Exploring the Buffalo Niagara region

Exploring the Buffalo Niagara region

Wednesday, 10 Jul, 2024 0

By Graham McKenzie

In the past the Buffalo Niagara region may not have been seen as a leisure destination but this is not the case anymore

The history of the Eerie canal and its subsequent expansion has left its indelible mark on the area. Today it has harnessed that industrial background and amplified its heritage with exciting use of the remaining infrastructure to attract visitors. Coupled with its proximity to one of the planet’s most spectacular and famous natural wonders, Niagara Falls, the city has a very compelling story to tell.

An excellent example of this is located along the Buffalo River. Silo City is a captivating site which utilises huge, abandoned grain silos from the city’s past . These towering structures tell the story of Buffalo’s post-industrial landscape and ecological restoration efforts. Around them many activities abound including walks, rides and chic family friendly restaurants.

One can take a guided tour to explore grain elevators and discover intriguing art installations by local artists. It’s a unique experience that connects history, art, and urban exploration.

This local feeling is never more evident than at Sahlen Field, home to the Buffalo Bisons Baseball team. Here you can indulge in all of the baseball traditions of hot dogs, seventh innings stretch, foul balls and, hopefully, see the spectacle of a home run alongside a partisan crowd. The stadium is one of the largest outside the major leagues.

The other major sport is football, US style, and home to the Bills who have been in town since the late fifties and joined the NFL in 1970. They are now the only side to play home games in the state of New York.

The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, transformed Buffalo into a bustling port city and a major shipping gateway to the West. Upon completion the grain farmers of the Midwest had a direct route to the East coast and beyond where they could market their goods. As with many rapid industrial expansions much money was involved, and this resulted in many personal fortunes being made as well as a demand for financial institutions.

Great riches are often expressed through great buildings. Buffalo is no different as it boasts stunning architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House and the Richardson Olmsted Campus plus the fabulous Art Deco masterpiece, City Hall. The best way to enjoy them is through a walking tour accompanied by a local expert.

One significant historical event stands out in Buffalo, and it is that of a Presidential assassination. William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition in the Temple of Music in Buffalo, on September 6, 1901, six months into his second term. The exposition was major trade fair reflecting Buffalo’s importance in the US economy at that time. The building was torn down at the end of the trade fair, but the exact spot of the assassination remains.

Less obvious but nevertheless important is the role Buffalo has played in African American history. From the formation of the Baptist Church in 1836 to support of the abolitionist movement, being part of the Underground Railway system. Today the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor allows visitors to learn not only of the past but also the present through shops, restaurants and people.

Buffalo is just a short drive from Niagara Falls. If you have never been this is a must-see natural wonder. On the US side the falls are part of a state park. It makes for a very pleasant walk around and to the falls. You can take a boat trip under the falls, walk up close and get wet but overall be awestruck by the extreme power of the water.

Like many US cites Buffalo has benefited greatly over the centuries from an immigrant population and those that settled here in the late 19th and early 20th century now have a long and established community heritage. This never more evident than the array of top-notch restaurants that are spread around the downtown area and its neighbourhoods.

From classic breakfasts at the best diners to eclectic Asian fusion, southern soul food and Italian dining. However, who could come to the city and not have the Wings? The now ubiquitous item started life in Buffalo and it is such an iconic dish that you can now follow the Buffalo Wing trail. There are around  a dozen stops, including the Anchor Bar where it all started in 1964.

The Buffalo Niagara presents a rich mixture of history, architecture, outdoor adventures, and culinary excellence.

It pretty much has something for everyone and makes an ideal addition to any Great Lakes itinerary.

Graham’s long term car parking was provided by www.aph.com

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TravelMole Editorial Team

Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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