Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

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Stinky
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Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Stinky » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:09 am

DW and I are making a trip to the Buffalo, NY / Niagara Falls area later this month. We'll have a few days in the area, and will have a car to get around. Neither one of us has ever to been the area before.

I'm looking for suggestions of things to do and see in the area. Won't have any children in tow, so we're not interested in child-focused attractions. Day trips would be fine.

I appreciate any suggestions.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am

Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:05 am

Buffalo is a super cool surprise. No kids? Excellent. There are some pretty cool microbreweries about the place. I rented a bike from my youth hostel and rode among them, so didn't worry too much about my blood alcohol.

I enjoyed the museum/house where Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in after McKinley was assassinated. You can see that spot, though it is just a plaque on a median strip in a very nice part of town. Apparently the gun that was used is at the museum.

I also liked the brain museum (by appointment) at SUNY, I think - senior moment (appropriately). Take a tour of City Hall, wonderful architecture. The canals are fascinating. There's an Alice in Wonderland statue for some reason.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:25 am

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.
Yes!! The Canadian side of the Falls is wonderful.

Not for enveryone - but I would do both the cave of the Winds and the Maid of the Mist boat ride. [The maid of the mist can be done from either the US or canadian side.]

There is also a rotating restaurant on the Canadian side as well.

In Buffalo - sample the local specialties - Wings and "Beef on Weck". The latter is a version of roast beef on a Kimmelweck roll.

In Buffalo, look around at the many buildings, including wonderful churches, built from the local "Medina Sandstone". This is similar to the NY City "Brownstones"

In nearby Lockport, NY - check out the locks on the Erie Canal - great history lesson.

It has been a long time - so don't know if the Buffalo zoo is worth it or not.

Especially if you have, or are interested in, Irish Heritage - https://irishfaminememorials.com/2014/0 ... york-1997/ . Perhaps a side of history that may be a bit different than what is taught in school today.
Last edited by dm200 on Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Arabesque » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:27 am

City of Lockport for canal ride and Lake Effect ice cream.

Buffalo: Two modern at museum across from each other and just a short walk to free Shakespeare in the park most summer evenings.

Shopping on Elmwood Ave (boutiques, hippie).

Good zoo, Canalside, good music scene (Allen Street), Darwin Martin House, architecture in general as Buffalo was rich as the first electrified city.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by deanbrew » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:50 am

The Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side is worth doing (I never did it from the US side). I remember walking right next to the falls on a walking tour, which was fun.

I second visiting the Welland Canal locks. It's not too far northwest of Niagara Falls in Canada. My family found it interesting to watch ships get raised and lowered. There are a number of websites about the canal, and there is a museum at Lock 3. I remember finding a schedule of ships passing through, but can't seem to find it right now.

In Buffalo, if this sort of thing interests you, you can go to the Anchor Bar, which is where Buffalo wings were invented. Sort of a pilgrimage if you are a fan of Buffalo wings.
Last edited by deanbrew on Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:55 am

Downtown Buffalo is fun to walk around and enjoy. Interesting architecture. Goat Island on the American side is also worth visiting and I’d get at least a passport card to go to the Canadian side as the views of the falls are fantastic on that side.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:57 am

deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:50 am
The Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side is worth doing (I never did it from the US side). I remember walking right next to the falls on a walking tour, which was fun.

I second visiting the Welland Canal locks. It's not too far northwest of Niagara Falls in Canada. My family found it interesting to watch ships get raised and lowered.

In Buffalo, if this sort of thing interests you, you can go to the Anchor Bar, which is where Buffalo wings were invented. Sort of a pilgrimage if you are a fan of Buffalo wings.
Unless it’s changed, there’s only one Maid of the Mist, a vessel with a barrier down the middle that separates US & Canadian sections of the ship, so the same ride.

When I lived in Buffalo my apartment was a short walk from the Anchor Bar. Frank and Teresa were still there, but their wings hadn’t yet been discovered.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:13 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:57 am
deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:50 am
The Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side is worth doing (I never did it from the US side). I remember walking right next to the falls on a walking tour, which was fun.

I second visiting the Welland Canal locks. It's not too far northwest of Niagara Falls in Canada. My family found it interesting to watch ships get raised and lowered.

In Buffalo, if this sort of thing interests you, you can go to the Anchor Bar, which is where Buffalo wings were invented. Sort of a pilgrimage if you are a fan of Buffalo wings.
Unless it’s changed, there’s only one Maid of the Mist, a vessel with a barrier down the middle that separates US & Canadian sections of the ship, so the same ride.

When I lived in Buffalo my apartment was a short walk from the Anchor Bar. Frank and Teresa were still there, but their wings hadn’t yet been discovered.
Not my memory or experience. I believe that, now and for many previous years/decades, there have been two boats. Not sure how they are split between Canada and the US sides, though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maid_of_the_Mist notes that Maid of the Mists VI and VII are both in service now.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:25 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:13 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:57 am
deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:50 am
The Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side is worth doing (I never did it from the US side). I remember walking right next to the falls on a walking tour, which was fun.

I second visiting the Welland Canal locks. It's not too far northwest of Niagara Falls in Canada. My family found it interesting to watch ships get raised and lowered.

In Buffalo, if this sort of thing interests you, you can go to the Anchor Bar, which is where Buffalo wings were invented. Sort of a pilgrimage if you are a fan of Buffalo wings.
Unless it’s changed, there’s only one Maid of the Mist, a vessel with a barrier down the middle that separates US & Canadian sections of the ship, so the same ride.

When I lived in Buffalo my apartment was a short walk from the Anchor Bar. Frank and Teresa were still there, but their wings hadn’t yet been discovered.
Not my memory or experience. I believe that, now and for many previous years/decades, there have been two boats. Not sure how they are split between Canada and the US sides, though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maid_of_the_Mist notes that Maid of the Mists VI and VII are both in service now.
Remember I was there back in the 70s; I worked for 11 years on the N.Y. shore of the upper Niagara River. Back then the Maid of the Mist sailed a circuit where the same boat alternated stops on the US and Cdn sides. The ship’s port side was sectioned for one country and the starboard for the other. You couldn’t use the boat to cross borders. The ships are totally different now; I believe they are no longer diesel but electric. Obviously things have changed since I last rode it in the mid-70s.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:26 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.
Or if you an "enhanced License", crossing the border by land would not require a passport.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:45 pm

TheGreyingDuke wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:26 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.
Or if you an "enhanced License", crossing the border by land would not require a passport.
Not my understanding at all. can you cite a reference?

My understanding is that you need a passport (book) or the passport card.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:47 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:45 pm
TheGreyingDuke wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:26 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.
Or if you an "enhanced License", crossing the border by land would not require a passport.
Not my understanding at all. can you cite a reference?

My understanding is that you need a passport (book) or the passport card.
An enhanced DL also works.....

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Casper » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 pm

Downtown Buffalo has improved dramatically in the last ten years and is now a fantastic place to spend time. The revamped waterfront area is called Canalside and is a must-see if you're visiting. South of downtown, much of the old industrial waterfront has been transformed into parkland and has a lot of walking paths.

If you're into beer/liquor, check out Big Ditch Brewing, Resurgence Brewing, and Lockhouse Distillery. I'm sure there are others.

Check out Riverworks, which is just south of downtown and is across the street from the General Mills factory where they still make Cheerios (you can smell them in the air). Riverworks is a large bar/restaurant on the Buffalo River among all the old grain elevators. You can charter a boat or rent a kayak right nearby.

20 minutes away from Buffalo is a beautiful small town called East Aurora. Plenty of shopping and dining and some historical sites.

For a longer daytrip, 1.5 hours east of Buffalo is Canandaigua Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Drive to Canandaigua (city at the northern tip of the lake) and check out the town, waterfront, and nearby breweries and wineries.

Agree with the suggestions to check out the Elmwood and Allentown neighborhoods as well.

Niagara Falls is fun to visit and the falls are amazing but I wouldn't spend more than a day there.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:57 pm

The Canadian equivalent of Maid of the Mist was called The Hornblower when we were there a couple of years ago. There are boats that depart from both sides; blue boats with blue rain ponchos from the American side and red boats with red rain ponchos from the Canadian side.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:00 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:47 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:45 pm
TheGreyingDuke wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:26 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
Bring passports so you can drive to the Canadian side. The US falls look better, and that’s why you want to drive over the border. Other things I liked to take visitors to see while on the Canadian side (worked in Buffalo in the 70s) is the drive up to Niagara On The Lake, and over to the Welland Canal locks.
Or if you an "enhanced License", crossing the border by land would not require a passport.
Not my understanding at all. can you cite a reference?

My understanding is that you need a passport (book) or the passport card.
An enhanced DL also works.....
OK - see it now https://www.us-passport-service-guide.c ... cense.html

BUT the only state with these now are Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State. We live in Virginia. :(

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:06 pm

Casper wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 pm
For a longer daytrip, 1.5 hours east of Buffalo is Canandaigua Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Drive to Canandaigua (city at the northern tip of the lake) and check out the town, waterfront, and nearby breweries and wineries.
I've been researching things to do as DW and I plan a trip to the falls in August without kids. I did find a marina who rents boats on Canandaigua. I've got a Power Squadron certificate. I don't know if NY requires this (or equiv Coast Guard) to rent boats. Check in advance if you don't. They list a 20' bow rider along with some pontoon boats.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:12 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:06 pm
Casper wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 pm
For a longer daytrip, 1.5 hours east of Buffalo is Canandaigua Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Drive to Canandaigua (city at the northern tip of the lake) and check out the town, waterfront, and nearby breweries and wineries.
I've been researching things to do as DW and I plan a trip to the falls in August without kids. I did find a marina who rents boats on Canandaigua. I've got a Power Squadron certificate. I don't know if NY requires this (or equiv Coast Guard) to rent boats. Check in advance if you don't. They list a 20' bow rider along with some pontoon boats.
The Finger Lakes region of NY state is wonderful.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:14 pm

In Buffalo, if this sort of thing interests you, you can go to the Anchor Bar, which is where Buffalo wings were invented. Sort of a pilgrimage if you are a fan of Buffalo wings.
Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite.

Lots of places offer Buffalo Wings. The small (some very small) neighborhood bars provide a wonderful "atmosphere" for having Wings.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by shorty313 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:24 pm

We were just at the falls on the canadian side 2 weeks ago. I hadn't been since I was a teen and forgot how amazing they are. Yes, the boat is called Hornblower in Canada. There are passes you can buy that gain entry into several of the sites, available at two levels.
https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niag ... -packages/

We really enjoyed the Journey behind the falls, hornblower, and white water walk. The aero car was pretty good too. We drove up to Niagara on the lake one day, which is a super cute town. We also stopped at the Mackenzie printery if that is your thing, by grandfather used to set lino type. The WeGo is the local shuttle bus that goes between sites. Made things easy, most of the time we left the car at the airbnb. We hit the butterfly conservatory as well since we had kids with us.

On the way back we stopped on US side...no time for Wind of the cave but it looked fun...and wet!

Edit: we did eat at the Skylon tower revolving restaurant...it was actually a good meal! I thought it would be meh and rely on the view, but it may have been our best meal. The Queen Victoria restaurant had a really good beer and cheddar soup.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:34 pm

From the US side, you can go to Goat Island to get other views of the falls.

I can't recall which tour it is, but from the US side, you can go down to the base of the American falls.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by MJS » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:48 pm

WNY has been famous for apples and cider for centuries.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by SmallSaver » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:08 pm

The Albright-Knox art museum in Buffalo is incredible. I'm not even an art guy, but it's a great collection and really amazing to see in person. Highly recommended. (edited:maybe not just modern art, see point about being totally naive).

And eat some wings, of course.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by deikel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:41 pm

Have to give a plug for Dinosaur BBQ in Buffalo (or Syracuse or Rochester)

and most certainly do a day tour of the wineries between the Finger Lakes - maybe you make it all the way to Ithaca and back, microbreweries are also a big deal around here if you prefer and plenty to hike around if that is your thing.

agree that the Canadian side of the falls is much more interesting (if a bit touristy) for the falls, stay in one of the hotels overlooking the falls and enjoy the fireworks and night light show, you have seen the majority in two half days...
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by deanbrew » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:49 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:14 pm
Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite.
Agree. A good beef on weck is fabulous.

I didn't think about going over to the Finger Lakes from Buffalo. We stayed in Geneva a couple of years ago and went to some wineries around Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Had a great time... what a beautiful area.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:54 pm

deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:49 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:14 pm
Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite.
Agree. A good beef on weck is fabulous.

I didn't think about going over to the Finger Lakes from Buffalo. We stayed in Geneva a couple of years ago and went to some wineries around Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Had a great time... what a beautiful area.
These days, increasingly, there are fewer and fewer local and unique food items in various localities. The big chain food places are everywhere.

Some still left that I have had in those cities:

- Philly Cheese Steak
- Barbque in Memphis
- Beef on Weck in Buffalo, as well as wings there

I don't know how close to or in Buffalo this extends, but in Rochester, NY (about 90 miles away) and surroundings, "White" Hot dogs are unique. Thee, whenever you are having or grilling hot dogs, you will be asked or disclose "Red" or "White". You can always grill, serve and eat both. Just check this out in Buffalo, in case.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:12 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:54 pm
deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:49 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:14 pm
Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite.
Agree. A good beef on weck is fabulous.

I didn't think about going over to the Finger Lakes from Buffalo. We stayed in Geneva a couple of years ago and went to some wineries around Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Had a great time... what a beautiful area.
These days, increasingly, there are fewer and fewer local and unique food items in various localities. The big chain food places are everywhere.

Some still left that I have had in those cities:

- Philly Cheese Steak
- Barbque in Memphis
- Beef on Weck in Buffalo, as well as wings there

I don't know how close to or in Buffalo this extends, but in Rochester, NY (about 90 miles away) and surroundings, "White" Hot dogs are unique. Thee, whenever you are having or grilling hot dogs, you will be asked or disclose "Red" or "White". You can always grill, serve and eat both. Just check this out in Buffalo, in case.
Sahlen’s hot dogs are still made in Buffalo. In the 70s there was a Sahlens stand near the downtown waterfront that I would frequent.

BTW if write “Barbque” in Memphis they’ll look at you funny.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Typ997S » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:54 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:12 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:54 pm
deanbrew wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:49 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:14 pm
Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite.
Agree. A good beef on weck is fabulous.

I didn't think about going over to the Finger Lakes from Buffalo. We stayed in Geneva a couple of years ago and went to some wineries around Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Had a great time... what a beautiful area.
These days, increasingly, there are fewer and fewer local and unique food items in various localities. The big chain food places are everywhere.

Some still left that I have had in those cities:

- Philly Cheese Steak
- Barbque in Memphis
- Beef on Weck in Buffalo, as well as wings there

I don't know how close to or in Buffalo this extends, but in Rochester, NY (about 90 miles away) and surroundings, "White" Hot dogs are unique. Thee, whenever you are having or grilling hot dogs, you will be asked or disclose "Red" or "White". You can always grill, serve and eat both. Just check this out in Buffalo, in case.
Sahlen’s hot dogs are still made in Buffalo. In the 70s there was a Sahlens stand near the downtown waterfront that I would frequent.

BTW if write “Barbque” in Memphis they’ll look at you funny.
I was just about to mention Ted's Hot Dogs, with several locations around Buffalo and its suburbs, which serves charcoal grilled Sahlen's hot dogs. Even if you are not a huge hot dog fan, these are worth trying. I recommend getting the dog with Ted's Hot Sauce, which is a sort of spicy red relish. Accompany it with fries/onion rings, and a Loganberry drink or shake. If you are at the Ted's on Sheridan drive, you could walk across the street to Anderson's for a beef on weck and a vanilla custard cone, to complete a Buffalo food tri-fecta! Probably a little too much food for one stop though! :mrgreen:

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by IngognitoUSA » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:38 pm

Highly recommend Niagara on the lake. Beautiful quaint town with wineries on the way. If you like cities, Toronto is still a hip and happening place with a lot of young energy. Check the firework schedule, it’s not everyday.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Gill » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:58 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:34 pm
From the US side, you can go to Goat Island to get other views of the falls.

I can't recall which tour it is, but from the US side, you can go down to the base of the American falls.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by scubadiver » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:48 pm

I'll second the recommendations for bringing your passport (or enhanced DL) for a day trip to Canada. Recommend that you walk across to the Canadian side though. There is good parking on the American side where you can see the falls and then walk over to the Canadian side for a different perspective. I do think the Canadian side has better attractions and I'm pretty sure you can do a maid of the mist tour from both sides.

Also recommend a trip to the Buffalo waterfront and, if you're up for a slight drive, the finger lakes region is less than two hours away where there are many great wineries and the scenery is beautiful. Though I have never been to any, I do believe the Erie shore also has a number of wineries along it and would be closer to Buffalo.

Niagara Falls also has an aquarium, though I think this is a better attraction if visiting with kids. Also recommend a trip to Old Fort Niagara, with or without kids.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Dude2 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:51 am

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada is a wonderful little tourist city with the falls, plenty of restaurants, a bit of gambling if interested. Have yourselves some pitchers of Molson's Canadian -- wonderful stuff, somehow not quite the same as the version we get in the US. Other than that, I'd drive through Buffalo very quickly and keep my doors locked.

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Stinky
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Stinky » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:31 am

OP here. Thanks to all for the excellent suggestions. I really appreciate them. Please post any other ideas that may have been missed.

DW can start planning for the trip now!
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Think » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:11 am

Aloha, I have travelled from Connecticut to Buffalo over 50 times in the last few years. Here are some adds.

1. Really take the Falls in (like other commentators both Canadian and US sides). Don’t just hang near the falls, but go down and up from the Falls. Specifically, areas around the “whirlpool” - which is after the falls, and of course walking from the Falls up river on either side is a blast (up on Goat Island on US side or to old power generation station on Canadian side). Funny, I would jog around the Falls with a ton of tourist and run to trails that felt like I was in the remote wilderness (near the whirlpool). Really take in the micro-climate of the Falls area....oddly, it feels like Napa Valley in the sense the vegetation right around the massive spray of the falls is more subtropical than the latitude would indicate. My main advice - don’t just hang in the tourist zones.

2. In Buffalo - the Pierce Arrow museum is pretty cool if you are a car buff. The inner harbor area is pretty cool to walk around.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by MarkerFM » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:14 am

Casper wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 pm
Downtown Buffalo has improved dramatically in the last ten years and is now a fantastic place to spend time. The revamped waterfront area is called Canalside and is a must-see if you're visiting. South of downtown, much of the old industrial waterfront has been transformed into parkland and has a lot of walking paths.

If you're into beer/liquor, check out Big Ditch Brewing, Resurgence Brewing, and Lockhouse Distillery. I'm sure there are others.

Check out Riverworks, which is just south of downtown and is across the street from the General Mills factory where they still make Cheerios (you can smell them in the air). Riverworks is a large bar/restaurant on the Buffalo River among all the old grain elevators. You can charter a boat or rent a kayak right nearby.

20 minutes away from Buffalo is a beautiful small town called East Aurora. Plenty of shopping and dining and some historical sites.

For a longer daytrip, 1.5 hours east of Buffalo is Canandaigua Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Drive to Canandaigua (city at the northern tip of the lake) and check out the town, waterfront, and nearby breweries and wineries.

Agree with the suggestions to check out the Elmwood and Allentown neighborhoods as well.

Niagara Falls is fun to visit and the falls are amazing but I wouldn't spend more than a day there.
If you do visit East Aurora, check out Vidler's, a really old 5 and 10 store that is huge.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Arabesque » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:47 am

If you do go to the Canadian side, there is a beautiful gorge walk(below the falls), rather calm this time of year, wild right after the melt. The high spiral staircase down and up are the most rigorous part.

A few miles North of the Falls in the US is Fort Niagara State Park on Lake Ontario , which is rich in war history (used by four nations) and natural history. You can look across the lake and see Toronto’s skyline

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by nymeria.stark » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:43 am

So, there are two Buffalos: the tourist-y Buffalo and the actual Buffalo. It depends on which one you want to visit.

My recommendation (for the actual Buffalo) would be to take in the following:
* Duff's Wings. Go to the location on Sheridan Drive, which is the original. It has franchises now, but Duff's is the real deal and FAR less tourist-y than Anchor Bar. It's also in a better neighborhood.
* Delaware Park. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park. It's gorgeous, and the neighborhood around it is beautiful. Lots of old Victorian-era homes in this area that date from the heyday of the Erie Canal. This is also where the Shakespeare in the Park Festival happens in the summer--totally free, just bring a blanket and a picnic, if you wish. I believe only low chairs are allowed.
* The Richardson Olmstead Center. This is the former Buffalo Asylum for the Insane, and while that sounds awful, it's actually incredible. The asylum was the first of its kind to encourage outdoor activity and a home-like atmosphere as a way to truly give the patients the rest and care most of them needed. The architecture is beyond incredible. Take a tour and you'll get to see both unfinished spaces as well as the luxury hotel that's transformed the central space while preserving the architectural integrity. (The hotel also has a great bar.)
* Canalside. This is down by the harbor and is a pretty recently revitalized area with food trucks, activities, and a fun statue of a girl with a shark's head. Good place to wander.
* Definitely go up to Lockport and do an Erie Canal boat ride. It's a beautiful ride, and you can see the locks in action while learning the history of the canal and how it turned Buffalo into a major port city. There's also a great ice cream shop nearby.
* Buffalo History Museum. Small, near Delaware Park, but there's always a great exhibit there. Pretty sure they have Tim Russert's actual desk there--it went there after being displayed at the Newseum.
* Albright-Knox Art Gallery. They might still have a free evening--it's Tuesday or Friday, I can't remember. Anyway, modern art, very cool, and an interesting space architecturally. Also near Delaware Park.
* The David Statue. It's so bad it's good. Also near the Park.
* Beef on Weck. Please, don't just randomly get one anywhere. Go to Charlie the Butcher's on Wherle Drive by the airport and get the carved beef on weck. Someone in the comments is going to tell me Schwabel's is better, but the only thing better at Schwabel's is the potato salad. Full stop. You want a sandwich with some thinly-sliced beef.
*Broadway Market. This is at is best at Easter, but awesome any time of year. Great place to buy gifts.
* Niagara Falls. Definitely drive to the Canadian side. When I was a kid, we'd go see the American side, kind of ho-hum about it, and then go across to the Canadian side and be amazed, every single time.
* Bocce's. Get a chicken finger sub. You'll never be the same.
* Central Terminal. https://buffalonews.com/2019/07/07/buff ... vignettes/.

The guy who said to drive through Buffalo quickly and with your car doors locked either hasn't been there in the past 10 years, or has mostly been on the East Side. Stick to the West Side and you're fine. Elmwood, Allentown, Parkside, North Buffalo...it's fine. You need to keep your head on a swivel in certain places, but it's no different than any other city of its size.
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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:15 am

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:12 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:06 pm
Casper wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:50 pm
For a longer daytrip, 1.5 hours east of Buffalo is Canandaigua Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Drive to Canandaigua (city at the northern tip of the lake) and check out the town, waterfront, and nearby breweries and wineries.
I've been researching things to do as DW and I plan a trip to the falls in August without kids. I did find a marina who rents boats on Canandaigua. I've got a Power Squadron certificate. I don't know if NY requires this (or equiv Coast Guard) to rent boats. Check in advance if you don't. They list a 20' bow rider along with some pontoon boats.
The Finger Lakes region of NY state is wonderful.
+1

Perhaps really busy in July August?

But wonderful.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:18 am

Think wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:11 am
Aloha, I have travelled from Connecticut to Buffalo over 50 times in the last few years. Here are some adds.

1. Really take the Falls in (like other commentators both Canadian and US sides). Don’t just hang near the falls, but go down and up from the Falls. Specifically, areas around the “whirlpool” - which is after the falls, and of course walking from the Falls up river on either side is a blast (up on Goat Island on US side or to old power generation station on Canadian side). Funny, I would jog around the Falls with a ton of tourist and run to trails that felt like I was in the remote wilderness (near the whirlpool). Really take in the micro-climate of the Falls area....oddly, it feels like Napa Valley in the sense the vegetation right around the massive spray of the falls is more subtropical than the latitude would indicate. My main advice - don’t just hang in the tourist zones.

2. In Buffalo - the Pierce Arrow museum is pretty cool if you are a car buff. The inner harbor area is pretty cool to walk around.
They were repowering the turbines at Niagara Falls a few years ago. Is the station again open for tours?

Yes to Pierce Arrow. A relative is a fervent fan.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:27 am

Stinky wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:09 am
DW and I are making a trip to the Buffalo, NY / Niagara Falls area later this month. We'll have a few days in the area, and will have a car to get around. Neither one of us has ever to been the area before.

I'm looking for suggestions of things to do and see in the area. Won't have any children in tow, so we're not interested in child-focused attractions. Day trips would be fine.

I appreciate any suggestions.
Worth saying that Niagara Falls NY and ONT are disappointing towns *except* for the falls, which are splendid.

Lots of great places in upstate NY and Buffalo having a welcome revival.

But not afaik those 2 towns in particular. The border crossing can be very slow at busy times eg evening rush hours or (I would guess) Sunday late afternoon (going into Canada).

I am sure this is redundant but just a reminder to all border crossers that Canada has much stricter laws on private firearms and conversely much looser laws than USA ( Federally) regarding marijuana.

In reality as a Canadian citizen when I enter Canada I have several times been searched to ensure i was not bringing alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or shopping above personal limits. *that* is what CCRA seems to worry about most.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Mickey7 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:35 am

If you have a passport/card definitely spend a day or so on the Canadian side, Niagara-on-the-Lake is great and very laid back. If you are so inclined check out a performance at the Shaw Festival.
Take a drive past the falls on either side to Lake Ontario to the old military forts. Really nice drive and check out the whirlpools and how they carved the boulders.
Catch a ballgame, either the Buffalo Bisons AAA or to Toronto for the Blue Jays.

Enjoy

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Dude2 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:06 pm

nymeria.stark wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:43 am
The guy who said to drive through Buffalo quickly and with your car doors locked either hasn't been there in the past 10 years, or has mostly been on the East Side. Stick to the West Side and you're fine. Elmwood, Allentown, Parkside, North Buffalo...it's fine. You need to keep your head on a swivel in certain places, but it's no different than any other city of its size.
I was just kidding. Buffalo gets some ribbing, but they can take it. Plenty of good people there. Salt of the Earth.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Cranberry » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:37 pm

Even without kids, you might like the African Lion Safari about an hour and a half west of Niagara Falls. Went many years ago.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Stinky » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:27 am

Thanks again for all of the responses.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by TBillT » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:37 am

Born in Buffalo...but grew up elsewhere but get back a lot. We went to Falls a few years back, I think it was the Hilton (not positive) but we asked for room with view of Amer Falls, and we also had a tiny peice of Canadian Falls view out the window. So great view especially at nite with the colored lights. Got some neat pics.

Um a little off the beaten track is Chautauqua... a little further out is Jamestown with Lucille Ball museum. My grandparents used to have cottages on Lake Erie so we go to see some old stomping grounds which are not there anymore but there must be some nice public spots.

Yeah waiting for the next total eclispe ought to pass thru in a few years I will ask my family for a place to view, but we will go where the weather is clear at that moment.

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:37 am

We went to the Canadian side in October 2017. Stayed on a high floor at the Marriott Fallsview--not cheap but an awesome view! Also recommend a ride on the Hornblower or Maid of the Mist.

That was our first trip to the falls and we thoroughly enjoyed it as it exceeded our expectations by a wide margin! I wish this thread had been here before we left home. OP, enjoy your trip!

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Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Post by nymeria.stark » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:05 pm

Dude2 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:06 pm
nymeria.stark wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:43 am
The guy who said to drive through Buffalo quickly and with your car doors locked either hasn't been there in the past 10 years, or has mostly been on the East Side. Stick to the West Side and you're fine. Elmwood, Allentown, Parkside, North Buffalo...it's fine. You need to keep your head on a swivel in certain places, but it's no different than any other city of its size.
I was just kidding. Buffalo gets some ribbing, but they can take it. Plenty of good people there. Salt of the Earth.
Oh geez, sorry! I didn't get your tone. Glad to hear you're actually a fan! Are you from there?
Just a girl, standing in front of her finances, asking them to make more sense.

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