What to do in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Bills, chicken wings, and the Goo Goo Dolls. A mere three hours and 15 minutes away, Buffalo could very well become your go-to for weekend getaways. Why? Buffalo has a great energy and industrious spirit — good things are happening here. We recently went for a visit and discovered all it has to offer.
Here’s your guide to getting the most out of your next visit to the Nickel City.
How is Buffalo set up?
Buffalo is like an octopus. Downtown is the body and the neighborhoods are the ends of the tentacles. Lots of action happens Downtown and in the distinct neighborhoods but there is some distance between the two.
So how do I get around?
Buffalo doesn’t have Uber yet so you have a few options:
Walk: it’s great exercise but not very practical,
Bike-share: it’s newer and there aren’t many pick-up/drop-off locations,
Bus and Metro: day ($5) and week passes ($25) are available to purchase at ticket vending machines.
Car: whether you rent or drive your own, it’s your best bet to see all the city has to offer.
Where should I stay?
Built in 1904, Hotel at The Lafayette is a boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown, Buffalo. The trendy hotel is also home to apartments, banquet rooms for weddings, and a brewery. While you’re here, stop by Groom Services Beauty Bar to get yourself did up right.
Where can I get a great cup of coffee?
Public Espresso + Coffee is equal parts laboratory and coffee bar. Watch as they slowly craft the perfect cup with a specially designed modbar espresso and pour-over system. It solo location is inside of Hotel Lafayette which makes it extra convenient if you chose to stay there. Look for another location which will include its roasting house soon.
And how about breakfast or brunch?
Hydraulic Hearth made its home right in the Historic Larkin District. With wood fired pizzas, a beer garden and guest chefs coming in to do one of a kind events… HH is one of the coolest spaces in Buffalo.
Two words: Toast Bar. 5 Points Bakery & Toast Cafe recently expanded and moved across the street from its original location. Its new home is as charming and rustic as a century old barn and as accommodating as your best friend’s house. Plus the toast is some of the best we’ve ever had the pleasure of trying.
I need some culture. Point me to the art!
Buffalo is home to the fabulous Albright-Knox Art Gallery in the equally fabulous Delaware Park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (the same guy who designed Central Park in NYC!). The Albright-Knox’s reach extends beyond the park with a public art initiative which, among other things, brought Canalside the super sweet sculpture Shark Girl by artist Casey Riordan Millard. Make sure to sit right beside Shark Girl for a the perfect photo opp.
Things we didn’t know before visiting Buffalo: Frank Lloyd Wright built 6 buildings in the city. Wright’s style is instantly recognizable and it’s super cool to see some of his houses sprinkled throughout Buffalo (including a few structures that are residential even today!).
City Hall is an art deco masterpiece and that’s just the outside. Head inside to the 28th floor to the observation deck for expansive views of the city.
How about a bit of history?
If you’re a Mark Twain fan, the Central Library has a room dedicated to the author. It even has the original manuscript of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
What treasures can I bring home?
Wrafterbuilt showroom houses all sorts of great reclaimed furniture and goodies for your home. Builder, Sean Wrafter is a man of many talents… look for his work at some of Buffalo’s most killer bars, restaurants and shops.
Oxford Pennant is another shop that will have you spending all your coin on things to dress up your home. While we’re partial to the Pittsburgh pennant, there are so many to choose from that you’ll want to put one in every room.
Now I’m thirsty. What about a beer?
Resurgence Brewing Co. has a beautiful outdoor space for drinking al fresco and has games inside to keep you occupied while you imbibe. Also, Sponge Candy Stout!
Big Ditch Brewing Company boasts year round and seasonal brews along with perfect plates for sharing (like pretzel sticks & pierogis!) Not to be missed, the striking lettering indoors by none other than eatPGH pals Block Club.
Buffalo Proper serves up some of the best cocktails in the city, prohibition style drinks with an edge. (And here’s where you can get a glimpse of that Wrafterbuilt we mentioned.) The gorgeous bar downstairs and the bar and patio upstairs are warm and welcoming, but warning… it gets packed.
What’s the hottest dinner spot?
Marble + Rye was brand spanking new when we visited. Beautifully designed and decorated, the new IT spot featured bright light, clean lines and simply divine food. While the menu is sure to change due to the quest for locally and seasonally sourced ingredients, we suggest you get your buns there to try the Octopus, the cheeseburger and the toast board. Post haste.
Toutant was also fairly new upon our arrival in Buffalo. Southern fare in the North is rare but good Southern food in the North is even rarer. So many things you’ll want to try here, so go with friends. The Fried Chicken, Skillet Cornbread, Oysters “Rockerfeller”, and Chef James’ famous Drumfish.
Classic bites that can’t be missed?
Hot dog lovers unite. Ted’s Hot Dogs offers a style of dog you might not have experience outside of Buffalo, a jumbo charcoal-broiled red hots. Don’t forget the shoestring onion rings.
Bar Bill is said by some locals to have the best wings in Buffalo. We’re sure about a zillion other places stake claim to that same title. These were some damn fine wings either way.
Watson’s Sponge Candy nearly sold out of the sweet, sticky, spongey goodness after we went tornadoing through. We even snagged some to take along to Resurgence Brewing to taste with our Sponge Candy Stout. Oh, and… they had sponge candy ICE CREAM!
Paula’s Donuts We could eat donuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Especially these ones. A standout selection, the Peanut Stick.
lloyd Taco Truck is the go-to food truck for late night tacos. In fact, it was Buffalo’s first food truck. Soon to have a brick and mortar, this truck should be on your list to visit anytime of the day.
Allen St. Poutine Co. is a great late-night stop to soak up all the beer you just drank. Don’t forget to write you name on the wall.
And because the bars are open late in NY, you have plenty of time to get into some trouble before really getting into some trouble. The Old Pink is a great place to go after you’ve had some drinks and want to get into said trouble. Good tunes, dancing, pool table… you’ll wish they stayed open later than 4 a.m.
This post is sponsored by Visit Buffalo Niagara. For more information on all the wonderful attractions Buffalo, New York has to offer, visit their site.