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Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

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Conisbrough, United...
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Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

We're travelling Toronto - Niagara Falls, and then after a few nights there we're getting an early morning train to New York from Buffalo Depew.

Because it is an early train, we are travelling to Buffalo the day before and staying overnight near the airport.

The question is - we have a choice of buses from Niagara Falls, ON to Buffalo. One arrives Buffalo at 9:30am, the other at 6:30pm.

So - do we get there early, get the bus/taxi into Buffalo to experience another US city apart from New York, or shall we get the later one and head straight to our hotel? There are a few US restaurants in a retail park near our hotel, but it's a long way from the centre of Buffalo.

Hand on hearts, is it worth getting there early to see, or is it missable?

Irondequoit, New...
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1. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

This isn't western NY regional bias being displayed - I would probably say it of my own city (which I love).

If you wound up stuck in Buffalo, you could probably find enough things to be worth your while, and it would probably be enjoyable. Going out of your way to get to it? Er...... not so much.

Buffalo, New York
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2. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

Just an afternoon? 100% worth it! In fact you need a weekend to see all the major points of Buffalo. To really experience the city you could spend a week. To experience all of Western New York you could spend a month.

If you only had time to see three things, which you should easily fit into 6 or so hours I suggest:

Checking out the observation deck of the 2nd tallest city hall building in the US (and even taller than Toronto's). Its free and and gives a commanding view. You can even see the mist from Niagara Falls on a clear day. Its a gorgeous art deco building and I highly recommend the tour if there is time.

2nd you have the second largest inland naval park in the USA right downtown as well. You are able to tour 3 WWII era vessels, including a Submarine, Destroyer and Cruiser.

3rd is the Albright Knox Gallery which has classic works from Picasso, Warhol, and Monet. It is by far Buffalo's best art gallery. You'll have to take a bus up Elmwood, but they run pretty regularly.

If you have a weekend I would also suggest:

Exploring the Museum District in full. In addition to the Albright-Knox, you also have the Penney Burchfield Art Gallery, The Buffalo History Museum, Delaware Park: an Olmsted designed park (like most of Buffalo's Park) whom is best known for Central Park in NYC, and the historic Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is a gorgeous place and the resting place of a US President, Rick James, among others. They give various tours as well.

On the peripheral, you have the charming Elmwood Village with is filled with small shops, restaurants, and bars along with the mansions of the Delaware district.

Downtown, you also have the Pierce Arrow Transportation Museum, Hall Walls Contemporary Art Gallery, Big Orbit Gallery, and the Penny Arcade. Downtown is also home to theatre district, and while the selection is not as good as Toronto's Buffalo's scene is much cheaper and often you get to see the original Broadway Cast on stage. Downtown is also home to a great host of restaurants, sport arenas, bars, music venues, a comedy club, and dance clubs along the Chipewwa Strip. Last call is at 4 am in Buffalo, and there are good crowds on the weekend.

To the north you have Allentown, which is Buffalo's bohemian neighborhood. here you'll find many small shops, restaurants, and bars with a hipster vibe. This historic district is also home to the Teddy Roosevelt Inauguration Site (Where the president was inaugurated following the Assasination of William McKinley at the 1901 world fair in Buffalo), the Karples Manuscript Museum, Kleinhans Music Hall, and much of Buffalo's indie music scene.

Other places in the city to check out include Hertel Ave/Little Italy in North Buffalo which is also a vibrant neighborhood filled with bars, restaurants, shops, and clubs.

The Buffalo Botanic Gardens, which is home to a victorian glass house modeled after the one found at Kew Gardens in London.

Everywhere I mentioned are more than safe to visit. They are all in middle/upper middle class neighborhoods, with the exception of downtown, where very few people live.

Other interesting places to see in the region include:

Our Lady of Victory Basilica, Griffis Sculpture Park, Letchworth State Park, Old Fort Niagara, The Carrosol Factory Museum.

Things you can skip are the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Buffalo Zoo...since Toronto has much better counter parts by comparison.

As you can see you have plenty to do. I didn't even get into the smaller attractions or the many large festivals taking place throughout the summer and year. I also barely touched upon Buffalo's many architectural gems.

Conisbrough, United...
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3. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

Thank you for the contrasting but worthy replies! I shall consider everything and make plans!

Toronto
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for Nassau
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4. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

Another suggestion..........instead of travelling to Buffalo-Depew to catch the early morning train (which is probably the Amtrak-Lakeshore at 9.08), why don't you walk accross the bridge in Niagara Falls to the USA side, then take a short taxi ride to the Niagara Falls (USA) Amtrak station, and catch the 12.35 train (Amtrak-Maple Leaf) to NYC. (You can also catch this train in Niagara Falls Canada, but there is a long wait while US Customs checks everyone on the train.)

In all likelihood, the Maple Leaf, which starts in Toronto, will be running on time. The Lakeshore may not.

Buffalo, New York
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5. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

Apparently they are staying by the Buffalo airport. So Depew is the closest station.

They could also depart from Buffalo's downtown exchange street station. Depending on bus schedules from the airport to the Depew Station, it could actually be more convenient.

New York State, USA
Destination Expert
for Buffalo
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6. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

Hi MWL, Buffalo is definitely worth a visit - it's a great example of an American city, and the people are very friendly (especially if we know you're visiting from out of town!). Although Brad M gave you an extensive list of things to do, here is another concise list: tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i20984-Explorin…

I highly recommend a Buffalo Harbor Cruise as an introduction to the City.

-Dee

7. Re: Is Buffalo worth an afternoon of our lives?

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