Although not official, Niagara Falls has come to be known as the “8th Wonder of the World.” It is the world’s largest waterfall not by height or width but instead by largest volume of water flowing through it. It is also one of the most photographed waterfalls in the world and brings millions of tourists to the US/Canada border every year. Many come just to see the falls and although they are truly magnificent there is so much more to be seen around Niagara than just the falls.
If you’re planning a day out to Niagara and driving from the US over to the Canadian side make sure to give yourself ample time at the border as sometimes (during rush hour or weekends) you can be left sitting in the border traffic for hours. Niagara Falls is the collective name of the 3 falls; Bridal Veil Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and the American Falls. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located on the US side of the border and the Horseshoe Falls straddles the border but can be seen best from the Canadian side. Throughout the year there are fireworks shows at night above the American Falls. Shows usually run on Wed/Fri/Sun and holidays. An up-to-date schedule of the when the fireworks shows are happening and times can be found here.
Activities around the falls are plentiful. You can cruise to the falls, journey behind them, view them from above on the walking paths, and go for a walk around the city of Niagara itself. At the top of the Skylon Tower you get magnificent views of the three falls, the best being of the American Falls which you are directly above. Around the city of Niagara there are casinos, museums, mini golf, fun houses, great restaurants and more. Many of the hotels have packages that include attractions and/or dinner so make sure to check out Groupon or Travelzoo as you can usually find good deals on hotels there! If staying overnight at the falls, I usually stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Fallsview which is located just a few blocks up from Horseshoe Falls and right across from the casino. The perfect location to explore all of Niagara!
Just 30 minutes from the falls you will find Canadian wine country and the quaint town of Niagara on the Lake. The area here is home to more than 30 wineries that feature a variety of high-quality wines, some even offer a varietal of ice wine which is not as common to find. Visiting this area can be a trip within itself as there is so much to see (and lots of wine to drink). There are tours you can take that depart from Niagara Falls if you don’t want to drive and many hotels also offer discounted or free wine tasting or winery tour coupons with your stay. My favorite winery to visit here has become Pellar Estates, not only do they have a tasting room but they have a beautiful restaurant with a patio situated right next to the vineyards. The perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon in wine country!
Toronto is another beautiful and diverse city that is less than 2 hours North of the falls. If you’re as passionate about wine as I am, you can go to the ‘World’s Highest Wine Cellar’ at the top of the CN Tower. If you really have some time you can head 4 hours North to Blue Mountain, Ontario’s only year-round mountain resort and spa. There is still so much I have yet to explore in this area, I hope that you will discover as I have that although the falls are an incredible sight to see but there is much more to Niagara than just this! Happy travels!