15 Best Buffalo Tours

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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With a population of slightly more than 250,000, Buffalo is New York State’s second largest city.

For much of the 20th century it was an industrial powerhouse, and its economy was powered by the steel, manufacturing, and automotive industries.

Those industries and the jobs they created are largely a thing of the past, and now a significant portion of the local economy is derived from Buffalo’s proximity to Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes.

The region’s weather is particularly harsh in the winter, but with so much natural beauty nearby it’s a great escape for those looking for a change of pace from their urban lifestyles.

1. 2-Day Buffalo Day Trip by Train from New York City

Buffalo, NYSource: Paul Brady Photography / shutterstock
Buffalo, NY

The trip between New York City and Buffalo via train will give guests an amazing overview of many of the state’s varied landscapes.

From megacity, to beautiful countryside to industrial areas that have fallen on hard times, the trip from famous Penn Station will be one you won’t soon forget.

Upon arriving at the Buffalo terminal you’ll meet your local guide and head out to see what the city has to offer.

There’s a lot more to Buffalo than meets the eye, and if off-the-beaten-path adventures are your cup of tea, this tour is a must.

2. Canada Private Day Trip from Buffalo

Niagara Falls, CanadaSource: TRphotos / shutterstock
Niagara Falls, Canada

For those familiar with American geography, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Niagara Falls is the Buffalo area’s biggest tourist draw.

Between the American and Canadian sides it hosts millions of visitors annually, and it’s one of the country’s most amazing natural sites that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The tour accommodates up to 6 guests, and your local guide will give you a fascinating narrative of the falls’ history and significance.

And for the true waterfall lovers there are other famous falls in the area too, and you’ll get to see them all before calling it a day.

A fair amount of walking will be done on the tour so dress accordingly.

3. Zombie Scavengers Game

Zombie Scavengers GameSource: viator.com
Zombie Scavengers Game

Just like every other city in America and maybe the world, Buffalo has been overrun by the zombie craze that’s created quite a stir lately.

This remotely guided zombie scavenger hunt leads participants around the city as they attempt to outwit their already-dead competitors by deciphering clues and collecting hidden items.

You’ll need a smartphone to play, and the goal is to beat rival colonies (other teams) who are after the same supplies that you are.

It’s an action-packed way to have a lot of fun, see some sights you might otherwise miss, and get familiarized with the city’s layout.

4. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Guided Tour

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural SiteSource: Jeffrey M. Frank / shutterstock
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President of the United States, and like I was, you may be surprised to learn that it all happened in Buffalo, New York.

It’s a fascinating bit of local history, and this guided tour will lead guests to the site of the inauguration.

In addition to the site’s interactive displays and exhibits, you’ll have the benefit of learning about the area’s history as a whole.

Entry to the site and your guide’s fee are included, and you’ll have some free time to do a bit of self-guided exploration too if that’s more your style.

5. Crazy Dash Walking Adventure

Niagara Square in Downtown Buffalo, NYSource: Richard Cavalleri / shutterstock
Niagara Square in Downtown Buffalo, NY

Crazy Dash is an activity that includes walking around the city, deciphering clues and performing goofy tasks in order to outperform your competitors.

It’s similar to a treasure hunt and in the course of the game you’ll find yourself rubbing elbows with a lot of locals and getting up close and personal with many of the city’s sights that you’ll probably want to see anyway.

There are 10 checkpoints throughout the city, and at each you’ll have to answer a question or perform a task.

It’s a great idea for birthday parties, team building outings, or for entertaining young ones with short attention spans.

6. Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt

Operation City Quest Scavenger HuntSource: viator.com
Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt

For those brave travelers who pride themselves on their mental stamina and knowledge of arcane and largely useless trivia, this City Quest Scavenger Hunt would be a great way to spend a few hours.

In addition to being downright fun, it’s a great way to hit the streets, see some amazing sights you might otherwise miss, and engage in a little good-natured competition.

The goal of the game is to use your smartphone to answer questions and follow clues leading to more than a hundred items that have been concealed around the city.

It’s a great exercise for families, takes a few hours, and usually involves walking for about 2 miles in total.

7. Private Buffalo Airport to New York Niagara Falls Transfer

At the AirportSource: Travel man / shutterstock
At The Airport

Let’s face it, though professional tour guides can be great assets that add lots of value to your trip, sometimes you’d just rather do things on your own.

If you fall into the latter category then booking this private transfer from the airport in Buffalo to the American side of Niagara Falls would be a great way to see the natural wonder on your own terms.

The transfer is limited to 6 guests due to space limitations, so you won’t have to sit scrunched between annoying people you don’t know for the whole trip.

Though the driver isn’t a guide, he or she will be able to give you some pointers and insight on the best way to see the falls.

8. Skylon Tower Observation Deck Ticket

Skylon TowerSource: Steve Heap / shutterstock
Skylon Tower

Due to its popularity, visiting the Skylon Tower observation deck can include a long wait and jostling with other impatient tourists.

The tour’s observation deck is reached by a high-capacity, glass-enclosed elevator that’ll take you on an express trip to the top which stands at nearly 800 feet over the majestic falls below.

Bar none it’s the place to get bird’s eye view vistas and photos, so take advantage of it.

There’s a spinning dining room with buffet available if you’re hungry, and depending on when you go you may see fireworks or a light show as well.

9. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Niagara Falls Admission Ticket

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Niagara Falls AdmissionSource: viator.com
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Niagara Falls Admission

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum located at the crest of nearby Clifton Hill has just been renovated and reopened for business, and this skip-the-line admission ticket allows guests to breeze through the line if they’re visiting on a particularly busy day.

The museum is full of full-size was mockups of some famous historical, sports, and show-biz figures and is the unofficial selfie capital of the universe.

There is a movie theater and lots of interesting exhibits that’ll keep everyone in your group engaged and interested, and it’s one of the few places where you can see the Dalai Lama, Elton John. and Beyoncé together under the same roof.

10. Niagara SkyWheel Admission Ticket

Niagara SkyWheelSource: getyourguide.com
Niagara SkyWheel

For those guests who have access to the Canadian side of the falls, this Niagara SkyWheel admission ticket will give them an amazing view of the falls below.

Stretching nearly 200 feet into the clean Canadian air, the Niagara SkyWheel is a giant Ferris wheel that gives occupants great views of Horseshoe and American Falls too.

The compartments are climate-controlled and open year-round and in all types of weather.

The wheel moves slowly to make sure everyone gets a good look, and one rotation takes between 8 and 12 minutes.

It’s one of the quick and convenient things to do that you won’t want to miss.

11. Boat Tour on the Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist Boat RideSource: Lissandra Melo / shutterstock
Maid of the Mist Boat Ride

Floating in the mist shrouded pool mesmerizingly close to the magic falls on the deck of a large boat is a great way to appreciate the falls’ splendor.

You’ll feel the immense power of gravity that propels the tons of water over the precipice at a hectic pace.

The tour includes a boat portion as well as a walking portion and together lasts between 4 and 5 hours.

The Maid of the Mist tour boat is a Niagara Falls icon, and on this tour guests will enjoy stops at Bridal Veil, American Falls, and the American Observation Tower as well.

12. Niagara Falls Open Jet Boat Tour

Niagara Falls, New YorkSource: Elena_Suvorova / shutterstock
Niagara Falls, New York

Jet boats are a fast and adrenaline-inducing way to see the Niagara Falls, and before you set out you’ll get a comprehensive safety briefing.

The tour lasts between 45 minutes and an hour and will take guests through some of the rough, whitewater near the falls.

If you’ve never experienced a jet boat you’re in for a wild ride, and when coupled with the class 5 & 6 rapids you’ll encounter and the towering falls, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

You’ll get a historic narration as you pass each area, and like all jet boat rides you’ll get a bit wet, so dress accordingly.

13. Classic All American Tour of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls TourSource: getyourguide.com
Niagara Falls Tour

From Buffalo to Niagara Falls, New York is just about 20 miles, so if you’re staying in Buffalo to save a few greenbacks, you’ll still have easy access to one of the state’s most popular sites.

It’s an amazing natural wonder, and every second nearly 150,000 gallons roar over the precipice before falling to the mist-covered pool below.

The Maid of the Mist is an ever-present sight at the falls, and from the American side it’ll get guests closer to the edge of the falls than may seem prudent, but despite the closeness there isn’t much chance of going over the edge.

It’s fun for the whole family, and a must-do activity when in the area.

14. Niagara Falls Tour with Cave of the Winds and Boat Ride

This value-packed 5-hour tour combo tour includes a few of the area’s other attractions like the elevator at Cave of the Winds which climbs nearly 200 feet above the surrounding Niagara Gorge.

You’ll need rain gear if you want to stay dry, and thankfully it’s included.

You and your companions will appreciate the varied perspectives of American, Horseshoe, and Whirlpool Falls that will all be visible from this amazing viewpoint.

The tour includes round-trip transportation to and from the falls, so all you’ll need to do is enjoy yourself at these amazing natural wonders.

15. Niagara Falls Airplane, Winery and Chocolate Tour

Airplane, Winery, & Chocolate Tour With TastingsSource: getyourguide.com
Airplane, Winery, & Chocolate Tour With Tastings

This half-day airplane tour of Niagara Falls has been described as decadent.

It includes a half-hour flight to the falls in a plane designed with high wings so they won’t obstruct the passenger’s views.

Chilled bubbly and gourmet local chocolates will be served in-flight for your pampered enjoyment.

After the plane has landed you’ll get the opportunity to tour a chocolate factory, get an idea of how their products are produced and of course enjoy a few samples as well.

This is the perfect trip for anyone looking to wow and spoil their love interests, and it’s great for newlyweds too.

15 Best Buffalo Tours:

  • 2-Day Buffalo Day Trip by Train from New York City
  • Canada Private Day Trip from Buffalo
  • Zombie Scavengers Game
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Guided Tour
  • Crazy Dash Walking Adventure
  • Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt
  • Private Buffalo Airport to New York Niagara Falls Transfer
  • Skylon Tower Observation Deck Ticket
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not Niagara Falls Admission Ticket
  • Niagara SkyWheel Admission Ticket
  • Boat Tour on the Maid of the Mist
  • Niagara Falls Open Jet Boat Tour
  • Classic All American Tour of Niagara Falls
  • Niagara Falls Tour with Cave of the Winds and Boat Ride
  • Niagara Falls Airplane, Winery and Chocolate Tour