by Pete Burakowski

Fueled by transportation along the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal, manufacturing, and milling, Buffalo saw astronomical financial and population growth throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Along the way, some of the greatest American architecture was built (like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building), Buffalo became home to the largest number of millionaires per capita in the country, communities of hard-working blue collar families were born, and Buffalo’s waterfront earned the reputation as one of the most dangerous and vice-ridden in the world.

It’s one thing to read these stories in a book. It’s another to walk Buffalo’s streets and see for yourself where history was played out. Buffalo Tours helps you do the latter.

With dozens of tours with titles like “Crime & Scandal,” “Gold Medal Grain Elevators,” and “Splendors in Stained Glass,” Buffalo Tours offers fun, informative looks at each aspect of Buffalo. Like to have a pint with your tours? They even have a series of happy hour walks that begin and end at local pubs.

The Buffalo Tours schedule runs through October and the tours are a bargain – most are either $10 or free!

http://www.preservationbuffaloniagara.org/page/buffalo-tours/

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by Phil Weiss

CityHall-touristsFrom the intricate details on the elevator doors, to the master designs of the entranceways, to the beautiful and unique murals that grace the lobby and corridors, Buffalo City Hall is one place that will catch your eye at every turn. Scheduled daily at 12 p.m. weekdays throughout the summer, Buffalo City Hall runs a FREE tour that will allow you to explore this remarkable building.

The tour is led by a vastly knowledgeable docent from Buffalo Tours, who will teach you everything there is to know about the historic landmark, and then some. I was so amazed by how much history is behind this building and the immediate surrounding area. The tour begins in the lobby of City Hall where you then venture outside to hear about how the significance of Niagara Square (which is now more of a circle) and all of the external architecture of the surrounding buildings. Making your way back into City Hall, you learn more about the Queen City and its heritage through the elaborate wall paintings and also get the chance to make your way into the Treasury Department and Council Chamber.

Personally, I felt the highlight of the tour takes you up 25 floors to the observation deck where you can see for miles over the City of Buffalo and beyond. These sights are so calming and make you just say “WOW!” From that vantage point you can clearly see all the geographical features that truly makes Buffalo a unique place.

Trust me, this tour is not only worth the price (FREE!), it’s worth the time spent in visiting this wonderfully majestic building.

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