Buffalo is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Erie County. It is located at the eastern end of Lake Erie, adjacent to the Canadian border with Southern Ontario, and is at the head of the Niagara River. With a population of 278,348, according to the 2020 census, Buffalo is the 76th-largest city in the United States. The city and nearby Niagara Falls share the two-county Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The MSA had an estimated population of 1.1 million in 2020, making it the 49th largest MSA in the United States. The Western New York region containing Buffalo is the largest population and economic center between Boston, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio.
Before French exploration, the region was inhabited by nomadic Paleo-Indians, and later, the Neutral, Erie, and Iroquois nations. In the 18th century, Iroquois land surrounding Buffalo Creek was ceded through the Holland Land Purchase, and a small village was established at its headwaters. Buffalo was selected as the terminus of the Erie Canal in 1825 after improving its harbor, which led to its incorporation in 1832. The canal stimulated its growth as the primary inland port between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Transshipment made Buffalo the world's largest grain port. After railroads superseded the canal's importance, the city became the largest railway hub after Chicago. Buffalo transitioned to manufacturing during the mid-19th century, later dominated by steel production. Deindustrialization and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway saw the city's economy decline, diversifying to service industries such as health care, retail, tourism, logistics, and education while retaining some manufacturing. The gross domestic product of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls MSA was $53 billion in 2019.
The city's cultural icons include the oldest urban parks system in the United States, the Albright–Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Shea's Performing Arts Center, the Buffalo Museum of Science, and several annual festivals. Its educational institutions include the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Canisius College, D'Youville College and Medaille College. Buffalo is also known for its winter weather, Buffalo wings, and two major-league sports teams: the National Football League's Buffalo Bills and the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres.