I am finally going to Niagara Falls and the "I Love Lucy" museum. I am 47 and this is where I have always wanted to go. I know it is kitch and touristy, anyway got any ideas or tips on cheap eating? Cheaper anything would be appreciated. I figure we will take drinks and dry cereal, etc.
By Sandy from Baltimore, MD
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I was disappointed at the "Bollywood" atmosphere of the American side. Also the poverty of the town of Buffalo in general. We stayed on the Canadian side. If you go off season things are cheaper and the view of the falls is much better from that side. I am sure you want to at least get your money's worth and I think the Canadian side will do you better.
Definitely go to the Canadian side, and do go before Labor Day--that's when they shut down the amount of water going over the Falls. As you stand by the railing, you can feel the pressure of the water hitting your chest and it makes a much larger impact. After Labor Day, you fail to get the same sensation. I realize this sounds silly, but experiencing the falls is much more than just seeing a nice view.
On top of the hill, across from the rides is a Dominos Pizza--cheap lunch or dinner. Usually casinos have great food prices, but I never went into the one at the falls to know if theirs are cheap. Personally, I'd start a walking program now, it's the best way to get around the tourist area, which is large, and if you're out of shape can be difficult. On top of the hill, there is the Skylon tower, that you can go up and get a wonderful view of the area--it is worth the price. The IMAX theater is educational-- they give an interesting history of the falls.
We always visit a tourist information center on the way there. They will give you a map of the area, help you plan what you might like to see, give you lots of information, and discount tickets. They even called around to find hotels for us. Definitely plan to drive north of the falls. There is a wonderful town named Niagara on the Lake. Close to it is Fort George.
On the way there (west side of the road) is a great fruit stand/orchard/vinyard where you can buy fresh fruit to eat, gourmet jams and jellies, and homemade sandwiches on crusty french bread and cookies to eat. On the way, you'll also pass the botanical gardens (I believe this is where the butterfly conservatory is) and you can see a magnificent floral clock. On the drive north of the falls, you'll pass a small turn-around on the east side of the road, that you'll want to pull into. It is actually where the Aerocar (trolley that goes over the falls) turns around, and is a nice place to see an unspoiled view of the river, not to mention it is free.
Personally, I like to see the tourist museums--they give an interesting feel to the entire experience. If you decide to ride the Maid-of-the-Mist (you really should), do it exactly at noon. The boats are usually packed, but the one at noon is half empty, allowing you to walk around freely. I like to go straight to the front as soon as I get on--you get the best view by far. You will get soaked.
The Journey behind the falls is also nice, but don't be in a hurry. You can get some great pictures down on the platform near the base of the falls. Do be prepared to get wet. Driving south on the Niagara River Parkway, you will see an old barge that got stuck on the rocks and has been sitting there for years. If it ever breaks loose, it will probably go over the falls. You also will see the old water power plants. See as much and do as much as you possibly can, or you'll regret it. This is a wonderful place to go. It absolutely leaves one in awe. Wish I was joining you.
My huband and I visit Niagara every year. The Flying Saucer Restaurant has a .99 breakfast but you have to get there before 9:00 am but I will check with him for sure. It is really cheap. Try to stay away from any restaurants on Clifton Hill, the main attraction area, because cost is high for meals. They are good meals but very expensive. Check online because I see all the time coupons for Niagara falls. I will get some more ideas for you and message you back. I am drawing a blank but my husband is the EXPERT on this. There are plenty of nice nature trails too if you are interested in that type of thing. One thing I may suggest is the White Water Walk. Depending on what time of the year you are going, I don't know if it is only a summer thing. I hope you enjoyed this help and I will get back to you soon.
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I am looking for thrifty tips for a Niagara Falls getaway.
Teddygirl from WV
We went to Niagara Falls last year and had a wonderful time. We stayed at Quality Inn Clifton hill, not the Hilton, but really close to the falls and we got a great package deal ( dinner voucher, free breakfast, and something else). Anyways, even though I really liked the location, stay away from Clifton hill if you want to save money. For the most part it is the hub of Niagara Falls and everything is overpriced and a rip off.
I think the only thing that was worth anything was the arcade (I think it was the Great Canadian Midway). We also went to the Fun House (almost $45 for something we went through in under 5 minutes- Ripley's was expensive even with a coupon. It was interesting though!). We did the Niagara Falls package deal: white water walk, butterfly conservatory, Maid of the Mist, and Journey behind the falls. It was well worth it. You can pick it up at the bottom of Clifton Hill (I think it was around $100 for the 4 of us. The youngest was free, however. Once again, this was one of our favorite things on our trip.
If you take this package (which every stop is well worth it, by the way) if you get it go to the Butterfly conservatory first. The butterflies are more active. Somewhat across the street from the White Water walk is a gift shop. They have large things on the outside to take your pictures with. You can't miss it. There is a glass blowing demonstration which is very interesting. The souvenir prices are not too bad, they had coupons for them in the coupon booklets throughout the town. Eating can be costly there so plan ahead. If you can't get a package deal, try to have breakfast in your room, eat at places locals would frequent.
I will also suggest checking out the American side, yes you can't see the Horseshoe falls, but you are right there. It is less crowded (people are friendlier), a beautiful more natural feeling. I will also suggest getting the American side package as well if you have the money. We did not get it, but are hoping that next year we can go and stay on the American side to check that out more. We did go on the trolley ride (only $3 for the entire family) and checked out the Aquarium on the American side and must say that was the cheapest things we did on vacation and we enjoyed it the most (we did miss the Cave of Winds, we really wanted to do it but was pressed on time. They give you "free" water shoes they are including in the admission.
Check out Trip Advisor for the Niagara Falls section to see what interesting things to see, ideas on cheap decent places to eat and what is worth the money. I hope that helps and have a fun time. (07/09/2007)
There is so much to do there I don't think you will have any problems. I would suggest if you like theme parks go to Marine Land it's an aquarium on the Canadian side and has a great Whale show. Clifton Hill is fun, you don't have to spend a lot of money, but you can find some great souvenirs there.
There is also a gambling casino if you like that sort of thing.
Have fun. (07/12/2007)
Unfortunately, the American dollar has declined in value again, and is not worth as much in other countries including Canada. The last time we went to the Falls, a couple of nights, we just ordered pizza when we were on our way back to the motel for dinner. We also took a cooler that was packed with fruit and drinks and took dry cereal for breakfast. And if you decide to go on the Maid-of-the-Mist, time it to go at lunch or dinner. People are packed onto the boats, but at those times, there is one boat that goes out half empty, allowing you to move around to see and take pics from differing views. (07/13/2007)