I traveled to Canada recently with my best friends and had a great vacation there. We were a group of 4 girls from 4 different countries: Bel (New Zealand), Phia (Hong Kong), Eva (Germany) and me Rikki from America. We knew each other through our time volunteering in Vietnam two years ago and have stayed in touch since then. We promised to meet once every six months to spend one weekend together and so far it has been going great. Together we made it to Venice, Corfu, Thailand and recently Niagara Falls in Canada. We first caught up in Toronto and had a great kick-off by successfully hiring a car with cheap price (thanks to our lovely fellow Jack whom we met at a local bar).
We were right to choose Niagara Falls to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The falls themselves were amazing and the music festival was also great. They got Nelly Furtado (my favorite!!) and two other bands which were pretty awesome. It was super exciting and crowded, about 50,000 people going out enjoying themselves there! All the streets around Victoria Park were totally closed off for pedestrian traffic!
Walking by the falls was very enjoyable. We visited both Canadian side and American side but to be honest, the Horseshoe Falls are much prettier than the American Falls. We were so lucky to get falls view rooms at the hotel – simply breathtaking! The lights shows on the mist were spectacular; we had thought they were just going to be impressive but in fact they totally blew us away! We enjoyed watching the fireworks at midnight (they even got another one for the kids before that); they seemed to go by so fast!
About parking, there are parking lots on the street, public parking or at the Casino. It cost us 25$ to park on Stanley Street which we found kind of okay as it was very close to the falls.
Journey behind The Falls
We made our way up to the Journey behind the Falls and had a lot of good fun even though it was not the perfect time to enjoy it. The lower observation deck was closed because of the ice so we got discount on the tickets. It was kind of cold but was nice to see the falls up close. The view is stunning and unique which you would not get at anywhere else apart from this point. There are posters with important information about history along the tunnels which are quite interesting. Overall I had a good time but I guess it was more due to the fact that I was kept company by my friends; otherwise, it would not have been that exciting in the winter. The falls themselves are good to visit at anytime of the year but if you fancy checking out the back of them, summer would definitely be the best time to go.
Niagara Fallsview Casino
We went to spend a couple of hours at the Casio and had such a great time there. Bel was a bit bored at first as she was never interested in gambling but in the end she won 500 USD! Unbelievable! Games are very fun and seem to make you pay a little (of course you have to make a limit on the amount of money you want to spend). The staff is friendly and helpful; drinks are set at very reasonable prices. The atmosphere is quite nice and clean as they don’t allow smoking there. The bars and restaurants are also worth checking out. Our favorite ones were the sushi place and the martini bar outside the Casino which had a brilliant balcony and awesome martinis!
Phia has always been a big fan of wildlife so of course we did not forget to check out Bird Kingdom. It is such a wonderful place with hundreds kinds of birds in many colors and breeds flying free. We did bat feeding for 2$ which was quite scary but really fun. They took photos of us while doing it and we decided to purchase one in the end for 11$. The gift shop there is beautiful with a lot of nice wood carvings. We bought one lovely frame for the picture that we just got. Perfect!
Clifton Hill is a great typical tourist area near the Maid of the Mist. There are a lot of restaurants, souvenir shops, wax museums (Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a highlight!), haunted houses, video arcades etc. You will obviously never run out of things to do there. We had a nice girl day going shopping around and were surprised by how reasonable the prices actually were. We got quite a few good deals on clothes and some shops even had sales.
This was so far our best favorite at Niagara but it was particularly special for Phia. She went on the wheel with Jack and though she never revealed anything, we all know that they had quite a romance up there. Indeed, the Sky Wheel is great for couples. It moves slowly and overlooks the whole city as well as the falls. Some people would recommend going at night for the best view but personally I think it is gorgeous both day and night.
Fee: 12$/each person
Nightmares Fear Factory
I’m glad that I wasn’t alone in this nightmare. It was far beyond my expectations and to be honest, it was the scariest haunted house I had ever been through! Unlike most haunted houses in which you are frightened by elements of surprise time after time, this one kind of plays with your fear and immerses you in it. I would not tell much for people who have not been there but there was a point where we had to crawl on the floor, which was the most terrifying to me and burst me into tears. There was a couple ahead us and it was funny how the girl buried her head in her boyfriend’s shirt the whole time! Nightmares Fear Factory has all you expect in a haunted house, just better! We paid 15$ each and it was worth every single cent!
Note: Eva had her legs grabbed by one of the staff so please be advised that there may be some contact along the way.
Our trip was such a success. Phia was probably the happiest one as Jack decided to follow her back to Hong Kong to spend the rest of his 3 month vacation there. Bel was still very excited about the Casino when we left so I bet she would definitely check out some at home. Eva and I bought a lot of souvenirs and clothes so each of us had to purchase a small suitcase (another good deals of course!) to pack all of them.
Niagara Falls is a great place to spend your vacation. The falls are no doubt a must see and there are a lot of activities to do there. No matter whether you travel by yourself or with friends/families, Niagara with all its treats will always guarantee you a good time. We highly recommend this lovely town to travelers all over world.