Neighborhoods & Destinations
Neighborhoods & Destinations within the Buffalo and Niagara Falls areas have so much to offer our visitors!
Buffalo Niagara has been recognized as a top destination. First, walk the various neighborhoods & destinations in the city of Buffalo. Then head out into the country to discover the sights along the Erie Canal and naturally Niagara Falls. No matter where you are in the Buffalo Niagara Region, you can assume a new diverse neighborhood is just around the corner! Explore northern suburbs of Buffalo including Amherst, Williamsville and Clarence. Venture south and find East Aurora, Orchard Park and Hamburg. Or perhaps travel along Lake Ontario from Niagara Falls and you’ll discover Lewiston, Youngstown, Lockport and Wilson. Read on for more in-depth information on the neighborhoods & destinations of Buffalo Niagara.
The history of Buffalo is rich in innovation extending back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city’s origins as a thriving transportation and industrial center paved the way for what it has become today; a vibrant home to creativity and culture. Our industrial heritage brought wealth and prosperity to the city. With so much to do it’s no wonder that our waterfront has become a prime recreational area for residents and visitors alike. From concerts to festivals to water-related activities, Canalside continues to attract more people than ever before. From the Central Wharf to East Canal Park, special events throughout the year will give folks even more reasons to come downtown and explore. The convergence of our waterfront, downtown skyscrapers, cobblestone streets and the new HarborCenter make for a perfect backdrop to witness a beautiful sunset on Lake Erie. Silo City on the Buffalo River is a collection of grain elevators and former industrial buildings that has emerged as a hub of adventure and culture. Invented in Buffalo in 1843, the grain elevator consists of conveyors of vertical buckets which carried grain from a ship’s hold up to a superstructure where it flowed by gravity into a series of silos. Fourteen of these enormous structures, which inspired European Modernist architects in the early twentieth century, still line our river and waterfront. Industrial areas are now becoming one of the fastest-growing, hippest spots in town. Businesses and residents share space in the renovated warehouses throughout the city. Look for new retail and restaurants emerging in these new urban neighborhoods. You’ll find all sorts of touring options in our Sightseeing section to enhance your visit to Buffalo.
Allentown Historic District
Allentown paints the perfect picture of city living with its diverse inhabitants and historical background. Not only is it one of the largest residential historic districts in the U.S., it is also within walking distance of downtown Buffalo. Exhibits by national and local artists, musicians and street performers take place during the Allentown Arts Festival and the Allen West Festival, which are celebrated at the same time. Discover colorful Victorian and neoclassical homes, which create Allentown’s unmistakable artistic and Bohemian atmosphere. Several local venues participate in “First Fridays Allentown” – an event that occurs on the first Friday of every month and invites visitors to enjoy all of the cultural attractions the community has to offer including art, music, food and live performances. This area has re-invented itself as the go-to destination for live music and casual fare in many of the bistros and pubs.
The Elmwood Village
Constantly busy with locals and visitors, Elmwood Avenue is lined with an array of shops, restaurants and boutiques. This historic district is perfect for those looking to explore someplace out of the ordinary. The annual Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts brings culture and excitement into this residential community. Regional artists and performers share their talents while local organizations discuss ways to make the community stronger and more environmentally friendly. The “Museum District” encompassing the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield Penny Art Center and Buffalo History Museumare located at the northern end of the Elmwood Village. The Village is always busy with various activities and events including the free summer concert series and local farmer’s market in Bidwell Parkway. There’s great people watching at the diverse range of pubs, bistros and other dining spots, especially on the patios during the warmer weather.
North Buffalo/Hertel Avenue
With multiple international influences in the area, the North side of Buffalo embodies urbanism. The strong Italian culture that gave the region its nickname “Buffalo’s Little Italy” is nicely complemented by the unique Russian, Native American and Middle Eastern influences. To name a few of its many attractions, Hertel Avenue is lined with antique shops, specialty stores and galleries. As the sun sets, Hertel Avenue comes alive with nighttime entertainment and people watching on the patios of its many dining and drinking establishments.
Visitors to our area are overwhelmed by the contributions of so many esteemed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward B. Green, Henry Hobson Richardson and Louis Sullivan. It’s no wonder Buffalo is recognized as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. The Darwin D. Martin House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s most extensive residential complex; a prime example of his prairie-style homes. The unique art-glass patterns, also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, are
more plentiful in this complex than in any other one of his works. Five other residences including Martin’s summer home, Graycliff Estate, can be found within the region. The Prudential (Guaranty) Building is considered to be the first skyscraper ever built, and was designed by Louis Sullivan, mentor and instructor to Wright. Sheathed in terra cotta embellished with ornamentation of Sullivan’s own highly original design, the interior ornament continues in the iron, stained glass and mosaics of the beautifully restored lobby. Buffalo’s Hyatt Regency was designed by Edward B. Green, and their steakhouse proudly bears his name. The Buffalo History Museum’s main building, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is the only permanent building erected for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. Buffalo architect George Cary designed the building in Doric style, faced and corniced with Vermont marble. The Italian Renaissance-style Ellicott Square Building, designed by Charles B. Atwood, is organized around a large light court which allows natural light to enhance the ornate concourse. The rich mosaic and rare marble tiles of the main floor were designed by brothers Edward Austin Kent and William Winthrop Kent. The building was named after Joseph Ellicott, the planner and surveyor who laid out the then-village of Buffalo. Art Deco architecture is exemplified in the overall structure and colorful exterior details of Buffalo’s City Hall. Filling every inch of the lobby and main floor hallway are references to Buffalo’s rich past. The 28th floor offers exceptional views and is open to the public. Henry Hobson Richardson designed the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, built in 1870. Its Romanesque structure and red Medina sandstone towers are just a few details that qualify it as being Richardson’s greatest achievement. Another excellent example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style is the Church of the Good Shepherd on Jewett Parkway. The impressive interior features eleven early Tiffany windows. Temple Beth Zion, designed by Max Abramowitz, is awe-inspiring on the outside and the interior, featuring scalloped walls, colossal stained-glass windows designed by artist Ben Shahn, 30 foot high commandment tablets and 60 foot ceilings. Eliel and Eero Saarinen make up the proud father-son team that designed Kleinhans Music Hall, home to the prestigious Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. This radiant concert hall has become an architectural model for its acoustical excellence. Louise Blanchard Bethune, the nation’s first professional woman architect, would be proud to know her masterpiece, the neoclassical Hotel Lafayette, has been brought back to its grand historic beauty.
These are just a few of our favorites – enjoy exploring!
North of Buffalo
North of Buffalo
Amherst is the largest suburb of Buffalo and is located in the Northtowns. It has been constantly voted in the top 100 cities to live in America. University at Buffalo’s North (Amherst) campus houses most of their core undergraduate programs as well as the UB Center for the Arts, Western New York’s largest multi-venue performing and visual arts organization. Numerous pedestrian and bicycle paths border the neighborhoods of Amherst, Williamsville and Snyder, featuring nature and jogging trails, bird watching, fishing and small group picnicking. Take a stroll through the Village of Williamsville and you’ll discover Glen Park, a picturesque park just off Main Street with a lovely waterfall and scenic nature views. In the heart of the village is the Farmers’ Market at the Williamsville Mill. Every Saturday from mid-May through October you can buy farm fresh produce, baked goods, sausage, fresh cut flowers and more. On Main Street you’ll find an assortment of shops, salons and restaurants both for casual and fine dining. Music on Main is a summer event with live music throughout the village. East of Williamsville along Main Street enjoy free concerts at the Clarence Town Park or go next door to the Clarence Historical Museum where you can see a circa 1825 log cabin. The Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market and the Great Pumpkin Farm are just a short distance from Antique World where a number of shops feature antiques and collectibles.
South of Buffalo
South of Buffalo
Venture South of downtown Buffalo to Lackawanna, home to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. The breathtaking glass conservatory houses hundreds of tropical plants, exotic orchids, cacti and much more. Just around the corner, thousands of visitors are drawn to Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica. The main altar’s statue of Our Lady of Victory was sculpted in Italy and personally blessed by Pope Pius XI. East Aurora is the home of well-known Fisher-Price! Millard Fillmore’s former residence now functions as a history museum and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The buildings along South Grove Street, founded in 1895, make up the Roycroft Campus, a multi-monument to writer/philosopher Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters. Those who enjoy boating will love the town of Hamburg. Its close vicinity to the lake shore makes it an ideal spot to enjoy the beautiful sunset on Lake Erie while dining or enjoying a drink.
The wonder of Niagara Falls continues to amaze and inspire people from all over the world. Millions of gallons of water surge 300 feet over the falls in a roar of thrilling thunder and splash up in a magnificent mist. The average water flow over the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls varies from 60,000 to 75,000 gallons per second. The water falls at an accelerating rate of 32 feet per second. Twenty percent of the fresh drinking water in the USA goes over the falls. Niagara Falls State Park was designed by America’s greatest landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Established in 1885, it’s the oldest state park in America. Experience a beautiful view of the Falls from one of the park’s outstanding observation areas. If you’re looking for a more up close and personal experience, be sure to visit some popular attractions. Feel the mist on your face as you ride the world famous Maid of the Mist boat tour, which travels along the Niagara River to the Horseshoe Falls. Waterproof rain ponchos are provided. Tread to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls when you embark on the Cave of the Winds tour. You can’t get any closer to the falls than the Hurricane Deck, just feet from the thundering waters. Visit Prospect Point at the New York State Observation Deck and get a sense of the power of the Falls as you stand directly above the fast-moving current in a glass-walled elevator. You can enjoy a spectacular site in the evening viewing the falls. A rainbow of colors illluminates the falls from March through New Year’s eve. Hiking opportunities are plentiful along the Niagara Gorge. Visit the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Building and book a guided hike down to the Gorge. Walk, jog or bike along the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail located in Devil’s Hole State Park or descend the stairs of Devil’s Hole and walk along the edge of the river. Hiking along the Whirlpool Rapids Gorge trails will lead you to the whirlpool sandstone. Trails range in difficulty so everyone at any skill level can explore the wonders of the Gorge. Stroll around the renovated cobblestone Old Falls Street, home to the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Visitors can experience foods prepared by the students and shop for wines from the Niagara
Wine Trailand around New York State. Discover aquatic life through observation of more than 1,500 aquatic animals including Peruvian penguins and California sea lions at the Aquarium of Niagara. Try your luck at the Seneca Niagara Casino, operated by the Seneca Nation of Indians, with over 4000 slots, 100 table games and nightly entertainment. Explore charming and unique local businesses along the 30-block span of Pine Avenue, including Niagara Falls’ own “Little Italy” – a culture-rich area that contains a variety of family owned and operated Italian restaurants, bakeries and markets.
Beyond the Falls
Take a 15 minute drive from the falls along the scenic Niagara Gorge to the picturesque village of Lewiston. Concerts and other fun events take place throughout the year. On your way you’ll see the Niagara Power Vista visitors center featuring exhibits on energy and electricity – science fun for all ages. Housed in the Castellani Art Museum on the campus of Niagara University, Freedom Crossing depicts the people, places and events of the Undergound Railroad Movement in this region. At the scenic convergence of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario you’ll find the historic Village of Youngstown. Old Fort Niagara takes you back in time with original 18th century buildings, living history programs, exhibits and more. Both villages enjoy their waterfront with outdoor activities such as fishing, sailing and jet boating. Speaking of water, Lockport is the city that holds the famous Flight of Five locks of the original Erie Canal. From early May to October, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises offer narrated cruises which includes “locking through” and being raised the 49 foot elevation of the Niagara Escarpment in the only double set of locks on the Erie Canal. New to Lockport is the Challenger Learning Center. Its theme of space travel is aimed at inspiring children to take an interest in science and technology. Plans are coming together for a space station room complete with simulators.
Make your stay an international experience. Travel between the U.S. and Canada is quick and easy via three conveniently located bridges: The Peace Bridge, situated where Lake Erie flows into the Niagara River, connects downtown Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario. The scenic Rainbow Bridge, rising high above the Niagara Gorge, joins the U.S. and Canada at Niagara Falls. The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, north of the cataracts, offers a quick, safe and scenic passage between the two nations. A nominal fee is charged per automobile; individuals may walk or ride a bicycle for a lesser charge.
Here are some tips for crossing the border efficiently:
Before traveling, check with your auto insurance carrier to be certain you are properly covered for travel within a foreign country. Also, note that seat belts must be buckled in both New York and Ontario. Cyclists and motorcyclists must have a helmet. Having a prior drinking and driving conviction may prevent your entry into Canada.
Bring proper documents:
When entering either Canada or the USA: You must have proof of citizenship, in the form of a passport, enhanced driver’s license, trusted traveler program such as NEXUS, FAST, Global Entry, SENTRI, VISA, Canpass or alien registration card. Citizens and residents of some countries (other than Canadians or Americans) may require a visa before entering. Inquire with the Canadian or U.S. Embassy in your country of departure or visit getyouhome.gov to get more detailed information on required documents.
Crossing the border with children:
Birth certificates are fine if both parents are traveling with the children. Children do not need a photo ID under the age of 16. Children being accompanied by only one parent require a letter of consent from the absentee parent. Written consent from the parents is needed if a child is not part of your immediate family.
Crossing the border with pets:
Travelers accompanied by family pets, with the exception of seeing-eye dogs, must present a signed health certificate from a licensed veterinarian describing the animal along with the animal’s rabies vaccination documents.
Canadians Returning to Canada:
After an absence of 24 hours or more you can claim goods (except tobacco & alcohol) with a total value of $200. If you are over, you must pay duty on the full amount, and cannot claim this exemption. After an absence of 48 hours or more you can claim goods for a total value of $800. Only the portion over this limit is dutiable.
American Residents returning to USA:
After an absence under 48 hours you may bring back merchandise for your use up to $200 (subject to limitations on liquors, cigarettes & cigars). If any part of this exemption is exceeded, the entire amount is subject to duty. In most cases, after 48 hours a $800 exemption per person is applicable, which may be grouped with other family members. Only the portion over $800 is dutiable.
For the latest bridge traffic conditions, call (800) 715-6722.