If you’re looking to figure out a best way to visit Niagara Falls, you have come to the right place. There are two great ways to visit Niagara Falls – as a day trip from Toronto or make a weekend out of it, stay overnight and enjoy everything Niagara Falls Town has to offer.
If you choose the former, I strongly encourage you to peek at my Toronto Travel Guide for tips first.
Below, you will find my tips & tricks on how to make your visit to Niagara Falls affordable & fun.
If you choose to do a day tour to Niagara Falls, there are variety of transportation options from downtown Toronto, such as public service busses, private busses and organized tours to name a few. We opted for a private company called Safeway Tours. Safeway Tours offer a return service from number of spots in Toronto to the Falls View Casino in Niagara. This bus service is predominantly aimed at those who wish to come to Niagara to the Falls View Casino and play for the day. That being said, you can still avail of the service and not go to the casino but visit Niagara Falls Town, which is exactly what we did.
There is a set departure time which you need to follow; aside from that you can do as you please. The cost of the bus is CAD35 per person for a return ticket.
Next, you need to decide whether you wish to stay on the Canadian or American side of the falls. I cannot speak to the American side, in terms of activities and places to stay, that being said your dollar will go a longer way on the Canadian side, given the strength of currencies. Please be mindful, that if you are doing a day tour and wish to go into America, you need to take into consideration potential delays at the border, health & safety regulations and any COVID restrictions that still might be in place.
The Falls themselves are free of charge. They are just along the park – shockingly they are not as big & vast as they portray them to be on TV, so for me at least, it was a little bit of a shock. There isn’t an official “entry” point to the Falls – they are just there, beside a park, behind a small fence. If I am being honest, they are stunning, but I was disappointed. I feel like media had them hyped up and the real thing didn’t live up to it.
When you are in the Niagara Falls Town and you start walking towards the falls – don’t pay for the small zip car/tram to bring you down. Take a 5 minute walk instead and you can get down very easily via a sidewalk totally for free. The tram costs $7 per person return and lasts 1 minute. It’s small, cramped and you don’t get a good view, therefore you could well spend that money elsewhere.
Table Rock Welcome Centre is where you will find all of the information about Niagara Falls and the Town itself as well as where you can purchase any admission tickets to excursions, boat rides or a very nice experience called Journey Behind the Falls, where you get to stand in a cave viewing point “behind” the Falls and see them up close (get ready to get soaked though).
You will also have the opportunity to dine with a view and buy all of your souvenirs (but at a premium!). The 2nd floor of the Welcome Centre has a really nice view of the Falls, which is free and a good spot for a photo.
If you plan to stay a little longer than couple of hours, Niagara Falls offers a variety of tourist attractions in the Town. I call it the Vegas of the East. Niagara Falls Tourism Board offers a number of coupons and discounts to variety of attractions to help you with your time there. All of which you can check out here.
These types of discounts are a great way, to help you plan your journey and manage your expenses.
When it comes to dining in the town on Canadian side, try and avoid dining at US restaurant chains, such as Applebee’s etc., you will be paying US prices for their meals & drinks, which works out more expensive for Canadians.
In the event where you have a vehicle and aren’t tied to a bus schedule, I strongly recommend you visit Niagara-On-The-Lake. It’s a little town approximately 30 minutes away from Niagara Falls and apparently it is amazing. The town is like an old school movie, with frilly window displays, shabby chic theme and lots of lovely cafes and wineries to visit and stroll through. That is my one regret, as time did not allow us to visit. Next time!
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