Celebrate the New Year with Explore Buffalo by visiting some iconic downtown buildings and learning about their history and architecture while staying warm inside! Full disclosure: you will venture outside between sites!
INSIDE DOWNTOWN – NORTH
Jan. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 31 • 10:30am Meet: Spot Coffee at 227 Delaware Ave., at the corner of Chippewa Street. Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the northern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include Goldome Bank, Market Arcade and the Electric Tower. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors.
Two-hour metered parking is available on Delaware Avenue and other nearby streets, or private parking lots are available – the closest is on Delaware Avenue next to Spot Coffee. The nearest MetroRail station, Fountain Plaza, is three blocks away.
INSIDE DOWNTOWN – SOUTH
Jan. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27 • 10:30am Meet: Buffalo Harbor Museum at 66 Erie St., near the corner of Franklin and Swan streets. Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the southern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include St. Joseph's and St. Paul's Cathedrals, Ellicott Square Building and the Old Post Office. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors.
Street parking in downtown Buffalo is free on weekends. Private paid parking lots do require payment on weekends. The nearest Metro Rail stop is the Swan Street station, approximately two blocks away. (Erie Street has been converted into a park).
Jan 5, 12, 19, 26 • 12:00pm Meet: This tour meets inside Goldome Bank, now M&T Fountain Plaza Branch at One Fountain Plaza, Buffalo. Cost: General $10, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Goldome Bank is one of Buffalo's most recognizable landmarks, with its gold-leafed dome glistening in the sun. Built in 1901 as Buffalo Savings Bank, today the building is a branch of M&T Bank. From the Steps to Success at the entrance to the top of the golden finial on the dome, this building was designed to convey an impression of prosperity and stability. Join us for an interior tour of this iconic downtown building and discover the incredible architectural detail found throughout the interior.
This tour is 45 minutes to one hour in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather! Most of this tour is indoors, but a brief portion of the tour is outside. Cameras are encouraged! Please note there are photography restrictions in certain sections of this tour. Street parking is available on nearby streets, and the Metro Rail Fountain Plaza station is directly outside the building.
INSIDE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
Jan. 4:00 - 6:00pm Meet: St. Mary’s School for the Deaf at 2253 Main St., Buffalo.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass $10
St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, established in Buffalo in 1853 as the first academic school for the deaf in the country, was relocated from Edward Street to its current location on Main Street in 1898. This two-hour walking tour highlights the beautiful architecture of this historic building and offers fascinating information about the history and culture of deaf people in the Buffalo area. The tour also offers a glimpse into the current world of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in the 21st century.
Highlights of the tour include original woodwork from 1898, stained glass windows in the former chapel, the school’s cherished museum which houses a wealth of artifacts and photographs from throughout the decades at St. Mary’s, and a brief meet and greet with a few of the school’s residential students, which comprise approximately 30 percent of the current school population. Join us for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!
This tour is approximately two hours in length. The tour is indoors (in good weather, a small amount of the tour may be outside) and includes approximately two miles of indoor walking within the building. Stairs are typically used, but elevators are available if needed. Tour admission fees are shared with the school to support their museum and archives. St. Mary’s School for the Deaf is at 2253 Main St., Buffalo. Enter the driveway from Main Street to use the parking lot which is behind the buildings; the main entrance faces the parking lot and is up a flight of stairs to the right of the bridge that the driveway goes underneath.
LOOKING UP: DOWNTOWN CEILINGS & SKYLIGHTS
Jan. 5, 19 • 1:00pm Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! This tour will reveal the ornate ceilings and skylights found in many buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. While many people walk underneath them on a daily basis, the ceilings of many of Buffalo's buildings are often their least-noticed feature. Join us on this tour to discover these beautiful works of art, many of which are hiding in plain sight!
The Western New York Book Arts Center is at 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
ART OF THE SUBWAY
Jan. 21 • 10:00am Meet: University Metro Rail Station on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Buffalo’s Metro Rail system is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of modern art! Each station features unique artwork by a wide variety of artists, which will be seen on this tour as you travel from one end of the Metro Rail system to the other, getting off at each station along the way.
The University Metro Rail Station on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Plentiful free parking is available adjacent to the University Station in the Park-and-Ride parking lot. Metro Rail fare is not included in the tour price and must be purchased separately. This tour is approximately three hours in length and will end in downtown Buffalo, where you may either board an outbound train to return to University Station or stay for lunch before returning.
Jan. 26 • 2:00pm Meet: Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., Buffalo. Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free
Join us for a tour inside one of Buffalo’s most historic industrial buildings! The Tri-Main Center’s history encompasses four different eras, beginning with Ford in 1915, continuing through Bell Aircraft and Trico, to the present day as a mixed-use facility housing over 100 different companies over six floors and 575,000 square feet. This tour will highlight the past, present and future of this massive building. As you wind your way through the Tri-Main Center, you’ll learn about the building’s history and see some of the current tenants. The tour will end at the Buffalo Arts Studio, which you are welcome to explore on your own at the end of the tour as part of their free Fourth Friday event.
The main entrance to the Tri-Main Center is on Halbert Street, one block east of Main Street, between E. Jewett Parkway and Rodney. There is plentiful free parking in lots and on the street.
For more information on any of these tours and to purchase tickets, please visit explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032.
Advance reservations are encouraged but not required for all tours. All credit card payments must be made in advance. Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks are accepted at the start of the tour. If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email or be prepared to show it on your phone. Most tours are between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather!
Winter Weather Cancellation Policy: Tours will be cancelled if there is a travel advisory in place in the City of Buffalo. A notification will be sent out to any pre-registered guests at least one hour in advance of any cancellation. In the event of a cancellation, a transfer to a different tour date or a refund will be provided.