You’ll wipe the phrase, “Nothing surprises me anymore,” from your repertoire after a visit to Buffalo, New York. Everything about the walkable, public art-filled, waterfront downtown will delight and astonish you.
Stereotypes long held about a cold, industrial city tourists pass on their way to Niagara Falls or Canada are debunked upon arrival to the 205-room Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter. The property is outfitted in the brand’s new design elements and adjacent to the 19,000-seat KeyBank Center, which is only a short walk from the 110,000-sq.-ft. Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center. In front of the hotel, you’ll stroll by a quaint community garden on your way to play free lawn and table games or sit in colorful Adirondack chairs under two Silent Poets, a public art display overlooking the Erie Canal. Groups will find quirky wonders like these sprinkled throughout town.
“I love Buffalo because of the staff I have had the pleasure of working with at the [hotels, convention center and CVB],” says Kerrie Sneed, former meeting and event manager for the National Association for Campus Activities. “They work so well together and the customer service is seamless. [It makes] my job so much easier,” says Sneed, now owner of planning firm EVENTually LLC. Other planners agree (see case study, next page). While meetings business is booming in Buffalo thanks to CVB efforts, the fortuitous influx of millennials moving back into the city—reanimating its neighborhoods and reinventing the turn-of-the-century architecture for a second go-round—is definitely helping its cause.