This is our attempt to give people ideas on where to stay, what to eat, what to see, and where to tailgate as best we can. Lists are certainly not complete and exhaustive, but we do our best to give you ideas for your trip to Buffalo! Join us at the Bills Fans community!
This document has been updated for 2022. A very special thanks to Plenzmd1, who originated a lot of the material in this document.
A Couple of Considerations When Deciding Where to Park
You may want to think about:
- what gate you’ll use to enter the Stadium
- what route you want to take after the game.
- where your seats are located.
Game Day and Tailgate Suggestions
- When you reach the gates, plan on a 20-30 minute wait before entering the stadium.
- Make sure your tickets are visible in One Buffalo App, with a backup in Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Mobile ticket information.
- No purses, bags (One clear bag no larger than 12" x 6" x 12" or clutch purse no larger than 6.5" x 4.5".), tobacco, lighters, or e-cigs allowed in! They will confiscate your smokes, dip, Juuls, lighters, etc. No tobacco or nicotine is permitted. No exceptions
- All point of sales at Highmark Stadium are cashless.
What Gate? It’s a bit of a hike to the Stadium from most private lots, and it can be a little aggravating, especially with people who have physical limitations or just don’t like long walks. Since all the security has gone up, it’s a long walk just around the Stadium, so be prepared if you park on one side of the Stadium and your gate is on the other. It isn’t bad from the Stadium lots, but from some of the private lots, you’ll be happy if you’ve thought about this in advance.
What Exit Route? You do not want to drive toward the Stadium to get on your route home. It’s a real headache. It’s best to park somewhere where the first road you pull onto takes you directly AWAY from the stadium. Ideally, you would like to park somewhere where you can make a right turn getting out of the lot. People are pretty good about letting you in, but if it’s a left turn across traffic, good luck. If you want to go east, parking on Big Tree Road (20A) is pretty convenient. (Of course, if your gate is on the other side of the stadium, put on your hiking shoes.) It’s one way after the game, and the traffic moves pretty well except for an occasional backup at the center of Orchard Park. So for us, as an example, we need to get to I-90 east toward Albany. We park on Big Tree, turn right out of the lot, and follow 20A to East Aurora. Then head north and east to pick up the Thruway in Batavia. We avoid just about all of the post-game traffic from Hamburg to Clarence.
Where to Tailgate
There are several lots and tailgates to attend; which one is best depends on your group makeup (when you arrive, where you are coming from, and how fast of an exit you desire). Some of the more popular lots include:
Hammers Lot: Cost: $30 Home lot of the world-famous Pinto Ron Tailgate and Ketchup Ceremony, every game 90 minutes before kickoff. It is a must-see for most attending their first Bills game. Here is the map of his location.
Pros: Clean lot, excellent security, and separate female/male portapotties. There are rules—no glass bottles. No funnels and no dizzy bats tend to keep the drunkenness down to a manageable level. Trash pickup is enforced. There are security cameras. The stadium is only a 10-minute walk from here.
Cons: Very tightly packed cars, room for cornhole and beer pong, not for throwing footballs/ playing tag, etc. Not a lot of space for young children to run around. Need to be early, even with a reserved spot—opener by 7:00 AM, most other games by 8:00. Really tough to exit after the game. Most of us plan to stay and tailgate after the game for at least 60 minutes.
VERY IMPORTANT! DIRECTIONS TO HAMMERS
Waze and every other GPS will have you take Southwestern to Abbott Road and take a right into Hammers. This WILL NOT WORK ON GAME DAYS as Abbott in front of the stadium is closed. You must enter Abbot Road from Big Tree Road, with a left into Hammers. Please review the linked map. Augie’s tip: If you are going to Hammers Lot, try to be sure you are making a right turn into the lot. The steady stream of traffic makes it almost impossible to make a left turn into the lot unless you are very, VERY early. ExiledInIllinois’ tip: They shut down Abbott Road in front of the stadium at around 8 am. That means from Southwestern Blvd to just past the scoreboard is closed. The only way to get to Hammer’s is from the back. Beat around California Road, to Big Tree, to Abbott.
Allen St. Lot(s): $30
2 min walk to stadium. Access from 20A/Big Tree Rd side of stadium off Abbott Rd. Abbott Rd. access applies. 5 houses share Parking. Street party, family friendly, opposing fan friendly, all are welcome. Porta John's on site. Room for Rv Parking, and small limo busses or limos. Fun, friendly, enjoy your beverages, food, music. Table breaking is not allowed. Come as strangers leave as friends and maybe a little home made Applebee's moonshine will be served. We also act as an overflow for the Bills Mafia House tailgate parties, park on Allen St and walk to the Mafia House (5 houses down).
Bills' Mafia House: $30
So born and raised bills fan moved to buffalo about 12 years ago after spending many years finding my path to here. Had the opportunity to buy what is now the mafia house as my first fixer upper place and moved in and started fixing it up and decided to give it a custom paint job and turn it into a nice tailgate space. Over the past few years we have continued to develop a relationship with Viva Las Bills and Bills Smoker Guy as well as the Mafia Babes and have put a focus on running a fun filled atmosphere tailgate that welcomes everyone! We have also started partnering with other tailgate groups from other cities to come tailgate at the House when their teams come to visit to make everyone feel welcome and create a fun fan friendly place where we can all gather, have a great time, and make new friends. We park a ton of Rvs and the house is always rented out by different guests week to week so the atmosphere is always fun, ever changing and always inviting! The back yard is where the tailgates always happen. To find the Bills Mafia House, come down Fay St. and walk down the open strip to the back and join in anytime! There’s always at least one fire, most of the time multiple and always music and of course always a fan friendly crowd! Throughout the tailgate morning if you can’t find us listen for the federal horn siren that blows a few times an hour and you will find us, although honestly we are very easy to find. From the yard we look directly at gate 2 & 3 so if you're close to those gates turn around and you can’t miss us. Again, Abbott Rd. access applies. Porta Johns onsite and maintained. No Table Smashing!
ECC Lot: $25
Opens 4 hours before the game. Will be a line to get in, but it goes fast. Can enter from Big Tree as well as Southwestern. Great lot for easy in and out, especially driving to downtown. Two separate areas to tailgate. If entering from Southwestern, go left and more the traditional party lot. Go right, and there are plenty of open spaces and fields. Backlot is excellent if you have more than a few young children that want to run around and play and not be in the actual “thick” of the party scene. Backlot now looks like it will be the Uber pick-up zone. No idea how that will affect spaces. We would greatly appreciate a first-hand report.
Pros: Easy in and out, especially if heading north after the game to downtown via RT 5. Always spaces, plenty of room to set up, and always a great time to be had.
Cons: Can get quite messy with people not picking up trash—very few porta-potties. Men usually use the thicket of trees in front, and often that is quite visible. Good 15-20 minute walk to the stadium, recommend leaving tailgate no later than 12:10 if you want to assure you are in your seat at kickoff.
Berts Bikes on Southwestern: $15
We bring this up only because we have had friends park here when a VERY quick exit is essential. It is cheap, @$15 to park, and a quick right-hand turn on Southwestern to right turn on Brompton, right turn on McKinley, and you are essentially out of the stadium traffic. We cannot vouch for facilities, tailgate atmosphere, etc., as our friends only park there and then just head to Hammers or another lot to join a tailgate. There are several smaller and more cost-efficient lots located on Big Tree and Southwestern. Any suggestions by members are highly appreciated.
Mud Lot on 20A: Easier entry for folks coming from the Southtowns and RT 219. Big Party lot is about all we know. We would guess there is a good reason it is called the mud lot on rainy days. Any feedback here from folks that park on this side of the stadium would be greatly appreciated.
Other Lots on 20A: Directly across from the main lot (Bills side), essentially lined up on the 50-yard line. There are 4-5 private lots that connect, and all are pretty decent. Each one is 20 bucks to park. Plenty of room for cornhole, tossing the ball, bonfires, etc. If you are looking for complete chaos, this isn’t for you, but if a nice happy medium is what you prefer, then check them out. We have always had a good time there with plenty of good people as well. Another bonus is if you are sitting on the Bills side, it is easy to get to your seats as you are lined up on the 50 when crossing 20a into the main lot.
Uber: Taking UBER to the game is pretty straightforward and as easy as in any other city. However, UBER drivers may be limited if you are looking to leave downtown at, say, 10 am and into the teeth of the traffic.
Image Credit - Josh Simons
Last Minute Tailgating Supplies/Beer!
- Wegmans - 3740 McKinley Pkwy. The last stop before left on Southwestern gets crowded, especially the bathrooms from 8–10 am.
- Tops - 4250 McKinley Pkwy. Less crowded than the Wegmans, but an extra turn.
- Speedway - 2530 Hamburg Turnpike ( RT 5), Buffalo, NY 14218. If coming from downtown and using RT 5, this place has a surprisingly good selection of tailgate supplies like charcoal, small propane tanks for cooking stoves( not sure if they have tank exchange or not), and most importantly, beer and smokes if you need em! Tim Hortons is on-site, but it can be a bit slow. Great stop if you just need beer or charcoal, much quicker than Tops or Wegmans.
- Mobil - 3856 Southwestern Blvd. (Corner of Southwestern and Abbott). Full capability to refill your propane tank. This can be a lifesaver!
- KK Food Mart - 3846 Southwestern (across the street from the Mobil).
Other GameDay Considerations
If parking on West side of Stadium (e.g., Hammers, ECC):
From Downtown and the Northtowns of Tonawanda, NT, GI, Falls, and Lewiston. Note: Do not trust most GPS directions as they do not account for game day traffic from any direction.
- 190 to RT 5, Skyway.
- Skyway to Rt 179 Milestrip Rd (approximately 7 miles). This is a right exit that will circle back under RT 5 to a right turn on 179.
- Take Milestrip to McKinley Pkwy and take a right ( approximately 2.5 miles).
- Milestrip to Left on Southwestern(1 mile). If going to ECC or other lots on Southwestern, use either of two left-turn lanes at the light.
a. If heading to Hammers, use the right lane of the turn lanes. Big Tree is a relatively quick right turn off Southwestern.
Stadium to Airport Time
YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL VARY. What is usually a 30-minute drive will take much longer with getting out of the parking lots. Do not forget to add time for rental drop-off and security.
Flights have changed right now. Here is the Buffalo Airport Departure Schedule for choosing the latest flights possible. Note that only 30 departures show at a time, so look later in the day to start tracking the latest flights out possible.
Stadium Vicinity Hotels:
- Hampton Inn East Aurora - 40 Olean St, East Aurora, about 12 minutes from Stadium.
- Red Carpet Inn - 3940 Southwestern Blvd, Orchard Park.
- Aloft Buffalo Airport
- Best Western The Inn
- Buffalo Airport Hotel
- Days Hotel by Wyndham
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
- Hampton Inn & Suites
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Holiday Inn Express
- Sleep Inn & Suites
- Quality Inn Airport
- Marriott Harbour Center - Great place if you are going to the Sabres game as well; bar and Food very expensive.
- Marriott Courtyard - Across the street from Harbor Center; perfect for Bills/Sabres double-header.
- Curtiss Hotel - Very hip/ cool rooms. Great rooftop bar. Boutique hotel (read: $$$).
- Hyatt Downtown - renovated/undergoing renovation.
- Westin - Chippewa and Delaware, a great location for going out at night.
- Embassy Suites - Block from Westin; great area for going out.
- Hotel at the Lafayette, Trademark Collection.
- The Mansion on Delaware - A very nice, high-end hotel.
- Residence Inn Downtown
- Aloft Hotel
Mid-Price to Expensive:
- Hampton Inn and Suites - Right next to Embassy Suites on Chippewa.
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Wyndham Garden Buffalo Downtown - Closer to the medical campus and a little out of the way.
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites
- Marriott on Millersport - Not at Airport, but close. It is worn and tired, and we’re surprised Marriott still allows it to have its flag. Walkable (long) to UB stadium if going to a game there. Around the corner are Santora’s pizza, Zetti’s pizza, and subs (NYC style).
- Courtyard on Sheridan Drive -, another Marriott brand hotel. You can’t walk to the campus, but it’s walkable (long) to Duffs!
- Double Tree Inn by Hilton - 10 Flint Road (also quick to UB). Note: Get to the Thruway on game day. Or you can just drive south on Union and pick up Milestrip or Big Tree if you want to come in the back way.
- AIRBNB or VRBO - (Home Away from Home)
As everyone knows, Buffalo offers many restaurants of all varieties to fit all lifestyles and price points. Here is a breakdown of some popular establishments.
Restaurants/Bars near/at the Stadium:
- Tim Hortons, Highmark stadium.
- Big Tree Inn, 4277 Abbott Road, Orchard Park.
- Danny’s South, 4300 Abbott Road, Orchard Park (another location near the airport).
- O’Neill’s Stadium Inn, 3864 Abbott Road, Orchard Park.
- Betty’s - 370 Virginia St, Buffalo.
- Break'n Eggs-creperie - several locations; the original is 5235 Main Street, Williamsville.
- Sophia’s Restaurant - 749 Military Rd., Buffalo (her son owns it now).
- Nick’s Place - 504 Amherst St Buffalo (this is Sophia’s brother).
- Original Pancake House - multiple locations.
- Towne Restaurant - 186 Allen Street, Buffalo.
- Donut Kraze - two locations, the original is located at 406 Dingens Street, Buffalo.
- Famous Doughnuts - 3043 Main Street, Buffalo.
- Paula’s Donuts - multiple locations.
- Anchor Bar - multiple locations since they franchised. The original is located at 1047 Main Street, Buffalo - the wings cannot be beat.
- Bar Bill Tavern (cash only) - two locations; original is located at 185 Main Street, East Aurora.
- Duff’s - five locations; original is located at 3651 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.
- Elmo’s Bar & Restaurant - 2349 Millersport Hwy, Getzville (Amherst).
- Gabriel’s Gate - 145 Allen St, Buffalo.
- LaNova’s Pizza and Wings - two locations; the original is located at 371 West Ferry Street, Buffalo.
- Abbott Pizza - 1177 Abbott Rd, South Buffalo.
- Bocce Club Pizza - multiple locations.
- Blasdell Pizza - multiple locations.
- LaNova - two locations, the original at 371 West Ferry Street, Buffalo.
- JJ’s Casa di Pizza - 11 E. Mohawk St., Buffalo.
- La Hacienda of New York Restaurant - 3019 Pine Ave, Niagara Falls).
Beef on Weck
- Bar Bill Tavern (cash only) - two locations, original is located at 185 Main Street, East Aurora.
- Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub - 2134 Seneca Street, Buffalo.
- Connor’s West Seneca - 3465 Seneca St, West Seneca.
- Schwabls - 789 Center Rd, West Seneca.
- Swiston’s Beef and Keg - 101 Youngs St., Tonawanda.
- Charlie the Butcher - multiple locations.
- Steve’s Pig and Ox Roast - 951 Ridge Rd, Lackawanna -veeerrrryyy casual.
- Gabriel’s Gate - 145 Allen St, Buffalo.
- Hoaks - 4100 Lakeshore Rd, Hamburg.
- Tavern Windsor Park - 8444 Transit Rd Amherst.
- Wiechec’s Lounge - 1748 Clinton St, Buffalo.
- Chef’s Restaurant - 291 Seneca St., Buffalo.
- Mulberry’s - 64 Jackson Ave, Lackawanna. Closed Sundays for Bills games.
- Lebro’s - 330 Campbell Blvd, Getzville.
- Linguine’s - 5380 Genesee St, Bowmansville.
- Morluskis: Polish Italian Restaurant - 10678 Main St, Clarence - the food is fabulous. Even with a reservation, you will be waiting for a table (up to an hour). Don’t try and go there without a reservation.
- Rizotto Italian Eatery & Sweetery - 930 Maple Road, Amherst.
- Romeo & Juliet’s - multiple locations.
- Ristorante Lombardo - 1198 Hertel Ave, Buffalo - very, very upscale.
- Sinatra’s Restaurant - 945 Kenmore Ave, Buffalo - upscale, moved. Located across the street from where it was for 50+ years.
- Tappo - 338 Ellicott St., Buffalo.
- Trattoria Aroma- 307 Bryant St, Buffalo - minimal street parking, there is a public (pay) lot about 4 houses down on Bryant.
- Morluskis: Polish Italian Restaurant - 10678 Main St., Clarence - the food is fabulous. Even with a reservation, you will be waiting for a table (up to an hour). Don’t try and go there without a reservation.
- Polish Nook - 2242 Cudaback Avenue, Niagara Falls.
- Polish Villa - 2594 Union Road, Cheektowaga, NY (The Polish Villa II has closed).
- Simply Pierogi - Polish Kitchen - 4475 Transit Rd. in front of old Eastern Hills Mall. Lunch; you order and take your food to a seat.
- Sto Lat Bar - 4475 Transit Rd. in front of old Eastern Hills Mall. Dinner, full service.
- Ted’s Hot Dogs - multiple locations.
- Sullivan’s Hot Dogs - 501 Cayuga Dr. Niagara Falls.
- Zorba’s Texas Hots - 6184 Transit Road, Depew.
- John & Mary’s Subs - multiple locations.
- Jim’s Steakout - multiple locations.
- Viola’s Submarine House - 1539 Military Road, Niagara Falls.
- Wegman’s - their subs are excellent.
- Antoinette’s Sweets Inc - 5981 Transit Rd, Depew.
- Lake Effect Ice Cream - two locations, 1900 Hertel Ave, Buffalo.
- King Condrell’s Candy & Ice Cream - 2805 Delaware Ave, Kenmore.
Things to do in and around Buffalo - Non-Game Days
- Architecture Tour of Buffalo
- Albright Knox Art Gallery
- Burchfield Penney Art Center
- Buffalo Zoo - only if you have children under 10 with you.
- Explore Buffalo
- Niagara Falls - there is a lot to see and do in Niagara Falls, NY, including the Maid of the Mist, Cave of Winds, hiking, jet skiing, fishing, and more.
- Seneca Resorts and Casinos - multiple locations including Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
- Travel to Canada is now open. Remember to bring your passport or passport card (and vaccination card).
General Entertainment/Nightlife Districts
Bars generally do not start to fill up until after 11 pm. Bars close at 4 am in Erie County.