The terms "No Goal" and "Wide Right" are synonymous with Buffalo, the second-most populated city in New York, which despite its modest size and well-documented heartbreak is, and will always be, a proud sports city that is home to the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. A once thriving and burgeoning industrial city, now part of the Rust Belt revival, Buffalo is a gritty melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and attractions. Nicknamed the City of Good Neighbors, Buffalo is well-known throughout the country for having friendly and hospitable residents, making it the perfect vacation spot. Visitors can experience the best of Buffalo's fine and performing arts scene every day and/or night, as well as numerous year round festivals and events..
Must see in Buffalo
The newly refurbished Observation Deck at Buffalo City Hall is the only place where visitors can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire city. Canalside, situated along downtown Buffalo's revitalized waterfront, should be on any visitor's must-see list. The regional and entertainment district hosts hundreds of free events throughout the year with activities for the entire family. Buffalo's waterfront renaissance can also be explored via Riverworks, HarborCenter, and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House, located in the historic Parkside neighborhood, is another popular tourist attraction.
Where to stay in Buffalo
The proximity to the Buffalo Zoo and Buffalo Museum of Science makes downtown Buffalo convenient for travelers with children. Young travelers who are seeking nightlife activities may want to stay in the theater or entertainment district (Delaware Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, Chippewa Street) where live music, bars, and restaurants are plentiful. Visitors who are looking for the cheapest and best deals may want to stay near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Best and worst time go to Buffalo
Although a bit crowded, the best time to visit Buffalo is between June and September, when average highs are in the upper 70s and lower 80s, perfect for enjoying all of the outdoor attractions and activities the Queen City has to offer. Winter in Buffalo can be downright miserable with freezing temperatures, howling winds, and heavy snowfalls, which can make air travel unpredictable. If you do find yourself in Buffalo during the winter, you'll find that people, locals and visitors alike, are still out and about enjoying hot chocolate, snowball fights, and ice skating at Canalside and the Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza.
Where to get lost in Buffalo
Allentown, one of Buffalo's most eclectic neighborhoods, is the perfect place to get lost in your thoughts as you embrace the unique urban ambiance all around you. Best known for its thriving cultural and artistic scene, Allentown is the premier area for nightlife, dining, and antique shopping. Notable landmarks include Arlington Park and Day's Park, both redesigned by Frederick Law Olmsted, and Kleinhans Music Hall, home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
The best deal in Buffalo
On the first Friday of every month visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for M&T First Fridays at The Gallery. Admission to the gallery's modern and contemporary 1962 building is free from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with special programs and events for the whole family. Regular admission fees apply for special exhibitions in the 1905 Albright building. Admission is always free for active-duty United States and Canadian Armed Services personnel and their families.
Transportation in Buffalo
Renting a car is the fastest, easiest way to get to all the places you're going to want to go in downtown Buffalo. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) operates a limited light rail system running along Main Street from First Niagara Center to the University of Buffalo's south campus and a more extensive bus system operating throughout the city. To view routes and find schedules, visit the NFTA website. Smartphone users can download the Where's My Bus online app for real-time information and instant notifications.
Getting In from Buffalo Niagara International Airport
The NFTA-Metro is the most economical way to get to and from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which is located about 11 miles east of downtown Buffalo in Cheektowaga. Metro Bus routes actively serve downtown Buffalo, offering connections to surrounding neighborhoods throughout the region.The 204 Airport-Downtown Express shuttle runs non-stop service between the airport and the Buffalo's Metropolitan Transportation Center for a one-way fare of $2.50. For schedules, visit the NFTA website.
Local tip for visitors to Buffalo
Buffalo is the chicken wing capital of the world, so it should come as no surprise when visitors ask the age-old question: Anchor Bar or Duff's Famous Wings? Truth be told, you really can't go wrong when it comes to finding authentic wings in Buffalo. It doesn't matter how you prefer your wings (hot, medium, or mild) because there are plenty of dive bars and pizzerias in every neighborhood serving up their own authentic Buffalo-style take. If you don't know where to start, ask a stranger on the street. The city of good neighbors won't steer you wrong.
Author's bio: Jillian Smolinski is a freelance writer and lifelong resident of Western New York.