Other than the wax museums, the Canadian side does have one thing going for it: the better view. Rainbows are a constant, and at night giant lights turn the Falls all sorts of colors. I was happy to see that the leaf-themed cast-iron guardrails are still there--I remembered them from the Marilyn Monroe movie, and they're one of the few remnants from the city's golden age. That and the heart-shaped tub: As we fought our way back to the motel through the throngs, it became more enticing with every step.
Chalet Inn & Suites 5577 Ellen Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 866/287-1110, chalet-inn.com, from $49
Montana's Cookhouse 5657 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 905/356-7427
Twist o' the Mist 18 Niagara St., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 716/285-0702
Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls State Park, 716/284-8897, maidofthemist.com, 30-minute tour $11.50
Louis Tussaud's Waxworks 5907 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont., 905/374-6601, $11
We can pretty much guarantee that at least one of these beautiful, inviting cities is just a drive away. America's surprising state capitals are a truly varied bunch of burghs, but they have a few awesome things in common, including great cuisine, art, history, and four seasons of outdoor activities.