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Niagara Falls


Dan O

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I live in Buffalo (30 minutes south of Niagara Falls). The Canadian Side is definitely the better looking side (although much of the nice stuff you're looking at is on our side). Also, the area around the Canadian side is much cleaner, and there's lots more to do (granted, most of it is real touristy stuff like wax museums, but it's there).

 

On the Canadian side, there's a Casino, the Skylon Tower (a real big tower you can go to the top of), about 20 minutes away is Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is usually voted the prettiest town in Canada every year (and deservedly so). NOTL is a little on the pricey side, and maybe not the greatest place for young kids, but it's definitely worth taking a look.

 

On the American side there's the Maid of the Mist, The Cave of the Winds (you go down through the rocks and get very close to the falls (and thus get VERY wet)), A Hard Rock Café (whose most prized object seems to be either a DX7 smashed by Trent Reznor, or a guitar owned by one of the Del Fuegos (no Keith Moon drums or anything like that). The City of Niagara Falls, NY is unfortuantely pretty dismal, and if you get more than a couple blocks away from the falls, you'll see that quick.

 

There are a LOT more things to do on both sides, so you'd definitely be able to find stuff to keep the kids occupied. Also, Niagara Falls itself really is pretty amazing to see in person, and quite beautiful, especially if you can get down river a bit, away from all buildings and people (of course, at that point, it's just the Niagara River, but nice to look at none-the-less)

 

You can stay in hotels very close to the falls on either side, and you can walk over the bridge to whichever side you want (I'd bet that these days it's probably faster to walk over than to wait in line in your car)

 

Of course, 30 minutes to the south is Buffalo where you can get chicken wings (we DON'T call them "buffalo wings" here), a kickass modern art museum, and killer architecture (including the country's tallest city hall), among other things.

 

Since I'm starting to sound like someone from the visitor's bureau, I'll suggest you check out www.niagara.ca, niagarafalls.com, and www.buffalo.com

 

Also, if you contact the Canadian embassy, they'll send you a TON of information.

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Jonathan pretty much covered it. On the Canadian side is Clifton Hill , that's the street with all the museums. It's pretty great for the kids.

 

As for wings, Rudy's (sp?) Tap House perennially gets voted the best wings in Buffalo, but it's actually in Amherst.

 

If you like naval vessels, The Naval Servicemen's Park in downtown Buff is pretty neat.

 

If you can spare a 1-hour side trip, you really owe it to yourself to visit the House of Guitars in Rochester. There's a floor to ceiling 5-foot wide clear plastic cylinder in the middle of the first floor which probably has $1,000,00.00 worth of vintage collectible guitars in it, and the 2nd floor keyboard center is really cool.

 

A 2-hour side trip will get you to Toronto. Take the wife shopping at the Eaton Center. She'll love you for it!

 

Hey, Jonathan: A co-worker's sister who lives in Jamestown brought me a 5-pound bag of Sahlens today. I'm in heaven!

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Having been to Toronto and Niagara falls in Aug 01 as an Aussie tourist, I would agree the Canadian side is much better, but all up i wouldn't spend more than 2-3 days there - I cannot believe how gauche / tacky / overdone the township (alias fun park) is right next to the falls.

 

Just my opinion.

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After being there more than I care to remember (living in Rochester, NY, everyone that came to visit just HAD to go there), I also think the canadian side has a better view.

 

I also think it's the #1 most over rated tourist spot.

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Originally posted by joegerardi:

If you can spare a 1-hour side trip, you really owe it to yourself to visit the House of Guitars in Rochester. There's a floor to ceiling 5-foot wide clear plastic cylinder in the middle of the first floor which probably has $1,000,00.00 worth of vintage collectible guitars in it, and the 2nd floor keyboard center is really cool.

 

Joe is right about the Great, Great House of Guitars aka the HOG, but it's more like an hour-45min from the Falls to Rochester. And they've actually cleaned the second floor! There's also a working recording studio in the basement, and they sell CDs (more than can be counted). It's the only store where I've seen a D'Angelico New Yorker...and a pair of Elvis' pants.

 

Driving to Toronto is time better spent with the kids. It has to be the cleanest big city in North America. The CN Tower, Blue Jays baseball in the SkyDome, the Hockey Hall of Fame, a great zoo, Yorkville (an eclectic neighborhood for shopping and dining), theater (the 3rd largest city for theatrical performance, after NYC and London; The Lion King is still running), the Royal Ontario Museum (a Smithsonian type experience), and more. Sutton Place is an outstanding hotel right in the middle of the city. With the value of the US dollar, you can stay overnight in a fine Toronto hotel for relatively cheap.

 

Another family attraction in Niagara Falls, CA, is Marineland, an amusement park that is like a scaled down SeaWorld with rides, killer whale shows, etc.

 

A few things worth visiting in Niagara Falls, NY, are the Como Restaurant for great home-style Italian food, and DiCamillo's Bakery for great biscotti and cookies in nice gift tins. There is also a Native American museum that is shaped like a turtle.

 

Consider flying into Buffalo on jetBlue (from Washington through NYC), and renting a car. The airfares are cheap, the planes are new, and the service is outstanding (including live satellite TV at every seat).

 

[ 02-01-2002: Message edited by: mzeger ]

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mzeger:

You're right, of course. I was considering the trip from Buff. I always made it in an hour by taking 33 rather than 90.

 

Neither of us mentioned that NO trip to Ra-cha-cha would be complete without a visit to Nick Tahu's for a garbage plate. Man I miss those!

 

Another great place in TO is the Science Museum. My kids were absolutely enthralled by the interactive displaye. I couldn't get my oldest son out of the pitching cage until he got one in the strike zone at 45 mph.

 

[ 02-01-2002: Message edited by: joegerardi ]

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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