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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Explore Architecture in Buffalo

With rehabbed architectural gems, stylish hotels, and innovative new restaurants, the upstate city now has far more to recommend outside of chicken wings.

1. Where to Stay

Grand historic detail is juxtaposed with contemporary decor at the Mansion on Delaware.  

Blend Buffalo’s old and new at the Mansion on Delaware, a chic 28-room boutique hotel (from $195) built into a Second Empire–style mansion. The interior is a mash-up of intricate original details like coffered ceilings and carved wooden doors with modern stylings, like geometric-print pillows and contemporary art on the walls by Buffalo-based artists like Dorothy Fitzgerald and Monica Angle. Stop by the guests-only happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. in the billiards room, when a drink from the well-stocked bar is on the house.

Step back in time at the Hotel at the Lafayette, which reopened in 2012 but was originally built by America's first female architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune, in 1904. The tiled floor, brass and crystal chandeliers, wall murals, and even the elevator dials of the 57-room hotel are all original and painstakingly restored. Ask for a room on the second or third floors for interior décor by acclaimed local designer Michael Poczkalski, who employs angular ghost chairs and neon colors to update an Art Deco scheme. For a pre-dinner cocktail, head to the basement-level restaurant, Butterwood Sweet & Savory, which occupies the former site of the city’s most notorious speakeasy. Order the Retirement Home, a mix of Old Grand-Dad Bourbon, Grand Marnier ("Grand Ma" for short), Angostura bitters, and fresh-squeezed blood-orange juice ($10).

Immerse yourself in the birthplace of the Arts and Crafts design movement at the Roycroft Inn. The movement and the inn were the brainchild of Elbert Hubbard, who, in 1897, revolted against the cheaply made wares of the new Industrial Age and invited like-minded artists, printers, and furniture-makers to work at Roycroft. Stay in one of 29 suites (from $165) in what used to be Hubbard’s home and print shop, and enjoy a breakfast of eggs with homemade toasts ($8) on the open-air peristyle that wraps around the front of the inn. Be sure to set aside an hour or two to tour the Roycroft campus, where you can see original artifacts like turn-of-the-century letterpresses and buy artisan furniture made by local woodworkers (prices vary) and antique copies of Roycroft-printed books (starting at $5).

Published on Aug 1, 2014 as a web exclusive.