Gardens & Nature Tourism
From the wonder of Niagara Falls to Buffalo's Olmsted Parks, Western New York is a jaw-dropping place - naturally.
Buffalo has always been a city with a botanical bent. From calling in Frederick Law Olmsted - the biggest gun in American landscape architecture history - to design the city's parks and parkways in the 19th century, to operating the National Garden Festival today, Buffalonians know how to make the most out of nature. Oh, and it's pretty nice to have an actual wonder of the world - Niagara Falls - in our backyard.
Soon after Olmsted and Calvert Vaux completed New York's Central Park, Olmsted was invited to Buffalo, where he came up with a radical plan for a system of six parks, and parkways to link them. Today, Buffalo's parks are lovingly maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Highlights include Delaware Park, which features two lakes, a rose garden and a Japanese garden, which contains lush gardens and a serene lake, providing a contemplative refuge for visitors and South Park, which is home to the glistening tri-domed Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Designed by Lord & Burnham and completed in 1899, the Botanical Gardens features everything from cacti to orchids to the largest public ivy collection in the world.
One of the most impressive developments in Buffalo lately is literally a grass-roots movement: in less than 20 years, Garden Walk Buffalo, a free self-guided tour of private urban yards, has blossomed into the largest event of its kind in the country. Garden Walk Buffalo is part of Buffalo's annual National Garden Festival, a six-week long garden party that features 14 regional garden walks and tours, weekday open gardens, nationally-recognized speakers, bus tours and workshops.
Finally, don't miss Buffalo's six War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens.