Niagara Falls rated biggest 'tourist trap' in Canada: 'Everything is a scam'

Thankfully, it doesn't rank in the Top 10 worldwide, despite many Canadians claiming its a 'rundown tourist trap town.'

(left) tourists take a boat to be close to Niagara Falls. (right) tourists walk the Ontario city
While many do love Niagara Falls' natural beauty, others can't seem to get over the tourist trap nature of the Ontario city. (Credit: Getty Images/The Canadian Press)

If you're planning to visit Niagara Falls this summer, you might want to think twice. According to reviews, the city is being deemed the number one biggest "tourist trap" in Canada and one of the biggest in the world.

Casago, a vacation rental company out of the U.S., went on a journey to gather a list of the biggest tourist traps worldwide. These are commonly known as popular or world-famous attractions meant to target tourists with overpriced experiences, gifts and souvenirs.

“We searched for the phrase ‘tourist trap’ on TripAdvisor to find the global attractions with the most mentions of ‘tourist trap’ in accompanying reviews,” noted the Casago report.

The results were then narrowed down to countries and states, leaving us with the Ontario city, Niagara Falls, as the number one tourist trap in the nation.


Although the report rated Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco as the number one biggest tourist trap in the world — with 1,049 mentions in reviews — Niagara Falls did not fall far behind.

With over 475 reviews that included the word ‘tourist trap’ on TripAdvisor, it seems that the general consensus is simple. Even though many praise the natural beauty of Niagara Falls, the city itself is expensive and overcrowded, with tacky surroundings and underwhelming attractions.

A world map highlighting cities that have been deemed a tourist trap
The problem of being a "tourist trap" doesn't only seem to apply to Niagara Falls. (Courtesy: Casago)

One reviewer in particular, complained that “every attraction dumped you into a gift shop,” while another wrote "everything is overpriced ... everything is a scam."

One reviewer compared it to a popular city in the U.S. that was highlighted in Casago's report, saying "it feels like mini Vegas and a total tourist trap."

Travellers are looking to avoid the attraction, some even recommending that you simply attend Niagara Falls only on a day trip in order to avoid spending too much time in a “rundown tourist trap town,” where everything seems to be overpriced, from parking, to restaurants, to its wax museums.

"It is like going back in time to the 1990s. Outdated big chain restraints (My Cousin Vinny’s, Hard Rock, Rainforrest Cafe, etc) that haven’t seen a touch of renovations since then," wrote the TripAdvisor reviewer. "Everywhere we went everything was dirty and worn out."

If you're not a fan of tourist traps, you might want to especially avoid these 10 stops worldwide. (Courtesy: Casago)
If you're not a fan of tourist traps, you might want to especially avoid these 10 stops worldwide. (Courtesy: Casago)

It seems that tourist traps are among the biggest nightmares for travellers, with a notorious reputation for long lines, colossal crowds and bank-breaking gift shops.

Others in the review section did defend the tourist trap nature of the city, saying "those have a place and a demand or they wouldn't be there. We have had no trouble during our visits avoiding those establishments ... you won't either. I certainly wouldn't avoid this beautiful city because of their existence."

While many praised the boat ride that takes you up close to the Falls, another reviewer chimed in saying "the rest of it is a tourist trap, but who doesn’t need a trap once in a while. ... Lots for kids and adults as well."

However, that doesn't seem to be the main consensus, as the Falls' magnificence and beauty doesn’t seem to make up for the "tourist trap" experience.

Tips to avoid falling into a tourist trap

The Casago report also includes some tips to help you avoid tourist traps, even while visiting some of the world's most iconic landmarks. Among them include:

  • Research the quietest times of the year, since prices and tickets may be cheaper for off-peak periods.

  • Avoid crowded areas, those with long lines, and gift shops. The same goes for attractions that are popular on Instagram and have their hashtag (ex: #LondonEye).

  • Try to stay away from restaurants that have employees outside whose main focus is to draw you in. Instead, dine where locals recommend.

  • Find an authentic experience by going off the beaten track, by taking a scenic walk through quieter streets.

  • Looking for a souvenir? Skip the keychain and look for locally made crafts instead.