The region’s commercial and cultural center is the City of Buffalo, located in Erie County on the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River. Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York State after New York City. In addition to serving as the region’s business hub, you’ll find that Buffalo is a terrific place to live and play. There are myriad residential options as well as museums, theaters, schools, galleries, sports venues, restaurants, shops, and much more. All of our region’s major league sports teams play in Erie County, as well as several minor league and collegiate teams. www.visitbuffaloniagara.com
Niagara County is home to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and a wonder of the natural world: Niagara Falls. Love great food and wine? You’ll also find thriving farms, vineyards, orchards, cider mills, and wineries (including producers of world-renowned ice wine) along the Niagara Wine Trail. Beautiful towns and villages, miles of biking and hiking trails, outstanding schools, and dozens of arts and cultural destinations are here, too. Historic cities like Lockport grew around the Erie Canal, and this waterway still runs through Lockport’s downtown center. Lewiston is a charming and historic village on the Niagara Escarpment, where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario. In addition, dozens of other historic sites, public and private higher-education institutions and one of the longest-running hydroelectric power plants in the country are also here in Niagara County. www.niagara-usa.com
Allegany County is home to Alfred University, Alfred State College, and Houghton College’s main campus, providing exciting cultural venues and educational opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages and interests. With its hilly terrain and abundant farmland, it’s a perennially popular destination for cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain-biking, and golfing, and the dozens of freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams that meander here make it a haven for boating and fishing.
Cattaraugus County is known as the “Enchanted Mountains” area, and it’s the heart of the Southern Tier’s ski country. You’ll find year-round fun with golf and skiing at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, dubbed “the Aspen of the East.” Nearby HoliMont is the largest private ski area in the country, with over 50 miles of trails. In addition, Allegany State Park’s 65,000 acres of forests, streams, and trails make it one of the largest in the New York State Park System. You’ll also find St. Bonaventure University in nearby Olean. www.enchantedmountains.com
Chautauqua County, in southwest Buffalo Niagara, is a favorite of summer visitors to Chautauqua Lake, one of dozens of inland lakes in the Western New York region. The world-renowned Chautauqua Institution—a recreation, education, arts, and philosophy campus on Chautauqua Lake established in 1874—hosts more than 2,000 events each summer. Distinguished lecturers and teachers include past U.S. presidents and internationally renowned artists and writers.
In summer, visitors also enjoy miles of beaches along Lake Erie as well as visits to historic Lily Dale, home of the country’s largest spiritualist community along Upper Cassadaga Lake. Other attractions include the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy in Jamestown—Lucille Ball’s hometown.
State University of New York schools Fredonia State College and Jamestown Community College are here in Chautauqua County, providing key synergies for the county’s significant investments in environmentally sustainable business development and revitalization in the City of Dunkirk and throughout the county. www.tourchautauqua.com
Centrally located between Buffalo Niagara and Rochester, Genesee County’s largest city, Batavia, is undergoing significant revitalization with a focus on dairy and other sustainable agriculture as well as green energy technologies. The area’s natural beauty is preserved through thriving family-owned farms and agricultural cooperatives, and Genesee Community College supports lifelong learning here. www.visitgeneseeny.com
Boating, fishing, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and more await in lovely Orleans County, which offers waterways like Lake Ontario, Oak Orchard Marina, and the Erie Canal. With abundant freshwater and sunshine, agriculture is the primary industry, and much of the county is dotted with corn, maple, apple, berry, and other produce farms. The charming villages of Albion and Medina offer cafes, galleries, and antique shops. www.orleanscountytourism.com
Wyoming County is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts with miles of trails and rivers as well as Letchworth State Park, the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Agriculture is the county’s primary industry, and it’s a leader in dairy and maple production. The region’s abundant natural resources also support green energy technologies as well as advanced manufacturing and precision agriculture. www.gowyomingcountyny.com
Back in the 1800s, the Erie Canal was a thriving waterway connecting the Great Lakes to New York City. The canal’s western terminus in Buffalo made the city a hub of commercial activity. Today, this same area — now known as Canalside — has been rediscovered (literally, as the terminus was buried for decades) and revitalized. Canalside has quickly become a year-round waterfront destination, with daily free and low-cost events, from craft beer tastings to waterside yoga classes. Explore & More (the Ralph C. Wilson Children’s Museum), the Buffalo Heritage Carousel, the Longshed, and casual restaurants make this a family-friendly stop. In summer, you’ll find people kayaking, paddle-boarding, and sailing in the surrounding waterways; and enjoying evening concerts, fireworks, and cultural events. And if you think things slow down in winter, think again; the canal becomes an urban outdoor ice skating (and ice biking) rink filled with people day and night.
Just steps from Canalside is the Central Business District, which is home to several of Buffalo’s largest private- and public-sector employers. You’ll find beautiful architecture throughout, such as Buffalo’s Art Deco-era City Hall, the Ellicott Square Building, and the Guaranty Building, designed by Louis Sullivan, known as the father of modern American architecture. Many of the district’s historic buildings are now residential and mixed-use properties, including the Hotel at The Lafayette (designed by Louise Bethune, the nation’s first female architect), and Seneca One, Buffalo’s tallest building that is now a bustling technology hub.
Small in size but packed with activity, this enclave next to the Central Business District has recently undergone major redevelopment, with loft apartments in renovated factories, restaurants, and exhibition spaces for visual and performing arts. Here’s where you’ll find KeyBank Center, a venue for top-name concerts, as well as home to the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres and our professional lacrosse team, the Buffalo Bandits. Nearby is Harborcenter — a mixed-use sports and entertainment venue.
Eclectic and energetic, Allentown is known for its art, music, popular LGBTQIA+ bars, and top-notch restaurants, as well as its charming historic homes. One of Buffalo’s best-loved events, the Allentown Art Festival, is held each June, while Allentown’s art gallery walk, known as “First Fridays,” has grown into a popular monthly event. In addition, Allentown is home to the Theatre of Youth in the historic Allendale Theater and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. At the foot of Allen Street stands the brand-new University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences — an anchor to the sprawling and innovative Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Black Rock is located along the Black Rock Canal and was an independent and bustling waterfront town before incorporation with Buffalo in 1853. Riverside is just past Black Rock, where the canal meets the Niagara River. These abutting neighborhoods include both families who have called them home for generations, and newcomers — many immigrants and refugees, whom Buffalo welcomes. They all enjoy this affordable area’s proximity to waterfront bike paths and greenways, including Riverside Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm. Niagara Street is experiencing a renaissance of its own with new mixed-use building renovations, loft apartments, breweries, and restaurants.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is Buffalo’s innovation district, a dynamic place to live, work, and play. Home to world-class hospitals, research institutions, and education facilities, the BNMC has benefited from Buffalo’s entrepreneurial spirit, with more than 120 private sector companies located within its boundaries as well as brand new housing options. BNMC is also home to several University at Buffalo buildings, including the Incubator @CBLS, a business incubator designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurism.
The Delaware District centers on Delaware Avenue, with stately mansions dating back to the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. At its core is Delaware Park, the centerpiece of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s Buffalo Parks System. This area encompasses the city’s Museum District, with the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Buffalo History Museum, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, currently undergoing a $168M expansion and slated to reopen as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. Other attractions such as Hoyt Lake, historic and serene Forest Lawn Cemetery, and the Buffalo Zoo make this a popular area.
Nearly 200 shopping, arts, dining, and leisure destinations fill the storefronts, and make this area a residential and entertainment favorite. Highlighted as one of America’s “most livable neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association, the EV offers diverse living options, including many Victorian and Queen Anne–style single-family homes. A seasonal farmers’ market, pocket parks, parkways, and miles of bike lanes make it easy and fun to live and play here. Within or near this neighborhood — which also borders Delaware Park and the Museum District — are several colleges, including Buffalo State College (State University of New York), and Medaille College.
One of Buffalo’s most historic neighborhoods, the Fruit Belt takes its name from the orchards planted by its first settlers. Home to both families and professionals, many of whom have lived there for generations, the neighborhood is bordered by the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. Its proximity to the Medical Campus, the Central Business District, and Jefferson Avenue, the commercial heartbeat of the near East Side, make the Fruit Belt a convenient option to live, work, and play.
Hamlin Park, in East Buffalo, is home to Canisius College. This neighborhood and the surrounding blocks include many historically significant homes and houses of worship, another Olmsted-designed park (Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, known locally as MLK Park, a popular destination for its splash pad in the summer and ice skating in the winter), and the Buffalo Museum of Science. With significant investments in surrounding neighborhoods and its easy commute to downtown, this family-forward neighborhood is reemerging with affordable and exciting residential redevelopment and business opportunities.
The vibrant neighborhood known as Larkinville is favored by people of all ages who live here and attend its many restaurants, breweries, bars, concerts, and events. It centers on the historic and redeveloped Larkin Terminal Warehouse, now called Larkin at Exchange, and several other large-scale industrial buildings are under renovation as mixed-use and residential properties.
With historic and beautiful architectural character, this residential neighborhood adjacent to the Jefferson Avenue corridor is undergoing a planning rebirth. This neighborhood features the Merriweather Library, Freedom Wall, African American Cultural Center and the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. Here you can also find The Foundry, an active, community-based makerspace providing hands-on classes and entrepreneurial support.
With Hertel Avenue at its heart and Delaware Park and the Buffalo Zoo within an easy walk or bike ride, North Buffalo is a perennial favorite. It boasts a mix of Buffalo restaurant and bar mainstays, as well as an active retail hub. The eclectic mix of antiques, clothing and furniture stores, art galleries, spas, coffee shops and ethnic markets keep it ever-appealing. This neighborhood is also home to the historic North Park Theater, a much-loved and gorgeously restored 1920s movie theater.
One of Buffalo’s oldest neighborhoods has become one of its hippest. The Old First Ward – which historically drew Irish, Polish and Italian immigrants to work the thriving industrial scene – has been reinvigorated. In recent years, in addition to the reimagining of the huge grain elevators, things like kayak launch sites, new breweries, cool coffee shops, a rowing club, bike paths, and a climbing gym have popped up.
The Outer Harbor features more than 200 acres of green space, including the Independent Health Wellness Trail, Wilkeson Pointe, the Lakeside Bike Park, and the Lakeside Event Lawn. The Outer Harbor hosts events and festivals as well as free summer fitness classes, and kayak and bicycle rentals. Check out RiverWorks, a redeveloped industrial grain-elevator compound featuring a concert venue, outdoor adventure park, restaurant, and brewery that hosts amateur hockey, curling, roller derby, and other special events.
While South Buffalo’s Irish-American roots are proudly reflected in the street signs and pubs here, it’s a diverse and bustling neighborhood with two Olmsted parks: Cazenovia Park and South Park. South Buffalo is also home to Trocaire College, the renowned Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and Tifft Nature Preserve, a popular urban woodlands and wetlands refuge.
This largely residential waterfront enclave next to Canalside is also home to the Erie Basin Marina’s bikeways, walkways and gardens, and the Naval Military Park. The neighborhood is adjacent to Buffalo’s largest waterfront park, Ralph Wilson Park, which is currently being transformed into a signature park through a community-led design process.
On the eastern border of Delaware Park, this tree-lined neighborhood was planned as a residential area by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1883. Parkside encompasses the Buffalo Zoo, the Darwin D. Martin House — one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s best examples of Prairie-style architecture — and Nichols School, one of Buffalo’s most prestigious private schools.
This unique, eclectic neighborhood is within walking distance of the University at Buffalo’s South Campus with great access to public transit. This neighborhood is home to students, faculty, and families, surrounded by restaurants, small shops, and bars that cater to the campus community.
Buffalo’s West Side is one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in Buffalo. Waterways flank its western border, with the Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario in Canada. It was once one of the final stops of the Underground Railroad, with escaped slaves seeking refuge in Canada. Because of relatively affordable real estate and resources to support small businesses, as well as efforts by community-based organizations, this neighborhood is a hub for Buffalo’s growing immigrant and refugee populations. Today, new Americans are opening vibrant businesses, like restaurants and retail shops on the West Side.