Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls
Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls
Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

Mention Niagara Falls and most people imagine torrents of water thundering down massive cliffs, creating a misty roar and spectacular sights.

Dive into the comprehensive Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls, where you’ll unravel the allure of this majestic wonder – one of the world’s largest, most powerful, and most famous waterfalls – that draws in millions of visitors each year.

But there is so much more to Niagara Falls than just scenic vistas. From its location straddling the Canadian and United States border to the lively tourist scene, there is an incredible diversity of experiences waiting at Niagara Falls.

This complete guide covers everything you need to know to plan the perfect Niagara Falls trip. You’ll learn insider tips on when to visit, best vantage points, top attractions and activities, accommodations, dining, border crossings, and more.

Embark on a journey of wonder and discovery with the comprehensive “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls,” your passport to unlocking the secrets of this iconic natural wonder.

Get ready to have an unforgettable time at one of the greatest natural wonders of the world!

Where Exactly Are Niagara Falls Located?

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls
Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

In your journey through the detailed Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls, you’ll not only uncover the spectacular beauty of this natural wonder but also find answers to essential questions like “Where Exactly Are Niagara Falls Located?”

Niagara Falls are situated along the Niagara River, which connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The river also forms the international border between the United States and Canada.

The Falls themselves are located between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, New York in the United States and Niagara Falls, Ontario in Canada. They are approximately 20 miles northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles south of Toronto, Ontario.

Within the pages of the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls,” you’ll find a treasure trove of insights, tips, and must-see attractions that ensure your visit is nothing short of extraordinary.

Niagara Falls is comprised of three separate waterfalls:

  • Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side – The largest and most impressive at 2,600 feet wide with a vertical drop of 167 feet. Approximately 90% of the water from the Niagara River flows over Horseshoe Falls.
  • American Falls on the American side – 1,060 feet wide and 176 feet tall.
  • Bridal Veil Falls also on the American side – The smallest at 56 feet wide and 78 feet tall.

The three waterfalls are separated by two islands. Goat Island separates the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Meanwhile, Luna Island divides the American Falls into two distinct sections.

On the American side, Niagara Falls State Park was the first state park established in the United States. Navigating the immersive Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls will lead you to discover not only the park’s numerous scenic overlooks and vantage points but also the breathtaking vistas that define this natural wonder.

On the Canadian side, Queen Victoria Park surrounds the Horseshoe Falls, named because Queen Victoria visited and gave her name to the park in 1860.

The lively tourist areas of the cities of Niagara Falls also provide prime viewing spots. The Rainbow Bridge connects the two cities and countries across the Niagara River.

Navigate the mesmerizing “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls” to unveil the hidden gems and captivating narratives that make this destination a true marvel of nature.

No matter which side you view them from, the thundering power and beauty of Niagara Falls will leave you awestruck!

When is the Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls?

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

Unlock the secrets of a memorable journey through the insightful Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls, where you’ll find valuable insights on timing, including the ever-pressing question, “When is the Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls?”

Niagara Falls can be visited any time of year, but some times are better than others based on your preferences. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of each season:

Summer (June through August)


  • Warm weather is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities and taking boat tours
  • All attractions are open with full hours
  • The cities are lively with things to do


  • Peak tourist season means very large crowds everywhere
  • Hotels and activities book up far in advance

Spring (March through May)


  • Mild weather as temperatures start to warm
  • Far fewer tourists than the summer
  • Lower hotel rates


  • Still a chance of snow in early spring
  • Some attractions may have shorter hours

Fall (September through November)


  • Pleasant weather, usually still warm through at least October
  • Prime time for leaf peeping to see autumn foliage
  • Thinning crowds after Labor Day


  • Attractions started to reduce their hours after November 1st
  • The chance of rain and cold increases later in the season

Winter (December through February)


  • The lowest hotel rates and smallest crowds of the year
  • Winter Festival on weekends with activities like ice wine tastings
  • Ice formations along the river and falls surfaces


  • Very cold weather, with temperatures frequently below freezing
  • Many attractions are closed or only open weekends

No matter when you decide to visit, the incredible power and beauty of Niagara Falls will be on full display! If large crowds are a concern, aim for spring or fall. For the warmest weather, plan a summer trip.

Embark on an all-encompassing adventure through the illuminating Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls, where you’ll unveil essential tips for planning your visit, including the captivating suggestion, “And for a magical icy wonderland, come during the winter.”

What Are the Best Vantage Points of Niagara Falls?

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

Delve into the comprehensive insights of the Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls, where you’ll uncover a wealth of information, including valuable details about the best vantage points to admire this natural marvel, answering the question, “What Are the Best Vantage Points of Niagara Falls?”

From uncovering the best vantage points to delving into the history and allure of the falls, the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls” is your companion for a memorable and insightful adventure.

With so many places to view the Falls from both sides, it can be hard to know the best spots. Here are some of the top vantage points and overlooks not to miss:

Canadian Side

  • Table Rock – Located in Queen Victoria Park, you can access platforms extremely close to the brink of Horseshoe Falls. Feel the unrelenting spray as tons of water crash right in front of you.
  • Journey Behind the Falls – Descend 150 feet by elevator through bedrock to tunnels carved behind Horseshoe Falls. Unique perspectives look out through portals directly behind and adjacent to the thundering Falls.
  • Skylon Tower – Rising 775 feet into the sky, this observation tower offers unparalleled aerial views. Indoor and outdoor observation decks provide panoramic vistas both day and night.
  • Niagara SkyWheel – Take a ride on this giant Ferris wheel to rise up above Clifton Hill for scenic views.

American Side

  • Cave of the Winds – A series of wooden walkways and decks bring you astonishingly close to the Bridal Veil Falls. Feel the unrelenting power of the cascading waters.
  • Prospect Point Observation Tower – Located in Niagara Falls State Park, ride this tower 200 feet up for incredible views. The Observation Deck provides outdoor views year-round.
  • Niagara Falls State Park – Overlooks throughout the oldest state park in the U.S. showcase postcard-perfect scenes. Don’t miss spots like Inspiration Point and Luna Island.
  • Niagara Crossing Event Center – Zip line across the gorge for thrilling views downriver from the Falls. Seasonal attraction.

Top Niagara Falls Attractions and Activities

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

In addition to marveling at the views, Niagara Falls offers a bounty of things to do:

Boat Tours

  • Maid of the Mist Boat Tour – The most famous tour brings you right to the base of Horseshoe Falls on a thrilling boat ride. Offered seasonally due to winter ice.
  • Journey Behind the Falls Boat Tour – Another seasonal boat tour that brings you through the Great Gorge Rapids upriver from the Falls.
  • Hornblower Niagara Cruises – The Canadian side’s boat tour takes you to the tumultuous base of the Horseshoe Falls.

Interactive Experiences

  • Journey Behind the Falls– Descend 150 feet down by elevator to access tunnels behind the Horseshoe Falls.
  • Cave of the Winds – Don a poncho and sandals to walk on platforms very near the crashing Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Zip line over the gorge – Seasonal zip line rides across and along the Niagara River during the summer.

Aerial Views

  • Skylon Tower – Dine in the rotating restaurant or head to indoor/outdoor observation decks for unmatched aerial views.
  • Prospect Point Observation Tower – Ride this 200-foot tower up at Niagara Falls State Park for incredible vistas.
  • Niagara Skywheel – Towering 175 feet over Clifton Hill, take a Ferris wheel ride for panoramic views.

Nature and Parks

  • Niagara Falls State Park – America’s oldest state park with abundant nature trails, scenic lookouts, and recreational activities.
  • Queen Victoria Park – Beautiful manicured gardens, trails, and picnic areas surrounding Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.
  • Niagara Glen Nature Area – Explore the Great Gorge descending from Horseshoe Falls along walking trails through this nature reserve.

Evening Activities

  • Niagara Falls Illumination – Every night, the Falls are lit in a rainbow of colorful spotlights from 8 PM until midnight. An awe-inspiring sight.
  • Niagara Falls Fireworks – On Fridays and holiday weekends at 10 PM, fireworks launch over the Falls during the summer.
  • Casinos – Two large casinos, Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino, stay open late and offer nightlife spots.

Side Trips from the Falls

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake – Charming nearby town with wineries, boutiques, cafes and upscale dining.
  • Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens – Beautiful gardens with seasonal displays of flowers, butterflies, and birds.
  • Whirlpool Aero Car – Classic cable car ride over the Niagara River Whirlpool downriver from the Falls.
  • Butterfly Conservatory – Hundreds of native butterflies flit freely in a lush tropical greenhouse.

With so many options, you’ll want to spend multiple days exploring the incredible attractions and activities in Niagara Falls!

Where to Eat and Drink in Niagara Falls

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

When refueling between adventures, Niagara Falls offers an array of dining choices:

Family-Friendly Restaurants

  • Rainforest Cafe – Jungle-themed chain with animatronic animals, gift shop, and menu of sandwiches, pastas, and entrees. They have gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • Milestones – Canadian restaurant with extensive all-day menu, cocktails, and great Falls views from their patio.
  • Flying Saucer Restaurant – Quirky diner decorated with UFOs serving burgers, sandwiches, salads, and shakes named after sci-fi movies.

Romantic Fine Dining

  • The Keg Steakhouse – Niagara’s premier spot for prime cuts of steak, seafood towers, and specialty cocktails in an upscale setting.
  • Massimo’s Italian Fallsview Restaurant – Northern Italian cuisine served overlooking panoramic views of the Falls at this elegantly romantic restaurant.
  • Elements on the Falls Restaurant – Upscale dining room featuring locally-sourced Canadian cuisine and impressive Falls views.

Unique Dining Experiences

  • Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room – Award-winning fine dining while slowly revolving 775 feet above Niagara Falls. Reservations essential.
  • Table Rock Restaurant – Historic restaurant situated directly next to Horseshoe Falls offering fresh seasonal fare and views.
  • Niagara Falls Fun Zone – Pair arcade games, mini golf, laser tag and a 4D theater with greasy comfort food favorites.

Local Craft Breweries and Distilleries

  • Niagara Oast House Brewers – Brewpub along the Niagara River Parkway serving flight paddles of their craft beers and pub fare.
  • Niagara Brewing Company – Sample small batch specialty brews at their brewpub on Clifton Hill.
  • Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery – Canadian ice wine, whiskies, vodkas and more. Tours and tastings available.

Niagara Falls’ dining scene has choices for every taste – from family-friendly spots to romantic chef-driven restaurants!

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls

With so many lodging options, you’ll find accommodations for every budget and style of traveler:

Hotels with Falls Views

  • Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel – Soaring 58-story tower directly overlooking the Falls. Luxurious rooms, spa, pool, dining, and casino.
  • Niagara Falls Hilton – Iconic skyscraper hotel featuring gorgeous views, restaurants, casino, and amenities. Well-located close to attractions.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview – All two-room suites with separate living rooms, microwave, fridge and Falls views. Complimentary cooked breakfast daily.

Budget-Friendly Hotels

  • Quality Inn – Well-reviewed affordable hotel with indoor pool, continental breakfast, and walking distance to attractions for under $100/night.
  • Travelodge Hotel Niagara Falls By The Falls – Offering family rooms, kids eat free perk, and rates from $65-$159/night depending on season.
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Niagara Falls – Budget motel with outdoor pool and continental breakfast, around 1 mile from the Falls.

Unique Stays

  • Marriott on the Falls Hotel – The only hotel located in Niagara Falls State Park, next to the Falls. Gorgeous views from your room’s patio or balcony.
  • Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls – Massive indoor waterpark makes this a favorite for families. Water slides, pools, activities, dining, and arcade.
  • Red Coach Inn – Charming, long-running bed and breakfast known for big country breakfasts, cozy rooms with fireplaces, and great value.

With lodging options from luxurious resorts to budget motels, finding the perfect place to rest your head in Niagara Falls is easy.

How to Get to Niagara Falls

As you journey through the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls,” you’ll discover not only the famous sights but also the hidden treasures that truly complete the Niagara experience

Niagara Falls is highly accessible by car, train, bus, and air.

By Plane

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) – 25 miles from Niagara Falls, connected via shuttle or rental car
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) – 90 miles from Niagara Falls, connected by bus or prearranged sedan
  • Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) – Small airport just minutes from the Falls in Niagara Falls, NY

By Car

  • Easy to drive to Niagara Falls via major interstates like I-90, I-190, QEW, and Highway 420
  • Connected to most Northeast US major cities including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston (8-9 hour drive)
  • Approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Toronto

Here is more on how to get to Niagara Falls:

By Train

  • Amtrak offers train service to Niagara Falls from NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Toronto
  • The Maple Leaf train runs daily between New York City and Toronto, stopping at Niagara Falls
  • The Empire Service runs several times daily between NYC and Niagara Falls
  • GO Transit offers train service from Toronto to Niagara Falls Station
  • The Niagara Falls Train Station is centrally located, about 2 miles from the Falls
  • Taxi, shuttle services, and public buses connect the station to hotels and attractions

By Bus

  • Greyhound has bus routes to Niagara Falls from major cities across the US and Canada
  • Popular bus routes include NYC to Niagara Falls, Boston to Niagara Falls, and Toronto to Niagara Falls
  • Megabus is another bus carrier with routes to Niagara Falls from Toronto, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, and Buffalo
  • Once arrived, the Niagara Falls Transit public bus system provides transportation around the city’s attractions
  • The WEGO tourist shuttle bus is also a convenient way to get around the Falls area

By Tour Group

  • Many coach bus tours visit Niagara Falls from NYC, Toronto, and other regions
  • Popular tour companies like Gray Line, Coach Canada, and Niagara Scenic Tours offer day trips or multi-day tours
  • Tour groups take care of transportation and often include some attractions
  • Helpful way to visit Niagara Falls without renting a car

No matter where you’re coming from, it’s easy to get to Niagara Falls! The Falls are located just minutes from an international airport, served by major highways, trains and bus routes.

What to Pack for Niagara Falls

Pack wisely using this Niagara Falls packing checklist:

  • Rain poncho or jacket – You’ll get wet from the mist when near the Falls!
  • Layers of clothing – Temperatures can fluctuate, so bring a few lighter layers to adjust
  • Comfortable, waterproof walking shoes – Essential for exploring the area by foot comfortably
  • Swimsuit – For swimming at water parks, hotel pools or local beaches
  • Camera – Don’t forget to capture scenic Niagara Falls photos and selfies
  • Binoculars – Helpful for scouting out the best Falls views from afar
  • Passport – Required for crossing between the U.S. and Canada
  • Hat/visor and sunglasses – Keep sun out of your eyes while appreciating the views
  • Reusable water bottle – Stay hydrated; refill stations available
  • Portable phone charger – Keep your devices charged for photos!
  • Travel towels – Microfiber towels that pack down small come in handy

Don’t forget essentials like medication, chargers, underwear, and toiletries. With the proper attire and gear, you’ll be ready for every adventure!

Insider Tips for Planning a Niagara Falls Trip

Planning your trip becomes a breeze with the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls” as it offers practical tips, season-specific advice, and insider knowledge to ensure an unforgettable experience.

Use these pro tips and tricks when planning your vacation:

  • Travel mid-week in the off-season for the lowest crowds and hotel rates
  • Stay at least 2 nights – There are too many things to see in just 1 day
  • Book hotels and activities early – Especially in peak season, they sell out fast
  • Purchase the Niagara Parks Attractions Pass to save on bundled attractions
  • Use the Niagara Falls WEGO bus system to get around easily without a car
  • Visit both the American and Canadian sides – Each has different attractions, views, and experiences
  • See the Falls illuminated at night – An awe-inspiring rainbow light show daily from 8-9PM
  • Dine at Fallsview restaurants to maximize your views
  • Try timing your trip around a festival like the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights

With proper planning using these tips, your Niagara Falls experience will be amazing!

What to Know About Niagara Falls Border Crossings

When crossing between the U.S. and Canada, be prepared:

  • Bring a valid passport, enhanced license, or NEXUS card to show immigration officers
  • Know that you’ll go through customs and asked to declare any purchases when returning to your home country
  • The Rainbow Bridge is the most pedestrian-friendly border crossing point with access to WEGO buses
  • Download the ArriveCAN app for entry requirements prior to entering Canada
  • Each side has different observation towers – Skylon Tower and Hornblower boat tours are Canada-only, while Cave of the Winds is U.S.-only
  • The Canadian side has more nightlife, casinos, and Falls illumination while the U.S. has more nature trails and parks
  • The WEGO bus is an easy way to access attractions on both sides
  • Using major crossings like Rainbow Bridge means the border process is usually quick and simple
  • Keep some flexibility in your plans in case of long border wait times
  • Exchange currency if needed since US and Canadian dollars have different values

With some preparation, border crossings will be a breeze, allowing you to fully experience everything on both sides of Niagara Falls!

Key Takeaways

Here are the key points to remember when planning your Niagara Falls trip:

  • Niagara Falls straddles the U.S.-Canada border between New York and Ontario. It comprises three waterfalls: Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Peak tourist season is summer but spring and fall have mild weather with fewer crowds. Winter showcases icy wonderlands.
  • Top vantage points include Table Rock, Journey Behind the Falls, Cave of the Winds, Skylon Tower, and scenic parks.
  • Major attractions include boat tours, walking near the Falls, aerial views, nightly illumination, casinos, and side trips to botanical gardens and wineries.
  • Dining ranges from family-friendly spots to upscale Fallsview restaurants with romance and amazing scenery.
  • Lodging options include luxury resorts with views, budget motels, and unique stays at a state park lodge or indoor waterpark.
  • Getting to Niagara Falls by car, bus, train or plane is convenient with an international airport and great highway access.
  • Helpful trip-planning tips include traveling off-peak, buying bundled park passes, allowing 2+ days, and booking ahead.
  • Valid passports, customs declarations, and flexible plans make international border crossings easy.

Start Planning Your Niagara Falls Adventure!

We hope this complete guide gets you excited to visit one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. From seeing the incredible power and beauty of the Falls up close, to experiencing attractions like Journey Behind the Falls and Cave of the Winds, to dining at the rotating Skylon Tower, there is so much magic to discover.

Immerse yourself in the splendor of the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls,” where each page turns into a gateway to understanding the magnificence that has captured hearts for generations.

By planning your trip during less crowded shoulder seasons, allowing enough time to see both sides of the border, booking hotels and restaurants in advance, and using our insider tips – you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable time.

Your adventure awaits within the pages of the “Guide to Visiting Niagara Falls,” an indispensable resource that promises to transform your trip into a once-in-a-lifetime exploration.

Let the misty roar of Niagara Falls be the backdrop for your next amazing vacation! Reach out if we can provide any other advice for planning the perfect Niagara Falls getaway.

Similar Posts