Explore Buffalo, New York: What to See and Do

Downtown Buffalo, New York

Buffalo may not be the first place you think of when planning a vacation to New York, but it soon could be. While this industrial city has endured its share of hardships, it has recently begun to redefine itself as a welcoming tourist destination. With an influx of new business, people and innovative rebuilding efforts, this up-and-coming city is full of surprises for both new and returning visitors.

Drawing on its natural beauty and the ingenuity of its residents, Buffalo is becoming a place to explore, a place to enjoy and even a place many new faces now call home. If you are planning a trip to Buffalo, fly in to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, pick up your rental car and get ready to explore this hidden gem in the Northeast.

What to Do


Known as the heart of Buffalo’s waterfront revitalization, Canalside has been transformed into a year-round center for attractions and activities. From concerts and festivals to daily events even in the winter (like ice skating and curling), it has become a place for people to gather and enjoy the waterfront once again. Considering Buffalo was once the world’s largest grain port, it is only appropriate that the former connecting terminal grain elevator be used in the city’s revitalization. Check their events calendar to see what they have to offer.   

Canalside, Buffalo, New York Canalside, Buffalo, New York


Water Bikes of Buffalo

At Canalside, you can also take an unconventional bike ride. Water Bikes of Buffalo has a variety of bikes you can take out on the water. They have pedal boats, water bikes and even ice bikes for the winter.

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park

Adjacent to Canalside, the Naval and Military Park offers guests the chance to view monuments built to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military and view the USS Little Rock, the USS Croaker and the USS The Sullivans.

Water Bikes of Buffalo Water Bikes of Buffalo



The interior at Riverworks can hold up to 5,000 people for a variety of events. In addition to the main venue, it also has the first permanent, purpose built, flat track roller derby track in the world and a martial arts dojo. There is rock climbing, kayaking, backyard sports (who wants to play bean bag toss?), mixed martial arts and fitness training. In addition, there are two outdoor ice rinks, which are converted into activity areas in the summer to accommodate activities and events like roller hockey, tennis and concerts. The neighboring grain silos are also being retrofitted to create a fully-functioning brewery.

Riverworks, Buffalo, New York Riverworks, Buffalo, New York


Delaware Park

Designed by Olmsted & Vaux in 1868, Delaware Park was the largest of three original parks built in the area. A stunning lake surrounded by rolling meadows, this 350-acre treasure is, to this day, a local favorite for picnics, running and a good old-fashioned family movie night. Complete with a Japanese garden, you can also take advantage of a walking tour or boat rentals.


For hockey lovers, HarborCenter has two incredible ice rinks with state-of-the-art training rooms, classrooms as well as concessions and even a Tim Hortons. This Tim Hortons location is one-of-a-kind because it incorporates the Buffalo Sabres into its motif along with memorabilia that honors Buffalo’s history.

Where to Stay

Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo

The location and amenities of the Embassy Suites capture the unique qualities of Buffalo and allow guests to conveniently take advantage of the newly transformed waterfront. With access to a complimentary light rail system just two blocks from the hotel, guests can easily visit the waterfront attractions and enjoy a night along the revitalized Erie Canal. More outgoing visitors wanting a little more freedom can take advantage of the genius Reddy Bikeshare program available throughout the city. For a small fee, you can grab a bike and drop it off at one of the many parking locations.

Tip: If you're in town for Buffalo's annual St. Patrick's Day parade (one of the largest in the nation), this hotel sits right on the parade route, placing you in the center of a full day's worth of celebration.

Where to Eat

With its history of industry and blue-collar labor, it's only natural that Buffalo has become a melting pot of nationalities, and with that, some great food choices. If you're looking to explore the city's greatest eats, try this list of eateries for an insider’s foodie tour of Buffalo.

For the best fish fry in town, head to Wiechec’s Lounge in Kaistertown. Enjoy gourmet global cuisine at Patina 250 or some French cuisine with live music at Raclettes. If you are looking for a quick bite, grab a charcoal grilled hot dog at Ted’s Hot Dogs and satisfy your sweet tooth at The Chocolate Bar with a dessert and a chocolate martini. Locals swear by the Stinger Subs (steak and chicken fingers) from Jim's Steakout. For craft beer lovers, there are also over 20 craft breweries in Buffalo to enjoy.

From art to history to a foodie lover’s paradise, Buffalo has enough charm mixed with thoughtful renovation to make it a serious contender for a must-visit U.S. destination. Think of it as today’s secret getaway that you can brag to your friends about tomorrow, for having visited “before it was trendy.”

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About the Author

Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw describes herself as an adventurous traveler, with a passion for people, cultures and food all over the world that she documents on her blog Surf and Sunshine. When Jeana is not traveling the world, Jeana enjoys crafting delicious recipes and cuddling with her son.