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6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to Do in WNY

Every Buffalonian at one time or another has been struck with the question “what is there to do in Buffalo?” Tensions begin to rise, generalizations surface, and suddenly you’re halfheartedly discussing the best wings in the city, giving directions to the Galleria Mall, or (a favorite) staring blankly as the inquirer makes a joke about the Bill’s playoff drought. Unfortunately, Buffalo has long held the “failing city” image, even coldly being referred to as a “drinking town with a football problem.”

So, what is there to do in Buffalo? Plenty. Aside from the frequented suggestions of the zoo, Darwin Martin House, and Albright Knox, Buffalo is filled with unusual, off-the-beaten-path activities and places to visit.

EXPLORING GRAYCLIFF

Graycliff was the former summer home of Darwin and Isabelle Martin, and roughly a 30-minute drive from Downtown Buffalo. Unlike its urban predecessor the Darwin Martin House, Graycliff was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright using the limestone and sand from the land it sits upon. Its design and large windows were built for optimum light at the request of Isabelle Martin, who was legally blind during the four years it took to complete the build. Despite its unlikeliness as a Wright design, it’s a must see for anyone curious about Arts and Crafts design, mission style homes, and Wright’s connection to the Buffalo area.

The Graycliff Conservancy has taken major strides at restoring the property to Wright’s original intentions. Tours are available on site (reservations are recommended!) and allow visitors to see the restorative progress of the National Historic Landmark.

Graycliff is open 10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily.

Graycliff Conservancy

MUSEUM OF DISABILITY

Buffalo has a plethora of museums for local and out-of-town guests to explore. Bordering the City of Buffalo and Amherst, the Museum of disAbility was erected with the intention of encouraging acceptance, independence, and understanding of people with disabilities. The museum features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits showcasing the incredible successes and accomplishments of people with disabilities. Additionally, the museum works to educate visitors on the treatment of disabled people throughout history. The museum also works as a resource for understanding the lengths that advocates and the disabled community have gone to ensure fair treatment, equality, and justice for those living with disabilities.

The museum is open Tuesday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Guided tours are also available.

Museum of Disability

Buffalo History Museum’s Resource Center

Many are familiar with the Buffalo History Museum, however their nearby resource center offers a more intimate look at the 1901 Pan American Exposition with their 3000 square foot exhibit “Spirit of the City.” The exhibit showcases details about the turn-of-the-century Exposition hosted in Buffalo. Explore artifacts from the event, pieces of the temporary structures built for the Exposition, rediscovered Pan-Am treasures, and travel through a restored 100+ year old trolley barn repurposed as a Pan-Am Exposition Hall.

Admission to the Resource Center is available by appointment during weekdays, and free from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM during M&T Third Fridays.

Buffalo New York History Museum

Lancaster Opera House

The Lancaster Opera House opened in 1897 and originally served as governmental building and space for performances and entertainment. Over the 20th century, its purpose transformed depending on the needs of the community. From minstrel shows, to serving food during the Great Depression, the opera house lived a full life of service and necessity for the Town of Lancaster. During the bicentennial celebration in 1975, the opera house received some much needed funding for restorative purposes. Over the next few years, the space was once again transformed to serve one of its original purposes: providing entertainment to the residents of Lancaster and surrounding areas.

Now, Lancaster Opera House hosts a variety of plays, musicals, and other events open to the public. More information on ticket sales and events can be found on their website.

red seats at an opera house

Silo City

Silo City has quickly become one of Buffalo’s must-see destinations. Grain silos used to dominate a large portion of Buffalo’s manufacturing past. Since then, virtually all of the grain silos and elevators have been left abandoned, bearing too great a cost to simply tear them down. Silo City offers an alternative approach to reclaiming these concrete giants. Historical tours are available at Silo City, however the location itself has become iconic for its artistic repurposing of the structures. Silo City hosts immersive theater performances, live music festivals, poetry readings, filming locations, private weddings, kayaking in the Buffalo River, and more. The majority of Silo City’s events take place from the Spring through the Fall, however additional events are available throughout the year.

Learn more about Silo City and their upcoming events on their website.

Silo City at Buffalo Riverworks

Hotel Henry

Buffalo is filled with historic architecture around every turn. One of its proudest architectural accomplishments is now home to Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center, located at the foot of Buffalo’s Elmwood Village neighborhood. Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center is an 88 room full-service hotel and conference center designed to flow with H.H. Richardson’s architectural genius. Hotel Henry is the first phase of the redevelopment of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, and acts as a gateway to the urban resort neighborhood which surrounds the hotel.

Hotel Henry is open to the public to peruse and explore, to dine and drink at 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry, to stay and relax in a guest room, and to take in the curiosities of Hotel Henry and Buffalo’s eclectic surrounding areas.

Visit our booking page to save up to 15% on your next stay at Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center.

Drone shot of Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

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