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Elmwood & Hertel: Two strips that teens find hip

One of the most popular pastimes of high schoolers is hanging out with their friends. However, the question that plagues many a teen is “Where do you want to meet?”

Elmwood Avenue and Hertel Avenue are two of the most popular streets in Buffalo. Oftentimes, the part of Elmwood Avenue called Elmwood Village is perceived as the trendier spot, with its wide array of coffee shops, clothing stores and restaurants. But more recently Hertel Avenue has received a face-lift, with the opening of more clothing stores and a SPoT Coffee. While both areas have a lot to offer entertainment- and food-wise, each street has its own personality.

Elmwood Avenue

On a daily basis, the Elmwood Village attracts a multitude of high schoolers, with Buffalo Seminary, Nardin Academy and Canisius High School all located in the area. Some of the most popular places to get something to eat or grab a coffee are Elmwood Taco & Subs, also known as ETS, Starbucks, Jim’s Steakout and SPoT Coffee. These restaurants are great for teens because they sell relatively inexpensive food that is served up quickly.

If you choose to get take-out food, a popular place to eat outside is on Bidwell Parkway, which is located steps away from the heart of Elmwood Village. It provides a spacious area to eat or goof around with your friends. If you’re relaxing on the parkway, you can always expect to encounter someone playing music or see groups of guys and girls dancing or playing a game of football.

Once you’ve had something to eat, you can experience the various clothing and gift shops located on Elmwood. For friends’ birthday gifts, many teens will walk up and down Elmwood and select a few items from different shops. Some of the popular stores for teens on Elmwood are Spoiled Rotten, Everything Elmwood, Positively Main Street, Half and Half Trading Co., Clutch and Plum Pudding. These stores offer everything from clothing and accessories to quirky gifts like printed mugs or magnets.

Last summer, Elmwood Avenue also became a destination for teens to find frozen treats. Elmwood now boasts two self-serve frozen yogurt shops: White Rabbit and Yotality. These are especially popular with teens since they have the power to choose whatever toppings they want (as long as they can afford it).

If you and your friends are feeling intellectual, the Buffalo History Museum, Burchfield Penney Art Center and Albright-Knox Art Gallery also are located on Elmwood Avenue, minutes away from the shopping portion of the village.

Hertel Avenue

Although Hertel Avenue does not have open park space or museums and large art galleries like Elmwood, it’s still a fabulous place to go shopping, catch a movie or grab a bite to eat.

Hertel Avenue boasts a plethora of restaurants, featuring just about any type of food you can think of – Italian, Greek or Thai, for example. Especially popular places for teens to visit on days off from school are Kostas, Bob and John’s La Hacienda and SPoT Coffee. These restaurants serve all meals, with many options such as french toast, pizza, panini and souvlaki.

Hertel does not have a frozen yogurt shop, but ice cream, candy and chocolate can be enjoyed at the Bella Mia Chocolate Shop or Eaton Chocolate. The Chocolate Shop also sells Perry’s ice cream, nostalgic “penny candy” and Beatles memorabilia. Eaton Chocolate sells Lake Effect Ice Cream, as well as confections such as chocolate-covered Oreo cookies and specialty candy bars.

In the past several years, many clothing and accessory stores have opened on Hertel Avenue, including Modern/Nostalgia, P.S. Accessories, Chic and Sweet, Deja Lu Boutique and Blue Collar. These are great stores to visit if you’re looking to give your wardrobe an update. They have unique styles, plus the bonus of supporting local businesses.

One truly special part of Hertel Avenue is the North Park Theatre, a historic movie theater that opened in 1920. In more recent history, the North Park was run by Dipson Theatres, as a one-screen moviehouse. After Dipson’s lease at the North Park ended last spring, the new owners closed the theater for renovation. They have now restored the theater to its former glory, and updated it with a digital projector. It will soon reopen as a theater for movies as well as live performances.

Both Elmwood and Hertel avenues offer activities and food to keep teens entertained for hours. Now, the only question is: “Where should we go? Elmwood or Hertel?”

Tracy Werick is a junior at City Honors.