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Niagara Falls: New York vs. Canada side

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I hear a lot of people telling other people to go over to the Canadian side. I plan on taking a three day trip to Niagara Falls sometime in the next year or so. And I have done a lot of research on it. 1st common argument:the New York's side Downtown is rundown compared to the modern Canadian side. I am not going to Niagara Falls for the downtown, but for the falls and the attractions. Along as there are decent hotels and restaurants on the NY side it is fine. From what I have heard the Canadian side is a lot more touristy and not as much a natural setting as the New York side. The new york side has Niagara Falls State Park and it sounds like a lot more natural setting. I prefer the more natural setting. Another common argument is that there is nothing to do on the New York side. Well, there is the state park you can walk around, maid of the mist, cave of the winds, there is the Niagara Falls Discovery Center, up the road is the Whirlpool State Park which is free and you can do similar hiking there to the White Water Walk across the river that costs $, the Niagara Power Plant, and further up the road, Old Fort Niagara. The new york side seems to lack the touristy attractions, but seems to have more natural attractions. Sure, I would go over to the Canadian side or possibly stay over there, but they are going to start requiring passports. Unfortunately, I don't have one. I believe they cost $80 and last for 10 years. I don't plan on traveling to any other countries other than this trip anytime soon. I almost always travel around the US. My question is it really necessary to go over to the Canadian side and get a passport for this 3 day trip? Another point I want to address is the views of the falls. People say it is better on the Canadian Side. But, aren't you closer to them on the NY side? Also, I heard Terrapin Point on Goat Island is just as good as the view from Canada for the Horseshoe Falls? Plus, don't you get the more distant view from Maid of the Mist?
Thanks-

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