Originally posted April 2010
The first thing you need to know if you are going to Niagara Falls is…stay on the Canadian side. There are actually two “falls” areas. There is one on the US side and one on the Canadian side. The Niagara Falls you know from pictures is on the Canada side. Although you see both falls from either side, the Canadian side is better.
This meant our first international trip with the kids. Yippee, everyone gets a passport! Getting a passport is very exciting, especially when you are younger. Speaking from experience, as you get older, it does get less exciting. I mean, do we really have to change the picture? It’s only been 10 years.
Heading to Buffalo
Our first stop was in Buffalo to have lunch at the Anchor Bar and get Buffalo wings at the place where they were actually “invented.” Guess what, the Anchor Bar doesn’t open until 12n. It was only 11a. Now, an hour doesn’t seem like a long time to wait however Buffalo doesn’t have much to keep a one-year old entertained. So, we quickly made a Plan B. We would go to Niagara and have lunch there. Then on our way home, we’d stop and have some wings before we left.
GPS updated, we were on our way.
Getting Out of the US
The drive included going through the US/Canadian border. I don’t know why but I was so nervous. I was checking and re-checking that we had everything in order while we waited in the long car line. I just kept imagining that we didn’t have something right and we’d be turned around and not allowed entry. We pulled our car up to the Canadian representative when it was our turn, she asked us a few questions about our trip, gave us our documents back and we were on our way. Yes, we were in! We’d made it through the difficult Canadian customs officers!
We stayed at the Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview on the Canadian side of the Falls. We left the car, our bags still inside, with the valet; advising we’d be back soon so he wouldn’t park it too far. We set off to find a place to eat.
We found a couple of places located close to our hotel. They seemed quite expensive but at that point, we needed to decide. We selected Coco’s Pizza. We found out later, all the restaurants in the area had the same price point – high.
Back to our hotel. The room was beautiful. It was a suite with an awesome view. When I say awesome view, I mean awesome!
We could actually see both the US Falls and the Canadian Falls from our room. This hotel (and room) was a little pricier than we normally spend. However, our trip was only one night so we decided to upgrade to a nicer place and room. I am so glad we did.
Our room rate included a ticket package with four tours. The odd thing is, each day you have to go to the ticket office (there are quite a few in the area) for each day’s events. Since it was getting late in the afternoon, we decided to take the River Walk tour.
We hopped on the shuttle with the stroller, which wasn’t too hard but did require alertness and quickness (and two people on the job made it much easier). We made our way to the River Walk entrance, waited in line, and went down an elevator to begin.
The walk was great. It was a wide boardwalk passageway along the river. You could easily get the stroller along without bothering the other tourists. The rapids were quite amazing and at the end of the walk is an area where you can stand quite close to the water. A point of interest (to some, like my teenage son) is the chewing gum wall. It seems a lot of people chew gum on this walk and have left their very colorful mementos for all to see. Nice.
When everyone had their fill (of rapids and gum) we went back up the walk, back up the elevator, back to the shuttle, and back to the bottom of that big hill.
Back at the hotel, we all decided to go for a swim. Another awesome part of the hotel is their indoor pool. It has a twisty slide into the pool. We didn’t take the baby down the slide but the rest of us had a great time with it.
We went back to the room, relaxed, and got ready for dinner. Another part of our hotel package was a voucher off the hotel restaurant, the Marconi Grill. What a mistake. The food was expensive and bad. The service was fine although the restaurant was quite crowded (lots of people paying a lot of money for bad food) so it made for slow service.
That night we just hung out in our room. We had seen signs for fireworks. They offer them only three nights per week and one of the nights was actually that night. What a lucky break for us, right? Wrong, are you forgetting we have a baby who goes to bed early?
Guess what though, the hotel paid off one more time. We could see the fireworks from our room and it was probably even a better view then from below. Can you believe it? This hotel was quickly becoming one of my favorite hotels of all time. The room was a suite and the baby was sleeping in the far room, away from the view, so she didn’t even wake up.
Side Note: There are lots more tips from this trip in my Happy Family Travels Tip Book. Check it out here!