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Explore Buffalo Plans Festive Holiday Season Tours | Arts & Culture

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Explore Buffalo Plans Festive Holiday Season Tours
Explore Buffalo Plans Festive Holiday Season Tours

The Buffalo tour season is far from over! Explore Buffalo will take you inside downtown buildings, Blessed Trinity Church, Goldome Bank, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf and even the subway. Three City of Light Bus tours are also offered in December along with the December Spotlight Tour of the new Curtiss Hotel.

Advance reservations are encouraged but not required for all tours. Reservations are required for City of Light bus tour and the Curtiss Hotel Spotlight tour. 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 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. Most tours are between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather!

INSIDE DOWNTOWN – NORTH
Dec. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 • 10:30 a.m.
Meet: Spot Coffee, 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.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the northern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include Goldome Bank, Market Arcade and the Electric Tower. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors. 

INSIDE GOLDOME
Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 • 12 p.m.
Meet: This tour meets inside the Goldome Bank, now M&T Fountain Plaza Branch, at One Fountain Plaza, Buffalo. Street parking is available on nearby streets, and the Metro Rail Fountain Plaza station is directly outside the building.
Cost: General $10, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Goldome Bank is one of Buffalo's most recognizable landmarks, with its gold-leafed dome glistening in the sun. Built in 1901 as Buffalo Savings Bank, today the building is a branch of M&T Bank. From the Steps to Success at the entrance to the top of the golden finial on the dome, this building was designed to convey an impression of prosperity and stability. Join us for an interior tour of this iconic downtown building and discover the incredible architectural detail found throughout the interior. 

This tour is 45 minutes to one hour in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather! Most of this tour is indoors, but a brief portion of the tour is outside. Cameras are encouraged! Please note there are photography restrictions in certain sections of this tour.

INSIDE DOWNTOWN – SOUTH
Dec. 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 • 10:30 a.m.
Meet: Buffalo Harbor Museum at 66 Erie St., near the corner of Franklin and Swan streets (Erie Street has been converted into a park). Street parking in downtown Buffalo is free on weekends. Private paid parking lots do require payment on weekends. The nearest Metro Rail stop is the Swan Street station, approximately two blocks away.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the southern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include St. Joseph's and St. Paul's Cathedrals, Ellicott Square Building and the Old Post Office. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors.

LOOKING UP: DOWNTOWN CEILINGS & SKYLIGHTS
Dec. 1, 15, 29 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! This tour will reveal the ornate ceilings and skylights found in many buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. While many people walk underneath them on a daily basis, the ceilings of many of Buffalo's buildings are often their least-noticed feature. Join us on this tour to discover these beautiful works of art, many of which are hiding in plain sight!

INSIDE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
Dec. 7 • 6 p.m.
Meet: This tour meets at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf at 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: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass $10

St. 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 us for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!

This tour is approximately two hours in length. The tour is indoors (in good weather, a small amount of the tour may be outside). This tour is approximately two miles of indoor walking within the building. Stairs are typically used, but elevators are available if needed. Tour admission fees are shared with the school to support their museum and archives.

SPOTLIGHT TOUR – CURTISS HOTEL
Dec. 7 • 6 p.m.
Dec. 10 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Meet inside the Curtiss Hotel at 210 Franklin St., Buffalo. Street parking is available on surrounding streets and is free after 5 p.m. and on weekends.
Cost: General $35, Explorer Pass $30

The Curtiss Hotel, one of downtown's newest hotels to open, is a stunning reuse of an historic downtown Buffalo office building. Built in 1912 by Buffalo attorney and real estate investor Harlow Curtiss, the Curtiss Building features a beautiful white terra cotta facade that has been fully restored and is illuminated at night. Now featuring 68 luxurious hotel rooms and suites, the building is a gem of downtown Buffalo once more.  

Discover the story of this building and its transformation on this tour through the hotel, including the restaurants, hot springs and some guest rooms. This tour will end at the Vue Rooftop Lounge, which features a magnificent rooftop view of the downtown Buffalo skyline. One drink and light appetizers are included with this tour. Space on this tour is limited, and reservations are required. This tour will be 90 minutes to two hours in length. Interior photography is allowed.

CITY OF LIGHT BUS TOUR
Dec. 9, 28, 30 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo
Cost: General $40, Explorer Pass $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 are required for this tour! Space is limited on the bus. For check-in, please print your confirmation email or show it on your phone. The tour is three hours in length and includes some walking and stairs. The tour proceeds rain or shine.

ART OF THE SUBWAY
Dec. 17 • 10 a.m.
Meet: University Metro Rail Station on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Plentiful free parking is available adjacent to the University Station in the Park-and-Ride parking lot.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo’s Metro Rail system is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of modern art! Each station features unique artwork by a wide variety of artists, which will be seen on this tour as you travel from one end of the Metro Rail system to the other, getting off at each station along the way. Metro Rail fare is not included in the tour price and must be purchased separately.

This tour is approximately three hours in length and will end in downtown Buffalo, where you may either board an outbound train to return to University Station or stay for lunch before returning. 

INSIDE BLESSED TRINITY CHURCH
Dec. 28, 29 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Blessed Trinity Church, 317 Leroy Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the church's parking lot.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

An extraordinary example of Lombard Romanesque style architecture, this interior tour of Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic Church is not to be missed! With over 2,000 symbols depicted in terra cotta tiles, painting and sculpture, Blessed Trinity is a work of art that can never be replicated due to the exceptional level of craftsmanship that is no longer available. Completed in 1928 at a cost of over a half million dollars, the church is considered one of the purest examples of 12th century Lombard-Romanesque style in the United States.

This interior tour will highlight the spectacular interior details of the church, explaining the symbolism of this amazing display of Christian iconography. All proceeds from this tour will benefit the Blessed Trinity "Under This Roof" Fund that provides for ongoing repairs, restoration and maintenance of this landmark church.

Winter Weather Cancellation Policy: Tours will be cancelled if there is a Travel Advisory in place in the City of Buffalo. A notification will be sent out to any pre-registered guests at least one hour in advance of any cancellation. In the event of a cancellation, a transfer to a different tour date or a refund will be provided. 

For more information and tour reservations, please visit explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032. 

 

 

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