Seriously, you guys.
I’m not saying this just because I’m particularly bad at counting. Which I am.
I’m saying this because I’ve been there like a lot of times. This is just what happens when you grow up less than twenty miles from one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. You end up going there almost every year on a field trip when you’re in school and every single time someone comes to visit you when you’re an adult.
In the past year alone, I’ve been to the Falls at least a half dozen times.
Not that I’m complaining.
Because, NIAGARA FALLS, YOU GUYS.
It never really gets old.
You know what does get old, though?
People always saying the Canadian side is better.
Seriously, you guys, I’ve been hearing this for years.
To which I would like to respond with this eloquent, thought-out response:
I know what you’re thinking.
You think I’m just saying this because I’m American.
But I’m being completely honest here. If the Canadian side were better, I would totally tell you.
In fact, there are many instances where I’m happy to admit that Canadians are doing a better job than Americans.
Like with national healthcare. And recycling. And poutine. I mean, any country that thinks to smother their fries in cheese curds and gravy is totally genius by me.But, in the case of Niagara Falls, the American side is way awesomer.
Just to give you an idea as to why I think the American side is better, this is a picture of your typical afternoon on the American side:
Whereas this is your typical afternoon on the Canadian side:
I mean, sure, the view of the Falls is quite lovely on the Canadian side. Due to it’s position across the Niagara River, you can see all three of the Falls from the Canadian side – the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horshoe Falls.
Which means you can take photos of yourself like this:
On the American side, you don’t get quite the same panoramic view, but you are able to get much closer to the Falls. I mean, you’re pretty much standing right next to the Falls. I’m not even kidding you. It is JUST RIGHT THERE.
Which means you get to take lots of pictures of yourself like this.
Which, come on, totally awesomer, right?
Not sold yet?
Well, on a recent trip with Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, I found even more reasons to love the American side.
Even if we don’t have fries covered in cheese curds covered in gravy. (Or do we? Someone please tell me poutine exists on the American side.)
Spirit of the Mist Native Dance PerformanceSmokin’ Joes Native Center.
You got to love it when your day begins with watching hot Native American dudes dancing. Especially hot Native American dudes doing crazy stuff with hula hoops.
Plus, the people at the Center were really nice, and they even gave me this necklace:
When’s the last time Canada gave me jewelry?
How about NEVER.
(Seriously, Canada, what’s the deal? How many times have I visited you? And I have yet to even get so much as a ring. I think it’s over between us.)
Cave of the WindsMaid of the Mist boat ride, which is offered on both sides of the Falls, Cave of the Winds is only offered on the American side.
Probably, because, Cave of the Winds is TOTALLY CRAZY-PANTS, you guys, and only a bunch of crazy-pants Americans would think this was a good idea. (Mind you, I am allowed to say this as a fellow crazy-pants American who thinks this is a really good idea.)
Back in the 1800s, Cave of the Winds referred to an actual cave behind the Bridal Veil Falls. Public tours of the cave were available until it was closed down because, apparently, it was deemed really unsafe to hang out in a crumbley, old cave behind a massive, thundering waterfall. I can’t imagine why.
These days, Cave of the Winds consists of a series of wooden walkways and platforms built at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. The decking is replaced each year, and, according to the fine people at Wikipedia, the decking is not secured into the rocks with bolts or construction materials of any kind; it’s just wedged into the rock crevices.
So basically you get to go stand on a piece of magically floating wood underneath Niagara Falls.
Like, I said. TOTALLY CRAZY-PANTS.
And TOTALLY AWESOME-PANTS.
You also get free shoes.
I can’t even remember the last time Canada gave me free shoes.
Oh, probably because they haven’t.
Helicopter Ride Over Niagara FallsRainbow Air, Inc, I basically stopped breathing for two days. Because HELICOPTER RIDE OVER NIAGARA FALLS, YOU GUYS!
I already knew the ride was going to be pretty much the coolest, but it was made even cooler by the fact that I got to be shoved into the helicopter by a bunch of cute boys.
And then I got to sit right next to the pilot and wear one of those headphone-thingies just like they do on The Bachelorette.
And take photos like this:
And then my ride ended with me having my picture taken while holding a wrestling title belt. I’m not entirely sure why, but I figured it was best not to ask questions and just hold the title belt and smile.
Sure, you can take a helicopter ride over the Falls from the Canadian side, but will there be cute boys pushing you into a helicopter and a title belt involved?
I seriously doubt it.
Oakwood CemeteryFeeling like quite the daredevil after my helicopter ride, I was super excited to commune with my fellow daredevils.
Too bad they were all dead.
At Oakwood Cemetery, I got to visit the graves of some of Niagara Fall’s bravest stunters, including Annie Edson Taylor, a sixty-three-year-old former teacher and the first person to survive the trip over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel.
I also got to go inside the E.B. Green-designed mausoleum, where I learned a whole bunch of stuff about crypts.
Seriously, you guys, when has Canada ever invited me into its mausoleum to check out its crypts?
Eat, Drink, and Eat Some Moreheese-wrapped-in-maple-syrup-wrapped-in-what-I-can-only-assume-was-heaven from Toronto?
But I’ve never been that impressed by the food options available on the Canadian side of the Falls. The restaurants there tend to be more touristy and of the chain-variety.
Whereas the American side offers a lot more unique food experiences, in my opinion.
Like this brick oven pizza which I got at Wine on Third Pizza Bistro.
Which maybe doesn’t seem all that unique but it was supposed to be the “half-pizza” and it was basically the same size as my head and I could only eat half of it. And I have a big head and an even bigger appetite, you guys.
And there’s the new Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, which is open to the public and offers everything from an upscale restaurant and a European-style patisserie to community education classes and wine tastings of regional wines.
And, well, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this in Canada:
See? It’s an ice cream cone in front of an ice cream shop in the shape of ice cream cone. Which you have to admit is pretty genius. Even if it’s not fries covered in cheese curds covered in gravy.Have you ever visited Niagara Falls? Which side is your favorite? P.S. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Niagara Falls Tourism & Convention Center for organizing and sponsoring my trip. I’d also like to thank the people at Rainbow Air Inc, Oakwood Cemetery and Niagara Falls Culinary Institute for spending time to talk to me and generally being awesome.