20 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Buffalo

Morgan Culhane
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Buffalo, New York is officially making a comeback, and everyone is talking about it.

The city’s resurgence has landed this particular Rust Belt city on list after list, including 52 Places to Go in 2018 by The New York Times. If you’re planning a move to Buffalo, here’s what you need to know.

1. Buffalo lives up to its tagline.

The “city of good neighbors” is a testament to the sense of community here. Buffalo has a hometown feel in a city setting. People are friendly and kind. If you ask – and even if you don’t – people are ready and willing to help a stranger.

2. Bills fans are forever loyal.

Fans unconditionally love the Buffalo Bills. Do not ask us why. We show up when the sun is shining, and on the coldest, snowiest days of the year. When the forecast predicts six feet of snow on game day, fans show up ready to shovel the stadium. Buffalo is called a drinking city with a football problem, and after your first tailgate you’ll understand why.

3. Buffalo LOVES to drink at all hours.

The bars are open until 4 a.m. and locals are closing them down every night. Come football season, fans wake up and start tailgating at 8 a.m. or earlier.

4. Foodies are welcome here.

New restaurants are opening all the time, and Buffalo foodies love supporting local eats. Buffalo celebrates Local Restaurant Week twice a year, hosts all types of food-themed festivals, welcomes food trucks everywhere, and has a Buffalo Dinner Club for the foodie community. The local restaurant scene was recognized by Food & Wine, and WalletHub ranked Buffalo #31 on Best Foodie Cities in America in 2017.

5. Buffalo’s chicken wings are the best wings.

Chicken wings were invented here in Buffalo at Anchor Bar. We take this accomplishment very seriously. If you have tried “Buffalo wings” in another city, it is simply not the same. Please don’t try to tell us otherwise. Everyone has a different opinion about where to find the best wings, so trying every spot is totally acceptable. Be forewarned, if you request ranch instead of blue cheese people are 100% judging you.

6. Snow days are uncommon.

A little snow doesn’t shut down the city. A lot of snow doesn’t shut down the city. When the forecast shows feet of snow, it’s no guarantee you’ll be staying home from work or school. City crews are plowing and salting as early as possible to keep the roads safe and driveable.

7. Winters are not as bad as people say.

Even though our winters can be long and snow piles up, we don’t stop living our lives. Snowstorms bring the city together. Come wintertime, people are still out eating, drinking, and socializing. When a major storm hits, neighbors are helping neighbors.

8. Sunny days are common.

Contrary to popular belief, Buffalo sees its fair share of sunny days. Statistics show 155 sunny days per year. When the snow melts and temperatures reach 50+ degrees, the city is ready for summer.

9. Summers get hot and lit.

The city comes alive in the summer. The number of events happening from May through August can be overwhelming. Filling your social calendar is easy, especially with blogs like Step Out Buffalo sharing the scoop on what’s going on every week.

10. The rent is reasonable.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Buffalo is $909 a month according to RENTCafé. Compared to larger cities, you are getting much more space for much less money. Rent varies from neighborhood to neighborhood.

11. History was made here.

Back in the day, Buffalo was a bustling and prosperous industrial hub. The city served as the western terminus for the Erie Canal, and this really put WNY on the map. In its prime, Buffalo had the largest capacity for grain storage in the nation, the most millionaires per capita in the world and was host to the Pan-American Exposition.

12. The waterfront is huge and growing.

Buffalo’s waterfront has historical significance and much of that is preserved to this day. Abandoned grain elevators have been transformed into a 10-story, six-pack of Labatt Blue beer on the waterfront complete with a zipline course. You can explore the waterfront by kayak, canoe, water bike, or boat. Come summertime, the waterfront is the place to be for concerts and events.

13. The air smells like Cheerios.

When you are driving into the city, you may notice the smell of fresh-baked cereal. You are not dreaming. The General Mills plant operates 24/7, so you can get a sweet sniff at all hours.

14. The city is filled with architectural gems.


From the many Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to the historic parks designed by the renowned 19th-century architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Buffalo is known for its architecture. The 378-feet art-deco skyscraper offers panoramic views of Lake Erie and Downtown Buffalo, earning Buffalo City Hall a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

15. The public art scene is booming.

As the city continues to grow, so does the art scene. Many local and visiting artists have made their mark here. New murals and art installations add color and texture to the city’s public spaces, and art museums welcome new vibrant and contemporary work.

16. Buffalo loves drinking holidays.

Did you know Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is considered one of the best in the country? The Irish and Irish-for-the-day population love this holiday. As the official Dyngus Day capital of America, we throw the #1 party in the USA. No matter if you’re super Polish, semi Polish, or not at all Polish, you’re invited to grab a pussy willow and drink from morning through night.

17. Public transportation is available, but it’s not the same.

Did you know Buffalo is the second largest city in New York State? Despite the overwhelming misconception that living in NYS equals living in NYC, Buffalo is a 6-hour drive away from the Big Apple. The Buffalo Metro Rail is our public transit rail system, and it is only 6.4-miles long. We have buses running throughout the city and surrounding suburbs too, but the ease of public transportation is far from comparable to the New York Subway.

18. Canada is within spitting distance.

Crossing the border to Canada is almost too easy. There are four border crossings in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area, including Lewiston-Queenston, the Whirlpool Bridge, and the Rainbow Bridge in the Falls and the Peace Bridge in Buffalo. Accidentally ending up at the border is a very real possibility. One minute you are driving along Buffalo’s waterfront and the next you are being asked for your passport.

19. Buffalo is on the up-and-up.

The young adult population is growing in Buffalo so much so that it is outpacing the national growth rate. Over the past five years, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds relocating here continues to increase, landing Buffalo a spot on TIME’s list for the top 25 cities where millennials are moving.

20. People LOVE living here.

If you are looking to move to a city you’ll love living in, that’s Buffalo. People grow up here and choose to stay. Millennials move away and come back. People who have never heard of Buffalo discover the city and relocate here. The love for Buffalo is very real, and constantly growing.

Moving to Buffalo? Need a place to store your stuff? Find and reserve a self-storage unit on SpareFoot in minutes!


Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 27, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Morgan Culhane

Morgan is a freelance writer based in Buffalo, NY.
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