Buffalo is one of the few places in this country that offers good skiing, great sailing, major-league sports, a first-rank orchestra, professional theater, a lively club scene, and another country all within minutes of its university. In Buffalo you can relax and play hard and always live comfortably.
Buffalo is New York’s second-largest city, the center of a metropolitan population of about 1.2 million. It is situated at the eastern end of 250-mile-long Lake Erie, where the waters of the Great Lakes funnel into the Niagara River on their way to world-famous Niagara Falls, twelve miles downstream from Buffalo’s waterfront. Across the Peace Bridge from downtown Buffalo, wide beaches and cozy summer cottages stretch away to the west along the Canadian lakeshore. A half-hour drive south of the city takes you to a hilly, wooded countryside cut by dramatic valleys and gorges.
Buffalo’s weather is moderated by the lake, which cools it in summer and warms it in winter. The lake is also responsible for much of the snow - most of which falls in the hills south of the city - that gives the region its wintry reputation. Buffalo itself gets relatively little snow. When it does, the city digs out with surprising ease, thanks to a spirit of cooperation that makes Buffalo truly the "City of Good Neighbors." Summers in Buffalo are, by measures of sunshine and temperature, the most pleasant in the Northeast.
When Buffalo hosted the 1901 Pan American Exposition (where electric lighting was first exhibited on a large scale), the city was at its zenith as a manufacturing and transportation capital. Nearly a century later, with its more modest, mixed economy, Buffalo enjoys a legacy of great architecture - by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H. H. Richardson, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, among many others - as well as fine cultural institutions that are the envy of many larger cities. It is an uncrowded community of houses and shady streets where you can find rambling apartments built in an age that was generous with living space. A few years ago, New Yorker architecture critic Brendan Gill wrote of Buffalo that it is the size a city should be to be livable. You will find the moderate cost of living attractive, as well, and you will never find a city of comparable size where the commuting is easier.
Buffalo is a great place to eat, whether you want inventive cooking in intimate settings; classic, elegant haute cuisine; Indian, Korean, or Vietnamese; Italian, Polish, Chinese, or Greek; or arguably the best hot dogs in the country.
Every sports fan has heard of the Buffalo Bills, and hockey fans know the Buffalo Sabres. But Buffalo has a summertime treat for baseball fans that is relatively unknown outside the area: an afternoon watching the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in their 21,000-seat downtown ballpark. Professional indoor football, soccer, and lacrosse are also popular in Buffalo.
Summer brings people to the lake for everything from evening excursion boat rides and competitive sailing, to fishing, picnicking, or just lazing on the beach. Kayakers head for the streams south of the city. Those seeking real peace and quiet can find it hiking and camping, especially in the rugged, 65,000-acre Allegany State Park an hour south of Buffalo, where the most patient (and silent) nature lovers may spot black bears and wild turkeys in the hills. Winter is dependable for skiers on the slopes south of the city; skaters can enjoy a large outdoor rink downtown. And a much-favored winter recreation is relaxing in front of a slow-burning fire.
When you have a weekend to yourself or you just want to get away overnight, Buffalo is an easy drive from any number of attractive destinations. Toronto, Ontario, two hours up the Queen Elizabeth Way from the Peace Bridge, is one of the great cosmopolitan cities of North America. New York’s Finger Lakes region, with its quaint country inns and interesting towns (like Seneca Falls, Watkins Glen, and Ithaca), is two hours of scenic driving to the southeast of Buffalo. If you only have a few hours, Niagara Falls - a mere twenty-minute drive from Buffalo - offers not only the mesmerizing falls themselves, but an endless and endlessly varied stream of visitors from around the world.