Traveling is one of the ways I like to clear my mind. And when you have a passport the possibilities are endless! A friend of mine decided she wanted to go Canada for her birthday. Even though Canada is a hop, skip, and a jump away you still need a passport to cross the border.
To our surprise, the drive from Maryland was only about 8 hours and we only paid one toll. Driving up the mountainside of Buffalo was definitely much easier than driving through New York City traffic. But there were a lot less sights to see. Crossing the border and stopping at the Duty-Free shops were the highlight of the ride. We also had a short drive through what I like to call “Porn Town,” one of those areas with “Adult Movies Here” signs everywhere. But we listened to music and audio-books along the way to keep ourselves entertained.
We decided to stay in Niagara Falls for a night before heading to Toronto. The room we picked at Marriott on The Falls had an amazing view of the water. If you’re looking to stay in Niagara, this is definitely a hotel I would recommend. It was very nice to be in the middle of all the activity. There is a casino, restaurants like Margaritaville, and an amusement park all within a 5-10 minute drive. The room was very clean, beds were comfortable, and the bathroom was very modern. We had difficulty figuring out how to get down to the falls because we didn’t ask. But it’s close enough to take an inexpensive cab ride or maybe even walk when it isn’t too cold out.
We used a Groupon to have dinner at the Skylon Revolving Tower, a 775-foot dining experience that I will never forget! The food was great and seeing the falls from above at night was breathtaking.
Before heading to Toronto, we decided to get up close and personal with the falls. Seeing the view from our hotel window versus seeing it in person was a very different experience. The sound of the rushing water was very similar to being on the beach. But being that it was the beginning of March it was very cold so close to the water.
The drive from Niagara Falls to Toronto was only about 2 hours but of course we had to stop at the outlets! And we were so glad we did. I got 2 pair of Uggs for $200 Canadian which translates to $150 USD! Talk about a come up. We picked an AirBnB in Downtown Toronto and it was definitely an experience. This was the first time I’ve ever stayed in an AirBnB and I’ve always seen how nice they are. Don’t get me wrong, the home was nice and clean. But the description neglected to say that we were staying above a block of corner stores. Nonetheless, we didn’t run into many problems besides the loud city life at night.
We picked a lot of the places we ate it by looking at Yelp reviews. Many of them were very small, intimate diners but the food did not disappoint! My favorite meals were a breakfast burrito from Easy Restaurant and a la carte tacos from Grand Electric in Downtown Toronto. I found a food festival by searching Instagram and we were able to see people making ice sculptures and try maple taffy (it was gross). We also stumbled upon a dispensary while we were exploring the city. It was much different from the one I visited in Vegas. Very “hole-in-the-wall chic.”
Our last adventure was up to the CN Tower. For the price you pay it was pretty underwhelming if I’m being honest. The building is currently under construction so you can’t see the main observation room. They offer the option to substitute the main room with the higher Skypod, however, there was a 2-hour wait and there isn’t much to do inside the building to waste time. The construction also takes away from the glass floor exhibit because the walls are all boarded up.
The biggest thing that we didn’t expect is that most businesses do not take American check/credit cards. If you are able to swipe your card, you may be charged an International transaction fee. In non-tourist areas your best bet is to have cash on hand (American and Canadian bills were accepted everywhere we went).
Even though it was cold we had a great time. We were more into exploring than partying so I couldn’t tell you about the nightlife. But if you’re into adventure then I definitely suggest Canada!