Not only am I local to the Niagara Region, but I also work at a Tourism Office nearby, so I’ve been asked
a staggering fair amount of questions about Niagara Falls over the years. Along with the typical questions, I’ve also been asked some pretty absurd and outlandish questions about the famous waterfalls- but I won’t touch upon those now. That’s for completely different type of post- or perhaps even a book? Let’s just say that after working in the Tourism Industry in this area for many years, I’ve learned that the phrase “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” is largely inaccurate.
But, I digress.
Here are some of the questions I’m most frequently asked about Niagara Falls and I hope my answers provide some useful information in your trip planning process.
1) How far are the Falls from the city?
Just to clarify- ‘Niagara Falls’ is the collective term for three waterfalls- The Horseshoe Falls (largest and most iconic falls), Bridal Veil Falls, and The American Falls.
Niagara Falls is also the name of the city where the Falls are located.
The main ‘touristy’ area with majority of the hotels, restaurants, casinos, and attractions are in the immediate area surrounding the Falls- most within walking distance.
2) What time do the Falls open/close and is there an entrance fee?
Contrary to what you might think, Niagara Falls is actually in a public location, so you can walk up to view the Falls at any time of day or night, 365 days a year free of charge.
3) Do they shut the Falls off at night?
4) Where can you park near the Falls?
There are various parking lots near the Falls and most charge a pay-per-day rate anywhere between $5 and $20. There is also street parking which may be metered or free. You can park at the Fallsview Casino (generally $5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends, and up to $20 on holidays) if you apply for a Frequent Players Card- which is free but you will have to fill out a form.
Parking lots can be found at Fallsview Boulevard and Robinson Street, across from Table Rock, Queen Victoria Place (located at the foot of Murray Street), and at the Botanical Gardens.
5) Where is the best place to view the Falls?
A few good viewing spots are:
- From Queen Victoria Park
- From the walkway on the Rainbow Bridge
- At Table Rock Welcome Centre
- On a Hornblower Niagara Cruise or Journey Behind the Falls (for an up close view)
- Niagara Helicopters (for an aerial view)
- The Skylon Tower viewing platform (there is a fence around the platform, though)
- Any Fallsview restaurant or hotel
6) Which attractions are best?
Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Journey Behind the Falls, and a few others- which I listed in my previous post. Most of my recommendations are free and associated with nature and the outdoors because I believe these are better than most of the overpriced and tacky attractions that saturate the area around the Falls.
You can find information and prices for most major attractions here.
7) Can you recommend a good restaurant?
Yes, I’ve compiled a list of good restaurants and sorted them by price range in this post.
8) When is the best time of year to visit Niagara Falls?
It depends on your preferences, but the best time to visit will coincide with the most pleasant weather- generally between May and October. This is also the high season so it will be crowded and accommodations are priciest at this time.
Visiting in the shoulder seasons- April and November- will have cooler weather and less crowds.
The off season is from November to March and this is when you will have no crowds to contend with (with the exception of Christmas, NYE, and March Break) and accommodation prices are much more affordable. It will be cold, but Niagara Falls is also pretty draped in snow.
Note: From November to April Hornblower Niagara Cruises (formerly Maid of the Mist) and the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours are closed.
9) What is the best time of day to visit?
Again, this will depend on your preferences and can be influenced by many factors. If you are trying to avoid crowds, I would suggest getting up early in the morning- the earlier the better. You might see less crowds in the early evening around dinner time, or much later in the evening. The Falls are illuminated for a few hours when the sun sets until midnight, so crowds may still be apparent in the evening. There are also fireworks every Friday, Sunday, and holiday over the Falls throughout the summer, so it is quite crowded on those days.
10) Can you recommend a good hotel near the Falls?
I have stayed at a few hotels in Niagara Falls, including the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Fallsview Casino Hotel, The Marriott Gateway on the Falls, and The Sheraton on the Falls. (These hotels- and any others boasting a ‘Fallsview’- come with a hefty price tag. Expect to pay over $200 per night during the high season.)
The Crown Plaza is a beautiful hotel built in the 1929 and has a great view of the Falls. Many famous guests have stayed at this hotel including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth, and Sylvester Stallone.
The Marriott Gateway on the Falls and The Sheraton the Falls are both clean, comfortable, and typical chain-style properties. The Marriott has been recently renovated and has the best view of the Falls (in comparison to the other hotels I’ve stayed at).
11) How can you get around Niagara Falls?
There is a local transit system called ‘WeGo’ which offers bus transportation between most of the major attractions. You can view the schedule and prices here.
Taxis are also readily available.
12) Where can I exchange currency in Niagara Falls?
Currency Exchange Services are located at 5355 Stanley Avenue, 5743 Victoria Avenue, and at the Rainbow Bridge.
13) Which bridge should I cross?
The Rainbow Bridge is right in Niagara Falls and generally has a shorter wait time than the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge or the Peace Bridge.
14) (For US Visitors) Do I need a passport to enter Canada?
You can purchase a passport card (which is less expensive) if you are entering by land
Do you have any other questions about Niagara Falls? Let me know in the comments!