Afternoon At Niagara 

Special Thanks to Niagara Frontier for this great photo!       

With the coming of the afternoon, Niagara Falls shifts to a higher gear. Gone for another day is the morning solitude when you can have the entire park to yourself… and its departure is hastened by throngs of enthusiastic tourists out to enjoy the falls.  

If you’ve read my ‘Morning Walk’ segment about how I love having Niagara Falls to myself, you might think I’d have disdain for crowds, but that’s not true. Although I love solitude at the falls, the crowds of Niagara are exciting and are all part of the Niagara Experience I enjoy so much. The people in the crowd all seem to have the same upbeat mood and together they create a self-reinforcing atmosphere of happiness. Everyone you see at Niagara is a willing participant in a great celebration of mist, rainbows and tons of falling water.    

Common request at Niagara: “Will you take our picture?” Common response at Niagara: “Sure, I’d be glad to!”         

There are families enjoying ice cream cones as they walk, children riding atop their fathers’ shoulders, couples of all ages in love and newlyweds arm in arm, experiencing their brand-new lives together for the very first time. There are wagging dogs pulling their owners through the crowds, there are tiny babies asleep in strollers who will never remember their first visit to Niagara Falls… who will only discover its joys on future visits with Mom and Dad someday.     

Browsing the Niagara Gift Shops

Afternoon is a very busy time at Niagara Falls since most people are out doing the traditional ‘Niagara Things’ for which the falls are famous. Niagara Falls only gradually wakens from its morning slumber, but soon charges ahead full-steam. Just as tourists have finished breakfast and are leaving tips on tables, establishments all over town are opening their doors for the daily horde of visitors. They will be busy straight up until they close the doors again at midnight, and some will be charging along well beyond then.     

There are many things to do at Niagara Falls… so many that newcomers are easily overwhelmed. To put some order to it, first decide what you want to do at the falls and how many days you have available to spend. My family feels satisfied with our Niagara Vacations after a mere three-day stay. We do different things on each day, always with a lot of relaxation in between activities. We always stay at a hotel with a pool to let our energetic daughters swim between activities… while we get our much-needed ‘Old Person’s Rest’ beside the pool with snacks.

Making souvenir hand sculptures at the Wax Museum     

Hotel Pools Help — Kids Love to Swim while Parents Relax!

There are four ‘spins’ we put on our Niagara Falls vacations…. Entertainment and Nightlife, Walking through the Niagara Falls Park System, Paid Attractions and Tours, and driving upstream or down to experience the Greater Niagara Region. Each has their virtues, and because we’re not wealthy people, cash outlay is always the Great Limiting Factor.

Cash… Always the Great Limiting Factor!

Because events and activities can be pricey at Niagara, we plan on one or two ‘Pricey Things’ per visit and save the others for future visits to the falls. In this way our vacations are a lot of fun at a good value, and we leave while still wanting more… which always makes us eager to return.     

If you’ve never visited Niagara Falls before and live so far away that another visit might be unlikely, there are four activities which you should consider beyond all others, plus a fifth if you can squeeze it in. They are The Maid of the Mist, The Cave of the Winds, The White Water Walk, The Journey Behind the Falls and lastly, if you still have enough time, The Whirlpool Aero Car. (Please click on the separate photo galleries for these activities for more information… located on the upper right side of the screen.)   I put the Whirlpool Aero Car Last because it’s the shortest in duration, and for some folks it’s not much more than just a ride across the gorge on a cable car. I think it’s well worth doing not just because it offers a great view of the rapids and whirlpool basin, but because it’s one of those things which is famous in Niagara Falls and which you’ll likely regret not doing someday when you are remembering your time at Niagara… when you had the chance but chose not to. 

Above all, keep a few things in mind about your afternoon at Niagara Falls… Afternoon is when thing get hopping… in peak summer months the crowds will be heavy and lines to activities will be long.  My standing advice to any Niagara Falls tourist would be to have clear goal for the day and start out early.  Lines will be far shorter in the early morning… so plan on enjoying as many activities as possible during these times.  When afternoon rolls around, you’ll be done with many of the activities the late-comers are competing for… and you’ll be free to stroll around at a leisurely pace, doing whatever captures your fancy!

Plan on the People Mover busses to get you from one end of the park to the other.  These are great.  They arrive at marked points every 15 minutes or so, they are air-conditioned and save a LOT of legwork!  Simply purchase a one-day pass and wear the sticker then give you on the front of your shirt.  There is no limit to how often you can ride during the day.  A bargain in terms of convenience.  Another thing to mention (while speaking of air conditioning on busses) would be to bring your sunscreen lotion and sunglasses… and maybe a bottled water in a back or fanny pack.  Summers can be very hot and humid at Niagara Falls and you’ll need to consider this when making your afternoon plans.

All in a day… and then some!  I hope you enjoy these Places At Niagara!

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