Anyone been to Niagara Fall...things to do ...places to stay??

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Posted 5/7/2013 by Margaret in NSBR Board


PeaNut 3,169
March 2000
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Posted: 5/7/2013 3:18:33 PM
I am going to visit in New York via Amtrak and coming back will take a detour to Niagara Falls. Just wondering if any of you have been there and have recommendations for places to see, stay etc and things not to waste your money on??


PeaNut 427,403
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Posted: 5/7/2013 3:24:15 PM
If you are going to the Canadian side I can help you out. If not the only things I know of on the American side is a big park space, Maid of the Mist (which I highly recommend) and a really cheap divey bar with awesome onion rings and really cheap draft beer.


Please ignore the typos..I do know how to spell, I DON"T know how to type


PeaNut 3,169
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Posted: 5/7/2013 3:28:09 PM
so is there a lot more to do on the Canadian side??


PeaNut 389,275
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Posted: 5/7/2013 3:34:33 PM
I haven't been to the American side but the Canadian side has tunnels that go behind the falls and come out beside the falls, tons of restaurants on a vegas like strip, a butterfly conservatory, big waterpark, etc.

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PEAceful Pea

PeaNut 14,521
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Posted: 5/7/2013 3:40:18 PM
Yes, there is a ton more to do on the Canadian side. I haven't been for about 10 years. But, we always like the boat tour that takes you up close to the falls and the gift shop. I haven't really spent more than an afternoon there. We stayed at the Hilton which had awesome views. My kids were little so we also did some if the touristy things like the wax museum and some in-door amusement park place. It's been so long I don't remember many details.

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Luci in Arizona

PeaNut 223,742
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Posted: 5/7/2013 10:41:40 PM
I'm going next month and doing both the American and Canadian side. So happy to see this post...

Happy now?

PeaNut 156,993
July 2004
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Posted: 5/8/2013 5:26:28 AM
Totally do "Maid of the Mist" - one of the few touristy things that's absolutely worth it.


PeaNut 224,540
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Posted: 5/8/2013 5:45:45 AM

Totally do "Maid of the Mist" - one of the few touristy things that's absolutely worth it.

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PeaNut 382,038
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Posted: 5/8/2013 7:13:45 AM
we've gone a number of times, it's close by so easy weekend away (canadian side). we usually stay at embassy suites overlooking the canadian falls. you can get good deals and when you check in, you can always ask if they have higher floors available (it costs more to book but if you get there and they are vacant, they will switch you for no cost).

last time we went (march break) we stayed at the comfort inn at clifton hill. never again. loud and the pool was party central - as in parents sitting around drinking beer while their kids swam. not our idea of a family holiday. and the pool was freezing! my kids couldn't even stay in for more than a few mins.

however there are tons of family oriented activities at clifton hill like glow in the dark mini putt, wax museums, arcades, etc. if you have kids, look at one of the attraction pass cards. it can add up quickly!

there is the sky wheel to get an even better view of the falls. maid of the mist and going behind the falls are very popular. there is outlet shopping available and of course.... a casino.


PeaNut 369,799
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Posted: 5/8/2013 7:14:22 AM
We were there this weekend- if you head over to the Canadian side, there is always the Butterfly Conservatory. (Admittedly, I am a bit nerdy, but I love that place. My daughter and I spent half the day there on the weekend. If you go early, you can usually catch some butterflies emerging from their crysalides.)


PeaNut 427,403
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Posted: 5/8/2013 7:30:56 AM
My dh grew up in Niagara Falls and worked on the maid of the Mist in high school.

SO my recommendations would be:

TO stay - The Sheraton - Fallsview or The Crowne Plaza - They are right at the bottom of Clifton Hill and steps from the Falls. I have gotten great deals on Expedia for both. The small casino is attached as is the Fallsview Waterpark which is great if you have kids. The hersehy store is also attached. Last year when we stayed at the Crown Plaza we got comped to a fallsview suite and sat in our hot tub eating chocolate delicacies and watching the nightly fireworks over the falls

To Eat-
For a fun cheap breakfast - THe Flying Saucer - It is out of the tourist area but it is a drive in restaurant shapped like a flying saucer

For a fun lunch - Margaritaville by the new casino or Rain Forest Cafe on Clifton Hill both very fun atmoshere

Great Italian food - Mamma Mia's

Fun dinner theatre - Oh Canada Eh - American may not enjoy as much but it is really well done

For dinner with a great view either the restaurant in the Minolta tower or the Skylon tower. Food is better from the Minolta tower but the view is the gorge not the falls both are revolving restaurants.

Things to do

THe Butterfly Conservatory and Floral Clock
Maid of the Mist Boat tour
Walk behind the Falls
Niagara Skywheel
CLifton Hill - it is awesome in its tackiness it is a street filled with wax museums, fun houses, mazes, arcades, souvenir shops and great ice cream and fudge. It is worth it to just stroll up and down and people watch. At one time or another we have probably done it all but now we usually just go to Brick City - great stuff made out of lego and dino mini putt.
If you are a gambler there are two casinos - the old one is on Clifton Hill and has lower table limits. The new is at the top of town and even if you don't gamble it is a nice walk through and around inside and out

If is is just you and you are looking for something more relaxing and refined, by pass Niagara Falls and keep on going to Niagara on the Lake.
Beautiful little town filled with B&B's, pubs and boutiques. Tons of great wineries too. Taking a tour of one is always fun. I like the Jackson Triggs tour and dinner.

I could go on and on. Niagara Falls and area are one of my favourite places. Even though DH doesn't have family there anymore we still go back quite often

If you have any questions or want more details on any of these just peamail me.



Please ignore the typos..I do know how to spell, I DON"T know how to type

Proudly Canadian

PeaNut 43,061
July 2002
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Posted: 5/8/2013 7:33:26 AM
If you're staying in Niagara Falls only, find out when the Mountie will be at Table Rock. It's quite the iconic image of Canada. The Hershey store is fun, there's also the Mountie store right near by. The rest of Niagara Falls is really commercial so I avoid it, though the diner that looks like a UFO is fun.

That said there's lots to do, particularly when you get away from Niagara Falls proper. Take the shuttle to Niagara on the Lake, peruse the shops. Make sure you hit Greaves for locally made preserves, the Christmas Store, Balzac's for coffee and Cows for the best ice cream in Canada. If you have time, get tickets to a show at Shaw Festival. They have a great line up. Their theatres are in NOTL proper.

While in NOTL, check out Fort George. It's currently the bicentennial of the War of 1812, so there are a lot of re-enactments going on. This year NOTL will be "overtaken" by the American forces, to commemorate that happening in 1813.

Also, find out about the shuttles to the wineries. Do a tour. I recommend hitting Peller Estates, Inniskillin, Frog Pond, Chateau des Charmes and Jackson Triggs. Many of the wineries will have tours and tastings available. They are also fantastic places to have lunch or dinner. Some will have entertainment and concerts.

You can rent bicycles and tour that way. The Niagara Parkway is beautiful and you can hit the butterfly conservatory, the botanical gardens (same location), the floral clock. The WEGO bus system goes as far as Queenston Heights.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more information.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 27,235
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Posted: 5/8/2013 9:46:28 AM
Maid of the Mist...really a great experience.


PeaNut 47,423
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Posted: 5/8/2013 10:02:28 AM
My brother just got a job in Buffalo, NY so we plan to take our RV and go this summer. Does anyone have recommendations about Camping/RV parks in the area?


PeaNut 551,978
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Posted: 5/8/2013 10:27:32 AM
Maid of the Mist is THE BEST one thing you could do... You get a nice boat ride, get to see the falls from a really unique perspective, and from close up... It's also good value - not overpriced for what you get at all...

Clifton Hill, the main street right near the falls on the Canadian side, is really touristy... Expensive gift shops with tons of magnets and t-shirts, chain restaurants, etc... Unless that's your thing, I'd say that all is the 'don't waste your money or time on it' thing...

If you want to do something there that's fun though, go on the huge ferris wheel there... To see the falls from 'underneath' and then see them from above in the ferris where - very cool, and lots of great photo ops... It's a bit more expensive than I always expect it to be, but the cars you ride in are very comfortable - air conditioned, etc... It's my overpriced but fun pick...

There is also Bird Kingdom that's pretty much downtown... It has a huge selection of birds, waterfalls, insects, reptiles, bats, etc... It's all inside so if it happens to be raining, it's an indoor choice... You can feed nectar to lorikeets there, and I think seeds to parrots too... It's a fairly large attraction - could spend a couple hours there if you like look at and watching birds... If not, then you could probably walk through it in 20 minutes...

At night they often light the falls - different colours for different events... It's neat to see that and it's free...

Other "Falls" attractions that are cool?

Journey Behind the Falls, where you take an elevator down into the ground, about 2/3 of the way to the bottom, and then walk down a tunnel and emerge at a platform close to the falls... It's on the Canadian side, near Table Rock House... Neat to see, but for the money, you'd get more from the Maid of the Mist...

Further down river from the falls on the Canadian side is White Water River Walk... Again, you take an elevator down to the bottom of the gorge and then you can walk down walkways along the edge of the Niagara River... It's neat to see the river so close up, and it's a chance to see thing from the bottom of the gorge... It's a decent length walkway too, not just a platform... Last time I was there it was reasonably priced... You can't see the falls from there though...

And just a bit further down from the River Walk is the Whirlpool Aerocar... Again on the Canadian side... You get into this thing that I can only describe as a huge shopping basket, and it travels on cables over the gorge, the river, and right over the whirlpool... Down sides to this are the cost and the height (if that bothers you), but it's a childhood favourite of mine...

I don't know as much about the American side, but I have been to Niagara Falls State Park and it's great... You can get really close to the river right at the brink of the Canadian Falls, and then walk to the other side of the park and see the brink of the American Falls from fairly close... There are also bridges and lookouts from some of the islands above the American Falls, but they've been doing some construction on them recently (last Christmas anyways), so maybe check on that if that's a big deal to you...

If you want the typical Falls pictures, you get that from the Canadian side... You can see both falls at the same time, and see them top to bottom... From the American side you can get close to the brink of them, but that means you see them from over the edge and don't see their height as much... You also can't see them both from the same spot... Both are great - just different perspectives...

Niagara On The Lake is beautiful and has wonderful little shops... It's more high end than downtown Niagara Falls... If you like theatre, check out what's going on at the Shaw Festival (it's not a festival in the sense that it's a one week, themed, crazy busy thing - it's what the theatre season is called)... If you like art, Trisha Romance has her gallery there... The Fort is there, and all the re-inactments... Just outside of the village are the wineries... And the drive there along the Niagara Parkway is beautiful...


PeaNut 286,882
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Posted: 5/8/2013 10:30:55 AM
DH and I went a couple summers ago at the beginning of August. We were going to go to Niagara on the Lake, but it was raining and miserable and we didn't want to walk around in the rain. Also the rain made the falls so foggy that we could barely see them! We drove down to the area where the museums and things are and OMG the people were nuts! they just walk right out into the traffic on the roads! It was CRAZY. We ended up staying one night and leaving. Went to some outlet malls in PA instead!

gale w
shiny farmwife

PeaNut 40,275
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Posted: 5/8/2013 12:03:42 PM
We've been there twice. We prefer the American side, because we like the pretty parks over the tourist trap type places. But we went to both and the kids liked seeing a couple of things on Clifton street. We enjoyed maid of the mist and cave of the winds. The best thing we did was take a bus tour.

There's a small aquarium on the American side that's nice for a quick trip. It's walking distance from the hotels. I think the hotels on the Canadian side have better views but we've never stayed on that side.

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Michelle Rae

PeaNut 11,947
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Posted: 5/8/2013 5:23:00 PM
Saving info for our Vacation! THanks!!!!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 6,331
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Posted: 5/8/2013 5:45:42 PM
We're going to the Canadian side in June for the 4th time. Last time we were there we did the Whirlpool Aerocar and even though it was a little lame, I really liked it. My grandson was terrified, but I didn't find it all that scary...and I get scared easily on things like that.

On the other hand, he LOVES the Skywheel and that terrifies me.

Clifton Hill has tons of things to do like wax museums, an arcade, haunted houses...that type of thing.

Maid of the Mist is a must see. And we really liked the Daredevil Museum, the Skylon Tower and the Niagara's Fury movie.

We also like going to the wineries in Niagara on the Lake.

There are tons of things to do on the Canadian side, but we have never been to the NY side.

Have fun!

Manic Mom of 2

PeaNut 274,243
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Posted: 5/8/2013 10:21:56 PM
We went 2 summers ago on the 4th of July. Hadn't been in 10 years (before kids) and were shocked at how much more built up the Canadian side is and How expensive everything is, especially food! That being said, we had a great time! We stayed on the Canadian side at the fallsview Sheraton. It really does have an amazing view! It was awesome at night with the colored lights and fireworks! It is attached to the waterpark (which we skipped). We were happy with the rooftop pool at the hotel. The hotel is connected to the Clifton Hill area (which we pretty much avoided!). You can also easily walk to the American side which was fun (going through customs) and the bridge is impressive with great views of its own. The American side is rustic and more natural. Must do on that side is Cave of the Winds. They have this on both sides, But it is better (IMO) from the us side. Maid of the Mist is a must! There is lots to do on the Canadian side. Get the bus pass to hit all of the attractions on the route. We also enjoyed the butterfly pavilion (we have an even better one here locally but it is a good one) and the bird place was a pleasant surprise! Bring your own bottled water if you can. We spent a fortune on beverages and it was hot! Clifton Hill had tons of touristy restaurants kids love like rainforest cafe and is a fun place with lots to do!

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PeaNut 3,169
March 2000
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Posted: 5/8/2013 10:40:01 PM
Thank you all for taking the time....lots of helpful information!!


PeaNut 61,553
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Posted: 5/8/2013 11:01:59 PM
Don't forget to take passports if you'll be crossing the border at all.


PeaNut 103,067
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Posted: 5/8/2013 11:44:21 PM
Great info for me as well! We'll be there mid july.

TKSmom, we are pulling a trailer and staying at Cookstown KOA about 30 min. north of toronto. On the US side we're staying at 4 mi Creek State Park. Both had positive reviews. Hoping for the best!


PeaNut 95,353
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Posted: 5/9/2013 6:11:06 AM
It's been years since we have been there, but it was fun. Loved the Maid of the MIst.. A must!!! Took some great pictures there....

Also the Butterfly Conservatory was awesome as well.

Have a great time.. You will not regret going there and your pictures wil be amazing. ENjoy!!


PeaNut 528,406
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Posted: 5/9/2013 6:49:33 AM
Awesome! Thanks for asking and all of the advice. We are heading there's this Summer as well !
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PeaNut 584,898
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Posted: 5/9/2013 7:40:04 AM
Go to:

You can take the WEGO from the train station in Niagara Falls (Ontario)
to anywhere you want to go.

There is also a Great Wolf Lodge, but there are too many things to do.

Have fun!

Rebecca Delo

PeaNut 198,192
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Posted: 5/9/2013 8:13:04 AM
American side - Cave of the Winds. Best "attraction" we've ever done on our trips to the area. I think it's fascinating that they dismantle and rebuild that deck every year - building the deck

It might sound hokey, and we don't usually do this sort of thing, but a few years ago we stopped at one of the tourist stops on the NY side and purchased a day-long bus tour. It was a small bus with about 12 seats, and the driver picked us up from our hotel. I don't remember how much it was at the time, about 6 years ago - about $200 per person, I think? But it included all of our attraction entry fees, and there is just no possible way we could have walked to all those individual places in one day (or probably in our 4 day trip). And we went to places we normally wouldn't have even thought to visit, like the hydro electric plant or the path that winds down along the edge of the whirlpool. We got to skip all the lines at the big attractions, and we must have made 15 stops over the course of the day, and it included lunch and dinner, too. At the end of the day we were exhausted but completely thrilled with the tour, but I still think of that bus trip as a really great decision. By packing everything into that one day, that left our other days for wandering at a slower pace and spending a day at some wineries.


PeaNut 563,248
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Posted: 5/9/2013 9:34:55 AM
I am loving this post! I will be going in July. Just applied for passport yesterday, so excited!


PeaNut 3,169
March 2000
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Posted: 5/10/2013 10:04:57 PM
thanks again for those of you who took the time to respond!!!!!
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