Prospect Point, Niagara Falls tour from NYC

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls – What to Do + MAP

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Visiting Niagara Falls is something you must do at least once in your life. Since Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother celebrated his honeymoon here more than 200 years ago, the place has been crowded with tourists. Even after all these years, this is one of the most impressive places on earth and something you must see with your own eyes.

If it’s your first time going to Niagara Falls, be aware that the falls are on the Niagara River between Ontario, Canada, and New York state. The American side consists of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, while the Canadian side boasts the 164-foot Horseshoe Falls.

Visiting Niagara Falls

The ultimate guide to visiting Niagara Falls

Besides being beautiful, Niagara Falls also has an interesting history, as it was the first state park in the United States. In 1895, the world’s first large hydroelectric power station opened here, and just a year later the famous engineer Nikola Tesla unveiled his direct current (DC) system, changing the way Buffalo, NY lit up at night.

If you are thinking of traveling here, this article will include information about what to do in Niagara Falls so you can make the most of your visit.

How to visit Niagara Falls – Plan your Niagara Falls vacation

First, you should know that you can visit Niagara Falls from the United States or Canada. We visited them from both sides, and if you have time, I highly recommend doing it this way.

On the American side of Niagara Falls, you can enjoy beautiful natural areas, while the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has the best views of the most famous waterfall in North America.

If you don’t have time, don’t worry, because there are awesome attractions on each side that you can add to your Niagara Falls itinerary.

In this Niagara Falls guide you’ll find:

Moreover, at the end of the article, you will find the most frequently asked questions related to a Niagara Falls vacation.

Where is Niagara Falls?

If you’re not sure where Niagara Falls is located, it’s within the course of the Niagara River, specifically between the province of Ontario, Canada, and New York State. From the United States, the closest city to Niagara Falls is Buffalo, NY, about 20 miles away. To go to Niagara Falls from New York City, you will have to travel about 400 miles, which is about a 7-hour drive. But it’s completely worth it since it’s one of the best things to do in New York State.

Most people who take a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada do so from Toronto, which is a little over 90 miles away. That said, the cities of Hamilton and Mississauga are a bit closer, so they’re two other options.

Which side of Niagara Falls is better? – American side vs. Canadian side

If you’re short on time and can only visit one side of the falls, don’t worry. There are plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls on both the American and Canadian sides.

There is a huge push for tourism in Niagara Falls, so below I’m including the highlights for each side. If you can, I recommend booking this full-day tour, which goes to the most popular attractions in Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario. Just remember to bring your passport and/or visa to cross the border.

Niagara Falls Canadian side

If you’re interested in sightseeing, a Niagara Falls tour of the Canadian side is your best choice. Not only are most of the tourist attractions there, but the views of the falls are better.

Niagara Falls itinerary

Niagara Falls Canadian side

There are many unique things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada, which is why many tourists say it resembles an amusement park. The mix of entertainment venues and leisurely outdoor spaces is a hit with visitors.

In Ontario, you can stand directly in front of the falls, and there are several hotels and casinos nearby. While these large accommodations are a bit imposing on the natural environment, the waterfalls provide a great backdrop while you’re staying overnight.

Niagara Falls U.S. side

For those who want more outdoor recreation and nature activities, a trip to Niagara Falls, USA won’t disappoint.

Tourism in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls U.S. side

While the views of the falls aren’t as spectacular on the American side, there are still plenty of things to do around this beautiful natural environment.

For example, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country, so it’s worth visiting. I’ll share more Niagara Falls tips later, but keep in mind that the New York side offers more opportunities to connect with nature and get some fresh air away from the crowds.

Niagara Falls map – your best guide for visiting Niagara Falls

To help you plan your trip to Niagara Falls, you’ll want a map of the attractions on each side. This map of Niagara Falls will help you quickly locate the most popular activities and landmarks in Ontario and New York.

Travelling to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls map – Your best guide for visiting Niagara Falls

As you can see on the map, if you’re visiting Niagara Falls for entertainment and tourist attractions, the Canadian side is best, while the U.S. side is much more natural.

Things to do and places to visit in Niagara Falls

If you’re still not sure where to go in Niagara Falls, check out these main attractions in Canada and the United States.

Things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada

We also have more Niagara Falls tips in our guide to visiting Niagara Falls, Canada. To make the most of our trip, we booked this tour, which includes a heli-tour, Voyage to the Falls boat ride, a meal at Skylon Tower, and a few other activities. It was the best way to see the falls as a first-time visitor, so I highly recommend it.

Voyage to the Falls, the official Niagara Falls boat tour on the Canadian side

A Niagara Falls boat tour is one of the best ways to see the majesty of the falls. If you’re on the Canadian side, Voyage to the Falls is the best attraction, and you can get your ticket here.

Voyage to the Falls, visit Niagara Falls

Voyage to the Falls, the official Niagara Falls boat tour on the Canadian side

This tour gets you as close to the Horseshoe Falls as possible, giving you a one-of-a-kind view of the rushing waters. The boat goes through the Niagara Gorge and passes the American and Bridal Veil Falls before inching closer to the Horseshoe Falls.

The ride will leave you speechless, and you can either stay inside the cabin or put on a poncho and go out to the deck. If you’re interested in Voyage to the Falls and other attractions on the Canadian side, I recommend booking the full-day tour I mentioned earlier.

Journey Behind the Falls, the best way to get close to Niagara Falls

Journey Behind the Falls is one of the top Niagara Falls tourist attractions. As the name suggests, it takes you just behind the Horseshoe Falls, offering one of the best ways to see Niagara Falls up close.

Journey Behind the Falls, visit to Niagara Falls, Canada

Journey Behind the Falls, the best way to get close to Niagara Falls

You’ll enter at the Table Rock Center next to the falls, then take an elevator 130 feet down to the underground tunnels. This is one of the most striking experiences that you can’t replicate anywhere else, so be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Have dinner at the Skylon Tower, the best thing to do at Niagara Falls

While you’re on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, be sure to visit Skylon Tower.

This Niagara Falls observation tower is nearly 520 feet tall, so it offers the best panoramic perspective of the waterfalls. Even the elevators, locally known as “Yellow bugs,” are fully paned in glass so you get stellar views.

Skylon Tower, what to do in Niagara Falls

Have dinner at the Skylon Tower, the best thing to do at Niagara Falls

If you are going to visit the Skylon tower you have two options: reserve your ticket to the 360° viewpoint, or dine at the Tower’s Revolving Dining Room or Summit Suite Buffet. Both restaurants have a great menu; we ate at the buffet and would go again, for sure.

We had dinner as part of this combo tour, which also included the Hornblower cruise, Journey Behind the Falls, and a helicopter ride.

Zipline to the Falls, a fun thing to do at Niagara Falls

Soaring over the water on a zipline is one of the top things to do at Niagara Falls, and an experience you won’t ever forget.

Zipline To The Falls, Niagara Falls zipline

Zipline to the Falls, a fun thing to do at Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls zipline travels almost 2,200 feet across the Niagara Gorge to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. While it can seem terrifying and not the best for people who suffer from vertigo, it’s completely safe and even has an automatic braking system.

You can take photos from the observation platform and even fly down the zipline at the same time as your friends. Just be sure to book in advance so you’re sure you can experience this activity when you visit!

Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour, the best way to visit Niagara Falls

For another aerial perspective, consider a Niagara Falls helicopter tourThis 12-minute flight soars over the Niagara Whirlpool and the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the Canadian and American sides. You’ll also be able to see Queen Victoria Park, Skylon Tower, and all of Toronto from a birds-eye view.

Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour, travel tips Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour, the best way to visit Niagara Falls

A helicopter ride is one of the top activities that I recommend, and you can also embark on this adventure from the American side. Personally, we went with the combo tour that also included a boat ride and dinner at Skylon Tower.

Enjoy the views from the Niagara SkyWheel

A trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario is not complete without a ride on the SkyWheel. At nearly 165 feet tall, it’s the largest observation wheel in Canada. It’s in the nearby entertainment district of Clifton Hill and boasts amazing views of the falls and beyond.

SkyWheel, traveling to Niagara Falls

Enjoy the views from the Niagara SkyWheel

A ride on the Skywheel lasts about 10 minutes, and the cabins are fully enclosed and climate-controlled, so you can ride comfortably all year round. If you’re wondering where to view Niagara Falls at night, the Skywheel is the top choice.

It’s also a popular place to see the famous Niagara Falls fireworks, so I recommend booking a ticket in advance, especially if you want to ride at a specific date or time.

Things to do in Niagara Falls, NY

If you want to visit Niagara Falls, NY, there are a few points of interest you shouldn’t miss. During our trip, we opted for this tour because it included all the iconic spots in just a few hours. We also have a guide to visiting Niagara Falls, USA that you can check out.

Terrapin Point at Goat Island, the best place to see the Horseshoe Falls

One of my top Niagara Falls tips is to get off the beaten path and check out Terrapin Point Lookout on Goat Island. Since the lookout is on the western end of the island, you’ll get awesome views of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and Niagara Gorge.

Terrapin Point at Goat Island, Niagara Falls US side

Terrapin Point at Goat Island, the best place to see the Horseshoe Falls

Goat Island is on the Niagara River, so you have to cross a bridge to get there. While you’re there, spend some time on the walking trails or check out the Cave of the Winds, another popular place for tourism in Niagara Falls, which I’ll mention later.

Maid of the Mist, the official Niagara Falls boat tour on the American side

One of the best ways to experience Niagara Falls, USA is by taking a boat tour. The American tour is called the Maid of the Mist boat ride and is one of the most popular attractions on this side of the falls.

Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls how to visit

Maid of the Mist, the official Niagara Falls boat tour on the American side

You’ll travel along the Niagara Gorge and make your way out into the Canadian waters briefly to get a spectacular view of the waterfalls before returning to the Niagara Falls U.S. side.

The boats depart every 15 minutes, and the trip takes about 20 minutes. I suggest reserving a spot in advance or booking this tour, which also includes access to the Cave of the Winds.

Cave of the Winds, the best thing to do on Niagara Falls’ U.S. side

The Cave of the Winds is another popular Niagara Falls U.S. attraction. It’s a series of platforms that lead to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls, behind which you can see a natural cave that was discovered in the 1830s.

Cave of the Winds, travel tips for Niagara Falls

Cave of the Winds, the best thing to do on Niagara Falls’ U.S. side

As you traverse the wooden bridges and stairs, you’ll make your way across the Niagara Gorge. Wear shoes with good traction and keep your poncho handy because you will get wet. The conditions as you approach the falls are similar to those of a hurricane, and the observation platform is aptly named Hurricane Deck.

Before descending 165 feet to the wet and windy platforms, you can explore The World Changed Here Pavilion, a multimedia exhibition that explains the history of Niagara Falls. We enjoyed this attraction and did it as part of this half-day tour.

American Falls, one of the best places to visit in Niagara Falls

While the Horseshoe Falls in Canada are the most famous, the Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls are also very beautiful.

American Falls, things to do in Niagara Falls

American Falls, one of the best places to visit in Niagara Falls

The American Falls are nearly 100 feet tall and are quite an impressive sight from the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. The best place to see them is from the Prospect Point viewing area. You should also check out the view from Luna Island since it’s between the American and Bridal Veil Falls. The island isn’t that big or crowded, so it’s a unique place to see the U.S. waterfalls.

Old Fort Niagara, a must-see on Niagara Falls’ U.S. side

Old Fort Niagara is another interesting place to visit on the U.S. side. It’s located in Youngstown, where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. It’s about a 20-minute drive to get there, or you could book this tour, which includes an optional Maid of the Mist ride.

Old Fort Niagara, visiting Niagara Fall

Old Fort Niagara, a must-see on Niagara Falls’ U.S. side

The fort is a colonial fortification built by the French Empire in 1726. Along with the historic building, there is also a visitor center that functions as a museum. Everything is contained within Fort Niagara State Park, which supports tourism in Niagara Falls. If you’re looking for some more natural sightseeing, this area is great, as there are several nearby hiking trails.

The best time to visit Niagara Falls

You might be wondering when the best time is to go to Niagara Falls, but the truth is that this place is beautiful any time of the year. Depending on what you want to do and which attractions you want to see, one season may be better than another.

For example, all the tourist attractions are open in the summer, but it’s also the most crowded time to visit and it can get pretty hot. You’ll have to book your accommodation and tour tickets months in advance, and even then, it’ll be quite expensive.

Information on Niagara Falls

The best time to visit Niagara Falls

If you decide to visit in the spring, you’ll be able to see some of the tourist attractions as well as get a cheaper price for a hotel. While it’s less crowded this time of year, the weather is unpredictable. We visited in May and were lucky, but you never know.

Fall is the best time to go to Niagara Falls if you’re more interested in the natural surroundings. The autumn colors and foliage are gorgeous, the weather is nice, and there aren’t many tourists.

Finally, you might not think that a winter trip to Niagara Falls is a good idea since most of the attractions are closed. However, when it’s cold and the falls freeze over, it makes for one of the most extraordinary sights, and it’s something we hope to see for ourselves soon!

How to get to Niagara Falls – parking at Niagara Falls

If you’re not sure how to visit Niagara Falls, the easiest way is by car. Most people who travel to Niagara Falls in Canada arrive from Toronto, which is about 90 miles away. That said, the cities of Hamilton and Mississauga are closer, so those are two other options.

If you’re wondering how far Niagara Falls is from New York City, it’s about a 7-hour drive. Those who visit the American side usually come from Buffalo, which is just 20 miles away from the falls. That isn’t to say that you can’t take advantage of a trip to NYC by also visiting Niagara Falls. Just be aware that it’s a very long drive and it may be better to book a tour. We’ll list some options below.

You can get a rental car for your trip or go in your own vehicle, but you’ll run into the problem that parking isn’t free at Niagara Falls. On both the American and Canadian sides, you must pay for parking, unless your accommodation has a free parking lot. Considering this, it might be easier to book a tour that includes transportation or hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Tours to Niagara Falls

If you don’t have your own car or don’t feel like driving, you can get to Niagara Falls from Toronto, New York, and Buffalo by booking a tour that includes transportation. Here are the best options:

There are two Niagara Falls tours from Toronto that I recommend.

If you want to go straight to the falls, I recommend this tour, which goes to the most iconic attractions like Skylon Tower, Niagara Parkway, and the Niagara Whirlpool. Along with incredible views of the falls, you’ll also get a wine tasting.

Another option is this night tour with a boat cruise. In addition to seeing the falls up close, you’ll experience Niagara Falls’ magical evening lighting. The tour also includes a few tourist attractions and a wine tasting, so it’s the perfect choice if you don’t mind returning to Toronto after dark.

There are several great Niagara Falls tours from New York City, depending on how much time you have.

My first choice is this one-day bus tour with admission to the Maid of the Mist and a few other attractions.

For those who have more time, I recommend this two-day tour. Along with a ride on the Maid of the Mist and other interesting attractions, on your way to Niagara Falls you will stop at Watkins Glen State Park. This package also includes a nighttime viewing of the falls and an overnight stay at a hotel.

Finally, you might be interested in this three-day tour, which includes a visit to Niagara Falls and several Toronto attractions.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a bus to Niagara Falls from Buffalo, NY, this is the best option. Unlike the tours from Toronto and NYC, this booking is for transportation only, so you’re free to visit the falls and attractions that interest you.

Best Niagara Falls hotels

I suggest spending at least one night in Niagara Falls so you can enjoy the beautiful lighting and fireworks. Seeing the falls in the evening is a totally different experience that you shouldn’t miss. If you’re looking for hotels in Niagara Falls, here are the top recommendations.

Hotels in Canada at Niagara Falls

We stayed overnight at a Niagara Falls hotel in Canada, the Sheraton on the Falls, and the views from our hotel room were incredible. As this is one of the top accommodations in Niagara Falls, I suggest booking your room in advance.

Here’s more information on the Sheraton and other top hotels on Niagara Falls’ Canadian side:

I have to start with the Sheraton on the Falls because it really blew us away. The rooms are great and some of them offer spectacular views of the waterfalls. While these particular rooms are a bit more expensive, it was worth it to us to get stunning views from the comfort of our bed.

Sheraton on the Falls, hotels in Niagara Falls, Canada

Sheraton on the Falls, one of the best hotels in Niagara Falls, Canada

Also, the hotel is home to the Fallsview Restaurant, which serves buffet and a la carte meals. The accommodation’s facilities also include shops, a spa, and a Starbucks. Plus, the hotel connects to the Niagara Casino and Fallsview Indoor Water Park, so on top of a great location, you’ll have all the amenities you want.

We loved staying here and think it’s one of the most beautiful hotels on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

If you’re looking for luxury, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview is a perfect choice. The accommodation is just 300 feet from the falls, so it offers a convenient location and unbeatable views.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview, where to stay in Niagara Falls, Canada

Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview, another hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada

The hotel also boasts awesome amenities like a breakfast buffet and complimentary drinks and snacks. Besides the hotel rooms, the facilities include a couple of restaurants (TGI Fridays and Keg Steakhouse), a Starbucks, an indoor pool, and a gym.

From the hotel, it’s just a 10-minute walk to the Skylon Observation Tower, so this is one of the best places to stay if you want to be close to the action.

The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls is aptly named, as it provides wonderful views of the Canadian falls. The hotel has an observation room where you can enjoy incredible views without the crowds.

The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls, where to stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario

The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls, a hotel overlooking Niagara Falls, Canada

It’s next to the Falls Incline Railway, which connects to Table Rock and Journey Behind the Falls. Along with its nice location, this accommodation has rooms with waterfall views, although they cost a bit more.

That said, if you stay here, you can take advantage of some great amenities, such as a living room with a fireplace, an indoor pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and a fitness center. There is also an Applebee’s on the premises.

The Tower Hotel at Fallsview is another beautiful accommodation in Niagara Falls, Canada. Along with comfortable rooms, the hotel also has a decent restaurant, so it’s quite a bargain for the price.

Tower Hotel at Fallsview, where to stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Tower Hotel at Fallsview, fine lodging in Niagara Falls, Ontario

If you’re not sure where to go in Niagara Falls, Ontario for more quiet lodging, this hotel is the best choice. You’ll get the rest you want, and you won’t have to pay too much.

The Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites is another top hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada, that I recommend. It’s centrally located so you’ll have easy access to the area’s attractions and restaurants. Some of the rooms have views of the falls, too.

Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites, the best hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites, another good hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada

This hotel also connects to the Fallsview Casino, so it’s a great place to stay if you plan on visiting the casino in the evening.

Hotels in Niagara Falls, NY

We also stayed at a Niagara Falls hotel in New York. which was nice because we arrived at night. We spent a restful night in our hotel room and got up early in the morning so we could go straight to the attractions.

Our room was at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, and although the views weren’t as impressive as the Canadian hotel, if you ask for a room on a high floor, you’ll get beautiful views of the falls. You can even see the Niagara Falls fireworks without leaving your room.

Here’s more information about the Seneca resort and other top hotels on Niagara Falls’ American side:

The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is one of the best hotels to stay in while visiting New York’s Niagara Falls. The resort includes a casino, fitness center, sauna, massage services, a hot tub, an indoor pool, a cafeteria, and several restaurants. Our room was beautiful and immaculate. It’s all-around one of the best hotels on the American side of Niagara Falls.

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Niagara NY attractions

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, one of the best hotels in Niagara Falls, NY

Best of all, it only took us 20 minutes to walk to Terrapin Point, one of the top places to visit near Niagara Falls, USA. If you stay at this hotel, I suggest requesting a room on an upper floor. While you can’t see the falls directly from the hotel, you’ll get beautiful views. Plus, you can see the nighttime fireworks from your room, which is convenient if you don’t feel like going out!

If you’re looking for another good hotel to stay at in Niagara Falls, USA, the Hyatt Place Niagara Falls is a great option.

This accommodation is located a little closer to Niagara Falls on the U.S. side, which is very convenient. Also, it is next to Old Falls Street, a small entertainment district where you’ll find great good, shopping, shows, and family activities. If you’re not sure what to do in Niagara Falls, New York, you can always go there.

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls, what to do Niagara Falls USA

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls, a good hotel in Niagara Falls, USA

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls is also close to the Rainbow Bridge, which you can take to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

While the prices are similar, this hotel isn’t as nice as the Seneca Resort, but it’s still a good option if you need a place to stay overnight.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls New York is another accommodation that I recommend on the American side of Niagara Falls. While it’s a bit further away than the previous two hotels, the location is still very good.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls, tourist attractions in Niagara Falls USA

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls New York, another hotel in Niagara, New York

The rooms come with nice amenities and they’re very spacious. Some of the rooms offer lovely views of the Niagara River, while others overlook the city. I suggest requesting a riverside room, as it’s a more pleasant view.

Overall, this is a hotel in Niagara Falls, USA, that you can book without hesitation. It’s comfortable, affordable, and clean.

The Sheraton Niagara Falls is one of the hotels in Niagara Falls, New York, that I recommend if you want to be close to the falls without breaking the bank. While it’s not the cheapest option, the price is quite good for the location.

Also, the hotel has a connective corridor to the Seneca Resort, so it’s super easy to go to the casino and enjoy some of the facilities.

Sheraton Niagara Falls, places to see in Niagara Falls USA

Sheraton Niagara Falls, a place to stay in Niagara Falls, USA

The unique thing about the Sheraton hotel is its Reed Beach Club, which has the largest indoor pool in Niagara Falls. So, not only is this a good place to get some rest, but it’s got plenty of amenities to keep you entertained during your stay.

The last hotel that I recommend is the Wyndham Garden at Niagara Falls, which is a great option for travelers on a budget.

Wyndham Garden at Niagara Falls, what to do Niagara Falls USA

Wyndham Garden at Niagara Falls, decent lodging in Niagara Falls, NY

For an inexpensive hotel in Niagara Falls, USA, the location isn’t bad at all. Plus, it’s the best choice if you’re planning on walking over to the Canadian side of the falls since it’s just five minutes from the bridge.

8 Tips to visit Niagara Falls

If you’ve read this far, you should have all the information you need for a trip to Niagara Falls. Still, I’m including some final tips here so you can make the most of your visit.

1. Plan to visit both sides of Niagara Falls

Instead of wondering which side of Niagara Falls is better, plan to visit both the American and Canadian falls.

Travel tips Niagara Falls

1. Plan to visit both sides of Niagara Falls

The easiest way to see both sides is by crossing the Rainbow Bridge. That said, you’re still crossing an international border, so you need the proper documentation, such as a passport,  visa or Electronic System for Travel Authorization. You can check below what type of documentation you need.

If you’re renting a car, check first to see if they allow you to enter another country with the rental vehicle.

2. Book at least two days to visit Niagara Falls

Both sides of the falls are interesting and worth visiting, so make sure you book plenty of time. At least, I recommend spending two days visiting Niagara Falls, and that should give you time to check the most important attractions.

3. Stay in a hotel with a view of Niagara Falls

While there are different Niagara Falls hotels on the Canadian and American sides, I highly recommend booking a room with a view of the falls. Fortunately, several hotels offer waterfall views, so try to reserve one on a higher floor.

Niagara falls hotels

3. Stay in a hotel with a view of Niagara Falls

On the Canadian side, the hotels with the best views are the Sheraton on the FallsEmbassy SuitesThe Oakes Hotel Overlooking the FallsTower Hotel at Fallsview, and Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites.

If your Niagara Falls itinerary includes an overnight stay on the American side, I recommend the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. Just be sure to reserve a room on a higher floor so you can fully see the falls.

4. Leave everything that can’t get wet in the car/hotel

There are some areas where it’s impossible not to get wet by the Niagara waterfalls, even if you wear a poncho. That said, don’t let a bit of splash and spray deter you from getting an impressive view of the falls.

One of the best travel tips for Niagara Falls is to leave behind anything that could be damaged by water. Either keep it in the car or your hotel room or seal it in a waterproof bag if you’re keeping it on you.

5. Take the helicopter tour of Niagara Falls

helicopter tour of Niagara Falls, NY is an unforgettable experience and the best way to get a good look at the falls. I recommend this tour from the American side. While it’s only a 10-minute flight, every second is mesmerizing and you can get a sense of the falls’ magnitude.

If you’re on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, I suggest booking this tour. The 12-minute flight soars over the Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil Falls, and the helicopter is one of the quietest of its kind.

6. Arrive early to find a good spot to watch the Fireworks

The Niagara Falls fireworks are one of the most popular things to see on summer evenings. The show starts every night at 10 pm, although you’ll want to find a spot 30-40 minutes beforehand. If you’re not sure where to view Niagara Falls at night, I suggest the Skywheel (at the Canada side) or Prospect Point (at the American side).

Where to view Niagara Falls at night

6. Arrive early to find a good spot to watch the Fireworks

7. Treat yourself to a Niagara Falls buffet dinner

Most Canada Niagara Falls itineraries include a visit to Skylon Tower. Besides being a wonderful viewpoint overlooking the falls, the Tower has two excellent restaurants: the Revolving Dining Room and the Summit Suite Buffet.

Ehere to eat in Niagara Falls

7. Treat yourself to a Niagara Falls buffet dinner

We ate dinner at the buffet, and we would definitely eat there again. It’s one of the top things to do at Niagara Falls, so be sure to book a ticket to the Tower in advance. Or do what we did and take this lunch tour with a helicopter flight and boat cruise.

The Top of the Falls Restaurant is another place where you can eat while enjoying incredible views of the falls. This one is on Goat Island, on the American side.

8. Come back to Niagara Falls in winter

As I mentioned, the best time to go to Niagara Falls depends on what you want to do and see here. While the summertime is popular with most tourists, there is something special about visiting in the winter.

There are way fewer tourists, the prices are lower, and the atmosphere is calmer and more peaceful. That said, I don’t recommend a winter trip for your first time in Niagara Falls since most of the attractions are closed.

Is Niagara Falls worth visiting?

If you’re still wondering if a visit to Niagara Falls is worth it, I would say, without hesitation, yes!

While the best time to visit Niagara Falls, NY is in the summer, this is also when it’s the most crowded. If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, budget enough money and days so you can get to everything.

Despite all the planning and calculating involved, this is a place that you must see at least once in your life.

FAQs about visiting Niagara Falls

While our guide to Niagara Falls includes everything you need to know, check these frequently asked questions if you have any other concerns.

The name ‘Niagara Falls’ originates from the Iroquois language of the indigenous peoples of North America. Niagara means “thunder of water” and refers to the thunderous sound that falling water makes.

Niagara Falls is between Canada and the United States in North America, specifically within the course of the Niagara River.

There are actually three waterfalls at Niagara Falls: the Horseshoe Falls (164 feet), the American Falls (99 feet), and the Bridal Veil Falls (79 feet).

Niagara Falls’ water comes from four of the five great lakes: Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior.

No, unless the course of the river changes, Niagara Falls will not run out of water.

Niagara Falls dried up in 1969 when the United States Corps of Engineers diverted the river that flows into the falls.

It is very difficult for Niagara Falls to freeze completely, although the temperatures have dropped low enough four times for this to happen. During the winter months, you can see blocks of ice and snow on the falls.

If you want to enjoy Niagara Falls at night, two of the best places are Queen Victoria Park in Canada and Goat Island in the United States.

Now you have all the information you need to start planning your trip to Niagara Falls. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, and I will try to help you as quickly as possible. Remember that we also have a specific guide to Niagara Falls in Canada and another about Niagara Falls, New York.

I know that you’ll enjoy your visit to Niagara Falls; just don’t forget your raincoat! Safe travels!

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Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.

10 replies on “The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls – What to Do + MAP

  1. Stacey Vuichard says:

    Is it more cost effective to book tours or do the activities on your own? We like to move at our own pace and not sure a tour itinerary is worth it.

    • Ascen Aynat says:

      Hi Stacey,

      Good question. It depends on what you want to see. Visiting the attractions on your own is generally cheaper, but there are many tours and excursions that offer discounted rates and additional benefits like guides, snacks, etc. Hope that helps!


  2. Ricky Pitts says:

    Greetings! I’m planning to go to Niagara Falls this summer. How can I obtain a free travel guide? Please let me know. Thanks. God bless! 🙂

  3. Eileen says:

    What’ is like in May to visit & west are Covid restrictions if any? Are booster shots & vaccines mandatory? What’s the closest airport to the Canada side Marriott or Hilton at the falls?

    • Ascen says:

      Hi Eileen,
      May is a wonderful time to visit! The weather won’t be as hot and there should be fewer crowds. Niagara Falls is following current COVID restrictions, but proof of vaccination isn’t mandatory. The closest airport is the Niagara Falls International Airport.

  4. Donna says:

    Is everything still open like the first week in September? Or should we plan for an August trip? This will be our first trip to Niagara Falls.

    • Ascen says:

      Hi Donna,

      Yes, everything will be open the first week of September. Enjoy your visit to Niagara Falls. You’re going to love it for sure!


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