As Canadians, we grew up going to Niagara all the time. It was our escape, only 1-1.5 hours away depending on traffic. Anytime there was an out of town visitor they had to be taken to Niagara, as though it was some right of passage. Countless photos sitting on the railings dangerously were taken of my family and each guest we were hosting. When you’re finally of age, Niagara becomes your taste of excitement and warm up to future Vegas or Atlantic City trips. After some wild nights at Dragonfly and in the Casino, my friends and I stopped going to Niagara as I matured and grew out of that lifestyle.
Years later, now married I realized I hadn’t been to Niagara with my wife. And maybe Niagara could be a romantic and special place for us. So we decided why not be tourists in our own Country and check out all that Niagara has to offer for couples. After a bit of research and quick planning, I put together an affordable and romantic trip for us on a beautiful weekend in October.
Niagara Falls is a place that you want to book a hotel over an Airbnb, mainly because they aren’t near the main strip and unless you want to drive in for everything you are doing (and pay for parking) it’s not worth the couple of dollars you’ll save for the inconvenience. There are lots of hotels right by the falls that you want to look into. We stayed at Sheraton on the Falls with a gorgeous room on the 21st floor with a walk out balcony and a falls view. Fallsview rooms come at a premium, so if you plan to spend time in the room, pay for the Fallsview. The views are incredible in the day, and in the evening the falls are colorfully lit and glowing nicely outside your window. Very few hotels have balconies, and even fewer on high floors that overlook the falls. Sheraton on the falls was my choice, because of the very cool balconies and the proximity to Clifton Hill entertainment area.
Things to Do
There are plenty of things to do in Niagara, from haunted houses on Clifton Hill to Casino Niagara; there is something to do for everyone!
Listed below are many of the attractions in Niagara Falls:
- Casino (Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino)
- Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club (inside Fallsview Casino)
- A variety of nightclubs and bars
- Wine Tasting and Restaurants in Niagara on the Lake
- Botanical Gardens
- Butterfly Conservatory
- Sky Wheel
- Canadian and American Waterfalls
- Clifton Hill
- Hotel Water Parks & Spas
- Journey Behind The Falls
- Maid of the Mist
- Skylon Tower
- Wild Play Niagara Zip Line
You should note that all restaurants within this area are chain restaurants that are overpriced but those are pretty much your only options when it comes to food. We liked Boston Pizza but to be more budget friendly you could pack a picnic and enjoy it at the Music Gardens directly across the falls for lunch.
Some other restaurants we suggest are Ruth’s Chris, The Keg and Windows if you’re looking to eat right by the Falls, otherwise we suggest Peller Estates, Jackson Triggs or Ravine Vineyard Winery which are about a 15-20 minute drive.
You can take the GO train from Toronto during the summer on weekend. And a special train on Thanksgiving Weekend, but Niagara is also an easy drive from Toronto. As long as you’ve booked a hotel by the Falls everything (except the wineries) are within walking distance. On the plus side GO Trains allow you bring your bicycle, which would be cool if you’d like to ride through wine country.
- Never Valet Park – self parking is way cheaper.
- If you packed light – use public parking and walk over to your hotel
- Look for hotel packages that give you discounts around the area / bundled activities. To increase travel to the region, hotels are offering vouchers from attractions, wines tastings, and restaurant vouchers.
- Gamblers: Take out cash before you hit the casino – the ATMS within the casino have high fees. Also it’s a good idea to leave the plastic upstairs, when you run out of cash you are forced to walk away
- There is a 7% tourist tax one everything (On top of 13% HST), factor this into your budgeting (it adds up fast)
- Book a room with a view (after all you are there for the falls), you won’t get tired of the falls especially if you’re only there for a weekend
Our Suggested Itinerary
(How to make the most of your time and get the most romance in Niagara Falls)
- Start your day early with some wine tasting on your way to the Falls
- Some wineries we suggest: Jackson Triggs & Peller Estates
- Have lunch at Peller Estates (make sure you make resos in advance)
- Head to your hotel to check in – you want to book a hotel by the Falls (either Falls View area or Clifton Hill Area)
- Take a walk by the falls (the Canadian Falls are nicer but make sure you see both)
- Next you should take a break at the Music Gardens with a cup of coffee (Starbucks nearby) and enjoy the views of the falls (and each others company)
- Unwind at your hotel and check out the pool (definitely check out the outdoor pools in the summer)
- Get ready for the evening
- Follow up with a glass of wine in the lobby bar
- Take a ride on the Sky Wheel before dinner as the sun is setting
- Have dinner at Windows for more of a romantic setting (note that it is expensive)
- Check out the casino
- Take a walk on Clifton Hill, all the lights at night look awesome
- Lastly you can hit up a bar / club if you’re into that or then call it a night as you’ve had a looong and exciting day
- Have breakfast at Embassy Suites Breakfast Buffet (another awesome view)
- If you’re up for some adventure, check out: Maid of the Mist/Walk Behind the Falls or the Wild Play Niagara Zip Line
- If you’re looking for something more chill then definitely look into the spa at your hotel
- Head home