Niagara Falls extends on both sides of the international border between the United States and Canada, offering visitors from both sides beautiful views, boating and more. It is located about 17 miles from Buffalo, New York and about seven hours by car from New York City. It is ambitious to travel to and from Niagara Falls from New York City in a single day, but it certainly can be done. You can choose to visit as part of a tourist group or make the trip on your own. You may also want to spend a night at Niagara Falls before returning to New York City, the choice is yours!
Map of Niagara Falls:
Why Go To Niagara Falls:
It is not difficult to understand why many consider Niagara Falls one of the most important natural wonders in the world. Or why it has been the location of some incredible reckless pranks (and now illegal) over the years. The moment you see the gigantic Niagara River rumbling towards a waterfall of 188 feet at approximately 20 to 30 (and up to 68) mph, your mouth will fall. The speed at which the river falls creates a misty fog and an unmistakable roar that can be heard miles away. From the top, crowds flock to the bars to feel the fog on their faces. As you follow the water path down, boats, platforms and observation platforms support the colorful visitors dressed in the poncho.
Over the years, Niagara has moved from the classic honeymoon place to a cheesy honeymoon place and, now, it is a strange combination of the two. In addition to the impressive waterfalls, there is a large concentration of fast wedding chapels and backlit hotels in full-volume neon. But while enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, wandering through the Ice Wine vineyards of nearby Inniskilline wineries is truly romantic. So get on the two-seater with someone special or take your family in the minivan and take a spectacular trip to the majestic Niagara Falls.
Top Attraction in Niagara Falls:
Waterfalls are the main attraction here, and there are a variety of ways to see them: from their feet on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat rides; from behind in caves accessible by elevator; from the sky floating in helicopters, or watching from observation towers. Taking one of the best tours in Niagara Falls is another way to see this natural wonder. But far from the falls, the sides of New York and Canada offer various activities to keep visitors entertained. The area also hosts several family attractions, such as Old Fort Niagara and Niagara SkyWheel. If you don’t have kids in tow, try your luck at the Niagara Fallsview Casino or try some of the famous ice wines in the area at the Inniskillin winery.
Maid of the Mist:
The main reason to visit Niagara Falls is to see the falls and one of the most memorable ways to do so is to wear a poncho and get on a Maid of the Mist boat. These ships have been moving visitors to and from the base of the falls since the 1840s. Prepare to get wet: Maid of the Mist practically submerges it beneath the falls, but rain clothes are provided and many say this is one of the best ways to experience the splendor of Niagara Falls. In fact, it is one of the best-guided tours in the region.
Recent visitors said you can’t leave Niagara Falls without taking a walk in Maid of the Mist. In addition to the incredible views, the reviewers were also satisfied with the duration of the tour (20 minutes) and the modest ticket price. Even if a poncho is provided, according to travelers, you should plan to wear waterproof footwear and equipment. To beat the crowds, some visitors suggest arriving at the attraction first thing in the morning (trips begin at 9 a.m.).
The Maid of the Mist docks on the American side of the falls; The tours leave every 15 minutes. Tickets cost $ 18.25 for adults and $ 10.65 for children 6 to 12. Times fluctuate according to the season.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Conservatory:
To escape the thunderous falls and crowds of tourists, take an afternoon and get lost in the Botanical Garden of Niagara Parks. If you like nature, the gardens are a must. This 100-acre space is home to dozens of meticulously maintained gardens, attended by students at the on-site horticultural school, with thousands of plant species. During the summer, guided horses and career tours allow you to explore the gardens in style. The gardens also house the Butterfly Conservatory, where several thousand butterflies flutter and flutter among brightly colored flowers.
Recent visitors said that a visit to the butterfly gardens and greenhouse provided a pleasant respite from the kitchen environment around the falls. The reviewers warned that the butterfly greenhouse can be filled, but noted that the gardens were silent. Travelers also recommended bringing their camera, as the conservatory offers many photographs.
The Botanical Gardens are located on the side of Ontario, just north of the falls; The butterfly greenhouse is in the gardens. The Botanical Garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free (although you have to pay for parking), Butterfly Conservatory charges an admission price of CA $ 15 (about $ 12) for adults and CA $ 9.75). For children 6 to 12 years old. The opening hours of the Butterfly Conservatory vary according to the season.
Old Fort Niagara:
If you like history, make sure you save time to visit Old Fort Niagara. Located on the American side of the falls, this 17th-century fortress has changed hands between French, British and American troops. This site has seen action during numerous wars, including the American Revolution and the French and Indian War, which makes it the longest operating fort in North America. Today, the fort occupies one of the most picturesque areas of western New York, overlooking Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. Inside, you can explore underground gunpowder rooms, former army barracks and old canyons. If you are looking for a deeper history, be sure to stop by the visitor center.
Recent visitors were excited about well-preserved buildings and clean grounds and were especially impressed with the reenactors. Many also said that initially they only planned to spend an hour exploring the grounds, but ended up staying half a day thanks to all the interesting demonstrations and exhibitions.
Old Fort Niagara stands on the shores of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, north of Youngstown, New York, across the river from Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you don’t have your own wheelset, you can use the free Discover Niagara Shuttle service to reach the fort during the summer season. The fort receives visitors from 9 a.m. at 5 or 7 p.m. daily, depending on the season. Admission is $ 12 for adults and $ 8 for children 6 to 12 years.
Journey Behind the Falls:
On the trip behind the falls, you can stand directly behind the roaring layer of water and get a literal look behind the scenes of this magnificent natural attraction. The tour begins with an elevator trip to an observation deck where you can enjoy the view of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the Niagara River. From there, follow the caves and enjoy the roaring curtains from a different perspective. However, prepare for the crowds: Journey Behind the Falls is one of the most popular ways to see the falls, so it is possible that the tunnels are quite narrow.
Recent visitors strongly recommended the Journey behind the falls, even if you have already taken a tour of Maid of the Mist, as this attraction offers another interesting perspective of the falls. To avoid the crowds and enjoy the view in peace, the reviewers suggest arriving at the attraction when it opens at 9 a.m. Visiting the attraction with a group of guided tours is another way to avoid constant congestion.
The Journey Behind the Falls tour begins on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and the caverns are open every day. Times vary by season, but in general, the attraction begins to receive visitors at 9 a.m. Tickets cost CA $ 14 (around $ 10.65) for adults and CA $ 9 (around $ 6.80) for children between 6 and 12 years old. As of January 1, 2020, adult tickets cost CA $ 15 (around $ 11.45) and CA $ 10 (around $ 7.60) for children. Summer prices increase to CA $ 23 (around $ 17.50) for adults and CA $ 15 (approximately $ 11.45) for children.
Cave of the Winds:
Many recent visitors called the Cave of the Winds a “must-do.” After taking a 175-foot elevator to the Niagara Gorge, you can walk through a series of wooden walkways that will place you a few feet from the Bridal Veil Falls. It’s called “Hurricane Cover,” thanks to tropical storm conditions. Even with the poncho and souvenir shoes, you are likely to get wet.
Recent travelers did not seem to care about the soggy result of a visit to the Cave of the Winds. Visitors were surprised at how close they could get to the falls and loved being able to witness the powerful stream of water up close.
You will find this attraction next to New York, down to Goat Island. The attraction is open all year round, although you can only access the catwalks from April to October (the catwalks and decks are removed every winter to protect them from the accumulation of ice). From May to September, tickets for Cave of the Winds cost $ 17 for adults and $ 14 for children 6 to 12 years old. If you visit in winter, you can still access parts of the attraction, including the elevator ride to the gorge. Tickets cost $ 5 for children and $ 7 for adults. From November to April, the attraction receives visitors from 11 a.m. at 4 p.m.
White Water Walk:
If you are looking to see the falls from a more natural environment than the Maid of the Mist or the Journey Behind the Falls, spend an hour or two stretching your legs on the White Water Walk. After taking a 230-foot elevator to the base of the gorge, you can walk along a quarter-mile promenade that overlooks the Great Gorge rapids from the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Along the walk, there are several observation areas where you can get an excellent view of the falls and the turbulent swirl below.
Some recent visitors called this a “tourist trap” because of the disappointingly short boardwalk, but others loved being able to see the strength of the rapids up close. Several reviewers also suggested that they stop reading the information plates at casual ends, as they provide interesting information about brave people who have tried to cross the river.
The entrance to White Water Walk is located along Niagara Parkway, and prices are CA $ 13 (around $ 10.50) for adults and CA $ 8.15 (around $ 6.50) for children 6 to 12. The attraction receives visitors from 9 am to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. at 6 p.m. on the weekends.
To see the falls again, head to Clifton Hill, a tourist district on the side of the falls in Ontario, Canada, full of family attractions. This is where you will find the Niagara SkyWheel. Announced as the largest observation wheel in Canada, the Niagara SkyWheel offers gondolas with a controlled climate that rotate 175 feet above the falls. From the SkyWheel, you will have views of the Horseshoe and American Falls, the Niagara River and other local landmarks. The rides last between 8 and 12 minutes.
Most recent visitors loved their experience at Niagara Skyhill and recommend an overnight walk to enjoy the lush waterfall. Many travelers described the view as “spectacular” and said it was worth the price of the ticket.
You’ll find the Niagara SkyWheel on Clifton Hill, on the side of the Ontario Falls. The attraction welcomes visitors throughout the year, although the hours vary according to the season. Tickets cost CA $ 11.99 (around $ 9.50) for adults and CA $ 6.99 (around $ 5.50) for children 12 years old and younger.
Best Months to Visit:
The best time to visit Niagara Falls is from June to August. Summer is high season, and with good reason: the average highs rest in the low 80s. Mist and breeze from waterfalls can make the area feel cooler. You will spend more money and face more crowds, but visiting in summer will allow you to make the most of the weather and attractions. In addition, the free Discover Niagara Shuttle service is fully operational during the summer season, making it easy to transfer from one attraction to another. Spring and autumn welcome fewer tourists thanks to falling temperatures, but there are some advantages in each season. Autumn is the harvest season in local wineries, while warm spring temperatures mark the beginning of colorful blooms in botanical gardens. Winter sees temperatures below zero, which makes many attractions, such as Maid of the Mist boat tours, close. However, cold weather lowers hotel rates.
Where to stay in Niagara Falls:
U.S. News & World Report ranks the best hotels in Niagara Falls-based on an analysis of industry awards, hotel star ratings and user ratings. Hotels that got 10 percent of the best hotels in Canada got a gold badge. The hotels that appear after the classified hotels are classified by hotel class and then by user rating, as provided by TripAdvisor.
How to Save Money in Niagara Falls:
Falling in love In the fall, room rates have decreased with falling temperatures, but the attractions are still open.
Falling in love again Around the falls, anxious vendors sell kitsch souvenirs and bottled drinks at high prices. Don’t be a fool for them.
Be careful with Lady Luck Trying your luck in blackjack or slot machines at nearby casinos can be very dangerous for your wallet.
Culture & Customs:
Niagara Falls is home to a history that goes back thousands of years. The falls were formed by the Wisconsin glacier during the ice age, and the area was colonized by numerous groups, including Native American, French and British Iroquois peoples. Visitors can get more information about the history of Niagara Falls at various museums and historical sites in the area, including Old Fort Niagara.
American travelers will feel a sense of familiarity crossing the Canadian half of Niagara Falls. Although Canada has two official languages, English is more frequent than French in Niagara Falls.
The official currency of Canada is the (CAD). A Canadian dollar is approximately equivalent to a US dollar. Companies on the Ontario side of the falls will accept US currency, but you may want to exchange your US dollars for Canadians to capitalize on the exchange rate. As in the United States, it is customary to leave a tip of 15 to 20 percent for quality service in restaurants, although larger groups will find it included in the rate. A small tip for hotel workers is also appreciated. Most credit cards are accepted.
What to Eat in Niagara Falls:
As is the case with major tourist attractions, you will find many restaurant chains grouped around the falls. But if you are looking for a unique meal that shows the flavors (and wine) of the region, you will not be disappointed. If you are looking for a farm-to-table menu, AG, Weinkeller and Tide & Vine are popular for their dependence on local ingredients. For something more casual, try the Piccadilly restaurant, which receives praise for its fish and chips. Along with fish and chips, you will notice that many of the Canadian restaurants borrow the traditions of the United Kingdom. Nowhere is this more evident than in the popular Queen Charlotte Tea Room. This family-owned outpost is loved for its hospitable staff and its menu of English classics, which include sausages and mash, coronation chicken and, of course, tall tea.
Some travelers argue that the Ontario Falls side offers a better selection of restaurants, but if you prefer to stay on the New York side, you can still find some delicious and traveler-approved restaurants. The Red Coach Inn’s restaurant is popular with visitors for its luxury pub food and its picturesque atmosphere. The Griffin Gastropub offers an environment similar to that of Third Street Retreat. For a more formal experience, try Wine at the Saver, Third or Bakery Restaurant and Lounge.
Safety in Niagara Falls:
Although it receives a large number of tourists every year, Niagara Falls remains a relatively small and safe city. However, that does not mean you should not use common sense. Watch for your personal items, especially in busier areas. You will also want to be careful with the falls. They produce a large amount of fog, which can impose a slippery film on the catwalks that surround the falls. Wear shoes with traction and hold the rails to avoid slipping.
Getting Around Niagara Falls:
The better way to get around Niagara Falls is by foot. Walking in the area is relatively easy (when there is no snow). Even crossing the border between the United States and Canada is only a 20-minute walk across the Rainbow Bridge. Also, the attractions are usually together and within walking distance of each other. If your feet feel a little tired, you can get on the efficient (and free) Discover Niagara Shuttle. Having a car can make your trip more stressful as the roads are prone to congestion and parking is very expensive.
If you do not drive from a nearby city, you are likely to fly to Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF), which is located about 48 kilometers southeast of the falls. Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) is located very close to the Falls (less than 10 miles), but only operates flights to Spirit and Elegant that depart or depart from cities in the southeastern United States.UU., Like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, among others. There are transportation services from both airports on both sides of the falls, in addition to car rentals, taxis and transportation services such as Uber and Lyft can be used to and from the airports.
When the weather doesn’t bother you, strolling through the falls or hotel areas on the Canadian or New York side can be quiet and fun. In addition, compact commercial areas can be enjoyed and fully explored on foot.
WEGO is a bus system that combines accommodation and attractions in the Niagara Falls area, Fallsview, including Lundy Lane, Clifton Hill, Victoria Avenue, Maine and Ferry and Queen Street. There are three different bus lines that connect at Niagara Parks in Table Rock, next to Horseshoe Falls. This point is the main transfer center from the blue and red lines (which mainly serve the tourist areas) to the green line that offers trips through the Niagara Parks. Although the service is not free (a 24-hour pass costs $ 7.50 for adults; $ 4.50 for children 6 to 12 years old), it works all year. The schedules vary according to the line and the season, but in general, the routes start the service around 9 a.m. and end around 1 a.m.
The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a tourist bus that offers free service between the Official Visitors Center of Niagara USA and Old Fort Niagara, with a stop at 15 destinations along the 14-mile route. The ferry, which operates seasonally in the summer and early fall, offers service between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the week and between 9 a.m. and midnight on weekends. Many hotels also operate free transportation to local attractions. It may be worth staying at one of these properties.
The road trip to Niagara Falls is a tradition for some families. But, once you arrive, you will want to get rid of your car as soon as possible. Traffic can be slow, and the roads are full of tourist buses in summer or snow-covered in winter. Parking outside the lot of your hotel is also difficult and expensive. Although you will find a handful of free parking areas at the north and south end of Niagara Parks, most of the lots closest to the attractions are closed or with parking meters. You can find a list of the lots and prices of daily parking available on the Niagara Park official website.