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Travel Guide to Niagara Falls, Canada

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Niagara Falls is one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, and it's not hard to see why. The sheer power and beauty of these falls are simply awe-inspiring, and they draw millions of visitors from all over the globe every year. Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or just someone who appreciates stunning scenery, Niagara Falls is a must-see destination that should be at the top of your travel bucket list.

Located on the border between Ontario in Canada and New York in the United States, Niagara Falls is made up of three separate waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Together, they form one of the largest waterfalls in the world by volume and are truly a sight to behold.
The best way to experience Niagara Falls is to get up close and personal. There are a number of boat tours that take visitors right up to the edge of the falls, where they can feel the mist and marvel at the power and beauty of the cascading water. If you're brave (or just plain crazy) enough, you can even take a wild ride down the Niagara River on a rubber raft.

This travel guide to Niagara Falls, Canada is your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable visit. Here you'll find tips on where to stay, what to do and see, and the best places to eat and drink around the falls. So let's get started!

History of Niagara Falls

19th Century Illustration of Niagara falls with a steamer in front.

The history of Niagara Falls is as fascinating as the falls themselves. For centuries, Indigenous peoples have inhabited the area surrounding the falls, fishing and gathering food from this abundant land. In the late 17th century, the falls were slowly discovered by European explorers and settlers. By the early 19th century, the area around Niagara Falls began to develop and soon became an industrial hub.

Today, tourists worldwide flock to this natural wonder to witness its beauty and power firsthand.
In 1885, Niagara Falls was declared a National Park in an effort to preserve it for future generations. Today, visitors can experience the power of Niagara Falls from a variety of unique perspectives. Boat tours offer visitors a chance to get up close and feel the mist from the falls, while the Niagara Parks Commission offers a variety of attractions that allow visitors to experience the beauty of this natural wonder from every angle.

Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls

Choosing the best time to visit Niagara Falls can be a bit tricky, as the weather and crowds can vary greatly depending on the season.

The best time to visit Niagara Falls is during the summer months of June to August. This is peak season, and for good reason - temperatures are warm, with average highs in the low 80s. During this time, all major attractions are open and fully operational, including boat rides and zipline tours. However, this also means that crowds are at their highest, so be prepared for longer lines and busy streets.

If you're looking to avoid the crowds but still enjoy mild weather and fully operational attractions, consider visiting Niagara Falls in May or September. These months offer clear skies, warm days, and reasonable crowds. Plus, you may even be able to snag some deals on accommodations during these shoulder seasons.

For those who don't mind cooler temperatures and want to experience Niagara Falls in a more serene setting, consider visiting during the fall or winter months. The autumn foliage around the falls is stunning in October and November, making it a great time for nature lovers. In winter, visitors can witness the frozen beauty of Niagara Falls - although some attractions may be closed due to weather conditions.

Getting to Niagara Falls

Located on the border between Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls is easily accessible from both countries. If you're planning a trip to Niagara Falls from Canada, there are several ways to get there.

The most convenient way to get to Niagara Falls from Canada is by car. The falls are located approximately a 90-minute drive from Toronto Pearson International Airport. From the US, there are several options for getting to Niagara Falls. Buffalo Niagara International Airport is located just across the border in New York, and Amtrak trains offer regular service between the two cities.

If you prefer not to drive, there are other transportation options available. You can take a bus or train from Toronto or other major cities in Ontario. VIA Rail offers train service to Niagara Falls from Toronto and other cities in Ontario. Greyhound and Megabus offer bus service to Niagara Falls from Toronto and other cities in Ontario.

Once you arrive at Niagara Falls, getting around is easy. There are several transportation options available, including buses and taxis. The WEGO bus system connects accommodations and attractions within the Niagara Falls area on both sides of the border.

For those who're looking for a complete package, there are several guided tour companies in Niagara Falls that will arrange transportation and accommodations. These tours usually include visits to the falls, local attractions, and winery or brewery tours. In addition, some tour companies also offer helicopter tours of the falls.


Top 15 Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Canada

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America, Niagara Falls offers a variety of exciting things to do and see. Here's our list of the top 15 things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada.

1. Take a Boat Tour

One of the best ways to experience the falls is by taking a boat tour. There are several options available, each offering a unique perspective and unforgettable views.

The Maid of the Mist boat tour is a classic Niagara Falls experience that has been thrilling visitors for over 150 years. The all-electric boats take you up close to the thundering waterfalls, immersing you in the mist and spray. For a different perspective, try the Hornblower Niagara Cruises or Niagara City Cruises. These tours take you on a journey through the Niagara Gorge, offering stunning views of both the American and Canadian falls.

No matter which boat tour you choose, be prepared to get wet! You'll want to wear waterproof clothing and bring along a camera to capture the incredible sights. A boat tour is an essential part of any visit to Niagara Falls. It's an experience you won't soon forget!

2. Visit Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls. This 99-acre garden is home to over 80,000 annual plants grown on-site by students of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. The gardens are meticulously maintained, providing visitors with an awe-inspiring experience that is both educational and relaxing.

The gardens are located on the scenic Niagara Parkway and offer stunning views of the Great Gorge. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the walking paths, enjoying the beauty of nature at its finest. The gardens feature several themed areas, including a rose garden, herb garden, and vegetable garden.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is just a 10-minute drive north of Niagara Falls, making it an easy addition to any itinerary. Best of all, admission to the gardens is free!

3. Go on a Helicopter Tour

If you're looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Niagara Falls, look no further than a helicopter tour. Imagine soaring high above the majestic falls, taking in breathtaking views that you simply can't get from the ground. With options ranging from 12 to 30 minutes, there's a tour length to fit every budget and schedule.

One of the top providers of helicopter tours in Niagara Falls is Niagara Helicopters. Their fleet of seven helicopters has been providing passengers with thrilling sightseeing experiences for over fifty years. You'll fly over not only the falls themselves but also the surrounding vineyards and wineries that make this region so special.

Another great option is Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours, which offers quiet turbine engine helicopters and elite pilots to guide you on your journey. And if you're looking for a tour that combines both aerial and ground views, See Sight Tours offers packages that include both a helicopter ride and a guided walking tour. No matter which provider you choose, a helicopter tour is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your trip to Niagara Falls.

4. Experience the Journey Behind the Falls

This year-round attraction offers a unique perspective of the falls from below and behind. You'll start by descending 125 feet in an elevator before exploring 130-year-old tunnels through the bedrock. As you make your way through the tunnels, you'll hear the roar of the falls getting louder and louder until you reach two observation decks that offer breathtaking views of Horseshoe Falls.

The experience is both thrilling and educational as visitors learn about the history and geology of Niagara Falls. It's also a great way to beat the crowds and get up close to one of nature's most awe-inspiring wonders.

Don't forget to bring your camera to capture unforgettable moments as you stand just feet away from millions of gallons of water cascading down into the Niagara River below. Whether you're traveling solo or with family and friends, experiencing the Journey Behind the Falls is an adventure not to be missed.

5. Visit Skylon Tower

This iconic observation tower offers breathtaking views of both the American Falls and the larger Horseshoe Falls, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking to take in the natural beauty of one of North America's most famous landmarks.

But Skylon Tower isn't just about the view. Visitors can also enjoy a meal at the revolving dining room, which offers stunning panoramic views while you dine on delicious cuisine. Or, opt for the Summit Suite Buffet, which features an extensive selection of dishes from around the world.

And don't forget to visit the observation deck, where you can take in 360-degree views of Niagara Falls from 233 meters (764 feet) above ground. Whether you're visiting during the day or at night when the falls are illuminated, Skylon Tower is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

6. Explore Clifton Hill

Located just one block from the Horseshoe Falls along the Niagara River, Clifton Hill is a must-visit destination for families, couples, and sightseers in North America.

With its vibrant atmosphere and exciting attractions, Clifton Hill offers something for everyone. Take a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel for breathtaking views of the falls from 175 feet up in the air. Challenge your friends to a game of mini-golf at Dinosaur Adventure Golf or experience the thrill of a haunted house at Nightmares Fear Factory.

When it's time to refuel, indulge in some delicious food at one of Clifton Hill's themed restaurants. From classic American fare to international cuisine, there's no shortage of options. Don't forget to snap some photos with your loved ones at one of Clifton Hill's many photo opportunities. From giant dinosaurs to life-sized wax figures, there are plenty of unique backdrops to choose from.

7. Take a Wine Tour

Niagara Falls is home to some of Canada's most renowned wineries, and there's no better way to sample the local offerings than taking a guided tour.

Many wineries offer customizable packages that include transportation, tastings at multiple vineyards, barrel samples, and meals. You'll learn about wine production as you sample flavors from world-renowned regional wineries like Inniskillin and Peller Estates.

And don't forget to take advantage of the many discounts available at Niagara Falls wineries for visitors who purchase their wines directly from the source. This is a great way to pick up souvenirs while supporting local businesses. Whether you're a wine aficionado or just looking for an authentic experience, taking a Niagara Falls winery tour is an excellent way to explore the region and discover its unique offerings.

8. Visit Niagara-on-the-Lake

Located just a short drive away from Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of Ontario's most beloved towns. This charming city features some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada, with its cobblestone streets and 19th-century architecture.

Take a stroll down Queen Street, the main thoroughfare lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Stop in at one of the many boutiques to pick up unique souvenirs or just take some time to admire the beautiful buildings along the way.

And be sure to visit Fort George, a historic site that served as home for the British army during the War of 1812. At this national historic site, you can explore barracks and artillery buildings, as well as take in reenactments of battles that took place during the war.

But what makes Niagara-on-the-Lake truly special are its world-renowned wineries. The region's moderate climate and fertile soil make it an ideal location for grape growing, resulting in some of Canada's best wines. Visitors can take a wine tour and sample some of the finest wines produced in this region.

9. Go Ziplining

The thrill of ziplining is an experience that should not be missed when visiting Niagara Falls. With several options to choose from, adventure seekers can soar above the Niagara River Gorge and take in breathtaking views of the falls.

One popular choice is the WildPlay Zipline to the Falls, which takes riders on a heart-pumping ride toward the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. For those looking for a more challenging course, WildPlay's MistRider Zipline offers a longer and faster ride over the Niagara River.

But ziplining in Niagara Falls isn't just for adrenaline junkies. The fully-guided experience allows riders to take in stunning panoramic views of one of nature's wonders while feeling weightless as they glide through the air. And with options to zipline at night or even in winter, it's an activity that can be enjoyed year-round.

10. Visit Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone seeking a unique experience. As you step inside, you'll be transported to a tropical paradise filled with lush greenery and exotic blossoms. The conservatory is home to over 2,000 butterflies of 45 different species, fluttering around freely in their natural habitat. It's an incredible sight to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal.

The paths wind through the conservatory, allowing visitors to take in the stunning scenery from every angle. You can spend hours here admiring the butterflies' vibrant colors and patterns while listening to the calming sound of waterfalls in the background.

And be sure to check out the "Butterfly Emergence Window", a unique glass-enclosed area where you can watch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. This is an incredible experience that's certainly not to be missed.

11. Play at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is one of the most exciting things to do in Niagara Falls. This waterpark is perfect for families, couples, and solo travelers looking for a fun and thrilling experience. With over 3 acres of indoor water fun, there's something for everyone at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.

The park features 16 waterslides, a massive wave pool, hot springs, and a children's play area. The park's main attraction is the Canadian Plunge, which drops riders from a height of six stories into a swirling vortex of water. The park also has an outdoor sundeck with stunning views of Niagara Falls.

Visitors can choose from several packages that include admission to the waterpark and nearby attractions like Niagara SkyWheel and Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. The waterpark also offers dining options like Planet Hollywood Beach Club and Sweet Jesus ice cream. If you plan on going to the waterpark throughout your vacation, consider staying at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel directly connected to the waterpark and near Niagara Falls' best attractions.

12. Explore White Water Walk

This boardwalk offers an up-close and personal experience with the raw power of the Niagara River's Class 6 whitewater rapids. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the wooden path or take an informative guided tour, both of which offer stunning views of the river's churning.

To start your adventure, take the elevator 70 meters down into the gorge, then walk through the 73-meter tunnel to reach the boardwalk. Once there, you'll be able to witness firsthand the incredible force of nature as it rushes past you at breakneck speeds.

But it's not just about adrenaline-pumping excitement. The White Water Walk also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including lush forests and towering cliffs. It's a truly immersive experience that will leave you feeling both exhilarated and awed.

13. Go Golfing

The beautiful Niagara Falls is not only known for its stunning waterfalls but also for its golf courses. Golf enthusiasts will be delighted to know that there are numerous golf courses in and around Niagara Falls, both in Canada and the United States. The courses range from beginner-friendly to challenging championship-level courses designed by renowned architects like Robert Trent Jones II and Rees Jones.

One of the best places to go golfing in Niagara Falls is Legends on the Niagara, which is run by the Province's Niagara Parks Commission. It features three courses: Battlefield, Ushers Creek, and a 9-hole course. Another great option is Thundering Waters Golf Club, which offers a challenging course with breathtaking views of the falls.

14. Visit the Bird Kingdom

The Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls is an absolute must-visit for any traveler looking for a unique and unforgettable experience. As soon as you step inside the world's largest free-flying indoor aviary, you'll be transported to a tropical paradise filled with hundreds of exotic birds from around the world.

Take your time exploring the multi-level pathways and discover the various species of birds that call this place home. You'll have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful and colorful birds you've ever seen, including toucans, parrots, flamingos, and more.

One of the highlights of your visit will undoubtedly be the interactive bird shows where you can watch these feathered creatures perform incredible feats and even have them perch on your arm or shoulder.

15. Enjoy Fireworks over the Falls

Niagara Falls is a must-visit destination for any traveler, and one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have here is watching the fireworks over the falls. The sight of colorful explosions lighting up the night sky against the backdrop of the majestic falls is truly mesmerizing.

There are many vantage points from which you can enjoy this spectacle, including outdoor spaces in Niagara Parks and high above Skylon Tower. You can also take a guided tour that includes viewing the fireworks display. If you want to make it even more special, consider booking a Fallsview hotel room at Hilton or Sheraton to enjoy the show from your own balcony.

The fireworks displays take place several times throughout the week, so you can easily plan your visit around them. Be sure to check out the schedule beforehand so you don't miss out on this unforgettable experience.

Top 3 Places To Stay in Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls area is home to some of the most luxurious and sought-after accommodations in Canada. Whether you're looking for a cozy family getaway or a romantic escape for two, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are our top picks for the best places to stay in Niagara Falls:

1. Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort in Niagara is the perfect choice for your next vacation. With both indoor water park fun and exciting land attractions, there's something for every member of your family to enjoy.

The indoor water park features thrilling rides like the double whirlwind and river canyon run, as well as more relaxed options like the lazy river and hot tubs. But the fun doesn't stop there - Great Wolf Lodge also offers activities like mini golf, arcade games, and even a spa for parents to relax while the kids play.

And when it comes to accommodations, Great Wolf Lodge has you covered with spacious suites that can accommodate families of all sizes. Plus, with multiple dining options on-site, you won't have to worry about finding a place to eat after a long day of fun.

2. Sheraton Fallsview Hotel

This 4-diamond/5-star hotel boasts an unrivaled location overlooking the falls, offering stunning views of Ontario. With 669 guestrooms and suites, many featuring breathtaking views of the falls, you'll feel pampered and relaxed during your stay.

Connected to Casino Niagara and Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, this hotel offers on-site dining, shopping, and spa services. You can enjoy a meal at one of the hotel's restaurants or grab a drink at the bar/lounge. The fitness center is open 24/7 so you can keep up with your workout routine even while on vacation.
The Sheraton Fallsview Hotel has just completed a full-scale $50 million transformation, ensuring that your stay will be comfortable and modern. Whether you're traveling with family or friends or taking a romantic getaway with your significant other, this hotel is sure to impress.

3. Strathaird Bed and Breakfast

Located just a short walk from the Niagara River Gorge, this B&B offers a peaceful atmosphere and warm hospitality that will make you feel right at home.

The rooms are uniquely decorated and come with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including free Wi-Fi. The daily full hot Canadian breakfast is a highlight of your stay here, featuring delicious French toast/pancakes, fresh fruit, eggs, meat, and more.

One of the best things about Strathaird Bed and Breakfast is its location. You'll be just minutes away from all the major attractions in Niagara Falls, including American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. If you're feeling adventurous, take a walk along the Niagara River Gorge to get some stunning views of the falls.

Overall, Strathaird Bed and Breakfast is an excellent choice for travelers looking for a cozy and convenient place to stay in Niagara Falls. With its warm hospitality and great location, you're sure to have an unforgettable experience here.

Top 4 Restaurants in Niagara Falls, Canada

The Niagara Falls area is home to some of the best restaurants in Canada. You can find everything from classic Canadian dishes to innovative takes on global cuisine. Here are our top recommendations for the best restaurants in Niagara Falls:

1. Carpaccio Restaurant & Wine Bar

This restaurant has been voted the best overall restaurant in the area, and for good reason. The menu is a selective mix of old-world tastes and modern cuisine that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
Start off with some antipasti, like their delicious bruschetta or Caprese salad. Then move on to their perfectly baked pizzas or grilled meats. If you're in the mood for pasta, try their lamb risotto or gnocchi "Amelia". And don't forget to save room for dessert - their tiramisu is out of this world.

But it's not just the food that makes Carpaccio stand out. The wine bar is also a must-visit spot, with an impressive selection of wines from around the world. The sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere makes it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Niagara.

2. Weinkeller

This unique restaurant and winery offer a fresh farm-to-table experience that's hard to come by in the area. Not only do they serve delicious food, but they also make their own wine right on the premises. You'll love the casually upscale atmosphere and contemporary take on classic pub fare.

The menu at Weinkeller is customizable with a prix fixe option, so you can create your own perfect meal. They use locally sourced ingredients to create dishes like roasted beet salad, braised short ribs, and seared scallops. And of course, their wine selection is top-notch. Try a flight of their house-crafted wines or order a bottle to share with your group.

Weinkeller is located just one block northeast of Clifton Hill, making it a convenient stop during your Niagara Falls adventure. Don't forget to book your table in advance.

3. AG Inspired Cuisine

Located in the Sterling Inn & Spa, this restaurant serves up regionally and seasonally-inspired cuisine that will leave your taste buds singing.

The commitment to using locally sourced ingredients is evident in every dish, from the Sugar Snap Pea and Confit Salad to the Ontario Charcuterie Plate. The menu changes regularly to reflect what's fresh and in season, so you can always expect something new and exciting.

One of the standout dishes at AG Inspired Cuisine is the Smoked Salmon Roulade, which features house-smoked salmon rolled with cream cheese and served with pickled red onion and capers. It's a perfect appetizer to start your meal off right.

The atmosphere at AG Inspired Cuisine is upscale yet comfortable, making it a great spot for a romantic dinner or special occasion. And with its recent recognition as one of Canada's top fine dining restaurants, you know you're in for an unforgettable culinary experience.

4. Tide and Vine Oyster House

This restaurant is a seafood haven that offers a variety of dishes inspired by scratch cooking. The oysters are the star of the show here, and they are served fresh and delicious. You can also try their lobster roll, which comes with potato salad and is served cold. The soup is another must-try dish that's rich and flavorful.

The ambiance of Tide and Vine Oyster House is cozy, with wooden interiors that give it a rustic feel. You can enjoy your meal while looking out at the beautiful Niagara Falls view. But what really sets Tide and Vine apart from other seafood restaurants is their commitment to scratch cooking.

Everything on the menu is made from scratch using only the freshest ingredients available. And if you're planning an event or just want to enjoy some seafood at home, they also offer catering and wholesale seafood supply services.

Nightlife in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is known for its stunning natural beauty, but it also has a vibrant nightlife scene that offers visitors plenty of options to enjoy after the sun goes down. Whether you're looking for a night out at a pub or club, live music, or just a place to grab a drink with friends, Niagara Falls has something for everyone.

One of the top spots for nightlife in Niagara Falls is the Niagara SkyWheel. This towering Ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the falls and the surrounding area, and it's especially beautiful at night when everything is lit up. For those who prefer something more traditional, LoxStock & Barrel Saloon is a popular choice. This western-themed bar offers live music and line dancing lessons, as well as delicious food and drinks.

If you're looking for something more upscale, check out Greg Frewin Theatre. This elegant venue hosts magic shows and other performances throughout the year, making it a great option for date night or a special occasion. And if you're in the mood for some Irish charm, head to Irish Harp Pub for live music and authentic Irish fare.

No matter what your plans are for the evening, you're sure to find something to enjoy in Niagara Falls. From lively pubs and clubs to romantic restaurants and live entertainment, there's something for everyone.

Tips for Visiting Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls area is an incredibly popular tourist destination, and for good reason. But before you head out on your adventure, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. See the Falls from Both Sides: The falls straddle the border between Canada and the United States, so if you can, try to see them from both sides.

2. Be Prepared for Border Crossing: If you plan on crossing the border, make sure you have all the necessary documents and be prepared for long lines.

3. Stay in a Hotel with a View: Splurge for a hotel room with a view of the falls for an unforgettable experience.

4. Plan Ahead: Don't just plan a day trip to Niagara Falls - there's plenty to see and do, so plan ahead and give yourself enough time to explore.

5. Bring Appropriate Clothing: Depending on the time of year, temperatures can vary greatly, so bring appropriate clothing.

6. Wear Comfortable Shoes: You'll be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes that can handle wet conditions.

7. Book an Organized Trip: If you're short on time or want to make sure you don't miss anything, book an organized tour.

8. Save Money on Food: Many restaurants near the falls can be expensive - save money by packing snacks or eating at more affordable places away from tourist areas.

9. Visit During Off-Peak Times: To avoid crowds and get better deals on accommodations and activities, consider visiting during off-peak times.

10. Take Advantage of Local Knowledge: Talk to locals or check out online resources like blogs or forums for insider tips on how to make the most of your visit.

Niagara Falls is an amazing destination that offers something for everyone. You can explore its stunning natural beauty, discover its rich history and culture, or take part in some thrilling activities. Whatever you choose to do during your visit to Niagara Falls, this beautiful destination will not fail to impress. With so much to offer, it is no wonder that the falls continue to attract people from all over the world year after year!

The best way to experience Niagara Falls is simply to come and see it for yourself - and you'll be sure to create memories that last a lifetime. We wish you all the best on your travels and have fun!

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