Niagara Falls and its immediate surroundings have enough activities and sights to keep you busy for days but many visitors combine their Niagara Falls vacation with day trips to some of the surrounding regions. While most choose the wine country and scenic byways north of Niagara toward Ontario there are many other areas to be explored.
One of these is Buffalo, New York. The city came of age during the early industrial revolution in the United States and while it still holds a great deal of that blue collar charm Buffalo has seen a resurgence in tourism and attention in recent years, mainly due to its lively arts scene and beautiful neoclassical and art deco buildings.
If you’d like to spend a day exploring this rugged yet interesting little city these are just a few of the activities available.
Buffalo Zoological Gardens
Buffalo is the proud home of third oldest zoo in the United States and one of the most well-respected in the animal welfare category. A wide array of animals call this zoo home, including endangered Siberian tigers, alligators, amphibians like the poison arrow frog, and birds such as the vulture. The zoo offers rotating special exhibits throughout the year so check their website for more information.
Old Fort Niagara
The strategic location of upstate New York was not lost on early settlers in the United States and Fort Niagara has seen several conflicts, skirmishes, and wars and has been in operation since 1679. This sprawling site not only allows visitors to tour the existing structures but also participate in guided tours and historic reenactments.
The curators also house and display an impressive collection of tools, firearms, and other instruments that were vital to life at the fort throughout its tumultuous history. Special events take place throughout the high season so visit their website to see if any of these appeals to the history buff in your family.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Buffalo is also home to the Albright-Knox, a world class art gallery that draws upwards of one hundred thousand visitors per year. Specializing in modern and contemporary works the museum houses permanent and rotating collections that include works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and many more. 19th century artists such as Gauguin and Monet are also on display as well as pieces by Picasso, Matisse, and Miró.
A Tour of Downtown Buffalo
No visit to Buffalo would be complete without a tour of the historic downtown section of the city. Gorgeous art deco buildings await you on each corner. Guided tours of the city are available on various days throughout the month highlighting the impressive architecture but you can always hit the streets on your own go get a feel for this hidden gem of a city.
Exploring the surrounding area can be one of the best parts of any vacation and the Niagara region is no exception. Carve a little time out of your itinerary to visit the unexpectedly classy city of Buffalo and learn more about what makes it so special.