When I first moved to my west side neighborhood in Buffalo last year, I was instantly taken aback and the vibrancy, the diversity, and the close proximity to so many wonderful restaurants, bars, and architectural landmarks Buffalo is known for. I also find myself defending my choice of neighborhood quite often--when people hear you live on the west side, they instantly assume that it is dangerous, unsightly, and run down. Once they visit me and see how much of a resurgence the area has undergone, they realize that it is one of the most desirable places for a young professional to reside. If you are planning on visiting the Queen City, a stroll through the west side is an absolute must.
Take a stroll down Niagara Street, which has a large Puerto Rican population, and check out the murals that adorn the sides of a number of the buildings there. Once you've done that, pop into one of the many eclectic diners around there, and try some authentic ethnic food. The great part of Niagara Street is that is has sweeping views of downtown Buffalo, and even a trip to Tops Markets will inspire some beautiful photo ops.
Connecticut Street also has a lot of wonderful gems that you won't see anywhere else in Buffalo. The Connecticut Street Armory is an expansive and historic National Guard armory building. Its castle like architecture is alluring enough to make you want to walk by and take it all in.
Connecticut Street is also home to one of my favorite bakery/cafes in all of Buffalo. Breadhive is a great place to pop in and order a breakfast sandwich or salad, which can be enjoyed on their outdoor patio space during the summer months. All of their bread is made on site, which can't be said of too many places anymore. It is a delicious and affordable option for anyone with a craving for a healthy (carb heavy) meal. My favorite sandwich is called "The Britney" (All of their sandwiches are named after pop stars, like Britney Spears and Courtney Love) and is topped with lox, red onion, cucumber, and dill cream cheese.
One of my favorite spots on the West Side is called The Tabernacle at 220 Grant Street. It is a bar/restaurant that hosts a lot of DJs and other artists on weekends, so you can have a fun night with friends and also enjoy some live music and delicious cocktails at the same time. The best part of The Tabernacle is the intricate murals that adorn every single wall inside: each one is by a different local artist, but the individual murals come together and form a cohesive space. It is absolutely beautiful, and worth a few pictures!
The next time you visit Buffalo, consider taking a few hours and walking through the West Side. There are still streets that are a little more rough and tumble, but for the most part it is a neighborhood that is full of interesting people, architecture, and delicious cuisines from all over the world. Just make sure you let me know you are visiting my hood--I'll give you a personal tour!