Looking for an exciting and romantic way to bring in the 2015 year, we jumped in the suv and headed northwest. After driving a quick seven hours we arrived at the border of the USA and Canada, passports in hand. We drove over the Niagara river via the rainbow bridge into Niagara Falls Ontario Canada to spend four fun filled days alongside the rushing falls of the Niagara.
Known as the first “wedding journey” ever in 1801, Niagara falls is currently deemed the Honeymoon Capital of the World. It’s a city known for romance and weddings, where millions of nuptials are exchanged yearly. The majestic falls have been part of the wedding scene, from casual to elegant, taking place center stage since the early 1900’s. For those of you planning to “take the plunge” in Niagara Falls, contact the City Clerk’s office (745 Main Street Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY 716-286-4396) or visit niagara-usa.com/weddings to learn about all permits and requirments.
On our first full day in the city I was duped by the beautiful light blue sky with sparse clouds. They tricked me into thinking it had warmed up a bit; until the freezing cold whipped us back to reality. With each step we took closer to the horseshoe falls, the thicker the curtain of mist became. Unbeknownst to us, the energy coming off the falls set us on a casual stroll through the mist. We kept going through it all, until it began to feel like rain, as we walked along the perimeter of the falls- which was ubber cool! We couldn’t help but be drawn in by the roaring tidal waves of water smacking the rocks below, which made for a very lively water show; If you’re visiting through the 31st of January, it turns pretty colorful at 5pm as they shine bright colorful lights against the falls to light them up nightly.
Niagara Falls is also a huge family destination. If you’re looking for a place to have family fun head over to Clifton Hill where you will find bright lights, big signs and many family oriented amusements, as well as all the fast food chains your children love. Clifton Hill is home to many a haunted house, arcade, candy shops, fast food joints (mostly American), chain hotels and museums.
One such museum is the ripleys believe it or not, which is housed in an awesome building that was designed to look like a replica of the Empire State building, laying on its side; held up only by a London style red phone booth. I also love the two recycled pieces they have in the lobby. “Toy Angel” is my favorite and has a great story behind this humongous angel which was made entirely from found toys.
We stayed in the Fallsview area, which was located at the end of Falls Avenue just atop the hill. It consists of a casino, hotels, a mall, eateries, bars, nightclubs, a huge theater and spectacular views of the falls from inside many of those attractions.
On Sunday we took a walk around town, braving the freezing cold weather; when we realized more than 75% of the people walking around town on Saturday were all gone. I couldn’t help but skip down the hill because I was so excited to see one of Gods most majestic creations and I had room to do it. If you would like to be around a lot of people you may want to visit Niagara Falls Thursday through Saturday during the winter. We will return during the Summer to feel the difference, so i’ll blog about that then.
Food was truly an afterthought because we were too busy trying to fight the cold while sightseeing. So we ended up eating at Ruths Chris Steakhouse two nights of the three we were there; mainly because they were right downstairs in our hotel lobby. While walking around town we came across a place called Taco & Tequila, which also happened to be the only open building around, so we tucked in out of the cold. Thankfully we went in because it was a great twist on delicious Mexican American food, which explains how they have survived in Niagara Falls for over 20 years.
On our last day we got caught in a very bad nor’easter snow storm which kept us locked indoors, so we decided to stay close to the Four Points Sheraton, which was our home base for the trip. Luckily it was in the fallsview area, connected to the mall and casino by an airbridge; which made it easy to get around indoors. After shopping we played a game of laser tag. It was so much fun, that I think I have found a new hobby for sure! We had so much fun, spent a lot of money and nearly froze our ARSES off; which is why we will be headed back during summer.
If you do plan to visit Niagara Falls in the winter make sure you bundle up, layer and don’t forget the gloves, scarf and thick socks. However cold it may be, winter is truly the best time to commune with the falls, as you’ll be one of the few souls braving the bone chilling winds. In the summer you’ll have to nudge your way to a good view and wait around for a great table.
Next time we return to Niagara Falls, we will definitely be staying on the United States side because the walk over the border is another adventure in itself. Plus the Canadian side is so expensive, with an 8% Harmonized Sales Tax plus a Tourism Improvement Fee (TIF) that gets added to everything you purchase, from food to hotel stays, your bills can add up quickly. One place we will never return to in Niagra Falls is the International House of Pancakes, or Ihop as its known; as their normally $8.99 meal was a whopping $16.99 plus the 2 types of aforementioned taxes. It seems that all of the well known franchises mark their prices up too. For that reason we will be spending our evenings on the United States Side of the Niagara Trail.
Plus the Ontario side is so touristy with overly inflated prices that I would suggest staying in the USA and taking a walk over to Canada for day trips. A view of the falls from the canadian side is a must, because they are brilliant! However in the evening I suggest spending your time along the Niagara Falls Wine Trail, eating up the fauna and drinking in the fruits of the vine.
If you have a great Niagara Falls suggestion please share it with me below.