Niagara Falls is one of the most visited places in Canada as well as in the US. Here is a guide on visiting the Niagara Falls if you are going there for the first time by public transport and planning to spend a day at the Niagara Falls.
Niagara bus stand to the falls
I took a bus from Toronto to go to Niagara Falls. The bus journey takes around an hour and 45 minutes from Toronto to Niagara Falls. The bus leaves you at the Greyhound bus stop, Niagara Falls. From here, you take a bus, bus no. 204, and get down at Clifton Hill bus stop. From Clifton hill bus stop, you can walk down to the Niagara falls all along with viewpoint.
At Clifton Hill, you can see a lot of shops, music, wonderlands, playrooms etc. If you want to grab some snacks, it is better that you grab from one of the shops because along the viewpoint location, there are no shops where you can purchase something to eat.
Niagara Falls view
The first fall that you will see across the river is Niagara falls of the US. It has got no curves and is straight lined. You can walk along the viewpoint and walk up to the Horseshoe falls situated in Canada.
From the Niagara falls in the US to the Horseshoe falls, the distance is around a Km but you would not notice it as the whole walk is along the view.
Facilities near Horseshoe Falls
There is a building near the Horseshoe falls, it has facilities like washroom and food. There is also a Tim Hortons inside the building where you can get cheaper food. Rest of the restaurants are costly. Visiting Niagara falls takes around 3-4 hours. Add some more time if you are planning to do some activities that I have listed below. Be reminded that there will be a long queue at Tim Hortons.
The right time to reach the falls would be around 2-3 PM. So that you can also see the waterfalls illumination in the evening. In the winter, Niagara falls lighting starts early compared to summer. Restaurants also get full fast in the evening because there will be a lot of tourists. So, plan your dinner ahead if you are returning the same day.
What to do at Niagara Falls?
Niagara falls viewpoint
You can spend some time at the Niagara Falls viewpoint and take pictures as well. If you want a better view, you can go inside the Table Rock Welcome center and to its second floor, you will get a much better view with a better photography opportunity from a height.
Journey behind the falls
To stand at the heart of Niagara, you’ll first need to descend 125 feet and explore 130-year-old tunnels through the bedrock, but you’ll feel the thunderous vibration of the Horseshoe Falls long before you see them.
The observation deck at the foot of this 13-story-tall wonder will leave you breathless (and maybe a little bit wet), but don’t forget the viewing portals cut straight through the rock, offering a once-in-a-lifetime view of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down in front of you. More details can be found here. In the winter, you are not allowed to go to the observation deck as it will be too cold.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
The 20-minute Voyage to the Falls boat tour that gets you as close as possible to the magnificent Niagara Falls. Journey past the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and into the heart of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises.
This legendary boat tour takes place aboard a state-of-the-art Hornblower catamaran. Hornblower Niagara Cruises is the official supplier to Niagara Parks, providing Canada’s only Niagara Falls boat tour experience. You should check for the schedule and events before booking it.
Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, visitors to the Butterfly Conservatory are transported to a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly colored butterflies. Over 2,000 butterflies, made up of 45 different species, call this beautiful spacious home. The self-guided walking tour of the Butterfly Conservatory begins with a short, informative video presentation. Know more here
Zipline to falls
The MistRider Zipline to the Falls at Grand View Marketplace takes you on a breathtaking ride into the gorge, towards the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You’ll travel down 670 meters (2,200 feet), soaring past the American Falls and landing atop the falls observation deck at the base of the Horseshoe Falls. WildPlay Niagara is the official supplier to Niagara Parks, providing the Mistrider Zipline to the Falls experience to visitors.
Falls Illumination Schedule and Fireworks
- January: 5 PM to midnight
- February: 6:30 PM to midnight
- March 1 to March 11: 7 PM to midnight
- March 11 to March 31: 8:30 PM to midnight
- April: 8 PM to 1 AM
- May 1 to May 14: 8:15 PM to 2 AM
- May 15 to May 31: 8:30 PM to 2 AM
- June 1 to July 22: 8:45 PM to 2 AM
- July 23 to July 31: 8:30 PM to 2 AM
- August 1 to August 15: 8:15 PM to 2 AM
- August 16 to August 31: 7:45 PM to 2 AM
- Sep 1 to Sep 19: 7:15 PM to 2 AM
- Sep 20 to Sep 30: 6:45 PM to 2 AM
- Oct 1 to Oct 15: 6:30 PM to 1 AM
- Oct 16 to Nov 4: 6 PM to 1 AM
- Nov 5 to Dec 30: 4:30 PM to Midnight
- Dec 31: 4:30 PM to 2 AM
Niagara falls fireworks schedule
- May 18 to June 17: Weekends (Friday to Sunday & Holidays Mondays)
- June 18 to Sep 3: Daily shows scheduled every night beginning at 10 PM
- Sep 7 to Oct 8: Weekends (Friday to Sunday & Holidays Mondays)
Special Holidays show over
- Victoria day (May 18 – May 21)
- Memorial Day long weekend (May 25 to May 28)
Niagara falls fireworks timings:
Each fireworks display will take place at 10 PM. All displays are subject to weather.