Overlooking Buffalo from the Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck

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One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city is to get above it all at an observation deck. So, when I visited Buffalo for the first time, I knew I had to check out the observation deck at Buffalo City Hall.

The Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck is located at the top of this beautiful building in the heart of the city. Completed in 1931 and 378 feet in height, this Art Deco building is one of the tallest structures in western New York.

Buffalo City Hall at Night
Buffalo City Hall is an incredible Art Deco skyscraper.

Sitting on the building’s 28th floor, the observation deck offers 360-degree views of Buffalo from approximately 300 feet above the streets below. Even cooler, on a clear day, you can see the mist from Niagara Falls and the skyline of the Canadian side of the border more than 16 miles away.

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The Observation Deck at Buffalo City Hall consists of two parts.

The first is an interior space that features displays on the city’s history and signage about what you can see. If you are the type to get vertigo (or if you visit on a rainy day), you can still enjoy the view through the windows of this interior space.

Inside the Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck
There is an interior area to the observation deck with signage and windows.

For those that want to full view, however, head through the heavy doors onto the Plexiglass enclosed observation deck. This narrow space travels the entire circumference of the building, offering views in every direction.

Unfortunately, the Plexiglass makes photos a bit difficult from the observation deck. I wish they had created a few small holes for cameras or used metal bars. Nevertheless, it doesn’t impact the views, and it’s still possible to get some nice shots from here with a little work.

The outdoor observation deck at Buffalo City Hall in Erie County NY
The outdoor observation deck at Buffalo City Hall.

In my mind, the best views were looking to the east and seeing the other skyscrapers in downtown Buffalo and looking to the northwest to see Niagara Falls. That being said, definitely take your time to enjoy the views in every direction.

Once you’ve enjoyed the views, return inside and take a few minutes to look over the displays in the interior of the space. These displays offer some really interesting information about the history of the city and even include some great aerial photos from Buffalo’s past.

Niagara Falls from the Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck in New York
On a clear day, you can even see the mist of Niagara Falls. (Note that this photo is zoomed in and cropped considerably.)

Before leaving the building, take a few minutes in the lobby to enjoy the incredible works of art inside Buffalo City Hall. This is definitely one of the most beautiful city halls I’ve ever visited, and it’s worth spending a bit of timing taking it in.

Art piece inside Buffalo City Hall in New York
There are some beautiful pieces of art inside the lobby of Buffalo City Hall.

Without a doubt, the observation deck at Buffalo City Hall is one of the best free things to do in western New York and should be on the list of anyone visiting the city that hasn’t taken in this great view.

How to Visit the Observation Deck at Buffalo City Hall

Overlooking downtown Buffalo NY from the observation deck at Buffalo City Hall
Another view from the observation deck.

The Observation Deck at Buffalo City Hall is located on the 28th floor of the building and is open weekdays from 8:30am until 4pm.

The entrance to the observation deck is through the main lobby of Buffalo City Hall. All guests will be required to pass through a metal detector.

View from the the top of Buffalo City Hall
There are incredible views in every direction from the top of Buffalo City Hall.

Once inside the lobby, take the elevator to the 25th floor. From here, follow signs to the stairwell and climb three flights of stairs to the observation deck. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is any way to access the deck without climbing the stairs (if you know otherwise, please let me know).

There is a free tour of the building each weekday at 12pm that includes a stop at the observation deck for those wanting to know more about the building.

There is no specific parking area for the observation deck, but there is ample street parking near City Hall.

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the Buffalo Zoo, the birthplace of Buffalo wings, and the Jell-O Museum.

And, if you’re looking for a great place to stay, don’t miss the Hotel Henry.

Visiting the Free Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck


More nearby places worth exploring

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