Allentown is one of the City of Buffalo’s most unique neighborhoods, perhaps best known to most for being the unofficial home to some of Western New York’s best artists. While the Allentown Art Festival has come and gone for another year, there is still plenty to enjoy in a neighborhood that centers around the retail and dining options along Allen Street, Elmwood Avenue and the surrounding streets.
Here is a list of nine different activities you should consider doing the next time you visit one of Buffalo’s premier areas for dining, shopping and nightlife that at the same time embraces the historical background of the community and aesthetically pleasing architecture that make it an ideal place to live or visit on a regular basis:
1. Sit and enjoy the view in Day’s Park
There is no need to host a picnic or organize any organized athletic activity. Instead just dedicate some time to sit and observe everything there is to see, particularly the awesome architecture and how the surrounding buildings perfectly embrace the park’s natural scenic beauty. In today’s society too many of us are always on the run and rarely stop to soak up our surroundings. This is something you can do for free. Go alone and allow yourself to get lost in your thoughts and embrace the sights and sounds around you.
2. Buy some books
Western New York is fortunate to be the home of some tremendous locally owned and operated boutiques. One of the best kept secrets is Antique Man, a splendid shop at 234 Allen Street that sells furniture, jewelry, paintings, records and so much more. They have a spectacular selection of books from all different genres, collected through the efforts of their buy-and-sell-and-trade concept of bartering with their customers. Life is too short not to read a good book, meaning an ACTUAL book that you hold in your hands and manually turn the pages and not an electronic version.
3. Have brunch at Betty’s
You don’t even have to live in Allentown to know that Betty’s is one of the most popular places anywhere in the city to have brunch. Whether you are by yourself, with your significant other or dining with a larger group of people, you can’t go wrong with brunch at Betty’s at 370 Virginia Street. Just reading the menu causes your mouth to water. From their French toast casserole to their black bean breakfast wrap to their grilled cornbread, there really is something for everyone to enjoy. And much like the nightlife scene at the various bars and taverns in Allentown on Friday and Saturday nights, Betty’s is the place to be seen at on late Sunday mornings and early Sunday afternoons.
4. Visit a hidden gem
The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum just might be the least known exhibit space in Buffalo but that does not take anything away from what can be seen there. Located at 220 North Street, this museum/art gallery consistently puts on display truly unique pieces of art, historical artifacts and other incredible items of interest. Besides unique opportunities to see rare treasures, the best part about visiting this venue is that it is free. Call 885-4139 for hours of operation.
5. Check out 156 Park Street (Charles Rohlfs House)
One of the most notable and really beautiful homes in all of Allentown is located at 156 Park Street. Used as an example of what is known as “arts and crafts” residential architecture, the structure was built in 1912. I really can’t do it justice, but the outside has an awesome stucco and wood half-timbering look and I can only imagine what the inside looks like. Go on a scavenger hunt, find this home and just stare in awe of pure architectural beauty.
6. Sip on a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon
I’ve mentioned before that life is too short, so you need to enjoy summertime in Buffalo before it disappears for another year. Don Tequila at 73 Allen Street offers their “Margarita Tuesdays” special every Tuesday from the moment they open until last call, with $3 margaritas served to anyone of legal drinking age who is looking for a refreshing summer beverage to go with their favorite authentic Mexican dish. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
7. Grab a slice
Like most other neighborhoods in Western New York, Allentown has quality pizza places. Among the pizzerias that bake delicious pies is Lovejoy Pizza’s Allentown located at 900 Main Street, which can be found between Allen and Virginia streets. The perfect combination of cheese, pepperoni and sauce makes the consumption of one or two slices on a sunny summer afternoon an ideal lunch. Another good stop if you’re looking for something a little different is Crust Pizza Bar at 242 Allen St. Grab a pizza and sit out front.
8. First Fridays Allentown
Celebrated on the first Friday of each month, the various restaurants, retail stores and art galleries in Allentown join forces and invite anyone and everyone to enjoy a variety of rich cultural attractions that include food and drink specials, special art displays, live musical performances and much more. For more information about these monthly community celebrations, visit www.firstfridaysallentown.com
The Rustbelt Comedy Showcase is one of the best bargains in Western New York, with approximately 10 different comedians hitting the stage to tell jokes for a few hours at the ridiculously low rate of $5 per person. The laughs take place every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at Nietzche’s (248 Allen Street) and give attendees the chance to see some of the region’s up-and-coming standup comedians.
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