Want to see the world's finest collections of modern and contemporary art at the historic Albright-Knox Art Gallery and get sprayed by the Niagara Falls all in one day? Take a weekend trip to Buffalo, which was named one of the world's top 52 spots to visit in 2018 by The New York Times. With a frosting of snow and colorful night lights, Niagara Falls' dramatic cascades are that much more spectacular in the wintertime - and Buffalo’s night scene is just as vibrant as its art. As a perfect complement to seeing this natural wonder, you can take in some of the best that Buffalo has to offer, from world-class art and architecture to entertainment and food - even if you’ve only got a weekend.
Start your weekend off by exploring one of Buffalo’s most charming neighborhoods: Elmwood Village, home to more than 200 locally owned and operated retail stores and galleries along a beautiful tree-lined street. Then stop for a drink and bite for dinner at one of the locally owned restaurants.
Head to Betty’s, a recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, for breakfast. There you can enjoy simple, fresh, creative and moderately priced fare in a cheerful, bright dining room. Some of the breakfast dishes include Charlie’s Breakfast Burrito, The Luv Sandwich, and Shrimp & Grits.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is a must see for the even the casual art lover. It’s considered to be an outstanding center of modern and contemporary art whose collection is among the world's top international surveys of 20th century painting and sculpture. Since its inception as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in 1862, the museum has been dedicated to acquiring, exhibiting, and preserving works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin, Pollock, Warhol and numerous other luminaries. Take a free tour as part of your admission or buy a timed ticket to enjoy the “Monet and the Impressionist Revolution, 1860-1910” special exhibit that runs through March 20, 2016. Leave yourself about 1 to 1 1/2 hours for your visit.
Head across the street to the Burchfield Penney Art Center for lunch at The Burchfield Cafe featuring homemade soups, sandwiches, snacks and desserts from The Dessert Deli as well as beer and wine selections. On Saturdays, a special brunch menu is offered. After lunch, spend some time viewing the art of watercolorist Charles Burchfield and other regional artists.
Theodore Roosevelt Inagural Site / Wilcox Mansion
Tours and interactive exhibits at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Wilcox Mansion, put you in the moment when Teddy Roosevelt became America's youngest president following the shocking assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. With a combination of restored rooms and interactive exhibits, you'll feel as if you’re part of the events of that fateful September.
Hit the ice at Buffalo's newest outdoor skating rink, the Ice at Canalside. Lace up your skates or try out one of their exclusive ice bikes!
No visit to Buffalo would be complete without some Buffalo Wings—try the Nine-Eleven Tavern, or Buffalo-style pizza (a cheese-laden hybrid of Chicago’s deep dish and New York’s thin crust) at one of these 2015 top picks by NewYorkState.com, such as one of the original Buffalo pizzerias, Bocce Club Pizza.
Niagara Falls State Park
Start your day by heading 30 minutes north to Niagara Falls State Park, a frosted wonderland in winter, where waters flow into the frozen river, forming glistening layers of ice. Warm up in the Niagara Adventure Theater. If you stick around until dusk, the Falls are illuminated in a rainbow of color.
When you’re hungry for lunch, make your way to the Red Coach Inn, an AAA Three Diamond Restaurant, and ask for a seat by the cozy fireplace. Overlooking the majestic Upper Rapids and just 500 yards from the brink of Niagara Falls, this English Tudor-style gem has a warm country ambiance that's been welcoming guests since 1923.
Geology rocks! The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, a showcase of the natural and local history, features hands-on interactive displays, a 180° multi-screen theater experience and a towering rock-climbing wall with fossils and geological formations.
Last but not least, head into the Aquarium of Niagara, which has over 1,500 aquatic animals. Sharks, piranhas, sea lions, sea horses, a giant Pacific octopus and a colony of Peruvian penguins all reside within its walls.
How to Get There:
Major Area Airport:
- Buffalo Niagara International Airport is located just fifteen minutes east of downtown Buffalo. Major carriers are US Airways, Continental, American, Northwest, United, jetBlue, Southwest and Delta.
- Travel Amtrak direct from Chicago, Toronto, Albany and New York City. The three stations in the Buffalo-Niagara region include Exchange Street (BFX), Buffalo Depew (BUF) and Niagara Falls station (NFL). Taxi service is available upon arrival at Depew and Niagara Falls stations. And the Exchange Street station is walking distance from downtown Buffalo and Canalside attractions!
- Greyhound to Buffalo, NY Station
- From NYC: 6 hours From Boston: 7 hours
- From Philadelphia: 6 hours and 15 minutes
- From Albany: 4 hours and 30 minutes
- From Montreal: 6 hours and 15 minutes
- From Toronto: 1 hour and 45 minutes
- From Cleveland: 2 hours