I love going to Niagara Falls. Since its not that far from Toronto, I've been lucky to enjoy at least a weekend stay in the tourist town usually once a year. Every time Jay and I visit, we wind up with a couple long lasting memories to look back on fondly, and our trip earlier this month was no different. Thanks to my friends at Expedia.ca, Jay and I got to explore parts of Niagara Falls that we love, and parts that we hadn't seen before. And, the food! Oh, yummy the food. We definitely found some new favourite places to eat while in town.
Go Explore Niagara Falls
Both Jay and I love to explore in hope of finding a few hidden gems that you might not yet see in a travel guide for our vacations, and here's what we found during our stay.
- Clifton Hill - Okay, so this one isn't exactly hidden, but its still a ton of fun, no matter who you're vacaying with.Dinosaur Adventure Golf right underneath the SkyWheel on Clifton Hill. I'll admit, I'm not one for enjoying a mini-putt golf course, but apparently if you add dinosaurs into the mix, I'm all in. Didn't get a chance to play though *pout*, this might be a summer only attraction.
Strike! Rock n' Bowl - And once you're crowned kind of mini-golf, head over to the other side of the SkyWheel to practice your bowling skillz.
- Check out Oakes Garden Theatre and it's surrounding parks. There is even a cafe within called "The Secret Garden", probably because you can easily blink and miss this little oasis that is surprisingly at the base of Fallsview Casino and touristy shops.Image credit, Google Maps
When you walk along Falls Avenue, you'll see a gate saying "Entrance to Rainbow Bridge". We've always ignored it before, since we weren't planning to cross over to New York, but this time, we decided to see where that gated entrance would lead us. Turns out there's a beautiful garden and outdoor theatre just on the other side, and its a spot that I'll want to visit again next time we go. Here are some pics I took while we explored the area.
Finding a secret garden behind the iron gate.This garden truly had a calmness about it, while walking around. I can only imagine how beautiful it is when the man-made pond is filled during the summer. Bet it gets fairly popular then too!
These three images were taken while I was playing with my camera's aperture at night, without a tripod. The park was super dark. See those stone plant pots? Just about tripped over one of them, 'cause we couldn't actually see them. Not the best pedestrian lighting around, so had to grab lighting from off of the street for the pics.
- Enjoy the Lights - Niagara Falls has three different light shows over the winter season. One is the Festival of Lights, which is a beautiful display of pixie lights shaped in various ways, like reindeer, fountains and angels between 5PM and Midnight every night from November 21st to January 31st.
There is also a fireworks show that happens every Friday night at 9PM. If you're a big fan of fireworks, like I am, you'll want to visit the Skylon Tower for dinner on a Friday night during the fireworks display. Up until now, you've probaly only viewed a show by looking up. Well, at the Skylon Tower, you can watch a show while looking down instead. It's quite the sight to see a white chrysanthemum burst up towards you!
Finally the falls themselves are lit up at night for the month of January. Unfortunately, due to the weather, I didn't get a great pic of the falls. You'll just have to go and see them for yourself!
Niagara Falls Foodie Tour
We honestly didn't plan to make such a big deal on where we were going to eat. We tend to save our money for experiences as much as possible, and wind up dining at well-known fast food joints. This time though, through some unspoken agreement, we decided to try something different. Here are three of our fave places to eat now.
The Four Brothers Cucina
5283 Ferry St, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1R6
This is probably the most expensive place we visited during our stay. Plates are around $17 to $21, but if you're in the mood for italian, it's worth it.
The meatballs simply melt in your mouth. Yuuummmm.
Pip's City Diner
5317 Ferry St, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3L8
Easily my favourite place in Niagara Falls for breakfast now, and the price is fair. I never had a Hash breakfast before, but I'm thoroughly hooked! We also had a lunch here on the following day, that was equaly delicious, and wound up with the same waitress. It was really sweet that she remembered our drink order from the day before!
5501 Ferry St, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1S3
Hands down, the best haddock fish n' chips dinner I've enjoyed, ever. The fish is light, and not greasy. The fries are crispy in all the right ways, and I actually enjoyed the coleslaw. We're going to be frequent patrons, whenever we visit Niagara Falls from now on.
Of course, we found this restaurant a half hour just before they were to close for the night, and with a blizzard the next day, I didn't get the best picture unfortunately.
BONUS: The Hershey Store
5701 Falls Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G
This is definitely not a cost-effective way to get your fill of chocolate, but if you're a fan of Hershey, and want to try out candies that aren't easily accessible at home, its definitely worth the trip to splurge on a few sweets while on vacay.
Who wouldn't want two 1/2 pound Reese's Peanut Butter Cups??? (Little Miss Kate, I'm entirely looking at you!)
We picked up some sweets that we hadn't seen before. All of them were delicious of course!
One thing that caught us by surprise while walking through the "back streets" of Niagara Falls was the Post Foods Canada factory. I'll admit, we love our cereal, and may have walked around the building to see if they had a side store, or any indication of a factory tour for the genral public. Did I mention we love cereal? For about five minutes we were laying out plans to load as much cereal as we could in our luggage if there was a public outlet store. And boy, its one of the yummiest smelling buildings in the area. If you want a sugar high, just walk by the vents.
If you remember from my last post, we stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Spa & Resort, which we loved to pieces. Whether you also stay at this hotel, or just happen to be in the area, be sure to check out their Human Sundial! We didn't have any sun during our stay, but I'd love to give this art piece a try next time we stay there (weather permitting, of course.)
This post doesn't even cover a smidgen of all the fun things you can do in Niagara Falls, but they're fun things I love to do while I'm there. Honestly, take a stroll along the side streets and see what really cool architecture and sites you can find. I'll have to go back when the weather is better to take pics of more!
This is the kind of awesome weather we had while in town...
I took this pic almost the moment we walked into our room at the DoubleTree Fallsview Resort & Spa. While chilly, the weather was really pleasant, and we had a fantastic view of the river, as well as the bridge way down the way.
And this was the same view on Sunday. The rolling fog was incredible to watch, as was the blizzard later that day. The US side was virtually invisible at some points during the day.
Also taken from our hotel room on Friday....
And then Sunday... There were moments were you actually couldn't even see the SkyWheel!
I can't wait for a chance to go back! Am hoping to talk Jay into a weekend trip later this spring, so that I can get some great shots of a sunrise.