On your next visit to Buffalo, ditch the car. It’s never been easier to navigate our city with the advent of ridesharing and our light rail system lining Main Street. But perhaps most useful – and hiding in plain sight – is the unofficial visitor shuttle of Buffalo, the number 20 Metro bus.
The number 20 ties together several of Buffalo’s most popular neighborhoods, including downtown, Allentown, the Elmwood Village and the Museum District. It guides passengers through the heart of the city on Elmwood Avenue and drops them within feet of top attractions, hotels and restaurants.
Purchase a $5 day pass at the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center on Ellicott Street, head out to North Division and Ellicott to pick up the number 20 (buses run between 15 and 30 minutes apart depending on the time and day) and hop on and off to your heart’s content. Here are some of the top spots to visit, organized by stops along the route:
At 32 stories tall, Buffalo’s Art Deco City Hall dominates this public square in the heart of downtown. Head to the observation deck on its 28th floor for stunning views, or take a free tour of the building offered every weekday at noon from the lobby.
WEST CHIPPEWA ST.
Start with one of Buffalo’s classic meals – a charbroiled hot dog with the works, onion rings and a Loganberry- at Ted’s Hot Dogs. Then wander through the collection of bars, restaurants and clubs lining this hub of downtown’s nightlife scene.
This stop drops you in the middle of Allentown, Buffalo’s creative quarter filled with bars, restaurants, shops, cafes and public art. Grab a jalapeno-and-peanut butter burger and a craft beer at Allen Burger Venture, then listen in at Nietzsche’s, which has live music every night of the week.
This presidential-themed stop includes the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, which showcases obscure historical documents and memorabilia including a collection of presidential portraits from Washington to Reagan. A short walk away is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, one of only four sites outside the nation’s capital where a U.S. President took the oath of office.
WEST UTICA ST.
Cheers! You’re a stone’s throw from the Elmwood Village’s first brewery, the two-story Thin Man Brewing Co.; Inizio, home to some of the city’s scratch-made pasta dishes; and Mythos, one of Buffalo’s many storied Greek family restaurants.
WEST FERRY ST.
This bus stop is at the beginning of one of the busiest stretches in the Elmwood Village, with bustling boutiques like Thin Ice, ShopCraft and Ro Homeshop; one of Buffalo’s famous purveyors of sponge candy, Watson’s Chocolates; and the ever-popular Spot Coffee among the spots to sip, shop and savor. The Peddler flea market operates seasonally from a parking lot on this corner on Saturday mornings, and Campus Wheelworks leads seasonal weekly bike tours from its storefront on Tuesday nights.
Home to the city’s largest farmer’s market and a weekly summer concert series, the heart of the Elmwood Village beats within the Frederick Law Olmsted designed Bidwell Parkway. Buy a book from Talking Leaves, grab a cup of coffee or a carafe of wine from Caffe Aroma, sit on its patio and enjoy Olmsted’s vision of a city within a park.
You’re a five-minute walk away from the National Historic Landmark that embodies the rebirth of Buffalo, the Richardson Olmsted Campus. Built as the Buffalo State Asylum nearly 140 years ago, the campus is in the midst of being repurposed as a hotel and event space.
This is the nexus of Buffalo’s vibrant art scene. On one side is the future home of the Buffalo AKG Art Gallery and its world-renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. On the other side is the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the anchor of Buffalo’s local art community and home to the signature collection of acclaimed watercolorist Charles Burchfield. And don’t miss the city’s largest park, Delaware Park, and its stunning Hoyt Lake just beyond the AKG.
Immerse yourself in Buffalo’s incredible past at the Buffalo History Museum. It’s the only remaining building from Buffalo’s storied Pan-American Exposition in 1901, and features the new “Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports” exhibit. Buffalo’s Japanese Garden, home to the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival each spring, is just behind the museum.