There are so many things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada. While you can see a lot in one day in Niagara Falls, it is worth spending two or three days exploring the Honeymoon Capital of the World. There is so much to do and you can always find new attractions opening every year in Niagara Falls.
Dave and I have visited nearly every Niagara Attraction several times. We’ve been visiting Niagara Falls year after year since 1996 and it’s our “go-to” getaway destination outside Toronto and one of the top places to visit in Ontario. So I would consider us experts on things to do in Niagara Falls.
Things to do in Niagara Falls
Table of Contents
In this guide, we will cover all of the best things to do in Niagara Falls plus we will offer suggestions of where to eat in Niagara Falls and what our choices for the best hotels in Niagara Falls are.
But first, if you are visiting Niagara Falls for the first time, we highly recommend getting the Adventure Pass to see all the top attractions with one ticket. You don’t need to do a guided tour to Niagara Falls, it’s easy to travel to the Falls independently.
Formerly the Maid of the Mist, The Hornblower is an oldie but a goody. It is also the most famous attraction in Niagara Falls. The Hornblower has been operating since 1846 shuttling people across to the United States border.
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.
Book the Hornblower in Advance with Get Your Guide – Skip the ticket booth and take the funicular to the dock. Be prepared, you are going to get wet! But don’t worry, they supply rain jackets.
2. Journey Behind the Falls
The Hornblower may be Niagara Falls’s most famous attraction but we love the Journey Behind the Falls even more! 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!
Niagara Falls Attraction Pass
Niagara Falls has set up an excellent set of passes to give access to the top attractions in Niagara Falls. 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 to each activity in the WEGO shuttle people mover.
Passes can also be bought in advance at Get Your Guide where you can book a complete pass to attractions on both the US and Canada side of the falls. This is a good pass if you want to explore both Canada and the Niagara Falls NY attractions covering things to do on both sides of the falls when you cross the Rainbow Bridge.
3. Whirlpool Jetboat
It may not be located directly in Niagara Falls, but you have to make the short trip to Niagara on the Lake for the Whirlpool Jetboat. Just a short 10-minute drive up the Niagara Parkway from Niagara Falls, The Whirlpool Jetboat tour is five-star pure adrenaline.
Choose which jet boat 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.
4. 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.
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.
5. Whitewater Walk
The Whitewater Walk in 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 Niagara Falls Adventure Pass.
6. 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 butterfly’s flying through the air as you walk along the path. Butterflies will actually land on you as you walk through.
7. 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.
Don’t do what we did, take a stroll through the Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens and see them all. It’s beautiful. The butterfly Conservatory is included in the Niagara Adventure Pass.
8. Fallsview Casino Resort
Fallsview has become a huge draw to Niagara Falls. We’re not big on gambling, but the Fallsview Casino Resort is an excellent place to visit.
It’s not just a casino, it’s a resort complete international music acts and 5-star dining. There’s a shopping, five different restaurants, and two nightclubs.
9. 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.
10. Touring the Niagara Wine Region
After all that excitement from the more adventurous attractions, take a tour of the Niagara wine region at Niagara on the Lake. Only 15 minutes from Niagara Falls there are award-winning winery’s waiting to be explored. You can hop on a bus from Niagara Falls and join a wine tour.
That’s probably the easiest from the falls, but if you have a car or 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’s 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 Gretzkys, and Vineland Estates.
11. Niagara on the Lake
Speaking of Niagara on the Lake, this is a wonderful romantic town to visit. 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.
12. 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.
13. Hike the Niagara Glen
Niagara Glen is a great spot for a day hike located 8 km from the falls. Excellent hiking trails 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 overlooks the Whirlpool on the Niagara River. Admission to Niagara Glen is free.
14. Fireworks and Falls 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.
15. Dine with a View of Niagara 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 of Niagara Falls in Canada.
- The Keg at Embassy Suites – This is our personal favorite
- The Watermark at the Hilton – Great when staying in the Hilton
- Skylon Tower Revolving Restaurant – a Niagara Falls institution
- Golden Lotus at the Fallsview Casino
- Windows at Sheraton on the Falls
- 21 Club at Fallsview Casino
16. Whirlpool Aerocar
If you aren’t up for taking a boat out to the whirlpool, you might be up for taking a cablecar over the Whirlpool. Located between Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake, this is a really cool stop and easy to do.
17. Skylon Tower
It’s Niagara Falls mini version of 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. While you are there, why not have dinner at the revolving restaurant. Read more: Toronto Tours by Locals
18. Floral Clock
I never cared for the Floral Clock as a kid, but each time we return to Niagara Falls, we always take a quick trip to the clock. Psst, the WEGO bus stops here too.
It is powered by Ontario Hydro, which is fitting since Niagara Falls powers a lot of the Eastern Seaboard and it is the largest floral clock in the world.
19. 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 on candy.
Things to do in Niagara Falls NY, USA
I know that I mentioned that the Get Your Guide Niagara Falls Pass give you access to attractions in both Canada and the United States. Normally, we can cross the border easily in Niagara Falls by simply walking across the Rainbow Bridge. If all goes well, we might be able to go to the US by late summer. But if not, to our American friends, we want to share the best things to do in Niagara Falls on the American Side too!
This 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 Canada side of the falls.
20. Niagara State Park
The Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls, NY is the oldest state park in the USA. It contains the mighty American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls with views of Niagara Falls Canada. There are plenty of hiking trails located along the Niagara River to take in the views of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. But the star attraction is Niagara Falls.
21. Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist is the American’s Hornblower. The Maid of the Mist dates back to 1846 and has been ferrying passengers across the Niagara River for nearly two centuries. The Maid of the Mist is a 20 minute boat ride that takes you to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in Niagara Falls.
22. 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.
Cost: $19 USD Adults, $16 USD children. Get your pass in advance here.
23. 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 an historic fort. Old Fort Niagara was a strategic fort used during the war between the US and British Colony. This was the site of the forts last conflict and since the end of that war, it’s been a peaceful border between the US and Canada at the Rainbow Bridge. Doesn’t the Rainbow Bridge just sound peaceful?s
Where to Eat in Niagara Falls, Canada
The Keg Fallsview – The Keg is a popular Canadian Steakhouse chain, but in Niagara Falls it takes it to a whole new level because of its view. I would say it has the best view of the falls out of all the places to eat in Niagara Falls and I dare to stay, I have yet to find a steak that I like better.
Brasa Brazilian Barbecue – Having sampled Brazilian Barbecue in Brazil, we can say that this restaurant gets it right in Niagara Falls. 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 – Crown Plaza – Another one of the best views in Niagara 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 Niagara Falls 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.
- Plus the Fallsview Restaurants with a View that we mentioned above.
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 Niagara Falls from your hotel room and dining. Our favorite places are Marriott on the Falls, the Hilton Niagara Falls, and Raddison Niagara Falls.
If you want to stay close to Clifton Hill, we like the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel
For budget accommodation in Niagara Falls, check out Lundy’s Lane. We like the Niagara Falls Marriott here. It also has shuttles to the Marriott Fallsview.
Getting Around Niagara Falls
When visiting 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 Niagara Falls to tour some wineries. You can also book wine tours out to Niagara on the Lake or tour buses from Niagara Falls.
Getting to Niagara Falls
Buses operate from downtown Toronto and Buffalo, New York. We recently took the bus from Toronto by booking through Busbud and it was quick and easy. The only downfall is it is about a 309 minute walk from the bus terminal to the Niagara Falls attractions.
Trains travel from New York City, Toronto and wait for it… Cleveland.
And these are our best Niagara Falls Travel Tips! Did we miss anything? Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below. If you enjoyed all the things to do in Niagara Falls, save this post to Pinterest for future reference.
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