A Beginner’s Guide to Buffalo

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll give you the insider scoop on everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip to Buffalo. We’ll cover all the basics, like how to get around and where to stay, plus highlight some of our favorite things to do, places to eat, and hidden gems that only the locals know about. Consider this your go-to resource for crafting your ideal Buffalo itinerary. So leave the travel books behind, and let us guide you through the best that Buffalo has to offer. By the time you finish this guide, you’ll be an expert on America’s “City of Good Neighbors!”

Top Attractions for…


If you’re hitting the road with kids in tow, Buffalo has tons of family-friendly attractions to fill your itinerary. At the top of your list should be Canalside, a vibrant waterfront district with gardens, playgrounds, and interactive art installations like the famous Shark Girl statue. Kids can splash around in the fountains at the Explore & More Children’s Museum, or burn off some energy at RiverWorks, an indoor action park with rock climbing, ziplines, bowling, and more. Of course, no trip to Buffalo is complete without a visit to the Buffalo Zoo to see the elephants, giraffes, polar bears, and other exotic animals. And be sure to catch a kids’ show at Shea’s Performing Arts Center – this historic theater always has family-friendly musicals and plays on the calendar.


On your inaugural visit to the Nickel City, you’ve got to see Buffalo’s most iconic landmarks. Start at Canalside to admire the historic Erie Canal waterways and learn about Buffalo’s founding as a shipping hub. Then head to the Buffalo City Hall observation deck for stunning views of Lake Erie and the cityscape. Next, explore the Darwin D. Martin House, a prairie-style Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece that exemplifies Buffalo’s rich architectural history. And save time for the Buffalo Museum of Science, where you can stroll through wildlife dioramas or catch a show in the state-of-the-art planetarium. Finally, grab some wings and local brews on a food tour of the Elmwood Village neighborhood. With this classic itinerary, you’ll get a true taste of quintessential Buffalo!

Wine & Beer Connoisseurs

Between the wineries of Niagara Wine Trail and Buffalo’s booming craft beer scene, this city is a paradise for those who like to sip and savor local flavors. Oenophiles will love sampling ice wines and Rieslings along the shores of Lake Ontario. Stop at Schulze Vineyards for wine slushies and live music on their lakeview patio, or enjoy a flight at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, New York’s oldest winery. Meanwhile, beer buffs are spoiled for choice in Buffalo. Take a brewery tour and tasting at stalwarts like Pearl Street and Flying Bison, or grab a pint on a patio at one of Buffalo’s many brewpubs. Don’t miss Community Beer Works, where you can pair your IPA with gourmet hot dogs, or Thin Man Brewery, known for its hazy NEIPAs and creative small batch brews. Wherever you choose to imbibe, your taste buds are in for a treat in Buffalo!

Sports Fans

Few cities take their sports as seriously as Buffalo does. Home to diehard fanbases and pro teams like the Bills and Sabres, this is a city that lives and breathes athletics. Football fans flock to Highmark Stadium to tailgate and cheer on the Bills, win or lose. The raucous crowds make for an electric gameday atmosphere. Hockey nuts can catch the hard-hitting action of the Sabres at KeyBank Center right in downtown Buffalo. Beyond the pros, Buffalo has a thriving youth sports culture, with baseball diamonds and soccer fields packed with future all-stars. And Buffalo State and the University at Buffalo ensure there’s always a winning college team to support in town. Whether you’re a casual fan or a face-painting superfan, Buffalo’s got a team for you. Let the fun and games begin!


From Buffalo wings to beef on weck, this city serves up distinctive flavors you won’t find anywhere else. For the ultimate edible tour, start by sampling the OG wings at Anchor Bar, the legendary spot where Buffalo wings were born. Next, grab a beef on weck, the area’s signature roast beef sandwich, at Schwabl’s Restaurant, a local institution since 1837. Cool off with an extra-thick milkshake from Lake Effect Daiquiri, or indulge your sweet tooth with sponge candy, a chocolatey Buffalo specialty. Beyond the classics, Buffalo’s dining scene has exploded with chef-driven eateries, microbreweries, and one-of-a-kind food trucks. So loosen your belt and get ready to eat your way through one of America’s emerging culinary capitals.


Buffalo offers retail therapy for all tastes and budgets. Bargain hunters flock to the Walden Galleria, New York’s second largest mall where you’ll find all your favorite chains like Macy’s and Apple. Or discover local boutiques and designers at Elmwood Village, a vibrant shopping district packed with indie shops and cafes. If you’re craving the great outdoors, hit up the Broadway Market, a historic public market with fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and specialty foods. Trendsetters browse the latest fashions at cutting-edge stores like Urbancat and Shop 716. And sports fans will feel like kids in a candy store at the Bills Store and Sabres Store at KeyBank Center. Whether you want to update your wardrobe, pick up local souvenirs, or simply window shop, Buffalo won’t disappoint. Be sure to leave extra room in your luggage!

How to Get Around Buffalo

Light Rail

Buffalo’s Metro Rail light rail system is a convenient and affordable way to get around, especially if you’ll be spending most of your time downtown. The single 6.4-mile track runs from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to the Fountain Plaza station, with stops at Canalside, KeyBank Center, Shea’s Performing Arts Center and other popular downtown destinations.
Fares are just $2.00 per ride, or $5.00 for an all-day pass. Trains run every 10-15 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends and holidays. It’s a handy option for getting to the airport or zipping between attractions without having to drive.

Taxis and Rideshares

Of course, taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft are readily available options for getting around Buffalo. Rates are affordable, as you’d expect for a mid-sized city like Buffalo.
Taxis can be hailed on the street, called by phone, or booked through apps like Curb. Standard rates are $2.50 initial fare plus $2.00 per mile. Uber and Lyft fares depend on the level of service, but expect to pay around $1-2 per mile. Surge pricing may be in effect during peak times. These services are great for airport transfers, bar hopping, or anytime you don’t want to deal with parking.

Charter Bus

For ultimate convenience and comfort getting around Buffalo with a group, renting a charter bus is the way to go. No navigating unfamiliar roads or splitting up to take multiple cars or rideshares. Everyone can stay together on a private minibus or full-size coach.
Charter Bus Company Buffalo offers a range of charter bus rentals to meet any group’s needs. Our modern fleet includes 56-passenger motorcoaches, 28-passenger minibuses, and 14-passenger luxury sprinter vans. Many buses feature amenities like leather seats, WiFi, TV/DVD, and restrooms for a premium travel experience. Having your own charter bus for the day or duration of your Buffalo visit ensures door-to-door service on your schedule. Your professional driver will pick you up and drop you off wherever your adventures take you. Leave the driving and parking headaches behind so you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride. Contact Charter Bus Company Buffalo at (716) 342-0721 for a free quote on renting a charter bus for your Buffalo group getaway!

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this beginner’s guide has you excited to start planning your first ever trip to Buffalo! With so many fun things to do, places to explore, events to experience, and local cuisine to savor, you’re going to need more than one visit to see it all. Luckily, Buffalo’s friendly residents, affordable prices, and Midwest charm will keep calling you back time and time again. Once you get a taste of authentic Buffalo wings, take in a Bills game, stroll Canalside on a sunny day, and soak up the city’s welcoming vibe, you’ll find yourself eager to return. When you’re ready to start crafting your custom Buffalo itinerary, the team at Charter Bus Company Buffalo is here to help with all your transportation needs. We’ll get your group around Buffalo in comfort and style so you can focus on making memories. Give us a call at (716) 342-0721 or request a free quote online to reserve your charter bus rental. We look forward to welcoming you to Buffalo and ensuring your group has an amazing experience in our beloved hometown!