Cheapest Way To Visit Niagara Falls From Toronto

If you are visiting Toronto then you must not miss Niagara Falls. This guide shows you how to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto.

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It had always been a goal for me to visit the Niagara Falls. Even though I live in New York now, it’s still a long drive to visit and rumor says that the view from the Canadian side is better. A while ago I went on a weekend trip to Toronto, Canada. I got really lucky that the weather was just perfect that weekend, plenty of sun and really warm (the weekend after that it snowed in Toronto so very lucky!).

To plan for my budget visit to Niagara Falls from Toronto, I Googled how to cheaply visit Niagara Falls but almost all of the sites I found were day trips to Niagara Falls that cost around $100.

I wasn’t looking to do the whole boat ride/helicopter ride, I just simply wanted to go to Niagara Falls, walk around, take some photos, and see the fall. I also had a time limit because I was landing in Toronto in the morning, so that only gave me the afternoon to visit Niagara Falls.

Most of the tours to Niagara Falls from Toronto are a full day tour so that was another reason why I couldn’t do a tour.

Where is Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls on the border of USA and Canada at the southern end of Niagara Gorge. You can visit Niagara Falls both on the US side and the Canadian side.

The largest of the 3 waterfalls at Niagara Falls is the Horseshoe Falls and this waterfall is best seen from the Canadian side (sorry American friends). There are also 2 small islands called the Goat Island and Luna Island that separate two of the three falls at Niagara Falls.

There are 3160 tons of water that flow over these waterfalls every second and Horseshoe Falls alone dumps over 680,000 gallons of water every second. These powerful water flow not only create a magnificent sight but is a significant source of hydroelectric power.

Things To Do at Niagara Falls

Helicopter Ride at Niagara Falls

If you want to see the Niagara Falls from above, the best way to do that is to hop on a fantastic helicopter ride! What’s better than a helicopter ride is a helicopter ride with a boat tour so you can see the falls from both the top and bottom. 

Boat Ride at Niagara Falls

If you don’t want to do the helicopter tour but only the boat ride then there are 2 boat cruises you can take at the Niagara Falls: Maiden of the Mist and Hornblower. Maiden of the Mist only departs from the US side and Hornblower departs from the Canada side. The boat tours can get you pretty close to the water falls. 

Jet Boat at Niagara Falls

Think the regular cruises are too slow? Don’t worry, you can now jet boat down a Class 5 Rapid on the Niagara River. This 45 minute ride will get your heart pumping and palms sweaty on this adventure trip.

Zip Lining at Niagara Falls

Another adrenaline filled activity at Niagara Falls is to zip line across the waterfalls. This 67 meter high zip line will let you zip line along the falls to the base of Horseshoe Falls. 

Observation Deck at Niagara Falls

The observation deck at Skylon Tower is a family friendly activity that let you enjoy the view of the Niagara Falls and surrounding cities from high above (236 meters to be exact). There are also restaurants and shops at Skylon Tower. 

Casinos at Niagara Falls

There are 2 casinos at Niagara Falls. If you are of gambling age you can visit the Casinos for entertainment and also for food and drinks. The two casinos are Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort. I personally visited Fallsview Casino Resort during this trip to the Niagara Falls. 

Walk around Niagara Falls

If you are on a budget like me and simply want to see Niagara Falls, you can just walk around the falls to the different view points. There are usually a lot of people walking around so it may be a bit crowded. You can get a fantastic view of the falls behind the railing and if you visit at night you can also see all the lights at Niagara Falls.

If you are planning to visit at night, you will also find a lot of nice things to do at Niagara Falls at night.

What’s the Cheapest Way To Niagara Falls?

I was looking for the cheapest way to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto and fortunately I had a friend who is a local in Toronto. She mentioned to me that for locals the cheapest way from Toronto to Niagara Falls is to take a Chinese tour bus to Fallsview Casino from Toronto. 

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto Safeway Tours

The company that operate the bus from Toronto to Fallsview Casino is Safeway Tours, you can find our their bus schedules here. Safeway Tours has several pick up points throughout Toronto to take you to the Fallsview Casino.

Safeway Tours Pick Up Points to Niagara Falls

The closest pick up point to Niagara Falls in downtown Toronto is from Chinatown at 222 Spadina Ave. Other Safeway Tours pick up point from Toronto to Niagara Falls include Gerrard/ Broadway Northwest Corner, Pape Subway (Tim Hortons) and Holiday Inn Midtown (30 Carlton St.) near College Subway Station. 

Safeway Tour bus from Toronto Chinatown departs from 8am to 11:59pm almost every hour although on the weekends it departs earlier (8am on the weekends; 9am on weekdays). 

Even if you are not based in Toronto, the Safeway Tour bus also have pick up points in Brampton, Richmond Hill, Markham, Scarborough, North York, Mississauga, East York, Oakville and Woodbridge. However these pick up points do not have as frequent bus services so you need to time your pick up.

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto

Price of Safeway Tour Bus To Niagara Falls

If you are not member of the Casino (first time visitor), the bus ticket is CAD30 each way (CAD 45 if you sit at the first 5 rows on the bus). If you are already a member of the Casino, the bus ticket is only CAD 10 each way (free of charge for Elite, Premium, Platinum or Gold card holder)! Compare to the $100 tours, this was such a steal.

However you need to make sure you are at least 19 years old with a valid government-issued photo ID, otherwise you may not be allowed on the bus since it is going to a casino. 

How To Book Safeway Tours to Niagara Falls

My friend had called Safeway Tours to reserve 2 seats on the bus and we were picked up at 1pm at Chinatown Center near Downtown Toronto. Since she had a casino card (shown below) and I didn’t, she paid for the bus ticket of CAD 10 and I paid CAD 30.

The Safeway Tour bus itself was really nice, the seats were comfortable and there was free wifi (awesome for tourists). The ride to Niagara Falls from Toronto Chinatown  was about 1.5 hours depending on traffic, and once we got off the bus, the Casino people ushered us off the bus to register at the Casino.

I was slightly reluctant at the beginning but the bus is actually for the casino, not for the Niagara Falls itself so it was not surprising that the casino wanted us to become members. Since registration at the casino was free and fast, I figured I’d just do it so next time I go to Niagara I can take the bus for really cheap.

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto Casino Membership

After finishing registering, you are then free to do whatever you want inside and outside of the casino. You don’t need to gamble if you don’t want to, but you can always get a free (non-alcoholic) drink from the casino floor ๐Ÿ˜‰ There are also a lot of restaurants and coffee shops inside the casino so grab a cup of coffee and some pastries and go to the falls.

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto

The Niagara Falls is literally a 7 minute walk from the Fallsview Casino. In fact you can even see the falls from the back garden of the casino, but we walked to the falls because we wanted a better look.

Even though it was early November, there were still a good amount of people by the time we arrived (~3pm). To my surprise, we saw double rainbows at the falls!

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto

We quickly walked around the area, spent about 30 minutes from one side to the other side while taking tons of photos at Niagara Falls before heading back to Fallsview Casino to grab a free drink.

Once you get off the bus, Safeway Tours have a counter inside the casino where you can ask to change your return trip to an earlier time. Most likely you will have to be on standby for an earlier return, but when we were there on a Saturday we were able to get on a 5pm bus with no problem.

How to visit Niagara Falls for cheap from Toronto

To me the trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls was totally worth it since it was so cheap to see the falls, get some free drinks, and enjoy the view during the ride. So if you are interested in a short and easy trip just to see the Niagara Falls, you should definitely do it.

Things to Know Before You Visit Niagara Falls On a Budget From Toronto

  • Make advanced reservation with the Safeway Tour company, tell them your name, how many people are in your party, and where you would like to be picked up (selected locations) as they get booked up
  • Get there 15 minutes early to guarantee you won’t miss the bus
  • Bring your passport <– important
  • Bring cash as the bus is cash only <– important
  • Check your return ticket time; if you want to get on an earlier bus to come back, talk to the Safeway Tours people at the counter inside the casino immediately after you get off the bus
  • Ready to get a casino membership card
  • Dress warmly, bring cameras, and have a great time! [no_toc]

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Cheapest way to visit Niagara Falls from Toronto
Cheapest way to visit Niagara Falls from Toronto