Everything I know about Niagara Falls, I learned watching Three Stooges reruns on Channel 38 (out of Boston) when I was a kid...Once the destination for honeymooners from all over, back in the days of black and white movies, when women were called dames and couldn't be seen wearing pants (Shoutout to Kate Hepburn for taking a sartorial stand!), it's still a must see, especially the Canadian side.
Yesterday, we were there and it definitely lived up to the hype. First tho, allow me to clarify, so you don't think I'm bragging about Clifton Hill, the main commercial strip that leads to The Falls. Unless you have kids (The ferris wheel looked cool, in a London Eye sorta way.) or you're looking for Cuban cigars (Guess Canada has THOSE! No idea.), I'd skip the walking around town part almost entirely. (My friend Colin described it fittingly as a 'weird Las Vegas'.) It's loaded with fast food joints, souvenir shops, and carnival side show games and haunted houses begging for your attention and money. And you know how if you're desperate to charge your phone, you can always go to Starbucks? Another reason it's the bizarro world there is they have the only Starbucks I've ever seen with just two power outlets, and one was being monoplozied for what seemed like hours by a guy drinking a FREE water. Meanwhile, my phone's dying and there I sat with my bottle of Smart Water and a $5 fruit salad.
But back to The Falls. There's a fairly affordable, large parking lot off that same main strip (We paid $10 American.). Park there and make your way down towards Queen Victoria Park and NF. Before you even buy a ticket for the 15-20 minute boat tour from one of the (many) kiosks and booths, you get a glimpse of the American Falls which even from that distance, will wow you. Until, that is, you get upclose and personal with the iconic Canadian one, also called Horseshoe Falls, later on. (There are a total of three Falls in all. We saw those two. Not sure what the deal is with the third, Bridal Veils, frankly.)
We bought tickets for The Hornblower Tour which gets consistently good reviews, and also qualified for a small discount because we were from the United States. (2 tix came to $51. They don't take AMEX, but at least they took American money.) After dodging a few people trying to cut the ticket line, we were led down to an area where they snap your photo in front of a green screen (then try to sell it back to you later, I'm guessing once images of The Falls have been added..."Lady, you keep closing your eyes." Yeah, no thanks.). Next you get your dark pink, hooded rain poncho that's close to useless. Wear it anyway. I mean, when you sign up for something like this, you know you're gonna get drenched. It's a given. (Ladies, this is NOT the day to blowout your hair or do any elaborate makeup! Key word - WATERPROOF.)
If you want the full experience, get yourself up to the top deck. Quickly, it fills up fast for that reason. That's where the best views and the most water (You. Will. Be. Soaked.) are. We took some phone photos (Above.), and everyone and their mother was snapping selfies. It's really difficult to get a fantastic phone pic of The Falls though, especially Horseshoe. Also, the closer you get, the wilder the ride gets in terms of the spray coming off. Add in the movement of the boat and you'll probably want to stash your phone somewhere safe and hold on to the railing. (Wouldn't it be devastating to drop your phone into the rushing water?)
By the time the actual boat ride is over (18-20 minutes later), you're pretty much ready to disembark and dry off. I could complain right here about how once the tour is over, you are herded into elevators and thru a gift shop crammed with NF and Canadian merch, but seeing something so magnificent as Niagara Falls is ultimately worth a little cheese.