Buffalo, New York, often finds itself overshadowed by the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan and the bustling streets of other major cities. Yet, those who venture into this Western New York gem find themselves immersed in a rich tapestry of culture, history, and unexpected wonders.
From the mouth-watering allure of Buffalo wings to the sublime beauty of Lake Erie, the city offers an array of experiences that capture the essence of American diversity and resilience. If you’re keen to explore similar diversity and attractions, don’t miss out on Virginia’s notable attractions on Tales of Travelers, where you can discover the unique charm and cultural richness that Virginia is known for.
But what exactly makes Buffalo a must-visit—or even a must-live—in spot? As you journey through this article, you’ll discover the multifaceted wonders that make Buffalo unique.
Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an architecture enthusiast, or someone who simply loves to explore, you’ll find that Buffalo has something to offer. Prepare to be surprised, intrigued, and maybe even a little hungry as we delve into what Buffalo, NY, is famous for.
- 1 Buffalo Wings
- 2 Craft Beer
- 3 The Beef on Weck Sandwich
- 4 Contemporary Coffee Culture
- 5 Architecture
- 6 Its Music Scene
- 7 Lake Erie & the Buffalo Waterfront
- 8 The Erie Canal
- 9 The Peace Bridge
- 10 Its Presidential Past
- 11 Its Colleges and Universities
- 12 Mason Jars
- 13 Smelling like Cheerios
- 14 Buffalo Airport
- 15 Conclusion
Buffalo wings have a storied history that reflects the city’s culinary ingenuity. Legend has it that the first plate of Buffalo wings was served in 1964 at the Anchor Bar by Teressa Bellissimo. Just as Buffalo has its culinary legacy, other cities have their own notable offerings. Explore notable Indianapolis offerings to savor the unique flavors and experiences that make the city special.
She whipped up the first batch as a midnight snack for her son and his friends by deep-frying leftover chicken wings and tossing them in homemade hot sauce. From there, Buffalo wings went from local delicacy to a national treasure.
Their popularity can’t be overstated. From sports bars to high-end restaurants, you’ll find Buffalo wings just about everywhere in the United States.
But what sets the Buffalo variety apart is its unique combination of flavors. The wings are traditionally deep-fried, then coated in a mixture of hot sauce, butter, and other spices.
This delivers a spicy, tangy, and buttery bite, often served with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping. The Super Bowl and Buffalo wings are practically synonymous at this point, with millions consumed during the big game every year.
If you want to taste authentic Buffalo wings, then you need to make a pilgrimage to Buffalo itself. The Anchor Bar is often a good starting point given its historical significance, but local joints like Duff’s Famous Wings offer incredible variations that will make your taste buds dance. Food festivals like the National Buffalo Wing Festival also celebrate this culinary invention, attracting wing lovers from across the nation.
Craft beer in Buffalo isn’t a recent phenomenon; it’s deeply rooted in the city’s history. Dating back to the 1800s, Buffalo’s brewing scene was originally influenced by its German immigrant population. They brought along their rich brewing traditions, which laid the groundwork for what we see today.
The craft beer scene in Buffalo has seen a renaissance in recent years. Microbreweries and taprooms have popped up across the city, each offering their unique take on craft beers.
Resurgence Brewing Company is renowned for its innovative brews, frequently exploring unique flavors such as vanilla and coconut. In contrast, Big Ditch Brewing Company, with a nod to the city’s rich history tied to the Erie Canal (commonly referred to as the “big ditch“), offers a selection of more traditional beers. This “Huntington Beach coastal lifestyle” is greatly enriched by the presence of these thriving breweries, adding to the city’s vibrant culture. If you’re interested in exploring more about what makes Huntington Beach known for its coastal lifestyle, you can delve deeper into it right here.
The Beef on Weck Sandwich
If you thought Buffalo’s culinary expertise was limited to wings, think again. The Beef on Weck is another local favorite that’s capturing the attention of foodies everywhere. This sandwich, which consists of rare, thin-cut roast beef served on a Kummelweck roll—a unique roll that’s topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds—is not only a beloved dish in Buffalo but also showcases the Texan Cultural Significance of culinary traditions.
The beef is often dipped in au jus before it’s piled onto the roll, and the sandwich is traditionally served with a side of horseradish for that extra kick. If you’re interested in exploring more about Texan cuisine and its cultural significance, check out this page on TalesofTravelers.com: Texan Cultural Significance.
If you’re in Buffalo and keen to try a Beef on Weck, you’re in luck. Many of the city’s classic taverns and delis serve up their own version of this delicious sandwich.
Spots like Schwabl’s and Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen are known for their expertly crafted Beef on Weck, offering a culinary experience that transports you to the heart of Buffalo culture.
Contemporary Coffee Culture
Buffalo’s contemporary coffee culture is a tapestry of innovation, community, and, of course, excellent coffee. Over the last decade, the city has witnessed an explosion of specialty coffee shops that prioritize high-quality, ethically sourced beans.
These cafes are about more than just a caffeine fix; they serve as community hubs where locals and visitors alike can gather to work, socialize, or unwind.
If you find yourself wandering through Buffalo with caffeine on your mind, you’re in for a treat. Public Espresso + Coffee, located in the stunningly renovated Hotel @ the Lafayette, offers a curated experience, serving everything from latte art to artisanal pastries.
In contrast, Tipico Coffee provides a charming rustic ambiance, creating an ideal retreat from the fast-paced urban lifestyle. Buffalo boasts a diverse and vibrant coffee culture with numerous options to cater to various tastes and preferences. If you’re interested in exploring more about the historical sites in Texas, check out Tales of Travelers’ comprehensive guide on “Texas historical sites” to uncover the state’s rich heritage and landmarks.
Buffalo’s architecture serves as a grand testament to its rich history and cultural evolution. The city is home to several architectural marvels designed by icons like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. The Darwin D.
Martin House Complex and the Guaranty Building are just a couple of examples that showcase the city’s architectural prowess. They blend historical relevance with aesthetic beauty, making them must-see landmarks.
Buffalo is not just clinging to the past; it’s also embracing modern architectural trends. The city’s skyline continues to evolve, incorporating sleek, contemporary designs that reflect its forward-looking ethos.
Buildings like the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino offer a touch of modern luxury, while educational institutions like the University at Buffalo are investing in sustainable designs for their new buildings. Oklahoma, known for its unique “Tornado alley location,” presents a stark contrast with its unpredictable weather patterns. If you’re interested in discovering more about the intriguing phenomena associated with this region, check out our article on “Tornado alley location” to gain insights into Oklahoma’s meteorological reputation.
Its Music Scene
Buffalo has a music scene as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, hip-hop, or classical, Buffalo’s got you covered.
The city has produced a number of notable musicians and bands, and it has a rich history that spans multiple genres. Jazz legends like Grover Washington Jr. have roots in Buffalo, and the city’s punk scene has been thriving since the ’70s.
A city’s music culture is often defined by its venues, and Buffalo is no exception. For live music, the historic Town Ballroom offers an intimate setting with incredible acoustics.
Meanwhile, Mohawk Place is the go-to venue for indie and alternative bands. But that’s just scratching the surface; summer music festivals, buskers, and street performers make Buffalo a city where music is deeply integrated into the fabric of everyday life.
Lake Erie & the Buffalo Waterfront
The convergence of Lake Erie with Buffalo’s Waterfront creates an awe-inspiring landscape that is both a natural wonder and an urban playground. On any given day, you can find locals and tourists engaging in water sports, taking leisurely boat rides, or simply soaking up the sun.
The Waterfront has undergone massive redevelopment to include parks, eateries, and even an ice-skating rink that transforms into paddle boats in the summer. It’s a year-round destination that underscores Buffalo’s connection to one of North America’s Great Lakes.
A central part of Buffalo’s waterfront is Canalside, a vibrant area that has become the city’s go-to spot for concerts, food festivals, and family fun.
Canalside serves as a testament to Buffalo’s commitment to revitalizing its waterfront, offering a blend of historical sites, modern amenities, and a wide array of recreational activities.
The Erie Canal
Opened in 1825, the Erie Canal was a monumental achievement that transformed Buffalo—and America at large. As a connection between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, the canal facilitated trade and migration, helping to propel Buffalo into an industrial powerhouse. It was often referred to as the “Gateway to the West,” enabling the easy movement of goods and people into the heartland of America.
Today, the Erie Canal is not just a historical relic but a living, breathing waterway that is used for both commercial and recreational purposes.
From scenic boat tours that explore the canal’s storied past to modern trade operations, the Erie Canal continues to be a symbol of American ingenuity and a significant aspect of Buffalo’s identity.
The Peace Bridge
Connecting Buffalo, New York, with Fort Erie, Ontario, the Peace Bridge is more than just a passage; it’s a symbol of the enduring friendship between the United States and Canada. Completed in 1927, the bridge is an architectural marvel that stretches approximately 3,580 feet over the Niagara River.
Beyond its symbolic importance, the Peace Bridge serves as a major conduit for trade and travel between the two nations. It’s one of the busiest border crossings, with millions of vehicles traversing it annually.
The bridge not only facilitates economic interactions but also serves as a cultural link, enabling an exchange of arts, cuisine, and traditions between Buffalo and its Canadian neighbor.
Its Presidential Past
Buffalo holds a unique place in American presidential history, notably as the home of Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States.
Fillmore played a pivotal role in the city’s early development and even helped found the University at Buffalo. His complex legacy, including his signing of the controversial Fugitive Slave Act, remains a subject of study and discussion.
One of the darker chapters in Buffalo’s presidential history is the assassination of President William McKinley. In 1901, McKinley was shot during a visit to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo and later succumbed to his injuries.
The event shocked the nation and had long-lasting repercussions, including the ascendancy of Theodore Roosevelt, who took the oath of office in Buffalo.
Its Colleges and Universities
Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo (UB) is a flagship institution in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Known for its comprehensive programs in engineering, law, and medicine, UB continues to make its mark on the national and global educational landscape.
Another notable institution is Buffalo State College, also part of the SUNY system. It offers a broad array of undergraduate programs and is well-known for its contributions to teacher education. The college also serves as a cultural hub, hosting numerous events, exhibitions, and performances throughout the year.
A private institution founded in 1870, Canisius College is one of 27 Jesuit colleges in the nation. It offers a mix of liberal arts and professional programs and is highly regarded for its commitment to community service and social justice.
Mason jars, though not exclusive to Buffalo, have taken on an iconic status in the city’s cultural landscape. Originally created for preserving food, these jars have become emblematic of a kind of rustic, DIY ethos that resonates deeply with Buffalo’s working-class roots.
In Buffalo, you’re as likely to see a mason jar filled with locally crafted beer or Buffalo wings sauce as you are to find one holding grandma’s homemade preserves.
The jar transcends its original purpose, serving as a multi-use item that fits perfectly within Buffalo’s craft culture — from beverages to candles to artisanal crafts sold at local markets.
Smelling like Cheerios
Visitors and newcomers to Buffalo are often greeted by an unexpectedly delightful aroma—the sweet smell of Cheerios. This scent wafts through the city due to the General Mills cereal plant located downtown.
Since its establishment, the factory has been producing iconic cereals like Cheerios and Lucky Charms, filling the air with a comforting, homey aroma that residents have come to associate with their city.
The smell of Cheerios isn’t just a quirky feature; it represents Buffalo’s industrial past and its connection to American food history. Generations of families have worked at the General Mills plant, making it an integral part of the community fabric. When you breathe in that sugary scent, you’re not just smelling cereal; you’re experiencing a piece of Buffalo’s history and culture.
Officially named the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, this aviation hub serves as a significant gateway to Western New York and even parts of Canada. The airport provides easy access to Niagara Falls and is a favorite among travelers for its efficiency, cleanliness, and customer-friendly design.
Given its proximity to the Canadian border, the Buffalo Airport has a dual role as both a domestic and international hub. It’s especially popular among Canadians who find it more economical to fly in and out of Buffalo than Toronto for their U.S. destinations. The airport thus not only serves Buffalo but also acts as a strategic point for international relations and commerce.
Buffalo isn’t just a place; it’s a living, breathing story that is told through its iconic foods, architectural marvels, natural wonders, and the unique aroma of Cheerios wafting through the air.
It’s a city that has risen through the ranks to offer a range of experiences that captivate the mind, engage the senses, and stir the soul. From its hard-working roots to its enduring efforts at revitalization, Buffalo encapsulates the undying American spirit of innovation and community.
So, the next time someone asks you, “What is Buffalo, NY, famous for?” you’ll have a treasure trove of answers at your fingertips.
The city offers more than can be easily summarized, existing as a vibrant mosaic of people, places, and experiences. Whether you’re planning to visit, move, or simply curious about this fascinating American city, Buffalo promises a rich experience that is as diverse and evolving as the country itself.