Niagara Falls – A Tale of Two Cities

No, the famous book by Charles Dickens was not about Niagara Falls, but when first visiting this amazing area on the US – Canadian border, it really is like visiting two different cities. The only real difference is that there are different laws governing each ‘side’ of the city and of course, different currencies. If you are looking to spend a vacation at one of the most amazing luxury hotels in Niagara Falls, here is a bit of info you might need during your stay.

Gambling in Casinos

One of the first questions many people ask when planning a trip to Niagara Falls is whether or not there is gambling on both sides of the border. Actually, there is! There are two casinos in Canada and one on the United States side of the border and the real difference is the legal age required to place bets. In Canada, the legal age for gambling is just 19 years of age while in the United States, New York to be specific, you are required to be at least 21 years old. Depending on the age span of your traveling companions, you may want to choose where you will gamble prior to heading out for a night of adventure.

Currencies on Different Sides of the Border

While both countries have denominations marked in dollars and cents, the Canadian Dollar and the United States Dollar are two very different world currencies. The question here is, can you use one nation’s currency on both sides of the border in Niagara Falls? You actually can use both currencies ‘if’ the shop, casino, restaurant or hotel will accept it but it is suggested that if you plan to spend a few days here you may want to change up currency at your financial institution before leaving home. Most places charge a fee for allowing you to spend your money there, called a ‘conversion fee’ and if you want to avoid double conversion fees, it’s better to have your national currency converted before leaving home. In other words, you are paying to convert to USD or CAD from your homeland, so instead of paying again to convert when in Niagara Falls, simply get some of both currencies before embarking on your vacation.

Which Country Has a Higher Population in Niagara Falls?

Although this shouldn’t be a factor in which side of the border you intend to stay on your visit to Niagara Falls, it is a bit of interesting trivia to be aware of. In 2014 the United States census stated that there were just over 49,000 residents on the US side of the border. According to the Canadian census of three years prior, 2011, the Canadian side of the city is much bigger – just about twice that of the United States side of the city with a total of almost 90,000 people. So here the question would then be, which side has a closer demographic to that of your traveling party so that you will have ample opportunities to do things that are of interest to you at your age. A quick online search should provide the answers you need.

Interesting Things to Do on Both Sides of the Border

One of the most popular tourist attractions on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is the Niagara Brewing Company. Newlyweds especially like to tour the brewery and sample the beer because they are on what is one of life’s most celebratory vacations. What’s a honeymoon without a cocktail here and there, a glass of wine or a sip of beer? On the American side of the city, the Rainbow Bridge and Three Sisters Islands are among the most visited tourist attractions in Niagara Falls, Even so, take the time to visit:

  • Goat Island
  • Hyde Park
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Luna Island

There are many shops and tourist traps both sides of the border, so you will want to plan at least a day shopping and exploring the difference between the American and Canadian experiences. Yes, the currency is different and may not be taken where you are shopping or visiting, but both the United States and Canada take credit cards with a Visa, MasterCard, Dinner’s Club or American Express logo.

Whether visiting the American or Canadian side of the falls and whether in a large group or simply as an intimate honeymoon couple, this is one of the major tourist locations in North America. Don’t expect to go over the falls in a barrel but you really can have a barrel of fun. Gamble at casinos, shop at some ultra-chic stores, eat at world class restaurants, enjoy a game of golf or simply relax in the beauty of the falls for a vacation to talk about for years to come. Niagara Falls is a tale of two cities rolled into one.

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