48 Hours in Buffalo, New York: The Ultimate Itinerary

Buffalo, NY

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Buffalo, New York is ideal for a weekend getaway: It's small enough to see the highlights in a couple days, yet diverse enough to keep you entertained with good food, art, shopping, and nature. To help you make the most of your weekend, we’ve compiled the spots to check out across the city. Whatever season you visit (but bundle up if it’s winter!), here’s how to have the best 48 hours in the Queen City.

01 of 06

Day 1: Morning

Canalside Buffalo

Joe Cascio

10 a.m.: After you land at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, you can take the Metro Bus, taxi, or airport shuttle (if your hotel offers it) downtown. We recommend staying at the Curtiss Hotel, An Ascend Collection Member. Located inside a historic landmarked building, the Curtiss has large rooms, an indoor/outdoor pool, and is conveniently located to most attractions. And, bonus: the rooftop bar has panoramic city and Lake Erie views.

11 a.m.: Drop off your bags and head to Canalside, the bustling Buffalo waterfront. Stroll the promenade, rent a bike, or go on an informative boat cruise along the canal. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard in the summer, or go ice skating in the winter. Be sure to check out the massive grain silos at Silo City. When you get hungry, grab a bite at William K’s, Templeton Landing, or Outer Harbor Beer Garden.

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02 of 06

Day 1: Afternoon

Darwin Martin House

Rhea Anna

2 p.m.: Because Buffalo was such a thriving industrial city in the early 20th century, many important architects of the day left their imprint on the city, including Frank Lloyd Wright. The famous architect designed two homes for New York State businessman Darwin D. Martin in the early 1900s—Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo and Graycliff on Lake Eerie. Both are open to visitors via reserved tours. Graycliff is about 20 minutes away from downtown.

4 p.m.: Continue the Wright theme by going to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, which features a classic gas station built from one of Wright's designs in 2014. Then, swing by the Black Rock Canal to see a Wright-designed boathouse that was built in 2007. Round out your architecture tour by heading to Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, where a mausoleum he designed at the behest of Martin was realized in 2004 by one of Wright's apprentices: architect Anthony Puttnam.

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03 of 06

Day 1: Evening

Billy Club

Courtesy of Billy Club

7 p.m.: Start your night at the chic and modern Billy Club in Allentown, an excellent restaurant with around 100 bottles of whiskey behind the bar. Choose one to sip or have one added to an expertly made cocktail (the non-whiskey cocktails are good, too). Snack on appetizers like a charcuterie board or the house-made focaccia.

8:30 p.m.: Allentown is a food lover’s paradise, so you’ll have plenty of options for dinner after cocktail hour. Mothers is a fine dining institution known for its perfectly cooked steaks, while gourmet burgers can be had at Allen Burger Venture. If you can’t wait any longer to have Buffalo wings, grab a seat at Gabriel’s Gate, which has been serving them for more than 30 years.

10 p.m.: Buffalo has a solid live music scene; check out Town Ballroom to see what’s playing during your visit. Or, if you're looking for a quieter evening, head to Lockhouse Bar. They serve up vodka, gin, and other spirits produced next door at Lockhouse Distillery, Buffalo’s first.

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04 of 06

Day 2: Morning

Toutant

Courtesy of Toutant

10:30 a.m.: If you drank a little too much last night, you’re probably ready for coffee and brunch. For a full Southern spread, sit down at Toutant and order the overnight yeast waffle, shrimp and grits, or biscuits and gravy. If you prefer something less extravagant, check out Bread Hive; the bakery makes its own bread, bagels, and pastries, and also offers a solid sandwich selection. Bring your goodies to Frederick Law Olmsted-designed South Park, and enjoy your breakfast surrounded by nature.

11:30 a.m.: Spend the rest of your morning exploring the 156-acre park, which features a lake, botanical gardens, and pedestrian paths.

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05 of 06

Day 2: Afternoon

Anchor Bar, Buffalo

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1 p.m.: Buffalo has several iconic foods and now’s the time to eat them. If you didn’t have them last night, head to the site where Buffalo wings were invented: Anchor Bar. Here, the spicy wings are deep-fried without any coating or breading, then slathered in a bright orange sauce made from melted butter, hot sauce, and red pepper. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, go to Bar-Bill Tavern, where you can get wings and snag one of Buffalo’s other famous foods: Beef on Weck (roast beef served on a kummelweck roll). Aside from Bar-Bill Tavern, you can also sample it at Schwabl’s or Charlie the Butcher.

2 p.m.: Buffalo has an impressive art scene to go with its stunning Art Deco architecture. Start the afternoon at Burchfield Penney Art Center, which celebrates the work of American artist Charles Burchfield as well as other artists from Western New York. The Albright-Knox honors modern and contemporary art on its two campuses: Albright-Knox Northland is a new project space that opened in January 2020, while the main campus on Elmwood Avenue is closed for renovations until 2022. Past exhibitions have included work by artists like Clyfford Still, Henri Matisse, and Takashi Murakami.

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06 of 06

Day 2: Evening

Elmwood Village


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5 p.m.: Make your way to Elmwood Village, just north of downtown, to window shop the stylish boutiques selling chic clothing, accessories, and homewares. Check out Ró, Half & Half, Anna Grace, and Renew Bath + Body. Pop into Forty Thieves Kitchen & Bar for cocktails or a beer before dinner.

8 p.m.: If you want to stay in Elmwood Village for dinner, stop at Inizio for northern Italian fare. Otherwise, book a table at the acclaimed Roost to eat items like spicy peanut soup, mushroom fonduta pizza, and chicken fried steak. Or, check out Black Sheep Restaurant for a farm-to-table Western New York menu. Try the smoked turkey pot pie, pierogi, and feijoada (smoked brisket, pork, black beans, and rice). Save room for sticky toffee pudding or the BS Candy Bar.

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