Visitors Guide to Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada, is home to the Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall in North America and possibly the best-known in the world.

The natural wonder is historically famous as a honeymoon destination—these days more in a campy, maudlin kinda way—but it also attracts a range of visitors, especially families. The tourist zone of the city centers around the Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian waterfall that is named for its bowed shape) and the American Falls, both which gush into the Niagara Gorge.

With the addition of a new casino resort in 2004, finer hotels and restaurants have followed, adding an iota of sophistication; however, Niagara Falls is primarily touristy and uncultured in character.

Though a trinket shop or neon sign is always a mini-putt away, Niagara Falls is still a fun place to visit: the spectacle of the Falls themselves is awesome and the opportunity to stroll the Niagara Gorge for several kilometers allows visitors to appreciate this natural wonder.

Canada's Niagara Falls is just across the water from Niagara Falls, New York. It is 15 or 20 minutes from Buffalo and an hour and a half to two-hour drive from Toronto.

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Attractions

Horseshoe Falls seen from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls caters full-on to tourists by offering up a plethora of splashy attractions that thrill, excite and amaze, such as the famous and longstanding Hornblower Tours, the Whirlpool Aerocar or IMAX movie theater.

If you plan to visit several Niagara Falls attractions, consider buying a pass, such as the Niagara Falls & Great Gorge Adventure Pass, or for those visiting both U.S. and Canadian Niagara Falls attractions, the Niagara Falls Power Pass may be your best buy.

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Where to Eat

Grab a bite to eat at Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
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Niagara Falls is a pure tourist town and full of mediocre, overpriced restaurants. Plenty of chain restaurants, including Tony Roma's or The Keg are decent, but most true foodies will leave the heart of town and venture down to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the selection is more diverse and sophisticated.

One fine dining option right in Niagara Falls is Casa Mia, a cozy, authentic Italian restaurant that has a free shuttle service to local hotels. The Niagara Fallsview Casino has at least a dozen restaurants, from casual to fine dining.

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Where to Stay

Niagara Falls from the hotel room
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Niagara Falls has many big-name hotels, such as Doubletree, Sheraton, Courtyard Marriott and more.

When booking your hotel, consider are how close to the Falls you want to be. For some visitors, only a Fallsview room will do. Other hotels are closer to outlet shopping, and you can take a short shuttle to the Falls.

If romance is the priority, many hotels offer in-suite hot tubs and "theme" rooms. Possibly your loved one will don a Tarzan costume and swing from the rafters.

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Shopping

Niagara Falls City in Ontario, Canada offers many shopping options
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Aside from an abundance of trinket shops, Niagara Falls has outlet shopping on both sides of the border. Typically, the American side has better deals, but shoppers must consider personal allowances and the possibility of paying duty if shopping in the U.S. and returning to Canada (or vice versa).

Of course, the exchange rate also factors into deciding which side of the border you shop.

Niagara Falls, NY, has Walden Galleria and Fashion Outlets Niagara amongst others, that offer the likes of Ralph Lauren, Guess, Coach and Pottery Barn at up to 75% off regular prices.

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Events and Festivals

Niagara Ontario Parks Winter Festival of Lights Illumination forming a rainbow
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How to Get There

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls in the evening from the Canadian side
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By Car - Niagara Falls is about 90 minutes from Toronto and a half hour from Buffalo. 

By Plane - Several airports are convenient for visiting Niagara Falls.

By Bus/Train - Go Transit offers bus and train service from various Ontario cities, like Toronto and Hamilton. 

Greyhound offers service from the U.S. as does Megabus. Megabus - a successful U.K. bus operator that has branched into North America - does not currently (as of 2015) have a stop in Niagara Falls but does go to Toronto, Buffalo, and the Buffalo Airport. 

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The Great Outdoors

Ziplining by Niagara Falls, a new attraction for thrill seekers
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  • Fishing - Niagara Falls has a system of rivers and waterways where you can fish for rainbow trout, brown trout, salmon, lake trout, musky and small-mouth bass
  • Golf- Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake are big golf destinations with many scenic, some waterside, courses.
  • Rent a bike - The Niagara region is perfect for bike riding, especially the extensive and picturesque bike path system of the Niagara Parkway and the Niagara wine region, where cyclists can stop for tastings along the way.
  • Hike - A series of Niagara Parks trails wind through woodland and conservation area.
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Weather and Climate

Niagara Falls iced over in winter
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Niagara Falls' climate is about the same as that of Buffalo or Toronto.

Winters are bitterly cold with abundant snowfall and summers are hot and humid.

Although winters are cold in Niagara Falls, travel during the winter months offers plenty of savings. Visitors in winter can always take advantage of indoor activities, such as the ​Niagara Fallsview Casino, Butterfly Conservatory, or the Great Wolf Lodge. The Falls light up from November to January during the annual Winter Festival of Lights.

Summer is the most popular time to visit Niagara Falls and see the sights. The Hornblower Tours (formerly Maid of the Mist), one of the area's top attractions, only operates between April and October. Hotel prices reflect this season's demand.

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