A few weeks ago we packed up the kids and drove an hour and a half to visit Niagara Falls for the day. I have been to The Falls a few times in my life but I think this might have been one of the best because it really felt new again. Seeing Niagara Falls from the wonder of a kids eyes really makes it special. This are the things to do at Niagara Falls.
Parking on the Canadian Side of Niagara Falls
The first thing you need to do if you are driving into Niagara Falls is to find parking. We chose to park right at the falls as opposed to say walking down from Clifton Hill or some other out of the way spot. The lot directly across from the Falls is quite large and if you are arriving before noon you will easily find lots of parking. The cost for the lot was $22 Canadian or $18 American.
Parking across from the Falls meant that we were right where we wanted to be to start the day. We didn’t have to worry about walking far to our destination. Just walk across the street and start to experience the wonder of Niagara Falls.
Things to do at Niagara Falls
First and foremost the thing to do at Niagara Falls is to look and experience Niagara Falls. The Canadian Side has a cliffside park and promenade. The promenade allows for amazing views of both Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. Start your walk from where your cross the street from parking you can walk from the top of the Canadian falls towards the American Falls. This allows for a number of different stops for alternative vantage points to see the different water falls.
This area is known as Queen Victoria Park and is quite beautiful when looking away from the falls as well. Walking through the park can easily take an hour or two depending how far you decide to walk.
Journey behind the Falls
There are a few different ways to see Niagara Falls up close. You can take a Maid of the Mist (US side) or Hornblower (Canadian Side) boat tour. If you are on the Canadian side you can also do the Journey behind the Falls. We did a boat cruise to see Montmorency Falls when we visited Quebec City and the kids thought it was a bit too long. This time we decided to check out the Journey behind the Falls.
Journey behind the falls is exactly what it sounds like. You enter through the Table Rock Center and walk down to where there are elevators to descend 150 feet where you can access the 130 year old tunnels behind Horseshoe Falls.
The tunnels through the bedrock take you to viewing portals to take a peek at the water thundering over the falls. Expect to wait in line to view through the portals. It does not take long once you get to the portal but people are snapping selfies. Don’t expect much from your pictures in the tunnels as there is very little natural light.
To be honest after the wait I was a bit underwhelmed by the viewing portals but I hate to say to pay to do the Journey behind the Falls and not see it! Still we didn’t wait in another long line to get to see another sheet of water so we took to the observation deck.
For me Journey behind the Falls was worth the visit just to gain access to the observation deck. Yes it is cool to walk through the old tunnels but it loses something when you are waiting in there for 40 minutes. Seeing the falls up close is pretty amazing. It is loud and you will get wet. Make sure to put up the hood on your free poncho!
After having a picnic in the park we walked the promenade all the way to Clifton Hill. I always find Clifton Hill super cheesey but it is also kind of like a giant amusement park. There are wax museums, mini golf (with Dinosaurs!) a Skywheel, bowling, House of Horror, ice cream and fast food.
We decided to take a ride on the Sky Wheel. I was terrified as I don’t do heights well but after the first revolution and reminding my 5 year old to stay seated it was a great view of Niagara Falls.
Other Things to do at Niagara Falls
There are two other main neighbourhoods people visit in Niagara Falls. Lundys Lane is known for shopping as it has a large outlet mall. Fallsview Boulevard is where all the major brand name hotels are found as well as the casinos. It lives up to its name as many of these hotels over look the falls.
If you are more of a daredevil you can even zipline at the falls which looked really fun. Terrifying but fun.
If you are staying at the falls for a few days you might even want to pull out your passport and experience Niagara Falls from the US side. I think it would be fun to walk around Goat Island.
Stick around in the evenings to see the falls light up and just for 2017 get your picture taken at the Canada 150 sign.
Are you planning a trip to Niagara Falls? What do you think of the things to do at Niagara Falls? What do you want to see most?