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

Insta Mom Boss: The Buffalo Babes Holdin’ Down the Fort

We have some serious Mom’s rockin’ it over on Instagram that are living in WNY. Isn’t it weird how one day you find a new person to follow and you look…*boom!*…they’re from Buffalo? How did I know about you before!?

Here’s a list of some Mama Bear’s you should start following ASAP on Instagram. They have killer followings (ugh, and here we are in the corner like a newbie loser…), they share fun insights in to their lives and of their kiddos, some have a great blog game, others are like us and share their adventures strictly on social. Take a look at some of our favs! (*all pics from Instagram accounts):

@astoldmymama– Rachael Burow

Rachael wears a lot of fun hats- mama of 2, a photographer (opening her studio now!), a former model, and blogger. Her hair is fab and her baby girl is adorbs.

@littleherdadventures – Erica Zilbauer of City Lights Studio and Buffalo Indie Weddings

Erica’s smile is SUPER contagious and her family vacations are to die for! Take us with you, Erica! She gives a peek in to real life and photographer boss work.

@rachellynjohnson– Rachel Johnson

Rachel gives you kids, fashion (denim!), reviews, and daily thoughts of mom life. She always has cute glasses! Check out her blog feminineindenim.com

@ktnewms– Caitie Newman

I always die here. How can I get perfect shots and overhead views of babies in baskets!? Oh, the envy! Caitie’s pics are perfect and so are her babes.

@aratariathome– Lindsay Aratari

Hey, what a great name! 😉 Lindsay has the house we want and the pics to prove it. She gives glimpses of fam life while making us wonder where we can find her pillows….

@mintberrymarket – Aubrey Hlavaty

Aubrey curates and makes super cute baby/toddler/adult clothing here in Buffalo! Her sweet girls often model her products and you can get her goods on her site or at Village Designs on Elmwood.

@kinandkindling– Samantha Jo Gill

Samantha Jo shows us her cute fam trips and also runs BuffaloMoms.com while also writing the majority of those fun Only In Your State lists we can’t get enough of!

@thefebruaryfox– Sarabeth McElhaney

We recently stumbled upon Sarabeth and her beautiful fam pics which are super real and down-to-earth. She’s blogging at thefebruaryfox.com

@hisushimama– Hannah

Wait, she was in Japan?! We want to see more! Hannah shares her cutie patootie all the while sharing real-life mom probz and stories.

@lifeaskristinab– Kristina Battaglia

I’ve known Kristina since I was 16 and it has been so fun to watch her with her twin boys, baby girl, empire of fitness, and daily life. There’s a ton of real-life commentary here that will have you saying ‘yassss, girl’ for days.

@mollysowinski– Molly Sowinski

Molly is 1/2 of Molly + Kate in Hamburg, shares Insta stories of her kid crew, and then hits us with home inspo envy on every dang post.

@sarahctravels– Sarah

Okay, how can we travel the world like this fam?! Major international envy here! Sarah and her boys travel the globe frequently and shows their experience plus writes about how to do it!

Who are some of your fav Mom blogs from Buffalo? Or even abroad? Isn’t it fab that we can connect so easily with one another in this tech age? I don’t think there’s anything cooler than future, current, and past mama’s sharing real life stories and offering up the best advice possible while balancing everything life throws at them.

I mean, c’mon. Guys could never do what we do.

Farm to Table Fairytale in WNY

“Okay, I feel like I’m in a Hallmark movie.” – @chessabond

Any second, Reese Witherspoon was going to walk in to the party donning a stunning makeover from her neighbor and lock eyes with the strapping man who moved back to his hometown to care for his Mother and run the family farm while building houses with his bare hands and donning a dirty-yet-clean unbuttoned plaid shirt with his best jeans for the night.

Farm to Table, Medina NY

Now the exterior scene is set for the 3rd Medina Farm to Table dinner that shuts down Main St. every summer and fills the air with laughter, music, and wine bottles popping.

We’ve told you once, we’ll tell you twice- Beau and I hail from Niagara County originally and take it pretty seriously when something incredible is happening up in ‘the country’ towns. It’s equally important to pay attention to our hometowns if they are making an effort to preserve and start something new in order to thrive and grow. We truly never knew about this humble, delicious event until we met up with Scott and Alix of the Shirt Factory Cafe (and boomerangs of WNY, who host the blog In a DC Minute). We had followed one another for a while on social and when the two took over the Shirt Factory Cafe in Medina, they invited a small handful of influencers out to test an upcoming Toast Bar they’re releasing and to talk about how Medina is changing. (see our visit to their cafe here!)

After conversing about childhood, hometowns, farms, city life, teaching, food, social media, and the interesting fact that Buffalo is pretty behind regarding the use of their micro-influencers…Scott and Alix invited us to the Medina Farm to Table Dinner that was developed this year by Zambistro (the original inception restaurant of the event), Mile 303, Mariachi de Oro, Sourced Market & Eatery, and Shirt Factory Cafe. All are local Medina restaurants collaborating to put on a 200 person dinner in the middle of the Main St.. The Orleans Renaissance Group hosts the dinner and it typically sells out in under 2 hours. You can get your tickets next year at MedinaAlive.com

Lobster & Corn Hush Puppy, Zambistro

Okay, so you’ve been to a farm to table event. So have we. But not like this. Medina literally shuts down their street and lines up two huge, long tables which are set with wine glasses for pairings, silverware, simple yet stunning Joanna Gaines-style fresh flowers, live music from Dark Road Duo and Road to Azure, and an entourage of servers delivering food to you as chefs and winemakers stand by your table to share the ingredients and design of each course. There are 200 people here- more than your usual event- and each restaurant serves up a different course which ultimately proves the massive collaboration. We were seated with Scott and Alix who graciously and brilliantly gave us the history and connections of all the owners, chefs, building owners, and family involved. We needed a map! Another influencer, Francesca Bond- a writer for Step Out Buffalo, The Buffalo News, and her own blog Vintage Lillies – sat across from us. To our immediate right were total strangers who became friends by the end of the first course.

Corn, Beets, and Some Berries Walk In To A Bar, Mile 303

Everyone was so damn friendly and happy, how could this not be a movie? All proud (and rightly so) of their town, this event, and having visitors come in to see what it is all about. The scene was perfect since Medina has kept their original buildings and did not fully give in to urban renewal. The canal sat within feet of us and we noticed that almost all of the storefronts were occupied whether it was restaurants, barber shops, paint studios, or the local lady who sews anything you require. Of course we found one degree of separation or at least the knowledge of one anothers’ town- like the older gentleman diagonal from me who lived on a road in Newfane across from my childhood home, the gal who grew up in Albion and knows the old cobblestone homes of the Bacon Family on my maternal side, and retired teachers who knew some people we name-dropped from Lockport and Medina. The beauty of strangers sitting side by side as the sun glistened atop architectural peaks at sunset.

Mariachi de Oro

The food was incredible. Fresh, delicious, beautiful. Almost all ingredients used were also from the local Canal Village Farmer’s Market in town. (*squee!* we love it!) We had no idea this town boasted such a culinary surprise. Wine pairings were collaborations with other Niagara and Orleans County makers like Schulze, Chateau Niagara, Leonard Oakes, Freedom Run, 810 Meadworks, and Liten Buffel. Hearing from local owners and Scott himself, the returning generation is working toward reviving this town little by little and opening their doors and arms to any and all who are curious to explore.

‘Eh, the drive is far.’ Oh boo hoo, people. You’ll miss out on a lot of things in WNY if you have that mentality still. If you stop and think about it, we have so many towns and communities within a small radius that are hidden gems and are begging to be polished and history to be re-learned. Our renaissance isn’t just in Buffalo- it’s in our whole region of Buffalo Niagara. The trickle effect of success is seeping out beyond the downtown walls and incredible. 

Berry Chocolate Cake, Shirt Factory Cafe

We’ll be talking about the Medina Farm to Table Dinner for a while. That’s how memorable and fun it was. We are so glad we have teamed with Scott and Alix and look forward to the next adventures we can uncover in Medina…and within other towns. We are glad to have met the charming Francesca Bond who is a young lady going places with her writing and immense experience at such a young age. We are glad to have met the locals of Medina, swap travel stories, escape a wine fiasco, and give a standing ‘O’ to the chefs and servers at the end. Keep exploring and keep learning- it’s how our part of New York is going to thrive.

Chicken 3 Ways, Zambistro

The perfect blurry night selfie with Scott and Alix

Staycation: Rooftop Fireworks

Rooftop fireworks. Martinis. 24/7 kitchen. Modern. Views.

There’s a new staycation in town and it may not be where you would first think of one. It’s the Hyatt Place in Niagara Falls, NY and it’s perfectly located within steps of the Seneca Casino, Old Falls St., and the Canadian border.

We packed up for an overnight stay, dropped Chloe off with the grandparents, and rushed on up to the new Hyatt. Already impressed with its location, we were surprised again once we stepped inside and noticed the modern décor: large sphere lights, wood panel walls, a hand-drawn map of downtown Niagara Falls, and wood with metal detail tables that made us wonder if we could sneak one in to the car and take it home.

Greeted by smiling people, we found our room filled with a charcuterie board, fruits, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Prosecco. (Ooo, who are we right now?!) Our room overlooked the mist of the Falls and peered in to Canada. It made us reminisce of our old Clifton Hill days (amiright?!). We spent time at the bar downstairs, noshing on tacos, sliders, and cheesecake while having a breather to finally just be together again. That’s the point of a staycation for two, after all.

Every Saturday they have live music up on their rooftop that overlooks Niagara Falls State Park. Being a little rainy, it was moved to the lower level where people gathered to just chill and enjoy the music. 90s tunes while we had some drinks? Living our best live in our thirties. At 9:45pm, we went up to the rooftop to get cozy for the fireworks. Each Friday and Saturday night, fireworks roar over the Falls and the Hyatt rooftop is the perfect location to watch! The fire lit up the sky and with the city lights as the backdrop and a wave of new appreciation for this part of WNY rushed over us. Low-key, modern, fun…this was everything the Hyatt was bringing to this night.

We took advantage of the location and stopped by the Casino where we ran in to people we knew, had some drinks, danced in the aisles, downed some coffee, and basically broke even on what we spent at Blackjack. Beau is decent at it and I am like a little old lady hitting up the old-school penny slots. Heading back to the Hyatt, we were once again greeted by smiling faces who asked if we were hungry and if there was anything they could get us. Heck ya! A quesadilla and flatbread were ready in under 20 minutes and we relaxed back in our room, this time enjoying the lights across the way.

There we were, 1:30am and way past our bedtime. Parents night out. Oh, it’s a real thing and we thought our friends made it up. Nope. Somewhere between Planet of the Apes, chugging water, and the last flatbread- we fell asleep and slept in until 8am. Oh em gee, 8 fricken in the morning. Is that as late as our bodies would let us? We’ll take it.

Breakfast was light and fresh- French toast, greek yogurt and granola bar, eggs, juice, coffee…the hotel was bumpin’ and we were glad to see it filled with all types of people visiting the area. We got in a workout at the on-site gym and went for swim at the pool which made for a nice morning.

As we packed up, we said goodbye to the GM Stacey at the Hyatt who was so glad to hear our stay was above and beyond our expectations. The service we encountered was wonderful and the view from the roof was what changed our thoughts on having Niagara Falls as a staycation. While we missed Chloe, it was so awesome getting away together for a night and pretending we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. We all need that…us married folk, that is. Think outside the box…go somewhere you normally wouldn’t…uncover new adventures…eat a quesadilla in bed at 2am…reminisce…watch the fireworks from the rooftop. See what happens.

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls // 310 Rainbow Blvd. S Niagara Falls, NY 14303

716.285.5000 // Facebook page // Instagram

Location: minutes to the Seneca Casino, around the corner from Old Falls St., walking distance to Niagara Falls State Park, right at the Canadian border

Breakfast included, contemporary rooms, rooftop

Perfect for: staycations, telling your family and friends where to stay while visiting the falls, event space

Where to Find the Flowers: Our WNY Guide to Nurseries & Greenhouses

Fun fact: I grew up on a horticultural farm. My grandfather, parents, Aunt Jillie, siblings, and Great Aunt grew chrysanthemums by the 1,000s in Wrights Corners, NY for years. The tens of acres at my grandparents’ house was magical, beautiful, and hard work. Besides the mums, we also grew vegetables and sunflowers and my Grandpa took much of his garden to the local Farmer’s Market in Lockport every week. My brother studied landscape architecture and my mother is a retired art teacher. So naturally, this whole gardening thing is of interest to me and I am diving in to everything that has to do with the outside of the house.Beau is, too.

My parent’s home in Newfane, NY was meticulously landscaped and they spent every hour they could once the weather broke until the snow fell outside working on their flower beds. It was so stunning that people would drive down our road very slowly to check out the land and ask my Dad questions about what things were. (lol!) I spent ALOT of time in nurseries and greenhouses as a kid and have started to visit many of them now as an adult and getting my own things.

We have some stunning places in WNY and each nursery and greenhouse has a certain personality. Some are fierce flower joints, others focus on shrubs. Some have hearty plants and several are uniquely their own. This list is our personal guide to places we love that you should definitely be hittin’ up this Spring:

Our Top Greenhouses and Nurseries:

Russell’s Tree & Shrub Farm: The best place for trees, bushes, grasses, and shrubs. You can find small to large sizes for your budget and talk about delivery to your place. Transit Rd., East Amherst

Hi-Way Garden Center: A well-maintained and beautiful greenhouse filled with hearty and colorful perennials and annuals. We love getting our coleus, hens and chicks, and vegetables here. (yes, like the veggies you can grow yourself) Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst

Lockwood’s: A new discovery for us now that are Southtowners! This place has some stunning houseplants, beautiful spikes, and really hard-to-find annuals. Clark St., Hamburg

Seasonal Nursery: The place to look in to for landscaping design ideas and beautiful hanging baskets. We like to get spikes, sweet potato vines, and impatients here. Bullis Rd., Elma

Angle Acres Greenhouse: Here’s your hidden gem, guys. Angle Acres has 4 greenhouses filled with houseplants and unique varying sizes of succulents. Best place for a photo shoot. ***CASH ONLY. If you forget it’s okay- there is a gas station nearby with an ATM. Angle Rd., Orchard Park

Our original go-to spots also in Niagara County:

Zehr’s, West Lake Rd., Burt

La Roses, Ridge Rd, Lockport

Heimiller Greenhouses, Ewings Rd., Newfane

Northtowns:

Spoth’s, Transit Rd., East Amherst

Badding Brothers, Transit Rd., Amherst

Adam’s Nursery, Genesee St., Lancaster

The Local Bloggers You May Be Missing Out On

Influencers. Bloggers. Storytellers.

The cool thing about our lives right now is that we can share our stories on different social media platforms. Media that speaks to us. Some of us are writing it (yea, we wish we had more time to write), some are visual documentarians (yea, we wish we had better camera skills), and some are mixing both into their platforms to share their lives and experiences (we like to think we’re in that realm).

A few are focused on straight up Buffalo and others have a more broad scope that appeals to the world (will we ever get there?). We’re sharing a short list of those who live among us here in the 716, but may be missing out on since they aren’t necessary screaming ‘Buffalo’ in your face. But they’re sending out gorgeous shots, fun stories, and cool vibes. (*all pics from handles)

@ktnewms

Ok, envy! This girl hails from our home county of Niagara and her shots have us in love. Follow her for stunning coffee pics, perfectly placed throws and flowers, destroyed denim, and cute baby shots.

@astoldbymama_

A mix of some blog posts and mainly shots on Insta, this mama has some adorable life stills that document her moments as a photographer and mother.

@craftbeerdeer

I mean, her name says it all. Beer. It’s like you step in to a magazine of editorial beer shots on every post. She’s showing you some great international hops along with beautifying the pour itself.

@prettyprchick

Brandi mixes Insta shots with YouTube videos filled with a makeup lover’s dream. I don’t think there is a lipstick color that looks bad on her…

@lifeaskristinab

I actually met Kristina when I was 16- seems like yesterday. A blogger turned social storyteller, follow her for fam life, punny real AF shirts, and inspo on getting off your a** in order to get healthy with her workout coaching.

@CaralynMirand

Stunning plus model Caralyn shares her Buffalo and NYC life via how-tos, stories, and fashion shots. This girl works it and makes us feel beautiful too.

@rachellynjohnson

Rachel is a fashion blogger mama who channels through her site and Instagram. Follow her for all of the things we think silently in our heads as we try not to fall asleep at 8pm while attempting to Netflix & chill.

@seekaxiom

Total photog-inspo. Ryan captures moods through his shots and creates a semi-dreamlike sensation. Follow him for the art of the eye and to see some local familiar faces.

@sexyslices

Our go-to pizza guide on Insta. We literally click on pics of pizza that look scrumdiddlyumptious and order it. This is gonna help you on lazy nights where you don’t know where to order.

@alexisrusselljewelry

I pretty much hint beg Beau for one of these rings one day (for a right hand ring). Follow for custom engagement ring ideas and drooling all over your screen. A local handcrafted jeweler designing unique and stunning sparkly things.

Did you know we have some of these incredible Instagrammers? Make sure to follow them! You’re missing out if you don’t.