One of North America’s most impressive, dramatic natural landmarks, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is no simple wilderness. With burgeoning nightlife and plentiful attractions for travelers of all ages, the city of Niagara Falls juxtaposes the nominal landmark’s organic beauty with urbanity and man-made theater. The least outdoorsy and adventuresome of travelers will find enough variety in shopping, dining and modern entertainment to make a Niagara Falls visit well worth their while. Even so, the golden palaces of Eldorado could not outshine the power of the triad Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil falls that make up Niagara Falls.
The city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, provides viewing opportunities of the falls from nearly every angle imaginable. Observation decks all around the city’s Fallsview district offer expansive, distance views of the Horseshoe and American falls. The legendary Maid of The Mist boat floats right into the spray at the base of the falls. Helicopter rides can be hired out for visitors who prefer the bird’s-eye view, and the “Journey Behind the Falls” tour will take visitors 150 feet into the bedrock and tunnels behind the falls. The Skylon Tower and Konica Minolta Tower offer stunning views more removed from the action as does the 173-foot-high Ferris wheel, Skywheel. Travelers looking for high-adrenaline thrills can get their kicks with a jet boat ride through the class-five Niagara River whitewater. If the falls and river truly aren’t enough, or just aren’t doing the trick, fun can be had playing golf on a John Daly signature course, splashing around with the kids at Fallsview water park, or placing a bet at the Fallsview casino.
The Clifton Hill tourist promenade at Niagara Falls with its wax museums, haunted houses, mini-golf and arcades. Tourist restaurants like Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café are the spots for kitschy fun. Cozier fine-dining experiences can be found all around the city with tastes as familiar as pub and grille fare and as diverse as pan fusion cuisine. A trip to the nearby city St. Catharines, nicknamed the Graden City and located in the heart of Ontario Wine country, is a must for wine lovers and enthusiasts. St. Catharines is culturally juxtaposed to the commerciality of Niagara Falls city and is the home of many art, music and wine festivals. The Niagara Icewine Festival in particular should not be missed. Set in the winter beauty of southern Ontario, this January festival celebrates the region’s cherished dessert wines.
Travel options for getting to St. Catharines or Niagara Falls are varied and convenient. Niagara Falls does have an international airport, but flying into Toronto or Buffalo and driving will likely offer more flexibility. The train is a great way to access Niagara Falls. Canada’s Viarail provides service to the city and Amtrak’s Maple Leaf Line runs from New York to Toronto stopping in both Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.
As with most Canadian destinations, cold weather detesters will want to stay away from Niagara Falls during the winter months. The sight of ice on the falls is one of a kind, but the average high temperature is no higher than 55° F and as low as 30° F from September to May. A traveler who can cope with crowds, which will be immense, will find the summer months the best time to be cooled down by a Niagara Falls mist.