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Every year we drive to Niagara Falls in February for our anniversary. We have our favorite restaurnts, hotels and pubs to return to each year, and make it a point to always find a new special attraction. You can never run out of things to see or do in Niagara, even in the winter. We always make a visit to the Casino, although after June 1st of this year, smoking is banned in all Casinos in Ontario, so that might be an attraction we will drop next year. Our favorite is Casino Niagara, as the new Fallsview Casino has the slot machines that spit out tickets instead of tokens. Part of the excitement of being in a casino is hearing the money dropping and the bells going off.

Clifton Hills Attractions

Clifton Hill is the main strip where you can always find something new to do, or even an old favorite. One of my favorites is the Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum. When I hear the sound of the bird chirping, I know the birdman of Alcatraz is just around the corner.

Top of Clifton Hill on Victoria Avenue

The Quinness World Records Museum (pictured below) is located right in the middle of Clifton Hill. The outside exhibits entice you to enter.

This year we decided to visit the Ripley's Moving Theater, located at the top of Clifton Hill. In the summer there is always a huge line-up outside. I did visit this attraction many years ago and remember it being different and fun, but pricy and over with in about 15 minutes. You can spend a small fortune visiting all the attractions, so make sure you find a coupon book, because all of those $1 off coupons do add up!

There was no line-up outside as it was 7 pm. It cost us $27.98 for two, and that was with a $1 off each admission coupon. Had we waited until after 9pm we would have received $2. off each admission. We did have a bit of a wait once we got inside the lobby, but were entertained by a TV showing how fun the attraction would be. Once we were ushered inside we were given a pair of smudgy 4D glasses and instructed to buckle up our seatbelts and to set any loose objects on the floor. There were two movies which were each about five minutes in length and a brief intermission for the usher to make sure everyone was still buckled up. After being tossed back and forth in the moving section of seats, we were anxious to get back to our jacuzzi suite. It is an attraction that you should visit once, but once you have done it, its not worth the price to do it again. We have since re-named it RipOff's Moving Theater:-)

Courtyard by Marriott****
5950 Victoria Avenue

Being that we come to the Falls annually, we like finding a good deal on a hotel. We have stayed at the Niagara Falls Courtyard Marriott back in 2004 and found it very clean with good service at an affordable price. Being that the new Fallsview casino opened with its own hotel, Casino Niagara does not offer the hotel deals like they used to. We did find a good package deal at the courtyard with a $45 dinner voucher and a hot breakfast each morning. The room was spotless as you can see from the below photos. I did request a view or higher floor when making the reservation, but they can not guarantee that.

When we checked in at 2:39 pm we were told our room was on the second floor. Our e-mail confirmation stated that this type of room was from floors 3-5 so I asked if she had a higher floor for us, but she mentioned something about the block of rooms which I didn't understand. Maybe because we requested a smoking room, but I was told later that the smoking rooms of this type are on floor 2 and 8. I wasn't concerned so much about the level of our room, but I did at least expect a view.
We were very dissapointed when we looked out the window, as you can see from the below photos. Being February, and our anniversary, we like to spend alot of the time in our room, and we do like to have a view, even if its only a parking lot. We don't really care if its a higher floor or a city view, but with a brick wall and ugly storage shed, they should just board up the whole window!

The one thing we really enjoyed this year was the breakfast buffet with omlette station. My husband enjoyed a denver omlette both days, and I had the mushroom, ham and cheese omlette, complimented with bacon and potatoes from the hot buffet. The service was fast, and the chef cooked the omlettes to perfection!

We did get a $45 dinner voucher to be used at either the Keg Steakhouse, located inside the hotel or the adjacent T.G.I.Fridays. We found that many of the chain resturants really raise their menu prices in Niagara Falls, and for many years now we have stopped patronizing T.G.I.Fridays and Dennys at the Falls. Even the Niagara area Keg's has higher prices than the Toronto area franchises, but with the voucher it wasn't too bad. We still had to fork out over $50 for our dinner along with the voucher, and did miss some of our local Keg favorites such as the onion straws, and real grated cheese on our caesar salad, rather than the sliced shavings they used here.

Check out our review of the Niagara Falls Courtyard Marriott & Keg Steakhouse from 2004 from our links at the bottom of this page

Although we requard the Marriott Chain for their cleanliness and service, the Niagara Falls Courtyard by Marriott only recieved 4 stars from us this year. As a returning guest and a Marriott rewards member, we believe they could of honored our request for our anniversary for at least a 2nd floor view of the parking lot. And since we were staying for two nights, they could have saved the room for a last minute guest, or the usuall party animals, which I think were all on our floor, as it was a bit noisey. Next year, will be a new seach for a hotel, after all that is part of the fun of planning a trip.

Niagara Falls Restaurants & Pubs

The Wild Mushroom Bar & Grill*****
5633 Victoria Avenue

The Wild Mushroom Bar & Grill was a place I have always wanted to try ever since I spotted the cute name. It's located on Victoria street at the top of Clifton Hill, right next door to Nightmares Fear Factory. We were on our way to visit some attractions, and decided to stop in for a quick drink and warm up. We didn't try anything from their menu, as we were planning dinner later at the Beef Baron, but it sure smelled good!

The first thing you noticed, was the coziness of this lower level pub. We then spotted all the American dollar bills on the ceiling. Our friendly bartender told us she actually counted them the one day. Somewhere in the range of over $4000. There are a few rare Canadian one and two dollar bills also. In Canada coins replaced the paper bills. They are called the loonie($1) and the toonie($2). We spent a few hours chatting with the staff and owner and the many tourists who stop in for a relaxing drink or snack while visiting the falls attractions. We did wish that the beautiful fireplace had been lit, as it would have added more ambiance to this already charming place.

This will certainly be a place we will visit every time we go back to the falls. Cozy surroundings and friendly service and alot of fun!

The Beef Baron Restaurant*****
5019 Centre Street

This was our third trip back to the Beef Baron Restaurant. It is one of your more reasonably priced restaurants in Niagara, with good food and plenty of dinner selections. Their prime rib is always on special and very tasty. And if you like horseradish, it WILL open your sinuses.
You can choose from full course dinners, seafood, steaks, and many combo selections. We both decided on the french onion soup to warm us up after our walk from the hotel on this cold, windy February night. The taste of the soup was excellent, but I was a bit dissapointed in the very hard piece of bread, with not enough cheese floating on top. When I tried to break the bread, all the soup spashed out of the bowl. I even had trouble cutting the bread with my steak knife. There are very few places where I will finish a whole bowl of French Onion Soup, and this was not one of them. I have to have enough cheese and bread in it, to get some in every spoonful. My husband did finish the whole basket of fresh bread on the table, by dipping it in his soup. Back in Pennsylvania at the Ovalon Restaurant, they even give you sissors to cut the cheese. I guess I'm spoiled!
We both chose the prime rib special for $14.99. If we had arrived earlier, they had an early bird special for $13.99. It came with mashed potatoes, but we opted for the baked, which the waitress came around with sour cream to top it off. Quick and friendly service, we always make it a point to have a dinner at The Beef Baron Restaurant!

More Niagara Reviews

Nightmares Fear Factory, Wild Mushroom, Embassy Suites & the Keg
Our reviews from February 2008
Courtyard by Marriott & Bird Aviary -2004
Our annual trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls - Best Western Fireside Inn
A stopover in Niagara Falls on our way to PA and Atlantic City
Days Inn -Center Street - Niagara Falls
A review from November 2005 for an overnight stay at the Days Inn
Nightmares Fear Factory
Official Website of Nighmares Fear Factory