Buffalo has the sunniest and driest summers of any major Northeast city, yet Buffalo averages 8 feet of snowfall annually. It is the undisputed birthplace of the beloved sports bar staple, the Buffalo wing, yet Buffalonians and football championships make the least naughty bedfellows in all of sports. That's alright Buffalo – you are the closest major city to Niagara Falls – the most extreme waterfall in North America by volume – by far.
Buffalo was once in the top 20 most populous cities in the U.S. due in large part to the commerce created as a result of Lake Erie. In 1950 the population of Buffalo peaked at around 580,000. It was, and still is a very immigrant rich city with Europeans making up nearly 50 percent. This, obviously, creates an incredibly diverse cultural landscape for a relatively small city. Today, the population is about 260,000 (70th in the U.S. by size.) Despite this precipitous declining population trend, Buffalo still ranks highly on most surveys of places to live. It ranks number one on the places to live if you're a dog – Milk Bones are produced at 243 Urban Street.
Allentown: Just north of Downtown, Allentown is a great hub. With the theater and entertainment district just to the south, Allentown is an artist community and embraces those bohemian leanings. The Arlington Park section was reinvented by the father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmstead (and home to Frank Lloyd Wright for some time.) Allentown is pretty rich with dining, nightlife, and festivals, and is the center of gay life in Buffalo. Apartments are nearly universally in smaller buildings, converted homes, or duplexes. Studios under $500, 1 BR around $750, 2 BR around $975.
Elmwood Village/Strip: About 4 miles north of downtown lies the most student oriented area of Buffalo, Elmwood Village (more specifically Elmwood Strip for the latter.) Home to countless cafés, coffee houses, antique shops, exercise studios, and the home to Buffalo State College, Elmwood has a feel of informal sophistication. Lots of tree-lined streets and the Albright-Knox Museum with an impressive collection including Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, and Warhol to name a few. Several 1 BR apartments for under $600, with most around $725; 2 BR around $900 and 3 BR about $1,000.
Downtown: With the hauntingly impressive 1929 art deco City Hall at its center, downtown Buffalo is experiencing a renaissance of apartment dwellers. Extremely diverse, downtown in the Nickel City you will find a thriving medical community (Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus – specializing in human genome research) and a 24/7 vibe (Buffalonians love to keep up with that other city in the state.) The Fruit Belt section of downtown is primarily African-American and it fully embraces its seminal role in the Underground Railway. West Village is the most architecturally historic and has the most apartments, and Waterfront Village is the most toney with great views. Allentown is technically part of downtown. Approximately $1,300 for a 1 BR at the waterfront, otherwise around $775. 2 BR $1,550 or $975. North Buffalo: An affordable and pleasant mix of residential and business (Hertel Avenue Business District) and very pedestrian friendly, North Buffalo is comfortable. North Buffalo has a distinctly Italian feel with the 1,000,000+ participants in the annual Western New York Italian Heritage and Food Festival - seriously, how could that not be great? There is also a presence of orthodox Jews in this part of the city. North Buffalo also has the beloved North Park Theatre – arguably the coolest place to catch indie films in the state outside of NYC. North Buffalo is experiencing an influx of young professionals and the prices are increasing, but still quite reasonable. $575 - $725 for a 1 BR; $600 - $850 for a 2 BR; about $900 for a 3 BR.
• Bring a lot of bathing suits and winter coats
• Bring a snow shovel
• Bring your dog – the diverse climate means lots of dogs – including the cold weather breeds. Buffalo even has a few dog friendly restaurants
• Never, ever say the words “wide right.”
• At least if a buffalo is dropped on you you'd likely have a story to tell. If it's a boulder (as in Colorado) probably not.
Now that you know what to bring and where to live, it's time to make your move to Buffalo! Happy hunting!