Have you ever driven through Buffalo, NY and never stopped? Trust me, you’re not alone. But a city wide revitalization, dining hot spots, and fun attractions are only three reasons of why you’ll want to get off I-190 and explore. Here are 13 incredibly fun things to do in Buffalo, NY for couples.
Disclosure: We were graciously hosted by the folks at Visit Buffalo Niagara to give you the scoop on the city. All opinions and photos are our own!
So, Buffalo, NY had always been a “go between” city for us until last month. And by go between, I mean a city we always drove between to get to another place. But, no more my friends. A recent visit, with a couple’s angle in mind, shed a whole new light and I can’t wait to share our top picks.
1. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several of Frank Lloyd Wright’s properties (particularly in Laurel Highlands, PA), and each one is just as impressive as the next. Having written that, the Darwin Martin House is REALLY stunning. Why? Several reasons, actually. First, you’ll see more than one property on the tour. Second, it’s an actual FLW mansion, the first of which I’ve seen.
Lastly, you can cater which type of tour you want to take. There’s both a basic-style tour and a more in-depth version to suit every Wright lover.
2. Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for Couples: Canalside
Canalside is a beautiful space that sits at water’s edge in Downtown Buffalo. Quick history lesson, the Erie Canal, when originally built, was very important to water travel in the United States. Buffalo was a major port-of-call for traveler’s heading westward.
These days, the area is filled with tons of attractions including fitness classes and food offerings, tons of free activities, beautiful walking paths, and even large ship tours. Take the Waterfront Ferry for $1 and you can check out the Buffalo Lighthouse, too.
3. Albright Knox Gallery
Don’t be surprised by the Albright Knox Gallery- we were! The museum is a nice size for a morning or afternoon visit. If you get hungry, there is an on property cafe, too.
What we truly loved when we visited, though, was its compact, yet impressive, 20th Century modern art sections. We saw paintings by Dalí and Matisse to Picasso and Miró. If you love modern art, definitely add Albright Knox to your must-do list.
4. Colored Musician’s Club
The Colored Musician’s Club is, by far, a hidden gem of Buffalo. A tribute to African American jazz musicians in the 20th Century, it explains the musical style in a way that even non-musicals folks can understand. Interactive exhibits explain the famous musicians beautifully and the onsite staff are more than happy to explain the finer details.
Quick tip before you go though: the Club’s time’s vary so make sure to check the official website for hours and admission prices.
5. Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for Couples: Buffalo Zoo
You don’t have to be six years old to enjoy the Buffalo Zoo. In fact, I found going as an adult was just as much fun. We hit the zoo for a Sunday morning opening and spent a couple hours walking the paths and looking at the animals, both native and exotic.
If you’re up for some true interaction, hit the parakeet house on your visit. Food sticks can be purchased at a nearby stand and the snacks really encourage the birds to interact with guests
Check the times guide before you go because there are plenty of caretaker talks throughout the day, too. Yep, I know this article is about places to visit for couples in Buffalo. But, there’s a super cute interactive children’s area complete with farm animals.
6. Ralph C. Wilson Children’s Museum
I had to mention the Ralph C. Wilson Children’s Museum because it just opened last month. In fact, when we visited it still had that beautiful smell of newness. Located in Canal Side, it’s several floors of interactive exhibits that teach kids all about there surroundings.
There’s a super cute cafe on the bottom floor, and an outdoor area on the second floor that is just as cute sponsored by Wegmen’s. If you plan on visiting with kids in tow, make sure to dedicate at least half a day to the fun.
Tip: On heavy traffic days, especially summer weekend days, Canal Side fills up and it can be difficult to find parking. Happily, there’s a city parking lot directly across from the museum that takes cash or credit cards
Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for Couples: Where to Eat in Buffalo, NY
Buffalo, NY has been known for one dish for decades: buffalo wings! If you’re an avid lover of them, there’s even a trail to check out when you visit. But, on our visit we check out a number of addition food styles and found them all delightful. Here are our suggestions.
7. Gabriel’s Gate
Living near Pittsburgh, PA, we have plenty of hot wings restaurants, and many of them are very good. Having written that, Buffalo is known for its Buffalo wings, so it was a no brainer to test drive some.
Gabriel’s Gate, for us, was the absolute standout. The restaurant itself is pretty cool (bar-style with a shabby chic feel), but it’s the wings that were absolutely delicious. Handmade sauces, along with the juiciest, crunchiest texture I’ve ever tried, make these the standout for the Buffalo Wings Trail.
8. Big Ditch Brewing Company
We headed to Big Ditch Brewing Company compliments of Mr. Locke’s affection for local craft beer. And this spot is definitely a local favorite! Menu items were way more than typical pub fair and the industrial chic look and feel is definitely all the rage.
9. & 10. Watson’s or Fowler’s?
When I was a kid, I used to eat sponge taffy until my tongue burned, true story.
Head to Buffalo and sponge taffy is called sponge candy. The same basic principle, it’s crunchy, sandy-like candy squares that are melt in you mouth delicious. Add in the fact that they’re covered in chocolate and it’s no wonder that our friends ask us to bring them home a bag or two.
Two top places to buy sponge candy are Watson’s and Fowler’s. If you want to try both, hit Elmwood Avenue where one is only a few stores down from the next. So if you can only pick one which should you choose? Well that depends on the kind of chocolate lover you are. If you did dark chocolate grab some at Fowler’s. But if you like milk chocolate, go to Watson’s.
Ahh, ice cream. If you’ve been on the site before (thank you!), you’ll know it’s my favorite food. And happily, Churn did not disappoint. If I only went for the taste and texture alone, I’d be satisfied. But, Churn is all about using local ingredients. And those ingredients include milk from local grass-fed cows. There’s something to be written about that, I think.
If you’re a coffee lover, try the De La Lloyd: coffee soft serve, Aztec brownie bites, oreo crumbs, & spice dust. Yum.
12. Ted’s Hot Dogs
You know a spot is a hometown favorite when it’s been around for XX years. Right around the corner from our hotel, Ted’s servers both its famous red hots and a meatless option which was happily delicious.
Ordering is done via a Cafeteria style and there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Did I mention it’s an affordable spot? Yeah, it’s that, too.
Located in the Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo’s lobby (more on the hotel below), SEAR is definitely a hot spot for couples. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, give it a go. We checked out the restaurant for dinner on the last night of our visit and were really interested in test driving a couple of appetizers. I’m very happy we did.
The charcuterie is a definite stand out and is large enough to be shared by two people. As for drinks, you’ll plenty of classics, but asks for the bar’s twists on the favorites for something extra.
Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for Couples: Where to Stay in Buffalo, NY
During our visit to Buffalo, NY we stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo. We found the beds super comfy, the staff super friendly, and the location super convenient. An all suit hotel, there was more than enough space for the two of us.
If I’m being honest, when checked out Downtown Buffalo attractions, most of the time we walked to them compliments of the hotel’s location. Another perk of staying at the hotel, really fast valet parking and a restaurant called SEAR (more on it above).