Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to make reservations in advance?
For walking tours, reservations are suggested but not required. This helps us to know how many people to expect for a given tour. Due to limited capacity, our bus tours, boat tours, kayak tours, Silo City Vertical tours, Spotlight tours, and selected other tours and special events do require advance reservations. Check the specific tour page for more information.
Are tickets mailed for tours?
No, tickets are never mailed for Explore Buffalo tours or events. Please bring your ticket confirmation with you (printed or displayed on your phone).
How do I use my Walking Tour Pass?
Walking Tour Passes are orange cards (or blue, prior to 2018) that may be used for admission on any walking tour. Reservations are not required for walking tours, so you may simply show up for a walking tour and use the Walking Tour Pass for admission. If you would like to make a reservation with a Walking Tour Pass, please call (716) 245-3032. Walking Tour Passes are not valid for any bus, kayak, boat, Silo City Vertical, or Spotlight tours, nor can they be used as partial payment for any of those tours.
Are any discounts available?
We offer a discounted student price for most of our tours. We also are a participating organization in the Arts Access Pass, administered by the Arts Service Initiative of WNY.
Explore Buffalo Refund Policy
- Explore Buffalo tours proceed rain or shine! Refunds are not provided if the tour proceeds as scheduled.
- We may cancel tours in advance due to the weather forecast: this primarily occurs for kayak tours if weather conditions are unsafe for personal watercraft, and for walking tours during winter months if there is a travel advisory in the City of Buffalo. If you purchase tickets for a tour that is canceled in advance due to weather, you will be notified and offered a refund or exchange.
- If a canceled tour is offered on future dates, such as our regularly scheduled Elevator Alley Kayak tours, you will be offered an opportunity to transfer your reservation to a different open tour date.
- In the rare event that unpredictable weather arises and your docent feels it is necessary to cancel the tour, you will be offered a refund or exchange.
- If you have purchased tickets for a tour that you are no longer able to attend, please contact our office at (716) 245-3032 during business hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.
- For cancellation requests received more than 48 hours prior to the tour, we will gladly exchange your reservation for any tour of equal value or provide a full refund.
- We are unable to provide refunds for cancellation requests with less than 48 hours notice. We will gladly exchange your reservation for any tour of equal value or provide an Explore Buffalo account credit.
- Our tours begin promptly, so late admittance cannot be guaranteed. Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early for your tour, allowing for time for parking, etc.
We are unable to provide refunds for guests who miss a tour due to late arrival.
At the Tour
Who gives the tours?
Our tours are given by volunteer docents who are passionate about Buffalo and its architecture, history, and culture. Our docents are a diverse group brought together by a common interest in promoting Buffalo.
How will I find the docent?
All Explore Buffalo docents wear an Explore Buffalo nametag on a lanyard when giving a tour. Many also wear Explore Buffalo branded shirts or hats as well. Our docents do not dress in historic costume.
When should I arrive for the tour?
Please arrive approximately 10 minutes before the start of the tour. to check in if you made a reservation in advance, or purchase a ticket if you did not reserve in advance. The tour will begin promptly at the time listed.
What should I bring to the tour?
If you’ve made an advance reservation, please bring your reservation confirmation, either printed or displayed on your phone. If you are paying on site, please bring cash or check for payment. For Explorer Pass Holders, please bring your Explorer Pass card. If you are receiving either a student discount or an Arts Access Pass discount, please bring your student ID or Arts Access Pass card. Don’t forget to bring a camera!
Are photos allowed on tours?
Yes! We encourage photography on our tours – please tag us on Instagram @explorebflo. Please note that interior photography may be restricted inside certain buildings on some tours – any photography restrictions will be communicated by the docent leading the tour.
Are videos allowed on tours?
While guests are welcome to take as many photos as they would like, we do not permit guests to take video recordings of our docents leading the tour. Guests may take video of features/views on the tour (i.e. a panoramic video taken of the view from the top of the Silo City Vertical tour is fine). However, guests are not permitted to record the docent’s narration of the tour.
How should I dress for a tour?
Please dress comfortably and for the weather (see above for weather cancellation policy). All tours are outside for at least some of the tour, so bring an umbrella or wear a jacket if rain is predicted. Wear shoes that are comfortable for walking for up to two hours. Please note that some tours, such as Silo City Vertical, have specific safety-related apparel requirements or restrictions (no open-toed shoes are allowed on Silo City Vertical).
Is smoking allowed on tours?
For the health and comfort of all of our tour guests, smoking is not permitted within the tour group. This includes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes/vaping. Guests who wish to smoke during a tour may step away from the group to smoke, and then return to the group. Guests who smoke should be observant of any smoking restrictions of any property owners on the tour.
If you’re a nonprofit, why do you charge for tours?
Running a nonprofit organization, even with volunteers, requires funding. We still have to pay the rent, print our promotional materials, and keep this website current. Though our tours are led by volunteers, we do have a small staff responsible for scheduling tours and docents, customer service, coordinating with partner organizations, locations, and businesses, and otherwise supporting our dedicated volunteers.