May to September is the peak visiting season for Niagara Falls. The days are long and warm, typically in the low 68°F region, and the nights are very comfortable with lows rarely dipping below 55°F.
Summer at Niagara Falls boasts perfect weather, but tends to get overcrowded - the queues for the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour can be frustratingly long. September is a highly recommended time to visit the Falls - all tours are running and it's not as crowded as high summer. The fall foliage in the area is an additional draw for October visitors.
In winter, the mist can freeze on the trees, creating a winter wonderland effect. While the falls are running at this time, most of the tours are not. Tours are generally closed until late spring, depending on the weather.
The Niagara Falls Bus Station (4555 Erie Ave) is in the old part of town. Greyhound Canada buses depart for Toronto (two hours, seven daily) and Buffalo, New York (one to 1.5 hours, six daily). Niagara Airbus is a door-to-door coach service with frequent connections to and from airports in Toronto (1.5 hours) and Buffalo, New York (1.5 hours).
Working in liaison with the Niagara Fallsview Casino, Safeway Tours shuttles passengers between Toronto and Niagara Falls. No overnight stays; over-19s only (ID required).
From Niagara Falls Train Station (4267 Bridge St) opposite the bus station, VIA trains run to Toronto (two hours, two daily) and New York City (10 hours, once daily).
Walking is best for getting around the central falls area, where many sights are concentrated. To visit outlying sights along the Niagara Parkway, other transport is needed.
Driving in and around the center is nothing but a costly headache. Follow the signs to one of the several parking districts and stash the car for the day. There is limited metered parking around town, but pay parking lots are plentiful. The huge Rapids View parking lot, which is also the depot for the Niagara Parks People Mover (see below), is a little over 1.7mi south of the falls off River Rd.
Operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, the Niagara Parks People Mover is an economical and efficient bus system. The depot is in the huge Rapids View parking lot. Day passes can be purchased at most stops. Shuttles follow a 9mi path from the Rapids View parking lot north past the Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow and Whirlpool Bridges, Whirlpool Aero Car and, during peak season, to Queenston village. Niagara Transit provides a shuttle bus service around town. One route, the Red Line, goes around Clifton Hill and other Falls attractions, then up Lundy's Lane to the motels and back.
The Blue Line runs from the downtown bus and train stations to the falls area attractions, by the Table Rock Information Center and down the Niagara Parkway to the Rapids View parking lot, then loops back around up Portage Rd and Stanley Ave. The Green Line goes from Rainbow Bridge north to Whirlpool Aero Car, then back down River Rd past the B&Bs to Clifton Hill. Out of season, Niagara Transit's regular city buses must be used.
Health and Safety
Attracting 13 million people per year, Niagara Falls has the inevitable presence of petty criminals targeting vulnerable tourists - visitors should be vigilant at all times. Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls' entertainment precinct, is a particularly popular hang-out for pickpockets and thieves. This area can be very crowded - watch that the salespeople who solicit on the Hill don't spend too much time with you.