You can gaze at it, cruise up to it, walk behind it or zip past it while strapped into a harness. It doesn’t matter how you choose to experience Niagara Falls, you’ll soon see why it’s a natural wonder that deserves to be at the top of your bucket list. You tingle with awe as you experience the many wonderful things to do in Niagara Falls and it doesn’t take long before you find yourself spellbound by its magnetic power.
Most activities involve its three waterfalls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) and the Niagara River but do venture a little further to the charming historic town of Niagara on the Lake and the Niagara’s excellent wine regions for more surprises.
To help you plan your trip, here’s our list of top things to do in Niagara Falls followed by the most unique things to do in Niagara Falls and tips on the best time to visit Niagara Falls (have you considered visiting Niagara Falls in winter?). How many of these 30 things to do in Niagara Falls have you ticked off your bucket list?
- 30 Things to do in Niagara Falls
- Niagara Falls Attractions For Your First Visit
- 1- Soak up the view at Table Rock
- 2- Take a Hornblower Falls Cruise
- 3- Ride the Wildplay Zipline to the Falls
- 4- Journey Behind The Falls
- 5- Ride the Niagara Skywheel
- 6- Helicopter over Niagara Falls
- 7- Ride the Whirlpool Jetboat over the Devil’s Hole
- 8- See the views from Skylon Tower
- 9- Ride the Whirlpool Aerocar over Niagara Gorge
- 10- Stretch your legs on the White Water Walk
- Unique things to do in Niagara Falls
- 11- Enjoy the view from a Fallsview room
- 12- Yoga by the Falls
- 13- Chase butterflies at the Butterfly Arboretum
- 14- Ride a Helicopter to a Winery
- 15- Visit St Catherine’s Museum and Welland Canals Centre
- 16- Explore Niagara on the Lake
- 17- Go Shopping in Jordan
- 18- Go Wine Tasting along the Twenty Valley Wine Trail
- 19- See A Show At The IMAX Theatre
- 20- Cycle the Niagara Parkway
- Things To Do In Niagara Falls at Night
- Best time to visit Niagara Falls
- Things To Do In Niagara Falls in winter
- Things To Do In Niagara Falls in Spring
- Niagara Falls Tours
- Niagara Falls Attractions For Your First Visit
30 Things to do in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls Attractions For Your First Visit
The minute you set eyes on the Falls, you will likely feel its magnetic pull.
Staring at the torrent of gushing water is mesmerising and if it’s your first time to Niagara Falls, so make sure you experience the Falls from different angles.
Here are the top things to do in Niagara Falls to experience the charismatic power of the waterfall.
1- Soak up the view at Table Rock
The thundering water rushing over the edge of Horseshoe Falls sounds like thousands of wild horses galloping.
Your first view of Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall, from the viewing platform at Table Rock Welcome Centre will stay with you forever.
When the Ice Age ended 12,000 years ago, vast torrents of water from the melting ice drained into the Niagara River plunges over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
Over the centuries, the water wore down layers of rock and the yearly freezing and thawing of the Niagara River, erosion and rock falls gradually created the wonderous natural phenomenon that draws people from all over the world.
Table Rock is at 6650 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls.
2- Take a Hornblower Falls Cruise
Get soaked during a Niagara Hornblower Cruise as the boat floats to the base of Niagara Falls is a fantastic experience.
The wall of water and thundering surround sound as cruises up to Horseshoe Falls is a memorable experience.
The Voyage to the Falls cruise gets you up close to mighty Niagara Falls, and off all the things to do in Niagara Falls, this one is not to be missed.
3- Ride the Wildplay Zipline to the Falls
Your heart thumps as you’re strapped into a harness and it’s not long before the gates slide open and you’re flying along with Horshoe Falls to your left.
Whizzing along the Niagara River gorge at 70+ kph (40+ mph) alongside three other riders dangling 67 m (220 foot) above the ground is an exhilarating experience.
Here’s the chance to conquer your fear of heights and take home memories of one of the most fun things to do in Niagara Falls.
The ride is suitable for kids aged seven and above and the entire experience takes about 1.5 hours.
4- Journey Behind The Falls
You descend underground by elevator and walk through a short tunnel to reach two outdoor decks directly behind Horseshoe Falls.
The catacombs at Journey Behind the Falls leads to the Cataract and Great Falls Portal, a third of the way behind 2,800 cubic meters of water thundering down at 65 km per hour.
Journey Behind the Falls is a unique thing to do in Niagara Falls and you won’t forget.
You might get a little damp from the mist but there’s no need to bring a raincoat as the ticket comes with a biodegradable rain poncho.
5- Ride the Niagara Skywheel
The best way to see Niagara Falls on both sides is to hang out at the Niagara Skywheel, a giant Ferris wheel that’s the next best thing to fly over the falls.
Canada’s largest observation wheel is one of the attractions in Clifton Hill that will give you a great view of both the Canadian and American sides of Niagara Falls.
6- Helicopter over Niagara Falls
Your heart lifts as the helicopter follows the Niagara River and over the swirling water of the whirlpool.
The jetboats look small and insignificant in the vast river and magnificent landscape.
The helicopter curves around Horseshoe Falls, where you’ll marvel at the spectacular view from the sky on a journey you’ll always remember.
7- Ride the Whirlpool Jetboat over the Devil’s Hole
Riding the choppy waters and fast-flowing rapids of the Niagara River is one of the more adventurous things to do in Niagara Falls.
If you love thrilling rides, a ride on the Whirlpool Jet Boat is a fun attraction you won’t want to miss when visiting Niagara Falls.
The scenery is inspiring and you’ll learn a little about the history of Niagara Falls and the gorge but best of all is the euphoria (once you’re over the initial trepidation) of the rush of riding the Class V white water rapids known as the Devil’s Hole.
Be warned you’re likely to get drenched, and if you’d rather stay dry, sit in the back seats, as the first few rows is the wet zone.
Tip: Bring dry clothes to change into after the ride.
8- See the views from Skylon Tower
A retro tower constructed in the 1960s, Skylon Tower has a vintage feel and is a landmark in Niagara Falls.
The tower could do with a refurbishment to modernise its facilities, however, it’s still worth visiting for the fabulous view from the Observation Deck.
You can take your time to soak up bird’s-eye scenes of the falls, gorge, and wine region, Buffalo, New York and Toronto skylines as you walk around the 360-degree Observation Deck from which, on a clear day, visibility is 129 km (80 miles).
If you have time for a leisurely meal, the Revolving Dining Room rotates 360 degrees in one hour and you’ll be able to see all three waterfalls (Canadian Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls ) from the restaurant.
Tip: Skylon Tower is a good spot to watch the fireworks – check out the schedule here.
Skylon Tower is at 5200 Robinson St, Niagara Falls. Opening hours are from 8 am to 12 am in summer and spring.
9- Ride the Whirlpool Aerocar over Niagara Gorge
If battling a Class V rapid is not your cup of tea, a more sedate thing to do in Niagara Falls if you want to see Niagara Gorge is to ride the Whirlpool Aerocar.
It offers spectacular views of the swirling Niagara Whirlpool and the Class 6 whitewater rapids of the Niagara River.
You board an antique 1916 open-air cable car suspended by six sturdy cables.
It crosses the Niagara Gorge and offers a panoramic view of the swirling Niagara Whirlpool and the jet boats speeding through the Niagara River’s whitewater rapids.
The Niagara Whirlpool is a natural phenomenon created by the massive volume of water rushing over Niagara Falls and into the narrow gorge, causing the water to turn counterclockwise.
That’s why experiencing the Whirlpool Aerocar is one of the classic things to do in Niagara Falls, so do tick it off your list.
The Whirlpool Aerocar operates daily from 10 am to 5 pm from spring to autumn.
Check out a selection of Niagara Falls tours here.
10- Stretch your legs on the White Water Walk
One of my favourite things to do in Niagara Falls is the White Water Walk, which is a boardwalk along the Great Gorge that showcases the power of the raging Class 6 rapids.
An elevator takes you 70 m to the base of the gorge, where you walk along a timber boardwalk alongside the river.
Hearing the roar and seeing the largest standing waves (it’s a phenomenon that occurs when two waves are moving in opposite directions).
The Whirlpool rapids consist of four kilometres of standing waves three to five-metre high.
There are several platforms where you can stand right up the water’s edge, where being so close to the crashing waves is energising while looking up at the 410 million-year-old rocks of the Niagara Gorge.
The panels along the boardwalk provide a wealth of information, such as the water flows past at 48 km/h (30 mph).
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Unique things to do in Niagara Falls
11- Enjoy the view from a Fallsview room
The first sight of the Falls from my Fallsview room at the Embassy Suites took my breath away.
I wanted to cancel everything on my planned itinerary and just sit by the window, stare at the boats cruising around the falls all afternoon, and let my soul drink in the majestic sight.
So take a tip and schedule some downtime to admire the view from the comfort of your hotel room.
My two-room suite had a separate living room with a couch and work desk, while the bedroom had a stunning view, where I could like in bed and gaze out the window.
Embassy Suites is one of several high-rise hotels with rooms with views of the falls.
Other hotels with stunning views of Canada’s top natural wonder include Crowne Plaza, DoubleTree Fallsview, Four Points by Sheraton, Marriot on the Falls and Oaks Hotel.
Tip: Hotels in Niagara Falls can get very busy in summer, and the wait to get a seat at breakfast (especially after 9 am) can be quite long, so pay attention to the instructions when you check in.
12- Yoga by the Falls
The waterfalls of Niagara are believed to have a positive effect on wellbeing and stress levels.
Some people even feel that they can breathe easier while near the waterfall.
A great way to build on the positive physiological effects of the negative ions generated by Niagara Falls is to join a yoga class.
The lower observation deck is the perfect spot to soak up all those negative ions but don’t be surprised if you get wet.
Yoga by the Falls costs $60 and includes a 45-minute yoga class, access to Journey Behind the Falls and brunch at Queenston Heights or Whirlpool Restaurant.
13- Chase butterflies at the Butterfly Arboretum
Located on the ground of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, a lovely place to wander around, the butterfly arboretum is a magical place to visit.
The impressive facility has over 2000 tropical butterflies that flutter around a landscape of trees, bubbling brooks and trickling waterfalls.
If you stand still, you might be lucky enough to have one of these beautiful butterflies land on your arm or shoulder.
A good time to visit is during winter when the climate-controlled arboretum feels like a tropical paradise.
If you’re lucky enough to visit at the right time of the butterfly lifecycle, you might catch them emerging from their cocoon.
14- Ride a Helicopter to a Winery
If the weather doesn’t permit, flying over the falls may not be possible but if you want to treat yourself, flying over picturesque orchards and rows of verdant green vineyards is a pleasant experience.
The Niagara region has over 50 wineries, with around 25 vineyards in nearby Niagara on the Lake.
We flew over the wineries and landed on the grounds of Pellers Estate, alighting from the helicopter like rockstars as a gathering group of visitors stared curiously.
A tour of the vineyards, tasting room and cellar follows lunch at the winery.
15- Visit St Catherine’s Museum and Welland Canals Centre
If you love ships, drop in at the Welland Canals Centre and head to the observation platform to see the ships pass through Lock 3 while navigating the Welland Canal (open between the end of March and December).
The Welland Canal was built to allow ships to bypass Niagara Falls and descend the Niagara escarpment between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
It takes around eight hours to pass through the 44.4 km (27.6 miles) canal and its eight locks.
St Catharine’s Museum has an old-fashioned museum packed with fascinating displays and memorabilia that tell the story of the town of St Catharine and the Welland Canal.
St Catherine’s Museum is at 1932 Welland Canals Pkwy, St. Catharines.
16- Explore Niagara on the Lake
A 20-minute drive, or an exhilarating helicopter flight, from the Falls, is the charming historic town of Niagara on the Lake.
It was the first capital of Upper Canada before York, which was later renamed Toronto, became the capital of Ontario.
Niagara on the Lake’s attractive main street is packed with boutiques, galleries, bakeries and cafes.
Other attractions around Niagara on the Lake include visiting wineries, spas and playing golf.
17- Go Shopping in Jordan
A 20-minute drive from Horseshoe Falls, Jordan Village is a smaller, quieter version of Niagara on the Lake.
Wandering around the main street is one of the relaxing things to do near Niagara Falls away from the crowds.
Jordan has a pretty tree-lined street with excellent art galleries, dress shops and cafes.
18- Go Wine Tasting along the Twenty Valley Wine Trail
The 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards, seven out of 11 Canadian wines that won gold were from the Niagara peninsula.
Niagara’s Twenty Valley (around Jordan, Vineland, Beamsville) and the Niagara Escarpment is filled with boutique family-run wineries.
The region has a similar latitude and growing conditions to many European wine regions.
Its location along the Niagara Escarpment near Lake Ontario is a good location to produce Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With 51 wineries and 27 restaurants, there’s plenty of wine tasting in this area, such as the cellar door at Honsberger Estate, which has been a farm since 1811) and now has an outdoor restaurant that serves tasty wood-fired pizzas, and Vineland Estates Winery.
The latter has a picturesque collection of 19th-century buildings with a stone tower, stone Carriage House, barn, homestead and farmhouse set among the vineyards.
19- See A Show At The IMAX Theatre
Enhanced your trip by visiting the IMAX Theatre, where you’ll be treated to a dramatic and exciting movie experience on a six-story screen with 12,000 watts of powerful digital surround sound.
The IMAX 3D movies combine entertainment and education to give viewers the impression that they are right in the middle of the action.
There are also audio guides in multiple languages available for viewing the movie.
It’s an in-your-face way to learn about the history of the Falls and the people who have braved the Falls and survived to tell the tales.
If you’ve had your fill of being outside and want to be entertained while still feeling relaxed, the IMAX theatre is a great place to go.
Niagara Falls IMAX Theater is at 5781 Ellen Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3P8.
20- Cycle the Niagara Parkway
Cycle from Niagara on the Lake along the Niagara Parkway past historical landmarks and wineries.
The Niagara River Recreation Trail, from Niagara on the Lake to Fort Erie, is a 56 km path that will give you a decent workout.
A more leisurely route is to cycle to Fort George (20 minutes/4.6 km), stopping at Walker’s Country Market and Kurtz Orchards along the way.
Bike rental companies for traditional and electric bikes can be found either in Niagara-on-the-Lake or Niagara Falls.
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Things To Do In Niagara Falls at Night
Niagara Falls was once “The Honeymoon Capital of the World”, making it a buzzy destination day and night.
Keep in mind that many of the popular attractions, such as the
While there are plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls for couples, these days, if you’re visiting with the family, there’s no shortage of attractions for kids.
21- Dine with a view at Table Rock House
Book a table at Table Rock House Restaurant, which is right next to Horseshoe Falls, for a meal with a view.
When night falls, the nightly illumination of pink, green, blue, red and purple lights up Niagara Falls in a rainbow of pretty colours.
The menu is prepared with ingredients sourced from local farms, and a selection of Niagara’s wines meals are delicious, hearty and reasonably priced ($49 for three courses).
Table Rock Restaurant is in Table Rock Centre, 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls.
22- Drink Craft Beer at Clifton Hill Brewing Company
If you’re looking for a party city in Canada, Niagara Falls has lots for fun after dark.
Clifton Hill is a mini Las Vegas with casinos.
Walk up the hill and around to see the flashing neon lights and fun attractions that attract kids of all ages (more about this later).
Pop into Clifton Hill Brewing Company for a Niagara Premium Lager, Beerdevil IPA (brewed to remember the daredevil thrill-seekers that have tackled the thundering falls) or a Honeymoon Peach Radler (a peach-flavoured malt with a hint of ginger).
23- Niagara Falls Fireworks Cruise
The fireworks at Niagara Falls are spectacular and a great way to see the is to go on a Niagara Falls Fireworks Cruise.
Summer is the best time to watch the free fireworks that light up the sky above the American and Horseshoe Falls between May and October.
There’s a fireworks display every evening at 10 pm from June to September, reducing to Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in Spring.
There are spectacular holiday fireworks on Victoria Day (17 to 20 May) and Memorial Day (24 to 27 May) weekends, as well as Canadian Thanksgiving (8 October ).
24- Roll the dice at Fallsview Casino
Of the two casinos in Niagara Falls, the larger Fallsview Casino Resort has a range of upmarket shops, a decent entertainment programme and several restaurants.
21 Club Steak and Seafood is the place to splurge on Russian Black Pearl Caviar or Canadian Sturgeon.
Also on the menu is an impressive selection of different types of steak, such as Canadian Prime Angus from Alberta, antibiotic and hormone-free organic steak from Ontario, beef from Australia, Nebraska and Japan.
Located at the top of Murray Hill, with a balcony with a view of the falls framed by trees.
The smaller Casino Niagara is within walking distance of Horseshoe Falls.
25- Meet the ghosts at Fort George
One of the weird things to do in Niagara Falls is to go on a ghost tour.
Fort George played an important role in the defence of Upper Canada during the War of 1812.
The National Historic Site is open from May to October and you can visit to see re-enactments during the day, however, a highlight is to join a ghost tour to experience Fort George after dark.
26- Have Fun At Clifton Hill
If you’re visiting with kids, the best place to have fun in Niagara Falls at night is Clifton Hill.
There are plenty of Niagara Falls attractions suitable for kids of all ages. Highlights are:
- Nightmares Fear Factory
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Learn about strange discoveries.
- Guinness Book of World Records museum – beat a world record and be amazed at the exhibits.
- Niagara Speedway
- Dinosaur Adventure Golf
Get the Clifton Hill fun pass, which offers access to six attractions (including the Skywheel)
Best time to visit Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a destination for all seasons and each season in Niagara Falls highlights the different things to do.
Summer in Niagara Falls is high season, where the traffic and crowds are a testament to the region’s popularity.
Summertime is also the most popular time for sightseeing and fireworks displays but keep in mind that the lines to the various attractions are usually much longer than at other times of the year.
Things To Do In Niagara Falls in winter
There are several good reasons to visit Niagara Falls in winter:
- In winter, Niagara Falls is stunning as icicles and snow frame the waterfall, creating a magical effect like scenes from Lord of the Rings.
- Winter is less crowded as most tourists visit in the warmer months.
- Hotel prices drop considerably and a room with a view of the falls in winter is much more affordable (around CAD$150) than in summer, when prices can be two or three times higher. Compare prices here.
27- Niagara Icewine Festival
Snuggle up in a pub or a wine bar or visit a winery to sample the highly revered Icewine, which this region is famous for.
Ontario produces around 80% of the world’s Icewine and the snow-draped vineyards are as pretty as a picture.
Vintners and Icewine fans mingle at the annual Niagara Icewine Festival to taste some of the best icewine in the world in January.
28- Winter Festival of Lights
The Niagara Parkway transforms into a winter wonderland during the Winter Festival of Lights (November to January).
The winter light displays in Niagara Falls are enchanting and can be enjoyed around the region, including at the Zimmerman Fountain, an illuminated tunnel in Queen Victoria Park and Inukshuks on Dufferin Islands.
The programme includes a series of events and concerts to plan your trip around.
29- Celebrate New Year’s Eve
If you’re looking for a party, one of the biggest shows in Niagara Falls is the annual New Year’s Eve celebration.
Queen Victoria Park is the venue for the New Year’s Eve concert and the hotels offer dinner and dance packages.
Things To Do In Niagara Falls in Spring
Spring is a beautiful time of year to visit and if you’re wondering what to do in Niagara Falls in spring, start by following the flower trail.
30- Visit the gardens of Niagara Falls
The Floral Showhouse
Smell the perennials at the Floral Showhouse in Queen Victoria Park and marvel at the tulips and daffodils that brighten up the garden beds in mid-spring.
The Floral Clock
The planted face of the Floral Clock is a popular place for a photograph, with its 16,000 springtime flowers.
Centennial Lilac Garden
Visit the Centennial Lilac Garden to see 200 different varieties of plants and flowers.
Stroll around 40 hectares of beautifully manicured gardens.
Niagara Falls Tours
Located on the Canadian-U.S. border the mighty Niagara Falls is an all-time favourite vacation destination and there are plenty of Niagara Falls attractions for all seasons.
Here are some tours that combine visits to both sides of Niagara Falls.