Downtown is the epicenter of Buffalo’s emergence as the city where all the cool kids hang out. Developers are re-claiming vacant turn-of-the-century buildings and lots and turning them into unique business ventures that are drawing visitors far and near. The positive energy is infectious. When you’re here, you don’t just bear witness to Buffalo’s Renaissance. You take part in it.
Where you’re staying:
While you’re in downtown Buffalo you’re staying at the Hotel @ The Lafayette. Renovated to historic preservation standards, (they flew in master craftsmen from Russia) the Lafayette is old school chic. With an attached restaurant, prohibition era speakeasy turned bakery and a fireplace in your room you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. But you will. Here’s why:
Where you’re eating:
Winter: A hearty season calls for a hearty meal. Try the vegetarian chili at The Lodge, an urban interpretation of a log cabin. If burgers are your thing head to SoHo Burger Bar and build your own gourmet beef creation.
Summer: The Liberty Hound. Grab a seat on the patio (if you can) and order up some fish tacos. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Canalside in the shade of the USS Sullivans, part of the largest inland Naval Park in the United States.
Where you’re drinking:
You mean besides the Liberty Hound? When the sun’s not out head to Buffalo Proper for a drink mixed by Jon Karel, one of the most skilled barmen in Buffalo. Care for a brew? Head to Big Ditch Brewing Company for a Hayburner or other seasonal suds. After that? Straight to bed.
Where you’re shopping:
Remember when Spike Lee wore a red Yankees baseball cap and changed the hat game forever? So do we. That hat was made right here in Buffalo at the New Era Cap Company. Stop into their world headquarters on Delaware Avenue and pick up unique headwear you won’t find in the mall.
What you’re doing:
Summer: Summers in Buffalo are all about the water. Explore the Buffalo River and the blossoming Canalside development in a kayak or stand-up paddle board provided by BFLO Harbor Kayak, or cycle on the water with a rental from Water Bikes of Buffalo. At night take a cruise around the harbor on the Moondance catamaran or Miss Buffalo. If views from land are more your style, make your way up to the top of City Hall for a breathtaking view of the city and some serious selfie scenery.
Winter: One word: Curling. In case you haven’t noticed, Canalside is the place to be regardless of the season. During the winter months have a curling session on the replicated, frozen Erie Canal on Buffalo’s waterfront, the Ice @ Canalside. Before you leave, make sure you do some ice skating and rent an ice bike for a few laps. And if you need to skate more, Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza has free admission.
— Jay Josker