When you think of top vacation destinations, Buffalo, NY is probably not in your top 5 (or even your top 20!) But, several weeks ago, we spent a weekend in Buffalo and had a great time and wanted to share our top picks.
Big shout out again to Southwest and their Companion Pass credit card bonus that we’re still taking advantage of as much as we can before it expires at the end of 2019. Nothing makes it easier to visit more places like buy 1, get 1 free tickets!
So on to the deets: if you find yourself in Buffalo, whether for a wedding, a family trip, or a weekend getaway, here are the places you need to check out.
Sure it’s a bit gimmicky, (Buffalo wings in Buffalo) but there’s a reason why the wings that were invented here in the 1960s took off across the country so fast. They just do Buffalo wings right in Buffalo (Did we mention the wings here seem to be double the size of those anywhere else in the US?).
Most people will recommend going to Anchor Bar, the original home of the Buffalo wing, for the best in town. However, we’d actually recommend Gabriel’s Gate for a fantastic, off-the-beaten-path Buffalo wing feast (see above). The wings are huge and you have tons of great options for flavors!
Buffalo is a short 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls. The Canadian side of the falls has much more going on (zip lines, casinos, etc.), but if you’re just trying to see the falls up close, you can leave the passport at home.
In order to truly see the falls and feel their impressive fury, you need to take a trip on the Maid of Mist! After you fight your way through the lines of tourists at the entrance to the park, you’ll find yourself donning a poncho and fighting for the best seat on the boat.
And by seat, we mean there are actually no seats and you’ll be hanging onto the railing of the boat as you near the falls.
Try to put your phone down and soak up the awesome beauty of one of the most amazing natural attractions we’ve ever seen. The sheer force of the misty wind and the sound of the falls are incredibly impressive.
As for the attractions surrounding the U.S. side of the falls… be prepared to find yourself back in the 1970s, where it seems NOTHING has been updated or renovated since your parents took a road trip here as kids.
Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration House
As you may or may not know…. the Mitchell’s have a slight fascination with Teddy Roosevelt (He even made it into a a few of our wedding pics). We’re always up for a little history with our travel so we stopped by the Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration house before departing Buffalo on Sunday. The inconspicuous house, located just a mile from downtown has incredible historical significance.
It’s where the 26th President of the United States stayed while the 25th President, William McKinley was recovering from a gunshot wound. When McKinley ultimately passed away, history was thrust onto this location where Roosevelt took the oath of office in the living room and began his incredible tenure as President.
At this house, you’ll also find a passionate historian leading the tour (at least we did!) who really enjoys her job and is great at it. You’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two about our favorite president with a visit to this historical house.
The Erie Canal brought prosperity (and a lot of crime!) to historic Buffalo. Today, a major effort to revitalize the Canalside district has made it a fun area to visit year-round. We visited on a warm summer day and enjoyed walking nearby the water as boats came in and out of Buffalo. In the winter, they freeze a massive area here for skating (see below!)
Giacobbi’s Cucina Citta (Italian Restaurant)
If you’re craving Italian while visiting Buffalo or have a big crowd to feed, we highly recommend Giacobbi’s. We had 4 in our group, including a few Italians (Meagan and her mom!), and they were blown away by this hidden gem in the city.
The menu has all of the traditional favorites and is served family-style. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs because we ended up with so much extra delicious food (yay for leftovers). The service and hospitality here were top-notch, making us all feel like we were dining in at Grandma’s for Sunday dinner.