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Chicago or Niagara Falls

Cayman Islands
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Chicago or Niagara Falls

My husband and I have to visit Chicago on Business from 4th Aug to 8th. We have decided to travel up a few days early and cannot decide on the following

1. Stay in Chicago or

2. Take a trip to Niagara Falls for a couple of days.

If we decided to go to Niagara should we

1. Drive up via Port Huron/London ie though Ontario and then back via Cleveland/Toledo (staying overnight somewhere on the way there and back)

2. Drive one way and fly the other

3. Drive one way and take the train/sleeper the other

3. Fly or take the sleeper both ways.

Is the drive worth it? As we have never been to this part of the country before is it worth it? It seems that the scenery from London to Niagara is definitely worth it, but what about the rest.

Anyone any ideas?

Chicago
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1. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

That's going to be a very long drive (9 hours or so). I've never done the drive to Niagra, but I can attest that the drive across lower Michigan is mind numbingly boring. If you want to hop to Niagra Falls from Chicago, Southwest Airlines from Midway might be your best bet. It's the fastest way there and more reliable than the train (which is always delayed). With gas being as expensive as it is, it probably won't cost a ton more to fly vs. drive either and it's way lower stress to fly (for me at least).

That being said, there's a ton going on in Chicago during the summer (by far the best time of year to be here). I would just stay put and enjoy the city and avoid the hassles of traveling so much in only 4 or 5 days.

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

The scenery between London and Niagara isn't much different than southwest of London or through lower Michigan. It's mostly flat farmland.

Did you see a sleeper on Amtrak's schedule to Buffalo/Niagara? As far as I know they don't have sleepers on that run, only coach seating. Also, Amtrak is known for running late, so even though the trip is scheduled for 10-11 hours, it could be much longer.

I'm not sure what a flight would cost, but flying to Buffalo would probably be cheaper than Toronto.

While Niagara is very nice, if you've never been to Chicago, you can certainly fill 2-3 days in the city without driving the additional 550 miles. There are several museums; the aquarium and planetarium; Chicago Botanical Gardens; Lincoln Park-which has the zoo and conservatory and Millennium & Grant Parks which have concerts, films and festivals all summer.

If you want to go someplace a bit more quiet, several resort cities on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan or the Wisconsin Dells are within a couple hours.

pgo
Chicago
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3. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

It's a long drive. If you do go, you may want to see more of the area, maybe stay in Toronto for a couple of days. Niagara Falls can be seen in a day or two.

The flights from Chicago are to Buffalo, BTW. You will need a car from the airport.

Cayman Islands
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4. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

You are helping to make up my mind, perhaps better to leave Niagara for another trip and enjoy what Chicago has to offer. I woulld perhaps prefer to spend what we save on best seats for Wicked. We will be staying at the Mart Plaza Holiday Inn because the centre we are visiting recommended it. How easy is that for travel and attractions? Seems to have decent reviews on here.

Illinois City...
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5. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

Chicago. The train does not go directly to Niagra. While the schedule recently changed, I believe you're still dealing with a loooong wait in nearby Buffalo before the train to Niagra shows.

Cayman Islands
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6. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

Yes I saw that about the train, gets in at 9:30am connection to Niagara is at 4:30pm !!!! So we would have to hire a car anyway from Buffalo. Cost wise it seems a lot if what you say is right about delays etc.

I think our preferred driving route would be Chicago - Port Huron-London-Niagara-Buffalo-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago. Staying in or near Port Huron on the Way up, staying 2 nights at Niagara, then staying in or near Cleveland on the way back.

The route =looks pretty routine in some places, but appears to be very scenic in the Ontario and South of Lake Erie.

However I am still swaying towards just staying put in Chicago, and maybe "doindg" Niagara another time.

Clearwater, Florida
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7. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

The Niagara Peninsula of the province of Ontario in Canada is spectacular. It's 'wine country' and that includes the wineries and great restaurants. A wonderful place in the Summer. If there's a auto rental agency that'll permit the car to go into Canada from Buffalo, I suggest taking one of the inexpensive short flights there and then rent a car for the exploration of a couple or several days.

pgo
Chicago
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8. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

The route through Port Huron is the easisest, and the Canadian portion is quite nice, and very peaceful. We've stayed in London, Ontario, on the same trek, and enjoyed it. Coming back through Cleveland looks like it would be scenic, but Erie and Cleveland are old industrial towns; the lakefront has been scarred many times over by thoughtless construction. That portion of highway is an older one, and a challenge for newcomers to drive. If you do go, stop in the lake area just northeast of Cleveland for peace and quiet. You might also like seeing the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, although it's a little out of the way of your planned route. The Indiana stretch of I-80 is very dull driving, but stopping in Amish country (the Nappannee area) is a treat.

Chicago
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9. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

I would opt to just stay in Chicago. You mentioned coming to town just a few days early. To get from Chicago to Niagra, you would have to plan a full day each way. So if you came in 4 days early, that's one day to drive, one day in Niagra and one day back, with just one more day in Chicago. There is plenty to do in Chicago, especially in the summer around when your are coming here, that you could easily fill up a week of activities.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Chicago or Niagara Falls

We did Niagara in April via P. Huron and lets just say - stay in Chicago. It took us 9 hours and almost an hour to get over the bridge into Canada. But, Niagara Falls, the Falls itself, I think is doable in a day - but dont miss Niagara on the Lake and all the wonderful B&B's, shops, & restaurants.- ah, not to mention they have some great vineyards.

But, I think its a pretty long trip either way - by car or plane (given the amount time spent in airports lately), not to mention the cost. We actually got a great weekend rate via Enterprise for a 7 passenger SUV (which drank alot of gas!!!)

Good luck deciding - Chicago for an extra day or a few in Niagara are both great choices!