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Buffalo’s Culture and Old World Charm

A fresh breath has revived the Buffalo experience

“Our building was born in the year of our Lord 1841 in the heart of what the world unaffectionately called “the most evil square in America” (Buffalo’s Canal District). An apt description from the uber-popular menu of the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery.

Buffalo, New York has been under appreciated as a getaway destination for long weekend getaways, a couple’s canoodling retreat, or time out with the girls. Shop the cultural villages and dine in some marvellous restaurants by day, grab a show and a drink at the pub by night and nestle in to one of the old luxurious hotels … and repeat!

Allentown Village, Buffalo (courtesy visitbuffaloniagara) Buffalo has seen a renaissance renewal the past decade as millions have been re-invested into the downtown area from it’s sports franchises (mainly their NHL and NFL teams - the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills) and from the new medical investments into infrastructure and specialty facilities. The old Buffalo architecture is coming alive again refurbishing and modernizing the centuries old grand buildings and breathing new life into the city’s core.

Buffalo’s Culture in it’s villages

Within and surrounding the downtown core sits eclectic and invigorating Villages adding a vibrancy to your Buffalo experience.

Elmwood Village – Elmwood’s vibe is artisanal with independent boutique shops and unique restaurants, coffee houses and pubs. Visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for some cultural Allentown Village, Buffalo (courtesy visitbuffaloniagara)enhancement, rent a bike to explore the villages and drop in at the shops along Elmwood Ave for some unique hand-crafted jewellery and custom fashion accessories.

Allentown Village – It’s described that if Elmwood Village is the movie star of the neighborhood, Allentown is the artist. The vibe is creative and bohemian – art murals, live music, creative foodie options, nightclubs and just a cool place to hang out. [GoGirlfriend recommends the Spicy Buffalo Polenta wings at Café 59 for lunch and the scrambled tofu hash at Betty’s for breakfast one morning.]

Entertainment District – including the Theater District – the Shea’s Buffalo Theater (best of Broadway), The Irish Classic Theater Company (local theater excellence), the Buffalo Philharmonic (Orchestra), Entertainment District - Shea's Theater (courtesy visitbuffaloniagara)Tralf Music Hall (concerts) – and amazing pre and post-theater food – from the upscale Buffalo Proper, Bacchus, and Sear to the unique and roadhouse offerings like Cabaret, The Chocolate Bar and a varied selection along Chippewa St. There’s no shortage of dinner-and-a-show opportunity for a night on the town.

Cobblestone District – this is the historic “cobble stoned” district harborside with KeyBank Center (sports and entertainment venue), Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, and Canalside (Naval Park, marina and winter skating) offering live music, restaurants, bars. Take a walk along the marina, grab an ice cream, have dinner at Lagerhouse 95 Gastropub and wrap up your night with live comedy at the Helium Comedy Club.

Historic Hotels for Buffalo old-world charm

A revival in the old buildings of a century past have been given new life, and what amazing luxury stays they have become.

Hotel Henry, Buffalo (courtesy visitbuffaloniagara) Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center – Within the Elmwood Village area, this late 1800’s architectural beauty, designed by then-renowned Frederick Law Olmsted, was originally a spacious open-air state-of-the-art State Asylum for the Insane. Now converted, and recently opened, as a luxury urban resort welcomes you with open spaces, fuses the architectural legacy with full-service amenities. 88 modern guest rooms integrated into the spaciousness and history invite you to experience this great space. For more information, visit them online: HotelHenry.com .

Hotel at the Lafayette – A short walk from Buffalo Bison Stadium, the Lafayette was designed in 1904, for the Pan-American Exposition by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first professional woman architect in the US. The hotel features 57 unique Pan-American themed rooms. One of three onsite restaurants, the Pan-American Grill & Brewery, reprises the original hotel’s grand dining room and mezzanine – be sure to visit Teddy Roosevelt’s trophy room as well. Close to the waterfront and the CobbleStone District, harborside walks and cobblestone strolling hand-in-hand will help you wile the time together. For more information, visit them online: HotelLafayette.com and check their Tripadvisor raves.

Inn Buffalo suiteInn Buffalo – seeking to own the reputation as Buffalo’s most elegant hotel, this late 1800’s historic residence has been restored pretty much to it’s original character. Upscale suites in this elegant mansion, this boutique hotel welcomes you with warm woods, wonderful detailing and a welcoming spirit. Located in Elmwood Village, and with top Tripadvisor ratings, the combination make this a sure-fire success for your weekend getaway booking. For more information, visit them online: InnBuffalo.com .

Mansion on Delaware – Renovated in 2001, this 1860’s boutique hotel is rich with historic charm. Hand-carved original walnut pocket doors and mid-century furniture grace the common areas while private rooms feature fireplaces and/or whirlpool tubs. Complimentary cocktails are served in the evening at the honor bar and butler service is available upon request. Close to both Elmwood Village and the downtown Entertainment District, your weekend is between the best of both worlds. For more information, visit them online: MansionDelaware.com and check their Tripadvisor raves.

newly opened Curtiss Hotel, BuffaloCurtiss Hotel – part of downtown Buffalo’s rebirth, this recently opened 5-star boutique hotel (a century-old office building) now houses 68 luxury rooms marrying the old architectural charms with high-tech luxury to pamper and relax you. It’s revolving bar and rooftop patio allows you to enjoy a nightcap overlooking the city without a long walk to end your night. Being set within the Entertainment District downtown, it becomes an easy walk to the nightlife and restaurants to help make your weekend getaway a success. For more information, visit them online: CurtissHotel.com and check their Tripadvisor raves.

Foodie deliciousness

Buffalo’s revival has brought out some succulent, unique restaurant options for you to nosh, savour and rejoice with your tastebuds. In addition to the 5 scrumptious restaurants reviewed in a previous post, I’d like to add …

Osteria166 (courtesy TripAdvisor)Osteria 166 – in the downtown core, steps from the Convention Center sits this Italian restaurant gem. With vegetarian friendly options, a great vibe and … bonus … 30 wines under $30, this middle upscale location is wonderful for a dinner out together. The Mozzarella Stuffed Artichoke and Workingman’s Dead Flat iron pizza (with a bottle of wine of course) were marvellous. To view their menu, check them out online: Osterbuffalo.com

Marble and Rye bar (courtesy onlyinyourstate)Marble and Rye – a last minute recommended addition to our visit and glad we did not miss it. Full service, with menu items made from fresh local ingredients, their whisky menu is certainly top-shelf and diverse. Start with the Crispy Chickpeas and a bottle of wine (of course), and complete the gastro-treat with Cacio e Pepe (spinach bucatini) or their savory Quebec Burger. A whisky nightcap ensures you walk back to the hotel with a hearty smile! To view their menu, check them out online: MarbleandRye.net

Pearl Street Brewery (courtesy twirltheglobe)Pearl Street Grill and Brewery – in this 1841-built, warehouse-themed, 4 storeys of eat, drink and play space, the iconic Lake Effect Man landmark shadows your entry. With a solid pub menu and their in-house brewery, the rugged-chic vibe is the draw. Great for a lunch stop on the way to the Canal District - if you like a strong hoppy blend of brew, the Sabres Edge will delight. There’s a Brawlers Alley out back, I’ll have to go and have a poke peak! To view their menu, check them out online: PearlStreetGrill.com

What to do in Buffalo?

Some fun suggestions to round out your Buffalo visit:

  • Buffalo City view from City Hall lookoutTake a Brewcation – with 25 craft breweries and 6 distilleries, craft your own walking tour (or DD drive-tour) and suds your way through the list.
  • City Hall Skyscraper view – after being wowed by the murals in the grand lobby, take the elevator up 25 floors, walk 3 more and take in the panoramic views of Buffalo (Free access)
  • Explore Buffalo’s Waterfront – enjoy a leisurely walk along the Canalside marina or explore Naval Park, rent a bike or a paddleboard and explore the Cobblestone Village shops and restaurants.
  • Explore the Waterfront Silos – see those massive silos along the waterfront? They have a rich history originating from flour mills, grain elevators, and even a malthouse. Explore how they’ve been repurposed.
  • the Anchor Bar - home of the Buffalo chicken wing!Ghost tours of Statler City – explore the mostly-shuttered 18-storey Statler City hotel and engage with those who have never checked out!
  • The Buffalo Chicken Wing is turning 50 - That bar food favorite - the chicken wing, is turning 50 … and originated here in Buffalo at the Anchor Bar … Happy Birthday to the Buffalo chicken wing!!
  • And then find that Buffalo buffalo and take a picture with it!

Buffalo Did You Know?

  • US Constitution etched in the glassThe US District Court for the Western District of New York (across from Buffalo City Hall) has the words of the US Constitution etched into the glass.
  • Navy Island on the Niagara River was proposed as the UN concept for Navy IslandUnited Nations Headquarters in the mid-1940’s for its’ ideal location on the border of 2 peaceful countries (United States and Canada). How cool would that have been?

If you are looking for more information on Buffalo's getaway opportunities, check out our Insider Buffalo Travel Guide or Visit Buffalo Niagara Tourism.

Ready to explore the unexpected Buffalo and savor its getaway opportunities? Recently visited? What did you enjoy most? Drop a comment below and join the GoGirlfriend community on Facebook and Twitter.


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