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A Design Lover’s Guide to Buffalo

Between art galleries, architecture tours and curated boutiques, Buffalo is the ideal destination for the design-savvy traveller.

Where to Stay

Hotel Henry

Photo: Kim Smith Photo

Hotel Henry

For the architecture

This National Historic Landmark, designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, was recently restored into an 88-room boutique hotel in the Richardson Olmsted Complex. Soaring ceilings and oversize halls make it fun to get lost on your way to dinner at 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry. Spread across multiple rooms on the first floor, the restaurant offers dishes prepared using locally sourced ingredients. Start with the Hobbs, a cocktail made with vodka, elderflower, lemon, ginger and thyme. Then try the pan-seared duck breast with root vegetable dumpling and turnips.

444 Forest Ave., 716-882-1970,

The Westin Buffalo

Photo: Westin Hotels and Resorts

The Westin Buffalo

For the tech-focused design

Guest rooms at this downtown hotel come equipped with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, helping you navigate the area’s architectural gems. Ask your device to direct you to Allentown for a drink and live music. For dinner, book a table at Patina 250 for locally sourced American fare, like a Tomahawk Rib Eye, or order room service, delivered by the hotel’s Relay robot. Forgot your toothbrush or need an extra towel? Your robot-butler will take care of that too.

250 Delaware Ave., 716-854-9000,

What to Do

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Photo: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, photo by Tom Loonan

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

For the art

This modern and contemporary art museum in Buffalo’s north end welcomes guests with a sculpture garden that encircles the building and includes Do Ho Suh’s Karma, which towers over the gallery’s Delaware steps. After strolling among the nearly 20 sculptures, visit the curated collection inside, featuring the work of such artists as Helen Frankenthaler, Piet Mondrian, Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko.

1285 Elmwood Ave., 716-882-8700,

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

Photo: Biff Henrich (Martin House)

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

For the classic American architecture

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Darwin Martin and his family, the Martin House has been undergoing renovations over the past two decades to carefully restore every detail to Wright’s original vision. On Lake Erie, a 45-minute drive from Buffalo, sits Graycliff, the family’s summer home, offering views of Laker Erie and downtown Buffalo from every room. Both properties provide guided tours and a glimpse into the lifestyle of one of Buffalo’s most prominent families.

Martin House 125 Jewett Pkwy., 716-856-3858,
Graycliff 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby, 716-947-9217,

Buffalo RiverWorks

For the local brew

Follow the smell of Cheerios as you pass the General Mills factory toward this large indoor and outdoor complex. Feeling brave? Climb the face of one of three modified silos or zipline across a mix of public art installations. Wind down with a pint of local ale at the beer garden, nestled among the remnants of a former grain silo along the Buffalo River.

359 Ganson St.,

Explore Buffalo Walking Tours

Explore Buffalo Walking Tours

For the urban explorer

Book a docent-led tour of one of Buffalo’s neighbourhoods by foot, bike, bus or kayak. The Masters of American Architecture tour opens visitors’ eyes to the historical juxtaposition of architectural designs by the likes of Richard Upjohn, Dankmar Adler, Louise Blanchard Bethune and Daniel Burnham. From the downtown core to the Olmsted Parks and Millionaire’s Row – the strip that once was home to Buffalo’s elite – the tours highlight different areas of the city.

Various locations, 716-245-3032,

For the souvenirs

Tucked away in the Elmwood Village strip, this shop carries a mix of furniture designs, including contemporary and mid-century modern. Find yourself a piece that fits almost any design esthetic or treat your loved ones to a small gift like architectural by Lilian Selby or hand-poured soy wax candles from Brooklyn’s Good Candle.

732 Elmwood Ave., 716-240-9387,

Where to Eat and Drink


Photo: KC Kratt


For the Southern hospitality

Enjoy a hearty Louisiana-inspired meal from Chef James Roberts amid intricately laid-out pendant lighting and wall decor. Plan ahead and invite some friends to delight in some of the restaurant’s shareable dishes, such as the cast iron corn bread, hush puppies and buttermilk fried chicken. Don’t skip the candied yams with marshmallow meringue, which pair perfectly with any of the meat or seafood mains.

437 Ellicott St., 716-342-2901,

Lucky Day Whiskey Bar

Photo: Aaron Ingrao

Lucky Day Whiskey Bar

For a drink... or two

Pull up a stool at the bar and marvel at the incredible selection of whisky, rye and Scotch that lines the ceiling-high shelves built around reconditioned ice boxes. All options can be ordered neat by the ounce or mixed into a classic whisky-based cocktail, like the Sazerac.

320 Pearl St., 716-322-0547,

Tipico Coffee

Photo: Beth Insalaco

Tipico Coffee

For an espresso fix

This café is holed up within a residential area, minutes from the Peace Bridge. Sip coffee or espresso made with locally roasted beans, and admire the Kachelofen masonry stove that sits at the centre of the room. For the perfect people-watching snack, order a sandwich prepared using fresh bread from local co-op the Breadhive.

128 Fargo Ave., 716-331-3954,