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Set in the westernmost part of New York state, Buffalo is often lost in the shadow of its nearby and more famous attraction, Niagara Falls. A relaxed feel permeates this working-class city on Lake Erie's shore, located just across the border from Ontario. Buffalo's cultural attractions, such as the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Buffalo Philharmonic, have long entertained locals when legendary snowfalls have kept them inside. Add to that Buffalo's unknown gem of a park system and its passionate hockey games and you've got the makings of a stress-free weekend getaway.

Things to Do

First-time visitors to Buffalo are often surprised by the Albright-Knox Gallery, a treasure trove of art with works by Picasso, Gauguin, Pollock and Warhol. The serious Greek Revival museum stands in sharp contrast to two quirkier local favorites: The Lucy-Desi Museum, dedicated to hometown girl Lucille Ball, star of I Love Lucy, and the Kazoo Museum.

Nightlife and Entertainment

In the 19th century, millionaires flocked to Buffalo when the Erie Canal shipping lane opened, and brought with them a love of the arts. Celebrate Buffalo's cultural tradition at Shea's Performing Arts Center, a velvet-and-crystal jewel box of a theater. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performs nearly every week at the circular Kleinhans Music Hall. In a rehabbed historic church, hometown musician Ani DiFranco set up her Righteous Babe Records, along with a performance space and art gallery, and renamed it Babeville.

Restaurants and Dining

Buffalo natives are proud of their contribution to world cuisine: the Buffalo wing and the hot dog. You owe it to yourself to dig into a plate of chicken wings at the Anchor Bar, where locals claim the bar food staple was invented. They'll arrive deep-fried and served with hot sauce, blue cheese and celery. Sample the city's other fast food favorite piled with cheese and/or chili at eight Ted's Jumbo Red Hots locations across the city.

Active Pursuits

Frederick Law Olmsted of New York City's Central Park fame designed Buffalo's park system, and Buffalo's parks still draw playful families and adults. Delaware Park is a favorite, a 350-acre green space crisscrossed by pleasant footpaths and busy with impromptu Frisbee contests in summer. Residents fervently follow their winter sports teams. Throngs of fans fill HSBC Center when the Buffalo Sabres take the ice.