Niagara Falls is one of the most visited places in Canada as well as in the US. Here is a guide on visiting Niagara Falls if you are going there for the first time by public transport and planning to spend a day at Niagara Falls.
Toronto to Niagara Falls
There are multiple ways to reach Niagara Falls from Toronto. One of the most common ways to reach Niagara Falls from Toronto would be to take a bus.
Toronto to Niagara Falls by bus
During this pandemic period, not many bus companies were offering their bus services to Toronto. We used the Mega bus to book our tickets. Though during normal times, there are other operators as well such as Bus bud, Greyhound, etc. The passengers have to maintain social distancing with an empty seat next to each customer. Facial coverings are required throughout the journey.
Bus fare is $20 one way and $40 round trip. Buses to Niagara falls run the entire week. However, their frequency might vary on weekdays compared to weekends. Usually, on weekends, more buses leave Toronto to Niagara falls than on weekdays. It could be because of the seasonality too. We also noticed that on weekdays, a double-decker seating facility is not offered while on weekends, you can sit in the top deck. If you want to enjoy the view, you can choose to sit in the front seat to get a 180-degree view from the top deck
Niagara falls Video Guide
Niagara bus stand
The Niagara falls bus terminal is around 5 km from the falls. From here, you take a bus, bus no. 204, and get down at Clifton Hill bus stop. From Clifton Hill bus stop, Niagara Falls are just a walk away. At Clifton Hill, you will also 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 with the viewpoint location, there are no shops where you can purchase something to eat.
you can also take a taxi to the hotel or even can book a taxi. You can call a taxi from there or ask the help desk about the taxi information. The taxi costs around $15$ to Canada side Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls Hotels
Most of the hotels are located around Canada’s side Niagara falls, also called Horseshoe Falls because of its shape. Hotel pricing is based on the view that you want and the floor on which you stay. Most of the hotels usually offer three views, city view, US falls view and Canada side falls view. I would highly recommend going for the rooms with a Canada-side Niagara Falls view.
Cityview pricing is the least and rooms with Canadian falls view have the highest pricing. Besides, the view from the room, the hotel pricing also depends on which floor you have booked your room on. The higher the floor, the higher the pricing. During COVID-19, hotels will usually upgrade your room to a higher floor for free. If not, there is no harm in asking for it.
If you have a Monday to Friday job then I would suggest checking in on Saturday morning than on Friday evening. It will save you a one-night price and also if you take the Niagara Falls trip by morning bus, you will reach Niagara falls at breakfast time.
After you check in to the hotel, you will usually get some restaurant coupons for food offers. Most of these offers are pick-up offers. But make sure you confirm with the restaurants. I would suggest bringing some snacks and wine from your home to save some cost as you might get your choice of wine at a costlier price. We used Uber eats delivery a lot because of multiple reasons such as they deliver food directly to your hotel room; you can order your choice of food at an affordable rate and you don’t have to step out from the comfort of your room during COVID etc. That was also a big relief in Niagara falls in winter.
Best hotels for Niagara Falls view
I would highly recommend Embassy Suites by Hilton for its view of Horseshoe Falls. I stayed there for more than 3 days. The staffs are courteous; the view is beautiful from the room. Also, they have a restaurant from where you can have dinner while enjoying the view of Niagara Falls.
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 with the viewpoint and walk up to the Horseshoe falls situated in Canada.
From 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 with the view.
Facilities near Horseshoe Falls
There is a building near Horseshoe Falls, it has facilities like a washroom and food. There is also a Tim Hortons inside the building where you can get cheaper food. The 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 freshwater 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 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 Sept 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.