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Explore Buffalo Tours Continue into November | Arts & Culture

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Explore Buffalo Tours Continue into November
Explore Buffalo Tours Continue into November

Here’s your last chance this season to enjoy a walking tour with Explore Buffalo! There are still many inside events taking place throughout the winter though, including downtown interior tours and the speaker series. Visit Explore Buffalo’s website – explorebuffalo.org – for updates and more information.

Inside St. Mary’s School for the Deaf
6 to 8 p.m. November 2 
Meet: St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main St., Buffalo. Enter the driveway from Main Street to use the parking lot which is behind the buildings; the main entrance faces the parking lot and is up a flight of stairs to the right of the bridge that the driveway goes underneath.
Cost: Adults $15, Explorer Pass Holders $10, Students $5

Mary’s School for the Deaf, established in Buffalo in 1853 as the first academic school for the deaf in the country, was relocated from Edward Street to its current location on Main Street in 1898. This two-hour walking tour highlights the beautiful architecture of this historic building and offers fascinating information about the history and culture of deaf people in the Buffalo area. The tour also offers a glimpse into the current world of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in the 21st century.

Highlights of the tour include original woodwork from 1898, stained glass windows in the former chapel, the school’s cherished museum which houses a wealth of artifacts and photographs from throughout the decades at St. Mary’s, and a brief meet and greet with a few of the school’s residential students which comprise approximately 30 percent of the current school population. Join Explore Buffalo for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!

Fall Speaker Series Session 3: Politics and Buffalo
7 to 9 p.m. November 3 
Meet: First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $10, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Presidents in Buffalo: Which Ones and When?
Every time a United States president visits Buffalo, the question arises: How many presidents have come to Buffalo (or the region), either before, during or after their presidency? The answer may not be definitive yet, as researchers continue to discover new information. Aside from our two resident presidents, you may be surprised to learn who came first, the most, or not at all.

Fillmore and the Compromise of 1850
President Millard Fillmore spent most of his life outside of his presidency in Western New York, but how much do Buffalonians really know about this president? And why do some historians consider his presidency to be less than stellar? Is it a fair response or is there more to it? Come learn more about Fillmore’s political career and how Buffalonians may come to terms with it.

Masters of American Architecture
10 a.m. November 4, 5, 11, 12
Meet: Visit Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center, Washington & Clinton streets, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $15, Student Admission $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

At the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo was the eighth largest city in America and the city’s businesses, organizations and citizens had the financial resources to hire the best architects and craftsmen and use the finest materials available. See signature works by some of America’s greatest architects on this downtown walking tour and learn about the prominence of Buffalo on a national scale at the turn of the 20th century. Buildings included as part of this tour include: St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Patrick Keeley; Old County Hall, Andrew Jackson Warner; Guaranty Building, Louis Sullivan & Dankmar Adler; St. Paul’s Cathedral, Richard Upjohn; Ellicott Square Building, Daniel Burnham & Co.; and the Old Post Office, Jeremiah O’Rourke, William Akin & James Knox Taylor. Building interiors are featured wherever possible but access is not guaranteed; this depends on building availability, which can change with short notice, such as during funeral services at the cathedrals. 

Beaux Arts Buffalo
1 p.m. November 4, 11 
Meet: Spot Coffee, Delaware Avenue & W. Chippewa Street, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $15, Student Admission $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a downtown walking tour of some of the best examples of the Beaux-Arts style in Buffalo! Popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, Beaux-Arts, which translates as “Beautiful Arts” and began in Paris, is characterized by elaborate detail and ornamentation, with many classical influences. The buildings seen on this tour exemplify Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century when the city was the eighth largest in America and hosted the Pan-American Exposition. Many were designed by prominent local architectural firms, including Green & Wicks and Esenwein & Johnson.

On this tour, you will see exteriors and interiors of commercial buildings built in the Beaux-Arts style and learn about their history (note that more interiors are accessible on weekdays than on weekends). Many of these buildings have been meticulously restored in recent years to meet current needs, including the Electric Tower and Market Arcade.This tour meets at Spot Coffee at 227 Delaware Ave. at the corner of Chippewa Street. Two-hour metered parking is available on Delaware Avenue and other nearby streets, or private parking lots are available – the closest is on Delaware Avenue next to Spot Coffee. The nearest MetroRail station, Fountain Plaza, is three blocks away. Street parking downtown is free on weekends.

Silo City: Vertical
10 a.m. November 5, 12
Meet: 120 Silo City Row, Buffalo. Turn from Ohio Street onto Silo City Row, and enter Silo City through the gate. Ahead on your right will be a small brick office building where the tour will assemble. Ample parking is available on site.
Cost: General Admission $35, Student Admission $30, Explorer Pass Holders $30

Silo City: Vertical will take you to the top of the American and Perot grain elevator complexes. Approximately 2.5 hours in length, you will experience all of the history and mechanics of the grain elevator, as well as the malt production process in the Perot malthouse on this in-depth tour. A look at some of the regenerative projects ongoing at Silo City is included.

Please note that Silo City: Vertical is not recommended for those with a fear of heights. Participants in this tour must be physically able to go up approximately 100 feet (10 stories) of stairs and a short interior ladder to reach the top – and then come back down! The elevators have been out of commission for years, so stairs are the only way to go. No sandals or open-toed shoes are permitted on this tour. Reservations required. 

Silo City Grounded
1 p.m. November 5, 12
Meet: Silo City, 120 Silo City Row, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $15, Student Admission $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

At ground level, experience the monumental scale of the grain elevators constructed in Buffalo in the first half of the 20th century, and also see how they are now being repurposed. On this guided walk around the grounds of Silo City, you will enter the ground floor work areas of a flour mill, two grain elevators and a malthouse. You will also see new projects including “Elevator B.” 

The tour meets at Silo City, 120 Silo City Row, Buffalo. Turn from Ohio Street onto Silo City Row and enter Silo City through the gate. Ahead on your right will be a small brick office building where the tour will assemble. Ample parking is available on site.

City of Light Bus Tour
1 p.m. November 5
Meet: Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $40, Explorer Pass Holders $35

At the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was a major American city in the forefront of technological progress. It was a busy inland port and a railroad hub with heavy industry and state-of-the-art electricity – all of which brought great wealth to the city. These economic and technological developments culminated in 1901 when Buffalo hosted a spectacular world’s fair: the Pan-American Exposition. Experience Buffalo through the eyes of the narrator of Lauren Belfer’s historical novel, City of Light, which is set in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century. Reservations required.

Millionaire Mile: Delaware Avenue Mansions
1 p.m. November 6 • 10 a.m. November 12
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the TR Site’s parking lot accessible from Franklin Street or Delaware Avenue.
Cost: General Admission $15, Student Admission $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

The richest of the rich in Buffalo put their wealth on full display on this section of Delaware Avenue, home to the grandest collection of mansions built in the city. Marvel at these grandiose monuments to the Gilded Age and enjoy the intriguing stories of the families who built them – many were related – on this tour of Delaware Avenue from North Street to Bryant Street (for the other half of “Millionaire Mile,” see the Delaware Avenue Midway tour). Interior access to some of the mansions will be included on the tour based upon availability.

Allentown Mob Tour
1 p.m. November 6 • 2 p.m. November 12
Meet: Cafe 59, 62 Allen St., Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $15, Student Admission $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

When Italian and Sicilian immigrants came to Buffalo, many of their local customs came with them – and so did the Mafia. Through much of the 20th century, the Allentown neighborhood was a hotspot for mob activity. Do you want to know how a Rembrandt painting stolen from a French museum found its way to Buffalo? Or how one Buffalo mobster got the nickname “Lucky Pants?” Come on the Allentown Mob Tour to find out!

Come on this tour and receive a special deal for a free glass of beer or wine with the purchase of a sandwich or entree at Cafe 59, where the tour begins and ends!

This tour meets in front of Cafe 59, at 62 Allen St. at the corner of Franklin Street. Street parking on Allen, Franklin and other nearby streets is available and free on weekends or after 5 p.m.

Brewing Buffalo Bus Tour
1 p.m. November 12
Meet: Gene McCarthy’s, 73 Hamburg St., Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $60, Explorer Pass Holders $55

Join Explore Buffalo for a four-hour bus tour to learn about the history of brewing in the Queen City while visiting four craft breweries for interior tours and product samples. Each local brewery will offer the opportunity to sample their unique craft beer.

Brewing in Buffalo has continually evolved from its beginnings in the early 1800s to its present-day revival. At its peak in the early 1900s before Prohibition, Buffalo’s brewing industry included nearly 30 independent breweries producing millions of gallons of beer each year. Today, Buffalo’s brewing culture is returning, with the opening of numerous craft breweries around the city. An Explore Buffalo docent will provide an overview of this history as the tour moves from stop to stop. Reservations required. Tour participants must be 21 or older.

Fall Speaker Series Session 4: The Queen City of Entertainment
7 to 9 p.m. November 17
Meet: First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle, Buffalo
Cost: General Admission $10, Explorer Pass Holders Free

A Night Out on the Town
Join Explore Buffalo for an evening of remembering the excitement of the entertainment community in Buffalo. Are you a movie buff? We will talk about the variety of theatres that would have shown everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Cary Grant to the original Star Wars. Is music more your speed? We will help you imagine where you would have sat to listen to the likes of Sinatra, Elvis, the Stones and the Goo Goo Dolls. From vaudeville to live stage productions, Buffalo has been home to wondrous theatres and other venues which are no longer physically with us but, through this talk, can once again be part of our collective memory.

Buffalo’s Sporting Life
Are you a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan? Do you keep rooting for the Bills year after year? Are you just getting into all that Buffalo sports has to offer? Whether an aficionado or an amateur, this talk is for you! Join Explore Buffalo for a talk on the history of sports in Buffalo. Presented through the eyes of a 60-year-old lifelong Buffalo sports fan, this talk will focus on professional sports in Buffalo through the years, including the history of the Bills, Bisons, Braves, Sabres and more!

Lockport Tour of Homes
12 to 4 p.m. November 19
Meet: Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport
Cost: General Admission $30, Explorer Pass Holders $25

The Palace Theatre and Explore Buffalo have teamed up again to bring you a great tour of homes to kick off the holiday season. Enjoy touring 10 historic locations in the city of Lockport. Starting at the Kenan Center Arena, you will pick up your tour book with histories of the buildings and a map with the locations of the homes. Carolers from The Palace Theatre’s production of Scrooge will be at the homes, adding to the holiday atmosphere.

This tour is self-guided from home to home, with docents in each home – visit the homes at your own pace and in whatever order you choose. A map of home locations will be provided at the tour starting location inside the Kenan Center Arena (behind the Kenan Arts Center) at 433 Locust St. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. No interior photography is permitted.

Online reservations can be made through the Palace Theatre’s website – lockportpalacetheatre.org. Reservations can also be made in person at the Palace Theatre box office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at Mills Jewelers at 53 Main St. in Lockport. 

Explorer Pass Holders: A discount code has been emailed to you; call (716) 245-3032 if you did not receive it.

Inside Tri-Main Building
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. November 25
Meet: Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., Buffalo. Please note the main entrance to the building lobby is on Halbert Street, adjacent to the building’s parking lots.
Cost: Adults $15, Explorer Pass Holders $10, Students $5

Join Explore Buffalo for a tour inside one of Buffalo’s most historic industrial buildings! The Tri-Main Center’s history encompasses four different eras, beginning with Ford in 1915 and continuing through Bell Aircraft and Trico to the present day as a mixed-use facility housing over 100 different companies over six floors and 575,000 square feet. This tour will highlight the past, present and future of this massive building. As guests wind their way through the Tri-Main Center, they’ll learn about the building’s history and see some of the current tenants. The tour will end at the Buffalo Arts Studio, which you are welcome to explore on your own at the end of the tour as part of their free Fourth Friday event.

Advance reservations are encouraged but not required for walking tours. All credit card payments must be made in advance. Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks only are accepted at the start of the tour. If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email or be prepared to show it on your phone.

For more information, please visit Explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032.

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