Things To Do In Buffalo
The second largest city in New York State, Buffalo offers lots of see and do. From amazing natural wonders and outdoor spaces to history, sports and the arts, Silo City has plenty to keep visitors occupied. Here are our picks for the 15 best things to do in Buffalo.
Spending time in Delaware Park is one of the best things to do in Buffalo. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. Located in the heart of downtown, Delaware Park spans 350 acres and is full of great attractions.
In addition to miles of walking trails and plentiful green spaces, the park is home to a lake, zoo, golf course, athletic fields and courts, multiple playgrounds and several museums. The park also hosts numerous events. Popular ones include Shakespeare in the Delaware Park and Movie Nights on Shakespeare Hill.
For an extra dose of culture, check out the Albright-Knox Art Gallery or the Buffalo History Museum.
At the heart of Buffalo’s waterfront revival is Canalside. The former industrial area has now been transformed into a popular urban hub of outdoor recreation, entertainment and enjoyment. Stroll along the boardwalks, or relax in sun chairs and sand pits.
You can rent a kayak, paddle board, water bike, flyboard or boat. Take a river taxi to the inner or outer harbors. Or join a sightseeing cruise. In the winter, enjoy ice skating or ice hockey at the nearby Harborcenter.
Canalside hosts hundreds of events throughout the year, from classes to concerts and more. Numerous restaurants and bars can be found all along the waterfront.
3.Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House
Touring the Darwin D. Martin House is one of the best things to do in Buffalo. Designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the complex is one of the best examples of Wright’s characteristic “Prairie House.” The complex contains six interconnected buildings, with low and long forms and a cantilevered roof.
The carefully laid out interior is simple yet elegant. Wright also designed hundreds of art glass windows and glass pieces for the complex. Taking a tour is the only way to explore the complex. Choose from a basic or in-depth tour. Tours can also be combined with a tour of the nearby Graycliff Estate, also designed by Wright.
Considered one of the top natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls is a sight to behold. The colossal falls straddle the US and Canadian border and are some of the largest in the world. It’s only a short drive away, making it one of the best things to do in Buffalo.
Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country and home to five islands and several amazing waterfalls. Enjoy great views from the Observation Tower. Get up close to Bridal Veil Falls with a Cave of the Wind tour.
The iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour travels to the base of Horseshoe Falls. On the Canadian side, Journey Behind the Falls allows you to go behind Horseshoe Falls. Whichever option you choose, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
5.Forest Lawn Cemetery
Spanning 250 acres, Forest Lawn Cemetery is a historic and beautiful cemetery. Founded in 1849, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With beautifully landscaped grounds, ponds and trails, it feels more like a pretty park. More than 150,000 people have been laid to rest here.
Famous names include President Millard Fillmore, singer Rick James and suffragist MaryTalbert. Don’t miss the Blue Sky Mausoleum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. There are also numerous art installations throughout the cemetery.
You can explore on your own for free. Paid guided walking and trolley tours are also available and will cover cemetery highlights and history.
6.Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Get in touch with nature and beautiful plants at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Located in South Park, the pretty gardens were also designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Delaware Park and New York City’s Central Park. The centerpiece is the Victorian tri-domed glass conservatory.
There’s an impressive fern house and ancient rainforest, which features a 30-foot waterfall. Other highlights include an orchid house, bromeliad house, desert house and medicinal plant house. The garden also features various events, exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.
The Buffalo Zoo is one of the best things to do in Buffalo for families and animal lovers. Located in Delaware Park, it’s one of the oldest zoos in the country. It’s home to more than 1,200 animals from around the world, as well as those native to Upstate New York.
Highlights include the polar bears in the Arctic Edge, Rainforest Falls with its replica of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, Elephant Yard, the Siberian tigers in Habicat and the marine world of Sea Lion Cove. The zoo also features a Children’s Zoo area, an interactive Discovery Center and a number of small amusement park rides.
For an unforgettable experience, the zoo also offers animal encounters, where you can meet an elephant, hang out with a rhino or even feed a giraffe.
8.Albright-Knox Art Gallery
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of the best things to do in Buffalo for art lovers. Housed in an impressive Greek Revival building, this prestigious gallery in Delaware Park has works from some of the most famous artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.
See masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Dali, Kahlo and Pollock and Warhol. The modern and contemporary art collection is particularly strong. The permanent collection includes more than 6,000 pieces.
And there are frequent touring exhibitions and events. There’s also a nice restaurant and gift shop on-site. Explore on your own or join a free guided tour for more insights.
9.Watch a Sports Game
Sports are a huge deal in Buffalo. And the city is home to several professional sports teams. Depending on the season, one of the best things you can do in Buffalo is to watch a game. See why the city has some of the most spirited fans in the country. Watch a Bills game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Tailgating is a big part of the experience, so plan to arrive early and enjoy the festivities. NHL fans can watch a Sabres game at First Niagara Center. Minor league teams like the Bisons and the Bandits are also popular. And so are college sports from schools like the University of Buffalo, Buffalo State University and Canisius College.
10. Eat Wings Like a Local
You can’t visit Buffalo and not try some Buffalo wings. After all, this popular bar snack was created in Buffalo. Anchor Bar is credited with inventing the iconic dish in 1964, coating fried chicken wings in hot sauce and adding a side of celery, carrots and bleu cheese sauce.They are still around and definitely worth visiting.
And not surprisingly, they are one of the pivotal stops on the Buffalo Wing Trail, featuring 13 different but great venues to get Buffalo wings. Other recommended stops include Duff’s Famous Wings and Gabriel’s Gate.
Try and visit all 13 if you can. And if you are in Buffalo over Labor Day weekend, be sure to stop by the National Wing Festival.
11.Buffalo City Hall
You can’t miss the Buffalo City Hall. The 32-story Art Deco masterpiece towers over Niagara Square in Downtown Buffalo. Completed in 1931, it’s one of the largest city halls in the country. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Free guided tours are offered daily from Monday to Saturday.
Start in the grand Lobby, with impressive murals that depict the city’s history. See the Mayor’s Office, and the Council Chambers with its spectacular stained glass window. Finally, take the elevator to the 25th floor, then walk up 3 flights of stairs to the observation deck, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the Buffalo River and Lake Erie.
12.Buffalo Waterway Cruises
Experience Buffalo from the water with a Buffalo River or Erie Lake cruise. Buffalo Harbor Cruises offer a number of popular cruises to experience the waterways, including the Historic Buffalo River Cruise, Landmark Cruise, Sunset Cruise, Happy Hour Cruise, Brunch on a Boat Cruise and more.
Or set sail on Lake Erie with thx`e Spirit of Buffalo, which offers several different tour options on their tall sailing ship. Watch a spectacular sunset during an Evening Sail. Or sample wines during the Wine in the Wind Sail. Other popular options include the Craft Brew Sail, Dinner and a Sail and Pirate Sail.
13.Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
See where Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated the 26th President of the United States, following the assasination of President William McKinely in 1901. The museum is located inside the Ansley-Wilcox house, which has been largely preserved as it was that fateful day.
Daily guided tours take you back to the turn of the 20th century Buffalo, and the Pan-American Exposition. Walk through the beautifully restored rooms. Multimedia and interactive exhibits cover McKinley’s assasination and death, Roosevelt’s emergency swearing-in and Roosevelt’s life and presidency.
Afterwards, explore the house and grounds on your own. Pre-book your ticket to avoid waiting in line.
14.Buffalo and Erie Naval and Military Park
Learn more about the history of the Navy, and explore several decommissioned Navy vessels, at the Buffalo and Erie Naval and Military Park. Located along the canal in downtown, it’s one of the largest inland military parks in the country.
The park is home to the destroyer USS The Sullivans, the missile cruiser USS Little Rock, the submarine USS Croaker, several helicopters and vehicles, including a tank. Access the main decks and different areas below decks.
The museum also has scale models of ships and airplanes, artifacts and well designed exhibits on a range of topics, from various wars to POWs to the impact women have had in the military.
15.Niagara Wine Trail
The Great Lakes regions features a microclimate and terroir that are ideal for producing interesting grapes and a wide variety of wines, including Riesling, Pinot, Syrah, Cabernet and ice wines. It’s also the fastest growing wine region in New York State.
The Niagara Wine Trail is a fun way to experience the unique flavors of more than 20 wineries, breweries and cideries. Options include award-winning wineries, an urban winery along the Erie Canal (Flight of Five Winery) and even a haunted winery (Marjim Manor). Be sure to try some ice wine, a sweet dessert wine that’s made from hardy grapes that have been frozen on the vines.
The area is one of the few regions in the world that produces ice wine. For a hassle-free experience and to leave the driving to someone else, book a guided wine tour.
Also read things to do in New York City.