Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s tour program offers unique and informative ways to enjoy the historical, cultural, and architectural treasures of the Buffalo-Niagara region. Our tours support the mission of PBN, the region’s only professionally staffed preservation organization.
***Please note all of our tours are currently virtual. Below is some information about our previous tour programming.
Our Queen City Downtown tour is the “best of the best” of Buffalo’s downtown architecture. Some of the sites you’ll see on this tour include the Market Arcade, the Guaranty Building, Lafayette Square, the Liberty Bank Building, and the Ellicott Square Building.
Our tour of City Hall was named one of the “100 Things Every Western New Yorker Should Do” by the Buffalo News.
PBN also offered behind-the-scenes tours of some of the region’s most exciting adaptive reuse projects in our Hard Hat Tour series.
Groups of 15 or fewer are welcome to join our already existing City Hall and Queen City Downtown tours. Larger groups are asked to schedule a private tour. To schedule a private tour, please call (716) 852-3300, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that there is a nominal fee associated with booking a private tour and private tour reservations must be made at least one month in advance.
Tours Previously Offered
City Hall Tour
PBN’s City Hall tour is a FREE guided walking tour that takes you through one of Buffalo’s most significant architectural treasures. One of the largest city halls in America, this tour will give you the opportunity to see this Art Deco masterpiece inside and out. The tour normally includes the lobby, Common Council Chambers, the Mayor’s Office, and the best view of Buffalo on the Observation Deck.
The tour meets in the lobby of City Hall (65 Niagara Square, Buffalo) at noon Monday-Friday and lasts approximately one hour. No reservations required! Please inquire about mobility needs. Groups of 15 or more are required to call ahead to arrange a private tour (includes nominal fee).
Queen City Downtown Tour
The Queen City Downtown Tour is a guided walking tour that takes you through the history and architecture of the downtown portion of the city. Our beautiful downtown landmarks provide a stunning backdrop for Buffalo’s most important stories, including the Erie Canal, several presidents, master architects like Sullivan, Burnham, Upjohn, and Green. See these stories come alive on this two-hour walking tour!
The tour meets in the lobby of the Market Arcade building (617 Main Street, Buffalo) at 10 am on Fridays and Saturdays, March-November, and lasts approximately two hours. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and is FREE for current PBN members. This tour includes about 2 miles of walking on well-paved sidewalk. Please inquire about mobility needs. Reservations are not required, but groups of 15 or more are required to call ahead to arrange a private tour (includes a nominal fee).
Guaranty Building Tour
The Guaranty Building is one of Buffalo’s most beautiful buildings and an important site in architectural history. Join us for this interior and exterior tour of this Sullivan masterpiece. During this guided tour, you’ll learn about the history of the building, the architectural elements that make it so special, and why it serves as an important case for preservation.
The tour meets in the Pearl Street lobby of the Guaranty Building (140 Pearl Street) Fridays at 2 pm and Saturdays at 11 am and lasts approximately one hour. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for PBN members. Reservations are required for this tour; walk-ons will NOT be admitted.
Hard Hat Tours
Get an exclusive look at some of the area’s most exciting adaptive reuse projects in our Hard Hat Tour series, generously sponsored by M&T Bank. Led by project developers, these behind-the-scenes tours include architectural details and final plans. Come and see the before, during, and after of a building like you’ve never seen it before. Hard hats are provided!
EB Green Tour de Force
Travel through the streets of Buffalo and time to discover the indelible mark E. B. Green left on the city of Buffalo. See iconic as well as lesser known buildings to appreciate the genius of the man whose career spanned over 70 years and produced over 200 buildings in Buffalo. This special bike tour is open to riders of all levels and includes 10-12 miles of moderately paced biking.
The tour meets at the Market Arcade, 617 Main Street, which is also home of the PBN offices. The ride is expected to take at least 2.5 hours.
Terra Cotta City!
Terra cotta is one of the oldest ornamental building materials and since the 19th century it’s been used on many of Buffalo’s iconic downtown buildings. Join PBN for a jam-packed, magical terra cotta mystery tour where we’ll hear all about the technology and methods used to not only build but preserve these terra cotta landmarks over the years. PBN’s Christiana Limniatis will be your terra cotta spirit guide as you see extraordinary examples like the Guaranty Building, Electric Tower, and Calumet Building.
The tour will meet on the ground floor of the Market Arcade (617 Main Street). This magical terra cotta mystery tour will happen rain or shine so dress appropriately! While walk-ons will be accepted (cash or check only), pre-registration is preferred. Visit our calendar for a list of upcoming Terra Cotta City tours.
Queen City by Night Tour
PBN is excited to offer an evening version of our popular Queen City Downtown tour, which explores the highlights of Buffalo’s downtown. The tour will take place just in time for the sunset, so participants will be able to see the Queen City all lit up for the evening! Participants will be led by Preservation Buffalo Niagara docents who will tell their favorite stories of Buffalo’s landmarks.
This special event will begin at the Market Arcade with wine and light hors d’oeuvres before the tour begins at 6 pm. Tickets for this tour are $25 for non-members and $15 for members.
Groups of 15 or fewer are welcome to join our already existing City Hall and Queen City Downtown tours. Larger groups are required to schedule a private tour. To schedule a private tour, please call (716) 852-3300, or contact us at email@example.com. Please note that there is a nominal fee associated with booking a private tour and private tour reservations must be made at least one month in advance.
Scheduling and Cancellations
- We request that you schedule your tour at least one month prior to your preferred date. This gives us adequate time to schedule a docent for your tour and makes certain that multiple tours are not occurring on the same date or at the same time.
- You may cancel a tour up to one week prior to your scheduled date without a charge. Tours cancelled within that week will incur a 50% charge. Tours cancelled on the day of the scheduled tour will incur full charges.
- Tours will take place rain or shine, except for instances when weather conditions are unsafe (i.e. thunderstorms, heavy winds, extreme cold, etc.).
Invoices and Payment
- You will be invoiced for the amount of your tour prior to the tour taking place. If you are being charged by the person (schools, non-profit organizations), we will provide a temporary quote, with an updated final invoice sent out a week prior to your tour that is reflective of the number of participants. A final number of participants must be submitted to the office one week prior to your tour.
- We request that payment or other arrangements be made prior to your tour date. You may pay for your tour in one of the following ways:
- Call us at (716) 852-3300 to arrange payment via credit card.
- Checks may be mailed to Preservation Buffalo Niagara at 617 Main Street, Suite 201, Buffalo, NY 14203.
- All payments must be arranged through the office. Docents are unable to accept payment.
- We kindly request that you arrive on time for your tour. If you are unable to arrive on time, please call us at (716) 852-3300. Tours that are late fifteen minutes or more without any prior explanation are subject to cancellation and full charges.
- Our tours include a fair amount of walking, so comfortable shoes are encouraged. We also ask that you dress for the weather.
- It is imperative that the group stays together during tours. If you are coming with chaperones, encourage them to spread out throughout the group to move everyone along and to keep the group together. School groups and groups with young children sometimes find that the “buddy system” works well in these cases.
- We ask that cell phones stay in bags during tours, unless being used as cameras.