Visiting Buffalo soon? Uncovering common 'problems' tourists may encounter whilst visiting The Queen City
Let's face it: traveling can be a lot of fun, but also extremely stressful, especially when you are knee deep in the planning stages of visiting a city you've never been before. A million questions flood your mind simultaneously: "Where should we eat??", "What are the most unique neighborhoods around town?!", "Where can I take a picture with that Shark Girl that everyone in Buffalo seems to have in their Instagram feed?!". All kidding aside, traveling should be fun and full of adventure, and with a little planning ahead and research, you can get the most bang for your buck in Buffalo on even the shortest of trips here.
First up: FOOD. Where else would I start? If you're visiting Buffalo for the first time, I truly hope you aren't a vegetarian (not that there's anything wrong with that)---it is just that most of the food groups here contain one type of meat or another. Have you heard of Buffalo wings? Great, except if you come to Buffalo be sure NEVER TO CALL THEM BUFFALO WINGS. Around here, they're just "chicken wings" or "wings". The best spot to indulge is highly debatable, but when I first moved here quite a few locals told me to check out a spot in Allentown called "Gabriel's Gate" and I will say that they are still my favorite wings in town, and I have about five pizza places within walking distance of my apartment so that's really saying something. Other notable wing spots include but are NOT limited to: Anchor Bar, Duff's, Mister Pizza, Just Pizza, La Nova, and The Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora, a little drive south of metro Buffalo.
Other food staples that scream "Buffalo" are: Beef on Weck (the roll has salt and caraway seed on top, need I say more?), Ted's Hot Dogs (they serve a drink called Loganberry which is fantastic and another WNY staple), pizza from just about anywhere on Elmwood Avenue or West Ferry Street (I am biased to my neighborhood, always, but seriously the pizza places around here *are* some of the best in the whole city of Buffalo), and if you're looking for even more salt, carbs, and fat head to Jim's Steakout for any number of delicious hoagie options.
Another "problem" to tackle when visiting a new city is how to decide what parts of the city you want to explore. Canalside is a new(er) development in the city, and if you head downtown for a Sabres game you will be smack dab in the middle of the action. Make sure to stop and snap a picture with Shark Girl so you can upload it to social media with the #SharkGirlBuffalo hashtag. If you decide to find a hotel downtown for the entirety of your stay, make sure you walk around and...look up. Buffalo has some of the most incredible architectural wonders you will ever see. City Hall is my favorite building in all of Buffalo, and they offer tours. The Darwin Martin House, a walk around Allentown and Elmwood Village or Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo will give you instant access to small shops and restaurants, and although nothing in Buffalo is daunting, it'll give you much more of that neighborhood feel as you walk around.
Depending on what season you're here for, Buffalo has *all* the sports teams, and the best and most die hard fan base you will ever see. So, come in the summer and experience a Buffalo Bisons baseball game, return in the fall for a Buffalo Bills game (and be sure to tailgate before the game for the full fan experience), and come back in the dead of winter for a Buffalo Sabres hockey game, a skate around Canalside, and some skiing in the Southtowns.
Visiting a new city can be exhilarating and daunting all at once. If you want to know more about what a city really has to offer, the best thing you can do is a quick google search before you go, or a text or e-mail to a friend that has visited there for some of their favorite spots. Once you arrive in said city, though, the best way to experience it is to interact with the locals and ask them what their favorite things to do are. I guarantee you that literally everyone you run into around here will tell you about all of the old haunts, and I am fairly certain they'll buy you a beer while they are telling you about them.
Greetings from Buffalo, NY! My name is Lauren and I'm writing you this postcard of "Buffalove" (a term coined by Buffalonians to express their love and dedication to the Queen City) from the west side. I am a WNY native, born and raised in Batavia, NY, and have lived in Buffalo for a little over a year (after many years of commuting back and forth for work from my hometown). Let's get real though, if I was sitting in an airport right now in Phoenix and someone asked where I was from, I'd always say "Buffalo!" and not Batavia--I'm sure a lot of WNYers that live close by would do the same. To be honest, I've always wanted to live in Buffalo. Growing up close to here, my parents always opted to take us to Buffalo and not Rochester (another city about the same distance from Batavia as Buffalo is). We drove up here for Bills, Sabres, and Bisons games, a trip to the mall (which in the early '90s was a BIG deal) and day trips to Niagara Falls or Shea's Performing Arts Center for a play or concert. As a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to leave my small town and relocate somewhere for college much more metropolitan (I had my heart set on New York City) but saw Buffalo as a vibrant city full of fun things to do which was also close to home.
When I moved to Buffalo permanently about a year ago, it instantly felt like home. Since then, I found an apartment in my desired neighborhood, a stone's throw from Elmwood Village and close to downtown, went back to the University at Buffalo to finish my undergraduate degree in English after more than 10 years away from collegiate life, adopted a cat named Hemingway, and ran my first half marathon last May in Buffalo. I've been lucky enough to grow a friend group of wonderful and supportive people in my neighborhood and at university, and live close to a good chunk of my family. Put simply: life in Buffalo has been good to me, and I hope that this blog gives you some insight into my life here and an overview of what the "City of Good Neighbors" is all about. If you're thinking of visiting Buffalo for the first time, or are pondering a move back to this vibrant city that is experiencing such a resurgence right now, read on. And if you do end up in Buffalo for any length of time, reach out! The first beer and order of wings is on me.