NeighborhoodsThe residential neighborhoods surrounding Downtown Buffalo are noted for their history and diversity. Buffalo’s Fruit Belt section was founded in 1839, named for the orchards planted by German immigrants and has grown into a historic African American community. Located in the area behind City Hall, the Lower West Side saw residential development in the mid 1850s and today is noted as one of the most ethnically diverse communities in all of Western New York. Condominiums and townhouses first went up in the 1980s in the area known as Waterfront Village, increasingly becoming one of the Buffalo area’s most prestigious addresses. Allentown is renowned throughout Western New York for its progressive vibe and is home to artists, bohemians and scholars as well as a thriving bar and restaurant scene. We invite you to check out each of the residential areas of Buffalo and we’re sure you will find something that fits your style.


The Cobblestone District

The Historic Cobblestone District is located at the southern end of Downtown Buffalo and directly adjacent to the bustling KeyBank Center and HARBORCENTER. The Lofts at Elk Terminal are located in the Cobblestone District, one of the first warehouse district conversions in Downtown Buffalo. Today, the District is seeing private and public investment including restaurants and music venues coming to life just steps from the residential spaces.

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Old First Ward

This neighborhood, located southeast of the Central Business District, on the edge of the industrial waterfront areas that border Downtown. First settled in the 19th century by Irish immigrants who worked in the coal and lumber yards and in the grain elevators that lined the Buffalo River - many of which are still standing - this neighborhood retains its Irish heritage to this day. Many current residents are of Irish descent and every year the neighborhood, with the neighboring community known as The Valley, hosts the “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade. An old tradition made new again, the parade was first held in 1913, then made an annual event in 1994.


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Historic Allentown

Allen Street and Allentown were named after Lewis Fallie Allen, who arrived in Buffalo in 1827 from Massachusetts as a manager of the Western Ensurance Company. With him came his bride of two years, the former Margaret Cleveland (1801-1880), an aunt of Grover Cleveland.

Allen bought 29 acres of land from the extensive Holland Land Company holdings near what was then the northern border of the Village of Buffalo. As Buffalo boomed and Allen sold off most of his property, he became a very wealthy man. One of his interests was breeding shorthorn cattle and his cow path is now Allen Street. 

In 1980, Allentown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as one of the first and largest residential historic districts in the United States. The Allentown Historic Preservation District is bounded by North Street to the north, Main Street to the east, Edward Street to the south and Plymouth to the west, meaning preservation standards are carefully followed within those boundaries, creating a distinct visual identity in the neighborhood.

Today Allentown is noted for its progressive vibe and rich diversity. Located just northwest of the Central Business District, Allentown is home to artists, bohemians, scholars and is a focal point of Buffalo's LGBTQ community. A great place to live, Allentown is also a great place to visit with a wide variety of art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops.

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Pratt - Willert

Located just east of Downtown's Central Business District, the Pratt-Willert Neighborhood is an up-and-coming new-build community. Most the community’s structures were built in the 1990s as a large-scale redevelopment effort with hundreds of new homes, some single family and others row house style as pictured above.




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Historic West Village

The West Village Historic District is a nineteenth-century residential area located on the city's lower west side and is within walking distance of the Central Business District and the Lake Erie waterfront. The street plan of the district is formed by two distinct early nineteenth-century grid patterns. This unique street arrangement is caused by the original plot of the village of Black Rock meeting the original plot of the village of New Amsterdam (original name of Buffalo) at the New York State Reservation line.

The West Village is one of Buffalo's oldest residential areas. Its tree-lined streets, slate sidewalks and stone carriage steps help create a distinct flavor for this section of the city. The City of Buffalo and New York State have both designated the neighborhood as a historic district, and it is also listed on the Federal Register of Historic Places.

Buildings in the district were built between 1854 and 1914. The majority of the structures are constructed of brick and include all the major architectural styles that were prevalent during the last half of the nineteenth century. The scale ranges from one and a half to five stories, with the larger structures being apartments.

In addition to the large number of residential buildings, the district contains a Jacobethan Revival school and a Romanesque style church. After years of conversions and sometimes neglect, many of these old dwellings have been restored to their original function as single family homes. While deterioration is still a neighborhood problem, at the present time a vigorous restoration movement is afoot. 

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The Fruit Belt

At one time home to more than 10,000 people, the Fruit Belt takes its name from the large number of orchards its first residents, German immigrants, planted in the area. As the neighborhood grew, these orchards laid out the present streets, the names themselves (which include Lemon, Cherry and Grape) remaining as a testimony to the early nature of the neighborhood. Its establishment is also closely related to the organization of Trinity Old Lutheran Church, initially located on the corner of Michigan and Goodell.

Founded in 1839, the congregation consisted of Lutherans who had traveled from Southern Germany to escape religious persecution there. Upon arriving in Buffalo, the group of 1,000, seeking to settle away from the influences of the established populations, selected the area north of the existing Downtown core. At the base of the gently rising hill they built their place of worship and settled in the streets surrounding it.

The streets, with their small-frame and brick homes, were well noted for the gardens these early settlers kept. The Kopling House at 154 Maple served as an early German Social Club for the neighborhood. A well in the backyard provided drinking water for the residents.

Today the Fruit Belt is a largely African-American neighborhood. Harriet Tubman Way, which bounds the neighborhood to the West, reflects the area’s Underground Railroad history. Just north of the Fruit Belt, visitors to the area can find the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church and the Colored Musicians Club, both landmarks of Buffalo’s African American community.

Recently St. John Baptist Church - a cornerstone of the community - announced that it had acquired a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to build new homes in the community. And with its location just east of the emerging Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and northeast of the Central Business District, the Fruit Belt is well located to capture the growth of both districts.

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Lower West Side

Encompassing the area from behind City Hall to Porter Avenue, the Lower West side has long been recognized for its Italian heritage. Hemmed in by the Erie Canal on the West, the land immediately adjacent to the canal functioned in capacities related to the canal and shipping. The canal slips were cut inland to serve water-related industries such as boat makers and riggers. Numerous other industries competed for space on the lands immediately adjacent to the docks including several cotton and wool textile mills and a paint factory.

During the mid 1850s, residential development of the area began to occur. Unusual in the city, both rich and poor lived together in the area. Amongst the modest frame and brick cottages of the workers stood the larger, more imposing homes of the merchants and factory owners.

Once the primary home of Buffalo's Italian immigrants, the Lower West Side has emerged as the most ethnically diverse community in all of Western New York. Today, the Lower West Side is the heart of Buffalo's Puerto Rican Community and the home of many new immigrant groups including Vietnamese and Somali refugees.

Near the neighborhood’s eastern border with Allentown sits Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Built in 1938, it’s one of Buffalo’s more modern architectural landmarks and is renown for its quality acoustics. In addition, the neighborhood is home to D’Youville College, centered on Porter Avenue.

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Waterfront Village

Located just west of the Central Business District, the Waterfront Village residential neighborhood was developed in the 1980s and continues to grow. With beautifully appointed condominium-style homes and sweeping views of Lake Erie and the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, as well as the minute commuting times from its edge-of-Downtown location, the Waterfront Village is increasingly becoming one of Buffalo’s and all of Western New York’s, most prestigious addresses.

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