24 Hours in Buffalo is a brand new monthly series we’ve launched to give our readers the rundown on places to explore and things to do in the coming month – whether you’re here for a quick visit and are hoping to squeeze in a mini adventure or two, or you’re a local looking for ideas on where to take your out-of-town guests, or you’re simply stumped on what to do with an upcoming free weekend.
Each month will be a little different, but look for features on a variety of urban adventures – from history tours, to arts exhibits, places to grab a bite, festivals, and more. We hope you discover something new to love about the Queen City!
Featured: Explore Buffalo‘s History & Heritage tours
If you’re interested in getting to know the Queen City – from its history to its neighborhoods and architecture – you’ll be in more-than-capable hands with Explore Buffalo. True to their name, Explore Buffalo is a local non-profit specializing in tours and educational programs that help residents and visitors alike get acquainted with Buffalo – both its history and the great things it has to offer today.
The menu of tours is lengthy and diverse, offering something for everyone to enjoy – from history buffs to cultural junkies and architecture enthusiasts. You can stroll the streets of downtown and learn the significance of its many architectural gems, explore the grounds of Silo City and its towering grain elevators, learn about the history of Buffalo’s organized crime underworld, or take in the many murals and sculptures gracing our cityscape.
If you’re looking for something a little different than the typical walking tour, Explore Buffalo also offers tours by bike, kayak, cruise boat, and bus. They also can book tours for private groups and schools, as well as workshops for students. Explore Buffalo’s kids’ program, “Discover Canalside,” provides a free opportunity for youth and their families to participate in interactive activities while learning about the history of the Erie Canal and Buffalo’s grain era.
Spotlight Tours invite guests to tour some of Buffalo’s most unique buildings, with the building owner or architect as your guide. This month, Explore Buffalo is featuring a 90-minute tour of the Historic Shea’s Seneca Theatre building, built in 1929. The tour will take place on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.
Explore Buffalo also offers tours that go “Beyond Buffalo” and around some of the historic places outside the city. Tours include downtown Lockport, East Aurora, Hamburg, Clarence Hollow, Lancaster, North Tonawanda, Orchard Park and Williamsville.
Check out their website for the full calendar of upcoming tours and their descriptions.
Explore Buffalo | One Symphony Circle | Buffalo, NY | (716) 245-3032
Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops, July 7-8
Delaware Avenue, Downtown (between Niagara Square and Johnson Park)
If you’re a foodie, this festival is the perfect place to get to know Buffalo. The event runs for two full days (Saturday: 11AM-9PM, Sunday: 11AM-PM) and features over 50 restaurants, five beer tents, and six New York State wineries. You can also visit the Culinary Stage to see celebrity chef performances, a cocktail competition, and a cake decorating competition. There will also be live music at multiple stages throughout the festival. If you have little ones in tow, the Taste of Fun Kid Zone will have pop-up food play exhibits, make-and-take crafts, appearances by Curious George, and story reading with local authors.
Admission to the event is free, and you can purchase tickets for food and beverages for $0.50 apiece at three different ticket tents (Items range in price from $1.00-$5.00). Check out the 2018 Festival Guide for a map and full list of vendors, plus all the activities happening on the culinary stage and the Taste of Fun Kid Zone.
Explore Buffalo’s “Ships ‘n’ Bottles”, July 13, 6:00 PM
Buffalo and Erie County Naval Park
One of the best places to experience Buffalo in the summertime is at the waterfront. This annual fundraiser party for Explore Buffalo takes you aboard the U.S.S. Little Rock for an evening of live entertainment, history, food, drinks, and spectacular views of the water. You can take a tour of the ship, win prizes at the silent auction, and enjoy live music by local New-Orleans style band, Buffalo Brass Machine. You’ll also get a chance to taste some of Buffalo’s locally made beers and spirits from Big Ditch Brewing Company, Black Button Distilling, Buffalo Distilling, and Lakeward Spirits.
Explore Buffalo, a local non-profit organization, provides tours of Buffalo’s neighborhoods and architectural gems. All proceeds from the event go toward Explore Buffalo’s educational programs for all ages. Tickets can be purchased here.
Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival, July 14, Noon-10:30 PM
Silo City 92 Childs Street
This festival is a great opportunity to explore Buffalo’s historic grain silos and listen to some talented blues musicians performing live. Bring a lawn chair (or rent one there) and enjoy a summer afternoon at one of the city’s most unique cultural locations. The line-up includes the Grammy-nominated David Bromberg Quintet, John Nemeth, Tom Hambridge Review with the WNY Blues Band, Keesha Pratt Band, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, and Josh Paxton. There will also be a separate educational stage offering workshops and youth performances during the festival. You’ll also find plenty of local food vendors on site if you get hungry.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the Blues Society of WNY’s “Blues in the Schools” program for K-12 students and their community outreach programs, including Nursn’ Blues music therapy program, the Youth Mentoring program. Tickets can be purchased here.
Miami Nights All White Affair, July 14, 7:00PM
Buffalo Riverworks, Ganson Street
Put on your favorite white outfit and get a taste of a Miami night right here in Buffalo. Event promotor Mr. D. Wilson will host his annual All-White party – the largest of its kind in Western New York and Southern Ontario. Guests can watch a fashion show, explore the small business market, enjoy a cigar on the patio, and listen to live music by WBLK’s DJ Wire, as well as DJ Eurowe and DJ Spin.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Cobblestone Live, July 27-28
The Historic Cobblestone District
Explore the streets of Buffalo’s Historic Cobblestone District at this annual outdoor festival, featuring food trucks, beer tents, vendors, games, and musical performances on stages throughout the District. There’s something for everyone’s musical taste with two outdoor stages on Illinois and Columbia Streets, an indoor stage at Buffalo Iron Works, an electronic stage inside Lockhouse Distillery, and an acoustic stage on South Park Avenue. The gates will open at 4:00PM on Friday and at 1:00PM on Saturday, with music playing until 11:00 PM at the outdoor stages and continuing indoors at Buffalo Iron Works until 2:00AM. Check out the event lineup here.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit The Child Advocacy Center, a coalition that works to investigate, treat and support victims of child abuse. Event tickets can be purchased here.
Garden Walk Buffalo: America’s largest garden tour, July 28-29, 10:00AM-4:00PM
If you have a green thumb – or simply appreciate the handiwork of a green thumb – this is a great opportunity to see some of Buffalo’s most beautiful gardens while exploring several of its neighborhoods. The Garden Walk is a free, self-guided tour of over 400 gardens in areas including the Elmwood Village, Symphony Circle, Allentown, Columbus Park, and the Cottage District. Just look for the yellow Garden Walk sign marking the participating gardens!
Tour participants can walk the neighborhoods or take the free Garden Walk shuttle, which offers the perk of having a tour guide from Explore Buffalo. Shuttles depart from headquarters at Evergreen Health (206 S. Elmwood Avenue) and Buffalo Seminary School (205 Bidwell Parkway). You can pick up maps there, or at any of the three satellite locations: Richmond-Summer Senior Center (Richmond Avenue at Summer Street), First Presbyterian Church (1 Symphony Circle), or West Side Community Services (161 Vermont Street).
Lead photo, “Buffalo Sunsets” by Buffalo Drone Photography
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