15 Things to Know About Living in Buffalo

Thinking about moving to Buffalo? As the second-largest city in New York, the City of Good Neighbors is a popular place to live on the East Coast thanks to its high affordability, exceptional job market, and great recreation—including breweries, sports games, and more. Check out these 15 things to know about living in Buffalo!

Affordable New York Living

With a lower cost of living than the national average, Buffalo is an attractive alternative to The Big Apple for people looking to live affordably in New York. In addition, Buffalo also has the lowest housing tax rates in Erie County, as well as real estate prices that are significantly lower than New York City‘s, or even nearby Hamburg‘s. In fact, it’s one of the best places for real estate in the entire country! Taking these factors into account, it’s no wonder Buffalo is considered one of the most affordable cities in the country.

Take Advantage of a Great Job Market

Moving to Buffalo for work? The Nickel City’s healthy job market is comparable to metros of similar sizes, and job opportunities in all major industries—with healthcare and education being the two most prevalent fields. Seek a career at Western New York’s largest healthcare provider, Kaleida Health. Focus on specialty areas like oncology, orthopedics, behavioral health, and more at ECMC Hospital. Find work in management, engineering, technology, and other aspects of finance at M&T Bank. Enjoy great benefits in a fun environment working in the hospitality industry at Seneca Gaming Corporation. Or pursue a career in higher education at the city’s largest higher learning institution, the University at Buffalo.

Get Your Degree at Buffalo Colleges

There are several higher education institutions in Buffalo where you can seek an undergraduate, graduate, and even postgraduate degree. Attend New York State‘s flagship campus for affordable, high-quality education spanning 450+ programs at the University at Buffalo. Set the foundation for a career in healthcare and “become a Saint” at D’Youville University. Gain hands-on learning and field experience in programs like education, hospitality, health counseling, and more at nearby Niagara University. Find faith-based education in fields ranging from from Accounting to Zoo Biology at Canisius University. Enroll in civic-focused courses in a variety of programs, including Veterinary Technology, Social Sciences, and more at Medaille University. Choose from one of more than 20 associate degree programs at Bryant & Stratton College to help set you on the path to a career or even further education. Explore education for healthcare, business, dentistry, and more at budget-friendly tuition rates at Erie Community College. Or earn a graduate degree in more than 64 programs at Buffalo State University.
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Get Around Easily

Getting around Buffalo—whether commuting for work or traveling throughout the city and beyond for fun—is easy thanks to plentiful local public transportation options. Hop on a bus or a rail train via the Niagara Falls Transit Authority (NFTA) Metro to navigate the city. Board for your trip to Niagara Falls and other nearby areas by visiting the local Amtrak stations. Not only are there great options for public transportation in Buffalo, but the city is one of just three in the nation with a radial street plan—which contributes to the city’s low traffic. And alternate options like Go Bike make it easier and more accessible for people to travel in the city via bike. Or, when you’re looking to go further, catch a flight to go across the country or overseas from Buffalo Niagara International Airport!

Experience Stunning Nature

When you consider Buffalo’s natural features, you might immediately think about Niagara Falls being just a quick drive away—but outdoor recreation in the City of Good Neighbors doesn’t stop there! Rent a paddleboat, take a self-guided audio tour of the grounds, or attend events like Salsa in the Park at Delaware Park. Unleash your inner artist during Open Art Nights, feed the fish, or see stunning plant and flower collections at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Take a boat out onto the water to go fishing, observe local wildlife, and relax in the sun at the Erie Basin Marina. Explore more than 264 acres of natural beauty via walking trails and boardwalks at local urban sanctuary, Tifft Nature Preserve. Or go fishing, canoeing, surfing, or boating on Lake Erie at Buffalo Harbor State Park!

Find Things to Do for the Whole Family

Buffalo is a great place to live for families, as it’s filled with all-ages activities you and your kids can enjoy together! Let your kiddos learn in a fun, exciting environment through exhibits on all four floors—like Building Buffalo and Moving Water at Explore & More Children’s Museum. Go for a walk on the wild side when introducing your kids to exotic species like the African lion, polar bear, and many more at the Buffalo Zoo. Hit the trampoline, swings, or rock wall when you register for Open Play at a fun, motor skill-based gym—Rolly Pollies. Take your kids on a “swashbuckling” adventure with a child-friendly pirate cruise through Spirit of Buffalo. Enjoy a wide-variety of entertainment—including paddleboats, roller skating, and children’s programming—at Canalside. Or head 30 minutes north to show the whole family what a day on a farm looks like, go on a hayride, and attend events like Shine Gold in the Sunflowers at Kelkenberg Farm.

Marvel at Historic Buffalo Architecture

Settled in 1789, Buffalo has a rich past with several historic buildings still intact today—many of which are available to the public as recreational attractions. View a former train station that’s now one of the city’s most well-known examples of Art Deco architecture—the Buffalo Central Terminal. Go on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “quintessential Prairie house” to see more than 15 unique art patterns displayed on glass at the Martin House. Visit one of the nation’s earliest skyscrapers to marvel at its intricate details and terra cotta elements at Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. Explore the expansive, 42-acre grounds of a National Historic Landmark to see preserved and restored architecture during a self-guided audio tour, guided walking tour, or photography tour at the Richardson Olmsted Campus. See live music, comedy, and more in Buffalo at the grand, ornate Kleinhans Music Hall. Or take in murals and Art Deco architecture or visit the observation tower for panoramic views of the rest of the city’s architectural jewels at Buffalo City Hall.

Spend Time at Buffalo Museums

There are a variety of museums in Buffalo you can explore. Enter with “pay-what-you-wish” admission to see exhibits like Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports and learn about the history of Western New York at the Buffalo History Museum. Get the whole family interested in science through interactive exhibits like Buffalo in Space and Rethink Extinct at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Dig into local maritime history or enjoy exceptional waterfront views at the Buffalo Harbor Museum. Discover Buffalo’s rich presidential history—with displays dedicated to five United States Presidents with connections to the city—at the Buffalo Presidential Center. Visit the original Thomas Flyer automobile and other historic vehicles once produced in Buffalo at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. Or board a retired military vessel to get educated about naval history at Buffalo Naval Park.

Get Tickets to Performing Arts in Buffalo

Interested in the arts? The art scene in Buffalo satisfies music lovers, theater fans, and culture buffs of all kinds. Listen to moving musical pieces played by the talented Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall. Experience Russian-style ballet performances like The Nutcracker without leaving the city with the Buffalo City Ballet. Get tickets to Broadway shows like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Color Purple at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Be among the first to experience shows by local playwrights at the quaint American Repertory Theater of WNY. Or see live music performances from groups like the Buffalo State Jazz Ensemble at the Buffalo State Performing Arts Center.

Check Out the Visual Arts Scene

Admire beautiful multimedia art from around the world—including collections of works by artists like Clyfford Still and Andy Warhol at Buffalo AKG Art Museum. Attend happy hours and see screenings during M&T Second Fridays or check out stunning drawings, handwritten journals, and other works by Charles E. Burchfield at the Burchfield Penny Art Center. See fascinating Contemporary art, from film to media, housed in what was formerly the Delaware Asbury Methodist Church at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. Sit in on panel discussions, see work from local and nationally-recognized artists, and browse rotating exhibitions like Living In and With at Buffalo Arts Studios. Learn about arts ecology, get engaged in the local modern art scene, and view multimedia exhibits at The Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art (BICA). Or take time to learn from art lectures and marvel at thousands of modernist works at UB Anderson Gallery.

Attend Buffalo Events & Festivals

There are a wide variety of annual events and festivals in Buffalo to take part in throughout the year! Jam out to free live music, see performance art and dancers, and chow down eats from local vendors every year at one of the top festivals in Buffalo, Music Is Art. Celebrate Irish heritage with food, drinks, a parade, and more during the annual St. Patrick’s Day in Buffalo celebration. Take part in one of the largest Polish-American celebrations in the country with dancing, traditional food, and plenty of other things to do during Dyngus Day. Browse artisan goods, from paintings to sculptures and beyond, listen to music, and try fresh-made food at the Allentown Art Festival. Treat your tastebuds at the “largest two-day food festival” in the country—featuring bites from chefs throughout the city at Taste of Buffalo. Celebrate the end of slavery in the United States with a day of joyful music, delicious barbecue, and worship services during the Juneteenth of Buffalo festival. And celebrate LGBTQ pride for an entire week with a parade, festival, and other unifying events during Buffalo Pride Week.

Cheer On the Bills & Other Local Teams

While the sports scene in Buffalo may be synonymous with its local pro football team, there are several other sports teams based just out of the city to enjoy. Watch exciting professional hockey matches with the Buffalo Sabres (NHL) or check out a Buffalo Bandits (NLL) lacrosse match at KeyBank Center. Experience the thrilling world of roller derby watching the Queen City Roller Derby (WFTDA) Jammers lap Blockers and score points at the Riverworks Event Center. See talented players score goals and weave across the field at an FC Buffalo men’s (USL League 2) or women’s (UWS) soccer game at Williamsville South High School. Root for the home team and hope for a home run at a Buffalo Bisons (MiLB) game at Sahlen Field. And of course, as a Buffalo resident, you’ll have to put on your best jersey and go tailgating at Highmark Stadium for a Buffalo Bills (NFL) game!

Home of the Original Buffalo Wings

Buffalo wings are a modern American classic, and this tasty dish originated in none other than Buffalo! Created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo as an improvised meal for her son and his friends, the original Buffalo wing was first made at the now-famous Anchor Bar—where guests can still try a variety of tasty Buffalo wings! Savor finger-licking wings in flavors like Teriyaki, Cajun, and Original Buffalo at Gabriel’s Gate, one of the best spots for wings in Buffalo. Try other delicious Buffalo wing recipes from spots throughout the city on The Wing Ride: The Hidden History of Chicken Wings Food Tour. Or gather to sample Buffalo wings from more than 25 restaurants, watch or participate in wing eating championships, and more at the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival!

Dine at Delicious Restaurants

The City of Good Neighbors is a foodie haven, with a wide range of amazing Buffalo restaurants to try. Grab comforting breakfast food like a Tall Stack of Buttermilk Pancakes, Breakfast Burrito, or Homemade Corned Beef Hash at the ’50s-inspired Bertha’s Diner. See why deli favorites like the Roasted Turkey Breast Sandwich, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Tuna Salad have been popular with locals since 1976 at Bagel Jay’s Bakery & Cafe. Order a Blazin Backyard BBQ Sheet Pizza to share or a Personal Pizza with your choice of toppings at Carbone’s Pizza. Chow down weekly specials like Taco Salad on Mondays or Enchiladas Tipicas on Saturdays at Don Juan Mexican Bar & Grill. Sample American-style French cuisine like Chicken Milanese, Traditional Steak Tartare, and Escargot at Hutch’s. Make reservations for a fine-dining experience in Buffalo enjoying entrees such as Carrot Papardelle, Homemade Ravioli, and Oven Roasted Filet Of Salmon at The Left Bank. Or enjoy traditional Japanese food like a Tuna Sushi Roll, Agedashi Tofu, and Tonkatsu in a chic environment at Kuni’s.

Check Out Local Buffalo Breweries

Buffalo’s breweries are among of the city’s most popular attractions! Head to Downtown Buffalo to sample brews like the Hayburner American IPA or book a private party in the tap room at one of Buffalo’s best breweries—Big Ditch Brewing Company. Try tap beers like the Sponge Candy Stout and the Green Heart IPA, or compete in the Cornhole League at Resurgence Brewing Company. Attend the release of new beers or chill out on the patio with signature favorites like The Whale Brown Ale at Community Beer Works. Get a 32-oz crowler of beer to go, or try flavors like the St Patrick’s Pilsner or Teleporter at Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward Brewing Company. Marvel at over 200 barrels while enjoying beers on tap like the Art School Dropout IPA or Mom’s Tea Sour with a slice of pizza on the side at Thin Man Brewery. Or enjoy an evening in the beer garden with craft brews like Green City and Forever Ever at Other Half Brewing.

Spend a Night on the Town

Hoping to enjoy Buffalo’s nightlife? Those looking for fun after sundown have plenty of options! Hit up events like Movie Soundtrack Night or dance to music sets from local artists at Nietzsche’s. Attend Sunset Sundays for live DJs, try your hand at axe-throwing, or to enjoy the views at Riverworks—one of the best waterfront bars in Buffalo. Jump on stage for karaoke with a live background band, attend a Dueling Pianos Show, or dress up for theme nights at vibrant Buffalo nightclub, Rec Room. Check out cover band shows, comedy sets, and more on Friday and Saturday evenings at Rob’s Playhouse Theater. Play pool, drink on the patio, or gather friends for open mic comedy nights at Mr. Goodbar. Or visit one of the city’s historic nightlife locations—where stars like Sinatra and Coltrane once played—for tasty drinks and great live music in Buffalo at Town Ballroom.

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Moving to Buffalo? Extra Space Storage has a variety of storage facilities near the City of Good Neighbors to help your transition go smoothly. Find affordable Buffalo storage near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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