8 Buffalo-Themed Socially Distant Diversions

We live in a new reality now. Activities we took for granted only two weeks ago – going out to eat, visiting an attraction or spending an evening out with friends – have been put on hold, as we all have to do our part to end this global pandemic.

We’ll need to make the best of these challenging times for the sake of our physical and mental health – turning off the news periodically, getting fresh air and exercise, and taking life one day at a time. As others have said, this time of social isolation will be a marathon, not a sprint.  Here are a few Buffalo-themed ideas for diversions and relaxation while still practicing social distancing by either staying at home, or keeping at least six feet away from others when outside.

1. Take a self-guided walking tour

Visit Buffalo Niagara has prepared self-guided walking tours of Buffalo’s Allentown and Elmwood Village that highlight the architecturally significant buildings and character filled streets you may have passed by dozens of times before, but never fully appreciated. The Allentown Amble guides you through Buffalo’s Cottage District and the “Millionaire’s Row” of mansions along Delaware Avenue, while the Elmwood Village tour includes Frederick Law Olmsted’s parkway system, the National Historic Landmark designated Richardson Olmsted Campus and the city’s Museum District. 

2. Explore our attractions online

While our brick-and-mortar cultural institutions have temporarily closed, their digital offerings still provide inspiration. We’ve rounded up some of the best options, from the virtual tour that retraces a famous president’s first moments at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, to the collections available to browse on the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo History Museum’s websites.

3. Enjoy our parks

For more than 150 years, Frederick Law Olmsted’s system of parks and parkways has offered respite to Buffalonians. The six Buffalo Olmsted Parks remain open during this crisis, while their bathroom facilities, basketball courts and playgrounds are closed.  This past Sunday, I walked both the Rumsey Woods and Hoyt Lake Section of Delaware Park as well as the Ring Road portion in a little under two hours. The time outside lifted my spirits.

4. Take a hike

Sunshine, open space, fresh air and a journey into the countryside for a few hours can make a world of difference. As sunny days and warmer temperatures become more common on our way into spring, check out our guide to some of the best hikes around the area, from the Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge County Park to the state parks along the Niagara Gorge.

Buffalo Central Terminal in The Natural

5. Watch a movie filmed in Buffalo, or read a Buffalo-based book

The baseball film The Natural is one of my favorite movies, in part because I love to pick out all the scenes filmed in our city, from the Central Terminal to the Ellicott Square Building, War Memorial Stadium, All-High Stadium and Parkside Candy. I’m also adding the more recent film Marshall, the movie about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, to my watch list as it also features a number of scenes shot here, including at our City Hall.

Verlyn Klinkenborg’s “The Last Fine Time” is a great read if you want to transport yourself back several decades to the East Side’s corner tavern culture in the years following World War II. I may go back in time several more decades and finally read Lauren Belfer’s “City of Light,” set during Buffalo’s 1901 Pan-American Exposition.

6. Order takeout

Visit Buffalo Niagara has partnered with the website “Dining at a Distance” to compile a list of more than 400 restaurants in the region offering take-out and delivery options. While we must stay home to eat during these extraordinary times, this is an important way to support our independently owned eateries through one of the most challenging periods they have ever faced.

7. Make a Buffalo-themed meal at home

Food writer Arthur Bovino published “the Buffalo, New York Style Cookbook” in 2018 after relocating here from New York for weeks at a time to extensively research and eat his way through our food scene. Bovino describes our city as a “culinary capital,” and provides recipes to a number of different signature Buffalo foods, from Buffalo-style pizza to beef on weck, fish fries, sponge candy, and, of course, wings.

8. Listen to some Buffalo tunes

A number of Buffalo musicians have begun streaming performances online; we’ve rounded up some of the best options here.  We’ve also curated a new “Buffalo Forever” playlist on Spotify that includes songs by Buffalo-born artists like The Goo Goo Dolls and Ani DiFranco, as well as tunes with a Buffalo connection (Buffalo native Harold Arlen penned “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) and songs about Buffalo (Bruce Springsteen’s mid-2000s rendition of “Buffalo Gals”).