Falls exhibit which is one of the best wintertime exhibits and the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm which replicates an authentic Eerie Canal farm during the 1850s. Watch as animals splash around in watering holes and come face to face with exotic creatures such as lions and tigers through glass windows.
Buffalo Museum of Science
Families traveling with children will love taking a trip to the Buffalo Museum of Science. Take a journey back in time and learn about the different aspects of physical and natural sciences. A wide variety of exhibits showcases over 700,000 different artifacts and specimens that have been found at dig sites all over the world. Learn about the earth with the main focus on western New York. The museum also aims to inspire curiosity through exploration with hands-on exhibits that children and adults can enjoy. Discover the world through science studios, games, traveling exhibits and the popular National Geographic 3D Cinema.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour
Get in touch with your adventurous side and board a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. This attraction is recommended for families with older children who are looking for a thrill. Make your way by boat into the Niagara River gorge on a 45-minute ride of your life. Take in the outstanding scenery and excitement while learning a bit about the history of the area.
Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
This educational attraction will teach families about the creation of the carousel ride that can be found at amusement parks across the world. Here, adults of all ages will feel young at heart again when they can board a real old-fashioned carousel and take it for a ride. Browse through a variety of exhibits and watch demonstrations from carousel designers. The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is the only carrousel-specific museum in the world.
Shopping near Downtown Buffalo
Shopping in Buffalo, NYBuffalo, New York has a history of success. The town was a leader in the industrial revolution. Today, museums, art galleries, and cultural attractions help make Buffalo what it is today. Additionally, the city is a wonderful place for shoppers and visitors who want to pick up some mementos from their stay in this city.
Owned by a family since the late 1880s, Broadway Market is now the spot for shopping and eating. The specialty shops, bakeries, restaurants, and food stands sell local produce, food, and merchandise. The establishment celebrates ethnic and cultural diversity.
This lovely community is a pleasant place to spend a day. Parks and historic buildings, museums, and galleries like the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are in Elmwood Village. The best laid-back shopping experience strolling along the streets and browsing shops that catch the interest is found in this community. The neighborhood has a regular farmer’s market. Cafes and charming little bistro-type restaurants are fun places to eat or get something to drink.
Elmwood Village Fabrics
A small and delightful shop, the owner is friendly and helpful. The store has a very wide selection of fabrics including designers like Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner. The bargains are truly excellent discounts.
Erie Community College City Campus Bookstore
On Ellicott Street, this college bookstore is a pleasant place to shop for books and office supplies as well as souvenirs. College gifts and apparel are found in this store.
Just south of the center of Buffalo on Mckinley Parkway, Mckinley Mall has fine retailers. Shoppers have to take the vendors in booths in the middle of the mall with a grain of salt as they sell their wares. Besides many regular chain stores, the mall has numerous fast food and sweets stores. The mall was built in the mid-1980s.
The Washington Market
A place to eat as well as purchase good quality food, The Washington Market has groceries and a bakery. The coffee shop has free WI-FI for all customers. People are welcome to order some fresh baked goods and a cup of coffee and relax while browsing the internet.
Walden Galleria Mall
Not far off Interstate 90, Walden Galleria Mall is an enclosed shopping mall with over 200 different stores. No chain department store is found, the mall is a wonderful collection of small shops where shoppers can find any merchandise imaginable. The mall includes fine sit-down restaurants as well as a food court for hungry shoppers.