As New York State’s second-largest city, Buffalo is a destination for millions of visitors each year. Situated along the shore of Lake Erie, it’s known for gorgeous architecture, the arts, and a thriving restaurant scene.
Buffalo is often lumped together with its nearest neighbor, Niagara Falls, which is also a huge destination for visitors. But we know that Buffalo, the home of the Bills and the famous wings, deserves to shine in its own light.
Places to stay in town range from big chain hotels to boutique hotels. There are, however, a number of affordable accommodation options including an awesome hostel if you know where to look (pssst, it’s here, look right here.).
Check out our favorite Buffalo hostel, and some more cheap and cheerful places to stay.
Quick Answer: Best Hostels in Buffalo
- Best Overall Hostel in Buffalo – Buffalo Niagara Hostel
What to Expect from Hostels in Buffalo
Let’s be real. There is only one true hostel in Buffalo. But that didn’t stop us from checking out all the different types of places to stay in and around town.
Typically, hotels in Buffalo are quite pricey – starting around $75 and quickly jumping above $100 bucks a night. Folks looking to keep things on the lower end are better off considering shared accommodation. Prices at a hostel begin as low as $40, while locals typically ask for at least $50 to stay in their guest room. Anything lower than this and you’ll be couch surfing, which is always a possibility, but we’ve left that out of the selections here.
Affordable places to stay are scattered throughout Buffalo. Some are downtown, while others are further out in the suburbs. Considering how you plan to get around town may be a deciding factor as to what neighborhood you want to be in.
Getting around town is relatively easy! Buffalo’s Metro Public Transportation includes an extensive bus system throughout the area and a rail line in the city center. Totally cost-effective, the rail line’s Free Fare Zone in the core of the city means it’s easy to get to places quickly downtown without having to pay.
The bus costs only $2 a ride, and will take you all the way to Niagara Falls for that price. What a deal! Most hosts know the value of the Metro and can help guests navigate the system. Buffalo International Airport is just on the outskirts of town and a short ride (car or bus) downtown.
Driving around is most convenient but staying downtown will be more difficult with parking. Ride-hailing apps are easy to use in town if you don’t mind it eating into your travel budget.
In any town, hostels are a great way to travel. The communal spaces promote a friendly vibe and help keep costs low. Although there is only one traditional hostel in Buffalo, there are a number of accommodations that have this same feel and comfort, even though they don’t have the title of “hostel”. Most places offer free Wi-Fi, linens, and a shared kitchen. Make sure to keep an eye out for those who require a minimum night stay because there are more than one.
Remember: an informed traveler is the best kind of traveler. So, let’s get you informed!
Best Hostels in Buffalo
Now that you know what to expect from a hostel and other cost-efficient accommodations in Buffalo in general, let’s break it down place by place. Dive in to see what makes each stand apart from the next!
Best Overall Hostel in Buffalo – Buffalo Niagara Hostel
- Located in the Theatre District/Downtown
- Private & (Single or Mixed Gender) Dorm Rooms
- Bike Loan
Hands-down Buffalo Niagara Hostel is the best hostel in Buffalo.
Okay, okay, yes – Buffalo Niagara Hostel is the only traditional hostel in town, but that’s NOT the reason we named it our best overall hostel. The truth is that it’s a stellar place with great amenities, a chill vibe, and really affordable rates.
The location can’t be beaten. Perfectly placed downtown, there’s no reason to have a car if you don’t want to. Situated in the heart of the theatre district, there are tons of things to do within walking distance. If you’re a bit tired and don’t want to walk, no worries – Buffalo Niagara Hostel is steps from the Metro Rail line. Better yet, it’s within the “Free Fare Zone”, so you’ll be saving your money while you zip around downtown.
Wanna go a bit farther? Not a problem. The Metro bus will take you just about anywhere, even up to Niagara Falls for only $2 a ride. You can’t complain about that. If you’re up for another way to see the city, the hostel lends bikes to pedal around.
No matter how you get around town, the local staff at Buffalo Niagara has all the ins on where to go and what to see.
Why you’ll love this hostel:
- Book Exchange
- Free Store
- Ping Pong
Buffalo Niagara Hostel is a traditional hostel that gets it right. The vibe is all about the friendly backpacker on a journey to discover Buffalo.
It’s designed to give budget-conscious travelers a sweet place to stay. Bunking is where it’s at. Single and mixed-gender dorms let guests choose the right one for themselves. Private rooms are available for small groups, too. This way you and a friend or two can bunk up in your own space – that’s not too shabby.
Communal spaces are the real reason to choose a hostel, and Buffalo Niagara does not disappoint. Meet other travelers in the lounge, the movie room, or playing ping pong. The full kitchen is spacious and stocked with the basics. There’s even coffee so you can enjoy a cup of joe before heading out to explore the city.
Other Budget Accommodations in Buffalo
- Located in Iron Island neighborhood
- Private Rooms with Shared Bathroom
- Shared Kitchen
Moreland Guest House is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s definitely worth a look. You’re not going to find it listed on the large booking sites – but insiders know about this gem and the value it can bring to any budget-conscious trip to Buffalo.
Previously a nun’s convent, Moreland still has that simple, grounded feel. The guest house offers a modest stay in Buffalo with the best rate in town. It’s easy to make yourself at home in the private rooms that have a desk, closet, tv, and free Wi-Fi. Use of the common spaces like the shared kitchen and bathrooms help keep costs down, while the dining and billiards rooms are sweet perks.
Located in the residential neighborhood of Iron Island, it’s a bit further from the center of the action than other places to stay in Buffalo. But then again, no other places are quite like Moreland. Parking is not an issue if you have your own ride and it’s close to two major bus lines if you’re looking for public transport.
Moreland is a simple, straightforward place to stay in Buffalo. It’s a good idea to check it out to see if it fits what you’re looking for – the price point definitely is.
- Private Room
- Pets Welcome
The Inn on Tennyson is a lovely place to stay for any reason that brings you to Buffalo or Niagara. This dog-friendly home is a lovely place with everything visitors are looking for in a great stay. The cozy private room is perfect after a day of exploring the area. While the shared spaces like the kitchen, bathroom, and yard are perks that help keep costs down but make it feel like you’re staying with a friend.
Like any responsible pet owner, just let the host know ahead of time that your pooch is coming with you. With that and a small pet fee, you’re all set. Shelby is the dog of the house. She’s super friendly, so if you’re traveling with your own pooch or not, she’ll still be super happy to greet you.
Located in North Buffalo, it’s a great home base to explore the Buffalo-Niagara area. Just north of Delaware Park, it’s an easy drive just about anywhere in town. Street parking in the area isn’t an issue, so not to worry if you have your own car. If you’re taking public transportation, the bus stops on the corner – super convenient.
The neighborhood itself has lots of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby. The host is a Buffalo local so you can’t go wrong with asking for some tips on where to go in town.
- Near Airport
- Onsite Bar & Grill
Yes, this is a hotel, but we had to include it on our list for a variety of reasons.
First, its rates are good. Especially if booked in advance, the rates rival many of the cost-effective room shares. Second, it’s right next to the airport and offers shuttle service to the airport and back, so there’s some saved cash in your pocket. Being near the airport doesn’t mean you’re far away from the action – it’s only a 15min drive to downtown Buffalo and 30 mins up to Niagara Falls. If you don’t have your own ride, consider a ride-hailing app or the Metro bus system to get you into town. Since it’s near the airport, a major bus line is nearby.
The other reality is that staying at a hotel comes with some perks. Enjoy complimentary coffee in your own room before heading out for the day to explore the Buffalo area. Get a workout in at the gym, or enjoy a drink and bite to eat at the Sports 365 Bar & Grill right at the hotel.
The other major feature is that private rooms come with more space than a room share, a TV, and your very own bathroom. Let’s say that again: your very own bathroom. Point made.
- Located in Orchard Park, NY
- Private Room with Shared Bathroom
Imagine returning from a day exploring Buffalo and settling down in front of a fireplace in your very own private room. Does it get any better than that? Not so much. Don’t worry if you’re coming to visit western New York during the dead of winter, the electric fireplace will keep you toasty.
The shared facilities make this space a great place to stay. The shared living room and patios are great places to relax, while the bathroom and kitchen are convenient ways to keep costs down.
The home is ideally located in Orchard Park, NY which is just south of Buffalo. Public transportation may be a bit of a hassle during a stay here, but ride-hailing apps can do the trick. Street parking is not an issue in this residential neighborhood which makes it easy to zip around the Buffalo area.
At Boho Bungalow, the host goes above and beyond for guests, offering add-ons that can’t be found elsewhere. For a small fee, you can bring your dog, rent a kayak or bike, get a ride to/from the airport or even enjoy a breakfast basket. It’s like they’ve thought of everything, and wants you to have a great time.
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What to Pack for your Buffalo Hostel
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from us, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straight forward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art we have perfected over many years.
Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.
Hanging Laundry Bag
Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.
Sea To Summit Micro Towel
Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.
Grayl Geopress Water Bottle
Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!
Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for even more top hostel packing tips!
Buffalo Hostels FAQ
Travel Safety Tips for Buffalo
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
No matter what time of year you come to Buffalo, there are quality places to stay that will be easy on your wallet.
Buffalo Niagara Hostel is the place that balances affordable rates with a fun-loving, traveler’s vibe. Although the other places on our list don’t have the “hostel” title, they are definitely in tune with the needs of the traveler on a budget, so rest assured you’ll find the place for your next trip to the area.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!