Niagara Falls, Canada (April 2006)
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Niagara, Winter Ghost Town
The Canadian side is supposed to be the best side to see the falls. I would also add one other piece of advice, go in the "Summer/tourist season (May - Sept ???) when "The Maid of the Mist" is sailing so you can see the falls from below. I've also heard it can be very spectacular when Ice laden in the height of winter.
Niagara Falls (Canada) and New York are like chalk and cheese. I arrived at 4:30 pm on Saturday in what is obviously the closed/winter season.
The walk to my hostel took me through the area signposted as "downtown" i.e. the centre. Apart from a couple of people in a restaurant it was deserted. However, there is a tourist area nearer the falls complete with Casinos, big chain Hotels, visitor attractions, Planet Hollywood etc.
I decided to eat and drink in the downtown area (cost and "real" Canada rather than homogenised Hard Rock/Starbucks etc). The "restaurant" was closed (6.30pm), a couple of eateries were open further into downtown, and very good value too (it obviously not just Americans who like large meals), the waitress service was also fantastic.
I saw 4 bars enroute back to the hostel 2 were empty, one seemed to have one customer (but the door was locked) and the last was a large establishment with 5 customers (8pm Saturday night) to be fair by the time I left (9pm) the number of customers had risen to 9.
I did visit the "Tourist" area on Sunday evening and apart from people viewing the falls was very quiet (I don't thing Planet Hollywood was even open).
After Iceland the Niagara Falls were an anti-climax, the falls were obviously spectacular, but because of the (mostly) distant vantage points it was difficult to comprehend just how large the falls are (so, if you can, see it from below in the Maid of the Mist as well). Although nowhere near as big, the falls in Iceland were ice laden and you were able to go right up to the cataracts giving you much more of a feel for the power of the falls.That said it is worth paying to view Niagara Falls from tunnels behind the cateracts.