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What Makes a Top Tier Travel Destination City?

Earlier today, a reader sent me along an article in, listing Buffalo as One of the Top 10 Best US Cities to Visit in 2019. While those accolades are impressive, I began to think what other sorts of tricks Buffalo has up its sleeve in the future. The photograph used in the article is of The Richardson-Omsted Complex. It wasn’t that long ago that the building was in jeopardy of being demolished. But today it is used, over and over, as an example of why Buffalo is becoming a desirable travel destination once again.

After reading the Buffalo pitch, I began to take a look at the other nine notable US destinations, to see what sort of iconography was being used to showcase the respective cities. One of my favorites was the trolley cars for New Orleans. The photo of the trolleys was spectacular, and did a great job promoting the city as a very unique place to visit, similar to the way The Richardson-Olmsted Complex has become a signature trademark for Buffalo. I also thought that the Old Town sign in Portland, Oregon was a lot of fun, as were the splashy neon signs in Nashville, Tennessee. The quaint cobblestone brick alley used to depict San Juan, Puerto Rico also made an impression.

The more I thought about the different visuals that were used to represent each city, I began to think, other than The Richardson-Olmsted Complex, what are some of the other signature landmarks that do a good job of representing Buffalo? And what could we be doing to incorporate more of these types of iconic visuals into our travel destination landscape? For example, replacing Shea’s 65′ tall sign back in 2004 was a brilliant move. Can you imagine downtown Main Street without it? Buffalo was once full of these types of signs. Thankfully we brought one back to life that proudly represents the Theater District.

Wouldn’t it be great if w still had an operational trolley? Buffalo was once a city of trolleys. Today, there is no sign that they ever even existed? Even if we had one single historic trolley restored, so that people could step inside and take some photos and learn about the history of the trolley in Buffalo… wouldn’t that would be a great addition to downtown?

Buffalo is in a fortunate position that we can continue to reinvent our city in any way that we want. We have lost so much… but now we’re in preservation and rebuilding mode. We have a spectacular waterfront, and a sensational Olmsted park system. All of these features speak for Buffalo as a city that is truly special. But just think about all of the other possibilities that are lying in wait. What will our Outer Harbor one day look like? Will it represent Buffalo in a way that we can be proud of, similar to the way that Larkinville has become a signature part of the city’s shifting landscape?

What are some of the monumental projects that will tell the Buffalo story in years to come? The solar carousel? The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park? Shea’s Seneca? A football stadium in the Cobblestone District? In ten or twenty years from now, what will/should online travel sites be shining a light on, while telling people to pay a visit to this historic city, still on the rise?

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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