There is no Better Way to Explore Buffalo than with the Experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo aboard The Open-Air Autobus!

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There is simply no better way to see Buffalo and grasp what it is all about than a tour on the Open-Air Autobus. 2018 is our 12th season. It really is the best way to get around and see, hear, and smell Buffalo (ahh, toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

Open-Air Autobus tours are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and his- torical research by members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture in the course of preservation activities. The tours enhance our educational mission and help cover the costs of wide-ranging preservation work.

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our tours reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable. Five-star reviews: People rave about us on TripAdvisor.

The Campaign’s tours are popular, informative, well-done. Most are led by Campaign Chairman Paul McDonnell or Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman. Both are experts not only on the architecture and history of the city, but veterans of the battles to save Buffalo's landmarks. We are the go-to organization for the general public and experts alike.

By doing a tour, you are doing good: We are a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education. Revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation.

Reserve online by clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar, or the button below the individual tour descriptions. You can call us for reservations at 716-854-3749 as well. You'll need a charge card handy. Buffalo Whirlwind tour

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The Buffalo Whirlwind Tour

• 10:00am most Saturdays & Sundays June 30 - September 30.

• Meet at Elmwood & Potomac Aves. $25. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

There are few places you can see buildings by America’s Big Three architects— Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and H.H. Richardson— plus a park system by Frederick Law Olmsted. Buffalo is one of them.

On this tour, besides the master works by the Masters, you’ll see scores of other beautiful buildings and houses by prominent national and international architects and the streets and neighborhoods where Buffalonians carry on their everyday lives. The tours are led by Tim Tielman, Executive Director of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year, and Paul McDonnell, an award-winning architect and Chairman of The Campaign.

We start with the foundation of modern Buffalo, and modern urban America: The building and grounds of what was the Buffalo State Hospital, designed by H.H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted, conceived in 1870. We end with the Heath House by Frank Lloyd Wright of 1904.

In between, you’ll see world-altering industrial architecture, the preening mansions of Delaware Avenue, and the prototype for the skyscraper, Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. We’ll put it all in context for you, as we point out dozens of buildings as markers of Buffalo’s progress through the years.

You’ll see:

• Kleinhans Music Hall • First Presbyterian Church • Ellicott Square by Daniel Burnham & Co. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral by Richard Upjohn • The Canal District • Niagara & Lafayette squares • Millionaires’ Row • Allentown Historic District • Delaware Historic District • City Hall and Old County Hall • Theater Historic District • Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln parkways

The Whirlwind tour is an astounding 90-minute tour of a great American city, given by the passionate experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture.

Buffalo Whirlwind tour

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The Grand Tour

• 12:30pm July 21, Aug.4, Sept. 2

• Meet at Elmwood & Potomac Aves. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Some people just want more: More buildings, more neighborhoods, more stories, more impressions, and more understanding of The City of Buffalo. To meet that demand, we have a special 3-hour Grand Tour that covers all the sites of our 90-minute Whirlwind Tour, but adds all the places we wish we could’ve shown you before. To wit:

• Lake Erie and Buffalo’s harbor defenses
• The Old First Ward
• The Grain Elevators (Hey, Tim Tielman, one of our tour leaders, wrote the book: “Buffalo’s Waterfront: A Guidebook.”).
• The revitalized Larkinville (um, in another life, Tim designed Larkin Square),
• Buffalo Central Terminal (ahem, we also owned that, and created the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation)
• The Hamlin Park Historic District
• The Buffalo Museum of Science
• The Parkside Historic District
• Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House
• Olmsted's Delaware and Martin Luther King, Jr. parks, and more!

The Grand Tour is led by Tim Tielman, Executive Director of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year, and Paul McDonnell, an award-winning architect and Chairman of The Campaign.

Buffalo Grand Tour

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Erie Canal 200

• 12:30pm July 7, 15, 22 & Sept. 2

• Meet at Marine Drive @ Main and Hanover streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Buffalo really got going with the canal some 200 years ago, and you'll see it all on this special 3-hour tour. We've written books on the canal, led battles to save it, and know every inch from Commercial Slip, from 1679 to the present day. This special commemorative tour—work was under way 200 years ago to construct the canal—is led by Tim Tielman, who guided the epic battle to save the Canal District and restore the canal and streets, and Hex Kleinmartin, an archeologist who has written a book on the canal.

We start at the Commercial Slip, the birthplace of Buffalo and the western terminus of the greatest feat of American engineering to that time. We'll look at Lake Erie and Buffalo's harbor defenses; the spot where LaSalle set off in 1679 in the first sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes and the spot where Grover Cleveland first set foot in Buffalo; the Black Rock Canal; the Federal Lock at Unity Island; the sites of war of 1812 escapades; Nikola Tesla's world's-first long-distance AC power line; and the canal complex in Tonawanda. Don't miss it!

Erie Canal 200


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Charter the Open-Air Autobus!

Tour anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done tours for students from grade 2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and corporations. You get a ride like no other and expert commentary from the passionate pros of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. We know our stuff!

• 46-person capacity • See-thru, roll-down rain fly • $700 for up to two hours with expert commentary; longer tours available • About $15 per person at capacity • $400 for up to three hours for bus & driver only • Take a walking tour with same top-notch experts: $200 for 2 hrs. for up to 20 people; $10 ea. add’l. Call now: 716-854-3749