If you booked flights to and from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, plan to stay a couple extra days. There are many things to do in Buffalo besides eating at its famous chicken wings restaurants.
|Eating Buffalo chicken wings at Anchor Bar|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & Angel Art Ltd.|
Buffalo New York is located across the Niagara River from Fort Erie, Ontario. Driving directions are easy. Just follow the QEW for 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Toronto and cross at the Peace Bridge.
How long does it take to drive from Toronto to Buffalo? About two hours. If you are driving from Niagara Falls NY, follow Interstate 190 southeast to Buffalo.
Hotels in Buffalo NY range from budget to splurge. The Buffalo Niagara Visitors Guide provides a list of places to stay, from bed & breakfasts to motels and hotels, with addresses, phone numbers, websites and amenities, such as high-speed Internet access.
The Mansion is a luxury hotel on Delaware Avenue. Accommodations include free valet parking, European breakfast, high-speed Internet, evening cocktails and transportation to Downtown Buffalo. Adam's Mark (address: 120 Church Street), at the Waterfront, hosts meetings and conventions. Seneca Niagara Hotel (address: 310 Fourth St.) has a casino with entertainment.
For visitors with flights out of Buffalo, airport hotels are especially popular. Hart Hotels, for example, has two Holiday Inns located within one mile of Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport has a restaurant and bar and is only three miles (five kilometers) from Walden Galleria, a Pyramid Shopping Center. Also near the Walden Galleria is Holiday Inn Express, which includes free breakfasts and use of a heated indoor pool. Both hotels have free 24-hour shuttles to Buffalo's international airport.
Days Hotel (address: 4345 Genesee St. Exit 51 E) is another Buffalo NY airport hotel with park and fly packages that include up to 14 days of free parking, free continental breakfasts, WiFi and airport shuttles.
|Shea's Performing Arts Center|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & Jim Bush|
To drive to Downtown Buffalo from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, just follow Route 33 west for about 10 miles (16 kilometers). Parking in Downtown Buffalo is affordable, either free or about $1 per hour, with a two-hour maximum.
For visitors shopping in Buffalo, where to eat is a common question. Visit Buffalo Niagara's communications manager, Peter Burakowski, notes that the Buffalo area has more than 400 independently owned restaurants in addition to chain restaurants, such as the Hard Rock Café.
Although all types of cuisine are available, beef on a weck (salt & caraway seed-topped Kaiser roll sandwich), fish fry and chicken wings are most associated with Buffalo food. The Anchor Bar in Allentown (address: 1047 Main Street) is the restaurant where Buffalo chicken wings were first served in 1964.
A rival restaurant for Buffalo wings is Duff's (address: 3651 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, NY). Locals like the chicken wings at Gabriel's Gate (address: 145 Allen Street) in Allentown.
An East Aurora tavern, Bar-Bill (address: 185 Main Street) is also a favorite chicken wings restaurant. "They're a little sweet and spicy at the same time," explains Burakowski.
Rory Pusateri, a butler at The Mansion, says his favorite Buffalo restaurant is Kuni's (address: 266 Lexington). "It's a small Japanese-American restaurant that serves sushi and other Japanese dishes. They don't take reservations. In summer, they have a few tables outside."
For Buffalo ribs, Rory likes Fat Bob's Smokehouse (address: 41 Virginia Place). Although its exterior is not much to look at, Swannie House in the Cobblestone District (address: 170 Ohio St.) has "great pub food," according to Rory. Try the fried fish and the chicken wings.
What to see and do in Buffalo depends on your interests. If you like flowers, plants and horticulture, don't miss the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (address: 2655 South Park Avenue).
Indoor gardens in the three-domed Victorian conservatory feature tropical fruit trees, palms, orchids, begonias, giant cacti and the largest public ivy collection in the world. Outdoor botanical gardens include spring bulbs, roses and a children's butterfly garden.
|Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & BPO|
Music-lovers will enjoy performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall (address: 3 Symphony Circle) in Allentown. More than 1,000 animals and a heritage farm entice families at the Buffalo Zoo (address: 300 Parkside Avenue) in Delaware Park.
When we asked ever-helpful Rory Pusateri about something to do after you've seen all of the most popular attractions in Buffalo, he recommends Delaware Park.
"It's located just north of Forest Lawn Cemetery. The 198 (Highway) divides the north and south sides of the park. Walking paths go through both sides," he explains.
"It's beautiful, with Hoyt Lake and all the trees. On Facebook, you can meet people to play recreational soccer in the park." Rory expecially likes Shakespeare in Delaware Park, during the summer. "It's held on a stage near the Rose Garden."
The Buffalo Niagara Visitors Guide lists several companies that offer tours of Buffalo. If you prefer self-guided tours, the Buffalo on Foot brochure (available at the Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center downtown) provides maps and directions for nine walking tours.
Buffalo walking tours range in length from 35 minutes to 90 minutes long. Besides Downtown Buffalo, they cover Allentown & Delaware, Elmwood Village, Michigan Avenue Heritage Corridor, Museum District, Parkside, the Buffalo Waterfront and East Aurora.
Buffalo has five homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The most popular of Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo landmarks are the Darwin Martin House Complex (address: 125 Jewett Parkway), Graycliff Estate (address: 6472 Old Lakeshore Road, Derby, NY), the Fontana Rowing Boathouse (address: 1 Rotary Row, at the foot of Porter Avenue) and the Blue-Sky Mausoleum in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
|Buffalo Open-Air Autobus Tour|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & KC Kratt|
As an alternative to individual guided tours of these Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and monuments, you can book an All Wright-All Day trolley tour, which also drives by Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Buffalo private residences (the Walter V. Davidson House and the William R. Heath House).
The Frank Lloyd Wright gas station, in the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, is also included in the tour. Wright's filling station had gas-filling tanks suspended from their roofs, so the gas descended by gravity to fill cars' gas tanks.
Two-hour Open-Air Autobus tours feature Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo, as well as architectural tours of historic homes and neighborhoods, Buffalo's grain elevators and The Belt Line industrial architecture. You can also use your MP3 player or cell phone to listen to Buffalo Tours' free self-guided audio architecture tours.
Buffalo art galleries
No Buffalo tour is complete without visiting the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (address: 1285 Elmwood Avenue). Among the 6,500 pieces of modern and contemporary art in its collections are works by Gorky, Warhol and Pollock.
Burchfield Penney Art Center (address: 1300 Elmwood Avenue) in Buffalo State College's Rockwell Hall, displays works by Western New York artists. It has an exceptional collection of watercolor paintings by Charles Burchfield.
|Roycroft Campus. East Aurora NY.|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & KC Kratt|
Arts and crafts classes
In East Aurora, a Buffalo suburb, the National Historic Landmark Roycroft Campus was the birthplace of the US Arts and Crafts movement. While its guild buildings are being restored, visitors can attend workshops.
Art classes range from stained glass-making and bookbinding to metalsmithing and making scrimshaw jewelry. Roycroft Inn has a restaurant and accommodations in 28 restored suites.
Outside of New York City, Buffalo has the highest concentration of theaters in New York State. Shea's Performing Arts Center (address: 650 Main Street) presents an annual Broadway series.
Opened in 1926 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the Downtown Buffalo theater was designed by Tiffany. The neo-classic Spanish Baroque interior of the 3,019-seat theater boasts molded plaster ceilings and crystal chandeliers.
|National Buffalo Wing Festival|
|Credit: Visit Buffalo Niagara & KC Kratt|
Annual festivals in Buffalo range from the National Buffalo Wing Festival, held in early September, to the Taste of Buffalo food festival, held for two days in early July.
National Garden Festival features 14 weekend garden walks between late June and late July, garden bus tours, workshops and an art sale. Garden Walk Buffalo (dates: the last weekend in July) is a free self-guided tour of more than 370 private gardens and the largest garden tour in the USA.
Visit Buffalo Niagara: www.visitbuffaloniagara.com