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Place to view falls

australia
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Place to view falls

Hi,

We will be travelling from Australia in August 2012, and have started making our travel plans.

We are are on limited time, and was wondering if i could ask some advice.

We would like to view the falls, both during the day and then at night when it is lit up. We then need to move onto New York and down the coast.

My questions are:

For just viewing the falls which side should we visit (Toronto or Buffalo) ?

We will have two cases, can we catch a train from Toronto or Buffalo with cases? Have noticed that Amtrac says No checked baggage on some trains, and stipulates something the size of an overnight bag (not a travellers case).

We are debating whether to fly into Toronto or New York, and your help with the above questions will help us with this decision.

Thank you in advance.

New York
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1. Re: Place to view falls

Either way would work. I wouldn't base your flights on what side of the Falls you're going to view.

YYZ is about an hour and half DRIVE from Buffalo/Niagara, and JFK (NYC) is about an hour and a half FLIGHT from Buffalo/Niagara.

The only other thing I can think of is that by flying into Toronto and crossing into the US to visit the states, you're going to be dealing with two countries' immigration instead of just one.

Niagara Falls, ON
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2. Re: Place to view falls

Jacklyn,

The Falls are located on the border between the U.S. and Canada, with Niagara Falls, NY on one side and Niagara Falls, ON on the other. Buffalo is about 30km away and Toronto is 120km away.

The Canadian side is the only side to offer full views of the Falls Illumination. It is also the only side to offer Fallsview hotel rooms, and has much more to see and do. For more information on the Canadaian side, please post in that forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g154998-i97-Niagar…

Where to fly into will depend totally on your travel plans:

Where else in North America are you visiting?

Where will you be arriving in this area from?

Where will you be going after?

Note that there is no train service at either Buffalo or Toronto airports. From Buffalo Airport, there is limited, seasonal public transportation to Niagara Falls, NY. From Toronto Airport, there is no public transport to anywhere except downtown Toronto (about 30km). Buses and trains can be taken from there, but the most common mode of transport to/from both airports is shuttle or taxi.

Also note that if you are flying into the U.S., you will need to obtain ESTA pre-authorization before you leave (www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/). If you are flying into Canada, and then crossing into the U.S. by land, you will obtain an I-94W Visa Waiver at the border ($6, form, fingerprints, photo). Entering Canada by any means requires just your passport.

Edited: 16 August 2011, 15:25
Athens, Alabama
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3. Re: Place to view falls

We just got back from Niagara Falls and I can sadly say the Canadian side is much nicer with the best views both night and day. We did what we thought was the patriot thing to do and stayed on the US side and regretted it. The US side is going down hill with lots of abandoned buildings and few choices in dining around the falls.

New York
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4. Re: Place to view falls

Coaster: You must not have consulted TA for dining options prior to your trip! Plenty of options...just check the threads :)

Sorry you feel this way about the US side. It has its charms but I suppose is not for everyone.

Athens, Alabama
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5. Re: Place to view falls

Notice I said dining around the falls. If you open the map of restaurants in Niagara Falls and zoom into the falls area you'll notice there are only 4 to 6 places listed within a few blocks of the falls. Other than Indian food and street vendors there is very little to choose from right around the falls. Don't care for Hard Rock Cafe (besides it's a chain), Red Coach Inn is a bit pricey for families, casino food tends to be overpriced and not very good and was turned off by the reviews of Top of The Falls. Typically we drove somewhere to eat but would have loved to find something within easy walking distance of the falls and our hotel. What's up with the Indian restaurants on every block there? They seemed to rarely have many if any people in them so I don't see how they all survive.

New York
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6. Re: Place to view falls

I noticed what you said. Yet you glossed over Murphy's Cafe, Wine on Third, Donatello's, the Orchard Grille, the Why coffee shop, and Chu's. All are within walking distance.

A 5 minute drive down Pine Ave would have taken you to several mom-and-pop Italian restaurants, cafes, and American bar/pubs.

But what do I know, I've only been going to the Falls every weekend for the past 5 years :)

Edited: 19 August 2011, 16:12
Athens, Alabama
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7. Re: Place to view falls

We walked several blocks around the falls area and saw little to nothing worth while as dining options. Many of the places you suggest are far beyond what we would have walked and some have some pretty bad or very few reviews. Donatellos sounds like the one we should have run across but missed it somehow. If I visited an area 260 times in 5 years I would probably know every crack in the sidewalk as well.

New York
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8. Re: Place to view falls

My point is, check TA!! That is what it is here for. You will see all of the restaurants I listed on the review forum.

Niagara is not one-size fits all tourism. Travelers need to search out their dining options because, as you mentioned, most will "see little to nothing worth while." when indeed there are a fair number cafes and restaurants.

I would not recommend a restaurant that gets bad reviews, so I'm finding it hard to believe that Wine on Third or Lola are getting the thumbs down, but I digress...

I would *never* recommend an Indian restaurant in the Falls or a chain. This is what the forum members on TA are here for, to advise and suggest.

Again, I'm sorry you didn't have a good time and that you feel like the Falls is a colossal dump. Maybe Epcot Center would be a better destination for you next time :)

Athens, Alabama
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9. Re: Place to view falls

"This is what the forum members on TA are here for, to advise and suggest.". Exactly and we don't all agree. Thus the reason for each to express their own opinion. The lack of tourists on the US side explains it all and tells me many others have the same view of the area as I do. I didn't say it was a dump but now that you mention it..... it's the most rundown tourist area we've ever been to. I like Epcot but not enough to go there every weekend for 5 years. I like variation in my travel destinations and tend to not visit the same places over and over with so many other things to see and do in this country.

My appologies to Jacklyn10 for the interruption to their post.

Aubrey, Texas
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10. Re: Place to view falls

I'll offer the perspective of someone who stayed overnight on the Canadian side as that was convenient to our itinerary arriving from the West of Ontario, plus we didn't know any better. We found a nice deal on a hotel off the falls area. After checking into the hotel mid-afternoon, we walked down to the falls viewing area. Unfortunately, we had to navigate the whole distasteful cheesy length of Clifton Hill tourist schlock. It is an unbearable mix of carnival sideshows and the crowded multitudes of people who inhabit them. Canada has a lot to answer for allowing this junky area to develop next to one of the natural wonders of the world. In the evening we couldn't bear the thought of getting out into the tourist hoard, so we dined in the hotel.

Niagara Falls is still spectacular despite the human despoliation on the Canadian side. The Maid of the Mist tour is not to be missed. imho it ranks well above the views one gets from the Canadian viewing area as on the boat tour you are close to both the American and the Horseshoe (Canadian) falls. This can be done from the US side, so you need not venture into Canada if you don't have the time or don't want to.

We visited Niagara Falls State Park (NY) the next day and were very impressed. The views from Goat Island are spectacular.