How do I get to Niagara Falls from Chicago?

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Bob Dylan

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Niagara falls, NYC from Chicago, IL using Amtrak?
Do i have to switch trains?
Yep, in Buffalo!

You might consider riding on to Rochester since there is a Long Layover in Buffalo( the Depew Station isnt a fun place to wait) or even taking an Uber or Lyfy to the Airport and taking a Bus to Niagara Falls if you dont want to waste most of a day ( AM Arrival/ PM Departure from Buffalo Depew)having Lunch, site seeing etc.
 

jebr

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It would require a transfer in Buffalo at Amtrak's Depew station, a few miles outside of downtown. It's often a long layover, but the distance is close enough that you could take an Uber/Lyft semi-reasonably, or even take a public transit bus (I believe one or two transfers is required, depending on your destination.)

Alternatively, if you wanted to do it in a day (without having an overnight on the train) and are okay with going to the Canadian side instead, you could take the first Michigan Services train to Detroit, transfer to Windsor via the streetcar and Tunnel Bus (or taxi,) take VIA from Windsor at 5:45 PM, and then take local transit from VIA to your destination - again, Google Maps would be a good resource in planning this. If you're comfortable with transferring multiple times on your own, that'd be the way I'd go.
 

jiml

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Just to add some detail to what's already good advice, trains to Niagara Falls are headed west, you'll arrive heading east. That will leave you waiting at Depew for quite some time, as has been noted. There is nothing wrong with Depew station - it's in a safe area, etc., but it's boring and not close to food or much of anything else. The closest activity hubs near Depew are the airport and the Walden Galleria mall - each about a 5-minute taxi ride away. Either might be a place to get a meal or just kill some time before returning to catch the first Amtrak NF train of the day.

The "through Canada" option has you arriving into Toronto around 9:30 pm. This leaves only one low-cost way to continue to NF without an overnight in Toronto, and it involves a commuter train with a change to a bus mid-route. You might make the one at 9:43, but the last of the night is at 10:43, arriving around 1 am. A taxi/Uber from Toronto to Niagara Falls will not be cheap.
 
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FrensicPic

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This past October, we took the Lake Shore Limited to Buffalo/Depew (BUF). We rented a car there (Enterprise) and they came and picked us up at the station. We stayed in a hotel in the area and drove up to the falls. No problems while in and out of the station at BUF. When done, Enterprise dropped us off at the hotel and the hotel drove us to the station the next morning. From there, we continued east for a few days in NYC.
(Watch out for the bridge toll ($1) at Grand Island...you go on line to pay it).
 

jiml

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This past October, we took the Lake Shore Limited to Buffalo/Depew (BUF). We rented a car there (Enterprise) and they came and picked us up at the station. We stayed in a hotel in the area and drove up to the falls. No problems while in and out of the station at BUF. When done, Enterprise dropped us off at the hotel and the hotel drove us to the station the next morning. From there, we continued east for a few days in NYC.
(Watch out for the bridge toll ($1) at Grand Island...you go on line to pay it).
More good advice here. Hertz and Enterprise airport locations (5 minutes away) both serve the Depew station. Airport hotels at BUF are very reasonable, even if overrun with Canadians who park and fly there. The bridge toll he's mentioned is a royal pain and can be avoided by using Niagara Falls Blvd. (state route 60 IIRC) from North Buffalo. It's a bit slower, but no toll.
 

FrensicPic

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More good advice here. Hertz and Enterprise airport locations (5 minutes away) both serve the Depew station. Airport hotels at BUF are very reasonable, even if overrun with Canadians who park and fly there. The bridge toll he's mentioned is a royal pain and can be avoided by using Niagara Falls Blvd. (state route 60 IIRC) from North Buffalo. It's a bit slower, but no toll.
I'll point out, the Enterprise AT the airport does NOT provide pickup service. The Enterprise just down the street (3700 Genesee) from the airport does. Can't comment on Hertz but a look online should provide an answer.
 

jiml

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I'll point out, the Enterprise AT the airport does NOT provide pickup service. The Enterprise just down the street (3700 Genesee) from the airport does. Can't comment on Hertz but a look online should provide an answer.
Apologies. I presumed that Enterprise was the airport location. There is an Enterprise number on the wall in the Depew station. The Hertz airport location, which is on Genesee is the only one I've actually dealt with. Bottom line - we're both right.;)
 

dogbert617

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Yep, in Buffalo!

You might consider riding on to Rochester since there is a Long Layover in Buffalo( the Depew Station isnt a fun place to wait) or even taking an Uber or Lyfy to the Airport and taking a Bus to Niagara Falls if you dont want to waste most of a day ( AM Arrival/ PM Departure from Buffalo Depew)having Lunch, site seeing etc.
I'm glad you mentioned the alternate idea of transferring in Rochester, NY(between Lake Shore and Maple Leaf), since I was worried(till seeing your post) noone else would mention that alternate idea if you didn't want to transfer at Buffalo-Depew.
 

amtrakpass

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A while ago I did the Eastbound Lake Shore to Buffalo/Depew and did the Uber/Lyft thing to Niagara. Don't remember the exact price but I I thought it was worth it instead of waiting around. I brought my passport so I walked across the pedestrian bridge to Canada since the downtown over there has more things to do. Leaving I took an Empire Service from Niagara Falls.
 

Seaboard92

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This is what I would do at least westbound.

Leg 1: GO Transit Commuter Train
DP Niagara Falls, ON 5:23 AM
AR Aldershot, ON 6:53 AM

Leg 2: VIA Rail Train No. 71
DP Aldershot 7:25 AM
AR Windsor 11:02 AM

Leg 3: Tunnelbus/Q line from Windsor to Detroit.

Leg 4: Amtrak Wolverine No. 355
DP Detroit 6:18 PM ET
AR Chicago 10:40 PM CT

Much more pleasant than an overnight on the Lake Shore Limited. Especially if you aren’t in a sleeper.
 

chakk

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If you are not in a hurry, you could canoe up the Niagara River to Lake Erie, then across Lake Erie and up the Detroit River, then across Lake Huron and through the Straits of Mackinac to Lake Michigan, then down lake to Chicago.

I'm assuming that it has been done before by indigenous populations.
 

neroden

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If you are not in a hurry, you could canoe up the Niagara River to Lake Erie, then across Lake Erie and up the Detroit River, then across Lake Huron and through the Straits of Mackinac to Lake Michigan, then down lake to Chicago.

I'm assuming that it has been done before by indigenous populations.
You're being silly, but the ship route from Chicago to Niagara can be done and there are cruises
https://greatlakescruising.com/
 

PeterKsfo

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Indeed it is the PM. I am working toward completing travel on all Amtrak routes, and recently did this in the other direction - Buffalo-Niagara’s Falls-Toronto on the Maple Leaf, then Toronto-Windsor via VIA, to the tunnel bus, local transit, and the the PM from Pontiac to Chicago. I did overnight in Both Toronto and Detroit, but was not in a hurry. If the OP is looking for rail experiences, this is a fun trip. Another not yet mentioned is to do the route of the former “International Limited.” This is now the Blue Water from Chicago to Port Huron, and then VIA from Sarnia to Toronto and on to Niagara Falls. This would require an overnight in Port Huron or Sarnia. The train no longer crosses the border between Port Huron and Sarnia, so you must do this by taxi or Uber.

But to be quicker and stay in the US, the suggestions for Lake Shore to BUF or ROC are great. Public transit is available to downtown Buffalo, then either get one of the frequent busses from downtown Buffalo to Niagara Falls or enjoy the city and wait for the Maple Leaf.
 

jiml

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But to be quicker and stay in the US, the suggestions for Lake Shore to BUF or ROC are great. Public transit is available to downtown Buffalo, then either get one of the frequent busses from downtown Buffalo to Niagara Falls or enjoy the city and wait for the Maple Leaf.
If public transit is a need remember that the Lakeshore does not stop in downtown Buffalo and its Buffalo area station is not served by public transit. That makes Rochester's nice new "transportation center" a better alternative for what you suggest.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Indeed it is the PM. I am working toward completing travel on all Amtrak routes, and recently did this in the other direction - Buffalo-Niagara’s Falls-Toronto on the Maple Leaf, then Toronto-Windsor via VIA, to the tunnel bus, local transit, and the the PM from Pontiac to Chicago. I did overnight in Both Toronto and Detroit, but was not in a hurry. If the OP is looking for rail experiences, this is a fun trip. Another not yet mentioned is to do the route of the former “International Limited.” This is now the Blue Water from Chicago to Port Huron, and then VIA from Sarnia to Toronto and on to Niagara Falls. This would require an overnight in Port Huron or Sarnia. The train no longer crosses the border between Port Huron and Sarnia, so you must do this by taxi or Uber.

But to be quicker and stay in the US, the suggestions for Lake Shore to BUF or ROC are great. Public transit is available to downtown Buffalo, then either get one of the frequent busses from downtown Buffalo to Niagara Falls or enjoy the city and wait for the Maple Leaf.
The Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago route is the Wolverine. The PM goes to Grand Rapids.
 

chakk

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Joking a bit about the great lakes and "portage" route....the "original" Pere Marquette.
If the O.P. is still trying to get to Niagara Falls, remember to turn slowly and go step by step, inch by inch.

I'm sure someone will post the relevant video clip from "The Three Stooges".
 
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