Souvenir City is a place I will remember for all the wrong reasons. Everything here is horribly overpriced, and there is hardly anything you won't find in the Clifton Hill tourist area.
Due to Souvenir City's comparatively remote location to the north of Whirlpool Bridge, I would have expected it to carry something that would make it worth the detour. Instead I ended up wondering why the heck they built it in the first place. I guess it's true what they say: "If you build it, they will come." But return, I will not.
Niagara Falls is pretty well known for their Haunted Houses. I've always personally felt that they were giant tourist traps, and then in August 2009 we stopped in Niagara on our way from picking up my boyfriends sister and her boyfriend in Buffalo. Our visitors were very insistent they wanted to do a Haunted House and picked one right on Clifton Hill, despite my warnings (It was called Dracula's something - it's right across from the Midway). So we went in & they paid for all four of us to have the "scariest" haunted house experience. So the guy walkie talkied someone telling them we picked the scariest and we all thought maybe this would be worth our while. After walking for about a minute and a half with no sign of any human life, we were starting to wonder. We ended up making it through the haunted house in about 2 minutes flat only encountering two people - one that was spotted by one of us before we even tried to scare us. I'm not a big fan of haunted houses and hate when they have real people in them, so mind you I was "scared" when they were standing in the dark making noises. But over all, completely lame and not worth $10 per person for such a crap experience. Our visitors agreed it was a total tourist trap, but at least we can say we did it.
Unique Suggestions: If you're going to do a Haunted House in Niagara I would recommend going to the Screamers which is located on Victoria Ave. I've never been to their haunted house in Niagara Falls but I have been to their Haunted Experience at the CNE grounds in Toronto and if the Haunted House is anything like that - I'd say it's worth the extra cash! I've only heard good stuff about their Haunted House... and friends have told me it's the only one worth doing (right... don't ask why we tried the lame one on Clifton Hill)... just trust me, stick to the good stuff!
Over-priced hotels, museums, attractions, etc. What can I say, USE COUPONS. The hotels are full of them. I know that some people feel funny about using them but that's what they are there for. If you went to see just a few, with a large family, you could spend a good buck. It costs money for the companies to print the coupons, so use them. They want you to spend more, seeing more, so that's why they're there.
Unique Suggestions: There's plenty to do in Niagara, if you know more about where you're going. If you're a cyclist, rollerblader, or hiker, you'll be in heaven. Check this site out to find out what Niagara is really all about.
Fun Alternatives: There is plenty to do. Pace yourself, spend what you can afford and do some of the free fun stuff. There is a great deal of park areas for a picnic or barbeque and lots more.
God! I can't believe we did this!! For the first time we decided to take a conducted tour around Niagara thanks to the fact that we were all tired from the drive to Niagara from Columbus!!! and yes, we got fleeced worse than a woolly sheep!!! $80 pp for something we could have done in less than $30 pp by ourselves!
Firstly and very smartly these tours do not have sales counters they have 'Vistor's Center's'. Now in my country or anywhere we have been so far these are normally tourist information centers funded by the govt. But that's not the case here!! These are all sales counters for their tourist runs, so keep away!! Do not believe them when they say it is too much distance to walk, it is NOT! and they do not tke you everywer listed on the little pamphlet they give you. For instance they promise to take you to the Power Station and all they do is drive by and claim tht entry is prohibited since 9/11. God!! thats is so typical of a conducted tour and I cant bellieve we fell for that trick!
Parking seems to be a nightmare in Niagara Falls. Hotels charge up to $25.00 per day for parking. The key is to bargain. Our hotel dropped our parking fee to $10.00 just because I'm a Goldpoints Plus member.
Fun Alternatives: The further you park from main attractions / 5 star hotels the less you pay for it.
Some people think that Niagara Falls is a huge tourist trap. I on the other hand disagree. Clifton Hill has been the amusement and entertainment centre of Niagara Falls for decades. I remember as a little girl my mother used to take me there to ride the ferris wheel, eat cotton candy and play at the many amusement attractions. At night Clifton Hill turns into a hub for nightlife. NOt to be missed. Good times.
Unique Suggestions: The SkyWheel
The Beer Garden
Fun Alternatives: There is none.
This is really a place to avoid. A tourist shop that sells the standard tourist tat but even with my limited interest I noticed that the prices here were more expensive than even the tourist shops at the Falls themselves.
Fun Alternatives: If you must buy the stuff try elsewhere, there is certainly plenty of choice.
Yes, US border is very close, and gambling laws seem to be diferent there, so some kind of "little Las Vegas" has grown on the canadian side... I'm not against that, but neither interested in. Maybe the natural wonder of the falls gets a little shamed with this neon-lights city...
Unique Suggestions: Anyway, you also may just turn your head and look at the other side, to the river and falls. That will suffice :)
Fun Alternatives: Don't stay for a long time here, you may become bored. Just an oppinion, of course.
Why make the world ugly when it is beautiful?
The streets going uphill are just ugly "mickeyland" style buildings shops and . . . customers.
Lots of souvenir shops for all sorts of tastes.. . .
Unique Suggestions: Go to the restaurants on top of the hill (the street) without looking too much on the sides to spoil your wonderful day at the falls.
Fun Alternatives: You are trapped !
WOW! Who's idea was it to carve motorcycles out of wax? No, not really. I hear they have the largest collection of rare motorcycle art here! There's three floors so, they needed something to fill the space so they added antique toys to the exhibit!
Unique Suggestions: I'm at a loss for words...
If one paid 7 Canadian Dollar one could go down in the elevator to go on a lower platform and admire the falls from there.
People got a bright yellow raincoat if they had done so.
We didn t wanna pay (at least I did not) so we went spotting rain coats.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy it!!! Might be a great thing to do!!
Fun Alternatives: At a certain point a not too bad looking guy wearing such a coat approached us.
Ha! my chance to ask him to turn his back on me lol.
Think he was that surprised by my question as well as my accent, he did what I asked.
I have never been to a T.G.I. Fridays before but since this is a well-known North American chain restaurant my friends and I decided to stop in at the Niagara Falls, Canada location.
Obviously, we were not "in the know" since their website doesn't list pricing with their menus - but we were expecting pricing structure similair to a Kelsey's Restaurant, or Friendly's or whatever.
Now, my friends and I aren't thrifty or tight when it comes to spending money, but no way in %$*! could we justify the pricing list offered by T.G.I. Fridays. Nearly $18.00 for loaded potato skins? $16.00 for breaded chicken fingers? $12.00 nearly for a single portion of salad? What are they topping these dishes with? Pure gold maybe?
Its no wonder the place was empty when we were there... No average family would pay those prices - no average family CAN pay those prices. I truly hope that all T.G.I. Fridays Restaurants aren't following the same obscene pricing structure...
My friends and I left and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe - which is expensive but still cheaper than T.G.I. Fridays.
It is important that before you go on your trip you have a good idea what the exchange rate is. Check online a day or two before. This way you can have good idea when your getting a good rate. When in doubt go to the duty free, it may not be the best but they won't screw you. My idiot friend changed her money over at some haunted house and got 1.30 when the rate was 1.55.
Unique Suggestions: Do what i said above and this won't happen to you.
While the Falls themselves are very beautiful and absolutely worth visiting, beware that the entire area around the Falls is a horribly tacky tourist trap. From giant haunted houses, to casinos, to countless tacky gift shops, and even a huge professional wrestling show, it's really just a horrible place.
Fun Alternatives: Just avoid the tourist trap areas and stick to the Falls themselves. You can also escape all the tourst traps by driving up to wine country, located to the north and east of Niagara Falls. We enjoyed driving around to the many vineyards and wineries to try the different wines. The landscape in that area is also quite nice. Although also pretty touristy, we kind of liked the town of Niagara on the Lake, where you can do some shopping and get something to eat. It gets pretty crowded there too, but it's not nearly as tacky as the area right around Niagara Falls itself.
Shop around for parking as there are several places that seemed to charger much higher. Be careful of parking lot attendants who say their price is the lowest.
There are also many cheap tourist shops near the falls. Some places even advertise on the highway miles before one reaches Niagara. These really cheapen a visit, so do yourself a favor and skip these shops, and spend more time at the Falls.
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