Mention New York and what springs to mind for most of us is New York City. It's Manhattan and Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty. But there's more to New York State than the five boroughs. One of the state's most underrated cities even lies just 62 miles from our northern neighbor, Canada. Buffalo is famed for its proximity to Niagara Falls, however, there's actually so many things to do in Buffalo NY that have nothing to do with the falls. It’s called the “City of Good Neighbors” for a reason!
What is there more glorious for a trip to any American city without a glance at its nature? Found in Buffalo's South Park, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a living museum dedicated to maintaining our human connection to the natural world around us. The highlight of the gardens is definitely the glass atrium. Inspired by the now-lost Crystal Palace in London, the house and its surroundings are full of wonder and harmony. As well as just wandering the gardens, there are also plenty of events that take place there. Why not make a day of it?
The Buffalo Zoo was founded in 1875, meaning it's been providing entertainment and education for thousands of visitors for nearly 150 years. It's also the third-oldest zoo in the US and home to hundreds of different species. The Buffalo Zoo has every animal you can think of, from polar bears to chimpanzees and toads to sea lions, and it's a great day out for the whole family. Some of the best exhibits also contain some of the world's most endangered animals that the zoo strives to protect.
Bicycles and scooters might be all the rage in big cities these days, but have you ever thought about using a segway? Segways have been discontinued in several cities around the country. As much of a shame as that is, the Buffalo Touring Company still provides segway tours for residents and visitors alike. The segway tour will take you around all of the most notable Buffalo landmarks, allowing you to see the sights in an entirely brand new way. You'll pass the zoo, the Darwin Martin House, and learn about the city from expert guides along the way.
You've tried ferries and other such vessels, but what if we told you that you could take a ride on a sailboat? The Spirit of Buffalo is just that; a 73-foot vessel with recognizable red sails that was built in 1992. On the Spirit of Buffalo, you'll find yourself going back in time, sharing sails around Lake Erie at all times of the day. As well as just sailing around, grown-ups can also take wine sampling tours while kids can make their games come to life as pirates.
Exhibiting since 1862, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of Buffalo's true gems. The vibrant museum stands in the heart of the city's cultural district and holds thousands of artistic treasures inside of its walls. Artists from Frida Kahlo, Edgar Degas, and Vincent Van Gogh have pieces there, and with each visit, you'll find yourself discovering something wholly new. This is Buffalo's premier art gallery and it's an exciting place to visit for all members of the family. Kids especially seem to enjoy the guided tours and the fun doesn't stop inside. The grounds are full of interesting sculptures for you to discover.
Although its name might be confusing, Delaware Park is in Buffalo and an ideal place for a romantic picnic. It's also where the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Buffalo Zoo are located, potentially allowing you to hit two birds with one stone. You can find Delaware Park in North Buffalo and it was originally known simply as, The Park. Since its foundation, it's been divided into two unique areas: Meadow Park on the east and Water Park on the west. Delaware Park is, essentially, Buffalo's own version of Central Park. With so much to see and do, you might find yourself in the park every day.
Forest Lawn Cemetery covers 269 acres of land and houses more than 150,000 burials. Some of the most famous burials there include President Fillmore and Rick James. Although not everybody sees cemeteries as good places to visit, their popularity is rising every year. One of the highlights of this particular cemetery is also the Blue Sky Mausoleum by Frank Lloyd Wright who died before its completion. You can wander this site for hours or take one of the multiple expert tours that take place there. Either way, Forest Lawn is one of Buffalo's biggest attractions, and who'd want to miss out on that?
Shark Girl is one for the Instagram lovers out there, but she's worth everybody seeing at least once. One of the Albright-Knox sculptures, Shark Girl is a little girl in a blue dress with a shark's head. Since she was constructed, she's become one of the most visited parts of Buffalo, with thousands of people stopping to take pictures of and with her on a yearly basis. One look at her and it's easy to see why Cincinnati residents were peeved that she left the Ohio town for good old Buffalo.
The art deco architecture of Buffalo City Hall is one of the most standout parts of the Buffalo skyline. Although it looks like a work of art, the city hall is the actual seat of government for the city. Visitors can marvel at its exteriors and interiors, scale to the top of its 28 floors for free to visit the observation deck and more. From the deck, on a good day, you'll be able to see the water vapor from Niagara Falls, the old Buffalo Central Terminal, and plenty more of the surprises lying in Buffalo's streets.
Shale Creek Preserve is hiding something wholly unique to Buffalo. Hikers can set out to find the Eternal Flame. While these days there are signs to help you locate the strange flame hidden inside of one of the preserve's waterfalls, the journey to finding it can still be an exciting adventure. Hidden inside of the rock face of Eternal Flame Falls is a natural gas leak that causes a fire that will never go out. If you're looking for unique things to do in Buffalo, it really doesn't get any more unique than this.