Dubbed 'the biggest small town in America', Buffalo is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, and is a good base for visiting the Niagara Falls and for exploring the Finger Lakes region. New York's second largest city, the town was established by the French in 1758 (it is believed that the name derives from beau fleuve - beautiful river), and became an important port for trade with the eastern US. Buffalo has some noteworthy Victorian architecture and some good museums. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery contains an impressive collection of works by American artists and hosts many great touring exhibitions. The Buffalo Zoo is home to elephants, gorillas and Siberian tigers. The nearby Letchworth State Park is popular with hikers and offers wonderful views over the Genesee River Gorge, promoted as the 'Grand Canyon of the East'. Buffalo is also a popular stopover destination for travellers on their way to nearby Niagara Falls, as it is the nearest major airport.