Why should we visit your town/city?
When Buffalo makes a cameo in pop culture it is usually for someone being stuck there, most likely in a blizzard. I'm not going to say that exact scenario doesn't happen from time to time, but I'd like to make the case that it is not the worst thing that can happen to you—Buffalo is experiencing its own “Rust Belt Renaissance,” and the city seems to grow and change every week.
Visitors can enjoy the history of a city that once hosted the World's Fair by seeing the mouth of the Erie Canal, exploring the amazing architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright fans will eat their hearts out), rooting for major sports teams, and of course making the short drive to see a world wonder: Niagara Falls.
Where should we stay?
For the townies: Inn Buffalo at 619 Lafayette Ave. This mansion-turned-boutique inn is the perfect place to stay if you want to feel like a local. Located in the heart of Elmwood Village, the inn affords guests the ability to wake up and walk the tree-lined streets of one of Buffalo's most bustling neighborhoods. Grab a coffee at a local shop, stop by the Saturday morning farmer's market—everything is just steps away.
For the daring: Hotel Henry at the corner of Rockwell Road and Cleveland Circle. Driving up to the place, visitors will be in awe of its size and grandeur, but the true appeal of this newly renovated hotel is its history. The Hotel Henry is located in a former psychiatric hospital. That intriguing history, plus its location next to the Albright-Knox and Burchfield Penney museums, makes it the perfect place for artists.
For the heart of the city: Hotel at the Lafayette at 391 Washington Street. This is the place to stay if what you want more than anything is to feel those city vibes. Located in downtown Buffalo, the Hotel at the Lafayette comes with the perk of being walking distance to some of the best restaurants, bars, and cafes that the city has to offer—in fact, one of the top choices for a latte is right downstairs at Public Espresso!
Where should we eat?
Few foods say “Buffalo” like the classic wing. Here they are just “wings”not “Buffalo wings” and not “chicken wings.” For those coming to Buffalo for the first time, the best place to try them is their original home: The Anchor Bar. Those looking to eat with utensils can try Chef's, another Buffalo institution, where the chicken parm is the way to go. With the revival of the city came numerous newer restaurants, each bringing its own style to the table. Buffalo Proper offers some of the best cocktails in town alongside their dinner menu, while Allen Burger Venture serves up a solid beer list paired with their signature burgers (everything from beef to ahi tuna.) Toutant offers southern style cuisine that makes it one-of-a-kind in this city, and those looking for the most popular brunch in town can stop at Betty’s (go hungry, but not too hungry, because there is always a line of eager diners).
Which coffeehouses are the best and why (for coffee, for atmosphere, for both)?
If you need a pick-me-up in the morning (or afternoon ... or evening, no judgment here), you will have numerous options. Perhaps the best pour in the city is from Public Espresso, located downtown and, as its name suggests, known for its espresso beverages. Uptown on the corner of the beautiful Bidwell Parkway is Caffe Aroma, a hole-in-the-wall place that offers coffee in the morning, wine in the evening, and live music throughout the week. The best place on a warm summer day has to be Remedy House, a relatively new establishment offering great coffee in a small shop that opens up to a beautiful patio. For those who need a bit more food with their coffee‚ but don't want to commit to a real diner, try Daily Planet or Spot Coffee.
What sites should we see?
One of the pinnacles of the Buffalo revival is the Canalside area. Here visitors can see the roots of the city: the mouth of the Erie Canal and the naval yard, serving as reminders that this city was once the gateway to the Great Lakes. In the winter, Canalside Buffalo offers ice skating, curling, and is right next door to the Key Bank center where the Buffalo Sabres play. In the summer, it is all about the concert scene and water sports. See a great act, or rent some kayaks to get a view of the city from the water.
Uptown is the Albright-Knox, a world-class art gallery that is home to the works of Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and countless other artists. Those in-the-know know that admission is free on the first Friday of each month (but donations are always welcome).
Tucked away in the beautiful Parkside neighborhood is the Darwin Martin House, a Frank Lloyd Wright project that visitors can tour and admire while taking in the the best architecture the city has to offer—including other works by Frank Lloyd Wright like Graycliff and the Wright Filling Station.
Just a quick zip of the highways brings you to Niagara Falls. While the city has more than enough to offer, it would be a shame to come to Buffalo and not stop to see this natural wonder. On the American side of the falls, visitors can stand right next to the powerful force of 750,000 gallons of water going over every second. Those who packed their passport can walk over to the Canadian side for panoramic views.