Top 12 Museums in Buffalo

Buffalo, New York is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous museums that cover interests ranging from history and science to art and architecture.

Museum NameFocus AreaKey Features
Albright-Knox Art GalleryArtModern and contemporary art, abstract expressionism, notable pieces by famous artists.
Buffalo History MuseumHistoryBuffalo’s regional history, diverse cultural influences, various historical artifacts.
Buffalo Museum of ScienceScienceVarious scientific fields, interactive exhibits, planetarium, theater.
Burchfield Penney Art CenterArtWorks of Charles E. Burchfield, modern and contemporary art, public programs and events.
Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military ParkMilitary historyMuseum ships, aircraft displays, military artifacts, immersive experiences.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin HouseArchitectureFrank Lloyd Wright’s architectural design, historical tours, conservation efforts.
Buffalo ZooWildlifeDiverse animal species, natural habitat exhibits, educational programs.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic SitePresidential historySite of Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration, historical exhibits, guided tours.
Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow MuseumTransportationEarly 20th-century vehicles, automotive history, related artifacts.
Buffalo City Hall Observation DeckArchitecture and viewsPanoramic city views, architectural details, historical insights.
Forest Lawn CemeteryHistorical siteHistorical gravesites, art and architecture, themed tours.
National Comedy CenterComedyAmerican comedy history, interactive exhibits, comedy hall of fame, live events.

Here is a look at 12 of the top museums that no visit to Buffalo should miss.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Name and Location: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Extensive collection of modern art including works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Warhol, Pollock. Also features touring exhibits.

What to Expect: View world-renowned modern art collections and exhibits in the galleries. Public art outdoors. On-site cafe.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission fee required. Guided tours offered.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of the premier art museums in the United States. Founded in 1862, it is located in Delaware Park and houses an extensive collection of modern art and contemporary pieces. The museum’s impressive permanent collection includes works by artists like Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. It regularly hosts visiting exhibitions featuring artists from around the world. The Albright-Knox is known for its focus on abstract expressionism and is a must-see for any art lover visiting Buffalo.

Notable pieces in the Albright-Knox’s collection include Picasso’s Two Women Running on the Beach, Pollock’s Convergence, and van Gogh’s Shoes. The museum also features an outdoor sculpture park displaying large-scale installations. Visitors can take part in guided tours, artist talks, and other public programs offered throughout the year. The Albright-Knox’s striking modernist building was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft and is considered an iconic landmark in Buffalo.

Buffalo History Museum

Name and Location: Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Ct, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Exhibits chronicle the history of Buffalo, Western NY and the Great Lakes region.

What to Expect: Learn about the development of Buffalo through interactive exhibits, artifacts, dioramas and multimedia displays.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday. Admission fee required.

Those looking to learn about the rich history of the Buffalo region can spend hours exploring the Buffalo History Museum. Located in downtown Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, this museum houses a comprehensive collection that traces the city and western New York’s history from the pre-colonial era to the present day.

Exhibits at the Buffalo History Museum showcase the mosaic of people, cultures, and ideas that came together to shape the region. Key artifacts and displays cover topics like Buffalo’s role in westward expansion, the Erie Canal, the Underground Railroad, architectural marvels, sports history, and more. Visitors can see pieces like a mastodon skeleton, the inaugural ball gown of President Grover Cleveland’s wife Frances, multimedia presentations, and various hands-on exhibits.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Buffalo History Museum frequently hosts new exhibitions and programs related to local history. An on-site research library and archives preserve important documents for researchers and historians. Located in an iconic neoclassical building dating back to 1901, this museum provides a one-of-a-kind overview of Buffalo’s evolution over time.

Buffalo Museum of Science

Name and Location: Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Major science and technology museum with exhibits covering astronomy, physics, biology and more. Planetarium and observatory on-site.

What to Expect: Engaging, hands-on exhibits to explore natural history, human body, energy, local ecosystems and more. Planetarium shows.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission fee required. Planetarium shows additional fee.

With its massive collection of exhibits covering topics from astronomy to zoology, the Buffalo Museum of Science has something to spark every visitor’s curiosity. This museum includes seven permanent galleries along with a planetarium, theater, and special traveling exhibitions.

Some standout sections at the Buffalo Museum of Science include the Arctic Edge exhibit showcasing life and culture in the circumpolar north, the Patricia Derkach Insectarium featuring live insects and arthropods, and Explore You! displaying the latest insights into genetics, neuroscience and human anatomy. Visitors can gaze at the night sky in the newly renovated Kellogg Observatory, catch a show in the KeyBank Discovery Theater (with a four-story wraparound screen), and explore sustainability in the Rozelle Research Laboratory.

The Buffalo Museum of Science also offers a wide array of educational programs, lectures, and hands-on activities. Located in Buffalo’s Museum District along the Scajaquada Creek, this museum provides engaging and interactive ways to explore science for visitors of all ages.

Burchfield Penney Art Center

Name and Location: Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: The largest collection of Charles Burchfield’s watercolor paintings, plus other American art.

What to Expect: View collections of paintings, sculptures, textiles and more by American artists and Western NY artists. Temporary exhibits.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission fee required.

Featuring the largest collection of works by renowned watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield, the Burchfield Penney Art Center celebrates the creative legacy of this influential Western New York artist. The museum is located on Buffalo State College’s campus along Elmwood Avenue.

In addition to Burchfield’s evocative landscapes and nature paintings, this art center owns an eclectic mix of modern and contemporary works by other significant artists. Spanning two floors in a newly renovated facility, the museum’s permanent collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and pieces by famous Buffalo artists like Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, and Martha Visser’t Hooft.

The Burchfield Penney hosts new exhibitions focused on relevant themes in the arts. It offers an array of public programs as well, including lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art classes, and events. The center also serves as a key resource for scholars studying Burchfield and art in Western New York, with an impressive archive of artist sketches, journals, and artifacts from Burchfield’s studio.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Name and Location: Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Massive naval warships, exhibits on naval history and military vehicles.

What to Expect: Explore WWII and Korean War era vessels, aircraft, tanks, and interactive maritime exhibits.

Visitor Information: Open daily April-December. Admission fee required. Tours available.

Located on the shore of Lake Erie, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park provides a glimpse into Western New York’s strong ties to the armed forces throughout history. This expansive park includes multiple museum ships that visitors can board and explore, along with aircraft displays and a wealth of exhibits.

The prime highlights at the Naval Park are the USS The Sullivans destroyer, the USS Little Rock guided missile cruiser, and the WW2-era submarine USS Croaker. Visitors can tour the ships’ decks, cabins, engine rooms, and combat centers. The museum’s collection also features tanks, helicopters, a Huey from Vietnam, and recreated military settings like a World War I trench experience.

In addition to military artifacts, the Naval Park includes exhibits tracing Buffalo’s wartime contributions through companies like Bell Aircraft, Curtiss-Wright, and Ford Motor. This lakeside museum offers a unique perspective into the service and sacrifice of Western New York veterans across all branches of the military.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House

Name and Location: Darwin D. Martin House, 125 Jewett Pkwy, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Tour the beautifully restored Prairie-style house and learn about Frank Lloyd Wright.

What to Expect: Guided and audio tours share history and architectural significance of Wright’s design.

Visitor Information: Timed tickets required. Open for tours Wed-Mon excluding major holidays.

Considered one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces, the Darwin D. Martin House offers tours showcasing the famed architect’s Prairie style design. Built between 1903-1905, this Buffalo home was designed by Wright for businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family. The complex originally contained the Martin family residence along with a pergola, carriage house, conservatory and gardener’s cottage.

Tours at the Martin House complex allow visitors to view painstaking restorations to Wright’s iconic use of natural light, open floor plans, cantilevered roofs, and horizontal lines evoking the prairie landscape. Managed by the Martin House Restoration Corporation, this National Historic Landmark has undergone a meticulous conservation and building effort since the 1990s.

Interpretive programs are available to highlight Wright’s visionary architecture and bring the spaces to life, showcasing original furniture and art glass. The Martin House complex provides a look into Wright’s most creative period and the evolution of modern residential design. This Buffalo gem offers an unparalleled Wright experience for architecture enthusiasts.

Buffalo Zoo

Name and Location: Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Home to over 1000 animals including endangered/rare species. Exhibits mimic natural habitats.

What to Expect: Observe elephants, giraffes, polar bear, seals, otters, reptiles, exotic birds and more up close. Year-round activities.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Admission fee required. Discounts on Thursdays.

For family fun with exotic animals from around the globe, the Buffalo Zoo can’t be beat. Located in Buffalo’s Delaware Park, this zoo was founded in 1875 and is the third oldest in America. Home to a diverse collection of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and more, the Buffalo Zoo features award-winning exhibits meant to recreate natural habitats from the Arctic to the tropics.

Signature exhibits at the Buffalo Zoo include the African Watering Hole showcasing giraffes, rhinos and zebras; the Rainforest Falls area with monkeys, sloths and tropical birds; and the Arctic Edge home to polar bears, seals and penguins. This accredited zoo has cutting-edge habitats like the Vanishing Animals exhibit displaying threatened species. Visitors can observe feedings and training for various animals daily. Special programs like overnight camps and wild zoo parties are also available.

With its engaging educational activities, animal encounters and important conservation initiatives, the Buffalo Zoo provides an entertaining and enlightening experience for all.

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

Name and Location: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Restored Victorian home where Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated, exhibits about his presidency.

What to Expect: Tour 14 rooms of the house, see Roosevelt memorabilia and learn about his presidency.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Guided tours on the hour. Admission fee.

History buffs visiting Buffalo won’t want to miss the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Located downtown in Buffalo’s Lafayette Square neighborhood, this site preserves the home where President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office after President William McKinley’s assassination in 1901.

The Wilcox Mansion, as the house is known, contains period rooms showcasing what it was like in 1901 when Roosevelt unexpectedly became president here. Exhibits also cover McKinley’s presidency and assassination, providing an intimate look at a significant turning point in history. Guided tours, presentations, and other public programs help bring the site to life.

In addition to the mansion itself, the TR Site’s visitors center houses museum exhibits with artifacts and information about Roosevelt’s life. Roosevelt was sworn into office more times at this location than any other president in history, making it an important landmark. Visitors can embrace the site’s motto “Courage in Crisis” and celebrate Roosevelt’s enduring legacy.

Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

Name and Location: Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, 263 Michigan Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Extensive exhibit of American automobile history, focused on Buffalo-made Pierce-Arrow motor cars.

What to Expect: See vintage cars like Model-Ts, roadsters, antique buses, classic bicycles, and auto memorabilia.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Admission fee required. Guided tours available.

Buffalo’s reputation as a hub for innovative transportation manufacturing shines at the Pierce-Arrow Museum, located in the former Pierce-Arrow factory admin building. This museum celebrates the rich history of the early 20th century Pierce-Arrow motor car company, which operated in Buffalo from 1901-1938. The classic cars on display help tell the story of Buffalo’s automaking heritage.

In addition to seeing Pierce-Arrow’s magnificent vehicles up close, museum goers can view interactive exhibits detailing the car company’s rise and eventual fall. Many displays spotlight the luxurious custom coaches Pierce-Arrow made for the rich and famous. The museum also houses an array of vintage bicycles, classic road signs, and old gas pumps.

The Pierce-Arrow Museum incorporates other aspects of Buffalo history into its collection as well, like exhibits on President William McKinley’s assassination and the Pan-American Exposition. Guests can even browse the museum’s massive transportation-themed gift shop. This collection offers a nostalgic look at Buffalo’s role in shaping automotive history.

Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck

Name and Location: Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202

Collections and Exhibits: Free observation deck on the 26th floor with panoramic views of Buffalo. Informational exhibits.

What to Expect: 360 degree views of the city skyline, lake, and landmarks from the outdoor deck. Indoor exhibits.

Visitor Information: Free access weekdays. Security screening required. Closed weekends.

Soaring above Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo, the Buffalo City Hall building’s Observation Deck provides jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the city. Visitors can ascend to the 28th floor outdoor deck and gaze out across Buffalo’s skyline from this free vantage point.

In addition to stunning views, the Observation Deck provides interpretive panels highlighting many of the visible landmarks and details about Buffalo’s architecture, growth, and history. On a clear day, guests can see all the way to nearby Niagara Falls and across Lake Erie to Canada! The deck offers an ideal bird’s eye perspective of Buffalo from this 1932 Art Deco structure.

Buffalo City Hall itself is considered among the most distinct buildings in the city, designed by chief architect John Wade with its carved limestone facade and lofty central clock tower. The building is open weekdays for those wishing to admire the lavish architectural details inside as well. No trip to the “Queen City” is complete without taking in the panoramic views from this iconic perch.

Forest Lawn Cemetery

Name and Location: Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Historic cemetery with elaborate tombs, statues and mausoleums. Graves of many famous Buffalo residents.

What to Expect: Stroll or drive through the cemetery to view the unique memorial architecture and art. Maps available online.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am-5pm. Free admission.

Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo may seem an unusual choice for visitors, but this sprawling cemetery is also a tranquil sculpture park and historic site. Founded in 1849, Forest Lawn is a rolling 270-acre space designed with meticulous landscaping reminiscent of urban parks. The cemetery contains over 40,000 gravesites along with stunning examples of art and architecture.

In addition to its founder Charles E. Clarke, Forest Lawn is the final resting place for many famous Buffalonians like President Millard Fillmore, entrepreneur George Eastman, and singer Rick James. Visitors can embark on self-guided tours to view the cemetery’s noteworthy art pieces, historical monuments, and ornate stained glass. Forest Lawn offers maps highlighting 17 different themed tours.

Notable stops include the momento mori artwork of the Vanden Heuvel Memorial, Delaware Avenue Gatehouse, and the political landmarks along Presidents’ Walk. The cemetery also frequently offers guided history tours spotlighting its rich heritage. For an off-the-beaten-path experience, Forest Lawn Cemetery makes an impact.

National Comedy Center

Name and Location: National Comedy Center, 203 State St, Jamestown, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Comprehensive museum celebrating comedy in American entertainment.

What to Expect: State-of-the-art interactive exhibits on comedians and history of comedy. Holograms, immersive sets, games.

Visitor Information: Open Wed-Mon, closed Tuesday. Admission fee required. Tours available.

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY just outside Buffalo, is the first museum dedicated to telling the story of comedy in America. This $50 million high-tech attraction uses state-of-the-art technology to immerse visitors in the art of comedy.

Exhibits at the Comedy Center feature more than 50 immersive comedy experiences across 37,000 square feet of space. Visitors can tour interactive areas focused on comedy genres, influential comedians, late night TV, comedy on film, and the creative processes behind humor. The museum contains a comedy hall of fame, recordings and artifacts from comedy greats, and opportunities to star in your own comedic short.

The Comedy Center also offers behind-the-scenes looks at programs like Saturday Night Live through set recreations. Everything about the space celebrates comedy and the joy humor brings people. Along with its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts discussions and live comedy events frequently. For comedy fans visiting Western New York, this one-of-a-kind attraction offers an uplifting experience.

Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site

Name and Location: TR Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Victorian home where Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of office. Exhibits about his presidency.

What to Expect: Tour period rooms of the house, see artifacts related to Roosevelt’s inauguration and presidency.

Visitor Information: Admission fee. Guided tours offered Tues-Sun. Closed Mondays.

Coinciding with the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site downtown, the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo also commemorates the pivotal event that transpired here in 1901. After President William McKinley’s assassination, his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president at the Wilcox House in Buffalo. This museum tells the story of that fateful day and Buffalo’s place in presidential history.

Located in Roosevelt’s temporary residence at the time, theAnsley Wilcox House, this National Historic Landmark provides an intimate look into this period. Visitors can tour rooms decorated as they appeared when Roosevelt took the oath, along with exhibits about his presidency. The museum’s displays cover topics like the Pan-American Exposition coinciding with McKinley’s visit and the aftermath following his assassination.

In addition to the house, the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site includes a visitor center, museum store, and garden. Public programs like lectures and reenactments help bring history to life. Together with the downtown TR Site, this attraction gives unique insights into Roosevelt’s ties to Buffalo and path to the presidency.

Mark Twain Room

Name and Location: Mark Twain Room, Buffalo Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY

Collections and Exhibits: Recreation of the Victorian room where Mark Twain worked while living in Buffalo, with many original furnishings.

What to Expect: View the intricate Victorian-style room where Twain spent time reading, writing, and entertaining.

Visitor Information: Free and open during library hours. Located on the 2nd floor.

For literary enthusiasts, a stop at the Mark Twain Room in downtown Buffalo is a treat. Located inside the Central Library, this cozy oak-paneled room hosted legendary author Mark Twain in 1869 when he lived in the adjacent hotel. Twain finished his novel Roughing It in this very room overlooking Lafayette Square.

Preserved for visitors, the Mark Twain Room contains the original hotel furnishings along with displays about Twain’s time spent living in Buffalo. The exhibit includes important artifacts like signatures, manuscripts, personal letters, and photographs. Visitors can stand in the same room where Twain gave lectures, entertained guests, and worked on some of his most famous satirical writings.

In addition to being part of the hotel where Twain launched his writing career, the room itself also inspired parts of his novel The Gilded Age. This modest but engaging exhibit offers a special look into one of America’s greatest authors and his local roots in Buffalo.


From world-renowned art collections to historical treasures, Buffalo provides something to spark every visitor’s passion and imagination. Architectural marvels, science wonders, military tributes, and comedic gems await in this culturally rich city. Kids can discover exotic animals, while book lovers walk in the footsteps of Mark Twain.

The many excellent museums of Buffalo highlight the region’s significance throughout history and its ongoing contributions to American culture today. Whether you seek art, history, science, architecture, or good-humored entertainment, the museums of Buffalo offer rewarding experiences for travelers of all interests.

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