Hostelworld Guide for Niagara Falls

By Rebecca Keenan

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The Niagara Falls are one of the most breathtaking sights in the world but they're far from the only things you'll want to check out during your stay. Outside the neon-lit area of Clifton Hill, you'll find incredibly beautiful countryside to explore along the Niagara Parkway. Just a little further and you'll reach the area's wineries and the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Back in Niagara Falls itself, numerous attractions bring you closer to both the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls including the famous Maid of the Mist boat trips. The action doesn't stop once the sun sets, with a plethora of bars and restaurants to enjoy, along with the nightly illumination of the Falls. Thanks to all this and more, you'll need a few days to experience all that Niagara Falls has to offer.

 

 

In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop






 The Essentials


 Climate


Getting There

By plane: The closest airport to Niagara Falls is actually located in Buffalo, NY on the US side of the Falls. It's about a 30-40 minute drive to get from the airport to the Rainbow Bridge where you can cross over to the Canadian side. Toronto Pearson International Airport is approximately 125 kilometres or a one and a half hour drive from Niagara Falls.

By train: VIA Rail Canada offer train services connecting Niagara Falls with various Canadian destinations including Toronto. The main train station in Niagara Falls is located on Bridge Street, just a short cab ride from the downtown area.

By bus: The main bus terminal is located at 4555 Erie Avenue. A variety of bus companies including Greyhound run services into Niagara Falls.

Getting Around

On foot: Exploring the area around the Falls on foot is quite manageable; however, if you want to get out along the Niagara Parkway (and you will want to), you'll need to use some form of public transport.

By bus: The Peoplemover and Falls Shuttle bus services are two handy ways of getting from attraction to attraction along the Niagara Parkway. Peoplemover services operate between April and October, while Falls Shuttle services operate from the end of May until October. If you're buying a ticket on one of these buses, you'll need to have exact change.

By car: If you can drive, it's worth thinking about renting a car for at least one day of your stay. That way you'll be able to make your way out to Niagara-on-the-Lake, visit the wineries and more all at your own pace. There are lots of car rental places in town so shop around for the best deal.

 Niagara Falls facts

Name: Niagara Falls is also known as the 'Honeymoon Capital of the World'.
Location: Located in the Canadian province of Ontario, Niagara Falls is situated on the Niagara River, across the water from Niagara Falls, NY in the United States.
Population: Around 82,000 people live in the city.
Area: Niagara Falls covers an approximate area of just under 210 square kilometres.


Niagara Falls sees four quite distinct seasons and has what is known as a humid continental climate. The weather can be quite changeable during spring and autumn, winters are cold with frequent frost and snow, and summers are generally pretty hot. January tends to be the coldest of the winter months with subzero temperatures averaging out at around -6ºC. In summer, July is the hottest month with temperatures often climbing above 26ºC. June and September are the wettest months of the year as both get rainfall in excess of 80mm.

 Good to know...

Languages: English
Currency: Canadian dollar (CAD)
Electricity: 110 Volts AC/60 Hz, 2-pin plug (flat) or 3-pin plug (2 flat & 1 round)
Area code: +1 (Canada), 905 (Niagara Falls)
Emergency codes: Ambulance/Fire/Police 911
Time zone: Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5)
Central Post Office: Niagara Falls Post Office, 4500 Queen Street
Main Tourist Office: Niagara Falls Tourism, 5400 Robinson Street

Consulates*

USA: +1 416 5951700
Australia: +1 416 3231155
New Zealand: +1 416 9479696
UK: +1 416 5931290
Spain: +1 416 9771661
France: +1 416 8471900
Germany: +1 416 9252813
Italy: +1 416 9771566
Ireland: +1 613 2336281**

*All consulates in Toronto
**Embassy in Ottawa

 
Hostelworld Guide for Niagara Falls www.hostelworld.com

 Cheap Eats


 After Dark


 Taste on tap

Taps, 4680 Queen Street Both brew pub and restaurant, Taps is a good spot if you're looking for good portions of tasty food. Everything from steak to seafood to shepherd's pie features on the menu and all the dishes are very reasonably priced. So take a seat at the bar or grab one of the tables and enjoy your meal with some of their home-brewed beers. Open daily noon-close, kitchen closes at 10pm Sun-Tues & midnight Wed-Sat.

Bravo, 5438 Ferry Street One of the funkiest places to eat in town, Bravo serves up Italian cuisine in a chic interior. Prices are affordable and the atmosphere is very welcoming, ensuring that you'll linger over your pizza or pasta dish. The menu also includes salads, sandwiches and more. Open daily 11am-midnight.

Kelsey's, 4960 Clifton Hill Part of a popular chain of Canadian restaurants, Kelsey's is both bar and restaurant. There's a wide selection available on the menu including burgers, sandwiches and soups. Great value specials on wings and more will help you save a dollar or two. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am.

Basell's, 4880 Victoria Avenue A pretty old-school diner, Basell's tempts you with food as soon as you walk in the door with mouth-watering pies sitting in a glass case on the counter. There's plenty to choose from on the menu including all-day breakfasts, grilled cheese sandwiches, steak and two daily specials. Open daily 6am-9pm.

Niagara Home Bakery, 66 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake Without a doubt, this long-running bakery is one of the most affordable places in town to pick up a quick bite. A wide variety of pasties and savoury pies, along with a great selection of cakes and cookies are available. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-5pm.


Rumours, 4960 Clifton Hill People pack onto the large dancefloor in Rumours to dance under a laser light show to tunes provided by live DJs and music videos shown on a giant screen. If you want to take a break from dancing, take a seat at one of the window tables for great views of Clifton Hill. Open Fri-Sat 8pm-2am, closed Sun-Thurs.

Jack's, 5038 Centre Street This popular local haunt also attracts plenty of visitors thanks to its friendly staff, laid-back atmosphere and great drinks selection including everything from pitchers of beer to mixed drinks. Stop by on Tuesday or Friday nights and you'll be treated to plenty of top-notch live music. Open daily 11am-2am.

Grand Central, 4573 Queen Street This big bar is filled with a plethora of TVs showing sports of all kinds, from hockey to wrestling. They've got a wide variety of beers on tap, along with a great selection of spirits. There's a different special every day and in between drinks you can have a go at the dart board or pool table. The patio seating outside is very popular, especially during the warm summer months. Open daily 11am-2am.

 Place your bets

Fallsview Casino, 6380 Fallsview Boulevard If you're feeling lucky, head on down to the Fallsview Casino, which boasts over 3,000 slot and video poker machines, as well as table games like roulette and craps. Budding card sharks will be happy to hear that you can also play poker and blackjack. Open 24 hours daily.

Wild Mushroom, 5633 Victoria Avenue Attracting a good mix of locals and travellers, the Wild Mushroom is a great spot for a beer. Plenty of other tipples including regular drinks specials are available from the big bar at the centre of the large open room you'll reach if you wander down the steps into this much-loved establishment. Open Sun-Mon 5pm-2am, Tues-Sat 2pm-2am.


 Don't Miss


 Niagara Falls for Free


Niagara-on-the-Lake Take a scenic 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls and you'll reach Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Ontario. Queen Street in the town centre is filled with funky little stores and cafés as well as a number of theatres and if you wander down to the lakeshore on a clear day and you may see the Toronto skyline in the distance.

Maid of the Mist, 5920 Niagara Parkway A Niagara Falls institution, the Maid of the Mist boats have been providing close encounters with the Falls since back in 1846. Today the boats are a bit different than the steamboats they used to use, but the experience is just as thrilling. Departure schedule changes with season, check website for details; admission $15.60.

 Wonderful wine

Jackson-Triggs Winery, 2145 Regional Road 55, Niagara-on-the-Lake The guided tour here covers the vineyards, the interestingly-titled crush pad and plenty more. Don't forget to stop into the Tasting Gallery where the ice wine is particularly delicious. Open daily 10.30am-5.30pm, tour times change with season; admission $5.

White Water Walk, 4330 Niagara Parkway Step into the elevator at this hugely popular attraction and you'll be whisked down 23 floors in a matter of moments. There are two observation areas along the boardwalk beside the river, giving you stunning views of Class 6 rapids. Opening hours change with season, check website for details; admission $9.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, 61 Melville Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake These tours give you the chance to get up close and personal with the lightning-quick waters of the Niagara River. On the exhilarating trip, you'll take in the Niagara Whirlpool, the Devil's Hole Rapids and plenty more. Departure schedule changes with season, check website for details; admission $15.60.


Explore the Botanical Gardens Operated by Niagara Parks, the Botanical Gardens have been open to the public since 1936. Covering almost a hundred acres of land, they include a spectacular rose garden, an arboretum filled with trees and shrubs, a herb garden and plenty more. Open daily from dawn until dusk.

Check out Queenston Heights Park Queenston Heights Park is yet another of the gorgeous green spaces found in Niagara Falls. It's perfect for a stroll or a picnic. This park is also an important historic site as it is home to Brock's Monument, which is dedicated to a British soldier whose troops won a battle against American forces in the area in 1812.

Go hiking in the Glen The Niagara Glen is part of the Great Gorge area of the Niagara River and is a popular spot for hiking. Take the stairs down and you'll find around 4 kilometres of trails at your disposal. These will take you past lots of beautiful local plants and impressive boulders, and you'll also get some pretty amazing views of the fast-flowing waters of the river.

Have a look inside the Floral Showhouse Keep walking south from the Falls and in a few short minutes you'll reach the Floral Showhouse and its impressive gardens. Inside you'll see a few different rooms filled with a colourful array of plants alongside some very pretty water features. Open daily Sept-May 9.30am-5pm, June-Aug 9.30am-8pm.

 Please illuminate me

Visit the Falls at night It's true to say that the Niagara Falls are one of the world's most breathtaking sights during daylight hours but, if possible, they get even more beautiful after dark when they're illuminated by a kaleidoscope of light. From rainbow colours to bright white, they highlight the splendour of the Falls and provide some incredible photo opportunities. Illumination begins at dusk.

 
Hostelworld Guide for Niagara Falls www.hostelworld.com