Do you remember when Madonna's album Ray of Light came out? It was a touchstone moment in late-'90s pop culture, yet another megahit for the Material Girl that begat a raft of monster hit songs and enjoyed a long reign on the upper reaches of the charts. But around that time, those who were paying close attention were beginning to come to certain realizations. While Madonna was a true groundbreaker in her prime, by 1998 she'd been a superstar for an eternity in pop-music terms. What's more, the world had meanwhile been introduced to a whole new crop of pop stars who were barely out of diapers when "Burnin' Up" and "Lucky Star" were all over MTV, and who were now pushing the formula she'd pioneered in a thousand different directions. On one level it was a vindication, but on another, it begged the questions: where does Madonna go from here? How does she stay fresh and relevant among the competition? Surely it's not just diminishing returns from here on?
That, in essence, is the story of the Elmwood Village: it is living out the Ray of Light phase of its history. Perpetually invigorated by the youthful presence of the students from Buffalo State College at its north end, and with a touch of upscale elegance furnished by the beautiful parks and parkways designed in its environs by the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted, the Elmwood Village has been Buffalo's "cool" neighborhood since before it had any real competition for that title. And make no mistake: the roster of bars, restaurants, and funky boutiques along its main drag of Elmwood Avenue remains a force to be reckoned with. But it's also a neighborhood in the throes of change. Not only is it now forced to share the spotlight with up-and-coming districts like the upscale Hertel Avenue, the lively Allentown, and a resurgent downtown, but the Elmwood Village has become something of a victim of its own success: a wave (some dare call it a bubble) of speculation among developers and other real-estate types has coincided with the so-called "retail apocalypse" and led to Buffalo's first high-end blight, a phenomenon whereby vacant storefronts crop up in supposedly tony areas for lack of any small business owners who can afford the stratospheric rents. These are problems that are going to need answers in the coming years, but don't count the Elmwood Village out just yet: much like Madonna, this longstanding superstar among Buffalo neighborhoods has a large and loyal fan base ever keen to see it through to the next phase of its existence. Even if it has to reinvent itself along the way, Elmwood is not going anywhere.
Buffalonians often mention the Elmwood Village and Allentown in the same breath, and while there are indeed a lot of similarities between the two, the astute visitor to Buffalo who experiences both neighborhoods will notice some differences. In the Elmwood Village, the ambience is decidedly upscale: by and large, its shops cater not to hipsters but to well-heeled urban bourgies, and the bars and restaurants on Elmwood Avenue invite a more refined clientele than the frat-boy meatheads who descend on Allen Street every weekend. As a contrast, at the north end of the strip you'll find a small, stalwart cluster of low-key college dives catering to Buffalo State students. In short, Allentown is the place to party down with youthful abandon, while Elmwood is where you go when you get too old for that scene.
Until 1868, Buffalo's northern boundary was located at North Street, and what is now the Elmwood Village was a rural area known as "Shingletown", traversed by a quiet country lane called Rogers Street. A tavern stood at the corner of Rogers and Utica Streets, serving as a way station for travelers between Buffalo and Black Rock; across the way stood a tiny chapel staffed by a preacher who traveled each Sunday from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Allentown. Other than that, however, Shingletown was little more than an expanse of apple orchards, pastureland, and forest. Elmwood Avenue itself existed only between Butler Street (now Lexington Avenue) and West Delavan Avenue.
Like the Delaware District immediately to its east, what is today the Elmwood Village sprang to life largely thanks to the extensive system of parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted developed beginning in the 1870s in what was then the outskirts of Buffalo. The large Delaware Park, the centerpiece of that system, was placed there; to serve as grand entrances to the park, Olmsted designed a series of parkways: wide avenues that extended between the park and the city, lined on each side with great rows of shade trees to give visitors a prelude to the tranquil green oasis that awaited them (he also redesigned Rogers Street in the same manner, which would come to be renamed Richmond Avenue). Though these parkways ran through empty land at the time, Olmsted correctly assumed that as the city grew, they would attract the attention of the growing aristocratic class, who were already beginning to build ample estates on Delaware Avenue in order to escape the crowds and congestion of downtown. By 1890, Elmwood Avenue had been extended southward, a streetcar line had been established, side streets had been laid out with still more homes, and the neighborhood as it is today had begun to take shape.
Buffalo's shining hour came in 1901, when the Pan-American Exposition took place in and around Delaware Park. An estimated eight million people visited the Exposition between May and November of that year, in order to enjoy the pleasures of the midway, thrilling attractions such as "A Trip to the Moon", and the new phenomenon of electric light. The Exposition also served to attract development to the north end of the Elmwood Village, which was still somewhat isolated from the center of town. Immediately afterward, the Buffalo Historical Society set up its museum on the Exposition grounds, in the former New York State Building next to Hoyt Lake, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which was intended to be open in time for the Exposition but was not completed until 1905, was nearby. For obvious reasons, this area is now known as the Museum District. Moreover, the more far-flung Olmsted parkways, such as Lincoln Parkway, began to see the same sort of ostentatious mansions as Delaware Avenue.
In 1931, the north end of the Elmwood Village became home to the new campus of the New York State Teachers' College, moved from its cramped digs on the West Side to what was once the farm tended to by patients of the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane whose main campus was just south of here in a series of magnificent Gothic towers designed by H. H. Richardson. Together with the museums and the Olmsted parkways, the college was integral in the fact that the Elmwood Village not only held its own in the face of the decline of Buffalo after World War II, but actually thrived; as the school grew and expanded its scope, taking on the name Buffalo State College, the "Elmwood Strip" became a lively row of bars, restaurants and shops serving the students, earning itself a youthful, "cool" cachet even as the rest of the city was going to pot.
As the 20th century wore on into the 21st and Buffalo began to shake off its half-century of miasma, further changes came to the Elmwood Village. The founding of the not-for-profit Elmwood Village Association in 1994 spearheaded its transition into a multifaceted community that came to be more and more dominated by well-heeled, upwardly-mobile young urbanites rather than students — the prototypical Elmwooder nowadays is someone who spent their college days in the '80s and '90s drinking the night away at the old dive bars only to fall in love with the neighborhood and plant roots there permanently; who bought an old house on one of the side streets back when they were relatively cheap and went on to raise their family there. The efforts of this new crop of civic-minded residents bore fruit in 2007, when the American Planning Association named the Elmwood Village one of "America's 10 Great Neighborhoods" for that year, and again in December 2012, with the inclusion of the district on the National Register of Historic Places as a typical and relatively intact example of a late-19th century streetcar suburb.
Ironically, though, lately the continued revival of Buffalo as a whole has led to a downturn for the Elmwood Village. The 2010s witnessed the expansion of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus just north of downtown as well as the groundbreaking for Tesla's Gigafactory 2 in South Buffalo — two megaprojects that, between them, promised to bring 20,000 jobs to Buffalo; a true game-changer for the economy. This sent the local real-estate market, already on an upswing, into high gear: the ensuing years saw thousands of new luxury apartments, hundreds of new hotel rooms, and dozens of new upscale restaurants sprout all over the city, with rampant speculation driving property values to unheard-of levels. Sadly, this all coincided with the onset of America's retail apocalypse — a nationwide trend that saw brick-and-mortar stores close their doors, unable to compete with the savings and convenience of online retailers like Amazon and Etsy — and Elmwood's neighborhood shops and restaurants, which never operated on thick profit margins to begin with, soon found themselves struggling to pay the highest rents in the city. The fact that the Medical Corridor and Tesla only created a fraction of the new jobs they initially promised was the final nail in the coffin, and by 2016 or so, the undeniable trend was one of Elmwood businesses either closing outright or moving to newer, more affordable hotspots like Grant Street or Hertel Avenue — areas that have largely stolen the spotlight as the place to be for trendy urban dwellers — leaving Elmwood with a plague of vacant storefronts and a growing reputation as passé. But paradoxically, the side streets are still easily the most in-demand residential district in the city, populated by denizens bitterly divided over what to do about this new problem of high-end blight: some have come out in vociferous support of the new high-rise buildings that have been sprouting lately, which they hope will drive down rents by increasing the supply of space; others advocate doggedly for preserving what remains of the small-scale, "village"-y character that attracted them to the neighborhood in the first place.
Get in and around
The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that parallels Scajaquada Creek at the northern border of the Elmwood Village, through Delaware Park and the Buffalo State College campus. The Scajaquada connects the Kensington Expressway on the East Side with Interstate 190 in Black Rock. Elmwood Avenue is the site of one of the Scajaquada's busiest interchanges; those headed for the Elmwood Village via the Scajaquada should exit via the southbound ramp (follow the signs for the Art Gallery and Buffalo State College). Also, there is an onramp to the eastbound lanes of the Scajaquada via Lincoln Parkway, just to the rear of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; however, the westbound lanes are not accessible in this way and there is no offramp from the expressway to Lincoln Parkway on either side.
The backbone of the Elmwood Village is Elmwood Avenue, which runs north-to-south through the entire length of the district. Understandably given its density of shops, bars and restaurants, traffic on Elmwood is often heavy. Those who want a quicker route will likely prefer Richmond Avenue, which runs west of and parallel to Elmwood Avenue from Forest Avenue southward. Though the two roads are of about equal width, Richmond runs through a comparatively quiet residential area and has only a few stop signs and lights, as opposed to Elmwood where the red lights are frequent and lengthy.
The parkways that make up such an integral part of Buffalo's Olmsted park system crisscross the Elmwood Village in the shape of an upside-down Y. Running south from Delaware Park is Lincoln Parkway; at its south end it splits into Bidwell Parkway and Chapin Parkway. Bidwell and Chapin Parkways end at, respectively, Colonial Circle and Gates Circle. In the center of the Y, where all three parkways and Bird Avenue converge, is Soldiers' Place, the largest of all the Olmsted circles in Buffalo.
Major east-west streets in the Elmwood Village include, from north to south: Forest Avenue, West Delavan Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, West Ferry Street, Lexington Avenue, West Utica Street, Bryant Street, Summer Street, and (at its southern edge, ironically) North Street.
It is perhaps harder to find parking in the Elmwood Village than any other neighborhood in Buffalo besides downtown. Visitors to the Elmwood Village should count on not being able to find an open parking spot anywhere within a block of Elmwood Avenue, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Parking meters line Elmwood Avenue, as well as many of the busier side streets. On the off chance that there are any open spaces, the rate is 50¢ per hour until 5PM, Monday through Saturday.
There are public parking lots on Forest Avenue, West Utica Street, and Bryant Street, each a short distance west of Elmwood; they charge the same rate as the parking meters. Parking is somewhat (but not much) easier to come by in these lots than on-street. The parking ramp of the former Women & Children's Hospital can be accessed from Elmwood Avenue as well as Hodge Avenue; the rate is $1.75 for the first hour or less and $1.00 for each additional hour, up to a daily maximum of $3.75.
Visitors to Buffalo State College should take great care not to park in any lot signed "Student Parking" or "Staff Parking", or anywhere along Rockwell Road, unless they have a valid Buffalo State parking tag. Campus police are extremely vigilant about ticketing cars that are parked illegally. Metered parking for visitors ($1.00 per hour, 2 hours maximum) is available in Lot C, off Cleveland Circle next to Moot Hall, and also in Lot B-1, behind the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
A few businesses on Elmwood Avenue have parking lots of their own; however, these places will not hesitate to tow any cars parked there that do not belong to their customers. Pano's has gone so far as to post security guards at the entrance to their lot at peak hours. Less well-monitored private lots can be found next to Elmwood Taco & Subs and Starbucks at the corner of West Delavan Avenue, next to Panera Bread between Auburn and Cleveland Avenues, and at Stuyvesant Plaza at the southern end of the district. Regardless, park in private lots at your own risk!
Zipcar has two locations in the Elmwood Village where members can pick up and drop off cars:
- Stationed in the parking lot of the 2 Brent Manor Apartments at 366 Elmwood Ave. is a Honda Civic that can be rented for $9/hour or $74/day M-Th, and $10/hour or $80/day F-Su.
- In Buffalo State College's Parking Lot R-4, just off Cleveland Circle, you'll find a Ford Focus sedan that can be rented for $7.50/hour or $69/day M-Th, and $8.50/hour or $77/day F-Su.
All quoted prices include fuel, insurance, and 180 free miles (about 290 free kilometers) per day.
By public transportation
Public transit in Buffalo and the surrounding area is provided by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The NFTA Metro system encompasses a single-line light-rail rapid transit (LRRT) system and an extensive network of buses. The fare for a single trip on a bus or train is $2.00 regardless of length. No transfers are provided between buses or trains; travelers who will need to make multiple trips per day on public transit should consider purchasing an all-day pass for $5.00.
The Elmwood Village is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:
To and from downtown
NFTA Metro Bus #7 — Baynes-Richmond. Beginning at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue, Bus #7 proceeds southward on Baynes Street, then turning on West Ferry Street and continuing southward down Richmond Avenue to Symphony Circle, ending downtown. Bus #7 does not run Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
NFTA Metro Bus #12 — Utica. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #12 enters the Elmwood Village at Ferry Circle, proceeding south along Richmond Avenue before turning eastward onto West Utica Street. The route ends at the University Metro Rail Station.
NFTA Metro Bus #26 — Delavan. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #26 proceeds along West Delavan Avenue through the Elmwood Village, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.
NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Bus #32 traverses Amherst Street through Black Rock and North Buffalo, but dips into the Elmwood Village briefly, serving Buffalo State College and the Museum District via Elmwood Avenue.
By Metro Rail
The Metro Rail runs along Main Street, far east of here. However, the Elmwood Village is easily accessible from the Amherst Street, Delavan-Canisius College, Utica, and Summer-Best Metro Rail Stations by way of NFTA Metro Buses #32, #26, #12, and #22, respectively. Those traveling to the Elmwood Village by both bus and subway are strongly advised to purchase a day pass for $5.00.
Buffalo has made great strides in accommodating bicycling as a mode of transportation, with recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze-Level "Bicycle-Friendly Community" to show for its efforts — and there are few neighborhoods in Buffalo that are more bike-friendly than the Elmwood Village.
There are two recreational bike trails in the Elmwood Village. The 1.1-mile (1.8 km) multi-use trail that circumnavigates Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake is an especially popular one among cyclists, affording them spectacular views of the lake and the historic Bridge of the Three Americas that carries Lincoln Parkway over it, as well as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Also, the Jesse Kregal Pathway, begins near the corner of Lincoln Parkway and Nottingham Terrace (a pedestrian bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway provides access from the Hoyt Lake trail) and proceeds 2.4 miles (3.8 km) along the north bank of Scajaquada Creek, passing the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo History Museum and Buffalo State College on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Shoreline Trail in Black Rock.
Among the largest bicycle infrastructure projects in Buffalo in recent memory is along Elmwood Avenue between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Forest Avenue, then proceeding westward on Forest as far as Richmond Avenue. The sidewalks along this stretch of road were completely removed and replaced with a wide asphalt pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians, completely removed from the road, which provides access between the Scajaquada Creekside Trail and Richmond Avenue. In turn, Richmond Avenue has also been altered to accommodate bicyclists, with "sharrows" (pavement markings on roads too narrow to accommodate dedicated bike lanes, indicating that drivers should be aware of bicyclists on the road) in place between Forest Avenue and Colonial Circle, and dedicated bike lanes from Colonial Circle south to Symphony Circle. Additionally, on Elmwood itself bike lanes have been put in place between Anderson Place and Bryant Street, with sharrows north to Forest Avenue and south past North Street into Allentown; sharrows also extend along all of North Street. Bidwell Parkway also has a bike lane on each side of the street for its entire length between Colonial and Soldiers' Circles.
Quite frankly, even on streets without dedicated bike lanes or sharrows, the whole of the Elmwood Village is quite amenable to bicyclists — and perhaps just as important, drivers there are much more accustomed to sharing the road than in other areas of the city.
The Elmwood Village has six Reddy Bikeshare racks:
- on the east side of Elmwood Avenue just south of Bryant Street, in front of Root + Bloom Café
- on the east side of Elmwood Avenue at the corner of West Ferry Street, in front of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
- on both sides of Elmwood Avenue in the center of Bidwell Parkway
- on the west side of Elmwood Avenue between Bird and Forest Avenues, in front of India Gate restaurant
- at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex, just past the entrance opposite the corner of Forest Avenue and Abbottsford Place, on the west side of the driveway
- on the campus of Buffalo State College, on the west side of the Student Union Quad in front of the Campbell Student Union
Additionally, the stretch of Elmwood Avenue south of Rockwell Road is a free parking zone, where you can return your Reddy bike when you're done to any public bike rack without incurring the $2 fee for parking outside of a hub.
Elmwood Avenue is a street that is practically tailor-made for pedestrians. Travellers on foot can enjoy the pleasures of strolling alongside sidewalk cafés, detour into any number of charming shops and boutiques, and fully enjoy the sights and sounds of this delightful neighborhood — while also taking pleasure in not having to deal with slow-going traffic and ubiquitous red lights!
The quieter side streets of the Elmwood Village are no less pleasant to explore on foot than Elmwood Avenue itself. In particular, the Olmsted parkways are delightful places to stroll, with an abundance of mature trees and greenery alongside the roads and within their wide, beautifully landscaped central medians, and a bevy of elegant and historic mansions, each more palatial than the last.
The impressive and growing Museum District, situated at the northern end of the Elmwood Village adjacent to Delaware Park and Buffalo State College, boasts a number of facilities of interest to art lovers. As well, there are a few smaller galleries peppered along Elmwood Avenue.
- 1 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ , fax: . Daily 10AM-5PM (F until 10PM). The centerpiece of the Museum District, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery boasts one of the premier collections of modern and contemporary art in the nation, with the impressionist, cubist, surrealist, abstract expressionist, and pop art styles — and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol — all well-represented among its permanent collection. Works of other styles and periods are also on display, and the Albright-Knox plays host to travelling exhibitions on a frequent basis. The Albright-Knox is housed in a magnificent Neoclassical structure that is a work of art in itself, emulating the Erechtheion in Athens, with caryatids designed by eminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and, at the time of its construction, more columns than any building in the United States other than the U.S. Capitol. If you can't make it to the museum itself, another option is to check their website and/or social media for the whereabouts of the Albright-Knox Art Truck, a "mobile center for hands-on artmaking" hosting fun activities and classes for all ages and skill levels. $12, seniors/students $8, children 6-12 $5, free for children 5 and under, museum members, active military, and on first Friday of each month; $5 parking fee ($3 for museum members).
- Note: The Albright-Knox's Elmwood Avenue campus is undergoing a major reconstruction and expansion and is closed, with a planned reopening date of 2022. For the duration of construction, a full calendar of performances and temporary exhibitions will take place in a leased space on Northland Avenue on the East Side, and the Albright-Knox Art Truck will continue to operate as well. However, the gallery's permanent collection will not be on display during that time.
- 2 Anchor Gallery, 1008 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-6PM. The folks at Seven Seas Tattoo are not just artists of the body variety (though if you're looking to get inked up on your trip to Buffalo, you could hardly pick a better place): their Elmwood Avenue shop also doubles as the home of this similarly-named gallery, where the walls are adorned with drawings, paintings, and other original works by store staff.
- 3 The Benjaman Gallery, 419 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . Th-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su-W by appointment. The Benjaman Gallery has been operated since 1970 by Barry Johnson, a local artist, art expert, and a former instructor and advisor at Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo. What began as part of the thesis Johnson completed to obtain his MFA from Buffalo State has grown into a family-owned and operated institution in Buffalo's booming arts community, situated in a gorgeous Victorian mansion on Elmwood Avenue whose exquisite architecture and decor make it a work of art in itself. The Benjaman Gallery's collection includes the works of Buffalo and Western New York artists such as Hal English, Milton Rogovin, Martha Visser't Hooft, and Barry Johnson himself, as well as nationally and internationally famous names such as Salvador Dalí, Peter Max, and Charles Burchfield, the renowned watercolorist who was a resident of the nearby suburb of Gardenville at the height of his career. The Benjaman Gallery also offers custom framing, restoration, appraisal, research, and design consultation services, and buys and sells antiques.
- 4 Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . Opened in 1966 and greatly expanded in the early '90s through the charitable largesse of Dr. Charles Rand Penney, the Burchfield Penney Art Center finally moved into its new museum building in 2008 after over a decade of planning and construction. An important addition to the Elmwood Avenue Museum District operated by Buffalo State College, the mission of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is to showcase the unique culture of Buffalo and Western New York and the vibrancy of its creative community with displays of works by local artists. The backbone of the Burchfield Penney's offerings consists of the world's most extensive collection of paintings by Charles Burchfield, a renowned watercolorist who spent most of his career living in or near Buffalo. Temporary exhibitions, often with a local flavor, are also frequently presented.
- 5 Czurles-Nelson Gallery, Upton Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . M-F 9AM-4:30PM. Located at Upton Hall, on the Buffalo State College campus, the Czurles-Nelson Gallery was dedicated in 2009 in honor of Stanley Czurles, founder of Buffalo State's Art Education Department, and his daughter Barbara Czurles Nelson. Displayed here are works in a variety of media created by Buffalo State students, as well as regionally- and nationally-known professional artists. The Czurles-Nelson Gallery also hosts a slate of annual events, including student art shows and sales. Free.
- 6 Fuse Salon & Gallery, 984 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M noon-6PM, Tu noon-8PM, W-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Describing itself as a "fusion of aesthetic elements in an inviting and contemporary atmosphere", Fuse Salon & Gallery is quite an unusual concept: this full-service upscale hair and beauty salon does double duty as an art gallery that displays a rotating selection of works by local artists, all for sale at fair prices, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions. Guests can admire some of the best work of Buffalo's talented creative community while at the same time getting a manicure or having their hair styled and colored! As befits a full-service salon, locally produced soaps, lotions, massage oils, and sugar scrubs are for sale alongside the artwork. A truly one-of-a-kind experience.
- 7 Buffalo History Museum (Formerly the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum), 25 Nottingham Ct. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, W until 8PM, Su noon-5PM, Resource Center by appointment during business hours, Research Library W-Sa 1PM-5PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue in the Museum District and adjacent to Delaware Park, the newly renamed Buffalo History Museum has by far the most extensive collection of artifacts relevant to the history of Buffalo and Western New York from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Originally built for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, it is perhaps not surprising that the Exhibition is a particular focus of the exhibits at this wonderful museum. A Pierce-Arrow roadster built in Buffalo, the medal presented by George Washington to Chief Red Jacket, prototypes of the cardiac pacemaker invented by Clarence native Wilson Greatbatch, and artistic renderings of historical scenes and people flesh out the collection. Further historical records, manuscripts, photographs, and personal documents are housed at the Research Library. The Buffalo History Museum is also an invaluable resource for local residents interested in genealogy. $7, seniors and students 13-21 $5, children 7-12 $2, members and children under 7 free. Research Library $7, free to members.
- 8 Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, Buckham Hall D-Wing, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3), ☏ . F-Sa 7PM-8:15PM or by reservation. The original Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium was showing its nearly half-century of age when it was demolished in 2012 to make way for yet another round of new construction on the campus of Buffalo State College. The permanent replacement will be a state-of-the-art facility that will be a centerpiece of the new Science and Mathematics Complex whose opening is slated for 2019, but until then, programming continues on a temporary basis in a 24-foot (7-meter) inflatable planetarium in Buckham Hall. Though the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium gives you the opportunity to see pretty much any star, planet, constellation, galaxy, nebula, or other astronomical feature you could possibly imagine, it's not an observatory per se — it's actually a 70-seat indoor theater, with a 360°, dome-shaped overhead "screen" immersing visitors in a high-resolution digital image of the night sky that's displayed through a state-of-the-art projection system. General admission is available by reservation, but the majority of visitors to the planetarium come as part of special public programs and exhibits, where dazzling recorded programming educates the public in layman's terms on issues of astronomy. $6; seniors, children 5-17 and students $4; Buffalo State students free; children under 5 not admitted.
More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. However, aside from the resplendent Olmsted park and parkway system that's described in more detail below, the Elmwood Village does not really boast the same caliber of architectural treasures as can be found in neighboring areas like Allentown and the Delaware District. Elmwood Avenue itself is largely made up of newer commercial storefronts of no architectural distinction; the side streets are characterized by ample two- and three-story wood-frame residences in styles popular just after the turn of the last century, such as the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Shingle styles, and occasionally in older styles such as Italianate and Romanesque Revival. Though these houses are a good deal less elegant than the ones you'll see in the Delaware District, they're extraordinarily well-preserved — and that architectural integrity, recounting the history of the Elmwood Village as one of Buffalo's first "streetcar suburbs", was the rationale for the creation of the Elmwood West Historic District in December 2012. Comprising essentially the entirety of the Elmwood Village west of Elmwood Avenue, the Elmwood West Historic District is 275 acres (115 ha) in area, and was by far the largest historic district in Buffalo to be inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places until March 2016, when it eclipsed by the even larger Elmwood East Historic District, a 406-acre (169 ha) expanse on the other side of Elmwood Avenue that shares essentially the same characteristics as its counterpart.
One place in the Elmwood Village where buildings of truly spectacular architectural distinction can be seen is Lincoln Parkway. The mansions located there are on average a few decades newer than the ones on Delaware Avenue's "Millionaire's Row", but no less grand and sumptuous: proud stone sentinels in the Beaux-Arts, Tudor Revival, and Colonial Revival styles standing guard over a tranquil, broad, and verdant thoroughfare just behind the Albright-Knox.
Also located near Lincoln Parkway is the 9 William R. Heath House, at 76 Soldiers Pl. at the south end of the parkway. The Heath House is the first of several houses in Buffalo designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for top executives of the Larkin Soap Company; sadly, unlike its counterpart, North Buffalo's Darwin D. Martin House, the Heath House is privately owned and not open for tours.
Without a doubt the Elmwood Village's greatest architectural treasure, however, is the magnificent Richardson-Olmsted Complex, a Nationally Registered Historic Place and National Historic Landmark located adjacent to Buffalo State College. Situated on 91 acres (36 ha) of land bounded by Elmwood Avenue, Forest Avenue, Rees Street, and Rockwell Road, the Richardson-Olmsted Complex consists of eleven edifices designed in 1870 by architect H. H. Richardson in red Medina sandstone, representing arguably the apex of his signature Richardsonian Romanesque style. The landscaping of the grounds was the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, fresh off the completion of the first phase of Buffalo's park system; a young Stanford White, later a partner in the illustrious New York City firm of McKim, Mead and White, also served as an associate architect on the project. For over a century, the complex was the home of the Buffalo State Hospital, an asylum for mentally ill people whose twin-towered Administration Building still looms 161 feet (49m) over the neighborhood; the Administration Building is flanked by ten residential buildings, five on each side. The operations of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center moved in 1994 to a modern building closer to Elmwood Avenue, leaving the historic buildings vacant; luckily, thanks to the preservation tax breaks available to National Register-listed properties as well as a grant of $100 million from the New York state government, these magnificent buildings are undergoing structural stabilization and thorough rehabilitation with an eye to redevelopment. The Hotel Henry, a luxury boutique hotel and "urban resort", opened in April 2017 in the former Administration Building; additional ideas floated for the reuse of other parts of the complex include a museum dedicated to the distinguished architecture of Buffalo and Western New York.
- 10 Delaware Park, North end of Lincoln Pkwy., behind Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Metro Bus 8, 11, 20, 25, or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital), ☏ . Dawn to dusk. With an area of 234 acres (93 ha), Delaware Park is the central node in Buffalo's park system, by far the largest park in Buffalo, and one of the largest and best-preserved examples of Frederick Law Olmsted's landscape architecture anywhere. All the classic Olmsted features are present here: a large, grassy Meadow that is now the site of the Delaware Park Golf Course, thick stands of trees, and 11 Hoyt Lake, the 46-acre (18.5ha) pond in the southwest corner of the park that Olmsted originally named "Gala Water". An essay by Charles Beveridge on the Olmsted park system in Buffalo describes how well Delaware Park continues to fulfill its intended role as a place for Buffalonians to experience nature and greenery without leaving the city limits; Delaware Park, as per his essay, is "the only public space designed by Olmsted in Buffalo that met his definition of the term 'park' — a setting of pastoral scenery extensive enough to provide complete escape from the artificiality and noise of the city." Delaware Park is popular year-round, but is most often enjoyed during the warm months, when walking, bicycling, jogging, tennis, golf, and basketball are popular activities, and the renowned Shakespeare in Delaware Park outdoor festival, which takes place here each summer and which is described more thoroughly in the Festivals and Events section below. Hoyt Lake is surrounded by a lovely walking/biking trail and features rowboats and paddleboats for rent at the Marcy Casino during the summer months.
- 12 Delaware Park Rose Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Delaware Park's beautiful Rose Garden is directly off Lincoln Parkway behind the Marcy Casino, and blooms in season with thirty-three beds of beautiful red, purple, yellow and white roses, many varieties of which have been honored in the past as All-America Rose Selections. The rose garden was not part of Olmsted's original design for the park, but was instead added to the park in 1912. Although its formality contrasts incongruously with the quiet, curvilinear naturalism of the park's original features, the Rose Garden is nonetheless lovely and renowned, and was thoroughly restored by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy in the early 2010s. The impeccably manicured garden also includes a working fountain and pyramidal trellises, and a grand pergola at its rear. The garden, and Delaware Park in general, is immensely popular with bridal parties during rose season; don't be surprised if you have to dodge gaggles of bridesmaids posing for endless pictures!
- 13 Japanese Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Inaugurated in 1974 as a gesture of friendship between Buffalo and its sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden is located on six acres (2.4ha) on Hoyt Lake, behind the Buffalo History Museum. This beautifully manicured oasis of greenery slopes gently down from Nottingham Terrace to the shore of the lake, also encompassing three small islands in the lake connected to the mainland by a lovely ornamental footbridge. Over the past years, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been hard at work restoring and maintaining the more than 1,000 plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants in the garden, including a large stand of Japanese cherry trees, and also have added or will soon add a stone garden and an authentic karesansui waterfall. Amid it all there are many benches and other sitting areas perfect for serene contemplation of one's peaceful natural surroundings.
- Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park and in the adjacent parkways. These include:
- 14 Birds Excited Into Flight (In the center median of Bidwell Parkway slightly southwest of Soldiers' Place; Metro Bus 20). Cast in 1981, this was the second commission of public sculpture in Buffalo for locally renowned artist Larry Griffis (his first, Spirit of Womanhood, is described below). Unlike the subsequent works listed here, it stands not in Delaware Park itself, but a short distance away. 20 feet (6 m) in height, Birds Excited Into Flight is sculpted in cold-rolled steel on a concrete pedestal and depicts seven human figures standing in a circle with upstretched arms, their hands metamorphosing into a pyramid of birds.
- 15 David (Adjacent to Scajaquada Expressway and Lincoln Parkway, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 20 or 32). This bronze replica of Michaelangelo's iconic sculpture David is the work of the firm of Sabatino de Angelis and Sons, based in Naples, Italy. In 1903, three years after seeing it on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Buffalo businessman Andrew Langdon purchased the statue from the firm, with the stipulation that no casts of the sculpture would be sold to any other American clients. Langdon donated the statue to the Buffalo Historical Society, and it has been on display near Hoyt Lake ever since.
- 16 Eden (At the southeast corner of Elmwood and Potomac Avenues adjacent to Bidwell Parkway; Metro Bus 20 or 26). A former fashion designer, artist Judith Shea has made a name for herself sculpting images of empty articles of clothing that hang as if suspended in air, and so it is with this 1987 work of hers that was donated to Buffalo by AT&T after spending nearly thirty years as part of their corporate art collection. One of three identical sculptures cast from the same mold (you'll find the others at the John Hancock Tower in Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego), Eden is a two-piece work depicting a man's cloak side by side with a long sleeveless ladies' dress, signifying what the artist describes as an "encounter of opposites".
- 17 Spirit of Womanhood (Located along eastbound lane of Scajaquada Expressway near Delaware Avenue interchange, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 11 or 25). Another Larry Griffis sculpture, this 15-foot-tall (4.5m tall) bronze statue is a modernist, stylized rendering of a nude woman holding over her head a metal hoop six feet (1.8m) in diameter. The vertical orientation of the sculpture, and the upward gaze of the figure's head, are symbolic of optimism and hope, and the hoop represents the world, eternity, and the cycle of life. Griffis cast this sculpture in December 1962 in honor of Marian de Forest, the founder of Zonta International, a service organization dedicated to the advancement of women that traces its roots to Buffalo.
- 18 Young Lincoln (At the front of the Rose Garden, facing the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Metro Bus 20 and 32). Located (appropriately enough) adjacent to Lincoln Parkway, this bronze statue depicts Abraham Lincoln seated on an oak log with an axe at his feet and a book on his right knee, symbolizing his transition in life from humble farm labor to the highest achievement of American statesmanship. The work of sculptor Bryant Baker, Young Lincoln was cast in bronze in 1935; on its pink granite base is inscribed a quote from poet James Russell Lowell: "For him her old world moulds aside she threw, and choosing sweet clay from the breast of the unexhausted west, with stuff untainted shaped a hero new."
- Delaware Park is far from the only Frederick Law Olmsted park in the city — on the contrary, all of Buffalo is crisscrossed by Olmsted's park and parkway system, designed by him in stages beginning in 1868, and part of which is found in the Elmwood Village. Olmsted's "parkways" are wide, verdant avenues modeled after the grand boulevards of Paris, and lined with multiple rows of large shade trees. They serve as approaches to the parks, or extend from one park to another, and were intended to enable visitors to travel between parks without ever leaving a green and natural environment (for a long time, automobile traffic was prohibited on the parkways). Running south from the entrance to Delaware Park are three parkways, two of which, Lincoln Parkway and Bidwell Parkway, are located in the Elmwood Village. Also included in the Olmsted parkway system are 19 Soldiers' Place, the grand plaza where Lincoln, Bidwell and Chapin Parkways converge; 20 Colonial Circle, where Bidwell Parkway meets Richmond Avenue and whose beautifully landscaped center island boasts a lovely equestrian statue of local Civil War hero Daniel Davidson Bidwell; and 21 Symphony Circle, at the south end of the Olmsted-designed Richmond Avenue.
Other outdoor attractions
- 22 Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20, or 32). Founded in 1962 — a time when the spread of Dutch elm disease was leading to the deforestation of much of Buffalo, including the grounds of Buffalo State College — the Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum technically consists of every tree, shrub, and planting on campus (over 1,500 in all), representing species native to Western New York as well as those from elsewhere and serving the dual roles of campus beautification and as objects of study for the school's biology department. The portion of the most interest to visitors is the grouping of trees that straddles the pathway running westward from Perry Hall past the Classroom Building and Sports Arena toward Rees Street (see the Friends of the Arboretum's map tour here). There's also a cluster of pawpaw trees (an endangered species in New York State) on the opposite side of the Bulger Communication Center from the Student Union Quad.
Festivals and events
Delaware Park serves as one of the busiest venues for Buffalo's huge and growing slate of annual festivals, with a wide range of activities taking place there year-round. Additionally, the Elmwood Village itself plays host to the upstart Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts each year at the end of August.
- Buffalo Porchfest, ☏ . Modeled after similar events in Ithaca, Cleveland, and Somerville, Massachusetts, Buffalo's first annual Porchfest took place in 2013, and now occurs twice yearly in May and October. This festival sees local residents in and around the Elmwood Village convert their front porches into impromptu stages where a range of local musical acts put on free shows for festival attendees. Best of all, Buffalo Porchfest serves as a community-builder, providing an occasion for neighbors to meet up, socialize, and enjoy city life.
- Shakespeare in Delaware Park. Delaware Park's 1 Shakespeare Hill has since 1976 been the setting of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. With a goal of enriching, inspiring and entertaining diverse audiences through performance and educational programming with a focus on the works of William Shakespeare, this not-for-profit professional theatre company performs two selected Shakespeare plays annually from June until August at their striking Tudor-style outdoor stage adjacent to Hoyt Lake, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Delaware Park Rose Garden. Performances are free of charge at this longstanding summertime tradition, though donations are greatly appreciated.
- Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series. On Tuesday evenings from early July through to the middle of August, the Elmwood Village Association presents performances on Bidwell Parkway that feature a wide range of Buffalo's most talented local musicians and groups, representing all genres. Best of all, enjoying these casual, family-friendly events is completely free of charge!
- Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Held for the past thirteen years on the final weekend in August, this two-day event is to the Elmwood Village at the end of summer what the larger, longer-standing Allentown Art Festival is to Allentown at the beginning of summer. The Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts distinguishes itself from its counterpart with a broader focus, including not only over 170 artists and artisans but also performances of live music by local bands, a dance tent, displays on such topics as environmental conservation and cultural awareness, and Kidsfest, where young people can participate in hands-on activities and march in the Kidsfest parade.
- Music Is Art Festival. The brainchild of Robby Takac, longtime bass guitarist for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, the Music Is Art Festival was founded in 2004 and held in Allentown in June to coincide with the Allentown Art Festival. It moved to Delaware Park in 2008, where it now takes place in mid-September. The Music Is Art Festival "celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about [the] arts scene in Western New York" (in the words of a feature article in the Buffalo News) by presenting a constant stream of creative performances of live music of all genres by artists of local provenance, on several stages.
- The fall iteration of Buffalo Porchfest takes place in October — see above for details.
- Buffalo State Bengals, Buckham Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20 or 32), ☏ . The Buffalo State Bengals are part of the NCAA's Division III State University of New York Athletic Conference. Outdoor sports, including Buffalo State's football and soccer teams, are held at 2 Coyer Field, while the 3 Buffalo State Sports Arena hosts the home games of the basketball and hockey squads. Tickets to Bengals football, basketball and hockey games cost $5 (free for Buffalo State students); admission to all other sporting events is free.
- 4 Buffalo State Ice Arena, Houston Gym, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 20 or 32), ☏ . Season runs Sep-Mar; see website for open skate times. Weekday open skate $2, weekend open skate $3 adults/$2 children, free to current Buffalo State students with ID card; skate rental $2 adults/$1 children.
- 5 American Repertory Theatre of Western New York, 545 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Described in the UB Spectrum as an "unpretentious diamond in the rough", the American Repertory Theatre expanded in 2018 to its current location, the former TheaterLoft on Elmwood Avenue. The production schedule of this grassroots-based community theatre alliance regularly includes not only a mix of classic and contemporary theatrical works, but also live music, film screenings, poetry readings, and a variety of community events.
- Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . A wide range of theatrical performances are put on by Buffalo State College. Each year, the performing arts center at Rockwell Hall plays host to Artsploration, a live performance series whose intent is to educate and entertain area students and other youngsters. In addition, Buffalo State's Theater Department presents a range of plays, musicals, dance performances, stand-up comedy acts, improvisational workshops, and other shows at various locations on campus. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be purchased through the Rockwell Hall box office.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Elmwood Village's live music scene is miniscule compared to other hip Buffalo neighborhoods like Allentown. However, there are a few places there to catch performances.
- 6 Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☏ . Designed by the internationally-famous father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Kleinhans Music Hall is among the most architecturally distinguished buildings in Buffalo (it has served as a model for Festival Hall in London, among other venues), and boasts world-renowned acoustics. Aside from the several-times-weekly performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic itself, Kleinhans also features performances by other orchestras, small theatrical shows, and popular music acts — which have included Natalie Merchant, Johnny Mathis, and the Indigo Girls — performing either on their own or backed by the Philharmonic as part of the BPO Rocks! concert series.
- Milkie's On Elmwood, 522 Delaware Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . At this old-school dive bar, you can catch live performances in some form or fashion at least five nights a week, and sometimes more: open-mic nights on Tuesday and Wednesday for musicians and stand-up comics respectively, karaoke on Thursdays, and concerts by pretty much every local band in Buffalo on the weekends.
- 7 Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . As part of its Great Performers Series, Buffalo State College's Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall stages frequent concerts by nationally-known musicians and bands ranging in genre from rock, to folk, to jazz, to R&B, and everything in between. As well, Rockwell Hall is the place to go to see performances by student musicians including the Buffalo State choir and jazz, wind, and percussion ensembles.
3 Buffalo State College is the raison d'être of the Elmwood Village, the vim and vigor of its 11,000-strong student body having infused new life into Elmwood Avenue in the second half of the 20th Century even as the rest of the city was in decline. Founded in 1871 and moved to its current location in 1931, the school was once known as the New York State Teachers College at Buffalo with a mission of training teachers to work in Buffalo's then-fast-growing public school system; Buffalo State still has arguably the most robust such curriculum in the SUNY system, offering 19 teacher certification programs. Moreover, Buffalo State also offers over 200 additional undergraduate and graduate programs in such fields as arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, business, criminal justice, and the professions. The commitment of Buffalo State College to the Elmwood Village's identity is exemplified in myriad ways: beginning at its inception in 1982, campus radio station WBNY has been a national pioneer in the alternative rock format, and the school's commitment to the arts is exemplified by its Burchfield Penney Art Center and the performance series that are regularly staged at Rockwell Hall and elsewhere on campus.
Clothing and accessories
- 1 Anna Grace, 799 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M 11AM-6PM, Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. This small shop in the heart of the Elmwood Village is where owner Joanne Dina sells contemporary women's clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories at good prices. The style at Anna Grace is casual yet sophisticated — fashionable without pretension — and the gamut of brands that is represented ranges from the work of upstart independent designers to such nationally known names as Alternative Apparel and Tag Jeans.
- 2 Atelier, 820 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-2PM & 3PM-6PM. A love of fashion flows through the veins of Atelier's Italian-born owner, Sebastiana Piras, who arrived in Buffalo after many years spent honing her craft all over Europe, working in all areas of fashion and design. Despite admittedly finding her shop's name "a bit pretentious", it's certainly well-chosen: this French word that signifies a workshop or studio used by an artist or designer is a perfect description for a place that sells not only an exquisite line of upscale, high-fashion clothing and accessories imported from Italy but also one-of-a-kind pieces designed and handmade by Piras herself using imported fabrics of the utmost quality.
- 3 Blush, 1005 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Blush's founder and co-owner, Lexie Furlong, took inspiration from the already vibrant array of small clothing stores on Elmwood, but synthesized a distinct style all her own — "bringing the glam back to Elmwood" is how a write-up in the early 2010s in Buffalo Spree worded it — regaling Buffalonians with chic yet affordable clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products that are tasteful yet whimsical and really make a bold statement. A special point of distinction at Blush is the interior, where ornate mirrors, chandeliers, silver mannequins, a fireplace, and a huge flat-screen TV playing chick flicks all come together in a truly one-of-a-kind shopping space.
- 4 Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear, 758 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Tu 11AM-6PM, W-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. For over 10 years, Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been seeing Western New Yorkers through the harsh winter months with a bevy of fashionable, durable, and high-quality outdoor apparel, activewear, shoes and accessories. Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear has been repeatedly honored in the annual "Best of Buffalo" competition in Artvoice as the Best Outdoor Apparel Store, and proudly sells such well-known brands as UGG boots, SmartWool socks, and Patagonia jackets and fleeces. Also, a wide range of gear is available for adventurous youngsters, as well as a modest selection of other clothing items.
- 5 Bureau, 712 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-4PM. More boutique than emporium, the inventory at Bureau is modest in range but certainly well-curated. The name of the game is made-to-measure suits in a variety of fabrics, patterns and styles, plus fitted dress shirts and sundry men's accessories. In an interview in Buffalo Rising, co-owner Joseph Stocker cites the timeless style of French singer Serge Gainsbourg as an influence, and it's one that certainly shines through among a range of up-to-the-minute styles sourced from clothiers in places like London and New York. And if all that sounds expensive, you're in for a pleasant surprise — two-piece suits start at the reasonable price of $650.
- 6 The Cellar, 569 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Sa noon-8PM, Su 12:30PM-5PM. The Cellar continues the focus on ultra-limited-edition designer sneakers established by its predecessor in this space, Soul High, but with a more reasonable price point (Yeezy 350s are a hot seller in the $400-500 range, and most other items are less than $100), and also adds to the mix a selection of urban skatewear such as t-shirts, cargo pants, caps, and hoodies, as well as the status of Buffalo's hometown outlet for Supreme Gear, an emerging label of artwise street gear out of New York City that's in keeping both with Sole High's old stock in trade and the still-vital Elmwood skate culture.
- 7 Get Dressed, 576 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 11:30AM-6:30PM, Th till 8PM, Sa 11:30PM-5:30PM. Established in 1973, the stock in trade at Get Dressed is the same fine menswear you know and love from such world-famous designers as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Zanetti, offered at discounts of up to 50% off the national retail price. Customers in search of suit jackets, shirts, ties and accessories flock to Get Dressed not only because of their emphasis on style at affordable prices, but also because they are the only menswear shop in the city to offer free alterations — Get Dressed even keeps its customers' measurements on file so alterations can be made sight unseen!
- 8 Half & Half Trading Company, 1088 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM. In business since 1973, Half & Half is a dignified old commercial block at the north end of the Elmwood Village that's chock full of unique women's clothing, hats, outerwear, jewelry, and other accessories. At Half & Half, the range of items on offer is diverse enough to cover any need its customers may have, from the boardroom to formal events to everyday attire — yet it's united by a quirky style-consciousness that's a testament to the unique identity of the business. Best of all, the prices here are far more reasonable than similar Elmwood Village boutiques, and the laid-back yet chic ambience is complemented by the helpful service provided by its friendly staff.
- 9 Pasteurized Tees, 795 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-W 11AM-5PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM. Pasteurized Tees' Facebook page implores you to "imagine a tattoo shop for a t-shirt", and that's essentially the idea here: owner Michael Bowen will take unique designs conceived by his customers, draw them, and print them on a personalized, custom-made t-shirt or sweatshirt — all on the same day! The printing process, which utilizes a custom ink gel, is professional-looking and durable; Bowen was quoted in Buffalo Rising as saying that the print was so permanent that it would outlast the shirt itself. Pasteurized Tees is the place to go for visitors who want to remember their trip to Buffalo with a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
- 10 Rumpelstiltskins, 818 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. A children's consignment shop, Rumpelstiltskins is a great place to buy and sell gently used clothes, shoes, toys and other goods for girls, boys and babies from newborn to age 12 — as well as new items, many of which are locally sourced. Incredible bargains are available on designer clothes and brand-name items from such names as Gap, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, and Gymboree. Clean and stain-free items in reasonable condition can be consigned by appointment; the consignment period is 90 days; 40% of the proceeds from all items sold within that period (50% for non-clothing items) will be returned to the consignor.
- 11 Scoop Shop, 648 Auburn Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-5PM, F till 6PM. Located just off Elmwood Avenue behind TreeHouse Toys, the Scoop Shop is a consignment store that features stylish and chic vintage clothing, shoes and jewelry for women, at prices that can't be beat (look for the $5 rack outside on the sidewalk most days!) The vivacious and interesting owners always take good care of their customers, which has earned the Scoop Shop a growing and loyal fanbase in Buffalo.
- 12 Second Chic, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Second Chic opened on Elmwood Avenue in 2010, and owner Annie Adams' peerless eye for stylish, contemporary secondhand and consignment clothes immediately made a splash with locals. In addition, Second Chic is the only store of its kind in the city that sells contemporary menswear. Though prices aren't the best in the city, customers can count on finding really unique and high-quality items here. Every week from Tuesday through Friday, consigners are on hand at Second Chic to accept gently used ready-to-wear clothing from high-quality brands with good resale value.
- 13 ShoeFly, 801 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M 11AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Th till 7PM, Su noon-5PM. One of the most popular shoe stores in Buffalo, ShoeFly presents visitors with the total package: a combination of great merchandise, great customer service and great prices. In addition to the wide selection of mens' and womens' shoes, including unique styles not found anywhere else in the city (brands such as Frye, Poetic License, Toms, and Matisse are well-represented), a variety of handbags and other accessories can also be found here.
- 14 Sole Man, 565 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Tu 11AM-6PM, Th-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM or by appointment. The Sole Man in question is Brian Gavigan, who gave up a career in advertising for the unlikely title of the youngest cobbler in Buffalo, but his shop is also the place to come if you want to buy a new pair of stylish men's dress shoes "recreated and reborn" for a brand new owner. The "everything old is new again" vibe fits like a glove into the new-Buffalo regime of vinyl-only record shops, hipster bars styled as 1920s speakeasies, and artisanal everything — the antique shelves and racks and cozy wood-paneled interior are the perfect setting for not only shoes but also a decidedly L.L. Bean-esque range of menswear and accessories.
- 15 Turnstyle Designs, 298 Ashland Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM. Located at the corner of Lexington and Ashland Avenues a block from Elmwood, Turnstyle Designs is the brand-new boutique where Stephanie Robb, also a founder of the local jewelry store Wild Things that's located around the corner, sells the unique clothes, hats, jewelry, handbags and accessories she designs herself, both solo and in collaboration with other local designers and artisans. Also on staff is aromatherapist Frann LaRocca, offering incense, custom blends of essential oils, and other such goods for sale.
- 16 Vania & David, 1007 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . W-Sa noon-6PM, Su noon-4PM. The stock in trade at Vania & David falls into two categories: leather goods such as handbags, wallets, clutches, and even iPad cases come in brightly colored yet understated designs and are sourced from traditional artisans in Paraguay, the home country of co-owner Vania Escauriza Gagliardone, while the unique and beautiful locally-crafted jewelry that makes up the other half of the equation tends toward the bold and chunky. Vania & David's designs have been featured in GQ magazine and the British versions of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, so you know you're getting nothing but the best here in terms of fashion (with prices to match).
- 17 Jacob's Stained Glass, 589 W. Delavan Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-F 10AM-6PM. The main order of business at Jacob's Stained Glass is repair and restoration work, but you can also stop by their shop to check out a small selection of antique windows, lamps, and other pieces. If you don't like what you see, you can commission a custom order — and if you're a crafter or a DIY type, get your scrap glass here. A word of advice, though, is to call before you stop by to make sure there's someone in store to serve you — these folks have been known to close up shop when they're on a house call.
- 18 Parables Gallery & Gifts, 1027 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26). Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Out of a former apartment flat on Elmwood Avenue in April 2016 emerged Parables Gallery & Gifts: a small but versatile three-room space that functions as a combination gallery, gift shop, and event space where the work of local artists and artisans of diverse media (including owner Glenn Kroetsch, who specializes in abstract paintings of nature scenes) are displayed, sold (prices rarely exceed $75), or transferred to one-of-a-kind gifts such as t-shirts and throw pillows.
- 19 [formerly dead link] Poster Art, 1055 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M 11AM-4PM, Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. A one-stop shop for new, old and rare posters, postcards and collectibles. Thousands of designs are available in-store and through special order, but the centerpiece of the inventory here is what may be the largest selection of vintage and contemporary images of Buffalo and Western New York in existence, many of which were taken by the store's resident photographer, Joe Cascio. As well, visitors can see and purchase locally-themed memorabilia such as rare original promotional posters and flyers for Buffalo-based rock band The Goo Goo Dolls, Buffalo Sabres memorabilia, and jigsaw puzzles featuring a variety of local scenes.
- 20 Six Dimension Design, 241½ Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM or by chance. Likened in Buffalo Rising to a "parallel universe... right out of some underground science-fiction novel", the art glass workshop owned by the energetic, passionate, and endlessly interesting Jim Sawyer is appropriately named: he crafts stained glass geodes in "six-dimensional" geometric designs based on crystal formations and atomic structures. The place is filled to overflowing with pyramids, tetrahedrons, and geodesic-dome shapes produced using the finest stained and leaded glass and other artistic elements. Aside from selling arguably the most unique gifts in Buffalo, Six Dimension Design also repairs stained glass and, interestingly, sells flowers.
- 21 Aurum Jewelers, 487 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-6:30PM or by appointment. Opened in 1964, Aurum Jewelers is the longest-established jeweler on Elmwood. At Aurum, owner Paul Michaels matches the quality of his jewelry — rings, bracelets, pendants, cufflinks, timepieces and even tableware in sterling silver, gold and platinum, inlaid with a wide variety of precious and semiprecious stones — with personalized service that takes into account his customers' individual personality, needs, and budget. Aurum Jewelers is also happy to appraise, clean or repair your jewelry. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome.
- 22 Issa Mars, 732 Elmwood Ave., lower rear (Entrance on Breckenridge Ave.; Metro Bus 20), ☏ . W-F noon-6PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. Tucked back behind Ró furniture shop, centrally located in the Elmwood Village yet secluded and easily missable, is this purveyor of "fine jewelry, hand-formed through the ancient art of goldsmithing" that "emanat[es] the basic elements that exist all around us, within us, and beyond us". Translation: earrings, pendants, engagement rings, and other unique custom-designed pieces manufactured sustainably by Ms. Mars herself with recycled precious metals and conflict-free gemstones. The house style is deceptively simple yet subtly creative, in a hard-to-describe way: check out the website to see some examples.
- 23 Spears & Co., 822 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-F 10AM-6:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. If you're in the market for fine jewelry that's a little more special or out of the ordinary than the kind of stuff you find at Jared or other chain stores, head to Spears & Co., where the specialty of the house is custom-designed pieces but you'll also find stuff sourced from estate sales and the like. And the best part is, you don't have to pay through the nose for it, nor will you have to contend with high-pressure upselling or other unpleasantness.
- 24 Sunshine + Bluebirds, 798 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M, W, F & Sa 10AM-7PM, Tu & Th 10AM-7:30PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The newest of what is now a local chainlet of fashion and gift boutiques with additional locations in Orchard Park and Cheektowaga, Sunshine + Bluebirds is at the service not only of tourists in search of unique locally-themed souvenirs, but also anyone looking for men's and ladies' T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, coffee mugs, throw pillows and the like. And — perhaps in a nod to Abraham's Jewelers, which preceded it in this storefront — the Elmwood location is particular boasts a selection of reasonably-priced jewelry whose designs (much like the other categories of merchandise they sell) trend toward the whimsical.
- 25 Wild Things, 224 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM. Opened by four Buffalo State College art students in a humble Lexington Avenue storefront with a cigar box as a cash register, Wild Things has grown into one of Buffalo's best-known and best-loved purveyors of handmade original jewelry by local artisans, as well as fine linens, ceramics, and other crafts. Wild Things' stable of designers includes six jewelers working with a variety of materials including silver, gold, enamel, and pearls and gemstones, but the specialty here is custom-designed bridal jewelry.
- 26 Gutter Pop Comics, 1028 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . W-Su 11AM-7PM. If you must, you can get your fix of big-name superhero comics here, but the real specialty at Gutter Pop is gritty graphic novels and harder-to-find indie titles. The selection is not what you would call vast, but it's impeccably curated, and works by local authors abound. Speaking of which, owner Stephen Floyd is an area fixture with one foot in the burgeoning Buffalo music scene and one in the equally burgeoning world of local small-press publishing — so if you're the kind of person who's into comics but also keen to look into some of the latest releases from Buffalo-area rock bands, you can kill two birds with one stone.
- 27 Inspiration Point, 483 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Inspiration Point is a modest but charming bookshop that stocks literature on such esoteric subjects as Eastern spirituality, yoga, metaphysics, meditation, natural healing, astral travel, and psychic phenomena. In addition, a wide range of music, greeting cards, and gift items such as candles, crystals, totems, and incense is on offer, and classes and workshops are held frequently.
- The Mezzanine Book Shop, 633 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M & Th noon-7:30PM; Tu, F & Sa 10AM-5:30PM. The Mezzanine Book Shop is located on the second floor of the Crane Branch Library, and sells donated books in good condition, including an especially large selection of children's books. All hardcover books are $1.00 and all paperbacks are 25¢, with proceeds going to support the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries. The Mezzanine Book Shop is a great place to donate your used books.
- 28 Talking Leaves Books, 951 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. The last survivor of what was once a thriving independent bookstore scene on Elmwood, with a name derived "from a recurrent conceptualization of books by peoples who were unfamiliar with print; book pages were seen as 'leaves' that 'talked,' imparting wisdom and knowledge and spirit... an intriguing way of keeping track of the treasures of the people: their minds and their ways of being in, and understanding, the world." True to that philosophy, offered here is a vast selection of the sort of books that expand people's consciousness, with a special emphasis on unusual and oft-neglected topics that reflect the unique identity of Elmwood Villagers.
Chocolate and candies
- 29 Fowler's Chocolates, 746 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Among the delightful locally-made confections available at Fowler's seven retail stores (among the most popular of which is their Elmwood Avenue location) are pecan caramel clusters, chocolate-covered pretzels, and a range of European-style truffles — but the specialty is sponge candy, a perennial favorite among Buffalonians. Fowler's employees can assemble a wide variety of custom-made gift boxes and other assortments, including a "bouquet" of a dozen long-stemmed solid chocolate roses. Fowler's also boasts an ice-cream counter in the summer, and serves fresh hot chocolate in colder weather.
- 30 Watson's Chocolates, 738 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-W 10AM-5:30PM, Th-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. In business since 1946, Watson's Chocolates is often regarded by locals as the yin to Fowler's yang. However, it distinguishes itself from its longtime rival with its status as a larger operation with more locations, and a correspondingly wider range of products sold at its stores. In addition to fine chocolates — including a line of sponge candy that Buffalo Spree has honored as the best in Western New York — Watson's Chocolates also sells other sweet treats such as hot fudge sauce, English toffee, and a selection of praline and fudge, as well as a larger and more exquisite range of gift baskets.
- 31 Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM. A one-stop shop in the Elmwood Village for all things caffeinated: not only is Blue Mountain a place to drink coffee, but you can also buy a dizzying variety of whole coffee beans: from ordinary varieties (including a killer dark roast) to oddities like Blueberry Muffin and Tanzanian Peaberry. A variety of other items are available, including teas, fine tobacco, a huge selection of greeting cards, scented candles, and various other gifts. Visitors can also chat with Blue Mountain's interesting and personable owner, Jim Greer, or simply bask in the intoxicating aroma of the different coffee beans.
- 32 The Farm Shop, 241 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . F noon-7PM, Sa 9AM-7PM. Aside from the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer's Market, this is the sole retail outlet for Cattaraugus County's family-owned White Cow Dairy. What the Farm Shop's inventory lacks in range is made up for by its quality: the cows are fed on 100% wild grass, making for old-fashioned flavors you can't find at the supermarket, and the constantly-changing selection is crowned by some of the best yogurt you'll ever taste. Aside from dairy products, there's also a modest range of other locally-sourced goodies, such as fresh produce from Buffalo's own WestSide Tilth Farm, artisan chocolate from Dark Forest Chocolates out of Lancaster, and real New York maple syrup.
- 33 Glory Market, 472 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-8PM. Grant Street has become known as a place where Elmwood Avenue businesses move to escape high rents, but here's the opposite: a Grant Street-style ethnic grocery store on Elmwood. Operated by Ghana-born entrepreneur Gloria Ofori, Glory Market is a small place with a modest but well-curated selection of African foodstuffs — everything from staples like yam flour, powdered fufu, and dried peanuts to canned and frozen goods, ready-to-eat snacks, and even a selection of shea butter toiletries and imported handicrafts — and it's also where you'll find Buffalo's annual "Taste of Africa" celebration.
- 34 Village Beer Merchant, 547 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-6PM. The Village Beer Merchant is, to put it succinctly, heaven for Buffalo beer snobs. As is perhaps obvious, the specialty here is a dizzying gamut of imports, local and regional microbrews, and seasonal selections that gives the perennial favorite local beer store, Premier Gourmet, a run for its money, curated by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. More than that, though, Village Beer Merchant is a destination for those in search of a wide variety of gourmet specialty foods, with a range of artisanal cheeses, fine olive oils, chocolates, teas, Boar's Head deli meats and other charcuterie, and other upscale edibles.
Furniture and home decor
- 35 The Peddler, 656 Elmwood Ave (At Parish Commons; Metro Bus 12 or 20). Sa 8:30AM-4PM, mid-Apr through late Oct. The Peddler is more than just a flea market — it's a neighborhood institution, a social gathering place, and a real slice of Elmwood Village life, where an underused parking lot becomes an emporium of vintage and antique furniture, home decor, and clothing that's inspired by the Chelsea Market in New York City. Vendors — some steadfast regulars, some more itinerant — offer an interesting and diverse selection of upscale goods to a customer base ranging from hipsters to families with kids to old folks to a growing legion of folks who come from out of town in search of bargains. In the winter, The Peddler moves indoors to The Foundry on the East Side.
- 36 Ró, 732 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. The name means "tranquil" in Danish, and was chosen to emphasize the store's expansion from its previous oeuvre of Midcentury Modern furniture and housewares into sleek, stylish Scandinavian designs, many of which aren't available anywhere else in Western New York, and to encapsulate its new identity as "a concept of calm living through functional design". As a continuation of its commitment to ecological sustainability, Ró also deals in reclaimed items sourced from abandoned industrial sites and other places around Buffalo. Art shows are also held on a bi-monthly basis, where the work of local artists is exhibited.
Toys and gifts
- 37 [formerly dead link] Everything Elmwood, 740 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. In this charming boutique's name, the word "everything" is no exaggeration: a mind-boggling variety of upscale and unique gifts are sold here. The constantly changing gamut of merchandise at Everything Elmwood comprises greeting cards, housewares, pottery, toys, decorative items, jewelry, handbags and other accessories, and many other trinkets and baubles that are not available anywhere else in the area. Visitors to Buffalo who are on the lookout for that one-of-a-kind gift will be in heaven here — and the spectacular gift wrapping that Everything Elmwood's loyal customers rave about is the icing on the cake!
- 38 NEO Gift Studio, 905 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. A longtime Elmwood Avenue fixture now reopened in brand-new digs at the corner of West Delavan Avenue, NEO Gift Studio is the place for you if you're looking for that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for someone who may be hard to buy for. This immense store has gifts of all descriptions, both whimsical and practical, for all ages, women as well as men — candles and candleholders, home decor, office items, fine tableware, lamps, gag gifts, a wide selection of flowers and picture frames. As well, NEO's friendly employees live out the cliché of "service with a smile", and provide one of the highest-quality gift-wrapping services in Buffalo.
- 39 TreeHouse Toy Store, 793 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Th & F till 7PM, Su noon-4PM. The Elmwood Village's neighborhood toy store, on offer at the TreeHouse is a huge, handpicked selection of toys, games, dolls, stuffed animals, and children's books and gifts that comprise classic favorites as well as the hottest new items, and which emphasizes educational toys and games that inspire the creativity and imagination of young people.
- 40 The African Market, 224 Elmwood Ave. #3 (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM. This fascinating store features "Designs by Dovi & Girls", referring to its owner Dovi Tsofamo, a Togolese refugee who arrived in Buffalo with her daughters in 1999. At the African Market can be bought a dizzying array of items — everything from distinctive and brightly colored clothing, jewelry, and accessories in authentic African styles, to mudcloths and tapestries, to all natural shea butter, oils and other beauty products, to unique gift items such as djembe drums and fair-trade baskets made in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa, and even a modest selection of West African grocery items.
- 41 Animal Outfitters, 986 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Animal Outfitters' website is mastheaded by as apt a decription as any of this unique, locally-owned shopping destination: "a specialty pet store for dogs and cats and the people who love them" with a selection of specialty products comprising natural and holistic pet foods and treats, premium kitty litter, a range of toys and accessories, gifts for pet lovers, and such ephemera as bath and body items for pets and a line of pet aromatherapy products. Animal Outfitters is also happy to special-order for its customers any items that may be out of stock.
- 42 Campus WheelWorks, 744 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. The centerpiece of the merchandise, obviously, is bicycles — the accent is on racing bikes from such brands as Jamis, Felt, Bianchi, Surly, and Redline, which can be purchased from what's in stock or special-ordered to accommodate customers' particular body shape and specifications — but Campus WheelWorks also stocks a wide range of name-brand sportswear and accessories such as bicycle shorts, helmets, jerseys, winter jackets, and boots. Skis and snowboards are a secondary focus, with cross-country skis available for rent during the winter months.
- 43 Elmwood Pet Supplies, 706 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. An Elmwood Avenue institution for over sixty years, Elmwood Pet Supplies is a modest storefront from the outside, but inside it's packed to the rafters with high-end yet reasonably priced pet foods, treats, toys, beds, collars, and other supplies such as cat litter, bird feeders, and aquariums. Elmwood Pet Supplies boasts a friendly and knowledgeable staff, a personal and local approach to business that sees it support worthy causes such as the Buffalo Animal Shelter, and a selection that emphasizes foods free of dyes, corn, wheat, and other by-products.
- 44 Honest Apothic, 262 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . W-Sa 11AM-5PM. The retail outlet for this "Simple-Ingredient Skin Care Apothecary" moved out of the Market Arcade in 2019 and now offers their line of soap, shampoos, shaving creams, lotions, and other toiletry items in a much more "affluent hipster"-imbued environ across from the Elmwood Crossing complex, which is under construction. Prices are predictably steep, but you're paying for locally-sourced and 100% organic ingredients, sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing, and above all, a gentle product (perfect for those with sensitive skin!) that gets the job done effectively without harsh chemicals being introduced into the proceedings.
- 45 Lumpy Buttons, 719 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . W-Sa noon-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Taking over the space in the back of Thin Ice gift shop where ShopCraft used to be is this purveyor of a delightfully quirky line of handcrafted felt goods: embroidered pins and patches, decorative pieces to hang on your wall, plush toys, even finger puppets. The house aesthetic trends heavily toward cute cartoon animals — the black cat logo emblazoned on the sign in front of the shop (and also visible on their website) gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
- 46 125 Curiosity Shop, 830 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-W & F-Sa noon-7PM. Once co-located with their Allentown tattoo studio (located at 125 Elmwood, hence the name), the non-body art portion of the Hawkins brothers' oeuvre is now found at the heart of the Elmwood Village. At 125 Curiosity Shop, you'll find a jumbled but fascinating menagerie of locally-made clothing, accessories, housewares, and objets d'art is all united by the weird, slightly macabre, Tim Burton-esque style that is the owners' specialty (and, in many cases, actual handiwork).
- 47 Renew Bath & Body, 927 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. The selection at Renew emphasizes quality over quantity: the range of skin care and toiletry products on the shelves here is not the largest, but it's uniformly upscale and high-quality, marrying time-honored traditional knowledge and the latest developments in skin-care science into a natural, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and often vegan-friendly ethos, sold in a pleasant (and aromatic!) shop with a decidedly laid-back and low-pressure ambience. And if you're a fan of the Japanese konjac sponge, you're in luck: this is the only place in Western New York that stocks it.
- 48 Revolver Records, 831 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Th noon-7PM, F-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-5PM. It was remarkable enough when, in 2015, Paul Machemer bucked the nationwide trend and actually managed to open a successful record shop on Hertel Avenue; more remarkable still when he inaugurated its second location on Elmwood three years later. As usual, vinyl is the name of the game: on offer is a carefully-curated yet kaleidoscopic inventory of over 15,000 titles representing all genres and time periods from the 1950s to the present, and everything from popular favorites to hard-to-find imports to offerings from Buffalo's local music scene, all accurately graded. There's a limited selection of music on CD and other formats too.
- 49 ShopCraft, 773 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Th 3PM-8PM, F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-7PM. ShopCraft is less a gift shop per se than an alliance of locally-based artists and artisans who sell their handcrafted art and photographic prints, cards and stationery, organic toiletries, clothes, kitchenwares, and so on directly to the public. If you're looking for the kinds of souvenirs you could never hope to find anywhere else, head here. And if you can't make it during the above-listed hours, check their Facebook page — the artisans of ShopCraft keep a busy schedule of appearances at area craft fairs, farmers markets, and other events all year round.
- 50 Ten Thousand Villages, 736 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A not-for-profit chain of volunteer-staffed boutiques with about 100 locations across the U.S. and Canada where the specialty is clothing, handicrafts, decorative knickknacks, and gifts manufactured by artisans in 38 disadvantaged countries throughout the world. Ten Thousand Villages is the place for those who prefer to shop small for fair-trade goods rather than with a for-profit corporate entity like Pier 1 Imports, but whose tastes in fashion, home decor, and the like are a bit less quote-unquote "ethnic" than the stuff you find at the West Side Bazaar. Prices are a bit high, but the money you spend really makes a difference in the lives of these artisans.
- 51 Thin Ice, 719 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Su-M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 10:30AM-7PM. A steadfast supporter of Buffalo's arts community, Thin Ice is a charming boutique that sells handcrafted pottery, glassware, jewelry, textiles, and creations in metal and wood, all of which are made in the USA and the vast majority of which are the work of local artists and artisans. Thin Ice is centrally located at the heart of the action on Elmwood and is the perfect place for those in search of one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as visitors who would like to give back to the Buffalo art scene.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
For a neighborhood with its level of cachet, the Elmwood Village's restaurant scene has always been fairly lackluster. That's not to say there aren't plenty of options to choose from up and down Elmwood Avenue, but even at its apex this was never the place to go in Buffalo for super-fancy fine dining (that would be downtown) nor to sample a kaleidoscope of foreign flavors (that would be the West Side and, increasingly, suburban Amherst). Rather, the word to describe the eateries here would be, as the kids say, "basic": remember, Elmwood started out as a student ghetto, and despite the evolution and gentrification of the ensuing years, college kids still make up a hefty portion of the clientele. Regardless, if you're looking for a decent meal for decent prices and you don't have a terribly adventurous palate, you'll find what you're looking for. That goes double if you want to try out one of the Greek diners that are ubiquitous features of the local cuisine.
- 1 Breezy Burrito Bar, 1000 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Tu-Sa 4PM-2AM. Now moved to its own freestanding location after a three-year stint at the EXPO Market downtown, the Breezy Burrito experience is closer to Americanized fast food à la Mighty Taco than the Fresh-Mex cuisine it aspires to, despite the presence of pickled onion as an optional topping which now seems to be de rigueur for taco places in Buffalo. The menu has expanded along with the physical space, but at its core is the same slate of build-your-own burritos, burrito bowls (with Mexican rice and black beans), tacos (two to an order on hard-shell, soft flour, or soft corn tortillas), and taco salads, along with nachos, chicken tortilla soup, and other simple Tex-Mex favorites. Portion sizes are nothing to write home about, but prices are fair considering. $15-20.
- 2 Elmwood Taco & Subs, 937 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-5AM. Since 1978, Elmwood Taco & Subs has served tasty and cheap fast food that's popular with Buffalo State College students and other on-the-go Elmwood Villagers. In addition to the items that gave the place its name — tacos, burritos, chimichangas, nachos and other simple yet hearty Mexican fare, and an assortment of hot and cold subs — ETS also serves chicken fingers and wings slathered in its own homemade "Diavolo" hot sauce, and a few other items as well. Drive-thru service is available, too. $5-15.
- Squeeze Juicery, 770 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Not just juices and smoothies (although they do those to a T), Squeeze Juicery is the place to go in Buffalo if you're in the market for an açaí bowl — they have three different iterations, each with its own healthy and delicious lineup of ingredients and toppings. Also check out a selection of salads, wrap sandwiches, and housemade hummus bowls made with all-organic ingredients. The bright colors and whimsical decor in the dining room are inviting indeed, but sadly, if you're looking for a relaxing experience, forget it — the classic rock standards that the owner loves enough to name his menu items after are played at an eardrum-rattling volume. $10-20.
- 3 [dead link] Vasilis Express, 1066 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-2AM, F-Sa 11AM-5AM. Vasilis Panagopoulos, the ambitious owner of the restaurant of the same name on Kenmore Avenue, once also owned four Vasilis Express takeout outlets scattered around the Buffalo area; sadly, the Elmwood Village location is the only one that remains. Here, serviceable versions of all the Greek diner staples are available: souvlaki and gyro wraps, avgolemono, moussaka, Texas hots, and Greek salad, as well as burgers, fish fry, and a respectable selection of poutine. Most of the business here is take-out, though there are also a few tables for sit-down business as well — and they're open much later than other restaurants on the strip, making for an interesting alternative to Jim's Steakout and other all-night dives. $10-25.
- 4 Wasabi, 752 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 1PM-10:30PM. One of a growing number of Japanese restaurants in Buffalo, Wasabi operates two suburban locations in addition to this small one on Elmwood Avenue. Wasabi's menu is about evenly divided between teriyaki and tempura selections and a sizable collection of sushi and sashimi that is among Buffalo's best. A limited range of other entrees are available too. $10-25.
- 5 Acropolis, 708 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-W 9AM-11PM, Th-F 9AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-5PM. Following Pano's lead, Acropolis has reinvented itself from a Greek greasy spoon to a trendy and upscale Elmwood Village destination. Pay no attention to those who say Acropolis' food has gone downhill since the renovation was completed! However, compared to Pano's, Acropolis has stuck more rigidly to the Greek and Mediterranean specialties they have always served. The Greek salad, souvlaki, moussaka, and hummus are all first-rate. Acropolis also boasts an ample and ever-changing gamut of beer and wine available. $15-30.
- 6 Aguacates, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. This newest location of a growing Upstate New York chain serves a range of Tex-Mex standards that's slightly wider than what you could get at Agave, its predecessor in this location — fajitas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and various combo platters thereof — plus a modest range of simple non-Mexican main courses such as burgers and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches but minus the pozole, menudo, and other more authentically Mexican fare favored by the former owner. The decor is largely unchanged too, with its bright, warm colors and Mexican knickknacks adding a nice bit of flavor without going over the top. $15-40.
- Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. One of the old guard of Elmwood Avenue restaurants, Cole's has been a favorite haunt of hungry Buffalo State kids since decades before the current crop of students were even born. It's still best known as a bar, but if you're looking for some classic pub grub to go with your fancypants craft beer, you've picked the right place: chicken wings and beef on weck for a true taste of the local cuisine, a sandwich board featuring some of Buffalo's favorite burgers (try the "Jiffy Burger", topped with applewood-smoked bacon and peanut butter), and brunch on Sunday mornings. $15-35.
- 7 Daniela, 387 Forest Ave. (Metro Bus 3, 7 or 20), ☏ . Tu-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. When it comes to pizza in Buffalo, the recent diversification of local offerings has been good news for visitors who don't care for the ubiquitous local style — and another benchmark was reached with the 2019 opening of Daniela, where the specialty of the house is pinsa, a variant native to Rome with a thicker but airier crust and only a light spread of cheese on top. The most popular of the five signature selections seems to be the pinsa capricciosa topped with artichokes, olives, shiitake mushrooms and ham. If that's not to your liking, the menu is chock full of other upscale Italian specialties too (how about linguine carbonara or a dessert of house-made gelato?) Downsides include steep prices and thunderous piped-in music, which combined with the chatter of ample-sized mealtime crowds makes quite a din. $15-40.
- [formerly dead link] Forty Thieves, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Kitchen open daily 11AM-midnight, bar stays open until 2AM. While it can't hold a candle to Blue Monk, Forty Thieves still delivers when it comes to reasonably priced, down-to-earth pub grub. On the menu is a decent selection of appetizers and salads including mountainous nacho platters and a not-half-bad chicken bacon avocado Cobb salad, but almost inarguably the dominant feature is sandwiches, sandwiches and more sandwiches: classics like turkey club, fried bologna, and grilled chicken come with just a hint of upscale foodie pretension. Dim lighting, dark tones, and framed historic photos of old New York on the walls (an homage, like the restaurant's name, to Manhattan's first street gang which terrorized the Five Points slum in the early to mid-1800s) bring character to the dining room. $15-35.
- 8 [dead link] India Gate, 1116 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM and 4:30PM-10PM. The Elmwood Village's longest-standing purveyor of Indian cuisine, India Gate prides itself on serving upscale yet reasonably priced food with an accent on healthy ingredients and cooking methods. They offer a wide range of vegetarian selections as well. $15-35.
- 9 Inizio, 534 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM. "Inizio" in italian means "beginning": a brand new start for the building once home to the Elmwood branch of Joe's Deli, and a brand new experience for Buffalo pasta lovers. The Northern Italian dishes on the menu here, featuring noodles scratch-made in house daily, are really bursting with creativity: the house specialty cacio e pepe is beauty in simplicity, finished off with a drizzle of black truffle oil, and the potato gnocchi with braised short rib is just the thing (along with the dimly lit, cozy ambience) to warm you up on a cold Buffalo night. A persistent complaint is middling portion sizes, though, so don't come to Inizio ravenously hungry; on the other hand, in the words of one reviewer, "for first dates and people on diets, this is the place". $25-50.
- 10 Kuni's, 226 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . Tu-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. After several decades, word is that Kuniyuki Sato is imminently preparing to hang up his chef's hat and apron and is busily training a team of apprentices to take over for him at his semi-eponymous sushi restaurant, Buffalo's first and still best-loved. Will the next generation be able to maintain the high standard Kuni's has set over the years? That remains to be seen. But for now, enjoy not only an innovative slate of sushi and sashimi, but also a full menu of authentic Japanese cuisine in an ambience that is trendy and upscale, yet comfortable. Beer, wine and sake are served too. $15-35.
- 11 Mythos, 510 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 7AM-9PM. As is the rule among the numerous Greek restaurants of the Elmwood Village, Mythos' ambience (and its prices) are several notches above the average Buffalo-area greasy spoon. Even compared with similar destinations such as Pano's and the Acropolis, though, Mythos distinguishes itself with artfully presented cuisine served in an upscale setting. But in spite of all the elegance, the cuisine here is perhaps a more faithful representation of the usual Buffalo Greek diner fare than any of its aforementioned competitors. In addition to the standards such as souvlaki, gyro, and spanakopita, Mythos offers a range of other Mediterranean options including pasta and chicken bruschetta, as well as a wide selection of wraps and local specialties such as fish fry. Breakfast is also popular here. $15-30.
- 12 Nine29, 929 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. The banalization of the Elmwood dining scene continues apace: what was once an old-school ice cream parlor brimming with character (The Soda Bar and Pastry Co.) and later a moderately interesting Middle Eastern eatery with attached hookah bar (Mezza) has become just another "upscale" pub-grub outfit catering to a bridge-and-tunnel clientele. If that sounds harsh, take heart: despite the fact that Nine29 won't take you out of your culinary comfort zone, it does what it does well. These folks grill a great burger and Philly cheesesteak, somehow manage to turn out a brick-oven pizza with a Buffalo-style chewy crust, and keep the bar open late on weekends. $15-35.
- 13 Pano's, 1081 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Daily 7AM-1AM. Pano's opened over 30 years ago as a small neighborhood Greek diner, and has grown since then into arguably the largest and most popular restaurant on the Elmwood Strip. After the newest round of renovations which were completed in 2018, some might say Pano's has gone over the top with neon glitz. However, it serves a multifaceted array of foods based as always in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but with a wide variety of other dishes to choose from. The spicy chorizo burger — a newcomer to their menu — never fails to astound. No reservations are accepted. $15-30.
- 14 The Place, 229 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Though it's been remodeled and reopened under new management — a brand-new open floor plan provides some breathing room while retaining familiar elements like the kitschy green plaid wallpaper and creaky hardwood floor — The Place still boasts a "where everybody knows your name" ambience that contrasts with the snobby pretentiousness of the rest of the Elmwood Village. To go along with the snazzy new copper-topped bar, The Place's menu includes unpretentious but reliably good pub grub such as sandwiches, burgers, wings, and simple entrees. $15-40.
- 15 Rin Thai Bistro, 988 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9:30PM. Opened in 2017, this Johnny-come-lately to the Elmwood restaurant scene is already racking up rave reviews from local aficionados of Asian cuisine, but upon looking at the menu you might wonder why. While it's true that Rin's oeuvre doesn't stray very far from usual Thai restaurant standards such as pad thai, satay, and red, green and panang curries, you'll understand what sets this place apart as soon as you tuck into your meal. These are classics done right: while other Asian restaurants up and down the strip are busy dumbing down their flavors for the American palate, Rin seems to have grasped that authenticity trumps familiarity in the mind of today's foodie. You sure do pay for the privilege, though, with small portion sizes that only serve to accentuate the sticker shock at the end of your meal. $20-40.
- 16 Root + Bloom, 423 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . Dinner Th-Sa 5PM-9PM; brunch Sa 10AM-2PM & Su 10AM-3PM. The menu at this "plant-based café and market" is not what you'd call extensive, but it covers a lot of ground with its creative vegan takes on classic American stick-to-your-ribs comfort food: the "Edna" is a platter of macaroni and cultured cashew cheese topped with barbecue tofu, while the "Shirley" (a stack of snickerdoodle pancakes dusted with cinnamon coconut sugar) is a hit with the brunch crowd, and yes, all the menu options are named this way. The best thing about Root + Bloom, though, is the ambience: though the indoor dining room is obviously de rigueur when it's cold or rainy, the place to be on beautiful sunny days is the breezy patio out back. If you like what you taste, you can even take home your choice of the artisanal vegan products they use in their recipes. $15-25.
- 17 Saigon Café, 520 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Displaced for a few months by the Elmwood Avenue location of Louie's Texas Red Hots, Saigon Café reopened under new management in October 2014, at the long-vacant former location of Mode Urban Bistro at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and West Utica Street. But despite these changes, the fare here remains the same as ever: reliably good Thai and Vietnamese specialties (including some of the best tom yum goong Buffalo has to offer), served in an upscale setting enhanced by the airy ambience of its new home. There's a good reason Artvoice readers awarded Saigon Café the prize of "Best Thai/Vietnamese Restaurant" in multiple annual "Best of Buffalo" polls. $15-35.
- 18 Sato, 739 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Lunch: M-Sa 11AM-3PM; Dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. The range of "modern Japanese cuisine" served here is eclectic indeed, comprising myriad varieties of sushi and sashimi, Japanese curry bowls, and a range of hot and cold appetizers to mix and match (ahi tuna tataki served over mixed greens, daikon, and seaweed salad with soy wasabi dressing is a popular starter). But if Sato is known for anything, it's ramen: while the selection isn't quite as expansive as at its University Heights location, the fare is a relatively authentic if incongruously upscale version of what's served late into the night at inexpensive noodle shops in Japan's endless concrete jungles. Sleek and stylish decor, low lighting, and soft music make for a relaxing experience, but inattentive service is a common complaint. $20-50.
- 19 Street Asian Food, 516 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 4PM-10PM. Thanks to Street Asian Food, fans of the authentic flavors of Southeast Asia no longer have to venture into the fascinating but out-of-the-way West Side to get their fix. But you sure do pay for the privilege of a convenient location. On the menu is pretty much the same roster of Burmese and Thai specialties you'll find elsewhere — tea leaf salad, spicy yum nua beef salad, tom yum and Burmese chicken coconut soups, and the usual curries and noodle dishes — executed in a way that, while making no concessions on authenticity, is noticeably more refined and upscale than you'll find elsewhere in Buffalo. On the down side, portions are quite stingy, and be prepared for a case of sticker shock at the end of your meal. $15-40.
- 20 Taste of Asia, 494 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Tu-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. Between the dashed-off service, the spartan ambience, and a menu of heavily Americanized Chinese, Japanese, and Thai specialties that's no better than what you'd find at your average takeout joint, pretty much every aspect of the Taste of Asia experience could be generously described as "mediocre". Every aspect, that is, except one: the coconut mushroom soup on the "Thai Specials" section of the menu. It's not available at any other restaurant in Buffalo (Sun Express downtown serves a soup that's identically named, but the recipe is completely different), but it is one of the best things you will ever taste. The best comparison would be tom kha, but the broth is less creamy and more savory, with different spices. $15-35.
- 21 Taste of Siam, 810 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Sa noon-10PM, Su 4PM-9PM. What Bobby Sysomboune offers diners here is a small yet innovative range of Thai food served in a great ambience. Taste of Siam's menu is second on the local stage only to the West Side Bazaar's Nine & Night Bistro in terms of authenticity, and it includes specialties served nowhere else in Buffalo: ka nome bang moo (an appetizer of toast stuffed with fried seasoned pork, with dipping sauce on the side), pud prig sod (a spicy stir fry with onions, tomatoes, celery, chili peppers, and your choice of meat), and an impressive range of salads. Best of all, the setting for all this deliciousness is a large, airy two-story dining room bathed in natural light and bedecked with ornate woodwork. Service can be slow, but the food is worth the wait. $15-30.
- 22 Thin Man Brewery, 490 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su noon-1AM. Named for the original automobile crash test dummy, invented in Buffalo in 1949, Thin Man went from zero to arguably Elmwood's most popular eatery within a few weeks of opening day. Owner Mike Shatzel is best known for sparking the craft beer craze in Buffalo, and what he offers here is not only a range of house-brewed beers but a food menu that's a carnivore's wet dream. Options range widely, but pork is the star of the show: between pork belly banh mi, locally sourced T-Meadow Farm pork chops, and even whole suckling pig (call a few days ahead), it's omnipresent among the offerings. Health food this is not. The interior ambience is an odd mix of hipster-friendly industrial chic and chain-restaurant banality; if that's not your bag, try the second-floor patio decked over the sidewalk. $15-50.
- 23 Wing Kings, 484 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM. After doing a brisk business on Hertel Avenue for almost two years, Wing Kings moved to Elmwood in 2018. The menu is the same as at the original, with chicken wings in by far the widest-ranging and most creative selection of flavors in town, from salt and vinegar to General Tso to the ineffable, sweet-and-savory loganberry wings. Prices are a touch on the high side, and these aren't the biggest wings you'll find in town, but if you're an aficionado in search of something different from the usual Buffalo-style or barbecue, you can scarcely do better. $15-30.
- 24 JT's Urban Italian, 905 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 5PM-10PM. Exactly what constitutes "urban" Italian? The definition, it seems, comes down to a rowdy, "bro"-oriented ambience, upscale but unadventurous cuisine served in middling portions, and — above all — inflated prices that the foregoing doesn't really justify. The menu balances a decent selection of pastas, brick-oven pizzas, and main-course salads with a surprisingly ample slate of non-Italian options; if you're looking for something meat-centric, the latter is probably your best bet. One thing that can't be emphasized enough is that JT's is always crowded (reservations are accepted, not that they do much good; these folks have a bad habit of not having your table ready on time), and if you've come for a quiet romantic dinner, the din coming from the bar will put the kibosh on that immediately. $25-70.
- 25 The Terrace at Delaware Park, 199 Lincoln Pkwy. (At Marcy Casino; Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . Tu-F 4PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. Delaware Park's Marcy Casino has played host to a restaurant throughout most of its history — records date all the way back to 1875 — and nowadays it serves an upscale menu described as "contemporary global cuisine", an understatement if there ever was one. Aficionados of cuisines the world over will probably find something to their liking, whether it be the Cantonese baozi on the small-plate menu, Argentinian skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and fried patatas bravas on the side, or Belgian-style duck frites. All this is served in a swanky supper-club ambience that really brings the rich history of the building into focus, but on summer days you can also enjoy one of the loveliest settings in the city on the namesake terrace overlooking Hoyt Lake. $35-60.
- 26 Trattoria Aroma, 307 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-midnight, Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 11AM-3PM (brunch) & 5PM-10PM. Trattoria Aroma serves authentic, rustic Italian cuisine in an upscale trattoria setting. Homemade bread, sausage, pasta, and delectable Italian pastries and desserts are complemented by some of Buffalo's best espresso. Trattoria Aroma also operates a location in the suburb of Williamsville that features a full wine bar. $25-55.
The following local chains have locations in the Elmwood Village. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.
- 27 Charlie the Butcher's Carvery, 770 Elmwood Ave., Suite A (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Daily 10AM-9PM.
- 28 Jim's Steakout, 938 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Daily 10:30AM-5AM.
- 29 Louie's Texas Red Hots, 1098 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20). Daily 24 hours.
The following pizzerias are located in the Elmwood Village. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.
- 30 [dead link] Gino's NY Pizza, 1009 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM, Su 11AM-10PM.
- 31 Just Pizza, 300 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . Su-Th 9AM-midnight, F-Sa 9AM-12:45AM.
- 32 Mister Pizza, 1065 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-midnight, F-Sa 10AM-1AM.
- 33 [formerly dead link] The Elmwood Market, 214 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM. Opened in 2008, the Elmwood Market is a small store that boasts a surprisingly large selection of groceries including fresh produce and cold cuts, as well as general merchandise. The Elmwood Market's on-site café sells mouth-watering sandwiches that are lauded by its customers. Delivery service, money orders, and an ATM are also offered.
- 34 The Globe Market, 762 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-Sa 10:30AM-8PM, Su 10:30AM-7PM. The Globe Market is a delightful combination café and specialty food shop that is committed to offering a wide range of fresh, locally sourced products. An eclectic variety of gourmet salads, soups and sandwiches are made from scratch daily. Personalized gift baskets are also sold at the Globe Market.
- 35 Lexington Co-op, 807 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM. Founded in 1971, the Lexington Co-op sells a dizzying array of natural and organic grocery items that are often locally sourced. Handmade, chemical- and cruelty-free soaps and beauty products are also offered, as well as other merchandise, and "Lexi's Kitchen" serves a range of gourmet prepared foods and bread baked freshly on the premises. Moreover, the Lexington Co-op seeks to educate local citizens about nutrition, consumer and environmental issues, and the principles of the cooperative philosophy. The co-op's 8,000 "member-owners" pay an annual fee to receive special discounts, but the store is open to everyone.
- 36 PriceRite, 250 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM. The selection at this discount supermarket is decidedly hit-or-miss, with one exception: if your self-catering plans involve tropical fruits, roots and tubers, check out the produce section for everything you can imagine and a lot of things you probably can't.
- 37 Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market, Elmwood Ave. at Bidwell Pkwy. (Metro Bus 20 or 26). Sa 8AM-1PM, early May thru early Dec; Sa 10AM-2PM, early Dec thru early May. A neighborhood institution where the products of dozens of farmers, vintners, florists, and artisans from all over Western New York are purveyed in a family-friendly and smoke-free environment, the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market prides itself as being a "producer-only" market — no resellers are permitted. The market also features special events each week such as musical performances, cooking demonstrations, special Wellness Weekends, and presentations by a variety of community groups. In winter, the market moves indoors to St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle.
An artifact of the Elmwood Village's previous identity as a student quarter is the cluster of scruffy dive bars that you'll still find at the north end of the strip, near Buffalo State College. One thing that has changed is that these are no longer college dives — after years of police sting operations, Elmwood bartenders know better than to serve alcohol to folks who are underage — and though it's no less crowded and lively around here than it was in the old days, the scene is far less rowdy than what you'll find in Allentown.
The further south you go along Elmwood — starting, say, around the corner of Bidwell Parkway — the rule of thumb becomes tony, trendy establishments catering to a bourgie clientele. If you prefer a more chilled-out drinking environment, head here.
- Aguacates, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . The bar at this lively Mexican restaurant serves the usual selection of south-of-the-border beers like Corona and Tecate, plus a slate of specialty margaritas and classic mixed drinks and a respectable range of tequila shooters.
- 1 Cole's, 1104 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . This place was once a Pierce-Arrow automobile showroom, and the interior still brims with historic character: black and white subway tile on the floor, scruffy old school pennants that have been tacked on to the wooden beams of the ceiling since God knows when. Quite an environment in which to quaff one of an encyclopedic selection (this is a Mike Shatzel operation, after all!) of beers trending heavily toward regional microbrews and imports. Pub trivia every Wednesday at 8PM.
- 2 [formerly dead link] Forty Thieves, 727 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . It would have been almost impossible to fill the shoes of Blue Monk, the storied gastropub previously at this address that almost singlehandedly kickstarted Buffalo's craft beer scene in the late aughts, and Forty Thieves wisely doesn't even try. The selection at the bar de-emphasizes the esoteric microbrews and imports favored by previous owner Mike Shatzel in favor of a selection of $10 specialty cocktails.
- JT's Urban Italian, 905 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . "Urban Italian" is in this place's name, but the bourgie droves who stream in every Friday and Saturday night are as bridge-and-tunnel as it gets (an expression that admittedly doesn't make much sense in bridge-less and tunnel-less Buffalo, but for lack of a better one, it'll have to do). JT's actually contains two bars, one on each floor: downstairs it's all about loud TVs, louder music, and lively revelry, while those in search of the quiet, laid-back experience that's typical elsewhere on Elmwood can find a semblance of it upstairs. The beer list is nothing to write home about and service is wildly hit-or-miss, but if you like your drinks strong, you'll be pleased with the specialty cocktails.
- 3 McGarrett's, 946 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . In a neighborhood — a city, for that matter — where bars and restaurants feel more and more compelled to come up with contrived gimmicks to outdo each other for the attention of prospective customers, it's almost refreshing when you come across a place like McGarrett's that offers a bare-bones, no-nonsense experience. Here you'll find a decent but not overwhelming selection of beers and mixed drinks, a laid-back, unpretentious ambience, a couple pool tables and a dartboard, and not much else. Cash only.
- 4 Milkie's On Elmwood, 522 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Even on the few odd nights when there's nothing happening onstage, the dive-bar half of the Milkie's operation is open seven days a week serving a limited range of beer, cocktails, and pub grub to a real Who's Who of Elmwood Village denizens (as one reviewer put it, "you're as likely to have a conversation with a random college kid as an octogenarian who has been warming the same bar stool for a few decades"). The operative phrase here is "no frills" — Milkie's is definitely a throwback, seemingly stuck in a time warp before anyone had ever heard the words "artisanal", "locally sourced", and so forth — but if you're on a budget or pretension turns you off, you can scarcely do better.
- 5 Mister Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Take McGarrett's (see above), add a food menu centered around deep-fried appetizers and chicken wings in various varieties, change the clientele from hippies to jocks, and voilà: you have Mister Goodbar, another stalwart on the Elmwood scene. Occasional live music performances are a tradition that hearkens back to the '80s, when Goodbar was one of the premier venues for local punk and new wave bands.
- Nine29, 929 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . If there's any one bar that exemplifies the Elmwood nightlife scene, it's this one. The ambience is lively but not rowdy, the beer selection is decent but not exhaustive (oddly enough, craft microbrews abound but comparatively few local ones are offered), the food menu grafts upscale twists onto a down-to-earth pub-grub substrate, the TVs are invariably tuned to the Bills or Sabres, and from the looks of the clientele you'd swear you were in the 'burbs. Stop by on Sunday mornings for mimosas.
- The Place, 229 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20), ☏ . Around the holidays, a specialty at this friendly neighborhood bar and grill is the "Tom & Jerry", a warm winter beverage of hot water and brandy topped with fresh meringue.
- Sato, 739 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Sato's hip bar is quickly becoming a destination for Buffalo sake lovers. If you're a beginner or just keen to sample as wide a slice of the selection as possible, flights of three are the way to go, while the budget-conscious can opt for the discounted Sake of the Day. They also pour an interesting range of specialty cocktails, and the house-special "Yuz' Not That IPA" is brewed in conjunction with Buffalo's own Community Beer Works.
- 6 Stone City Saloon, 220 Lexington Ave. (Metro Bus 7, 12 or 20). In a November 2019 Gusto review, we're cautioned not to take the word "saloon" too literally — and while it's true that Stone City isn't the place to go for country & western fans looking to get their boot scootin' boogie on, the rock 'n' roll crowd will find the place right up their alley. Think along the lines of DIY concert flyers from local punk bands repurposed as wall hangings, live music every "Boogie Down Thursday" — even the name of the place pays homage to local hero Rick James' '70s- and '80s-era backing band. As for the drink list, you've got the usual lineup of local craft beers on tap and some not-half-bad house cocktails, but overall nothing nearly as pretentious as what you used to see at Vera, the craft cocktail emporium that preceded it in this space.
- The Terrace at Delaware Park, 199 Lincoln Pkwy. (At Marcy Casino; Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . If you're familiar with the name Mike Shatzel, you likely have a good idea of what to expect — a selection of beers that's uncommonly creative and well-curated. True to form, the bar at The Terrace features sixteen brews on tap at any given time, the selection hewing closely to Shatzel's trademark combination of American microbrews and sometimes hard-to-find European imports, plus well-prepared classic craft cocktails that befit the bar's 1920s speakeasy getup.
- Thin Man Brewery, 490 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . More than Allen Burger Venture, Moor Pat, or any of the other places he owns nowadays, Thin Man is the rightful heir to the storied legacy of Blue Monk, the craft-beer mecca on which owner Mike Shatzel built his legendary name. The selections brewed in house by brewmaster Rudy Watkins are augmented by a range of several dozen other craft beers that strikes a near-perfect balance between local beers, craft brews hailing from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, and hard-to-find European imports of the type Blue Monk used to be famous for.
- 7 Thirsty Buffalo, 555 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . Head to this friendly, down-to-earth sports bar on game days to enjoy one of 30 beers available on tap (everything from big-name domestics to local craft brews to imports) and tasty bar food (the chicken wings are renowned, and the selection of sandwiches and wraps is impressive) while watching the Bills or Sabres duke it out with their opponents on one of numerous TVs. Yes, it'll be crowded, but service is always attentive and fast, and the price is right. Pub trivia every Tuesday night at 7PM.
If you're a fan of the coffeeshop scene, the Elmwood Village is the neighborhood for you!
- Blue Mountain Coffees, 509 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-2PM. Serving some of Buffalo's best fresh-brewed coffee, in such unusual flavors as Banana Nut Crème and German Chocolate Cake, along with biscotti and other light accoutrements — and if you like what you taste, you can take a bag of house-roasted beans home!
- 8 Caffe Aroma, 967 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . M-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-1AM, Su 8AM-midnight. It's not that the coffee is anything out of the ordinary. Nor is it the length of the beverage list, the food menu (which is pretty lackluster, actually) or the service. No, the reason why Aroma is perennially the most popular cafe on Elmwood is atmosphere. The cozy seating area is done up in warm tones, and the scent of fresh-brewed coffee hits you the instant you enter. More remarkably still, it manages to pull off a relaxed vibe even at peak hours — and if you want a respite from the crowds, head to the breezy patio facing Bidwell Parkway, the perfect spot for people-watching. Open-mic poetry readings happen every other Wednesday at 8PM.
- 9 SPoT Coffee, 765 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight. For a description of this local coffeeshop chain, see the main Buffalo article.
- 10 Ashker's, 1002 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM. For a description of this local chain of juice bars, see the main Buffalo article.
- 11 Squeeze Juicery, 770 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Squeeze Juicery offers a more upscale if less distinctive alternative to the friendly but gritty, bargain-priced Ashker's up the street. Offered is a huge selection of fresh-squeezed, house-bottled fruit and vegetable juices as well as homemade smoothies, each whimsically named after the owners' favorite '60s, '70s and '80s rock songs. (The "Green Eyed Lady" — a smoothie of spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, flaxseed, hemp seeds, and maca — is especially popular.) Healthy lunches are available too.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
In the old days, accommodation was one of the few amenities the Elmwood Village didn't have in abundance. However, that changed in a big way in April 2017, when the Hotel Henry (see below) arrived on the scene, bucking the longstanding rule of thumb whereby large buildings such as hotels were said to run counter to the neighborhood's low-rise, intimate, "villagey" aesthetic. If an upscale "urban resort" isn't your thing, there's also a pair of quieter, lower-key B&Bs to choose from.
- 1 Hotel Henry, 444 Forest Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 20), ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Architecture buffs take note: the Hotel Henry is located right inside the magnificent Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, whose grand restoration has imbued each of the 88 rooms and suites with historic character. But this place is no time warp: surprisingly modern amenities include a 46-inch wall-mounted flat-screen TV, free WiFi, platform beds with wedge pillows, recessed LED lighting, and multiple electric outlets with USB connections in each of the uniquely laid out standard rooms, with suites boasting further amenities and also further historic details. There's also a 24-hour business center, an indoor fitness room plus 40 acres (16 ha) of grounds for other outdoor exercise, and gourmet dining at the onsite restaurant, 100 Acres. Parking is free, but valet service is available for $10/day. $155-339/night in high season.
- 2 Elmwood Village Inn (Honu House), 893 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM-3PM or by prior arrangement, check-out: 11AM. Located in an unmissable orange house in the heart of the Elmwood Village with a dizzying range of art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants within easy walking distance, the Elmwood Village Inn boasts four individualized guest rooms — the Middle West Room, the Middle East Room, the Skylight Suite, and the Master Suite — and works of art by local artists on the walls. Guests are provided with such complimentary amenities as central AC, wireless Internet, newspapers, and white noise generators. A common kitchenette is available, and light but lovely breakfasts are served in the Salon. On-street parking. $110-160/night.
- 3 InnBuffalo, 619 Lafayette Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: between 3PM and 6PM, check-out: 11AM. In the words of the owners, the Herbert Hewitt House, built in 1898 for the founder of the Buffalo Brass Company, is a "preservation in progress" that your room rates help fund — but the nine suites are ready to accommodate guests in the lap of luxury. They each boast individualized decor and amenities: hardwood floors, private baths with heated marble floors, flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, individual climate control, and free WiFi. The Sarah Dutro Suite is worthy of special mention as the most luxurious of the guest rooms (though not the largest), with its own ornamental fireplace and an elegant sitting area next to a huge bay window that looks out onto pleasant Lafayette Avenue. Limited off-street parking is available in back. $139-249/night.
The nearest post office can be found at 465 Grant St. on the West Side.
Many of the restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses on Elmwood Avenue offer free wireless Internet, in some cases without purchase. These include Starbucks, SPoT Coffee, the Globe Market, and Caffe Aroma.
In addition to free WiFi, the 4 Crane Branch Library at 633 Elmwood Ave. boasts 22 publicly-accessible computer terminals with Internet access. The Crane Branch Library is open M & Th noon-8PM and Tu, F & Sa 10AM-6PM.
Despite the fact that Buffalo's crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, it is still higher than the national average for cities its size. However, the Elmwood Village has a remarkably low crime rate by Buffalo standards, especially in view of the density of bars, shops and other businesses (and people) on Elmwood Avenue. That being the case, there are a few areas where crime, particularly theft, is something of a problem — particularly along Elmwood Avenue between Bryant and West Utica Streets. Visitors should also keep in mind that upon crossing Richmond Avenue from the Elmwood Village to the adjacent West Side, the crime rate rises rapidly and significantly. However, visitors to the Elmwood Village or pretty much anywhere else in Buffalo who exercise common sense — locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight — will be fine.
Given its proliferation of upscale restaurants and shops — and, more to the point, the well-heeled customers that frequent them — it's perhaps not surprising that more panhandlers can be found in the Elmwood Village than anywhere else in the city. However, the personnel of said restaurants and shops are vigilant in shooing away any beggars who make nuisances of themselves, and aggressive panhandling is rarely a problem in any case. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" usually suffices.
The nearest hospitals are Buffalo General Hospital, at 100 High St. in the Medical Corridor, Erie County Medical Center at 462 Grider St. on the East Side, and Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St.
Laundry and dry cleaning
- 5 Big Four Cleaners, 743 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM.
- 6 Bryant Street Laundry, 304 Bryant St. (Metro Bus 7, 12, 20 or 22), ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM.
- 7 Chayban's Custom Tailor and Dry Cleaning, 513 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 10:30AM-6PM, Sa 10:30AM-4PM.
- 8 Laundry Time, 220 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 22), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- 9 Urban Valet Dry Cleaners, 620 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 12 or 20), ☏ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM.
- 10 Village Laundry, 785 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Daily 8AM-11PM.
Places of worship
Much like Allentown and the Delaware District, white Protestant churches predominate among the relatively modest range of places of worship in the Elmwood Village. Perhaps appropriately, far more of these houses of worship can be found on the peaceful, leafy, and dignified Richmond Avenue, rather than the crowded, boisterous Elmwood Avenue.
Shockingly given Buffalo's traditional religious demographics, there is not a single proper Catholic church in the entire district. The nearest one, Blessed Sacrament, is located in the Delaware District.
- 11 [dead link] Newman Center Chapel, 1219 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 32), ☏ . Mass Su 9:30 AM (all year) & 11:30AM (Sep-May), Th 6PM (Sep-May). The home of Buffalo State College's Catholic Campus Ministry, the Newman Center Chapel is located across the street from the college and adjacent to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Services are open to students and visitors alike.
- 12 First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☏ . Services Su 11:15AM. The name of this church, as well as its nickname, the "Mother of All Churches", is literal — founded in 1812, this is the oldest religious congregation of any denomination in Buffalo. Since 1891, the members of First Presbyterian have worshiped in a sandstone church on Symphony Circle designed by the eminent local firm of Green & Wicks, which contains several Tiffany stained-glass windows and which once counted Teddy Roosevelt among its worshipers.
- 13 Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 875 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20 or 26), ☏ . Services Su 10AM & 6PM. Founded in 1832 as the First Free Congregational Church (so named because, unlike the First Presbyterian Church from which the parishioners had split, the church had an open seating plan, rather than charging high rents for the best pews), this congregation was later renamed Lafayette Presbyterian Church for its original location on Lafayette Square downtown. In turn, the church gave its name to Lafayette Avenue, at whose intersection with Elmwood Avenue its current red sandstone, Richardsonian Romanesque church, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1891. Today, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church prides itself on being a welcoming and supportive, yet challenging, community, open to people of all incomes, races, sexual orientations, and other factors — a mindset exemplified by the slogan, "We love you the way you are, but we might not leave you that way."
- 14 Pilgrim-St. Luke's United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 12), ☏ . English-language services Su 10:45AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; "El Nuevo Camino" Spanish-language services Su 9AM except 1st week of each month, Sep-May; bilingual services first Su of each month 10:45AM, otherwise 10AM Jun-Aug. Founded in 1968 as a merger of Pilgrim Congregational Church and St. Luke's German Evangelical Church, Pilgrim-St. Luke's stands at the former location of the Hope Chapel, which had served the spiritual needs of the Elmwood Village since its days as the rural hamlet of Shingletown. Today, Pilgrim-St. Luke's vitality comes largely from its focus on social engagement with the community. Also, like many Elmwood Village congregations, there is an enthusiastic embrace of diversity here; Pilgrim-St. Luke's distinguishes itself in this regard with the accommodations it offers to visually-, hearing-, and mobility-impaired parishioners, as well as El Nuevo Camino, the Spanish-language sister congregation it established in the same building to minister to the Latino community of the West Side.
- 15 St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Cir. (Metro Bus 7 or 26), ☏ . Services Su 9:30AM Jun-Aug, Su 8:30AM & 10:30AM Sep-May. St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church is yet another one that was founded as a merger of two earlier congregations whose membership was dwindling in the wake of Buffalo's late-20th-century demographic shift. In this simplistic yet elegant English Gothic Revival church on historic Colonial Circle can be found a vibrant, diverse and inclusive congregation led since 2002 by the Reverend Philip W. Dougharty.
- 16 Symphony Bible Church, 79 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 22), ☏ . Services Su 11AM. Founded in 1949 and located on Richmond Avenue a block north of Symphony Circle (hence its name), this "fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist church" has been headed for almost half a century by Pastor Ron Crane, a Korean War veteran and former Christian radio personality on WDCX who, according to his biography on the church website, "never goes anywhere to preach without his trademark guitar".
- 17 Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Services Su 10:30AM. Though the stout, sprawling English Gothic edifice that it occupies was not constructed until 1906, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo has a long and illustrious pedigree: founded in 1831 as the First Unitarian Church and originally located downtown, the congregation counted future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as a charter member; Abraham Lincoln attended a service there in 1861. Today, even among the panoply of liberal-minded Elmwood Village congregations, the dedication of the Unitarian Universalist Church to diversity, compassion, and the social betterment of the local community is remarkable. Visitors — especially children, who are encouraged by the church's website to come dressed in "clothes suitable for play" — are welcomed with open arms at the church services, which conclude with coffee hour in the Parish Hall.
- 18 New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 543 Richmond Ave. (Metro Bus 7 or 12), ☏ . Services Su 10:30AM, W 7PM. Affiliated with the American Baptist Convention, this congregation was founded in 1950 and moved some years later to the former Pilgrim Congregational Church on Richmond Avenue.
- 19 Congregation Beth Abraham, 1073 Elmwood Ave. (Metro Bus 20), ☏ . Services 6:30PM one F per month; check website for schedule. Congregation Beth Abraham is the lone holdout in a neighborhood that once boasted more than its share of synagogues (for example, Temple Beth El, Buffalo's oldest shul, was located for many years on Richmond Avenue). This small but active Conservative congregation worships in a small wood-frame building on Elmwood Avenue that was formerly home to the United Brethren Church, and welcomes visitors of all stripes to their lively monthly services.
If you like your nightlife and cultural attractions served up with a heaping side of historic charm, check out Allentown next. As lively as Elmwood Avenue but a good deal more scaled-down and intimate, the bars and restaurants on hip Allen Street attract an edgier and more artistic crowd than the laid-back Elmwood Village — and the lovely brick Victorian cottages on the cozy side streets are an architecture buff's dream come true.
The collegiate vibe that Buffalo State once afforded to the Elmwood Village has shifted westward, breathing new life into the formerly downmarket West Side. Buffalonians in the know will tell you that Grant Street is poised to become Buffalo's next Elmwood, but with a multicultural flair: the Latino community that has long inhabited this vibrant neighborhood has been joined by diverse immigrant communities from Africa, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, as well as by middle-class "urban pioneers" moving into charming but dilapidated houses and restoring them to their former glory. Further south, the Lower West Side boasts still more Olmsted parks and parkways, a bustling Puerto Rican community centered along Niagara Street, charming brick Victorian cottages to rival those in Allentown — and amazing views over Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
On the far side of Delaware Park, North Buffalo is a part of the city where the pleasures are subtler. The shops and restaurants on Hertel Avenue are pleasant without the pretension of the boutiques on Elmwood, the mansions of Park Meadow and Central Park are elegant without the in-your-face ostentation of Lincoln Parkway, and the college dives in University Heights are lively without the crowds of the ones near Buffalo State.