What to do in Buffalo for 7 hours?
August 26, 2010 5:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm taking the Greyhound to Buffalo Airport from Toronto on Saturday. I get in at around 10:30 AM. My plane doesn't leave until 6:00 PM. I will not have access to a car, but I only have a small messenger and a carry-on (that I'm sure can be stored somewhere at the airport) in terms of luggage. Is there anything within easy public transportation of the Buffalo airport that I could spend the day checking out, or should I prepare lots of reading material?
posted by Phire to Travel & Transportation around Buffalo, NY (17 answers total)
Best answer: i dont know how close it is, but the Albright Knox is one of the best small musuems in america.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:55 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: I wouldn't be so sure about the ability to find a location for storing carry-ons... it's been a year since I flew through BUF, but I don't remember seeing anything like that there, and most airports have trended away from that sort of thing post-9/11.
posted by Golfhaus at 5:57 AM on August 26, 2010

The Buffalo Airport is not really close to anything juicy and cultural (like the Albright Knox, as PinkMoose said). There's the Walden Galleria Mall, which is a good, modern shopping mall, and you can take a bus there (on second thought, dragging a couple bags around the mall also sounds like a drag). If you're feeling adventurous, you could hop a bus to Niagara Falls. Here's a possible itinerary. The bus will drop you off about 1/10 of a mile from the aquarium, but once you're there, I believe you're literally in earshot of the falls. Niagara Falls State Park is actually pretty nice these days, after being neglected and crappy for many years. And Saturday is supposed to be a beautiful day, and it might be nice to hang out under a tree and watch the rapids, if that's your thing. I wouldn't recommend anything outside the tourist area of Niagara Falls, NY. And, if you happen to go inside the aquarium, I apologize in advance.

Good luck!
posted by Buffaload at 6:09 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Public transit in Greater Buffalo is inadequate, on a dramatic day I'd call it shameful. You will spend the day waiting for buses and transferring and walking and trying to figure out if your bus will ever come. Buffalo is swell but you can't really count on the public transit to quickly move you from point A to point B. I wish I could tell you differently.
posted by turtlewithoutashell at 6:15 AM on August 26, 2010

Just came here to agree with Golfhaus. I don't think you'll find a place to store stuff in the airport anymore. I think they take it to be a security risk. GL.
posted by singerdj at 7:00 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Buffalo Airport doesn't have any lockers.

You could walk to the Galleria if you wanted to; it's maybe 2 or 3 klicks. Just go west (towards B'lo) from the Airport on Genesee (the street the airport is on) and then left on Union.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2010

Also, please do note that Buffalo Airport is, to use a technical term, weensy. For example, you will be in Terminal... you will be in The Terminal. Beyond lockers, there will be lots of other amenities that Pearson has that BUF doesn't.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:09 AM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: Welp, e-books it is. Thanks for your answers, everyone!

I'm a little low on disposable income and luggage space to be wandering around a mall aimlessly for half a day.
posted by Phire at 7:23 AM on August 26, 2010

You can usually check your bags for the day at an airport hotel if you want to go into town without them. There is often a charge, but it's nominal. No idea if Buffalo airport has hotels though.
posted by caek at 7:48 AM on August 26, 2010

I've taken the bus from Toronto to Buffallo many times. The arrival time listed on the ticket is merely their best estimate if everything goes more or less according to plan. Frequently things do not go according to plan and the bus is delayed by several hours. Usually this is becauseof delays at customs: Your bus will have to line up behind all the other buses. This is the part that can take a few hours. When it's your turn you and all the passangers will have to take absolutely everything out from inside and under the bus. You stand in line and drag it up a big ramp to go through customs and immigration one by one. Inevitably someone will not have some document in order and you'll have to sit around and wait while they sort this all out. Sometimes a person gets left behind at customs/immigration if they're not allowed to enter, but even then it takes a long time before it's decided that that's what's going to happen and during that time you wait.

So, don't assume you're getting to the airport at 10:30.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:01 AM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: Penguin - Yeah, that's been my experience, too, which is partially why I booked a bus that leaves so goddamn early, heh. Last time I took the red-eye and we still had an hour's delay, but I feel like 7 hour buffer time should (hopefully) be enough time.
posted by Phire at 8:05 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: If you would enjoy a decent meal at a local brewery, I can recommend the Pearl Street Brewery in downtown Buffalo. Get there taking Metro Bus #24. Check the local timetible when you get in, but it looks like there's one around 11 and again at noon, and a convenient return at 4 pm.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at PSB, with salad, pizza, and beer. We walked from there to the Buffalo Bison's field, and got in free (it was past the 4th inning & the ticket takers didn't care), but the Bisons are out of town this weekend.

The PSB is in a historic building in and historic area (from their [annoying flash] site):
Our building was born in the year of Our Lord 1841 in the heart of what the world unaffectionately called “The most evil square mile in America” , the Buffalo Erie Canal District. It is no “stretching the blanket” during its heyday it was estimated that 70 to 80% of the major crimes of the entire nation occurred along the “Canawl”. Out of the maelstrom of the teeming masses of Foofoos, Lakers, Canawlers, Blacklegs, Macaronis, Whitelegs, Scalpers, Scoopers, Roughnecks and Runners our nation was reborn. The Babel-like confusion of Canal Street and the Commercial Slip was the Western terminus of the new America on the march, the brave new world, the Hope of the unanointed and the downtrodden. The result of this amazing period of Buffalo’s history was that we were the “Silicon Valley” of America for over 50 years.
We are proud of our History and the hard-edge character of our building; our restoration
has tried to maintain the “feeling”. ENJOY! EXPLORE!
I have no ties to PSB--I just remember it fondly from a 3 day 4 state pub tour a few years ago. For a half-an-hour bus trip, I think it is a better place to spend your time than the airport--and I've done that, too.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:29 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Does the greyhound make any stops on the way? If it does, you want to get off in Niagara Falls or Buffalo, then it is a one-way trip to the airport.

Niagara Falls may be a bit far in that amount of time, and anything essential (like the Goat Island elevator down to the bottom of the falls) would get your luggage wet. So I would limit yourself to Buffalo. While the Buffalo area mass transit isn't good, it's not as awful as compared to where I live now. Checking their website, the bus action is pretty good, including a direct bus from Niagara Falls. Another page tells me that a one-day pass is 4 bucks, which to me is awesome. Sounds like you buy it from the bus driver.

My recommendation is to get off in Buffalo, if you can. If people are right about checking baggage at hotels, there is a Hyatt right on the streetcar line that would work. If you are into art galleries, you would like the Albright Knox. Find a number 20 schedule. If you like architecture, the Guaranty Building doesn't get the press it should. If it was me, a sucker for old churches, I would walk to Babeville. While the best wings in town, Duffs (ducks), are difficult to get to by bus, the original inventors are near the first payed stop on the subway. (the subway is free above ground). I would walk from the last free stop, but it depends on your baggage.

Now nothing against doing the tourist trap lunch (Anchor Bar), or the brew pub lunch, as recommended upthread, but I would look into the best pizza in town and go get that, because pizza is very different depending on location, where as wings are just wings.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Cheeto and I have no plans for the afternoon, and we'd be happy to pick you up at the airport and take you to the Albright. We're museum members, so admissions free. Then we can go across to the Burchfield (same deal) go get lunch or whatever. Memail me if you're interested and we'll set it up.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:52 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Gosh, kuujjuarapik, thank you. MeMailed.

rakish_yet_centered and beelzbubba: fantastic answers, thank you! Marked as best answer because they may apply to others with similar dilemmas in the future, though I probably won't be using those suggestions this time 'round.
posted by Phire at 10:45 AM on August 26, 2010

kuujjuarapik, you and Cheeto are so awesome!

Phire, i hope you have a good trip.
posted by gursky at 9:28 PM on August 28, 2010

Response by poster: An update for anyone who's wondering - I did meet up with Cheeto and kuujjuarapik (and learned how to pronounce his name) and we had a fantastic time. A great lunch at Kentucky Greg's on routergirl's recommendation, followed by a tour of the Albright Knox, which was just as awesome as everyone said it was.

(Kuujjuarapik makes an awesome homebrew.)

Yay for the hospitality of MeFites!
posted by Phire at 5:03 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

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