The second most populous city in New York state, Buffalo is a city of architectural gems and industry lost, of gorgeous neighborhoods alongside derelict streets, of snow-buried winters and spectacular summers. It’s a working-class rust-belt city of extremes, scrappy and rightfully proud of its graceful Frederick Law Olmsted-contrived parks (he of Central Park fame), arresting Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings, splendid Victorian homes and mansions, tranquil Lake Erie sunsets, and unique regional cuisine—which, by the way, extends far past the ubiquitous hot wing. Located in the far northwest reaches of New York, just a bridge span from Canada and 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, Buffalo is, in the words of one local, like a playful pup in a cage: “We just want people to pay attention to us.” Take notice and you may be surprised at what you find.

Note: Because of Buffalo’s close proximity to Niagara Falls, we’re lumping the two areas together—we strongly recommend that if you’re visiting one, you should visit the other. Just keep in mind that this includes not only New York state but also Ontario, Canada, where some of our favorite wineries are located.

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