Buffalo gets a bad rap for its seemingly paralyzing winters and its daunting lake-effect snow. The mere mention of the western New York region is met with responses like "Ugh, the snow!" or "it's way too cold up there for me."
But there's a reason millennials are shuffling off to Buffalo in droves, and it's not just for the access to incomparable buffalo wings (although it does help).
Buffalo, or Buffalove as some proud habitants affectionately call it, boasts plenty of reasons to visit (and stay) -- from a rousing art scene to great shopping to yes, the food.
Here are 17 reasons Buffalo is New York state's hidden gem:
1. Buffalo wings just skim the surface of its bustling food scene.
Sure, classics like Beef on Weck and Buffalo Wings (whether from Duff's or Anchor Bar) are great, but there are also tons of trendy eateries like Left Bank, killer subs from places like Marcos (the hot chili mayo is so good) and culinary delights from all over the world at the West Side Bazaar.
2. But if wings are your weakness, you can try for as much heat as you can handle at Wingfest.
The yearly National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival brings in wings from all the best wing joints in the area and beyond. To date it has served over 4.2 million wings in its 14-year run.
3. Sporting events are really events.
Buffalo fans are some of the most devoted in the country. A visit to either First Niagara or Ralph Wilson Stadium or pretty much any bar in the surrounding area on game day is enough to fill you with Buffalove spirit.
4. Winter might be brutal, but oh, summer is perfect.
As a reward for putting up with lake-effect snow all winter, Buffalo truly lights up in the summertime with free Canalside concerts every Thursday. In 2015, performers included Iron and Wine, Matt and Kim and more.
5. Niagara Falls is just a stone's throw away.
And really, this wonder of the world really never gets old.
6. Buffalo boasts some of the most iconic architecture in New York State.
Buffalo residents work hard to maintain and preserve its many architectural landmarks, including seven by Frank Lloyd Wright. There are even architecture tours you can go on throughout the city.
7. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is home to some wonderful, iconic artwork.
Filled with loads of work from Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack, the impressive gallery also boasts artwork from the likes of Matisse and Picasso.
8. But there are plenty of up-and-coming artists to see there, too.
First Fridays, or Allentown's gallery walk, gives visitors the chance to view artwork in the galleries, listen to music, eat, drink and shop.
9. You can shop for things you won't find at the mall.
Buffalo's Elmwood Village is lined with quaint boutiques as well as the outdoor peddler's market, which offers a ton of vintage and retro options each Saturday that you won't find at the nearby Walden Galleria (but let's be real, the Galleria is pretty great, too).
10. And boozy weekend brunch comes without the hefty price tag.
11. In fact, you can enjoy most things without the hefty price tag.
Forbes named Buffalo 2014's most affordable city to live in, adding that "home ownership is attainable for 88.5 percent of the local population."
12. History buffs can get a taste of the past at Theodore Roosevelt's Inaugural site.
13. While beer snobs can get their fill of home-brewed ales all over the city.
14. Music snobs can see a Grammy Award-winning orchestra at their leisure.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which won two Grammys in 2009, plays a full schedule throughout the season at Kleinhans Music Hall, which is, you guessed it, a national historic landmark.
15. The people are just plain nice.
USA Today once named Buffalo "America's Friendliest City," a place where your neighbors are quick to ask how you're doing or help you dig your car out of the snow. Not to mention Buffalo is considered one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the country.
16. Paula's Donuts might literally change your life.
They're ranked 23 on Buzzfeed's "Donuts To Try Before You Die." Their glazed varieties (orange juice, cinnamon and honey dip to name a few) is worth the trip.
17. One word: Wegmans.
Ah, Wegmans. With your reasonably priced goods, pristine aisles and that salad bar, it's no wonder you have developed such a cult following. Did we mention it was also named one of Fortune's best companies to work for in 2015? 11 locations in the Buffalo area can't be wrong.
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