Your best bet is to head from Toronto to Niagara. Go online and buy a bus ticket to Niagara Falls. A regular bus (which takes about 4 hours and only $16) or a Greyhound (approx 2 hours and $40 round trip) and make your way there. The bus seats are comfortable, having charging devices and supposedly wifi (though it didn’t really work). Bus drivers are friendly and departed on time.
It is like a mini Las Vegas with its hotels, strip mall, entertainment quarter and larger than life concept.
On Clifton St you’ll find a barrel of activities. Whilst we didn’t engage in any of the activities there, if you’re in Niagara with your family, there is mini golf, go karting, Ripley’s believe it our not, wax celebrities, mini golf, haunted houses, bowling and more.
Food wise, don’t expect anything too special, Niagara is primarily chain restaurants or cafes. Most of the food is fast food, like Ihop, Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, ice cream shops, fudge shops and more.
Where to stay
It is a big tourist town, so naturally there’s plenty of hotels from holiday inns to the Hilton. We chose to stay at an air bnb – the host John runs a bnb called Archie’s bunker. It is a short walking distance to the falls and is a great location. John and wife Trish are so hospitable and were super good communicating with us prior to coming. When we arrived, the Australian flag was flying high. Our room was the Oh Canada room and it was dressed with all Canada themed decorations. Kitted our with towels, cups, gowns, slippers, a kettle and more, all you need for your stay. We liked the special touches of a chocolate by the bed, 2 souvenir pins and a bunch of brochures to read on the area. He also prepares breakfast and it was an amazing spread of granola, yoghurt, fruit, pastries, juice, coffee and he made us eggs Benedict! We loved this. What a marvellous place to stay. Only $100 a night, it is a bargain.
At Niagara Falls
Walk along Niagara Parkway and you see two parts of the falls. The horsehoe falls is the most spectacular.
In the evening the falls are illuminated and the colours change. It is super impressive. Fireworks also take place from 10pm, be sure to get in early for a prime spot.
Mist Rider Zip line
The zip line is super fun to do. This is $60-$70 depending on whether you go at day or night. We did the night version at 9pm where you get a light up wrist band and zip line when all the falls are lit up with coloured lights. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush and we enjoyed it! They have fireworks at 10pm so you can also see those!
Journey Behind the falls
For an experience in the tunnels below and behind the horseshoe waterfalls themselves. Pay your $25 entrance fees and head down in an elevator (about 35 metres below). You’ll be up and close to the falls in the two viewing platforms and behind falls when traversing the tunnels behind. You will get wet – but they will give you a recyclable poncho.
Hornblower Niagara Cruise
We booked one of these cruises to get close to the falls. It is $25 plus tax for the trip including the poncho. Line up and you’ll find yourself herded down to the deck to board. They pack it to the brim. The boat round trip takes about 30 Mins and you get close to the horseshoe falls. It’s worth it for the view. You will get wet. Very wet. Be sure to wear that poncho.
Perfect for an awesome view of the city and above the falls. Pay your $15 entrance fee and get the lift to the top. Once you’re there, walk around and get your view of the entire city. Take your photos and that’s about it. They do have a revolving restaurant and buffet if that takes your fancy.
Where to eat
The food in Niagara isn’t great. It’s mostly a mix of chain restaurants focusing on big and greasy: think burgers, wings, ribs and more. If that’s your thing, you’ll be sorted. We found it hard to find somewhere to eat. We ended up at a Turkish restaurant for a salad and meat skewers to share just to stay healthy.
Apparently the buffets in the casinos are good value and you can also eat in the revolving restaurant in the tower.
Queen Victoria Place Restaurant
A large restaurant with a great view of the falls. In the evening there’s also music playing on a stage nearby. The restaurant serves western food, relatively healthy with entrees, mains and desserts. They’re quite pricy but the food looked really good, like antipasto, salmon and risotto to name a few. We had drinks here only – a beer paddle and a local wine paddle to sample a few of the variations. We enjoyed sampling these. Service was a bit varied. When we ordered, the drinks came out fast, but it was hard to get the waiters attention. Despite this, I’d recommend visiting here because a drink with this view is worth it.
Hope you have fun if you visit Niagara! We did!