11 Unique Things To Do in Buffalo with Out-of-Town Guests

It’s fun getting visitors in Buffalo. We are always pretty dang pumped to show people around and give them ideas for things to do, places to eat, and where to stay so they will have the ultimate WNY experience. 

Besides the usual suspect stops in and around town, here is a list of our fav 11 unique things to do when you have fam and friends in town:

Shark Girl Selfie / Canalside

You’ll learn fast that Buffalo is getting bigger and bigger on public art (thanks to many initiatives of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery). One such famous public resident is Shark Girl, located at Canalside near the upcoming Explore & More Children’s Museum. Getting a selfie with this girl is a must! Who is Shark Girl??

Forest Lawn Trolley

We have famous dead people. Presidents, musicians, artists, pioneers…look up the tour schedule and book one through the cemetery. It’s manicured landscape adds to the awe of who you see in there and you’ll be surprised by the history you’ll learn. Book a Forest Lawn Tour

Hatchets + Hops

photo: Megan Ann Photography

Axes and beer. Guaranteed your friends and family haven’t done anything like this before! Throw some axes and see if you can bullseye it. Hang out at Misuta Chows after (nearby). Yep, sign me up!

McKinley Assassination Site

A small piece of history is over on Fordham Dr. where McKinley was shot in 1901 at the PanAm Expo. An underdog spot to visit where you feel like you’re back in time. Take me there!

Mural tour (on your own)

Us, Niagara Falls, NY

Murals pop up all over the city every couple of months. We’re are becoming a destination to see these, so why not map out some sites you want to see and get some great pics? Use Nickel City Pretty as a good reference point on where to find some.

The real wings at Nine-Eleven Tavern and Bar Bill

wings at Bar Bill

Take it from a local: we know where the best wings are. Take the off-beaten path and take a ride to East Aurora for Bar Bill wings (and beef on weck!) and the South Buffalo underdog Nine-Eleven Tavern.

Explore Buffalo Tours

Historic Shea’s in downtown Buffalo

Nothing better than hearing the history from the best. Check out their site to see what kind of tours they have going on. Architecture…food…crime history…something for everyone. Explore Buffalo

West Side Bazaar

An expo of some of our best international dishes in Buffalo. Get a little bit of everything including Thai, Indian, and Ethiopian. It doesn’t get more authentic than here. You’ll find beautiful artisan work here, too. Take me to the West side

Pedal Tours

pic from Buffalo Pedal Tours Instagram

A couple years ago, Buffalo got a few pedal tours under its belt for bar crawls, food tours, and city views. From Buffalo Pedal Tours to the Consumer Craft, the Tiki Tour to CycleBoats…ya gotta really work it to get there!

Niagara Wine Trail

Rent a small bus and take the wine trail experience. Great way to see Niagara County, taste some wine, eat some chocolate, and hang out in the vineyards. A fun event for guests to take home some wine! Follow the trail…

Riverworks: Zipline/Rock Climb/Kayak/Roller Girls

Riverworks has something for everyone. Adventure, food and drink, views, and if you check the schedule…some badass chicks on wheels. You can definitely make a solid day of hanging out there. Everything at Riverworks

Family Date: BabyLovebird’s First Restaurant at Yoshi

Somehow, we are lucky. Chloe is a super happy, chill, go-with-the-flow baby. Up until she was born we ran through one major scenario (at least it was major to us): Could she handle public places? No= If she goes ape, we take her out. Yes= cool, let’s do this.

yoshi
Chloe is now 4 months old and we made the decision that it was time…time to take her for our fav cuisine: sushi. We’ve been itching to check out Yoshi since it opened late winter 2017. Located on the popular Elm St. in East Aurora, when we got wind that one of the chefs was a previous Seabar dude there was no question we knew this would be great. We passed by it ALL THE TIME when we were grabbing juices at Kornerstone and brunch at Elm St. Bakery…so we went for it. WITH CHLOE.

uh oh, here comes a baby…walking to Yoshi
I called for a reservation (just in case!) and asked my new-Mom question, ‘Is this cool for babies or…no?’ We were told it’s totally fine and that made us feel a little better. Our decisions on where we hit up now depends on if it can handle a small fry. (It’s our opinion to take the babe to appropriate places- no telling you what’s right and wrong here about babies in public) Upon arrival, the sun was shining and Yoshi’s outdoor space was full; inside was quite busy and luckily they saved us a table that had a perfect nook to keep Chloe and her seat in. The vibe inside is cool- modern, clean, light.

Yoshi’s menu is packed with sushi, sashimi, rolls, apps, and specials. Lunch is available during the day, too.

Beau started with sashimi:

I got this, guys
We split the Pork Gyoza (more, please!) and an Anaconda Roll (which sparked us to mutter Sir Mix-A-Lot lyrics under our breath because 1990s kids).

pork gyoza // anaconda roll
So how was Chloe doing? She was great! And even topped off her bottle feeding while laying in her seat. A few whimpers began and we silently panicked. Oh no, was she going to be a Debbie Downer? A quick escape with Dad to burp outside and all she needed after that was to sit on Beau’s lap the rest of the meal. This baby wants nothing more than to chill at the table with people and be part of the action. Okay, kid.

whoa, are you seein’ this, Mommy?
Our second round included the Scallop Crudo (topped with an edible flower, which Chef Kenneth Legnon let us know they get all of theirs from Buffalo local Vertical Fresh Farms). Well, these were delicious! Thinly sliced…with blood orange and puffed rice.

scallop crudo
We finished off with the Short Ribs which melted off the bone. Now THAT was hard to share…the Chef came over to say hello and talk about some details on our plates, giving us a better look in to the artistry around Yoshi’s menu. We expressed how excited we were that the Southtowns finally had a sushi place near us that stood out and rose above. Definitely will be on our go-to places from here on out.

short ribs
As for Chloe O.? BabyLovebird was quiet and observant the whole way through. Her first [inside] restaurant experience was a win and now we can ‘test her out’ at other spaces. Date night hasn’t died- it’s just a little cuter.

 

Get the Details:

Yoshi // 33 Elm St. East Aurora, NY 14052 // 716.714.9372

Tues-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm & 4:30-9:30pm // Saturday 12pm-10pm // closed Sunday

park on Elm St. or appropriate lots nearby (AFTER hours, please!)

great for date night, lunch date, date with friends, bringin’ chill kids, sushi date

*walk around East Aurora afterward! You can check out Roycroft Campus and pick up some local art, catch a movie at the vintage Aurora theatre, or nosh on chocolates at Mambrino King!

hey, guys!

hid the baby // stealth-mode

The Ultimate Love Guide: Part 1: Where to Eat for Valentine’s 2017

overhead

Valentine’s Day. Some call it a Hallmark holiday. Others make it a ritual for taking time to hang together. However you view it ya gotta admit- February is a great time to rekindle love, get some time away, and feast on some fantastic meals- complete with wine. And some sweets.

Beau and I fall in to the category of ‘Every Day Should Be Like Valentine’s Day’ (yea yea, gross right?!). With Baby Lovebird arriving in a little under 4 weeks, we are using this year to hold one last date as a party of two. You will have to wait and see where we go! But for now read up on our two lists compiled just for you, Buffalovers! First up, FOOD. Second round, cool things to explore.


Part 1: For the Foodies

‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ -Virginia Woolf

coffee-date
we do coffee dates. alot.
If food is the way to your heart, book a date with some of the best places in WNY:

2/8: Giancarlo’s: Cakebread Cellars Wine Pairing Dinner– a five course menu perfected with wine pairing.

2/8: Aro Bar de Tapas: Food Is Art– a culinary tour of Spain and the beauty of its food.

2/8: Albright Knox Art Gallery: The Art of Dining- The Spanish Hearth– Gallery members to be wined & dined by Mike A. and chefs from Toutant, Oliver’s, and Rue Franklin. Call for details.

2/14: Rusty Nickel Brewing Company: Valentine’s Beer Pairing– umm, so this menu has us salivating.

2/14: Nickel City Cheese: Cheese & Sparkling Wine Pairing– really, you cannot go wrong with this combo. They also have a Tour of France coming up on 2/28.

2/17: Osteria 166 & 42North Brewing Company: Brewer’s Dinner– a five course dinner with beer pairing

2/18: The Lodge: Love at the Lodge– all week, The Lodge is offering Valentine’s specials & menus. Make it a late night on the weekend.

2/21: New York Beer Project: New Orleans Food & Beer Pairing– four courses of N’awlins dishes that is perfect for combining Valentine’s romance and Mardi Gras craziness.

2/23: Buffalo Zoo: Polar Bites– the Zoo’s fundraiser is back at it. Do food tastings instead of dinner!


More places to book now for your lovefest:

Roost

Las Puertas

Oliver’s

Hutch’s

Sear

Tempo

Mother’s

Aro Bar de Tapas

Panorama on Seven

Toutant

Marble + Rye

The Chocolate Bar (for fun martinis)

Elm Street Bakery

Mangia

What are your plans, Buffalovers? Do you have a tradition? A favorite? We want you to share with us!

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Love Guide Part 2: Valentine Cool Things to Do

cupid-arrow

Part 2 in 2017’s Valentine’s lovefest: cool things to do…besides food.

We have rounded up ideas for you- couples, friends, Galentine’s Day lovers, singles, family. Take a look at our top picks to celebrate! If you’re out-of-the-box, this list is for you.


Part 2: Cupid Adventures

2/9: Ashkers: Tango Lessons– why not register you and your better half for tango lessons beginning in March? It is the vertical expression of horizontal desire, after all…tango

2/10: MUSEjar: BYOB Couples Paint Night– for the artists and non-artists. It’s all about teamwork to create this painting. *eat at Elm Street Bakery afterward

2/10: Red Hot Chili Peppers at KeyBank Center- give it away give it away give it away now! 90’s dates are always the answer. *eat at Lagerhaus95 afterward

2/10 – 2/20: Niagara Falls Aquarium: Sealed With A Kiss– get kisses from the aquarium’s Harbor seals & a pic to share on social media (of course)! *cute for kids! eat at Rainforest Cafe or The Griffon Gastropub

2/11: Costamagna Designs: La Seduction– seduction? Yes. A collaboration with Primrose Path Boutique and Private Knives Catering makes for something unique to do with your partner. *get dinner at Rick’s on Main after

2/11: Buffalo Philharmonic: A Valentine Romance– special event with tunes from Broadway and the American songbook. Classic. *get dinner nearby at Lait Cru Brasserie

2/12: Buffalo History Museum: Jazz on Second Sundays– tour the museum and enjoy live jazz music while you mellow out together. *eat at Trattoria Aroma after

hatchets2/14: Hatchets & Hops: Axes and Oh’s– we see what you did there, guys. Want something majorly outside of the box? THIS is what to go to. Throw axes as you celebrate love. YES. *eat at Big Ditch afterward

now through 2/14: Adopt-An-Animal at the Buffalo Zoo! Instead of dinner or chocolate or a card, give your animal lover this opportunity to be a ‘parent’. Includes zoo passes!

2/17: Lake Erie Wine County: Wine & Chocolate Weekend– really, do we need to convince you of this?? *perfect for the girls

2/19: Darwin Martin House: there are a couple events you can check out, but we kinda like the idea of the Snowshoes & Cocoa experience on 2/19!

2/23: The Game of Thrones Experience– well this is different! GOT fans you NEED to go immerse yourself in to the music & visuals with a full live orchestra and choir with theme composer Ramin Djawadi. We are #HouseStark…just sayin’.

2/25 – 2/26: Buffalo Botanical Gardens: Orchid Show– the orchids are back and beautiful, as always! Relax and walk through the beautiful colors at the gardens. *eat at Curly’s afterward

2/26: HEAL BFLO: Yoga Retreat– ya gotta stay flexible if you’re gonna make it work. Hit up this all day retreat with friends or your partner to bring yourself back to center.

latte-art2/27: Public Espresso: Milk Steaming & Latte Art– these guys always have fun events at the Hotel, including this one. Can you latte art? (we can’t) *eat at Casa Azul afterward

Buffalo Science Museum: Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World– now through May 7! Check out the electric evolution of one of the world’s most famous instruments. Rock on. *eat on Hertel Ave. afterward

Niagara Falls Culinary Institute– check out the different events happening throughout February, like ‘Chocolate Truffles’ and ‘Sundae Funday’. *great for families, too!

Buffalo Botanical Gardens: Lumagination– the gardens are lit up at night with fantastic bright colors and this year, they have teamed up with the UB Theatre & Dance Department to bring in never-before-seen designs. *great for bringing the kids, too!

lumagination
Dennis J. Luthart photo

Makers Buffalo– check out everything goin’ down this month at Makers Buffalo that you can do with friends or your significant other. Pick from wood burning, embroidery, or creating the Spike Quartz necklace.

 

Brunch Date: Elm Street Bakery

Elm Street Bakery, Elm St., East Aurora

We finally are starting to feel back in to the swing of things. Since the move, we haven’t really had much downtime to relax or explore- let alone little dates here and there. Between trying to unpack after getting home late each night from work, Beau hunkering down for a big test certification coming up soon, and me huffing & puffing with my 32 week belly- we’ve ended up staying in and not really doing too many exciting things.

Well, that isn’t really our style now is it? Sunday morning we jumped back in with an impromptu brunch date to East Aurora to scope out Elm Street Bakery. Now that we live 15 minutes from EA, we will get to hone in on so many places there we haven’t had the chance to check out!

Elm Street Bakery (ESB for short here) sits right off the Main St. of downtown East Aurora. Having begun in 2011, ESB serves artisan breads, coffee, pastries, bakery items, and offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. They have wood-fired pizzas and a cafe for grab-n-go items if you wish. It is flippin’ adorable when you pull up to it and inside is even better- a rustic Adirondack or even Ellicottville feel. We actually were pretty dorky in regard to how excited we were about the look and feel of the place!


For brunch & breakfast, you order to the left upon entry with the girls behind the pastry glass- the menu is up on the wall and you will have a tough time narrowing down what you want! Order and they’ll pass you a buzzer if you’re dining in. We chose to eat on the upper level that overlooks the open kitchen and other seating. Give us all the carbs!

Menu / bakery / pastries / to go

We ordered a few things- notice how we never just order one or two items: the toast with goat cheese and jam, Biscuits and Gravy, the French Toast Bread Pudding, and the Carbonara breakfast pizza. Coffee and an iced chai for hydration and caffeine. Their brunch menu rotates so get excited to try something new when you come!

french toast, artisan toast, biscuits

The place was busy but there was a steady flow so you did not wait long or struggle to find a seat. Young families with babies, retired folks, friends getting together, couples, and parents with older kids filled the space. The food was so good that we didn’t want to stop eating- but there is always that point where your pants start to feel tight and you need a nap. They use local ingredients from around WNY, which we always appreciate from restaurants and bakeries.

Carbonara Breakfast Pizza // bacon, potatoes, bechamel, egg yolk
We could eat these biscuits & gravy every damn day…

We chatted and commented on how this is definitely a new favorite spot for us to be at. We cannot wait to try their other menus! They release their weekly bread schedule and you can view it online and also see an ‘encyclopedia’ of the different kinds- in case you are unsure what Vollkornbrot is! 🙂

We are already salivating again from this awesome brunch date!

How to Elm Street Bakery:

  • 72 Elm St. East Aurora, NY 14052
  • Park in the lot next to the building or on the street (free) 
  • Tues-Fri 7am-9pm // Sat 8am-9pm // Sun 8am-2pm…Breakfast til 11am, Lunch 11:30-3:30, Dinner 5-9pm
  • Date anytime, brunch, friends, family, grab & go, gluten free baked goods, good for kiddos, quick bite, hang out
  • While you’re in East Aurora: stop at local shops like Vidlers, the Muse Jar, Mambrino King (chocolate bar), and if you have the kids- The Toy Loft and Explore & More Children’s Museum.

upper level- good for a group of friends!

overlooking the lower level