There are so many things to do in Niagara Falls. Many people only make a quick day trip to Niagara from Toronto, and while you can see a lot in one day, it is worth spending two or three days exploring the Honeymoon Capital of the World. There are always new attractions opening every year, whether it’s your first time visiting Niagara Falls visit or your 20th you will always have a great time at this sensational natural wonder of the world.
Things to do in Niagara Falls
Dave and I have been visiting the falls year after year since 1996 and it is our “go-to” getaway from Toronto. Whether you’re traveling with family, and friends, or having a romantic getaway, Niagara has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Niagara Falls from Clifton Hill to Niagara on the Lake and even Niagara Falls State Park in the United States.
Niagara Falls Tours
When you visit Niagara Falls, we highly recommend getting the Adventure Pass to see all the top attractions with one ticket. Sold through Niagara Parks you can book the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass to gain discounted access to Journey Behind the Falls, Hornblower, Whitewater Walk, Niagara’s Fury, and the Butterfly Conservatory with transportation on the WeGo People Mover to each activity.
You don’t need to do a guided tour to experience all of the best things to do, it’s easy to travel independently. The WeGo People mover is a great way to get around from attraction to attractions. The WeGoBus goes to all the top Niagara Attractions and stops along the Fallsview area so you can easily catch it from your hotel. The Wonder Pass Plus includes Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara Fury, The Butterfly Conservatory and the Power Station.
Formerly the Maid of the Mist, The Hornblower is an oldie but a goody. When you visit Niagara Falls you must get on this boat to journey to the center of Horseshoe Falls. The Hornblower has been operating since 1846 shuttling people across to the United States. In 1885 they started running as tourist attractions to take passengers to an up-close and personal view of the falls.
It is another thrilling experience being so close to the falling water. The boat goes right inside the horseshoe and thundering water surrounds you. You will get very wet as you go directly into the mist of Horseshoe Falls, but rain ponchos are provided and this is an experience you must not miss. Book the Hornblower in Advance Skip the ticket booth and take the funicular straight to the dock with easy cancellation within 24 hours of activity.
2. Journey Behind the Falls
The Hornblower may be the Fall’s most famous attraction but we love the Journey Behind the Falls even more! When visiting Niagara Falls, make sure to add this to your bucket list. Located at the Table Rock Welcome Center, You descend 125 feet from above the falls to the heart of the cascade. You then get to explore 130-year-old tunnels that weave behind the waterfalls.
Feel the power of the Niagara River and hear the thunder of the water crashing. After you explore behind the scenes, you come out to an observation deck right beside the falls where you’ll get to see them firsthand. It’s another attraction in Niagara Falls that’s sure to get your clothes very wet but don’t worry, rain ponchos are provided.
The WeGo Stops here and there are restaurants, souvenir stores, cafes and you can also watch Niagara’s Fury at the Table Rock Center.
3. WildPlay Zipline to the Falls
If you want to have one of the most epic ziplining experiences, hop on the WildPlay Zipline to the Falls. This thrilling ride takes you high above the Niagara Gorge offering a bird’s eye view of Horseshoe Falls, The American, and Bridal Veil Falls.
Ride the elevator to 67 meters (220 feet) above the falls and then soar along the Niagara River Gorge for 670 meters (2,200 feet) where you’ll reach speeds of 70+ kph (40+ mph). This is one Niagara attraction you’ll never forget.
4. Niagara Fury
While you are at Journey Behind the Falls, pop in to see the 4D movie, Niagara Fury. After several years of visiting Niagara, I finally went inside Niagara Fury this past summer. It is a lot of fun for the whole family. Niagara Fury is an immersive 360-degree cinema experience recreating the history of the falls. There are special effects taking you into the experience as wind, mist and vibrations make you feel as if you are right beside the mighty waterfall.
Ponchos are handed out beforehand and if you want to get wet, stand at the very front. It’s included in your Niagara Pass, so if you want a break from the heat in the summer or cold in the winter, go inside for a bit of a break. It is located at the Table Rock Welcome Center and you can grab a bite to eat here as well.
5. Whirlpool Jetboat
It may not be located directly in the Fallsview area, but you must make a short trip to Niagara on the Lake when visiting Niagara Falls. The Whirlpool Jetboat is located at Niagara on the Lake where Lake Ontario meets the Niagara Gorge. It’s just a short 10-minute drive up the Niagara Parkway from the city center and this exhilarating jet boat tour is pure adrenaline.
Choose which jet boat tour you want. Open or closed. It’s up to you if you want to get wet or stay dry. We’ve done both and I prefer the dry ride as you really get to take in the beauty of the Niagara gorge. The trip takes you along the Niagara River to the Class 6 rapids of the whirlpool.
Anything that goes into the whirlpool won’t come but this action-packed ride takes you right beside it. Feel the power of the Niagara River as you cut through rapids with its triple turbo diesel water jet system for both propulsion and steering. It’s an adventure of a lifetime. Check out Whirlpool Jet Boar Tours for availability here.
6. White Water Walk
The White Water Walk is an incredible opportunity to get up close to the class 6 rapids of the Niagara River. The wooden platform takes you 70 meters (229 feet) down to the Niagara Gorge where you get to experience the power of the largest series of standing waves in North America. This attraction is included in your Adventure Pass and it is quite beautiful to see the power of the Niagara River.
There are different observation decks along the way offering views of the Niagara Gorge. You can take the WeGo mover right to the Riverwalk. An elevator takes you down to the Niagara Gorge, where you can spend as long as you like viewing some of the fastest and most powerful rapids in the world, with water rushing through the narrow gorge at a speed of up to 48 kilometers per hour. The Whitewater Walk is open from mid-April to mid-November and can be accessed from the Niagara Parkway.
7. Butterfly Conservatory
You wouldn’t think that this would be an interesting attraction at Niagara, but the butterfly conservatory is a lot of fun. Enter the climate-controlled rainforest and be surrounded by thousands of butterflies flying through the air as you walk along the path. Butterflies will actually land on you as you walk through a tropical rainforest setting.
As you enter, you’ll feel as if you have entered a rainforest as the humidity hits your face. Created to mimic the natural habitat of butterflies, this beautiful environment has waterfalls, pools, and lush vegetation.
There is an educational element as well as you learn about the life cycle of butterflies and can study their behavior. The Butterfly Conservator is included in Niagara Pass, and it really is a must-visit destination. The conservatory is wheelchair accessible and suitable for visitors of all ages.
8. Botanical Gardens
Dave and I have visited Niagara Falls countless times and it wasn’t until two years ago that we finally stopped at the Botanical Gardens. It’s a quiet retreat and it is the perfect spot to capture some Instagram photographs.
It’s funny that we’d never walked through the gardens because the Butterfly Conservatory is located in the same spot. But in the past, we skipped the gardens and went straight to the butterflies. But it is worth walking through the Botanical Gardens as it is beautiful and is a quiet retreat from the chaos of the other attractions. The butterfly Conservatory is included in the Niagara Adventure Pass.
9. Power Station
The newest attraction in Niagara Falls is the Niagara Falls Power Station. Take a glass elevator down 54 meters (180 feet) to explore the first major Canadian power plant on the Niagara River. You’ll walk the 670-meter (2,200-feet) long tunnel that leads to an observation deck at the Niagara River. The interactive museum showcases how pioneers harnessed the power from Horseshoe falls. At night there is a sound and light show that features an interactive light display to music.
10. Clifton Hill
A visit to Niagara Falls would not be complete without visiting the cheesy shops and museums that line the streets. Dracula’s castle, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wax Museums, Midways, and haunted houses. Clifton Hill is full of just enough kitsch to be a blast. You must go inside one of the haunted houses just for the fun of it. It’s a throwback to the 70s.
This area also has Casino Niagara and the Fallsview Indoor Water Park. Making it a great destination for all ages. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, and attractions along Clifton Hill and it is worth walking up from the Oakes Garden Theater which has great views of the falls.
11. Niagara SkyWheel
The Niagara SkyWheel can be seen throughout the city. This 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel offers fabulous views of the falls and the surrounding area. Each enclosed gondola can hold up to six passengers and they are climate controlled. Even if you have a fear of heights you’ll feel snug as a bug inside the Niagara SkyWheel as you take in the views. Passengers get 3 full revolutions giving you enough time to get those epic photos of the falls.
12. Clifton Hill Fun Pass
A great option is to buy the Clifton Hill Fun Pass. It gives you access to many of the attractions in the Midway and on Clifton Hill like the Niagara SkyWheel, Movieland Wax Museum and the 6D Interactive adventure rides Wild West Coaster and Zombie Attack! Clifton Hill is also a great place to go when looking for things to do in Niagara Falls at night.
Some other not to miss attractions on Clifton Hill include Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Great Canadian Midway, Niagara Speedway, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Rainforest Cafe, Niagara Falls History Museum, and the Fun Zone. This is an area that is fun for the whole family.
13. Great Canadian Midway
The Great Canadian Midway houses Canada’s largest Sky Wheel. It offers panoramic views of the falls. The Midway is exactly what it says, it’s like an amusement park midway with games, rides, and cotton candy. With 70,000 square feet of indoor entertainment, it’s a great place for a rainy day or in the cold winter months. Besides the arcade games, you’ll also get to ride the Cosmic Coaster Motion Simulator and the Ghost Blasters Dark Ride.
14. Nightmares Fear Factory
Want to get your blood pumping again? This is one scary haunted house. Located at the top of Clifton Hill across from Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Nightmares is a must for anyone that loves a good scare.
It is scary alright, legend has it that it was built on the site of an old coffin factory. The proprietor was killed in a prank gone bad and has haunted the halls ever since. If you become too scared inside the maze of nightmares you can chicken out. Don’t feel bad if you do, over 95,000 people have chickened out over the years. We went in thinking we’d be fine, but let me tell you, I held on to Dave for dear life!
15. Fallsview Casino Resort
Fallsview Casino Resort has become a huge draw to Niagara Falls. There are two casinos in Niagara one being Casino Niagara near Clifton Hill and the more extravagant Fallsview Casino entertainment complex.
We’re not big on gambling, but the Fallsview Casino Resort is an excellent place to visit. Besides the casino, it has a world-class music venue drawing some of the top artists in the business. Billy Joel played Fallsview just last week! Fallsviews isn’t just a casino, it’s a resort complete with international music acts and 5-star dining. There’s a shopping, five different restaurants, and two nightclubs.
16. Fireworks and Falls Lightshow at Night
Fireworks happen nightly in the summer months and they are one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls for free! The Falls are lit up each night with colorful lights and most evenings in the summer have a fantastic fireworks display.
Make your way down to the falls when the sun goes down to watch. But be sure to get there early, it fills up and you need to scout your spot and stick to it. Or choose one of the many restaurants that overlook the falls and eat a late dinner for a spectacular view.
Fireworks happen at different times throughout the year. The Winter Festival of Lights spans over 40 Nights during the Festival from November to Feb. and nightly in the summer time. The falls are illuminated each night, so even if fireworks aren’t going on, you will still have a light show every night of the year.
17. Dine with a View of The Falls
Since I mentioned watching fireworks from one of the restaurants overlooking the falls, I thought I should let you know what restaurants in Niagara Falls overlook the falls. Eating with a view is one of our favorite things to do in Niagara Falls. I never tire of that view. Here is a list of the best restaurants with a view.
The Keg Fallsview – Located within Embassy Suites. The Keg is a popular Canadian Steakhouse chain, but with views of Horseshoe Falls, it takes dining with a view to a whole new level. I would say it has the best view of the falls out of all the places to eat with a falls view and I dare to stay, I have yet to find a steak that I like better.
The Watermark at the Hilton – The Watermark Fallsview Dining is a great dining option when staying in the Hilton. It has beautiful views of Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. You can order 3-course fix priced dinners that include a bottle of Niagara Wine.
21 Club Steakhouse at Fallsview Casino – If you haven’t noticed, steak is almost an institution in Niagara. 21 Club Steakhouse at Fallsview has excellent views of the falls.
Massimos at Sheraton on the Falls – If you are looking for Italian, Massimo’s on the Falls at the Sheraton has excellent views. It is rated the #1 Italian restaurant in Niagara Falls.
Mortons Steakhouse – Niagara Marriot Fallsview Hotel & Spa has views of the falls but it’s a bit lower than the other restaurants. You can order a 3-course fixed dinner that includes a bottle of Niagara Wine.
Where Else to Eat in Niagara Falls, Canada
Brasa Brazilian Barbecue – Having sampled Brazilian Barbecue in Brazil, we can say that this restaurant gets it right. If you are into meat, you get all-you-can-eat meat of all kinds and cuts. Here’s a pro tip – don’t fill up too much on the salad bar, you won’t have room for the tender cuts and it’s pricey so you’ll want to get your money’s worth.
Rainbow Room – Located in the Crown Plaza Rainbow Room another one of the best views of the Falls. looking down the US falls towards the Horseshoe. It has an extensive wine list to go with the seasonal menu created by check Massimo Capra.
Napoli Restaurant and Pizzeria – This is a staple in the city and when we’re craving Italian, we head to Napoli. Located just outside the Fallsview tourist area, it’s a short walk on Stanely street.
Skylon Tower Revolving Restaurant – a Niagara institution, the Skylon Tower restaurant also has early bird dinners. You’ll do a 360 spin around as you dine from 775 feet above our Niagara Falls
18. Skylon Tower
Skylon Tower isn’t just a dining establishment, it is also an observation deck. Niagara’s answer to Toronto’s CN Tower. A 52 Second ride takes you to the top of the Skylon Tower for views of the Falls, the Niagara Gorge, and the surrounding area including Buffalo New York across the river. There is an observation deck and a 4D movie theater. Of course, while you are there, you can have dinner at the revolving restaurant.
19. Whirlpool Aerocar
Moving a little out of the city now is the Whirlpool Aerocar. If you have visited Niagara Falls a few times, this is a great attraction to add to the list. What we don’t love about this is that lines can get long since it can only do one trip at a time.
Located along the WeGo route, the Whirlpool Aerocar is a part of some Niagara Packages. It is quite a thrill taking you out to the middle of the Niagara Gorge to see the massive whirlpool in the middle of the Niagara River.
We prefer the Whirlpool Jetboat tour from Niagara on the lake, but if you aren’t up for taking a boat out to the whirlpool, you might be up for taking a cable car over the Whirlpool. It’s also much more reasonable and still quite thrilling. Located between Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake, this is a really cool stop and easy to do.
20. Floral Clock
I never cared for the Floral Clock as a kid, but each time we return to Niagara, we always take a quick trip to the clock. It is a must-see attraction when you visit Niagara Falls simply because it’s been around for so long. The WEGO bus stops here so you don’t even need to make a special trip.
It is powered by Ontario Hydro, which is fitting since these mighty waterfalls power a lot of the Eastern Seaboard and it is the largest floral clock in the world.
21. Niagara on the Lake
Speaking of Niagara on the Lake, this is a wonderful romantic town to visit. Located on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River, this is one of the top tourist destinations in Ontario.
I’ve already mentioned the Whirlpool Jetboat tour that leaves from here and the many wineries in the area. But the town itself is worth visiting. Stay in a bed and breakfast where you can dine in style at many fine dining restaurants and visit the historic heritage buildings.
The Shaw Festival attracts theatre lovers and if you love browsing shops and local artisans at work, this is the place for you. If you are feeling romantic, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the historic sites of Niagara on the Lake. We have a full article dedicated to this town at 15 Amazing Things to do in Niagara on the Lake – Canada
22. Tour the Niagara Wine Route
After all that excitement from the more adventurous attractions, hop on the Niagara wine route in the glorious Niagara wine region. Only 15 minutes from downtown Niagara there are award-winning wineries spanning from the Niagara Escarpment and along Lake Ontario just waiting to be explored.
If you decide to stay in Niagara on the Lake, you can rent a bicycle and go on your own or join a bicycle tour. There are limo tours, funky bus tours, horse tours, and more to drink wine without having to drive. Popular Niagara Wineries include Peller Estates, Trius, Inniskillin, Two Sisters, Wayne Gretzky, and Vineland Estates.
23. Fort George National Historic Site
And the Fort George National Historic Site is located just outside of Niagara on the Lake. During the War of 1812, it was a strategic fort to protect the then-British Colony from the United States. Visit the fort to see re-enactments of The Red Coats firing their muskets and showing what life was like two centuries ago.
This is a must visit for history buffs to see this outpost that was the site of the Battle of Fort George in 1813. There are several exhibits with actors dressed in historic clothing putting on musket demonstrations, and military reenactments, and learning about what life was like during the War of 1812.
24. Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
The Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is a great spot for a day hike located 8 km from the falls. There are plenty of Niagara Gorge hiking trails within Niagara Glen and if you are into rock climbing there are great spots for bouldering. Bring a crash mat and enjoy your climb over huge boulders.
Or just take a stroll through the trails of Niagara Glen. It is an incredibly scenic area with rock formations, high cliffs, and forests covering an area of 42 acres. Its rock formations and boulders are 400 million years old created by erosion from the Niagara River. It also overlooks the Whirlpool on the Niagara River. Admission to Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is free.
Things to do in Niagara Falls USA
It is easy to cross the Rainbow Bridge from Canada to Niagara Falls USA and many people like to visit both sides of the falls. Here are some top things to do in Niagara USA.
We highly recommend a Niagara PAss for New York as well. pass is highly recommended if you are exploring both Niagara Falls NY and Niagara Falls Canada. Check out Get Your Guide where you can book a complete pass to attractions on both the US and Canadian sides of the falls.
25. Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park, New York is the oldest state park in the USA. It was established in 1885 and spans 400 acres. The major US attractions are within Niagara Falls State Parking including the mighty American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls with views of Canada. There are plenty of hiking trails located along the Niagara River to take in the views of all the falls and the Niagara Gorge.
Attractions within Niagara Falls State Park include the Niagara Adventure Theater, the Cave of the Winds, and a range of amenities, including restaurants, gift shops, and picnic areas. The park is open year-round. Let’s take a closer look at all the things to do in Niagara Falls State Park below.
26. Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist dates back to 1846 and has been ferrying passengers across the Niagara River for nearly two centuries. Most Canadians still think that the Maid of the Mist is on the Canadian side of the falls, but this name belongs to the Americans. However, the Hornblower and the Maid of the Mist are two similar experiences that simply leave from opposide sides of the Niagara Gorge.
This 20-minute boat ride that takes you up the Niagara River and to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in Niagara Falls. Operating within Niagara Falls State Park, the boat tour begins at the Maid of the Mist Plaza where you’ll board the double decker vessel to the heart of Horseshoe Falls. Ponchos are provided, but expect to get wet! In the summer it feels great to cool off under the power of the falls. If there is one must do activity on the US side of Niagara Falls State Park this is it.
27. Cave of the Winds
The Cave of the Winds takes you deep down into the Niagara Gorge giving you a close up view of the Bridal Veil Falls. After riding an elevator down 53 meters (175 Feet) you’ll walk down a series of wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck which is a platform built a mere 6 meters (20 feet) from the falls. Just like the Maid of the Mist, you’ll get soaked. But don’t worry, both attractions provide rain ponchos.
28. Niagara Falls Observation Tower
The Niagara Falls Observation Tower is a 282-foot tall tower located on the American side of Niagara Falls State Park offering panoramic views of the Niagara River, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls.
It has three levels that visitors can access including two outdoor observation deck that provides a stunning view of the American Falls and the Niagara River Gorge.
The second level is an indoor observation deck providing 360-degree views of the falls and the surrounding area, as well as historical exhibits and a gift shop.
The Niagara Falls Observation tower is open year-round and you can combine a visit here with a Maid of the Mist boat tour and the Cave of the Winds.
29. Old Fort Niagara
Canada and the United States were at war during the War of 1812 and on either side of the Niagara River, each country has a historic fort. Old Fort Niagara was a strategic fort used during the war between the US and British Colony.
Old Fort Niagara dates back to 1679 as a French trading post, and went on to play a role in the French and Indian war from 1754–1763, but it is most famous for its last conflict during the war of 1812. Located directly across from Fort George on the Canadian side in Youngstown New York, Old Fort Niagara was the site of epic battles. Today the two forts span across the longest most peaceful border in the world.
Old Fort Niagara is a National Historic Landmark and visitors can explore the fort’s many buildings, including the French Castle, which was built in 1726 and is the oldest building still standing in the Great Lakes region. Like Fort George, visitors can watch reenactments, military drills and cannon musket firings.
30. Niagara Wine Trail
The United States has the Niagara Wine Trail which has more than 20 wineries you can tour as well. The entire region is ideal for wine growing, so if you are on the American side of the falls, you can head out to the Niagara Wine Trail to sample a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. The Niagara Wine Trail is known for its picturesque vineyards, and high-quality wines making for a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the falls.
Where to Stay in Niagara Falls
We have a complete guide to the best places to stay in Niagara Falls here. But if you are looking for some suggestions right now, we recommend the Fallsview Casino area for the best views of the falls from your hotel room and dining.
Our favorite place is Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel and Spa. We just stayed there last week and had a magnificent room with a view of Horseshoe Falls and enjoyed its Scandinavian Spa experience. I think this hotel has the best view of the falls, but Marriott on the Falls across the street is great too with views of Horseshoe Falls.
Raddison Niagara Falls is also fantastic. It is across the street with some obstruction by the Marriott, but you can get an incredible suite with a falls view like the one above.
The Hilton Niagara Falls is also has one of the best views in falls with rooms overlooking Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Embassy Suites – this is another one of our favorite hotels in Niagara. It has fabulous views of the falls and is close to the Fallsview attractions near the casino. Plus, the Keg Steakhouse is located here, and TGI Fridays.
If you want to stay close to Clifton Hill, we like the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel it has great views of the Niagara River American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.
For budget accommodation in Niagara check out Lundy’s Lane. We like the Niagara Falls Marriott here. It also has shuttles to the Marriott Fallsview. Days Inn is also a good option in the Clifton Hill area. Read more: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls – Best Areas
Getting Around Niagara Falls
When you visit Niagara Falls, traveling by car is ideal, but if you are visiting from out of the country or taking a side trip from Toronto, you don’t need a car. If you buy any attraction pass, it gives you access to the WEGO Bus that hits up the major attractions.
Bicycle rentals are available and are an excellent way to see the area. Dave and I once rode bikes all the way to Niagara on the Lake from downtown Niagara to tour some wineries. You can also book wine tours out to Niagara.
There is plenty of parking lots around Niagara Falls and hotels have parking including valet.
Getting to Niagara Falls
Buses operate from downtown Toronto and Buffalo, New York. We normally drive to Niagara Falls since we only live an hour away, but we have taken the bus from Toronto by booking through Busbud and it was quick and easy. The only downfall is it is about a 30-minute walk from the bus terminal to the attractions.
Trains travel from New York City, to Toronto and Cleveland. Once you get to Niagara Falls it is easy to get around as most attractions are within walking distance or you can hop on the WeGo People mover to get to the attractions out of the city center.
You can drive to Niagara Falls from the United States by crossing the Rainbow Bridge. Pedestrians can also walk across Rainbow Bridge to visit either side of the border.
Tours can easily be booked to Niagara on the Lake and on the Wine Trail where they will pick you up from your hotel.
From boat tours that take you up close to the falls to casinos, amusement parks, and wineries, there’s no shortage of things to do in Niagara Falls. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or as a solo adventurer, Niagara Falls promises to provide a memorable experience like no other.
And these are our best Niagara Falls Travel Tips! Did we miss anything? Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below.