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View Full Version : Tips for visit to Niagara Falls



WMR
10-08-2007, 05:38 PM
My family and I are taking a "long weekend" trip to Niagara Falls next weekend...

have any RZ'ers made the trip? Any advice?

Thanks!

westofyou
10-08-2007, 05:47 PM
Canadian side is prettier, but there is tourist crap everywhere... take boots..

Chip R
10-08-2007, 05:52 PM
Canadian side is prettier, but there is tourist crap everywhere... take boots..


He's right. I went up there this summer.

Roy Tucker
10-08-2007, 06:30 PM
We went this past summer for a 2 day trip.

Stayed at the Embassy Suites on the Canadian side which was a nice place. A suite was good for my family of 4 (my son didn't go), plus a good breakfast and afternoon beers and pop and snacks. Kinda $$$, but everything there is $$$.

We bought the package that included the Maid of the Mist boat ride (pretty cool), walk behind the falls (meh, just wet), white water walk (ok), and Butterfly Conservatory (very cool). We also went to the Botanical Gardens which was very cool if you're into such things (we are). And the fireworks that night.

But all that you can do in one day. After a days worth of waterfalls, you've pretty much seen everything there is to see.

The second day, we drove up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. We also stopped at some wineries on the drive up. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint little town with lots of shopping (for my wife and daughters) and benches (for me to sit on). I was passing the time with 2 other Canadian oldsters when their wives walked up and said "well, isn't this the old grump stump, eh".

I liked the wineries (we're into wine) and the town was nice, but shopping is about it. Oh, and a nice lunch there too.

The restaurants around the falls are pricey. For a dinner for 4, the least I spent was $100. The most was ... more.

redhawkfish
10-08-2007, 06:34 PM
One day is enough at the Falls. We spent a morning at Old Fort Niagara, and I enjoyed that especially the view of Lake Ontario.

I think there was a casino on the Canadian side.

Sea Ray
10-08-2007, 06:40 PM
Never been but I think I'd catch the Baseball Hall of Fame either coming or going...

GAC
10-08-2007, 06:46 PM
running water = frequent bathroom trips.

The Canadian side is better....cleaner, better developed, more to do. It reminded me somewhat of downtown Gatlinburg with all the shops ans sideshow attractions.

redsmetz
10-08-2007, 07:13 PM
Never been but I think I'd catch the Baseball Hall of Fame either coming or going...

We did that some years ago, but be warned, the HOF is way far away - 250 miles. We stayed on the Canadian side and my wife was surprised by the Falls. She expected it to be cheesy and was amazed at how beautiful and stunning it was.

GoReds33
10-08-2007, 08:10 PM
Never been but I think I'd catch the Baseball Hall of Fame either coming or going...Yeah, I would love to see te Hall of Fame as well. If you have enough time on your hands that would be a terrific place to go to.

As many others so far on here have said, the Canadien side is way better.:)

deltachi8
10-08-2007, 08:15 PM
I live about 20 minutes from the falls.

The Canadian side has much more to do and the park itself is very nice. The US park is just a touch below, but still scenic.

Right now with the Canadian Dollar at par (actually worth about a penny more) than the US Dollar, the US Side is much more economical... Much more. The sales tax in Canada is about 15% (compared to 8.5% on the US Side). A meal at the Hard rock Canada will cost about 30-40% more than the same meal at the Hardrock on the US Side.

There are Casinos on both sides. The Seneca Niagara Casino in the US (Run by the Seneca Nation) has a new luxry high rise hotel built on it that is getting rave reviews. The CDN side has Casino Niagara (close to the bridge) and the newer, more upscale (if that fits for a Casino) Fallsview - which is quite nice.

One thing I highly suggest if you have never done it is The Maid of the mist boat ride. It is a bit expensive but it is something you will not forget. You can take it from either side of the border.

I usually park on the US Side, walk through the park and then walk across the Rainbow bridge to Canada. (Make sure you bring your ID for entry into Canada and back to the US). Its a nice walk and quite a beautiful site from the bridge. Do the touristy stuff on the Canadian side (watch the dollars, everything is expensive) then walk back over and catch dinner at the Hard Rock US or the Casino.

Living this close it is easy to take the Falls for granted, but every time I visit I am still amazed. I will miss it should I move as I think I will be.

Here are some photos from this summer:

The Rapids on the US side:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f74/deltachi8/IMG_0531.jpg

Me and my Son at Rapids:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f74/deltachi8/IMG_0527.jpg

From the Rainbow Bridge:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f74/deltachi8/IMG_0543.jpg

Me and Sam on the bride, the standard "we are in different countries pose"
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f74/deltachi8/IMG_0540.jpg

TeamBoone
10-08-2007, 08:24 PM
Never been but I think I'd catch the Baseball Hall of Fame either coming or going...

That can't be done... I mean literally, of course. The HOF is much, much further than the falls.

deltachi8
10-08-2007, 08:25 PM
That can't be done. The HOF is much, much further than the falls.

About 3 1/2 hours....

GoReds33
10-08-2007, 08:40 PM
That can't be done... I mean literally, of course. The HOF is much, much further than the falls.The Hall of Fame would be an all day event if you went from Niagra Falls, but it would be well worth it.:)

RedsBaron
10-08-2007, 09:03 PM
We went this past summer for a 2 day trip.

Stayed at the Embassy Suites on the Canadian side which was a nice place. A suite was good for my family of 4 (my son didn't go), plus a good breakfast and afternoon beers and pop and snacks. Kinda $$$, but everything there is $$$.

We bought the package that included the Maid of the Mist boat ride (pretty cool), walk behind the falls (meh, just wet), white water walk (ok), and Butterfly Conservatory (very cool). We also went to the Botanical Gardens which was very cool if you're into such things (we are). And the fireworks that night.

But all that you can do in one day. After a days worth of waterfalls, you've pretty much seen everything there is to see.

The second day, we drove up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. We also stopped at some wineries on the drive up. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint little town with lots of shopping (for my wife and daughters) and benches (for me to sit on). I was passing the time with 2 other Canadian oldsters when their wives walked up and said "well, isn't this the old grump stump, eh".

I liked the wineries (we're into wine) and the town was nice, but shopping is about it. Oh, and a nice lunch there too.

The restaurants around the falls are pricey. For a dinner for 4, the least I spent was $100. The most was ... more.

That sounds very similar to our trip of 3 or 4 years ago. We took a Gray Line tour, which was great, as it allowed us to go to the head of the line for a number of attractions, a must when traveling with three impatient kids.
I loved the Maid of the Mist trip and the Butterfly Conservatory. I also agree-the Canadian side is cleaner and has a better view of the Horseshoe Falls.
I was surprised by how mesmerizing I found looking at the Falls to be. I really enjoyed the visit.

redsfanmia
10-08-2007, 09:03 PM
The Hall of Fame would be an all day event if you went from Niagra Falls, but it would be well worth it.:)

I actually did the trip from Niagra Falls to Cooperstown and omg is it far. Cooperstown is in the middle of absolute no where. I am glad that I went but was severely disappointed in the HOF and actually the town itself. The HOF seemed to be 60+ percent Yankees and 25+ percent Red Sox and the merchandise in the town was 99 percent Yankees and Red Sox so as a Reds/National league fan I was very disappointed.

GoReds33
10-08-2007, 09:27 PM
I actually did the trip from Niagra Falls to Cooperstown and omg is it far. Cooperstown is in the middle of absolute no where. I am glad that I went but was severely disappointed in the HOF and actually the town itself. The HOF seemed to be 60+ percent Yankees and 25+ percent Red Sox and the merchandise in the town was 99 percent Yankees and Red Sox so as a Reds/National league fan I was very disappointed.I'm going to be on the first flight there if Mark Ecko sends that ball to Cooperstown with an asterisk on it. I don't care how much yankees and Red Sox stuff is there.:)

jmcclain19
10-09-2007, 02:52 AM
Just don't throw any family members over the side in anger. And pick up some Cohibas when your on the Canadian side - but don't tell the ICE about it. They don't like that.

Other than that you should be ok.

TeamBoone
10-09-2007, 03:23 AM
About 3 1/2 hours....

It's more than that. You have to go to Syracuse, to Utica, to Cooperstown. It's more like 5 or 6 hours.



I actually did the trip from Niagra Falls to Cooperstown and omg is it far. Cooperstown is in the middle of absolute no where. I am glad that I went but was severely disappointed in the HOF and actually the town itself. The HOF seemed to be 60+ percent Yankees and 25+ percent Red Sox and the merchandise in the town was 99 percent Yankees and Red Sox so as a Reds/National league fan I was very disappointed.

It really surprises me that you say both these things.

I've been to the Hall a few times and NEVER came away with your impression.

And, regarding Cooperstown itself, it's a tiny little town... I'm not sure what you expected. It is, however, a beautiful little town nestled into Leatherstocking Country situatuated on a gorgeous lake with several decent places to eat, parks, and baseball shopping. Doubleday Field is awesome too.

You're correct that the Yankees are well-represented in the shops... it is a NY state town and the Yankees are the oldest team in the state, however, it's no where near as dominating as you describe. There are tons of shops there, and I've found a whole lot to buy as a NL fan... more than I've ever had the money for, that's for sure.

There's also a baseball camp right down the road; can't remember the name but it has "dreams" in it. Teams from all over the country come there each summer to play. A lot of people miss it because it's a little way out of town, but it's pretty impressive.

redsmetz
10-09-2007, 06:41 AM
I actually did the trip from Niagra Falls to Cooperstown and omg is it far. Cooperstown is in the middle of absolute no where. I am glad that I went but was severely disappointed in the HOF and actually the town itself. The HOF seemed to be 60+ percent Yankees and 25+ percent Red Sox and the merchandise in the town was 99 percent Yankees and Red Sox so as a Reds/National league fan I was very disappointed.

I must disagree - I had goosebumps as I walked towards the Hall. It was wonderful and I hope to go back some day. While my wife and daughters shopped around the town later, my son and I took in a ball game at the ball field, a couple of teams had traveled up to play that day (apparently happens all the time, so I was told). I never noticed the breakdown of teams. It was Baseball, for heaven's sake!

westofyou
10-09-2007, 11:06 AM
I must disagree - I had goosebumps as I walked towards the Hall. It was wonderful and I hope to go back some day.

Me too, as for small towns that are disappointing... welcome to America.

BTW Cooperstown is named after the family of James Fenimore Cooper, the writer. Apparently the little town used to be their farm.

deltachi8
10-09-2007, 11:12 AM
It's more than that. You have to go to Syracuse, to Utica, to Cooperstown. It's more like 5 or 6 hours.




It really surprises me that you say both these things.

I've been to the Hall a few times and NEVER came away with your impression.

And, regarding Cooperstown itself, it's a tiny little town... I'm not sure what you expected. It is, however, a beautiful little town nestled into Leatherstocking Country situatuated on a gorgeous lake with several decent places to eat, parks, and baseball shopping. Doubleday Field is awesome too.

You're correct that the Yankees are well-represented in the shops... it is a NY state town and the Yankees are the oldest team in the state, however, it's no where near as dominating as you describe. There are tons of shops there, and I've found a whole lot to buy as a NL fan... more than I've ever had the money for, that's for sure.

There's also a baseball camp right down the road; can't remember the name but it has "dreams" in it. Teams from all over the country come there each summer to play. A lot of people miss it because it's a little way out of town, but it's pretty impressive.

i have made the drive a few time, 3 1/2 is optomistic, 4 and 1/4 realsistic.

TB you are right about the hall. Yes, lots of Yankee stuff (you are only about 4 hours from the city and they are the most storied franchise in MLB) but not overly so. I have no problem finding Reds stuff.

Great little town, take a whole day there.

redsfanmia
10-09-2007, 02:56 PM
It's more than that. You have to go to Syracuse, to Utica, to Cooperstown. It's more like 5 or 6 hours.




It really surprises me that you say both these things.

I've been to the Hall a few times and NEVER came away with your impression.

And, regarding Cooperstown itself, it's a tiny little town... I'm not sure what you expected. It is, however, a beautiful little town nestled into Leatherstocking Country situatuated on a gorgeous lake with several decent places to eat, parks, and baseball shopping. Doubleday Field is awesome too.

You're correct that the Yankees are well-represented in the shops... it is a NY state town and the Yankees are the oldest team in the state, however, it's no where near as dominating as you describe. There are tons of shops there, and I've found a whole lot to buy as a NL fan... more than I've ever had the money for, that's for sure.

There's also a baseball camp right down the road; can't remember the name but it has "dreams" in it. Teams from all over the country come there each summer to play. A lot of people miss it because it's a little way out of town, but it's pretty impressive.
Maybe I built it up in my mind to be alot more than it is. I will give it another shot and lower my expectations.

Strikes Out Looking
10-09-2007, 03:42 PM
Also, spend some time at Niagra on the Lake. It's a small town about 20 minutes north of the Falls--it's quaint and very nice.

WMR
10-09-2007, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the tips/advice, everyone. Anybody else has any tips, please chime in.

Unassisted
10-09-2007, 04:31 PM
This year marked the 20-year anniversary of my last trip to the Falls, so I suspect it has changed since I was there.

Buffalo has some of the fastest, wildest traffic for a city its size that I've ever driven in.

Both times I visited the falls, it was cool and breezy and those visits were during warmer months of the year. I'd say "dress warm," but I know that most of the country has been abnormally warm lately. Expect the weather there to be cooler than you expect. :)

Ltlabner
10-09-2007, 04:37 PM
Don't fall in?

Yachtzee
10-09-2007, 06:54 PM
i have made the drive a few time, 3 1/2 is optomistic, 4 and 1/4 realsistic.

TB you are right about the hall. Yes, lots of Yankee stuff (you are only about 4 hours from the city and they are the most storied franchise in MLB) but not overly so. I have no problem finding Reds stuff.

Great little town, take a whole day there.

Here's a plan if you have a long weekend.

Niagara Falls -> Finger Lakes -> Cooperstown

As Deltachi and TB said, it's a haul from Niagara to Cooperstown. If you like wine and have a long weekend, I suggest breaking the trip in half on the way out there by stopping in the Finger Lakes region. At Niagara, of course there are the falls, and I enjoyed checking out Ft. Niagara as well. Then, you can hit the Finger Lakes region. It's really beautiful this time of year and there are some great wineries that offer free wine tasting. Dr. Frank's Winery on Keuka Lake is my favorite. There is also Watkins Glen and the Corning Glass Museum. Then, head on to Cooperstown. The town itself is pretty cool. In addition to the goosebump delivering Baseball Hall of Fame, there is also the Ommegang brewery and I think the National Soccer Hall of Fame is out there too. Again, really beautiful town. It would be a great place for a summer home, IMO.

Yachtzee
10-09-2007, 06:55 PM
Don't fall in?

Contrary to popular belief, barrels are not exactly the best vehicles for traveling over the falls. I did hear that someone survived riding in a contraption similar to a giant racquetball.

TeamBoone
10-10-2007, 12:38 AM
Here's a plan if you have a long weekend.

Niagara Falls -> Finger Lakes -> Cooperstown

As Deltachi and TB said, it's a haul from Niagara to Cooperstown. If you like wine and have a long weekend, I suggest breaking the trip in half on the way out there by stopping in the Finger Lakes region. At Niagara, of course there are the falls, and I enjoyed checking out Ft. Niagara as well. Then, you can hit the Finger Lakes region. It's really beautiful this time of year and there are some great wineries that offer free wine tasting. Dr. Frank's Winery on Keuka Lake is my favorite. There is also Watkins Glen and the Corning Glass Museum. Then, head on to Cooperstown. The town itself is pretty cool. In addition to the goosebump delivering Baseball Hall of Fame, there is also the Ommegang brewery and I think the National Soccer Hall of Fame is out there too. Again, really beautiful town. It would be a great place for a summer home, IMO.

Factoring in travel time, that's a v-e-r-y long weekend. :p:

I like the Hammondsport vinyard area (in/near Ithaca). Watkins Glen is very close by and worth the visit. You can trek the gorge and see the great light show which is cast against the walls of the gorge after dark.

There's another major attraction of interest in Cobleskill, which isn't too far from Cooperstown... Howe Caverns. Awesome!

And if you REALLY want to stretch that already long weekend... Old Forge, Saratoga Springs, Lake Placid, and Lake George are wonderful areas to visit.

Hmmmm, looking more and more like a couple weeks might be better.

And I forgot the Thousand Island up on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Yachtzee
10-10-2007, 04:30 AM
Factoring in travel time, that's a v-e-r-y long weekend. :p:

I like the Hammondsport vinyard area (in/near Ithaca). Watkins Glen is very close by and worth the visit. You can trek the gorge and see the great light show which is cast against the walls of the gorge after dark.

There's another major attraction of interest in Cobleskill, which isn't too far from Cooperstown... Howe Caverns. Awesome!

And if you REALLY want to stretch that already long weekend... Old Forge, Saratoga Springs, Lake Placid, and Lake George are wonderful areas to visit.

Hmmmm, looking more and more like a couple weeks might be better.

And I forgot the Thousand Island up on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Maybe a 4-dayer. ;) Of course I drive Akron to Bath (in-laws live there) all the time and have done Akron-Bath-Binghamton in a 3 day weekend, so the travel time doesn't seem terrible to me. At least the scenery is nice. You could definitely spend some time tooling around the non-NYC portions of NY State and see a lot of really cool stuff.

Ltlabner
10-10-2007, 07:23 AM
Contrary to popular belief, barrels are not exactly the best vehicles for traveling over the falls. I did hear that someone survived riding in a contraption similar to a giant racquetball.

Far be it from me to besmirch someone elses' pastime....

But having a yen to go over the falls in just about anything strikes me as odd.

If we have any adrent go-over-falls-in-a-barrel people here, I applogize in advance.

OldRightHander
10-10-2007, 10:38 PM
I stopped there the other day on my way to Albany. I only spent three hours, but it was well worth it. Take some good walking shoes.

RFS62
10-11-2007, 09:01 AM
Cooperstown is Mecca. You must make a pilgrimage there someday.

I loved every second of my visit, and really want to go back and spend more time.

OldRightHander
10-11-2007, 10:43 AM
Cooperstown is Mecca. You must make a pilgrimage there someday.

I loved every second of my visit, and really want to go back and spend more time.

You know what is so frustrating? I have been across New York about four times in the last couple weeks and have driven right past the exit for Cooperstown every time, without having the time to stop. The other day I might have had some time, but cash was a little short and Niagara Falls was free. That's the only thing about my work, driving past all sorts of interesting places and not always having the chance to stop.

Chip R
10-11-2007, 11:30 AM
Cooperstown is Mecca. You must make a pilgrimage there someday.

I loved every second of my visit, and really want to go back and spend more time.


And if you go in the winter, you can mix in a skiing trip as well.

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x176/skullcrshr/Zoners/9a01.jpg

westofyou
10-11-2007, 11:32 AM
And if you go in the winter, you can mix in a skiing trip as well.

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x176/skullcrshr/Zoners/9a01.jpg

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

Unassisted
10-11-2007, 12:47 PM
Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

Now the valley cries with anger.
'Cause this song is infectious.
It'll stay there in your noggin.
You will hear it all day long.

At least I will anyway. :runawaycr

WMR
10-12-2007, 10:41 PM
Arrived at Niagara Falls today. :)

Our hotel is about 2 blocks from the Falls.

We walked down and walked the couple miles or so around the falls. (We're on the Canadian side)

The best is at the far end of the walkway where you can get as close as possible to the "biggest" fall. Seeing the translucent, thick blue water coursing by at such a rapid pace really hammers home the thousands of gallons falling each second.

(Hotel has wireless internet. YES. :) )

BoxingRed
10-13-2007, 09:46 AM
The best is at the far end of the walkway where you can get as close as possible to the "biggest" fall. Seeing the translucent, thick blue water coursing by at such a rapid pace really hammers home the thousands of gallons falling each second.

I think the most interesting thing about the Falls is that, if I remember correctly, only about 10% of the actual water flow goes over the Falls. Most is diverted for various reasons, including keeping the Falls where they are. Apparently, if the river were allowed to flow naturally, the Falls would have eroded a ways further upstream by now.
Can you imagine what they would look like if they let it flow?

Roy Tucker
10-13-2007, 04:54 PM
Supposedly, in a number of years (like some thousands), the falls will erode back and empty Lake Erie.

Yachtzee
10-13-2007, 04:59 PM
Supposedly, in a number of years (like some thousands), the falls will erode back and empty Lake Erie.

I always wondered if Lake Erie, being very shallow, would actually empty, or if Niagara Falls would just widen to the width of Lake Erie to become something akin to Victoria Falls in Africa.

TeamBoone
10-13-2007, 05:58 PM
Electrical power is distributed by Niagara Mohawk... some, if not all, of that is generated by the falls I think.