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Niagara Falls - 8th Wonder of the World?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Frau Hannah in front of Niagara Falls

In March, I took a day trip with a friend of mine to Niagara Falls the day after a big snowstorm. I've lived in Canada most of my life, but this was the first time I've ever gone to see the Falls. It was a surreal experience.

In this blog post, I'll discuss the bus trip there and back, the spa, the history museum, and of course the Falls.


The Bus

The bus left at 9 am and we got to the Falls around 11:30am. It would've been sooner, but we stopped in one of the cities along the way for a bio-break. We stopped in a small town at a small gas station that had only 1 bathroom for all 80+ of us that were on this trip.

It was such a funny moment honestly. The locals looked so confused to see so many tourists and the poor gas station workers were definitely overloaded by the amount of people using the washroom and buying snacks. But it added to the fun memories of the trip for sure!

The bus ride there wasn't too bad. It was a bit small, my friend and I were sitting shoulder to shoulder in a two-seater seat and it was a bit bumpy too. But the highlight of the ride there was definitely the adorable Japanese girls in front of us.

Frau Hannah with friends

They had this wholesome, happy-go-lucky energy about them. They just seemed to love life in such an endearing and infectious way. They practiced their English with us while getting to know us. They asked us our names, what we were studying in school, where we are from, and connected with us on Instagram. One of them is going on an exchange program to Germany in October and so of course I offered to help her with her German.

The bus ride back was okay. I was exhausted after such a long day of exploring and so was my friend. But we ended up chatting the entire ride back and got to know one another even better. I'm so grateful for that quality time. The Japanese girls in front of us were still so excited and seemed to have endless energy.

The Spa

As I mentioned before, we got to the Falls around 11:30am and I had a spa appointment at noon. It was going to take me about 17 minutes or so to walk up the hill to the main city strip, but they had the Falls Incline Railway that took you right up the hill to the main city in less than 2 minutes. I thought it might be expensive to use, but it only costs $7CAD for a two way trip and saved so much time. I ended up getting to the spa just on time and spending about 2 hours there.

woman in a hot tub
Stock Photo

The spa is called Burning Spring Spa & Thermal Pools and is located inside the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa on the LL - Lower Level. I booked the oasis day pass which gives all day access to the saunas and thermal pools for only $50CAD.

This spa consisted of 3 thermal pools, 1 cold plunge, and 2 saunas. Inside there was a Himalayan Salt Sauna, a huge thermal pool, and a lounge area with free tea and infused ice water. Outside was the Finnish style sauna, the cold plunge pool, and 2 thermal pools - one hot and one lukewarm.

When I checked in, they asked my shoe size, gave me a pair of sandals, a cozy robe, and inside the spa area there were towels. They also had some great amenities in the changing room:

  • Toothbrushes

  • Toothpaste

  • Mouthwash

  • Razors

  • Shaving cream

  • Q-tips

  • Cotton balls

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Shower caps

  • Hair dryers

The lockers were free to use, were a variety of sizes, and had locks on them already. The changing rooms are segregated but the spa is co-ed.

I honestly really enjoyed my time in the spa. It was really cozy and relaxing being in the thermal pools and saunas. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was an interesting experience to be in this wooden-themed outdoor spa area in such a mega urban city. It felt a bit decontextualized but in a fun kind of transportive way.

The crowd that was at this spa I found really fascinating too. There were maybe 4 men out of a crowd of about 15-20 people. I got the chance to chat with some of the women there and found out that a bunch of them were married women on a girl's weekend, and so most of their spouses were at home with their children.

As we were chatting, sometimes I found it hard to relate to them and at other times I found their stories really humbling. These women were clearly well off and enjoyed many luxuries in their daily lives. However, that did not exempt them from certain hardships in life.

I remember one woman discussing her husband's cardiology appointment and how he seemed to be doing much better after the surgery. They were really caring towards each other - asking about sick family members, how the children are doing in school, cheering each other on when attempting the cold plunge, laughing together, etc.

These women were also really kind about each others' body images. They were complimenting each other regardless of how they looked. It was honestly really sweet to see how they engaged with each other.

I think so-called 'rich' people are placed on a pedestal a lot of the time and as a result are dehumanized to an extent. While these women clearly were on a different social class than me, but they did not act as though they were better than me in any sense of the word. They were just normal women enjoying a vacation with their friends. Of course, I recognize this isn't always the case, but I am very glad that this was the experience I had.

Journey Behind The Falls

After the spa, my friend texted me and asked if I wanted to go on The Journey Behind The Falls with her. So, I went back down the railway and joined her at the ticket counter. In the winter they close off one of the outdoor observation decks for safety, and so the price is cheaper at $16CAD per person. In the summertime, it is $24CAD per person. But to be honest, both prices are still pretty expensive for what you get to experience.

journey behind the falls tunnel

The journey starts with an elevator ride that takes you into the tunnels which lead to the 3 viewing areas. The tunnels are really short and narrow. I am 5'5 and I can touch the ceiling by just raising my hand. The tunnels can be quite crowded at times as well given how many tourists are also on the journey. I can only imagine how busy it is in the summer.

You are behind the Falls, but not very far behind them, as that would be really dangerous, and you can't really see all that much. The water is moving so fast that it's hard to see what is happening and it's really loud. It is a really cool experience being in that position, but it's definitely overpriced. The whole journey takes about 10 minutes max.

As you can see in this video, there are some people who throw coins into the water. This is done to make a wish. What I found interesting was that not all coins are in Canadian or American currency, there were foreign coins too.

I think the best spots are the outdoor observation decks. This is where you can see the Falls more up close. It's one thing to see the Falls from the viewing area above, and a whole other experience to see the Falls from this perspective. You really feel the power that this waterfall holds, and it reminds you just how small you are in comparison to the rest of world. I found the experience not just amazing but also really humbling.

Overall, the whole experience is pricey, so I don't quite recommend it. They have another option called The Tunnel, which is similar in that you get to be underneath and behind the Falls, but it takes about 2 hours and there are guided tours available. It is more expensive at $28CAD a ticket, but I think it offers more than The Journey Behind the Falls. I'm going to do this one when I go back to visit.

The Niagara Falls History Museum

Niagara Falls History Museum

I always enjoying learning something new, regardless of what that might be. So, going to these museums and learning more about the place I am visiting is always a fun experience for me. My friend and I walked up from the Fallsview to where the Niagara Falls History Museum is and it took us about 40 minutes or so. As a result, we got to the museum 20 minutes before they were closing.

The staff at the museum said we'd need about an hour to explore the entire museum, so they just let us in for free since we wouldn't have enough time to see everything. I don't believe this is common practice, they were simply just being kind to us. Normally tickets, according to the Niagara Falls Canada website, are:

  • Adult: $5.31+ 0.69 (tax) = $6.00

  • Youth/Student: $4.43 + 0.57 (tax) = $5.00

  • Family: $17.70 + $2.30 (tax) = $20.00 (Maximum of 5 people including up to 3 adults)

  • Children 6 years and under: Free admission

I suppose that would mean an adult would be anyone over 18, and a youth would be anyone between 7 and 17. The prices are pretty good for what you get. The museum is in a pretty crowded area in the city, so I can't imagine there will be much in the way of parking.

Now, this museum is quite small. It has a ton of information about the history of the Falls and the city of Niagara, but I cannot see how it would take an hour to explore (perhaps if you read every exhibit). On the ground floor there is an art section, which I believe displays the art of local artists, as well as a section that discusses the war of 1812. On the top floor there is a lot of information about more modern day Niagara and civil history within Niagara.

The exhibits on display when I visited were Tool of Tools: Niagara by the artist Wayne Moore which is running from January 21st to April 8th 2023, as well as The Gale Family War of 1812 Gallery and the Niagara Falls Community Gallery.

The exhibits are not interactive like some of the other museums I've been to, so I'm not too sure how interesting this might be to young children.

I wasn't aware of this before, but as I learned at the history museum, over the last few thousand years the Falls have been moving backwards. The cliff under the Falls is slowly eroding away, causing the Falls to move backwards closer to the city. Now it's moved a few KM back in the last 12,500 years, so it's a slow move. But, it is moving, which on its own is a scary fact.

Outside the museum there was also some amazingly well done street art and murals!

The Falls

Niagara Falls

The Falls are amazing to see! They are an unreal feat of nature, so beautiful and so terrifying. The water moves a lot faster than you think, is a lot louder than you expect, and there are massive rocks on the bottom. I thought the Falls would be frozen since its winter, but I suppose the water moves with such force that it doesn't stay still long enough for it to freeze.

From the sheer pressure of the Falls, the water comes up back up once it's hit the bottom and gently mists you from the viewing area. If you have glasses like I do, expect to get droplets all over them.

Niagara Falls

At night the Falls are lit up by this massive light across the street (it looks like a giant bug light).

Niagara Falls lights

They do a few colour changing light shows at night too. When the Falls are lit up with red lights, it only amplifies the terrifying but amazing quality that Falls has.

Back when I was teaching English to a class in Germany, I remember the students being surprised to know that there is a Canadian side to Niagara Falls. Apparently, they saw it as an American attraction. However, while there is an American side to Niagara Falls, the Canadian side is definitely the bigger and better side.

That said however, there are a ton of American businesses on the Canadian side which aren't common across Canada (IHOP, Dennys, etc.). Since the border is so close, we get so many tourists on the Canadian side from the USA. So, the Canadian side is quite Americanized.


I know I say this every time, but it's true every time. Niagara and the Falls are places you should definitely visit if you get the chance. I really recommending coming here and seeing all this beauty and experiencing all the excitement and surreal feelings in person. I can't see how you would be disappointed.

The feeling I have after this trip is just so much gratitude that this is my life. I feel so grateful to have been able to experience the beautiful of the Falls, to have been able to bond more with my friend and make new ones, as well as to have learned more about and experienced more of the world. I just feel so grateful for everything.

Rainbow over Niagara Falls

This photo is not just a screensaver on my laptop, this was actually in front of my own eyes. I got to have this as a part of my reality. I'm in awe - a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder (Oxford Languages) - knowing that this is a fact of my life and I feel so blessed that it is.


Check out more from my A New City Every Month series below.

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