New York To Niagara Falls
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You’ve Sampled Some Of The Best Nightlife In New York City And Now It’s Time To Venture Into The Great Outdoors
On the other side of New York state is something just as breathtaking as the City That Never Sleeps: Niagara Falls, a natural marvel surrounded by history, culture and culinary delights.Located in western New York between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls is about 640 kilometers northwest of New York City. Like New York City, Niagara Falls has cold winters followed by hot summers, but is a popular year-round destination. From New York City, travelers can access Niagara Falls by bus, train and car. Since buses and trains make several stops, renting a car and driving is the most direct way to reach Niagara Falls. It takes about six and a half hours from New York City, with the most direct route cutting through Pennsylvania and into central New York’s Finger Lakes region, a scenic hilly area cut by glaciers centuries ago. Today the region is home to more than 400 wineries.
Get to Know Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls consists of three major waterfalls that straddle the U.S.-Canada border between Ontario, Canada, and New York State. They are Horseshoe Falls , American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls . Every second, 3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls, which produce more than 4 million kilowatts of electricity shared by the United States and Canada.
Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls State Park
From Albany To Syracuse
Your next stop is Syracuse, which can be reached via I-90 W. On the way, you may want to stop in the city of Utica, which is known for being rich in history and culture. Its also a great place to grab a bite to eat, as its famous for some local specialties like the pasta dish called Utica chicken riggies, spicy escarole and half-moon cookies.
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Niagara Falls New York
Get swept up in the awe-inspiring power of Niagara Falls, where 700,000 gallons of water pass over the precipice every second. View the Falls from below on the Maid of the Mist, from behind at Cave of the Winds and from above at Skylon Tower.
Discover Old Fort Niagaras role in the American Revolution and the French and Indian War, or float along the Erie Canal, the 19th centurys version of rapid transit.
Day Five: Time To Play In Rochester
We breakfasted in our hotel the Double Tree in Utica, and wished wed had more time to explore the hotel with its stunning and imposing lobby. But this was a trip designed to see as much of the state as we could and despite the sudden downpour outside, Rochester was calling. In fact, the rainy day could not have been better scheduled as Rochester has some amazing museums and wed been told the Strong Museum of Play required some serious attention. En route, we stopped off at North Star Orchards a fantastic farmers-market-style indoor grocers full of home produce from apples and cider to the delectable baked goods made on-site. Sadly the rain made the hayride trip to pick pumpkins a no-go, but we spent a fascinating hour here and would happily have picked our own pumpkins, apples or tulips, depending on the season. And dont even think about missing out on the cookies!
Rochester also has an incredible Science Center which we had planned to visit too with 200 hands-on exhibits, shows, and the opportunity to build robots. We simply didnt have the time to do both on this trip we couldnt pull the kids out of the Museum of Play even though zap lasers and catapult launching would always be top of their list of things to do. A reason to return at least!
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Niagara Falls With Kids
If you visit Niagara Falls with kids, they will have a great time: the area is perfect to visit as a family and has plenty of attractions and places designed for the little ones. For your sleeping and eating schedules, keep in mind that to get to Niagara Falls, you will take an early morning bus and it will take you around 10 hours to get there from New York, counting all the stops along the way.
Flying From New York To Niagara
The closest city to Niagara Falls is Buffalo, NY and is located 23 miles away. The flight takes under an hour, but including check-in and boarding, it should take 3-4 hours each way. Buffalo Airport Shuttle provides a private transfer service for just over $20 per person . You can also arrange taxis from the airport, which can cost as little as $10 per head if you are traveling in a large group.It still remains the fastest way to get to Niagara Falls from New York City.
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Suggested Itinerary For Niagara Falls
If time is short, heres how Id spend one day in Niagara Falls USA:
- Head to Goat Island first thing in the morning, before the crowds arrive, and snap just 1-2 pictures without any strangers in your way!
- Go to Cave of the Winds. You dont want it to sell out before you get a chance!
- While youre still wet, head to Maid of the Mist. Youll probably spend longer waiting in line than on the boat itself, but its worth it.
- Finish up at Goat Island and Niagara Falls State Park. If you started your day early, its probably time for a late lunch!
- After your lunch, drive from the falls area for either the Jetboat Ride or the Whirlpool Rapids hike. I like both, but when times short, youll have to prioritize.
- Head back toward the falls after dark to see them lit up. Most years also have fireworks, but theyve been cancelled in 2021 until futher notice.
Enjoy A Cruise On The Maid Of The Mist
Another way to experience the falls is from their base, and the best way to do so is by taking a cruise on the Maid of the Mist. A craft by that name has been exposing visitors to the spray from the falls since the 1840s. Now in its fifth version, the tour remains as wet as ever. Thankfully, waterproof overalls are provided free of charge.
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Walk Across To Canada From Ny Side
i’m confused. you can stay on the ny side and walk across to the canadian side of the falls? are you only allowed to go into a certain area? do you still need a passport? is it worth the trip after you’ve done maid and cave of the mist?
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The Best Views Of Niagara Falls New York
Ive partnered with Hotels.com to share the best ways to view Niagara Falls that allow for safe travel and proper physical distancing.
If you havent already booked your family-friendly hotel for Niagara Falls, I suggest looking for a hotel within walking distance to The American Falls, especially if its a first-time visit. There are also many hotels and resorts in Ontario, Canada.
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Come For The Wonder Stay For The Adventure
With plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls–from exploring awe-inspiring natural beauty, hiking miles of trails through Niagara Falls State Park, or to getting soaked on the Hurricane Deck–its the perfect destination for a family vacation or nature retreat. A Niagara Falls trip is guaranteed to have something for everyone!
Niagara Falls: The Canadian Side
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls offers you the full panoramic view of all the falls. You can walk along a wide sidewalk along the Niagara Falls Parkway right on the rim of the gorge for about a mile and look down into the Niagara River and see the Falls across from you.
If you want even broader views of the Falls, you can go up on the Skylon Tower from where you have stunning overhead vistas. The Skylon Tower also has a revolving restaurant, so that you can enjoy a meal or some drinks with those epic views. Reserving a table here includes free access to the observation deck If you book only a ticket, its only US$12.70 if you book it online! The popular Sunday Brunch Buffet at CAD32.50 is actually pretty good value, considering it includes the observation deck as well but make sure to book your table well in advance.
Tip:You can now also see the Falls from the brand new Skywheel! Grab a ticket now for the bargain price of only US$11.10You can get really close to the Horseshoe Falls if you pay for the Journey Behind The Falls experience. You get to take an elevator down 150 feet , walk through a series of caves and finally get to an observation deck right next to the falls. While it is called Behind The Falls, dont expect to actually get behind them: its more like getting a glimpse behind them. You will get drenched though , and will hear the thundering noise of the rushing water really close up. Admission for the Journey Behind The Falls is CAD15.95 plus tax.
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From New York City To Niagara Falls By Plane
Visitors can also take a planned one-day tour by air, which includes round-trip airfare between NYC airports and Buffalo, a half-day guided tour of the attraction from both sides, a boat cruise, and a buffet lunch at the Top of the Falls restaurant. The Maid of the Mist cruise operates only during the warmer months when visiting during winter, participants are taken to the Journey Behind the Falls observation decks and portals located behind the falls. The entire tour takes approximately 14 hours and hotel transfers to and from the airport are available from properties located between 23rd and 74th streets.
Where To Eat In Niagara Falls Ny
My favorite restaurants in Niagara Falls, NY are all hole-in-the-wall joints. If thats not your style, I recommend heading to Lewiston instead. Its an easy drive from Niagara and the main drag is an adorable stretch of shops, cafes, and restaurants. I like Cask + Cow for gourmet burgers and Hibbards Custard for dessert.
But back to Niagara Falls restaurants:
Michaels Restaurant: Michaels is Italian-ish but whatever you want to call it, the food is good and portions are huge. Do not miss the beans and greens soup seriously and then its a toss-up if you want the pillowy gnocchi or the overstuffed calzone.
The Why: Theres nothing unusual on the menu here, but this breakfast spot serves up meals fast, cheap, and early which is usually what Im looking for if breakfast isnt included at my hotel. You can get two eggs, home fries, toast, and coffee for $5.
Judas Tree: This new restaurant has a limited menu, but it does everything well. Its a great spot for cocktails and appetizers and it gets more local traffic than tourists.
How To Get To Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is less than 20 miles from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
There are plenty of ways to get to the USA side of Niagara Falls. One can drive their car or rent one. This route is traditionally the best way to travel with a family and children.
Exploring Niagara Falls once you have arrived: The Niagara USA Official Visitor Center offers at least 15 destinations stops from their shuttle service. Another cheap way to travel is by bus. A daily adult bus ticket is roughly $7.50, which is great for the perfect day at this wonder of the world.
Niagara Falls Usa Vs Canada
Which side of Niagara Falls is better? Without question, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is more popular. There are more hotels , it has a better angle for seeing Horseshoe Falls, and frankly, most of Niagara Falls USA is rundown.
But that doesnt mean you should skip the New York side. This is where youll get up-close views of the American Falls. Its also the launch point for my absolute favorite local attraction .
As of August 9, 2021 the Canadian border has reopened to American travelersassuming you have a negative covid test AND proof of vaccination. If you were just hopping over a day trip, the testing and paperwork probably isnt worth it. In the meantime, Niagara Falls USA is still a great option, not to mention the New York side is often cheaper to fly into and will save you long border crossings .
In a perfect world, youd visit both, but if you can only visit Niagara Falls NY, dont sweat it.
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Flights Between Niagara Falls And New York
While Niagara Falls has an international airport, only two airlines, Spirit and Allegiant, operate there, and neither flies to New York. Its possible to book a flight and then transfer to another flight for the leg to New York, but its much more efficient to fly out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport, 25 miles southeast. Passengers can call a taxi or ride-sharing service, or use public transportation to get from Niagara Falls to the airport.
Nonstop flights between Buffalo Niagara International and LaGuardia, Newark or JFK airports take about 90 minutes. Fares are comparable no matter which airport you choose, so let your final destination in New York determine which you use.
Where To Stay In Niagara Falls New York
There are plenty ofbudget-friendly and luxurious hotels in Niagara Falls, New York. If you are traveling during the summer season, then its best to book your hotel room in advance. Some great places to stay during your trip to Niagara Falls, New York are:
Doubletree by Hilton in Niagara Falls
This hotel gives you a front and center view of the stunning falls and the river. The path along the Niagara River is just steps away, which is a huge plus. As you walk from the hotel toward the falls, the river begins fairly calm to turns into rapid waves as you get closer to the falls.
The hotel is located in the oldest state park in America and in fact, the park was designed by the same person who designed Central Park in NYC. The hotel is also a short walk to the falls. Stroll on the walkway along the Niagara River. Its pretty amazing. The river goes from calm to a bit of whitewater and rapids,
Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls
There are at least 30 restaurants and 12 attractions within less than .3 miles of the Wingate by Wyndham. Nearby attractions include the Seneca Niagara Casino, St. Mary of the Cataract Parish and the Niagara Falls Walking Tour. This hotel is within walking distance of everything plus their beds are beyond comfortable! After a long day of sightseeing, you can relax in the indoor pool or enjoy the free Wi-Fi.
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From New York City To Niagara Falls On An Organized Tour
Go on an overnight Niagara Falls and Tannersville Tourto explore the falls from both the American and Canadian sides. This organized, guided tour allows you to get up close to the falls and explore the state park. Start your day at 7am and embark on a bus or van journey from Midtown Manhattan at the Gray Line New York tour company and travel through Upstate New York, Delaware Water Gap, and the Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region on your way to Niagara Falls.
The tour involves a Niagara Falls State Park Tour, along with a chance to see the illuminated falls from the Canadian side and an overnight stay at the Ramada by Wyndham with continental breakfast the next morning. The second day involves a Maid of the Mist boat cruise into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls to experience its powerful spray and thundering waters.
On your way back, stop in Pennsylvania at one of the largest outlet malls, the Crossings Premium Outlet Mall, for bargain shopping. You may still go on the tour, even if you don’t have proper documentation to cross the border, but be prepared to stay at the hotel during the Canadian excursion you may still enjoy the cruise as it departs from the American side.