What to do at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls waterfalls as one of the seven world’s natural wonders and its numerous attractions has stunned numerous visitors. Many of the tours are paid, but there are also things to do which are for free. Several of these popular sites and activities are in or close to the Niagara Falls city and they are among the best tourist attractions in Canada also.
Niagara impresses with extraordinary natural beauty, warm hospitality, variety of cultural offerings, natural, historic and man-made attractions and amazing modern and historic architecture.
The most popular Niagara attractions on Canadian side are Maid of the Mist, Journey behind the Falls, Spanish Aero Car, Skylon Tower, Marineland and Niagara Jet boat.
On the American side, popular things to do are Cave of the Winds tour, Niagara Aquarium and Maid of the Mist boat tour.
There is a charge for all these attractions, and it can be expensive. For family of four admission is too pricey.
If you are on a budget, you can still find several excellent, free Niagara Falls attractions and places worth visiting:
Horseshoe Falls and American Falls
Viewing Horseshoe Falls from Canadian side is a must. Canadian side gives you a perfect view of the cascading Niagara Falls during the day, the rainbow above and illuminated falls during the night. This side is also ideal for you to make some amazing pictures.
Fireworks at Niagara Falls
During the summer, Fireworks in the night are breathtaking. It can be seen during the summer, on Friday, Sunday and on holiday evenings at 10pm.
Visiting Niagara botanical garden, with 99 acres of the beautiful gardens and over 2400 roses, trees and shrubs, is free of charge, all year round.
Hiking and biking
Hiking and biking around Niagara region and its trails, parks and other areas. There is a nice walking waiting for you, starting with a conservation zone Ball’s Falls, Niagara Glen Nature Reserve, Bruce trails and more.
Tasting wine in Niagara wineries. Niagara has over 15000 acres under vine and with more than 60 Niagara wineries. Keep in mind that there is a charge for premium wines.
Visiting Welland Canal and watching ships, where around 3000 ocean and lake vessels go through the total of 8 locks per year. Lock 3 and lock 7 are giving you the best view. The canal is 43km in length, and elevation between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is 99.5 m. It takes an average 11 hours for ships to go through the canal.
Visiting a Floral Clock – its 40 feet in diameter area consists of more than 24 000 colorful carpet plants. It is one of the largest in the world. Its face is changed twice a year and during the winter, flowers are replaced with multi-colored stones.
Niagara Whirlpool Aero Car and Niagara Gorge
Gorgeous drive from Niagara Falls Canada to Niagara-on-the-Lake along Niagara Parkway, where you can visit some of the above attractions, enjoy the scenery, like Niagara Whirlpool Aero Car and Niagara Gorge.
Strolling down the streets of the “prettiest Canadian town”, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
View Niagara Falls from 53 meters above the ground via the Niagara SkyWheel. On this Ferris wheel you have a beautiful view, and you can take beautiful panoramic photos.
How to get there
GPS address: 301 Prospect Street Niagara Falls NY
GPS address: 301 Prospect Street Niagara Falls NY
The first thing you need to consider is how to get there. There are 4 airports close to Niagara Falls so most people choose to fly as the most convenient method of transportation. Three airports are in Canada and one is in New York state.
The airport nearest Niagara Falls is the American one, in Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo/Niagara International Airport is only 25 miles away from the Rainbow Bridge. The next closest one is 45 minutes from the Rainbow Bridge in the city of Hamilton. This is the John C. Munro International Airport.
After that, is the Pearson International Airport. It’s in Toronto, and it will be a 78 mile drive to get to Niagara. This is the largest airport and would likely have the best flight service. The fourth airport is just a small private airport that only handles cargo and private charter flights.
From any airport, you can rent a car or arrange a shuttle bus to the Falls. If you are coming from the Buffalo airport, there is an express bus route via their public transit system. It’s handy, and will only cost $3 per person. Once you arrive, have a Niagara Falls travel guide and map on hand, and you’re ready to sight-see.
You don’t necessarily have to fly though. There is train service to Niagara with Amtrak (when coming from the USA) or GO train and VIA Rail (from within Canada).
Other options for transit to Niagara include a bus, or just taking a car. There are several bridges you’ll need to cross on the way but they offer some good views. The Rainbow Bridge in particular offers a very good look at the falls because it is the closest one.
Getting Around Niagara
The next important part of a Niagara Falls travel guide is how to get around once you are there. On the US side, you can see the Falls from the Niagara State Park or visit the Canadian half at Queen Victoria Park. There is a transit system in either park that can take you to the major local attractions. In Victoria Park, it’s called the “people-mover” and Niagara Park has a “parks trolley system”. These buses let visitors travel all day along the 19 mile loop route that visits the main Falls attractions. They run from the middle of May to the middle of October.
There is also public transit for the city, which is Niagara Transit. That is also another way to get around if you are going anywhere outside the attraction areas. The roads are very busy during tourist season so trying to drive on your own can be really difficult. Plan on taking public transportation as much as possible when there.
If you are taking a car, be warned that parking is generally not free and can be very costly during the high tourist season (between May and September). There is more free street parking on the USA side of the falls, and most hotels on either side offer free parking for their guests.
Niagara Falls State Park is open year round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
However, please note that some of the attractions in the park have their own timetables.
Tips when visiting Niagara Falls
Are you visiting Niagara Falls this summer? We’ve put together this handy list of “must have” items for your trip to one of the world’s greatest wonders. Feel free to print this list and link to our websites.
1. Comfortable Walking Shoes – Niagara Falls is a natural wonder, and as such you’ll be walking for extensive amounts of time, so be sure to bring your favorite sneakers or comfortable moccasins. Many of the other attractions in the area such as the Niagara Falls State Park, Fort Niagara, Botanical Gardens, Niagara on the Lake, wineries and more all require extensive walking to fully enjoy the experience.
2. Your Birth Certificate or Passport – Do you plan on crossing in to Canada? Most visitors to Niagara Falls cross from the United States to Canada. Make sure that you have your birth certificate and/or passport with you to ensure a smooth border crossing.
3. The Proper Clothing – many of our tourist friends visit Niagara Falls every year and don’t bring the appropriate clothing for the time of year they are visiting. Average temperatures for Niagara Falls and the entire Buffalo-Niagara Frontier region vary throughout the year. Summers are usually warm while spring and fall tend to be cool.
4. Photocopy of your Prescriptions – this is especially important if you are traveling to the Buffalo Niagara Airport (BUF) by air, and you require a medication that is given by injection (diabetes, etc). Due to the stringent security standards on most airlines, generally you will need to carry a copy of the physicians prescription or have the original bottles with your prescription. If you no longer have these items (some like to put their medication in “pill boxes”), be sure to get a doctors note stating the name of the medication and when it was prescribed, how often you take it (dosage), and that you should be traveling with this medication and it’s accessories (syringes, liquid form of medication and so on), if applicable.
5. Cash, Credit or Bank Cards – Generally, you should travel with some currency of the country you are visiting; most Niagara Falls stores, hotels, casinos, souvenir shops and restaurants in both Niagara Falls Canada and Niagara Falls USA accept U.S. and Canadian dollars. It is a good idea to pay in the correct currency. The exchange rate on foreign cash is usually a disadvantage, and by paying with your bank card or credit card, you’ll get YOUR banks foreign currency exchange rate.
6. Swimming Gear. Although you may not have thought as Niagara Falls as a place to swim, If you are going on a Niagara Falls holiday no matter if it is in the summer or winter, be sure to bring your swimming gear. There are areas to swim both indoors and outdoors at multiple water parks in and around Niagara Falls.
7. Gifts. Local hosts, if you are staying in a Niagara Falls Bed and Breakfast, appreciate local goodies from your area or country. Bring some food that you think others may enjoy, or something else that your area is known for. One kind gesture goes a long way!
8. Insect Repellent. Bring a can or two especially in the spring. Sand flies are very numerous during this time of year, and mosquitoes tend to breed around water in the summer.
9. Small Backpack. When you are out and about enjoying your Niagara Falls Tour and vacation, you may want to bring along a few items to carry things like your camera, maps and brochures, and things for a picnic- this way you can leave your large items back at your hotel.
10. Camera. Last but not least, don’t forget your digital camera or flash camera to take many pictures of Niagara Falls – you may also want to include your tripod to capture still photos of Niagara Falls and Niagara monuments.
We hope this short list of items helps you plan for your Niagara Falls vacation! We hope you thoroughly enjoy your stay in Niagara Falls – be sure to check out your Niagara Falls transportation options if you are flying in to the Buffalo Airport.
Wedding or honeymoon at Niagara Falls?
Are you considering a Niagara Falls wedding? The Falls are well known as a honeymoon destination, but it’s also a very romantic place to actually hold your wedding. There are many superstitions surrounding the huge waterfall, that people just fall in love when they are there so it’s a natural place to get married. This article gives you some tips and ideas.
Where to hold your Wedding
A large hotel like the Embassy Suites Hotel Niagara Falls is a great place that offers a 40-story view of the Falls. They hold so many weddings that they have specialists on staff to help you with your planning.
It doesn’t have to be a big fancy affair either. Have a small wedding at a beautiful bed & breakfast, that can include a chapel and even a place for a reception. There are several small Bed & Breakfasts and family-owned inns that would work well for this plan. The Rainbow House B&B, Red Coach Inn, and Fairbanks House B&B are a few examples.
For something more unique, why not get married right out on the water. The Maid of the Mist is the local boat tour that will take passengers right down to the base of the Falls for a loud and thundering experience. They allow for weddings right on board but you will have to do all the planning yourself, and that includes having an officiant along to legally perform the ceremony for you.
And don’t forget that Niagara is prime wine country. There are many vineyards that would make a picturesque setting, with acres of rolling hills and rows of fruiting grapevines. Vineland Estates is one such location, and their Carriage House restaurant is perfect for a small reception dinner afterward.
No matter where you choose to have your Niagara Falls wedding, don’t forget that you need a marriage license issued by the Province of Ontario before you have the wedding. There are florists and chapels all through the city so you really shouldn’t have any trouble getting all the details arranged.
And after the wedding itself is finished, you can plan a handy honeymoon right in Niagara Falls as well. They don’t call it the “honeymoon capital of North America” for nothing. Historically, one of the first honeymooners to come to Niagara were Jerome Bonaparte and his new wife in 1803. That’s Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger brother, if you notice the name.
Whatever honeymoon activities you choose, do your best to plan ahead and make reservations whenever you can, so you can prevent disappointment. Niagara is a very busy tourist destination and many places can book up fast.
Some possible activities would include a romantic walk on the Rainbow Bridge, a ride on the Maid of the Mist, a show at the Niagara Grand Dinner Theater and a round of slots or blackjack at the Casino. There are also numerous clubs, stage shows, dancing and gourmet restaurants to try. For something a little different, indulge in some fun along Clifton Hill. This is a loud and colorful street not far from the Falls. There are old-fashioned arcades, spooky fun houses, movie theaters (including an IMAX), snack bars and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum. Everyone should have a good laugh while on their honeymoon.
There is a 30-mile stretch between Niagara on the Lake and Fort Erie that boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Apparently, even Winston Churchill once commented that this route is the most beautiful drive in the entire world. At some point in your honeymoon, plan on enjoying a peaceful drive along the Niagara Parkway.
History of the Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a group of large waterfalls that are located in the Niagara river on the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. They are located on the border between the two countries, and are composed of three waterfalls. These three waterfalls are the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. While these waterfalls are not very high, they are quite wide. Over 5 million cubic feet of water will fall down in a single minute. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in the world, and is the most powerful in the North American continent.
Niagara Falls is a well known site that is a popular tourist attraction. In addition to this, Niagara Falls is known for the hydroelectric power it provides, and the spot was chosen as potential source of power by Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor. A memorial has also been built for him at the site. The three waterfalls are shared by three cities, and these are Niagara Falls, Ontario, and the dual cities of Niagara Falls, New York. It is believed that Niagara Falls formed during a period that is called the Wisconsin glaciation, a period that ended over 9,000 years ago. The Wisconsin glaciation was a large glacier that connected the area with Canada.
The glacier would have moved through the area, crushing surfaces in order to form lakes or rivers. Niagara Falls has a height of about 170 feet, though the American Falls is only about 70 feet. The Canadian Falls are much larger, and have a height of about 2,600 feet. During the best seasons, the amount of water flow will be well over 200,000 cubic feet per second. The word “Niagara” was taken from the Iroquois language, and it can be translated into “strait.” The Ongiara were the natives in the area, and were known for settling disputes among the various tribes in the region. Niagara Falls has been visited by a number of historical figures, and one of them was Jerome Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Niagara Falls became a popular tourist attraction during the 19th century. Because people need to cross over the falls, the Niagara suspension bridge was built. The steel bridge that was originally constructed in 1886 is still used for railroad cars today. Another bridge that was built during this time that is still being used today is the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. While Niagara Falls is beautiful to look at, it is also an important source of energy. Efforts to tap into the energy of Niagara has existed since the 18th century. It was Daniel Joncairs who first built a canal near the falls to power his sawmill.
Despite, it was Nikola Tesla who worked extensively to tap into the power of the waterfalls. His three phase system for AC current made it possible to transfer electricity from the waterfalls to distant locations. With financial assistance from the Morgan and Vanderbilt family, it was possible to create underground turbines that could generate hundreds of thousands of horsepower. In addition to this, a number of Canadian companies begin harnessing the power of the falls as well.
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Text source: ezinearticles.com