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The 20 Best Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for First-Timers


Buffalo is the second-largest city in the state of New York. If you are planning to visit and this is the first time that you've been there you may be wondering what there is to see and do in the city. The truth of the matter is that there is so much there that you won't quickly run out of fun activities. We've put together a guide for first-time visitors to provide you with the 20 best things to do while you're in Buffalo, New York, so you don't miss out on the most highly recommended attractions and activities.

20. Visit the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park

1 Naval Park CV, Buffalo, NY

No trip to Buffalo would be complete without visiting the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. Proceeds from admission go to help our nation's veterans who have so proudly served their country. Take a trip through the museum which is located on the shore of Lake Erie where you'll find a variety of US Naval vessels that have been decommissioned. Among them are the Fletcher-class destroyer USS The Sullivans, the USS Little Rock, the USS Croaker submarine and several smaller vessels, aircraft, and vehicles that are displayed throughout the park.

19. Tour the Pierce-Arrow Museum

263 Michigan Ave, Buffalo, NY

The Pierce-Arrow Museum is situated fon Michigan venue and it features an amazing collection of automobiles, motorcycles, and bikes in the antique classification. This is an educational museum that reveals the history of transportation and how it evolved in the western portion of the state of New York. The admission is just $10 per person and the museum is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

18. Take the Maid in America Tour of Niagara Falls, from Buffalo

The Maid in America Tour of Niagara Falls is an unforgettable 4-hour excursion that is packed with educational information and breathtaking sights. It takes you on a full tour of Niagara Falls which includes a ride aboard the Maid of the Mist vessel which takes you to the Cave of the Winds tour as a part of the package.

Experience the magnificent sights of Niagara Falls, New York including an awe-inspiring ride aboard the Maid of the Mist and a Cave of the Winds tour. Some of the attractions highlighted on the tour include Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, the Upper Niagara River, and Rapids, Whirlpool and Gorge, Panoramic view from teh NYS Observation Tower, Cave of the Winds Trip, Goat Island, Three Sisters Islands, and Luna Island tour, tour of the water intakes, control dams and power plants , and a history with stories of the Niagara region. A trained and licensed tour guide is with you on the journey. Also included in the tour are all attraction and admission fees, parking fees, free hotel pick up and drop off from local Niagara hotels, all taxes, and tolls and a rest stop for souvenir shopping and snacks.

17. Two-Day Buffalo Day Trip from New York City By Train

If you have a couple of spare days and you really want to see some of the major attractions of Buffalo and New York City combined, then the two-day trip from NYC to Buffalo is an amazing Attractions4Us New York City offers this fun and exciting trip from the Big Apple through the Hudson Valley via an Amtrak train. Purchase of tickets includes departure from New York City, overnight hotel accommodations in Buffalo, beautiful views on the journey, a complete tour including dining, shopping, and sightseeing. The train tickets are round trip and you're taken back to NYC the next day. While in Buffalo, you will see the main attractions in the city.

16. Join the Zombie Scavengers Game

The Zombie Scavengers Game is one of the most fun and exciting events to take part in while you're in Buffalo. It's put on by Zombie Scavenger Hunts. Each game takes you through the city and you're given 60 minutes to collect items found in the locations that are necessary for the survival of your colony. You and the team that you're assigned to put your heads together to determine which items you'll need to survive and then you go out and find as many items that are included on the list that you can. The teams can be up to 10 people in total. You can use your smartphone in search of shelter, supplies, and food. There are also challenges and trivia questions to answer throughout the game. You have an hour to come up with a minimum score of 4000 points to ensure the survival of your team in the zombie apocalypse.

15. Take a Canalside boat trip

Canalside is an important point of interest in Buffalo. It's located at 44 Prime Street. This tour features pickup at the Old Shooters Restaurant Parking Lot to embark on your adventure. The tour takes you into the heart of the waterfront revitalization of Buffalo where there are 21 acres of historic waterfront attractions, events and a whole lot of fun and activities to find. Throughout the area, you'll find paddle boats in the summer and ice skating in the wintertime.

14. Visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Located at 222655 South Park Avenue in Buffalo is the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. This is a national historic site that also includes an education center. Here you will find a treasure trove of horticultural plants from all across the planet. This is a major tourist destination in Buffalo. It offers a place to experience peace and harmony within the outdoor sanctuaries of the garden, along with lovely architecture. Some visitors claim that it is a place where they can spend quiet time in reflection and meditation for spiritual healing.

13. Visit Shea's Performing Arts Center

If you love the theater then you won't want to miss out on visiting Shea's Performing Arts Center. It's located at 646 Main Street in Buffalo. This theater is dedicated to serving as a venue for touring Broadway musicals as well as other very special events that are scheduled for Buffalo. This is also a historic theater that made its debut in 1926, opening to show silent movies. This massive theater house took an entire year from the start of its construction through its completion.

12. Take a trip to Forest Lawn Cemetery

Located at 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo is Forest Lawn Cemetery. This is a historic site and landmark in the city of Buffalo that sits on 269 acres. The cemetery was founded by Charles E. Clarke in 1949 and there are more than 152,000 people buried there. Some very important people in history have been interred at this cemetery including inventor Lawrence Dale Bell, singer Rick James, First Lady Abigail Fillmore, and former President of the United States Millard Fillmore.

11. Tour the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is an art museum that is located at 1285 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, in the famed Delaware Park. Although the museum is currently closed, it is under construction and the closure is only temporary. Bear in mind that it will reopen in 2022 with a brand new campus and it's sure to be an exciting adventure for art lovers.

10. Stroll through Delaware Park

Delaware Park is the premier nature park in Buffalo located at Parkside and Elmwood Avenue. Depending on the schedule of events when you visit Buffalo, you should easily find plenty of fun and exciting activities and things to do in the park. There is so much to do there that you could easily spend the entire day there. You'll find performing arts, sightseeing, outdoor recreational activities, beautiful gardens, art displays, events, tons of family fun and plenty of food and drink options. One of the best places to eat is at The Terrace at Delaware Park, where you can find a patio to enjoy your meal and enjoy a spectacular view of the lake. They serve some excellent seafood options. There is also a stone pedestrian bridge you can walk over in the Rumsey woods and the path takes you around the lake to the Live Buffalo Mural attraction just before you hit the path that goes off into the woods. You can even rent row boats to take out on the lake.

9. Visit the Buffalo Zoo

The Buffalo Zoo is located at 300 Parkside Avenue in Buffalo. This is another fun and interesting thing to do while you're visiting the city. The Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the entire United States, founded in 1875. It is a historic site, but continual upgrades have made it one of teh biggest tourist attractions in the state, coming in second place to Niagara Falls.

8. Tour the Richardson Olmsted Campus

The Richardson Olmsted Campus is located at 4434 Forest Avenue in Buffalo. This is another important historical landmark in the city. The campus offers green space surrounding the buildings and guided tours with a historical explanation about the significance of this landmark. It is a 19th-century campus that was formerly a hospital that was converted into the SUNY Buffalo State College Campus. Landmark 19th-century former hospital with surrounding green space & guided tours.

7. St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral is located at 50 Franklin Street in Buffalo. It is situated in the heart of downtown Buffalo. It is owned by and used as the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Buffalo, New York. This building has some of the most amazing architecture in the entire city. It is a site that is frequently visited and photographed by visitors to Buffalo as one of the major tourist attractions.

6. Visit the Buffalo Museum of Science

The Buffalo Museum of Science is located at 1020 Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo. The museum is located at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in the northeast part of the downtown district. The building is a historic site that was founded in 1929. The architects responsible for the design were James A. Johnson and August Esenwein.

5. Tour Elmwood Village

Elmwood Village is another popular tourist attraction in the city that is located at 875 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. This is a neighborhood found within Buffalo that is filled with unique homes that are designed in a Queen Anne architecture. Strolling or touring through this neighborhood is delightful if you're a fan of architecture and it is highly recommended as an area for those who are visiting Buffalo for the first time to see.

4. Visit the Erie Basin Marina

You'll find the Erie Basin Marina at 329 Erie Street in Buffalo in the historic waterfront district. It's a full-service marina within the municipal inland harbor used mainly for residential properties with a huge assortment of gardens, boat docks and a public observatory that is open for the public to get some spectacular views fo the waterfront and the city. The harbor discharges into Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

3. Tour the Tifft Nature Preserve

The Tifft Nature Preserve is located at 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd in Buffalo. This natural preserve is comprised of 264 acres and it has earned a reputation as one of the best birding sites in the state of New York. Here you'll find a full five miles of trails that intertwine through forest and marshlands.

2. Visit the Buffalo History Museum

The Buffalo History Museum is located at One Museum Court, Buffalo, NY 14216. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions and it offers a complete history of the city of Buffalo, New York, and the surrounding areas. It contains a research library with a professional librarian, a museum shop, and more. There are often special events held at the Buffalo History Museum so check the schedule of events prior to your visit to make sure you don't miss out.

1. Tour the Buffalo Lighthouse

The Buffalo Lighthouse is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. This historic site is located at 1 Fuhrmann Blvd in Buffalo. When Buffalo was just a small village that was still a part of Native American territory, the French set up temporary beacons to signal ships and boats. Construction of this lighthouse was commissioned on March 3, 1817. It took a total of 221 days from the first day of construction to the completion of this tower.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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