Niagara Falls Weekend Guide
Experience the Excitement of Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls in Ontario is a place of immense beauty and great lore with wild tales of daredevils slipping over the towering falls in tiny boats and barrels. Head to Canada and spend the weekend exploring the falls from every angle--above, behind and under the thunderous waterfalls--and enjoying the first-class entertainment that has grown up around the main attraction.
Where to Stay
Marriott Niagara Falls Hotel Fallsview and Spa
Just 100 yards from the falls, the Marriott is the closest hotel to the action and promises the best views. Oversize windows in guestrooms offer panoramic views of the falls or the river while 2-room family suites comfortably accommodate families up to 6 people without compromising luxury or that stellar view. The hotel offers a variety of package deals that cater to families, lovebirds or foodies who want to take advantage of the hotel's rooms, restaurants and spa while enjoying the local sights.
Sterling Inn and Spa
It takes just a glance at the towering milk-bottle-shaped entrance to understand that the Sterling Inn and Spa, housed in the old Bordens Dairy building, is filled with charm and character. This boutique hotel has no shortage of style with modern furniture, luxe bathrooms and separate sitting rooms and fireplaces in deluxe accommodations. Prices are reasonable and breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi are all complimentary, leaving you with extra cash to spend on a Deep Awakening massage, herbal tea bath or a couples yoga class at the hotel's OneSpaRetreat.
There is nonstop action at the Skyline Inn with family-friendly activities and adult fun to fill up your social card during your Niagara Falls visit. Kids can experience Niagara's other water features with 3 acres of fun at the nearby Fallsview Indoor Waterpark and then enjoy a family dinner at the Rainforest Café or Hard Rock Café in the hotel's shared space on Falls Avenue. Family Bunk Bed rooms sleep up to 6 guests in 2 attached rooms while family suites have 3 queen beds.
Niagara FallsTake a helicopter tour to get a bird’s eye view of Niagara Falls -- the collective name for 3 waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Fall sand the Bridal Veil Falls. Located on the border between Canada and the US, this popular tourist attraction is 17 miles from Buffalo, NY, and 75 miles from Toronto. 960 1280
Horseshoe FallsHorseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls, renowned for its beauty and as a source of hydroelectric power. Ninety percent of the Niagara River flows over Horseshoe Falls, where about 2/3 of the falls is located in Ontario, Canada, and the other 1/3 in New York State. Quick Tip: Best vantage point to see the falls is from Table Rock Centre on the Canadian-side of the falls. 960 1280
American FallsUnlike Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls is completely located in New York. The height of the falls ranges between 70 and 110 feet. Where?s your best vantage point to see the American Falls? Visitors can view the falls from the bank of the Niagara River on the American-side, but a head-on view is better on the Canadian side in Niagara Falls, Ontario. 960 1280
Niagara Falls History MuseumStep back in time and explore the history of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Visit the Niagara Falls History Museum allows visitors to try on a replica uniform from the War of 1812, feel the weight of a musket and walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls like the daredevils from the past. 960 1280
Sterling Inn & SpaStay at the Sterling Inn and Spa -- Niagara?s only boutique hotel -- that caters to couples looking for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or just a luxurious place to get away from it all. We recommend dining at the award-winning, fine-dining restaurant, AG Inspired Cuisine, and a visit to their full-service spa, which includes couple massages, skin care treatments and body wraps and scrubs like the almond-orange fruit and nut body scrub. 960 1280
Niagara Falls HiltonVoted ?Top 10 World?s Best View? by Trip Advisor, Niagara Falls Hilton is one of the most popular places to stay when visiting Niagara Falls, Ontario. This hotel soars 53-storeys high above the Horseshoe Falls. Guests are walking distance away from the Fallsview Casino Resort, with a 100,000-square-feet gaming floor, a 1,500 seat theater and galleria-style shopping. 960 1280
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park CampFor an outdoor experience, families can stay at the Yogi Bear?s Jellystone Park Camp, located just 3.5 miles away from Niagara Falls. Visitors can choose between one of their large-wooded campsites, big rig pull-thru lots, furnished cabins and cottages or park trailer rentals.Enter to win a $10,000 trip for 2 to Niagara Falls.
Ontario Winery TourFor an adult excursion, visitors can take a tour of Ontario?s Wine Country, including the Inniskillin Winery. This winery, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, produces its collection of world-renowned and award-winning table wines and Ice wines from grapes grown in Canada for more than 35 years. Inniskillin also has a winery in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. 960 1280
MarineLand CanadaOpened for more than 50 years, Marineland has the largest collection of beluga whales in the world. In Arctic Cove, children can safely feed and touch the whales, bison, elk, and deer. In addition to interactive animal displays, this park also has fun rides like the Bumble Bee, Ocean Odyssey, Space Avenger and Sky Screamer -- the world?s highest triple tower ride. 960 1280
Niagara SkyWheelRide the Niagara SkyWheel -- Canada?s largest observation wheel. Hop aboard the fully enclosed gondolas and soar 175-feet to get spectacular aerial views of the Niagara skyline, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, the Niagara River and Clifton Hill. 960 1280
Hornblower Niagara CruiseGet an up-close, breathtaking view of Niagara Falls. Go on a fully-guided boat tour with Hornblower Niagara Cruises to explore the Canadian-side of this breathtaking sight. Within the Niagara Great Gorge, tourists come face to face with all 3 waterfalls, including Bridal Veil Falls. 960 1280
Skylon TowersDine with a view at Skylon Tower. The world-famous tower is located in the heart of the Niagara Falls hotel, dining and entertainment district in Canada. Eat Yellow Fin Tuna, White Veal T-Bone or Skylon?s Spectacular Rack of Lamb at 775 feet above the majestic falls. We recommend the affordable Summit Suite Buffet Dining Room restaurant if you?re traveling with children and need a cheaper alternative. 960 1280
Fallsview Indoor WaterparkFallsview Waterpark is North America?s largest indoor waterpark and resort. Sixteen waterslides, an indoor wave pool, hot springs and outdoor sundeck with a pool are all found at this 3-acre park. It?s a 2-minute walk from Niagara Falls and connected to Falls Avenue Resort, which includes 3 hotels. 960 1280
Bird KingdomOnce home to the Niagara Falls Museum, Bird Kingdom is one of the largest indoor aviaries in the world. The 45,000-square-foot space is home to more than 300 birds from Australia, South America and Africa. Guest to Bird Kingdom will also see mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians, like the poisonous dyeing dart frog. 960 1280
Fallsview Casino ResortFallsview Casino Resort is built on a cliff overlooking the world-famous Horseshoe Falls. It is the largest gaming resort facility in Canada with over 3,000 slot machines, 100 gaming tables and a poker room. The resort also features a 374-room luxury hotel, full service spa, dozens of shops and restaurants and the 1,500-seat, state-of-the-art Avalon Theatre. 960 1280
Fudge FactoryNeed a sweet treat for a midday snack or after dinner? We recommend a stop at Fudge Factory to sample 20 gourmet flavors of mouth-watering fudge made fresh every day. And it just wouldn’t be a Canadian candy store if it didn’t also sell maple syrup and ice wine chocolates. Enter to win a trip to Niagara falls now! 960 1280
17 Reasons to Visit Niagara Falls 17 Photos
Be the Family Hero!The Whirlpool Aero car is a family favorite excursion! It is suspended from 6 sturdy cables and offers a wonderful view of the Niagara Whirlpool, which is formed at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counterclockwise and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge. High above the racing Niagara River, you'll be transported through the air in an antique cable car. Far below, the torrent of water abruptly changes direction and creates one of the world’s most mesmerizing natural phenomena, the Niagara Whirlpool, which is always unforgettable! 960 1280
Be the Nature Lover!Niagara Falls is a grouping of 3 waterfalls — the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Canadian side of Niagara Falls, located between Goat Island and the Table Rock Welcome Center, is known as Horseshoe Falls. The Canadian Horseshoe Falls has the highest flow rate and beauty that captivates millions of visitors every year. 960 1280
Be the Captain!For a truly extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experience, visitors can choose the Falls Illumination and Falls Fireworks Cruises on board one of the Hornblower boats. Amid dazzling city lights, the falls' colored illuminations and the Niagara Falls fireworks, guests will enjoy onboard licensed bar service with snacks while marveling at the nighttime spectacle. Whatever you choose, any Hornblower Niagara cruise will be the highlight of your visit and the thrill of a lifetime! 960 1280
Be the Creator!The Fireworks Over the Falls celebration is a spectacular vacation moment. Year after year, Niagara Parks hosts Canada's longest-running fireworks series. Join us for a spectacular display in front of an unforgettable backdrop, absolutely free! Fireworks run Friday and Sunday nights, along with special holiday celebrations on Canada Day and the Fourth of July. 960 1280
Be the Thrill-Seeker!Niagara Helicopters has been thrilling passengers from all over the world with the highest, most scenic and most exciting sightseeing experience in the Niagara region! From 9 a.m. until sunset, these helicopters fly passengers over the breathtaking view of the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. 960 1280
Be the Adventurer!Journey Behind the Falls offers a unique view of the falls from below and behind. Visitors descend 150 feet to an outdoor observation deck and 2 portals located directly behind the falls. At Journey Behind the Falls, you'll experience the awesome spectacle of 1/5 of the world’s freshwater crashing down to the basin below. During summer daylight hours, over 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the brink every second, traveling 65 kilometers per hour! 960 1280
Be the Wine Lover!Right in the middle of wine country, the Niagara Escarpment (a ridge carved by ancient glaciers) is a World Biosphere Reserve. The Niagara Escarpment is the backbone of Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, the Bruce Trail, and it’s vital to the distinctive microclimate that supports Ontario’s most active wine region. Charming and unforgettable, this destination boasts a growing culinary scene and boutique wineries that are both laid-back and engaging. 960 1280
Be the Nature Lover!Bird Kingdom is a world-class attraction that's a 5-minute walk from Niagara Falls. Imagine a journey in search of the legendary Lost Kingdom. Along the way, encounter exotic birds, animals and reptiles — an adventure that is fun for all ages! This incredible experience begins at the mysterious Old Museum, where you will feel as though you have traveled back in time. Your adventure takes you to Explorer's Base Camp, where you can get up close to and even hold friendly parrots, exotic birds and animals. The journey continues with a spectacular view of the Niagara River Gorge as you enjoy the smallest of the beautiful winged wonders flying freely around you. 960 1280
Be the Water Baby!The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is Niagara Falls' largest water park and entertainment complex. Ideally situated across from the falls and Rainbow Bridge (to the US), the 3-acre park is positioned in the heart of Niagara's tourist district. It's complete with 16 extreme slides, massive wave pool, swirling plunge bowl, tiny tot splash area, 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, beach house play area and adult-only Jacuzzi tub. 960 1280
Be the Visionary!See the big picture on the Skylon Tower observation deck. The Skylon Tower includes indoor/outdoor observation of the falls from 775 feet; 2 great dining rooms overlooking the falls, the Skylon Tower Summitt Suite Buffet Dining Room and the Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room; and, at the base, Niagara’s largest indoor amusement area, the Skylon Fun Centre, complete with a food court and 4-D theater. 960 1280
Be the High Roller!Overlooking one of the world’s most majestic natural wonders, Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort is designed to captivate, excite and make you want to come back for more. Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort is the largest and most elegant gaming resort facility in Canada. This Niagara Falls casino is the crown jewel in Niagara's stunning array of wonders. Fallsview offers a world-class casino with over 3,000 slot machines, 130 gaming tables and an exciting poker room. 960 1280
Be the Daredevil!Are you ready for a unique sightseeing opportunity with breathtaking views of the falls and beyond?Then head on down to Clifton Hill Street of fun. Take a ride on Canada’s largest observation wheel, the Niagara SkyWheel, which towers 175 feet over the Niagara Falls horizon. 960 1280
Love Every Moment in Niagara Falls 12 Photos
Where to Eat
Skylon Tower Observation Deck
Revolving dining rooms may seem a bit gimmicky, but not when the ever-changing view offers a variety of perspectives on the towering Niagara Falls. Located atop the Skylon Tower, visitors take the glass elevator 775 feet into the air to reach the restaurant. Dinner can be a bit pricy but includes admission to the observation decks. Early-bird specials at the 4:30 and 5 p.m. seatings are a good value with a prix-fixe menu of salad, entrée and dessert. If you splurge on a later dinner, you can watch as the falls are illuminated with the colors of the rainbow in a spectacular and glowing vision of light and flowing water.
Elements on the Falls
Elements on the Falls appeals to all of your senses, beginning with the astonishing view of the falls at Table Rock Centre. The natural beauty is brought inside the restaurant with an open kitchen that includes an open-fire grill. The chefs rely on local ingredients to bring you dishes like seafood cakes with a Niagara peach and pimento relish or Canadian bison sirloin steak served alongside wines from nearby Niagara vineyards.
Paris Crepes Bistro
Take a break from the crowds, and enjoy a different view at this charming French bistro on Queen Street. The menu is filled with crepes of the sugary and savory varieties stuffed with ham, eggs and cheese for lunch and chocolate, fruits, nutella, marshmallows or any combination of sweets for dessert. The full café menu offers more tastes of Paris with hearty servings of French comfort food including escargot, duck confit, mussels, ratatouille and beef bourguignon. Round out your meal with a bubbly citron presse, creamy hot chocolate or a classy Kir Royale.
What to See & Do
Don a complimentary rain poncho, and prepare to get wet on a trip aboard the Hornflower. If you grab a spot on the coveted upper deck, you're privy not only to great views but a spray of water as the boat glides up to the thunderous falls. The Voyage To The Falls boat tour ventures into the heart of the Niagara Gorge and offers unforgettable scenery of the American, Bridal Veil and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Boat rides are available daily from spring to late fall and last approximately 20 minutes.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Once you've experienced the falls from the water, head to the sky for a different perspective. Antique cable cars shuttle guests across the river for a view of the Niagara Whirlpool, the swirling torrent of water that forms at the end of the rapids where the river pushes through the gorge's narrowest channel. The ride is just 10 minutes and though you're high above the raging rapids the wildly swirling whirlpool is sure to get your adrenaline rushing.
Experience a more gentle side of Mother Nature with the fluttering wings of thousands of butterflies at the Butterfly Conservatory at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture. Both kids and adults marvel at the beautiful and colorful tropical butterflies that make their homes in a rainforest setting featuring a pond, mini-waterfall and plenty of exotic flowers and plants. And if you wear brightly colored clothing, including hot pink, turquoise and orange, you may become a landing pad for these fragile beauties.
Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
Like all good casinos, the Niagara Fallsview has slots and gaming tables as well as a host of entertainment options where you can retreat before you spend your last dollar. The theater seats only 1,500 guests but still draws big-name attractions for concerts, comedy shows and other performances -- past performers include Jay Leno, Dolly Parton and Ringo Starr. R5 is a slick lounge while Breeze Bar is filled with plasma TVs where you can catch a game and grab a beer.
The drinking age in Canada is 19, and while many clubs cater to a younger crowd, there's something for everyone on the club scene, including plenty of chain restaurants and bars at the area's largest hotels. Some non-hotel options include Yank's Old Niagara Bar and Grill for live rock music on Thursday nights and Club Rialto at the Casa Doro restaurant for dance music on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want to catch the spectacle of fireworks over the falls, head to the patio at Edgewaters Tap and Grill with great views of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls and fun drink options, including flights of beer, wine and colorful martinis.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip
You can view Niagara Falls from the United States or Canada, but most agree that the Canadian side offers the best views and the most comprehensive complex of hotels and entertainment options away from the falls.