Don't wait for the relatives to come to town. Make time now, as the summer wanes, to get to know some new corner of Buffalo, or a local treasure you've always wondered about.
But why limit your explorations to driving around aimlessly wondering which illustrious architect designed what? Instead, take any one of the (quite literally) dozens of tours offered every day of the week. There are now so many tours available that you can choose from among some pretty unique perspectives.
For instance, look up at the historic grain elevators from a kayak. Or climb to the top of these imposing structures and soak in the views. Check out the skyline and delve into the past from aboard a boat. Or board a bus and bar-hop, garden-hop or view stately edifices by America’s finest architects. Hop on a bike and delve into Buffalo’s neighborhoods. Perch on a segway and explore the Museum District. Yes, Buffalo has a Museum District.
RiverKeeper offers kayak tours like those to Strawberry Island (August 25) and Built By Immigrants (August 26). And Explore Buffalo is partnering with Elevator Alley Kayak to offer Elevator Alley tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays all summer. These paddles are a neck-craning, eye-opening way to discover the critical role these behemoths played in the history of Buffalo.
Silo City: Vertical tours, also by Explore Buffalo, take you up to the very top of the grain elevators. Although not for the faint of heart – or those with a fear of heights – the rest of us revel in the thrill and the view. But hurry. The last Vertical tour in August is on Wednesday, August 27.
If you’re into both heights and great views, the 28th floor Observation Deck of City Hall is free. You have the added benefit of a trained Buffalo Tours docent to tell you what you’re looking at in this Art Deco masterpiece on most weekdays from Noon-1:00pm. Wow!
Experience Buffalo from the deck of a top-sail schooner. The Spirit of Buffalo allows you to sail back in time, powered by just the wind. Do an evening or a sunset sail, a dinner sail, a craft brew sail, or even a pirate cruise. All are informative, and some are quite tasty, too. Or board a Buffalo River History Tours boat on the Central Wharf at Canalside for a water-borne view of the Queen City on the Lake. These daily narrated tours are better than boarding a bus.
But if you like buses, there are lots of Buffalo bus tours these days. Start with a Whirlwind Tour for a quick overview of Buffalo’s awesome architecture at 10:00am any Saturday or Sunday. Follow it up with a Waterfront Bus Tour at 12:30pm. Both are offered by the incomparable Tim Tielman. Or take the Historic Treasures or the Waterfront & South Buffalo bus tours by Explore Buffalo. Forgotten Buffalo takes you to historic pubs for a bite, a brew and a trip down memory lane. If you prefer wine and a walk, try the Wine in the City Tour (August 22).
Bike tours also abound. Check out the Art in Buffalo scene by bike (August 23) or learn about Luxury Living while riding through the opulent Delaware District (August 16), just two of nine tours on two wheels by Explore Buffalo.
There are so many walking tours it’s simply impossible to list even a fraction of them. The Richardson Olmsted Complex just added a new 90-minute tour: Relaxation and Recreation: Transitions of the Healing Acres (August 11 and September 12) that includes a peek into the original kitchens! Another new tour that looks interesting is a Saturday Walking Tour Around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park with Brian Dold of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (August 8 and September 12). You’ll discover the original name of the lake and learn about the herons.
Or take a spin around the lake on a segway. The Buffalo Touring Company, based in the Buffalo History Museum, does Museum District tours that include the Museum, the Albright-Knox, the park, the Zoo and the lake.

Don’t forget that most of Buffalo's architectural and historic treasures also offer their own regularly scheduled tours. There are Sunday tours, the Pan-American Exposition Trolley Tour (August 15) and much more at Forest Lawn, daily tours of the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff. Try any one of a dozen upcoming walking tours sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Historic Site starting with Allentown & Frederick Law Olmsted (August 11).

If you just want to walk around on your own, try one of Visit Buffalo Niagara's two free self-guided walking tours, complete with downloadable maps and apps. Choose from Elmwood Village & the Delaware District and The Allentown Amble.
This is just a very small sample of the almost embarrassing wealth of fascinating tours that provide fun windows into the rich tapestry that is Buffalo. Fortunately, you have plenty of time. Tours are now available year round in Buffalo. See you around the neighborhood!