Buffalo, New York
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Buffalo NY - Overview
The world has been beating
a path to the Buffalo-Niagara region since shortly after Father Louis Hennepin
became the first European to describe the “prodigious cadence of water” that is
the mighty Falls in 1678. That early trickle of tourists became a steady stream
after the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, and a torrent when the railroad
linked western New York State with points east. Today, millions of tourists from
around the world continue to come by plane, train and automobile to experience
the majesty of Niagara Falls. Increasing numbers of visitors are making the
short 20-minute drive to nearby Buffalo, attracted by its reputation as a home
to great art, architecture and cultural attractions.
Buffalo lies at the western
edge of upstate New York, on Lake Erie, at the start of the Niagara River. The
river, which separates the U.S. from Canada, flows over Niagara Falls before
emptying into Lake Ontario.
Buffalo was a terminus of
the Underground Railroad, an informal series of safe houses for runaway slaves
from the American south. After hiding at the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, the
slaves would take a ferry to Fort Erie, on the Canadian side, and to their
freedom. To share in this historic experience, a trip to Motherland Connextions
in Niagara Falls should be included in your plans. Understand the Underground
Railroad by following the footsteps of those brave and hearty souls who took the
secret passageways north to Canada.
Several US presidents are connected to Buffalo history. Millard Fillmore took up
permanent residence in Buffalo in 1822 before he became president. Grover
Cleveland lived in Buffalo from 1854 until 1882, and became mayor of the city.
William McKinley was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo September
6th, 1901, and died in Buffalo on the 14th. Theodore Roosevelt was then sworn in
on September 14th, 1901 at the Wilcox Mansion (currently a National Historic
Site), becoming one of only a few presidents to be sworn in outside of
Washington. You can actually visit the actual site of the Theodore Roosevelt
Inauguration. It’s located right in town and includes the historic house museum
for America’s 26th president.
City officials and
residents have worked hard to preserve Buffalo’s historic legacy. From Victorian
neighborhoods to Delaware Avenue mansions to impressive works by Fran Lloyd
Wright, Louis Sullivan and H.H. Richardson, Buffalo's buildings are among its
greatest charms. You'll find structures of architectural interest downtown, in
Allentown, along Delaware Avenue, and in the Lincoln Parkway and Chapin Parkway
Main Street runs north and
south beginning downtown, where the street is closed to traffic. At the heart of
downtown is Niagara Square, dominated by the art-deco City Hall and the McKinley
Monument. Delaware and Elmwood avenues are lined with some of the city's best
architecture, restaurants and shops, and run parallel to each other, to the west
of Main Street. Allentown, north of downtown, is Buffalo's (much smaller)
version of New York City's Greenwich Village. It is centered on Allen Street,
which runs west from Main Street. North Buffalo, a vibrant neighborhood of
homes, shops and restaurants, is anchored by Hertel Avenue, which also runs west
from Main Street. Delaware Park, located in this section of the city, is the
most popular of several city parks.
Parks are an important part
of the city's heritage. In Buffalo, Frederick Law Olmsted designed the first
park system in the U.S., including Delaware Park, the centerpiece of the system
and home of the city's zoo. Located in another park designed by Olmsted is the
impressive Victorian glass conservatory at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical
On winter days that are too
cold or blustery for outdoor activities, Buffalo offers plenty of indoor
entertainment. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has a wonderful collection of
modern art. The nearby Burchfield-Penney Art Center features watercolors by
Charles E. Burchfield, as well as handcrafted objects by artisans at the
Roycroft Arts and Crafts community based in nearby East Aurora. In addition,
Buffalo has several unusual museums and factories devoted to such items as
kazoos, carousels, manuscripts and bicycles.
No visit to the area would
be complete without a trip to the Falls. Plan a day trip to nearby Niagara
Falls, which offers several attractions and tours, in addition to the sheer
natural wonder of the place. It’s easy to get a close up view of the falls,
either by boat, helicopter, or even a hot air balloon. Whatever the means, it’s
an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience.
For a great relaxing view
of the city, be sure to include the Buffalo City Hall Observation Tower in your
plans. Located in City Hall, it is an Art Deco masterpiece and offers a
spectacular view of both Lake Erie and the city.
For a little family fun,
take a side trip to Martin’s Fantasy Island. Located in Grand Island, it’s only
about 10 minutes from Buffalo and worth the trip. Guests experience over 100
rides, shows and attractions in a clean, park like setting. Live shows
throughout the park include the Wild West Shoot-Out, an old-fashioned Western
musical extravaganza, a children's puppet show and a '60s and '70s musical
For sports enthusiasts,
Buffalo is home to the Buffalo Bills professional football team, the Buffalo
Sabres of the National Hockey League, and the Buffalo Bisons of baseball's
International League. Seneca Niagara
Casino, 20 miles to the north, is the first New York State casino in the area.
When it comes to eating,
Buffalo is known for those world-famous Buffalo Chicken Wings. They were
invented in a Buffalo bar (The Anchor Bar) in 1964.
Buffalo's lesser-known, but equally tasty, food specialty is a
sandwich called beef on weck. Weck is short for kimmelweck, a hard roll dusted
with caraway seeds and coarse salt. Warm roast beef is heaped on the roll, which
is often dipped in the juice of the meat and served with horseradish.
From casual to fine dining, there is something for any taste in Buffalo.
Sports, food, gaming,
history, family fun, every kind of weather, warm hospitality, and of course, The
nearby Falls: Buffalo, the “City of Good Neighbors”, has them all, ready and
waiting. Bring your camera for creating the memories of a lifetime.