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Popular Destinations near Niagara Falls
Favourite Cities and Hotels in Canada

“The Honeymoon Capital of the World” is in the throes of a mid-life identity crisis. The town of 80,000 people in the province of Ontario has been a popular tourist draw for generations but strikes many today as passé. The decision over a decade ago to transform the town into a casino resort has been met with some success, with obvious appeal on the New York State side.

To experience the best of Niagara Falls however, you have to sidestep the tacky tourist traps that dot the town. A part of Canada with great appeal, the secret to any vacation in Niagara Falls is to avoid the din of the casinos and theme restaurants.

When in Niagara Falls, one must see Niagara Falls. Get the most obvious attraction out of the way first, via promenade stroll or ride on the legendary Maid of the Mist. The Journey Behind the Falls, run by the Niagara Parks Commission, provides the most unusual views of the natural wonder.

Less conspicuous but no less worthwhile is the Niagara Heritage Trail. The scenic stretch of Niagara River coastline runs from Fort Eerie to beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. Significant attractions include Old Fort Eerie, War of 1812 Chippawa Battlefield Park, Laura Secord Homestead and Niagara Botanical Gardens.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint retirement community in the heart of Ontario's wine region. Replete with wonderful inns and bed and breakfasts, vineyard tours are a popular draw in the sleepy hamlet, in addition to the fabulous Shaw Festival, which runs from April to November.

Other attractions in Niagara Falls qualify as touristy and mainstream. Marineland is a popular amusement park, on par with SeaWorld. Falls Avenue Entertainment Complex features a slew of hotels, theme stores and restaurants. Clifton Hill is the main drag with arcades, souvenir shops, a wax museum and haunted house.

The best festivals in Niagara Falls occur outside town. The Niagara Farm to Table Experience is a good example. The annual Niagara-on-the-Lake festival pairs local food purveyors and chefs, with regular events throughout the summer months.

The Grimsby Festival of Art showcases the best artisans in the Niagara region in the month September.

The Niagara Regional Exhibition is one of the best agricultural fairs in Canada, let alone the province of Ontario, with a long line-up of events every September.

The Niagara Wine Festival is the celebration par excellence in what has become a formative New World wine power. The parallel Niagara Food Festival fêtes the rich culinary heritage of the area with demos, workshops and much food and wine. Both take place in September.

Niagara Falls experiences four seasons, with cold winters and hot, humid summers. Fall is a popular season in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with clement weather, beautiful foliage and the annual harvest for farms and vineyards.

  • Winter (November to March) -8-8°C
  • Spring (April to May) 2.5-19°C
  • Summer (June to August) 14-27°C
  • Fall (September to October) 6.5-21°C

Niagara Falls Hotels

Niagara Falls hotels

Nifty Niagara Falls

The three falls themselves are majestic, thunderous, ever gushing and well worth wetting yourself over – from the constant spray they give off, so take a raincoat. They dance on the Canadian and US border, but it is the Horseshoe Fallsin Ontario, Canada, that are the largest and most iconic of them. ... Read more »

For the best – but most tourist-laden – vantage points, the famed Maid of the Mist Boat Tour or the Whirlpool Aero Carcan’t be beaten. But Niagara Falls boasts a number of other interesting (and outrageously expensive) tourist attractions.

If you can put aside any moral objections to tacky tourist traps and embrace the quirky side of Niagara Falls, the place will take on a whole new meaning of ‘unreal’. Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum are just some of the draw cards of tourist centre Clifton Hill.

There’s no point pretending that it’s possible to escape the tourist throng at Niagara Falls. Wherever you go, there’ll be people. But with a glass of Ontario’s famous icewine in hand and a true wonder of nature in front of you, it’s not all bad.

Niagara Falls Top 10

10. Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
Skip the slot machines and head straight for the better restaurants in this entertainment complex.

5. Niagara River Recreational Trail leads from Fort George in Niagara on the Lake and extends the full length of the spectacular peninsula all the way to Fort Erie.

9. Queen Victoria Park A great place to relax in spring, when 500,000 daffodils, magnolia trees and tulips bloom into life.

4. Journey Behind The Falls Descend 45 metres behind the cascade to the observations pockets inside the rock face for a true insider’s view of Niagara Falls.

8. Dufferin Islands 10 acres of secluded parklands, with garden islands connected by little bridges and footpaths. Home of ‘Winter of the Lights Festival’.

3. Clifton Hillis a commercial wonderland aimed at tourists. Museums are the main attractions here.

7. The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens has peacocks parading, aButterfly Conservatory, roses in full bloom in spring. Truly beautiful.

2. Whirlpool Aero Car This cable car was built in 1916, and offers a beautiful view of the Niagara Falls whirlpool.

6. Skylon Tower A colossal observation tower (238 metres high!), with breathtaking view over the falls, and a revolving restaurant.

1.Maid of the Mist Boat Tour of Niagara Falls They’ll give you a poncho, but you’ll still get soaked as you float at the base of The Horseshoe Falls. Operates April to October.

Niagara Falls History

  • Queenston Heights Park – National historic site where the 1812 Battle of Queenston Heights occurred.
  • Laura Secord Homestead – Home of Canadian heroine Laura Secord.
  • Old Fort Erie – A British fort constructed after the Seven Years’ War and a major end point for the Underground Railroad.
  • Niagara Falls Museum – At Battle of Lundy’s Lane, one of the fiercest battles of the War of 1812.
  • Old Fort Niagara – Sits at the entrance of Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Art & Culture

  • Maid of the Mist – A boat tour of the famous waterfall. You get up close and personal, so be prepared to get wet.
  • CAA Winter Festival of Lights – From the beginning of November to the end of January, it includes concert events, ice skating and fireworks.
  • Greg Frewin Theatre – Hosts a Las Vegas-style magic show starring Greg Frewin, the international grand champion of magic.
  • iTheatre: Mystery on the Lake Interactive Theatre – Experience theatre as one of the characters in the show.
  • Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars – See your favorite celebrities in wax.

Niagara Falls Shopping

  • Souvenir City Headquarters – Over 15,000 square feet of retail space offering buyers a variety of keepsakes.
  • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls – Premier clothing outlet near the falls.
  • Pen Centre – Shopping mall that contains 180 stores, movie theatres and a food court.
  • National Geographic Store – Filled with educational toys and games, gemstones and Canadian chocolates.
  • Fudge Factory – Delicious fudge and candy apples made by hand every day.

Niagara Falls Gay & Lesbian

  • Envy Lounge – Gay and lesbian bar featuring live music and karaoke every Wednesday.
  • Log Cabin Heaven – Private bed and breakfast that welcomes people from the gay community.
  • Gay Wedding – Niagara Falls has become the premier place to get married for gays, lesbians and heterosexuals alike.
  • Cheaters Bar and Grill – Gay-friendly establishment with a casual atmosphere and affordable prices.
  • Club Rendezvous – A gay and lesbian club on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Outdoor

  • Marineland of Canada – Performing dolphins, sea lions and walruses. Visitors are able to touch and feed some of the animals.
  • Safari Niagara – Wildlife park set on 110 acres with more than 500 varieties of exotic animals
  • Butterfly Conservatory – Botanical garden featuring 50 species of butterflies and 130 species of flora.
  • Niagara Glen Nature Reserve – Offers guided nature tours through 8km of boulders, wildflowers, woods and caves.
  • Niagara Skywheel – Large Ferris wheel offering unique views of the scenic Horseshoe and American falls.

Niagara Falls Sport

  • Participate in the best freshwater fishing in North America.
  • Play 18 holes at John Daly’s signature golf course.
  • Walk around the Niagara Falls State Park, declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1963.
  • Watch the Niagara Falls Canucks Ontario junior hockey team play at the Gale Centre Complex.
  • Watch the Niagara Ice Dogs Ontario hockey team play at the Gatorade Complex.

Niagara Falls Local

The breathtaking Horseshoe Falls is inevitably the focus of any Niagara experience. But the tourist towns of Niagara Falls have a whole other world of entertainment if you’re up for some fun:

Fallsview

The main attraction is the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort,with over 3000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables to keep the punters happy. But if you’re outraged that gambling should somehow steal the thunder from the thundering falls, the casino has some redeeming features, like sophisticated fine dining options and an entertainment theatre with regular celebrity shows.

For family fun, Fallsview Indoor Water Park is a fun, wet and wild adventure – and a lot safer than attempting to swim in the real Niagara Falls! You will find up market hotels here, with quality in-house restaurants.

Clifton Hill

Center Street, Falls Avenue and Ferry Street make up the entertainment area of Clifton Hill. There are plenty of hotel options here, as well as restaurants and attractions for the kids, but being the commercial tourist hub of Niagara Falls means food and fun don’t come cheap here.

The main attractions include Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, the Movieland Museum of Stars, Guinness World of Records Museum and Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. By night, the bright lights of Hard Rock Club might entice you for a drink or two. Or for some thrill and spills, Casino Niagara is another place to throw away more money.

Lundy’s Lane was the original honeymooner’s destinations at Niagara Falls, and is known as ‘The lane that has it all’ (it also gave rise to the name ‘Viagra Falls’).There are plenty of good shopping plazas here, including the Canada One Factory Outlet Mall,where you can try to recoup on yesterday’s spending at Clifton Hill.

The popularOh Canada Eh?! Dinner Theatrewill excite the hungry musical theatre buff, but if you prefer dinner without the song and dance, there are also some fine-dining options around town. Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts relating to the War of 1812 between the US and Britain, when fighting took place in Niagara Falls.

Queen Street – Arts & Culture District

For some authentic Canadian culture, a short bus ride from Clifton Hill is Queen Street, the ‘downtown’ of Niagara Falls. Early June, Queen Street is host to the annual Springlicious Beer, Wine and Food Festival, which showcases some of the delicious local produce. But you can sample the local food and wine any time of year at one of the street’s cosy café’s or restaurants. Queen Street is also the bustling arts hub of Niagara Falls, with the Seneca Theatre, art galleries and antique stores at every corner.

Niagara on the LakeNiagara on the Lake is a riverside village a short drive from Niagara Falls. Meander down the Niagara River Recreational Trail, which runs along the picturesque Niagara River to discover historic Fort George and Fort Erie. Spend the afternoon browsing quaint market stalls, or go wine tasting at one of the estate wineries or vineyards in this area. If the timing is right, try to catch a theatre production at the Festival Theatre, where the annual Shaw Festival, dedicated to the playwright George Bernard Shaw, takes place from April to November.

Niagara Falls Eat & Drink

Carpaccio in Lundy’s Lane has an old diner feel to it, with friendly staff happy to serve you. Some nice fresh antipasti and wine makes for a great light lunch or dinner.

Skylon Tower The Revolving Dining Room Not recommended for anyone with motion sickness or vertigo. Pricey, but worth it for the delicious and generous servings. Try the Stuffed Pork Chop

Casa Vostra Ristorante feels like an Italian trattoria. Try a selection of the fresh antipasti and the seafood pasta. Niagara Falls Central

17 Noir in theFallsview Casino has great views over the falls. This classic steakhouse also specialises in seafood, and the award-winning wine cellar doesn’t disappoint

Sandstone Grillhouse/Lounge A mouth-wateringly good selection of classic Italian dishes in this more casual dining atmosphere. Good value for money. Niagara Falls Central

Red Chateau Amazing Eastern European and French cuisine served in a small and intimate setting in an 1850s building. The classiest place in town.

Casa Mia Italian Mamma Lucy Mollica serves up delicious, fresh Italian flavours. Delicious home style, yet innovative cooking using local produce. Niagara Falls Central

The Watermark at the Niagara Falls Hilton is rooftop dining at its best. Check the fireworks schedule before booking here – and make the most of the view.

Terrapin Grill Enjoy the delicious meat options from the grill, and a glass of Niagara’s famous icewine, while overlooking Horseshoe Falls. A beautiful dining experience.

Casa d’Oro Exudes warm rustic charm and is the perfect place to indulge in delicious veal and seafood dishes.

Niagara Falls Events

Niagara Icewine Festival is a popular winter event, with numerous ice sculptures on show for free. Taking place in January, winery tours to the likes of Pillitteri Estate show off the celebrated Ontario Icewine.

The Shaw Festival takes place at the Festival Theatre, Court House Theatre, Royal George Theatre and Studio Theatre from April to November. Performances of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries galore!

The spectacular Fireworks over the Falls is a sight you will never forget. Set yourself up at one of the vantage points, like Skylon Tower and see the Falls burst to life in colour from May to September.

The Niagara Folk Arts Festival is one of Canada’s oldest heritage events. Held over 16 days in mid-May it features great entertainment, music, dance and theatre.

Live music, market stalls, wine tastings and great food can all be found on Queen Street during the Springlicious Beer, Wine and Food Festival in early June.

The Spring Festival at the Falls in May and June welcomes the arrival of spring. Attractions include fireworks and streets concerts complete with marching band.

They like their wine tastings in Niagara Falls. The Niagara New Vintage Festival in mid-June offers tours to over 30 wineries in the region. Just don’t plan on driving home.

Enjoy delicious samples of fresh food and great local produce from some of Niagara Fall’s top restaurants during the three-day Niagara Food Festival in late-September.

The Niagara on the Lake wine region celebrates Niagara Falls internationally acclaimed wine at the Niagara Wine Festival. Over 100 events, including wine tours and tastings, concerts, live shows and wine seminars, are spread across 25 vineyards. Late-September.

The brilliant Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara on the Lake sees parks come to life with light shows and fireworks between November and January each year.

When To Go

Summer (May to September) is Niagara Falls’ peak season. Temperatures range from a pleasant 20°C (67°F) to a warm 30°C (86°F).

July is the wettest month in Niagara Falls, with heavy bursts of rain not uncommon during the day, dramatically dropping the otherwise toasty temperatures down.

Winter is between November and January, and is a great time to see Niagara Falls without the crowds. Temperatures, though, can get down to a frosty -1°C (30°F) and many of the attractions like the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour don’t operate.

What To Miss

Clifton Hill gets a rough rap from travellers who feel it cheapens the overall vibe of Niagara Falls. So if it’s natural beauty you’re after, give this place a miss to avoid disappointment and to save a few pennies.

Avoid staying in the cheaper motels in Lundy’s Lane. They are essentially unchanged since their honeymooner heyday twenty years ago.

It’s hard to believe jumping off Niagara Falls was once an attraction at the falls. And more amazingly, a number of people survived the treacherous act. Just don’t go getting any ideas yourself.

Getting Around

Niagara Falls hasa cheap and reliable bus system linking the main tourist centres. There are three lines – Red, Blue and Green – which will conveniently drop you off at all the main attractions.

Taxis are useful for getting out of the centre of Niagara Falls and exploring places like St Catherine’s and Niagara on the Lake.

The cheapest and easiest mode of transport around Niagara Falls is by foot. All the main sights are within 10-15 minutes walking distance from each other.

Niagara Falls on Wikipedia


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The Oakes Hotel Overlooking The Falls
Reviewer score
3.6
out of 55 Reviews
6546 Fallview Boulevard Niagara Falls ON L2G 3W2

The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls is just steps from many of Niagara Falls' best attractions and entertainment ven... More hotel details

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Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel and Spa
Reviewer score
3.9
out of 54 Reviews
6740 Fallsview Boulevard Niagara Falls ON L2G 3W6

Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel and Spa boasts of elegant accommodations, state-of-the-art spa facilities and s... More hotel details

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The Tower Hotel Niagara Falls
Reviewer score
4.2
out of 51 Reviews
6732 Fallsview Boulevard Niagara Falls ON L2G 3W6

Featuring an elegant decor and warm hospitality,The Tower Hotel Niagara Falls welcomes you for an unforgettable vacati... More hotel details

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Days Inn & Suites by the falls
Reviewer score
3.4
out of 56 Reviews
5068 Centre Street Niagara Falls ON L2G 3N9

Whether in Ontario for a business trip or a much-awaited vacation, discerning travellers find ideal base at the cosy a... More hotel details

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Four Points By Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview
Reviewer score
2.9
out of 52 Reviews
6455 Fallsview Boulevard Niagara Fall ON L2G 3V9

Situated within one block from the famous Niagara Falls, Four Points By Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview makes for an ... More hotel details

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Sheraton Hotel on the Falls Niagara Falls
Reviewer score
5.0
out of 52 Reviews
5875 Falls Avenue Niagara Falls ON L2G 3K7

The Sheraton Hotel on the Falls Niagara Falls offers luxury accommodations in the heart of Niagara's tourist district.... More hotel details

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Niagara Lodge & Suites
Reviewer score
0
out of 50 Reviews
7720 Lundy's Lane Niagara Falls ON L2H 1H1

Niagara Lodge & Suites is an economical hotel featuring cosy accommodations, modern amenities and ideal location close... More hotel details

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Days Inn Clifton Hill Casino Niagara Falls
Reviewer score
3.4
out of 54 Reviews
5657 Victoria Avenue Clifton Hill Carretera Street Niagara Falls ON L2G 3L5

The Days Inn Clifton Hill Casino Niagara Falls is close to the city's best attractions and right in the heart of the a... More hotel details

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Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls
Reviewer score
5.0
out of 51 Reviews
6361 Fallsview Boulevard Niagara Falls ON L2G 3V9

Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview hotel overlooks both the Canadian and US Falls and is connected by glass enclosed walkw... More hotel details

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Americana Waterpark Resort & Spa Niagara Falls
Reviewer score
4.0
out of 51 Reviews
8444 Lundy’s Lane Niagara Falls ON L2H 1H4

Offering unparalleled opportunities for relaxation, the Americana Waterpark Resort and Spa Niagara Falls is an ideal c... More hotel details

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