How I overcame my prejudice against Buffalo

James at Tempo in Buffalo serves up Maine Lobster Risotto

James at Tempo in Buffalo serves up Maine Lobster Risotto. (Julia Pelish photo)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — “I’m a journalist and I’m writing a travel article about how to spend a weekend in Buffalo.” With those words, I had managed to disarm a U.S. border guard, a young man who immediately stepped back from my car and took a seat on the stool inside his booth. He placed a hand on his shaved head and then swiped it down across his perspiring face.

“You’re going to say good things about the city, right?” he asked without any hint of authority. It was more of a plea.

“I have every intention of being fair,” I answered.

“Have you been to Buffalo before?” He fingered through my passport but didn’t appear all that interested in it.

“Just for hockey games and a couple of concerts a long time ago.”

“What are you going to be doing?” Having collected himself, he stood and once again walked closer to the car.

“The tourism board gave me some suggestions …”

That seemed to worry him. He became more concerned with who the tourism board might be and what potentially lame itinerary they’d set up than with the line of cars waiting to cross the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge on Friday night. “So, where are you going to be staying?”

“The Mansion on Delaware,” I said, totally delighted at this point that I’d found some warmth in a situation that can often be cold and without humanity.

“Good, good, that’s a good start.” He leaned in and tapped a thumb on the roof of the car while I searched for the agenda. “What else? Where’ve they got you going?”

“Dinner at Tempo …”

“Never been there, but heard good things. What else?”

“The Albright-Knox Gallery …”

“Ok, sure. Good. And?”

“A Spirit of Buffalo cruise, Shakespeare in the Park, drinks at some bars.”

“Oh, yeah.” That last bit crossed into familiar terrain for him and he asked, “Which ones?”

“Allen Street Hardware Café …”

“Yeah, so-so, in my opinion. You’re in Allentown, good area, but you should head up to Elmwood and Forest, and try Hertel.”

“Ok.”

“There’s lots to do. I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head right now, though.”

“That’s ok. I’ve got a lot planned.”

“Buffalo doesn’t have a very good reputation.”

“I know.”

“I have to stand up for my city,” he said and handed back my passport. “Have a good time. Write something good about it.”

That ended the best conversation I’ve ever had at a border crossing and began a weekend in Buffalo full of charming encounters such as this.

For those of us in southern Ontario, picking on Buffalo and Buffalonians has been our guilty pleasure. We’ve laughed while fate dumps a torrent of snow on them; we’ve snickered at their failures, exchanging enough “wide right” jokes to keep us going straight on with our bias; and we’ve used their serious misfortunes — high crime rate, low prosperity — to make us feel superior about ourselves and where we live. It’s not very neighbourly, let alone Canadian.

I’ve done it, too often making fun of the city and — as I discovered this weekend — doing so without ever really getting to know it.

My previous experiences in Buffalo were always for an event: a hockey game, concert or wedding. I never lingered or explored. The routine was the Anchor Bar for chicken wings or a couple of beers at one of the tacky clubs on rowdy Chippewa Street and then back over the border in a bus or on to the hotel for the reception or party.

This time, I got to know the place and the people. Turns out, they like us, and they really want you, Toronto, to like them. Give them a chance and you will.

Check in at the Mansion on Delaware, a beautiful boutique hotel in a historic property with a complimentary cocktail hour nightly from 5-7 p.m. and free Land Rover shuttle service anywhere in the city up to midnight. Park the car and the staff will be happy to take you around and pick you up. It’s a terrific amenity and you’ll use it to go to the Darwin Martin House (a reconstructed Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece nearing completion) and the wonderfully rich Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The Mansion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.

The Mansion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. (Julia Pelish photo)

Head to the Elmwood Village area, filled with recently opened shops and cafes, and take in the friendly, welcoming atmosphere that’s sure to tinker with your perception of the city. If you really want to be impressed, drop in on the year-old Blue Monk, which has an awesome beer list that includes 32 draft choices from Belgium wheats to Quebec ales to award-winning U.S. microbrews and loads of bottles, including more good stuff from places like Goose Island in Illinois that we can’t find in Canada.

For fine dining, go to Tempo, considered one of the best restaurants in the city, and hope chef Paul Jenkins is around to keep you laughing. Tempo’s wine list is fantastic, with more than 300 bottles and at reasonable prices for the quality. The 2007 California Pinot Noir options are particularly excellent.

For just a good time, head to the corner of Allen and College streets, near Elmwood Avenue. You’ll find bars with great music and down-to-earth people. I never made it to Hertel Avenue, the spot the border guard talked up, but I wasn’t disappointed in the places I ventured into.

When I told friends I was going to Buffalo for the weekend, they laughed and so did I. Facing a headache of a drive down the QEW on Friday night, I also had regrets. We were finally having a great weekend of weather and Toronto was spilling over with amazing activities: Luminato, the Taste of Little Italy, NXNE, the Wine and Spirit Festival. I told myself that Buffalo would pass the grade if I went there and it kept me interested and entertained enough to avert any longing for Toronto on the weekend.

To my surprise, it did. I had a blast and was amazed by the city’s stunning architecture, much of it built more than a century ago, when it was one of the wealthiest places in the world, with more millionaires than anywhere in the U.S.

Most of all, though, I was charmed by Buffalonians themselves. When I checked out of the Mansion, Genna, one of the young staff members, asked, “So, is Toronto going to like Buffalo?”

The sweetness in that question gets to your heart. Just about everyone I met in Buffalo wanted to know what I thought of the city, seeming genuinely hopeful it was leaving a good impression and also appearing to brace themselves for a smug Canadian dig. I’d encountered a similar insecurity in South Africa last year, as that country was preparing to host the World Cup amid ignorant charges that it wasn’t worthy or equipped in any way to cater to Brits, Germans and the French. South Africa wowed us all and is now viewed as a top destination on the planet.

Buffalo isn’t thinking so big as capturing the respect of the globe. Right now, it just wants you to stop picking on it and start coming over to say hi.

I want to believe that’ll happen, that writing sincerely about what I experienced will encourage one or two Canadians to give it a try. But we’ve got a prejudice against Buffalo that’s deep-rooted and that’s so not our nature. I actually felt like a Buffalonian when I crossed back over the border and spoke to a Canadian guard who asked what I did for the weekend.

“I’m writing an article on Buffalo as a travel destination,” I answered.

“What’s that? You’re writing an article on Buffalo as a terrible destination?” he said, leaning his ear closer from out of his booth.

“No, as a travel destination.”

“Oh, I must’ve had a Freudian slip,” he said, and went on to recall how his cop friends in Buffalo report that the city is so awful there are parts drivers shouldn’t even stop for red lights. While that may be true, it’s also not the full story of Buffalo. Far from it. There are more good parts than bad and lots more genuine kindness than you’d expect. It’s a fun and attractive place to spend a weekend — and that’s no joke.

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58 Comments to “How I overcame my prejudice against Buffalo”

  1. Great article and I’m glad you enjoyed your time here in Buffalo. I would also like to compliment the Border Crossing guy that is proud of his city unlike the Buffalo cops you spoke about in your article. Kudos.

  2. Nice Article. It’s nice to hear from tourists that don’t think buffalo is horrible. Some of it needs work I’ll admit, but I’ve enjoyed living here.
    I also enjoyed making trips over to Toronto once in awhile and thought that was nice city.

  3. Great article! This guy isn’t alone though. My family owns the Elmwood Village Inn, a B&B on Elmwood, and I’d say the bulk of visitors are Canadian. Many of these visitors have been pleasantly surprised by the city and now come back for repeat trips to the Inn and the city. Slowly but surely Buffalo is losing its bad rep!

  4. Between Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara falls, St. Catherines Hamilton and Toronto! How many areas of North America have more to see and do in a three hour stretch than here! Buffalo is my favorite of those places and also my hometown.

    Dean Blundell throws every cheap shot he can towards Buffalo. Someone tell that guy he’s on thin ice.

  5. I really liked your article. There is a lot more to explore in Buffalo. I hope that your return. Just ask anyone who has moved away from Buffalo and they will tell you of the wonderful prople, places and food of the area that they miss.

  6. All I can say is Thank You for being fair. Please come back and enjoy our many more hidden treasures.

  7. I’m glad you enjoyed Blue monk, thanks for the positive review

  8. It is nice to see people from Canada take an interest in Buffalo. A lot of us a largely supportive of all Canadians and their cities, (except during hockey season of course!) Buffalo is a beautiful city and I am proud to say I am from here. That being said, I would love to live in Canada for a couple years before I settle down here. I think there is a lot to learn from people of other cultures, and that there is a wonderful partnership growing between many Canadian cities and Buffalo. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit! Please tell your friends about your Buffalo experience, as we always continue to talk up Canada to ours.

  9. Well played, sir. Come back and bring friends!

  10. I’m a native Buffalonian, and it’s always interesting to see what my non-native friends from UB think. Those that come from small towns seem to like it well enough, but those that come from big cities say that there’s nothing to do here. I have to agree with Dreoilin, there are a lot of hidden treasures you can find if you take the time to look for them.

  11. While I appreciate the author’s article, and open-mindedness, I am not in the practice of begging for anyone’s approval of this great city. Come-on people-we are better than that.

    • I dont think anyone here is begging for acceptance. We all love this city, but the reality is that it has a terrible reputation. My mother recently visited me here, her first time in Buffalo, and as the weekend came to a close she told me “I can see why you live here, it’s such a charming city”. My point is that we all just want people to give our town a shot. Sure, we’re not LA, Boston, Atlanta or NYC, but I’m glad we’re not. We’re a unique city with a lot to offer, and it’s getting better all the time! If the author is reading any of these comments, come see us again during the summer, there’s ALWAYS fun stuff to do!

  12. I was born and raised in rural western New York. As a child, I thought of the city as someplace big and dirty. Now that I’ve lived 30 years away from western New York, I’ve come to not only appreciate, but love Buffalo. I still wonder at times if I could find a way to make a decent living in the city. Thank you for taking the time to look past the negatives and the stereotypes to see some of the true treasures of the Queen City.

  13. That’s funny, we make fun of Canadians here in Buffalo. In any case, Buffalo is a wonderful city. I actually chose to move here and I love it. In your article you spoke of the festivals and events Toronto has, well Buffalo has many of the same. We also have an Italian festival as well as any other heritage you could think of. Garden walks, art festivals, fruit festivals, music festivals, wine tastings, you name it. There’s something to do every weekend. I’m glad you had a good time, come visit again!

  14. Great piece! I love my hometown right down to my very core. It’s hard to get non-natives to appreciate our fair city when so many people from the suburbs of Buffalo bad mouth it. I’ve had a great time bringing my siblings from the suburbs downtown to explore it’s treasures, and they’ve left with their minds changed.

    I love Buffalo.

  15. Buffalo is a hidden jewel. Glad you were able to explore it and enjoyed it as much as we enjoy living here.

  16. I loved this article. I never really appreciated Buffalo until I moved away from it to an area that is considered “desirable” but lacks much of Buffalo’s vitality. Now I visit Buffalo a couple of times a year and see it as a traveler might. For your next trip, a fun, free, and quick activity is to go to City Hall and hop on the elevator to the top floor, walk out on the balcony that encircles the building, and enjoy the view.

  17. Well done, sir. Glad you enjoyed.

  18. While the author was complimentary to Buffalo and I appreciate that, I am a stand on the roof top screaming “Buffalo Rocks!” kind of fan of the place. Thanks to Adrian for sharing his positive experience. But, face to face I would have to say “yeah, I know, It’s awesome, right?”. Not, “gee wiz, thanks for not hating us”, because there is nothing to not love.

  19. I am WNY born and raised and currently divide my time between a home in Niagara Falls and my partner’s residence in Leaside, Toronto. Both cities have their advantages and we are fortunate to have such an array of diversions and culture and things to do in such a small geographical area. I am 44 and my perception of this area while growing up was that there was no border between the USA and Canada……those days went away in a plume of smoke on 9/11 but the overall picture of the region is one of a beautiful place to live, to recreate, to entertain, to enjoy all that life has to offer. Friends who visit from out of town are overwhelmed by the beauty and the livability of our bi-national region. They are surprised to learn that the world doesn’t end at the border. I am proud to say that I am from the greatest international region in North America!

  20. Great travel article. I love all the details and the information will be extremely valuable to others planning a similar trip. Glad to hear you had such a great weekend.

  21. I’m so glad you liked my native city! You captured one of the things I miss most about it — how much everyone loves Buffalo, and how much they want everyone else to love it, too.

  22. I couldn’t have arranged the trip better myself. Good choices. Interesting read thanks.

  23. Great article!, I love the city, one of my favorite places in the world, I spent a year in Buffalo and it was amazing, great people, beutiful places, came back last year and still the same great city, miss it so much… greetings from Bolivia-South America.
    Ron (a bolivian Buffalonian)

  24. I just about started crying to hear a Canadian saying something nice about Buffalo! Thank you for keeping an open mind and for admitting to your biases against us. I’m glad you like Buffalo. I hope more people with come south of the border and see the good things Buffalo has to offer. Come back soon!

  25. There is so much more to Buffalo than the Chip Strip and casino – the Albright Knox is world class, the zoo, the parks, the architecture, the Elmwood Village – thanks for acknowledging that my hometown is still a wonderful place!

  26. You should come back for the GardenWalk at the end of July. A lot of nice houses and a lot of great gardens. Personally, I’m not that into gardening but the GardenWalk has created a lot of house restoration on the City”s upper West Side which I am really into. A fair number of garden newspaper columnists from other cities love the Buffalo GardenWalk. Check out thei r website at

    http://www.gardenwalkbuffalo.com

    Also come back in October for the National Trust For Historic Preservation’s convention in October. I’m sure that you can get press credentials for this event. Many of Buffalo’s preservation efforts and its buildings will used be examples for many of the convention’s.presentations and discussion groups. Check out this link:

    http://www.preservationnation.org/about-us/press-center/press-releases/2007/national-preservation-conference-2011-buffalo.html

  27. I was born in bflo but have lived and worked all around the world since i was 22. After a 7 year absence i spent the last weekend in Elmwood Village. It reminded me of the Garden of Eden. Picture perfect weather, familys strolling the streets, people saying hello, best farmers market ever, houses looking like they were prepped for a movie, and of course a nite life that rivals anywhere in the country. I have just two words: BUFFALO ROCKS

  28. I spent 13 yrs of my life there and plan on going back when im retired.i love buffalo always will

  29. Next visit, check out more of Allentown–it is the largest residential historic preservation district in the United States, and is a funky mix of galleries, shops, restaurants, theater, and more. Buffalo is blessed to be located in a beautiful region surrounded by two Great Lakes and a gorgeous river. The region’s beauty and natural resources abound, offering an incredible array of activities for the outdoor enthusiast year round. The city itself is so friendly in part because of its size. It’s large enough to offer everything you need and has a host of interesting things to do, yet it’s not so large and impersonal as to make people feel anonymous. The openness and genuine helpfulness of the people is notorious. Just a great place to raise a family. Best of all, it’s really affordable. People don’t live for their mortgage payments here. They have plenty left over to enjoy life. Just love the place–it’s a best-kept secret.

  30. Very well written and thrilled with your story. It’s disheartening when I go to the mall and see Canadians dumping their old clothes all over the parking lot along with their garbage without any hesitation or shame…really shows how some of them feel about where I live. Thank you for saying positive things.

  31. Great article! Did you end up going for a sail on the Spirit of Buffalo? It’s a beautiful boat, the views of Buffalo from the Lake are great, and the captains and crew members are excellent (I happen to be one). If you didn’t get a chance to make it out on the Spirit and Lake Erie, be sure to come back for a sail anytime this summer!

    RESPONSE: Hey Nate, I did get onto the Spirit of Buffalo and had a nice chat with Capt. Ric. It’s a terrific attraction. The cruise will be featured in a future article.

  32. Our waterfront is also making a comeback. Hence “Doug’s Dive” area and the Marina and the new walking paths off Furhmann Blvd. Plus Canal side all make one think they are in a different city than Buffalo. Just want to live long enough to see more! We are a great city with many treasures and people!

  33. Next time, take the Peace Bridge. It’s rarely backed up like the Lewiston-Queenston bridge. Try http://maps.nittec.org/mappage.aspx for current crossing conditions. It’s a real time saver.

    RESPONSE: Thanks, Brian. Just couldn’t wait to get off the QEW on Friday night, so headed the Queenston way. But Peace Bridge next time for sure.

  34. I wasn’t born there and I lived a few other places in Western NY before my family settled in Amherst in 1980. Technically, I have now lived in Maryland just a little longer than I lived in Buffalo, but it is still my home and my hometown. The summer’s are perfect and even though winter lasts a little longer than most would like, we always made the most of it and you didn’t have to be homebound with just a little bit of snow.

    My favorite line was “Buffalo isn’t thinking so big as capturing the respect of the globe. Right now, it just wants you to stop picking on it and start coming over to say hi.” That is who we are – we are down-to-earth, easy-going, and just happy to have a friend to hang with.

    People down here joke that I am technically a Canadian being from Buffalo, which I am sure many of your breathern shudder at the thought. I loved visiting Canada & Toronto (more times than I could ever count) so I am glad you enjoyed my fair city as well. I recently blogged about the pride that most Buffalonian’s have in the city and I have yet to find many places that can come close to our loyalty. 🙂 Hopefully, this will encourage you, and others, to see Buffalo in a better light.
    http://kittykatepapers.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/my_hometown/

  35. My husband and I regularly travel to Buffalo! We love it there! The amazing architecture downtown, The Frank Lloyd Wright homes, the fabulous parks, visiting your delicious chocolate shops. We have always experienced excellent hospitality on each visit. We also manage to discover something new and exciting on each visit, like the beautiful, now historically designated Mental Hospital. I was in total awe and admiration when I stood there astonished at its’ beauty. Upon each return from this exciting city, I go on and on to everyone who will listen, encouraging them to see out the wonder that is Buffalo.

  36. Excellent and very sweet Article – so nicely said! Very Timely with the Mount Saint Joseph Academy Class of 1971 Reunion and CITYBRATION taking place this weekend! Enjoy!

  37. Oh, dear. This was sweet. I grew up in Buffalo and does have it’s charms and hidden treasures. I enjoy going back now and again for short periods. What is sad to me, though, is how insecure lifer Buffalonians are. Many are practically obsessed with the whole pro-Buffalo thing. The lady protesteth too much! If a city is really wonderful, like most things, you don’t have to “talk it up”. Great things just speak for themselves. Most of the people I know who are rabid fans of the city have never lived anywhere else so they aren’t sharing an informed opinion.(Maybe that’s what they are insecure about.) While that means Buffalonians can have a wonderful down home friendliness (if you like that sort of thing), it also means you will be hard pressed to find a particularly cosmopolitan mindset. (Anwhere. At all. OK, well, maybe at the Albright.) I think those are the attitudes we “defectors” find the most humorous. I say “enjoy the city you live in or move” but stop trying to convince everyone else it’s such a great place. The more you defend Buffalo as a great place, the more others assume it’s not! If you talk about the city in a balanced way, as does this article, people might listen.

  38. The garden walk in Buffalo summer is one of the great events to love. I lived in western NY for a decade, then I left Buffalo for a job. When I retire, I’m coming back for a life. . .

  39. Great Article A. sorry we missed you on the news. chat soon.

    RESPONSE: Thank you! See you guys on the weekend, I hope.

  40. Im afraid one of our readers has misinterpereted Buffalo advocacy for insecurity. Buffalo has been sufferring a decline in population as far as i can remember. What you may see as a desparate attempt at convincing the world that we are better than we are. Pro-Buffalonians are simply trying to remind our freinds and family that what buffalo has is one of a kind and too good to let die. That a few hard kicks while we are down shouldnt be enough reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And even more so, a resistance to the very notion of letting such beauty crumble in the absence of concern and responsibility. The down-home freindliness is something i happen to value most of all. Not for its uncommon nature of course, Which can b found in any smalltown america. what makes it one of a kind is its untiy with our urban an cosmopolitan settings as well. It seems that a sweet disposition permeates through to the very pavement of our city sidewalks. That no matter how far you were to travel up or down the class ladder, Or what genre of fashoin and subculutre, you will find a people that by instinct offer a courtesy, respect and smile on the principle that every person deserves at least that. Mabye the real insecurity would be fleeing the city to prove to oneself that you were too good to be where you come from. A desparate attempt at garunteeing your public image would not be a far right failure. Mabye your were mistaking our contentment and pride for a threatiningly cocky sense of supriority. Either way, Im not bragging, but i have a great time in this wonderful city. I’d like to give a shout out to Ray-Ray, big tony big steve, little hercules knuckles and the muffin man. Drury lane represent

  41. For the last 5-6 years…..I’ve been thinking of leaving Buffalo once my son got old enough. But in the last year, while meeting new friends downtown and my travels while exploring the city by bike. I’ve come to appreciate this area and more importantly the city itself more than I have all these years.
    That’s given me a complete 180 on my desire to leave this town. While I appreciate everything this region has to offer….including our friends to the north. I now know that this is where I will stay. And someday, hopefully long down the road…..finish out my years.

    Buffalo, NY…..this is my home.

  42. great article! thanks for writing it. i didn’t grew up in buffalo but have fallen absolutely in love with it. it has the heart of the midwest (where i grew up) and the excitement and progressiveness of the east coast. hope you come back! i love toronto, too! great food, shopping, culture there too…

  43. Hey, Thanks for the kind words about my home town. I’m glad you noticed that there are many nice people here.

    There are a couple ways to look at things where ever you go, and Buffalo is no exception. I especially like how, in Buffalo, it’s not necessary to speed or run red lights in order to be able to go out to dinner, take in a couple happenings at opposite ends of town and be back in time for the 11 o’clock news.

    And I can tell you that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with a lot of kind, caring and professional Buffalo police officers.

    I have always enjoyed visiting Toronto. If you’re ever back in town and God-forbid you need an ER, be sure to come to Buffalo General; tell them that I sent you. (We may be on strike this summer, but it should be brief).

    RESPONSE: Haha! Thanks, Todd! I really hope I don’t need an ER visit next time either. I’ll be down for the Senators-Sabres game on Nov. 11 and will stop by the Blue Monk after the game. Come say hi!

  44. As a Buffalo native, and someone who has spent about half my life living afar (NYC, Paris, Boston, etc.) I can appreciate looking at Buffalo from a slightly-skewed lens; the city beats to a different drum.

    It is quirky, it is slower, it is charming. Sometimes I wonder where all the people are. It is rough around the edges, it has been clobbered over the head for many, many years. It has suffered from terrible political leadership.

    But, it has a populace which is bringing the city back.

    I agree with a poster above-why go to such lengths to say “how great Buffalo is”? It just is. Warts and Frank Lloyd Wrights and all. I needed to leave for many years to realize what a great place it is (however, I also need to keep a foothold in NYC to keep a toehold in true cosmopolitan living.) I’d like to see people here own the greatness of this city inherently-not find the need to beg others to like us (such as the principal of dating-no one likes a desperado).

    I just spent three years living in Boston. Beautiful, but frigid people and frightfully boring. Buffalo is the anti-thesis: there is a CONSTANT stream art openings, cultural events, talks, benefits, etc.-it is impossible to keep up. If someone is bored in Buffalo-that is their problem.

    Buffalo is undoubtedly experiencing a renaissance, and it is time for the city to have strong, progressive leadership to work with (and for) the people who are changing this city, urban farm by urban farm; restored victorian by restored 19th century commercial building. Buffalo can be a great complement to Toronto big living, if it is able to maintain its character and embrace its authenticity.

    Finally, we have a new event in Buffalo: echo: Art Fair (www.echoartfair.com), a new juried fine art event, on July 9th at the glorious Central Terminal. Come back for it-you won’t be disappointed.

  45. Wow, sounds like Blue Monk will be packed with your new fan club after the game. I really enjoyed your article and am really enjoying all the comments from the Buffalo crowd. I just wish I was hearing more from your side of the border. Check out Lewiston the next time you are in town, it’s like a Poor Man’s “Niagara on The Lake”, and you would be surprised by all the concerts that go on during the summer here.

    RESPONSE: Thanks, Jake. I’ll be in my Senators jersey, so not sure how many fans I’ll have that night! The buzz about Lewiston has reached me and I hope to check it out this summer (or have another writer do so for the TO Star). I’ve gotten emails and phone calls from Canadians, so more of them may be heading down your way.

  46. Toronto is a world class city, no doubt, yet I could never figure out why people from Toronto would even want to bother bashing Buffalo. Regardless, thanks for the unbiased genuine article. I haven’t checked out your other work yet, but you’ll definitely be a weekly read from now on.

    RESPONSE: Thanks so much for the interest. Much appreciated.

  47. Adrian, great article! I’m a huge fan of Toronto and take full advantage of living so close. Just did a tour of the Distillery District on Segways, Eaton Center, St.Lawrence Market(Mustachio’s…mmmmm), Chinatown, Medieval Times, and Little Italy in one day! We pack in a lot when we go.

    I’m going to chime in with some of the other commenters who suggested going to the Garden Walk. This is my favorite event and it’s one of the first things I think about when I think of what’s special about Buffalo. If you do venture here for it, I’d suggest you go straight to the Cottage District to start. The gardens and architecture are like photographer’s porn! -but the human interaction, which makes it so special, can be much easier conveyed via writing. It’s Saturday and Sunday July 30 & 31 from 10am – 4pm.

  48. Thanks so much for your great article! I grew up in the Buffalo area and even I made my digs to it in the past. For the last year I’ve been living on the West Coast doing a year of post graduate service…. I’ve missed Buffalo so much and cannot wait to return there at the end of the summer. I miss the bars, Delaware park, going downtown for dinner with friends, and afternoon runs in the Canisius COllege area of main st. When you go back, check out some of the theater district, and hit up Delaware park for a picnic with a friend. The Zoo is also making a come back and has been remodeling many of there exhibits. I’ve been missing the Queen City!

  49. It is wonderful that you had a chance to stay at The Mansion on Delaware. The owner, Dennis Murphy, and I worked together for 15 years. Dennis had a vision to transform and remodel this beautiful abandoned edifice that now graces Buffalo’s historic district. Although my husband and I haven’t lived in Buffalo since 2003, we spent a wonderful 30 years in one of the friendliest places in America and still miss it…especially the pizza and wings. So glad you had a chance to enjoy the area for more than just a hockey game or wedding.

  50. Buffalo is not a touristy city, and that’s just fine with me. I have had many guests from all over the world and all want to come back or they extend their trip here, in Buffalo forgoing a longer stay in NYC or another big city. I hope though that if and when you come back that you get to experience all areas of Buffalo, preferably on a bicycle as I think is the best ride in the world. The Elmwood strip is very awesome no doubt about it. On a sunny day people cover their patios and lawns grilling and chilling, look at them twice and you will be invited in for a cold beer. The best of Buffalo however you must have a guide, one who can show you around and introduce you to the people that make Buffalo.

  51. I have mixed feelings about living in Buffalo. While is beautifull , the people does not seem to be very open minded and open to welcome minorities in their neighborhoods or jobs. I have had so many prejudice comments been said to my face ( and thats from my own coworkers alone) that I am working already on relocating.

  52. Nice article. I moved to Buffalo 28 years ago and have never wanted to leave. Thanks for spreading the word.

  53. Great article! Thank you for your willingness to be open to the possibility that Buffalo may in fact be a great travel destination. Too many times we are met with the opposite mentality. It’s wonderful to hear such a positive review, and I do hope that many Canadians read your article and give us a chance. I have always been proud of this city, and know I’m not alone. Thank you again, and I hope you enjoy all your future visits as much as your first!

  54. i’m glad many of you have a positive feeling about buffalo, n.y. i’ve lived in florida almost nine years nothing compares to my hometown of buffalo. I’m moving back at the end of fall from florida and enjoying the 4 seasons again. sept. 2011 dan szmolke

  55. I’ve never been to Buffalo, but after reading this article I may go, but not during snow season!

  56. I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and now live in Baltimore, MD. Although the differences between Buffalo being a northern, “yankee” city and Baltimore being a southern “straddle the fence” city, both are a blue collar, tall buildings, lover of football, home to M&T Bank, and ethnically diversered city.

    Baltimore has done an excellent job in marketing itself as an convention city & tourist destination. My hometown, the Nickel City could take a page or two from the Charm City on how to enhance the city’s image.

  57. Quite honestly, I didn’t know Buffalo had a bad rap to begin with. I come from a small town in northern California that has a reputation for being “too hot” and a “redneck community.” While it’s true that Cloverdale has a rich history of hunting, fishing and logging, it’s also located 100 miles north of San Francisco and nestled smack in the dab of wine country. We have grapes, we have redwoods, we are bordered by the western Mendocino coastline and on the East by Napa County. A couple of years ago we were classified as the second coolest town in the United States. So you see, it all depends on what the traveler is looking for. Sounds like Buffalo is somewhere I’d like to explore!

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