What kind of place is Buffalo, NY? It’s fun, historical, delicious, outdoorsy, sports-loving, diverse, and creative. It’s home to remarkable art and music and architecture. And did we mention it’s an easy, welcoming, and affordable place to visit? If this sounds unexpectedly great, that’s because that’s exactly what Buffalo is.

Visit Buffalo Niagara was incorporated on March 4, 1987 and is governed by a Board of Directors responsible for the administration and operation of the organization. VBN employs a staff of talented tourism professionals dedicated to promoting tourism and accomplishes this by soliciting national, state and regional meeting planners, motor coach tour operators, travel agents and independent consumers. In 2017, $1.8 billion dollars in traveler spending occurred in Erie County, generating $221 million in tax revenue. That’s $578 in tax savings per household in Erie County.

1. ) What is your destination most known for? 

Buffalo is known for its architecture, its place on the Erie Canal and the wealth and innovation that built this city into a modern, cultural, and a music, art and garden-filled, destination. Those Gilded Age bones, intact, restored and now full of new life, are one of the great surprises waiting for visitors to discover: Walk through the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, set to re-open in May, with a new glass addition, green space and a spacious and sparkling presentation of our world class collection of modern and contemporary art spearheaded in the 1960s by an heir to the Woolworth fortune. Listen to poetry readings and concerts inside the old grain silos at Silo City, a collection of waterfront buildings left over from roasting malt for beer and now with a tavern, outdoor performance space and grounds with sculpture projects, including a new labyrinth, by architecture students and artists. Kayak, sail, have a beer in a tiki boat at Canalside and RiverWorks park and entertainment spots along the Buffalo River where the waterfront has come back to life with walking trails, sunset views, a restored merry-go-round, a kids museum, silo climbing wall, ziplining … Frederick Law Olmsted designed our park system which has bike paths, an outdoor stage for the summer Shakespeare in the Park plays, a lake with flamingo paddleboats and a terrace restaurant making craft cocktails and great shrimp and grits inside a repurposed boathouse.

2.) During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?

Tour the city with stops on the Underground Railroad like the Michigan Street Baptist Church and, after an in-the-works renovation, have a beer at the Colored Musicians Club jazz bar where Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane hung out and played. Take in design gems, houses and a concert hall, with great stories, by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson and Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Sample our craft brews – from beer, hard cider and seltzer to barrel-aged Polish krupnik honey liqueur. Dine on the delicacy that helped make us famous: Sample classic chicken wings along with vegetarian permutations, like my personal favorite: Café 59’s crispy polenta wings … Stop in the Downtown Bazaar food court, one place to feast on the foods from new immigrants. People from Burma, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Bangladesh and Yemen have added new vibrancy to Buffalo.

3.) What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?

The Richardson Hotel, a newly reopening luxury property within an 1870 H.H. Richardson building with grounds by Frederick Law Olmsted. All of it was designed as a holistic mental health asylum to heal with open airy, light filled and bucolic spaces. There’s a restaurant, bar and 88 rooms in this restorative spot at the edge of the Elmwood Village neighborhood. It’s just a walk to the AKG Art Museum and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, which focuses on regional art and the transcendent watercolors of Charles Burchfield that seem to “hum with light and movement.”

4.) What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?

Our Neighborhoods page is the best way to research Buffalo, find unique stories and get a sense of our community before you arrive: https://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/neighborhoods/

5.) How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?

As a former newspaper reporter, college teacher and university communications staffer, the tourism industry is new to me. I am eager to learn all I can. A colleague recommended NATJA and it seemed like a terrific opportunity.

6.) Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?

This city and region embody the Visit Buffalo Niagara mission: Delighting people with the unexpected and the travel highlights that can seem hidden. Buffalonians love welcoming visitors and showing off local secrets that are off-the-beaten path: favorite spots where great memories of discovery, people, history, culture, food, outdoor exploration, waterfront and in-the-lake fun are waiting for you. Drop me an email. Let me know how I can help design a trip here …

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