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Western New York

Tourism in this region revolves around Buffalo, New York State's second-largest city. After being the largest and most prosperous metropolis along the Great Lakes at the turn of the 19th century, Buffalo fell on hard times in the 20th, but is bouncing back in the 21st. Its amazing stock of heritage architecture is being restored and reinvented into hotels, museums and other businesses.

The area first developed thanks to the hydroelectric power of Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal, which linked the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The falls are now better known as a tourist destination, with millions of visitors flocking here annually.

Rochester, about an hour northeast, shares a similar economic trajectory but has long been buoyed by its rich history of activism. The city was home to the famed suffragette Susan B Anthony and civil rights pioneer Frederick Douglass, among other 19th- and 20th-century iconoclasts.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Western New York.

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