“The Queen City” is one of the oldest, most popular nicknames for Buffalo. Like any proper queen, Buffalo has a big heart, a terrific sense of humor and a great gift for transforming the everyday into something utterly unique.
Buffalo is – to borrow a term in every lip-synching diva’s repertoire – a survivor. Its strong spirit was bred in the kind of working-class environment chronicled in native-born author and activist Leslie Feinberg’s acclaimed novel Stone Butch Bluesand in Elizabeth Kennedy and Madeline Davis’s award-winning history of the local lesbian community, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold.
Regardless of the main purpose of your trip – business, pleasure, marriage (New York State passed the Marriage Equality Act June 24, 2011)– be sure to allot some time to see the town and prepare to be pleasantly surprised by how much the area has to offer the LGBT visitor.
Shuffling Off to Buffalo
Getting in and around Buffalo is easy. The region is home to two airports: The Buffalo Niagara International and the Niagara Falls International Airports, with plenty of low cost airlines, including Jet Blue and Southwest,
that make visiting as easy as it is affordable. Buffalo is within a day’s drive of major North American cities – New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Cleveland as well as Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There are two Amtrak stations here – one situated in the heart of downtown.
This is a town that knows how to party, as evidenced by the fact that the bars stay open till 4 a.m. Warm-weather weekends (as well as plenty of chillier ones) are packed with all manner of street festivals, concerts, and ways to have fun. To find out what’s going on while you’re here, do some advance work online. Outcome, the area’s preeminent gay web portal, contains entertainment listings, while the site BuffaloGayBars is a handy guide to local nightlife. Artvoice has a weekly schedule of LGBT action along with extensive reports on everything else you need to see, do, and know.
For your first meal in a town rich with quality restaurants at every point on the economic scale, we recommend you spend Friday the way generations of Buffalonians have spent it: at one of the city’s seemingly infinite fish fries. A legacy of Buffalo’s Catholic roots, this tradition extends year-round. We recommend Hamlin House and for several reasons: the food is good, the building dates back to 1865, and odds are excellent your gaydar is going to go off over and over as you look around the room. It’s friendly, unpretentious and classic Buffalo. If you’re into the bar scene, get a head start at Club Marcella, or order a cold Labatt Blue (Buffalo is the USA headquarters) at Fugazi.
The arts are huge here; it’s hard to imagine any other American city of Buffalo’s size with so much to offer: professional theater companies (many of whom regularly produce works by and about gays and lesbians), world-class museums and art galleries like the Albright-Knox and Hallwalls (the latter home to a semi-annual Ways in Being Gay/Ways in Between Gender festival), stellar architecture, and renowned musical ensembles from the Buffalo Philharmonic and Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus to a never-ending stream of up-and-coming indie bands.
Speaking of indies, Buffalo’s best-known cultural export of the last ten years is singer-songwriter-guitarist Ani DiFranco. Not only is her self-run label Righteous Babe Records based here, but she’s also the mastermind behind the city’s newest and hottest venue, Babeville, which boasts two of the city’s best venues for live music.
We celebrate four seasons
Buffalo loves a good party. From late May through October, the streets come to life with every conceivable celebration—ethnic heritage festivals, free concerts, food fests, tours of local homes and gardens, and more—and when the weather gets a little cooler, the action simply moves indoors! For the LGBT community, the high point of the summer is Pride Week, capped off with a Dyke March, and ending with a giant gathering at featuring both national and local performers.
The Allentown Art Festival, held the second weekend in June, is one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in North America, right in the heart of the gayest neighborhood in the city. Buffalo Niagara is also home of the National Garden Festival – a five-week long garden party (including America’s largest Garden Walk Buffalo) – a festival of 1,000 gardens that has something for everyone, with or without a green thumb!
Taste of Buffalo, held the second weekend of July, is one of the nation’s largest food festivals, attracting more than 450,000 people annually.
Not everyone hunkers down for the winter. There’s ice skating at Rotary Rink; the Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament; tubing, tobogganing and snowshoeing through one of the Frederick Law Olmsted Parks. Nearby, you’ll find some of the best skiing in the East at , located in the charming village of Ellicottville. Oh, did we mention that Buffalo is only 20 minutes from one of the Wonders of the World – Niagara Falls? It’s an awe-inspiring site in every season!
You can experience multiple works by Frank Lloyd Wright (including the Darwin D. Martin House Complex, the finest example of his Prairie Style), Louis Sullivan’s ornate Guaranty Building, H.H. Richardson’s massive Buffalo State Hospital, now known as the Richardson Olmsted Complex), the graceful lines of Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s Kleinhans Music Hall, and the birthplace of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, the Roycroft Inn and Campus.
And that’s just the beginning. You’ll also take in buildings by Richard Upjohn, Stanford White, Lord & Burnham, Charles Atwood, and America’s first female professional architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune.
You can see these works in textbooks. Or you can see them in Buffalo.
Buffalo loves sports … and we have great places to play them
Buffalo is home to Buffalo Bills football, Buffalo Sabres hockey, Buffalo Bandits Lacrosse, and Buffalo Bisons baseball, who will host the 2012 Triple-A All Star Game in July.
If you’re a competitor or if you represent competitors, our facilities are rated among the nation’s best, hosting everything from high school invitational to the World University Games to NCAA basketball and hockey.
We have great meeting facilities
Choose from a variety of meeting-friendly hotels with extensive conference space when booking your Buffalo Conventions. For larger meetings, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is located in the heart of downtown Buffalo. Featuring 21 individual rooms complete with audio-visual and multi-media capabilities, the Convention Center offers a 64,000 square foot exhibition hall that can accommodate up to 7,000 people.
Fall in love with Buffalo . . . and marry the one you love here, too
New York State has long enjoyed a reputation as a cosmopolitan, multicultural destination. The passage of the Marriage Equality Act is the latest proof that we proudly embrace our LGBT residents and visitors. Buffalo Niagara is an ideal choice for a wedding. Not only will same-sex couples find an enthusiastic and supportive community here, tourism officials are working in partnership with members of the LGBT community to ensure that marriage-minded couples have every resource at their disposal to plan and hold a wedding in the area. The region is more affordable than many locations elsewhere in New York State and is easily accessible by plane, train or automobile.