Buffalo/Elmwood Village

Elmwood Avenue, the backbone of the Elmwood Village, is a crowded thoroughfare of lovely boutiques, art galleries, sidewalk cafés, and fine restaurants.

Buffalo's Elmwood Village is aptly named: it is a delightful combination of the best aspects of urban life — world-class cultural institutions, fine dining, vibrant yet laid-back nightlife, and crowds and bustle — with the friendliness and charm of a small village. The main drag of this enchanting neighborhood, Elmwood Avenue, boasts Buffalo's largest, most diverse, and most longstanding collection of funky boutiques, bars, and restaurants, anchored at its north end by Buffalo State College and the Museum District.

Understand

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, with little of the gritty feel of Allentown; Elmwood Avenue's shops and restaurants cater not to artists and bohemians but to well-heeled yuppies — and, at the north end near Buffalo State College, to the frat crowd. In short, while Allentown can seem like an area that is still on its way up, the vibe in the Elmwood Village is of a neighborhood already in full bloom.

History

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, which moved from its cramped digs on the West Side to what was once the farm tended to by patients of the Buffalo State Hospital, a mental health facility that had been housed for years in a magnificent complex on Elmwood Avenue designed by H. H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted. 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, Elmwood Avenue became a lively strip of bars, restaurants and shops serving the college students — and, more and more, the upwardly-mobile young adults that were attracted to the neighborhood by its liveliness and came to make their homes there.

Though both groups are still a ubiquitous presence in the area, today it's arguably the upscale urbanites, more than the college kids, who contribute the most to the neighborhood's identity. Recent years have seen an emphasis on the neighborhood as a multifaceted community rather than a collection of bars, shops and nightspots, down to a more-or-less official deprecation of the term "Elmwood strip" in favor of the "Elmwood Village". Front and center in this rebranding effort has been the Elmwood Village Association, which was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit partnership of businesses and residents and which today has a hand in nearly every aspect of neighborhood life — from historic preservation, to promotion of local businesses, to political advocacy at City Hall, to operating the weekly Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers' Market in the warm months. The efforts of neighborhood boosters were rewarded in 2007, when the American Planning Association named the Elmwood Village one of "America's 10 Great Neighborhoods" for that year, and most recently in December 2012, with the inclusion of the Elmwood West Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places as a typical and relatively intact example of a late-19th Century streetcar suburb.

Visitor information

The   Elmwood Village Association's office is located in the Lafayette Lofts at 875 Elmwood Ave. It contains a selection of visitor information about the neighborhood and Buffalo in general, as well as a small gift shop. On their website can be found a printable neighborhood guide with a map, descriptions of neighborhood attractions, information on accommodations and dining, half-day, full-day, and two-day itineraries for visitors, and driving directions to the Elmwood Village.

Get in and around

By car

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 metersr; parking is somewhat (but not much) easier to come by in these lots than on-street. Women & Children's Hospital's parking ramp 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!

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.

By bus

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 #20 — Elmwood. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #20 proceeds down Elmwood Avenue through the Elmwood Village and ends downtown.

Crosstown routes

NFTA Metro Bus #12 — Utica. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #12 proceeds along West Utica Street through the Elmwood Village, ending at the University Metro Rail Station.

NFTA Metro Bus #22 — Porter-Best. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #22 proceeds along Summer Street through the Elmwood Village, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.

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.

The 1.1-mile (1.8km) path that circumnavigates Hoyt Lake, in Delaware Park, is one of the Elmwood Village's two recreational bike trails. It's popular year-round with cyclists, walkers and joggers.

By bike

Buffalo has been making great strides in recent years 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 Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kriegel Bike Path, 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 Riverwalk in Black Rock.

Among the largest bicycle infrastructure projects in Buffalo in recent memory is located 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.

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. Among other streets, the Olmsted parkways that run through the Elmwood Village are especially pleasant places for a leisurely ride on a warm day.

Bike sharing

The stretch of Elmwood Avenue between Bidwell Parkway and North Street serves as a hub for Buffalo BikeShare. Members can sign in to the Social Bicycles mobile app to find available bikes there.

On foot

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.

See

Art

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.

Standing on the north shore of Hoyt Lake, the Buffalo History Museum is one of the crown jewels of Buffalo's Museum District. A resplendent Neoclassical building designed by eminent Buffalo architect George Cary, the museum was built in 1901 as the Pan-American Exposition's New York State Building, the only permanent structure erected for that World's Fair that was Buffalo's shining hour.

History

Other museums

Architecture

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", is the rationale for the creation of the Elmwood West Historic District. Comprising essentially the entirety of the Elmwood Village west of Elmwood Avenue, the Elmwood West Historic District is, as of March 2013, the newest — and, at 275 acres (115ha) in area, by far the largest — historic district in Buffalo to be inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed Elmwood East Historic District, whose nomination to the National Register is still pending as of this writing, is located on the other side of Elmwood Avenue and shares many of 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.

Large frontal gables, asymmetrical façades, and conical turrets (center) are all characteristics of the Queen Anne style of architecture, which can be found all over the Elmwood Village's housing stock. These houses are located on Ashland Avenue between Hodge Avenue and West Utica Street,

Also located near Lincoln Parkway is the   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 (36ha) 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. Ideas that have been proposed for the complex, or parts thereof, include a luxury boutique hotel and a museum dedicated to the distinguished architecture of Buffalo and Western New York.

Outdoors

Parks

The Delaware Park Rose Garden in full bloom, June 2013.
  •   Delaware Park Rose Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Delaware Park's beautiful Rose Garden is located 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 recently subjected to a thorough restoration at the hands of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. 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!
  •   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:
  •   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.
  •   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.
  •   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.
  •   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."

Do

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.

Summer

Autumn

Sports

Theater

Live music

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.

The Student Union Quad at Buffalo State College. Buffalo State is the second-largest institution of higher education in Buffalo, and its 127-acre (51ha) campus dominates the north end of the Elmwood Village.

Learn

  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.

Buy

Clothing and accessories

Art

Jewelry

Books

Chocolate and candies

Music

Specialty foods

Tattoos and piercing

Elmwood Avenue is Buffalo's prime destination for upscale shopping, dining and nightlife.

Furniture and home decor

Liquor, beer and wine

Toys and gifts

Miscellaneous

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $20
Mid-range $20-40
Splurge Over $40

The Elmwood Village boasts a range of dining options that is almost inarguably the most eclectic in the city. On Elmwood Avenue, trendy bistros with creative and upscale cuisine stand shoulder-to-shoulder with lively pubs, pizza parlors and greasy spoons that cater to the college crowd (understandably, the latter become more numerous as one travels from south to north, toward Buffalo State). Travellers who want to try out one of the Greek diners that are ubiquitous in the Niagara Frontier can scarcely do better than Elmwood Avenue, where they are numerous and reliably good.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Local chains

The following local chains have locations in the Elmwood Village. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.

Pizza

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.

Groceries

Farmers' markets

The north end of the Elmwood strip is dominated by bars, take-out restaurants and other businesses oriented toward students of the adjacent Buffalo State College.

Drink

Buffalo State College is located at the northern end of the Elmwood strip, thus there is a large cluster of bars at the north end of the district that cater to a youthful (often underage) crowd of fraternity members and other college students, and can be quite crowded on weekends during the school year. It should be emphasized, however, that drunken violence is far rarer in the Elmwood Village than on Chippewa. Further south along Elmwood, the bars quickly transition from college dives to upscale establishments catering to trendy, upwardly mobile urbanites.

Coffee shops and miscellaneous

If you're a fan of the coffeeshop scene, the Elmwood Village is the neighborhood for you!

Sleep

One thing the Elmwood Village does not have in abundance is accommodations. As demonstrated by the howling protests that forced the abandonment of a proposal for a hotel at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues about ten years ago, large buildings such as hotels run counter to the neighborhood's low-rise, intimate, "villagey" aesthetic. Moreover, the recently finalized plan to place a luxury boutique hotel in part of the Richardson-Olmsted Complex once its restoration is complete is still in an embryonic stage, with its projected opening date several years off. The Elmwood Village is quite easily accessible from downtown and Allentown; those who would like to experience this vibrant district, but are not interested in any of the quaint B&Bs listed below, would likely be well-served by a hotel in those areas.

Connect

The nearest post offices can be found at 1245 Main St. in Midtown, and 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, Coffee Culture, and Caffe Aroma.

In addition to free WiFi, the   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.

Stay safe

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 just north of Women & Children's Hospital, 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.

Despite catering to a clientele that's made up largely of (often underage) students of nearby Buffalo State College, the Elmwood Village's bar scene is decidedly laid-back, with drunken violence like that of Chippewa Street quite rare. The watchful eyes of the Buffalo Police on weekend nights ensure that things stay that way.

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.

It bears mentioning that despite the reduction in its size and importance in the wake of the deinstitutionalization that began in the 1970s, the Buffalo Psychiatric Center is still in operation in a small part of the Richardson-Olmsted Complex. On Elmwood Avenue, psychiatric patients that have been let out on "day passes" are not an uncommon sight. Visitors should not worry, however, as dangerous individuals are never allowed out on day passes, and reports of trouble are rare — feel free to ignore the Buffalo State students who whisper about the (likely apocryphal) rumors of mental patients picked up in the dorms by campus police!

Established in 1892, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo is among the first institutions of its kind in the United States.

Cope

Hospitals

For most medical emergencies that a traveler may encounter, 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

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.

Roman Catholic

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.

Protestant

Black churches

Jewish

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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.

In recent years, the collegiate vibe that Buffalo State has afforded to the Elmwood Village has also spread 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 in recent years by diverse immigrant communities from Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, as well as 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.

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