Buffalo dates back to the 1700's. The city has been marred by a famous war, established an important first, and experienced an economic decline that threatened to wipe it off the map. However, Buffalo has proven its strength over the centuries and has always bounced back stronger than ever.
During the 19th century Buffalo began establishing itself as a working class city. After a whirlwind capture by British troops and their Native American allies, during the war of 1812, most of Buffalo was destroyed. The city worked relentlessly to rebuild itself. By 1825 the Erie Canal was completed which opened a 524 mile waterway starting at New York City and ending at the western end of the state, to Buffalo.
A short 20-minute drive from the city takes visitors to one of the most popular attractions in Buffalo, NY, Niagara Falls. Hear the roar of the cascading water, feel the mist and witness the amazing rainbows as the sun catches the water. Take the elevator ride to the gorge and step aboard a ferry. Donning a waterproof poncho, travel to the base of the falls and feel the vibration as the force of the water pounds the rocks down below. The site additionally features the Niagara Holiday Market, which hosts dozens of food and craft vendors along with entertainment for the entire family.
Buffalo Zoological Gardens
For a relaxing and educational afternoon, venture over to the Buffalo Zoological Gardens. The facility boasts being the third oldest zoo in the United States. The animal exhibits include recreated natural environments surrounded by beautiful gardens and specially designated areas for adventure, fun and history. The facility offers a fine selection of demonstrations, explanations and opportunities for coming face to face with a number of animals. The wide range of animals include amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles along with a newborn exhibit.
Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park
One of the popular attractions in Buffalo, NY for military and history buffs includes the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. Here visitors tour a variety of ships, aircraft and military vehicles. Explore the USS Little Rock and the USS Sullivans battleships along with the USS Croaker submarine. The array of aircraft includes the one-man X-Ron 1 Rotorcycle helicopter and the P-39 Airacobra. A museum commemorates the men and women who served in various campaigns, in different parts of the world, and in the various branches of the military.
Ansley Wilcox Mansion
Visit the site of Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration at the Ansley Wilcox Mansion. See the classical dining room filled with authentic furnishings and period china. Marvel at the Georgian Revival woodwork that decorates each room. Admire the attention to detail in the woodwork and elaborate furnishings. Look for the collection of gas and kerosene light fixtures throughout the home along with the ornate wallpaper. Enter the carriage house filled with a museum and historical artifacts that include election memorabilia.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Attractions in Buffalo, New York, that appeal to anyone who enjoys gardening, plants or the outdoors includes the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The site covers over 150 acres and has indoor and outdoor gardens. Three glass domes cover the nine greenhouses that comprise the indoor sites, which house an array of exotic plants and flowers from many different environments that range from desert landscapes to mountain rainforests. The outdoor gardens feature roses and arrays of shrubs and flowering plants.
The public transportation in Buffalo is run by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The NFTA runs one light rail train line from the northeastern corner of the city near the University of Buffalo all the way down to downtown Buffalo at the Erie Canal Harbor. The northern half of the line runs underground and the southern half runs aboveground.
The light rail line is a quick and efficient way to get between destinations located along its length. However, the buses run by the NFTA cover the entire city. They are not as fast as the light rail line, but they do operate fairly efficiently. There are no free transfers on the bus lines, so those who need to transfer should just buy a day-pass from any NFTA center.
Rent a Car
Buffalo is a very easy city to get around by car. The parking in the city is ample in most area, though it is a little tight and expensive in the downtown area. The roads are easy-to-navigate and there are several highways to quickly get drivers from one side of Buffalo to another.
Driving in Buffalo during the winter can get a bit icy. The area gets a huge amount of snowfall, but the road crews do a good job of plowing and getting salt and sand down. Just be sure to drive a little slower and leave extra time to get to the destination when driving in Buffalo during the winter months.
It is hard to hail a cab in Buffalo unless at the airport, bus station or in the bar districts late at night. It is a good idea for visitors in Buffalo who need to use cabs to program a couple of cab companies' numbers into their phones. A cab can be dispatched to any location in Buffalo in less than 15 minutes.
Walking in Buffalo is nice during the mild half of the year. During the winter it can range from unpleasant to downright dangerous. Be sure to bundle up well when walking in Buffalo during the winter.
Buffalo is a fairly bike-friendly city. Most of the major roads have bike lanes and drivers are courteous to bike riders for the most part. There are also several dedicated bike paths in the area and a number of beautiful bike rides to take. The trouble is that there is a large part of the year where the cycling is dangerous due to snow and ice on the roads.
There are many fine shopping districts in Buffalo. Allentown is the name of one of them. It runs along Allen St. from Main St. to Wadsworth St. Allentown has stores that sell antiques, books and art supplies. There are also a number of restaurants and bars in Allentown.
Elmwood Village is a shopping district located on Elmwood Ave. near Buffalo State College. Elmwood Village has a number of independent stores selling things like used books, clothing, organic foods, produce, art supplies and musical instruments. Many restaurants and bars are present to give shoppers a chance to take a break.
This district is just outside the campus of the University of Buffalo. There are many great specialty stores in this area selling things like comics, games, movies and secondhand goods.
This North Buffalo neighborhood is packed with art stores, galleries, bookstores, tobacco shops and specialty goods shops. There are also several wonderful Italian restaurants and a smattering of bars in the area.
This traditional Italian neighborhood is now a real melting pot. There are Somalis, Italians, Southeast Asians, Puerto Ricans and students from the nearby Buffalo State College all rubbing elbows in this district. There are a number of fabulous ethnic shops, clothing stores and markets in the area as well as many great restaurants.
This is also located near Buffalo State College. It is one of the real up-and-coming neighborhoods of Buffalo. It is packed with art galleries and antique shops as well as a selection of restaurants.
Visitors to Buffalo looking for malls will be happy, too. The Walden Galleria is a huge mall with more than 260 stores from which to choose, including all the major chains mall shoppers love. There are also a lot of high-end shops in Walden Galleria. There is a great food court and many stand-alone restaurants like P.F. Chang's and the Cheesecake Factory. Walden Galleria is located in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga, which is only a ten-minute car ride north on the expressway from downtown.
This is the oldest mall in Buffalo. It is a smaller mall than the Walden Galleria, but it still has a lot of stores and restaurants.
This is a newer mall built to service the southern side of Buffalo. It is a big mall with many large stores like Target, JC Penney, Best Buy, Sears and Macy's.
By the turn of the 20th century
By the turn of the 20th century Buffalo, New York, was popular in immigrant circles and received an influx of workers from Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Italy seeking jobs in the steel and grain mills. This worked to the city's economic advantage due to its proximity to the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal.
Buffalo played a major role in the modernization of the rest of the United States when it became the first city to get electricity, powered in part, by nearby Niagara Falls and received the nickname, "City of Light."
Buffalo enjoyed its popularity but by the mid 20th century, this section of Western New York, which had once been a major city of importance, experienced a major economic decline in 1957. It took nearly 50 years to regain substantial recognition. Economic development in 2006 brought the city back from the doldrums to the tune of $3.5 billion with a rank of 83rd of best cities for jobs by Forbes magazine.