Buffalo even smells welcoming
The night air in Buffalo smells like Cheerios. This is something people don’t tell you, that the General Mills plant gives off the scent of fresh-baked cereal at all hours. It makes the entire city smell like a combination of mom’s kitchen and a Krispy Kreme, adding to the place’s homey, welcoming feel.
Like a cartoon waft of coffee aroma luring a Looney Tune out of bed, the smell drew me down the street to enjoy the air. After a few blocks of wandering, I found myself in front of the famous Anchor Bar, and this being my first time in Buffalo I had no shame playing tourist and going inside.
Within five minutes of sitting down, two gas workers from across the bridge in Ontario had started up a conversation with me about football. An hour later they picked up my tab and invited me to keep the night going with beers at Fat Bob’s Smokehouse. Even at the tourist traps, Buffalonians are confusingly welcoming -- a big reason why this is one of the best places to be if you’re traveling solo.
At Fat Bob’s, the bartender seemed to think we’d all been best friends for years.
“No, I’m just in town for the weekend,” I told him. “Met these guys at Anchor Bar.”
He smiled as he poured me a draft. “That’s Buffalo for you,” he said. “You say you’re from out of town, and we’ll make sure you love this place as much as we do.”
After four days the people of Buffalo had succeeded. They’d showed me a city that embraced its unglamorous past, and turned it into a destination that has what many in America lack: a sense of place. It doesn’t need new construction, or Michelin-starred chefs, or celebrities filling its hotels.
Make all the jokes you want. Folks in Buffalo know they’ve got something amazing. Spend a weekend here, and you’ll get it, too.