Put a cancer near water and she’s happy. Put a cancer near the most powerful waterfall in North America and well, she’s even happier. I’ve offically visted Niagara Falls twice in my adult life and spent time on both the Canadian side and American side, and can recommend visiting both. The first time I went for a week on the Canadian side purely for leisure, and the second to the American side for the Joe Dispenza Week Long Retreat.
Even though my intention of the time spent there was healing in the Quantum Field, I still had my coffee. And while this most recent time was spent mainly meditating, I did enjoy dinner around town every night and as a group (1500 of us!) our walking meditation ground was in Niagara Falls State Park itself. And I enjoyed staying at some pretty awesome Airbnbs. I would definitely return for another stay just to walk around the park, and explore more of what Niagara Falls has to offer.
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is the one you should visit if you’re looking for the best views of the most famous fall in North America. Besides, there is a wide range of attractions in Niagara Falls, Canada, so you can never get bored.
Keep in mind that U.S. citizens will need a passport if they want to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. However, it’s 100% worth it, and you will be just 80 miles away from Toronto.
Today I am sharing with you some recommendations for you to help you plan your stay in Niagara Falls.
Part 1: Canadian Side
Where To Stay
A friend and I stayed at The Bohemian Rhapsody, a beautifully decorated bohemian antique-styled victorian home with every prop you could imagine. The thoughtfully decorated space is perfect for artists and photographers alike, the funkiest hub for content creation in Niagara I’m sure.
The space has 3 bedrooms and plenty of room for a group of friends or family and is located blocks away from the center of town. There was plenty of on-street parking which made The Bohemian Rhapsody a perfect artistic hideaway. Apparently, the whole house is full of different themed short-term rentals which you can see in all of Adam’s listings here.
If you don’t stay here, consider booking a hotel overlooking the falls, such as the Hilton or Mariott. I always prefer a more local option with that home-away-from-home feel, personally.
What To Do
I’m going to recommend the obvious things and then my favorite things. The most touristic and necessary things are the Hornblower Boat Tour that takes you IN the falls. In fact, they have this on both sides but on the New York side it’s called the Maid of The Mist. Highly recommend if you want to get up close (maybe a little too close!) to the falls and experience the water in your face.
Also, there’s the Journey Behind The Falls. This is the attraction to book for a one-of-a-kind perspective of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The Journey Behind the Falls was formerly called the Scenic Tunnels because that’s what they are! It’s a wonderful opportunity to walk as close to the falls as possible, all while traversing 130-year-old underground tunnels. Personally, I didn’t do this one but have heard great things.
My Favorite Activities
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. This isn’t for the faint of heart and that’s particularly why I love it. The jet boat tours are fully guided and your river guide will provide an entertaining commentary throughout your ride. The trip lasts approximately 45 minutes and is basically a dive into the falls in an open-top boat. Think white water rafting, you will get soaked. This was the most laughs I had the entire trip as I sat front row and perpetually got soaked by the rafts of the great Niagara.
Apparently, they also have a covered boat if you’d rather stay dry. Either way, this was my favorite activity to get my adrenaline going.
Night Tour Dinner Cruise When the sun goes down Niagara Falls is transformed into an illuminated wonderland, as you’ll experience on this 4-hour program on the Canadian side of the Falls. Start the evening off right with a “Voyage to the Falls” ride on the Hornblower Cruise.
Next, have dinner with your group at Table Rock Restaurant. While dining, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Horseshoe Falls. After dinner, head over to the Illumination Tower where you’ll watch as the lights that brighten up the night are turned on in real-time. You’ll also be given full control of the lights that appear on the Falls.
Where To Eat
Camp Cataract 4317 Queen St, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 2K9
This spot is one of a kind and a must-visit for a night out. They have arguably the best pizza in the area, unique cocktails (try the Smokey Old Fashioned!) and live music, vintage pinball machines and just an overall unique vibe.
Weinkeller 5633 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3L5
This spot is a must go. Yes, it’s pricey and also totally worth it. They make their own wines on tap and everything is cooked fresh to order. It’s your typical bistro & bar vibe but in terms of food quality, this is the place to eat a really good meal.
Tide & Vine Oyster House 3491 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2J 2K5
Really great oysters and seafood! Monday is also their happy hour all day. Half price mussels + $2 shuck oyster! I’ll always vouch for a good seafood place. Casual and friendly atmosphere.
Part II – American Side
Where To Stay
There are many chain hotels in downtown Niagara Falls and to be honest, it’s somewhat of a depressive city center. Meaning, it’s undergoing a huge regenerative movement of businesses opening but currently, that looks like many closed storefronts and abandoned buildings.
There are some not-so-nice areas of the city, but I can highly recommend the neighborhood I stayed in for the retreat as well as the Airbnb. It’s right near the walkway along the falls and has beautiful homes and a safe suburban feel, just a 10 minute walk to all the tourist attractions and of course, falls.
6 strangers from all over the world become close family in the span of a week. We stayed in a beautiful newly renovated multi-family home with 6 bedrooms on two levels. The space was fresh, well-lit, and super conducive to hosting a group of friends or family.
I definitely recommend staying at this modern space. It’s a stone’s throw away from the falls, safe, and 10 minutes walking to the best restaurants which I’ll get to in a moment!
You can book the Cedar Chateau here or see all of Niagara Hospitality’s listings here. The management was super friendly, welcoming, and helpful when planning our trip to Niagara and I’d definitely recommend staying with them.
Where To Eat
Ashker’s 447 3rd St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, United States
For vegan food, the best coffee, and digital nomad hotspot. To play / listen to live music, connect, enjoy great coffee and farm-fresh food. This little spot was actually discovered by the lovely owners having a food truck outside of the Joe Dispenza event and providing us with fresh pressed juices, smoothies, maple sea salt coffee and fresh from the farm apples. They have a space here and surprised us with a pancake brunch the last day because they loved the energy of the group and wanted to pay it forward. I wholeheartedly recommend visiting for the best fresh food in a casual cafe setting.
Judas Tree Cocktail Bar 1507 Pine Ave, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, United States
What a refreshing, vibrant and European feeling inspired gem of Niagara! The interior is gorgeous and you can tell the owners put a lot of love into renovating the space and curating the menu. Go here for small plates and delicious cocktails. The drinks were top quality, and thoughtful, and the food was absolutely delicious. The fig jam Burrata was arguably some of the best food we had during our trip, and the owners were super friendly. It’s a little off the main strip, but worth a visit. They also have a big patio great for summer nights.
Zaika Indian Food 421 3rd St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, United States
Turns out there’s a massive Indian community in Niagara Falls, and a great selection of restaurants to accompany it. Go here for dinner, they have an all-you-can-eat buffet with plenty of vegetarian options for about $17 US. Totally recommend after a long day of sightseeting.
The Craft Kitchen & Bar 223 Ferry Ave, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, United States
This is your fun neighborhood bar with not only local beers on tap, but Nintendo 64 and fooseball. That’s all you really need to have a good time in my opinion. As a group we went after a long day of meditating and had a bit of classic American fun, lol. Don’t expect fancy food, but there’s a nice space to hang out and connect with friends!
Power City Eatery 444 3rd St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, United States
For a quick and yummy breakfast, this is your spot! They have delicious handmade chewy bagels, yum, and fairly good coffee. Their menu is diverse and you can grab sandwiches, pastries, and smoothies as well. Would recommend for vegan and vegetarian options in a nice cafe ambiance.
My Favorite Activities
Maid of the Mist – 1 Prospect St, Niagara Falls, NY 14303, United States
Go to get a very close look at the falls, and be prepared to get wet! This boat ride runs about every 30 minutes and is a must-do first stop to get up close and super personal with the powerful falls. Yes there’s shelter in the boat but the most fun I had was holding on the railings while being pelted with running water and admiring nature’s beauty. They give you the rain parka to keep as a souvenir 😉
Terrapin Point Niagara Falls State Park
This is where we spent most of our time and it’s where I’d recommend spending most of your time if you’re going to spend time near the falls and walking. This park is right over the falls, and boasts incredible views of the Canadian side and all angles of the falls. You can also go to the Cave of the Winds lookout (I didn’t do it but it looked wild) for an up close and personal experience of the water.
I recommend spending your time walking this state park (try a Joe Dispenza walking meditation!) all the way to Goat Island where the Terrapin Point overlook is. Each morning at 6am we would walk the park and experience amazing healings in the Quantum field. Afterwards I would walk to Spot coffee for my morning latte! Not a bad ritual for a week. During the summer at night the falls are lit up and, there’s free nightly fireworks that is a sight not to be missed!
If you have a few days to a week and want to spend time in a worldy wonder, or simply going out and having fun (there’s plenty of activities) Niagara Falls is a wonderful choice. The Canadian side has more going on in terms of activties, dining options, and entertainment as it receives more funding from the government, although a bit Kitchy downtown, but the state park in New York really makes it worth it in my opinion. Especially if you’re going to meditate and want a serene playground to do so.
Let me know if you end up going and experiencing any of my recommendations above, tag me @ce.hall on Instagram!
Christine is a twenty-something coffee-obsessed solo traveler from a small town on the east coast of the US. She sold everything 4 years ago to follow her curiosity around the world.
As a passionate creative entrepreneur & digital nomad, she has explored it all! Her mission is to help others create and live their dream lifestyles aligned with their values and ultimately, create more sundays in their everyday.