The 10 most Buffalo things to do while you're here for the NCAA tourney - The Buffalo News
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The 10 most Buffalo things to do while you're here for the NCAA tourney

This is the month that people from around the country will do something they never planned – maybe never even considered: pay a visit to Buffalo, N.Y.

Such are the vagaries of the NCAA Basketball Tournament selection process that one day all you know about Buffalo is that its football team lost a bunch of Super Bowls (true) and that it snows here non-stop from August to June (not quite true) and the next day you're booking reservations to spend a few days there.

The attraction is the hoops, but the new arrivals will have time to kill between games and before learning whether their team will be moving on from Buffalo to the next rung on the March Madness ladder. In some cases, these fans might have days to kill when their team bows out on Day 1.

We're here to help.

Visit Niagara Falls

It's not IN Buffalo, despite how often you have seen it on national telecasts when the Bills play at New Era Field -- which also is not in Buffalo. But it's an easy drive from downtown. In under 30 minutes, you could go from complaining about a bad call at the end of the game to seeing a sight that will stay with you the rest of your life.

[PHOTOS: See the spectacular falls during the winter]

Eat chicken wings at the Anchor Bar

You know how you sometimes wake up feeling bloated and guilty on a weekend morning because of everything you ate the night before at a bar? This is the place that gets the blame, the place where Teresa Bellissimo concocted the delicacy that launched billions of blue-cheese-dipped smiles, 10 or so at a time. And it's so close to downtown, you can almost smell it.

[PHOTOS: Smiling faces at an entirely festival dedicated to chicken wings]

The Anchor Bar, home of the chicken wing. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

See the sites and artifacts related to the assassination of President William McKinley

It's not that we're proud to be the place where an assassin's bullet ended the life of a president, but we can't deny that this historic, tragic moment happened here in 1901, during the Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair of the Day. Streets, monuments and schools around here are named for the late president, but it's not easy to find the spot where it happened.

But if you feel like looking, find Fordham Drive in North Buffalo and you can stand on the spot where the shooting occurred. The nearby Buffalo History Museum maintains an exhibit on the lives of presidents with Buffalo connections, and it contains the gun used by assassin Leon Czolgosz.

[RELATED: Why doesn't Buffalo do more to commemorate McKinley's assassination?]

This inconspicuous monument on Fordham Drive in North Buffalo marks the where President William McKinley was shot. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

See where Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated

This site is a source of great civic pride. McKinley lived days after he was shot, finally succumbing on Sept. 14, 1901. His vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, was summoned from a vacation in the Adirondacks and arrived in Buffalo to take the oath of office at the home of Ainsley Wilcox on Delaware Avenue.

The site for years was known as the Wilcox Mansion but is now called the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

[PHOTOS: A Closer Look at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site]

The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

Go shopping at the Walden Galleria

We have other malls, but the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga is what many people consider THE mall in the region. It not only has all the stores you would be used to finding in most major shopping centers, but it also has smaller local chains and boutiques, plus a collection of recognizable chain restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's.

It's a 15-minute drive from downtown, virtually all of it by expressway, and parking is plentiful.

[RELATED: 100 Things - Christmas shop at Walden Galleria]

The Walden Galleria. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Take a walk at Delaware Park

You might need a walk to calm down after your team hits a buzzer-beater to advance, maybe more so if the other team hits a buzzer-beater to eliminate your team. Delaware Park is the jewel in Buffalo's park system, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who is responsible for another park you might have heard of: Central Park in New York City.

The road that rings the park – it's called Ring Road – is a favorite spot for walkers, bikers, runners, parents with strollers and people who are mad about their team losing. (We know how it feels.)

[PHOTOS: A day in Delaware Park]

A bicyclist enjoys a ride in Delaware Park. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Viewing the works of some of the greatest artists who ever put brush to canvas might not leap to mind when you think of March Madness, but maybe this is the week to expand your horizons a bit.

The Albright-Knox is a 10-minute drive from downtown but it could take you on an unexpected journey of discovery.

[RELATED: Albright-Knox raises $100 million with help from Buffalo-born billionaire]

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

See the Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine

Only a cynic would suggest that basketball fans who visit this impossibly beautiful place of worship just beyond Buffalo's southern border would do so to pray for a victory to make it to the Sweet 16. And we are not cynics. Skeptics, sure, but never cynics.

The Basilica is the result of work done by Father Nelson Baker, who is being considered for canonization. Photographs of the Basilica do not do it justice; you have to see it in person.

[PHOTOS: A Closer Look at OLV Basilica]

Tourists from all over the world make the trip to Lackawanna to take in the beauty of Our Lady of Victory Basilica. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Tour the Darwin Martin House

Frank Lloyd Wright might be the most famous American architect who ever lived, and one of his greatest works has been the focus of a restoration project for years. The Darwin Martin House, named for the businessman who had Wright build it, is almost in the shadow of Delaware Park.

Don't take our word that this is a big deal – ask the Rolling Stones. When they played in Western New York in 2015, they paid a visit to the Martin House.

[PHOTOS: A Closer Look at Darwin Martin House]

The Darwin Martin House. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Check out RiverWorks

Despite having waterfront access that would be the envy of many communities, Buffalo only recently began to truly take advantage of the recreational possibilities afforded by its proximity to Lake Erie and the Niagara River. Canalside, the neighborhood where KeyBank Center is located, is one example.

RiverWorks, walking distance from the arena if you don't mind walking about a mile, has options ranging from dining and entertainment to ice skating, curling and looking at the view.

[PHOTOS: RiverWorks' brewery taking shape in grain silos]

The Silo Six-Pack at Riverworks. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

[RELATED: Go back to our full page dedicated to NCAA Tournament in Buffalo coverage]

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