Where do I even begin?!
This trip was planned in less than a week and we spent just as many hours driving, to and from, as we did at the falls. 😂 But we had a great time and here is what we did.
I will start off by saying, go with an open mind and always be ready that things can go not according to plan. But try to make the best out of it and have fun anyways.
HOW DID WE GET THERE:
We drove. From Chicago suburbs to Niagara Falls, Canada via USA side. It took us about 10 hours total. We only made 3 stops (food, water, gas).
WHERE DID WE STAY:
Embassy Suites by Hilton, Niagara Falls – Fallsview. The view was absolutely amazing but we had some issues with this hotel. I booked a 2 Queen Beds – Fallsview Suite – for obvious reasons. But when we arrived, they tried to tell me that the room we booked was only a partial view. So in order to see the fireworks at night, I had to upgrade for $300 CAN a night. I asked to see the room first before making my decision but I was told NO that is not something they offer. So my husband negotiated with them to get us a full “Fallsview” room for an additional $150 per night. I was not happy but I was too tired to think or speak so I went along with it. However, after further review, we had that room booked all along and they literally stole $300 from us. To say that I was mad, is an understatement. I am still waiting to hear back from them about getting my money back. So, book at your own risk.
This hotel, while it does have amazing views, keep the room situation in mind and this: it has the worst elevators in history of elevators. You will spend hours of your day waiting for an elevator. One day we had to wait for 40 minutes for one and we were so high up that walking down was not an option.
WHERE DID WE PARK:
We self parked at the hotel, which was $70 CAN per night. You can also park off site for a lot less and walk back to the hotel or take a shuttle.
WHAT DID WE DO/ SEE:
Since we only had two days here, we did not get to do all the things. But what we did do, was amazing.
First things first, we stopped at the Love Lock Bridge and left our mark. I actually purchased our lock from Amazon before we left but you can definitely purchase one at the stores around town as well. TIP: we used one of the keys to engrave our name and date into it before locking it in.
Next, we took the Falls Incline Railway down to the falls. Our hotel was right above the railway so the location was perfect. We ended up paying for a two way ticket but using only one way. Because once we were down there, we ended up walking back a completely different way. My suggestion is pay as needed. Don’t make the same mistake we did.
The Voyage to the Falls boat tour – this was probably the highlight of our visit. The lines seemed so long and only one boat was working that weekend but honestly, it went by so fast. We waited for about an hour total and the ride itself is about 20 minutes. But the experience is unlike anything I’ve ever done.
“Enjoy stunning views of the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, and come face-to-face with the famous Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Feel the thundering roar, awesome power, and amazing mist (a protective recyclable mist poncho is provided) that come along with these natural wonders or, ride after sunset for a light-mist experience with the illumination of the Falls. “
Visit Clifton Hill – if you are from the Midwest, Clifton Hill is like downtown Wisconsin Dells. I will preface by saying, this is not for everyone. It’s busy, it’s smelly, it’s overwhelming. But there are some funky yet cool things to do and see. Attractions, restaurants and entertainment galore. We did a little bit of everything and some shopping too.
Fun zone – we decided to check out one of the Fun Zones while on Clifton Hill. That was short but fun. We purchased one of their bundles and ended up playing in the arcade for a bit, did laser tag and laser maze as a family, a mini escape room called Time Freak, and cannon blasters. It was just enough to get out of the heat and rest from all the walking.
Fireworks – this is a must see if you visit before October. Not only do they light up the falls at night with various colors, but the actual fireworks at 10pm every night, are the perfect way to end the night. Colorful summer display against the backdrop of the falls – pure magic.
The last thing we were able to squeeze in was the Upside Down House. That was so trippy! We were all so dizzy and our balance was way off. But we laughed so much while in there so for me that in itself was worth it. While this is a super small house (about 5 min self guided tour) it is pretty cool, different and a great photo op!
We did not spend enough time at the Falls to recommend any restaurants. We ate at Applebee’s and TGIF’s and if that is your jam, than you will be okay. But for me, those restaurants were way overpriced for the type of food they serve. However, since we were tired from walking all day long and everyone was hangry – we grabbed food where it was convenient and close to the hotel.
Otherwise, they have food places all over but it depends on how much you want to spend, how long you are willing to wait and what you are willing to eat.
Our days began with a pastry for the kids from Starbucks and a coffee for the adults. Than we were on our way to explore. The day went by so fast that we did not even think about food until dinner time.
However, one of the places that I would recommend would be Sweet Jesus ice cream. That was a very unique and delicious treat. Plus a refreshing break on a super hot day.
The other place has to be Tim Hortons!!! You cannot come to Canada and not have their coffee. My hubby and I tried it for the first time about 8 years ago and we loved it then and love it now.
I am so glad that we took the US side all the way to the falls even if it was a long route. But I regret taking the Michigan side home. There is soooo much construction that I honestly don’t know how we made it home in one piece. Or how our car survived all of the potholes. Canada portion was smooth and easy but Michigan, nope. Do not recommend.
- Be prepared to spend a ton of money.
- All items are marked in Canadian Dollars so it may seem a lot more expensive at first. But once you get the conversion down, it’s still very expensive! HA!
- Bring your most comfortable shoes. You will walk A LOT. At first glance, it does not seem like a big area to cover by foot, but it sure is.
- Don’t pay for the trolley both ways. Just pay as you go. We bought a ticket for both ways, thinking we would come back up the same way. But after all of that walking, we got lost on the other side and never came up the same way.
- Get a room with a view. Maybe pick a different hotel, but definitely get a falls view.
- Plan to watch the fireworks at 10pm, it’s such a beautiful sight.
- Don’t spend more than 2 days here. You will cover almost everything you need.
We were all so happy that we got a chance to visit this beauty. It’s definitely something worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. This nature’s gift to us is breathtaking.
I wish I did more research and planned our activities better. We may have been able to do a few more activities. But honestly, the other things that they had, we also have here or have done it earlier this year. For example, we did not want to the ferries wheel because we did one in Vegas for spring break. We did not want to play mini golf, even though it was different and looked so cool, because we can play mini golf at home any time. I did not want to eat at American fast food places because, well because we eat that all the time! We skipped a few other places for the same reasons.
Usually when I travel I like to try new things and experience new adventures. I wish we had time to go to Niagara on the Lake but maybe when we take the kids to Toronto, we will make that drive. And I do wish we did the zipline but 3/4 of us were scared ha-ha!
So overall, we had a beautiful time and an eye opening experience with this one. We lived, loved, laughed and would do it again, but differently.
Until next time, follow me on Instagram @lifethrumyhazeleyes for more day to day adventures and laughs.