I just want to point out this is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but some highlights from the area!
- Niagara Falls: Getting this one out of the way early. Everyone knows about it, and its about a 30 minute drive from Buffalo. See one of the Wonders of the World, go behind the Falls with Cave of the Winds, or ride the Maid of the Mist to get up close and personal with this deadly and awe inspiring beauty. Want to get a bit closer but don't feel like dropping a lot of cash? The Observation Tower costs $1/person and gets you within soaking range of the behemoth waterfall. Eventually due to erosion Niagara Falls will one day become simply rapids... do you want to be the poor sop who did not see them as the Falls? (This, granted, won't happen for a LONG time... but never mind!)
- And... while you are in the area, why don't you partake of the 14.5 mile of trails making up the Niagara Gorge area? Stop over to Goat Island or Devil's Hole for a picnic lunch, or take the Gorge Rim Trail and get away from the tourist buses to soak in the solitude, where sometimes the only sound you hear is that of the river.
- Architecture is another interesting draw to Buffalo. Frank Lloyd Wright built a few buildings in the area, to include the Darwin Martin house. I am not sure if this list is exhaustive, but a few Google searches should put you on your way. If you just love buildings, my suggestion is to start downtown on Delaware Ave right at City Hall (see right), in Niagara Square, continue down to experience "Millionaire's Row" which has some very impressive mansions, a shout out to Buffalo's heyday. You can even stay in one while visiting! Rates vary based on time of the year. Then maybe head over to Allentown for more photo ops... and maybe a bite to eat and a tasty brew. Or swing over to Elmwood for its hipster stores and tasty restaurants. Also on Elmwood is the Albright Knox on one side, which spills into the huge Delaware Park, and on the other side Buffalo State College and the now empty Buffalo Psychiatric Center, a beautiful building with a quasi-creepy past.
- Buffalo Zoo: Because animals are cute. Animal rights activists protest all you want, but during Buffalo winters I wish I could stay in a temperature regulated environment every day!
- Buffalo Science Center: Relive childhood memories of blowing your eyebrows off or encourage your kids to embrace their own mad scientist (but maybe steer them away from the eyebrow blowing off bit... those therapy bills were not cheap!) Plus.. the building the museum itself is sweet looking.
- Garden Walks: Now I am not into gardens, nor am I interested in seeing others. Especially because it would inspire me to drop a ton of money in a project I will never complete or do complete and it will look no where as awesome as the one that I wanted to duplicate. Lack of green thumb aside, I know many people are interested in these types of things. If anything its a great focus for photographers who have a penchant for macro mode or aesthetic design.
- Roycroft: OK, this is NOT in Buffalo. Its in East Aurora. However it is completely worth the drive. For starters its the largest building complex which evolved from 'guilds' (not really like those things on World of Warcraft, real guilds focused on a certain trade or craft). There are classes year round, fun events to keep the little ones busy, and is even open for special occasions and meals. Believe me, with the Roycroft as the backdrop, it makes an already special day almost perfect. Plus, stop down on Main Street to Vidlers, an honest to goodness Five and Dime Store. Remember those? Me neither, but as a kid Vidlers was the best, so I am sure it still stands for kids today.
- Forest Lawn Cemetary: Me- "Wow that grass is so green and pretty, it would be a great place to have a picnic" My Sister- "Melissa that is a cemetary, you are so stupid" ::cue more hurtful comments and teasing:: OK so it maybe wasn't that bad, but Forest Lawn is a pretty amazing place. The gravestones and mausoleums as well as the tranquil green space is a poets or photographers dream come true. We even have some famous residents there: Rick James and former president Millard Fillmore. See the list of more (or less) famous(ish) people here. Tours are available as well.
- Buffalo Turkey Trot: After listing all the tasty foods available here, you are pretty much going to need to run off some calories. Do it the morning of Thanksgiving at the Turkey Trot, America's longest consecutive running race (116 years and running- ha!). Its not too long, 8k, and a perfect reason to feel justified having another slice of pie.