It was Jaclyn’s 26th Birthday this weekend and we went up to Niagara Falls to celebrate.
Here’s what you need to know about Niagara Falls:
Q: Is it difficult to see Niagara Falls, do I need to do a tour, rent a helicopter, reserve a penthouse suit at the top of a fancy hotel?
A: It is extremely easy and affordable to see the Falls. You will see them when you cross into Canada on the Rainbow Bridge, there’s a path that goes right along the Falls that is just a couple of feet from the roaring water, and several hotels have restaurants that are affordable and give you a beautiful panoramic view from way above the Falls. At the Hilton, we received a complimentary breakfast each morning at their restaurant on the 33rd floor. We had spectacular views for free. I’m sure a helicopter or penthouse suit would be nice, but it’s certainly not necessary to get a breath-taking experience.
Q: What was your favorite thing to do at Niagara Falls?
A: The Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist is the only boat that actually takes you down to the base of the Falls. It’s about $14 a person and it was one of the best experiences of my life. You ride right down to the bottom of the American Falls which are spectacular, you take a bunch of pictures, you feels the gentle mist, and you gaze in wonder, after about 10 minutes of checking that out, the boat moves along to the grander Horseshoe Falls. This blows your mind, the wind picks up, the gentle mist turns to a gallons and gallons of water being thrown full force at your body. You try to look up to see it all, but too much water is coming down on your face, you can barely hear anything, it sounds like you’re in the middle of a thunderstorm. The currents violently swirl around you, waves crash into the boat, it’s just the most insane ride I’ve ever been on. Everyone is given a poncho before you board the boat and it’s the most use you’ll ever get out of a poncho.
Q: Is there anything else to do in Niagara Falls, besides looking at the waterfalls?
Yes, there’s a bunch of stuff which I will outline quickly.
- Clifton Hill – this is weird part of town with a carnival type atmosphere. Places like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Hard Rock Cafe, WWF SuperStore, Rain Forest Cafe, and several other strange franchises. It’s not my cup of tea, but if you like wacky museums, haunted houses, and lame souvenirs, this is the place for you.
- IMAX Theater for the rainy day
- Indoor Water Park
- Niagara on the Lake – Just follow the river down stream for about 7 miles and you’ll run into this beautiful little yuppy town. You’ll pass about 30 wineries on the short trip too. If you like wine, this is the place for you. The town’s shops focus on gourmet food, supplies, and wine. You can also find upscale clothing, horse-drawn carriages, and ice cream, but you’re here for the wine and gourmet food. They offer bus tours that will take you to a ton of wineries and you can sample and purchase all kinds of wine, it sounds like a blast, something I would love to do later on (maybe when all my kids are 21!). It really is easy to find, just follow the road down river until you run into it.
- Casinos, there are several casinos that appear to be very nice and upscale. We didn’t go inside because Winston was with us, but they looked like they could be a lot of fun.
- Plenty of bars and clubs for those who like to party.
A: Just bring your debit/credit card and pay for everything with your card, everyone accepts it and it saves you the hassle of converting US dollars. Just bring some petty cash for tips.
Q: Any last tips for someone thinking about going to Niagara Falls?
A: The nights are pretty incredible. They usually have fireworks and they light up the falls with some laser light show after 9PM. The whole town gathers along the sidewalk that’s built along the Falls’ ledge. It’s festive, beautiful, romantic, and free.
Here’s a couple of my favorite pics:
Breakfast on the 33rd floor of the Hilton (Horseshoe Falls in the background – but you could easily see both Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls)
I snapped this pic of the American Falls from the Maid of the Mist
I tried taking several pictures of Horseshoe Falls from the MOTM, but there was just too much water. Here’s a picture of Jaclyn and Winston while we were getting soaked at Horseshoe Falls
The yuppy Niagara on the Lake – it is very quaint and upscale, but it’s still affordable.
Horseshoe Falls at night – this pic was taken from the public sidewalk, you are so close to the Falls that your heart beats twice as fast