best things to do in Niagara Falls

Boasting a reputation as one of Earth’s most marvelous natural wonders, Niagara Falls has been a dream vacation destination for more than 200 years. Not only do the falls offer an incredible spectacle, but the wider area is jam-packed with countless additional impressive activities.

Fans of the outdoors will find plenty to love here; along with the spectacular falls themselves, the area is filled with gorgeous hiking trails, butterfly pavilions, and plenty of scenic cruises.

On the indoor side of things, you can explore the stories of the Underground Railroad, try your luck at the casinos, or flip your view of the world inside a house where everything is upside down, from the furnishings to the building itself!

Whether you come from the Canadian or American side, you’ll be able to find museums, wine trails, theme parks, vibrant nightlife, family adventures, and plenty more. There really is something for everyone!

With so much to offer, picking an itinerary can be tough. That’s why we’ve done it for you! Here’s the exclusive list of the best things to do in Niagara Falls.

1 – Experience the WildPlay MistRider Zipline

WildPlay MistRider Ziplining

Take the opportunity to experience Niagara falls through an insane perspective; starting from the Canadian side, the zipline to the falls propels you above the thundering falls – you’ll feel like a bird soaring through the sky.

This is one of the most incredible experiences in the area, without a doubt. Check out this short video below to see what it’s all about!

2 – Soar over the falls on the Rainbow Air Helicopter Tour

Niagara Falls helicopter tour
credit to Viator

If exclusive excitement and unbeatable views are what the doctor ordered, then you can’t go past a Niagara Falls helicopter flight – it’s undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating activities on offer, not just in Niagara but nationwide!

The vistas from the air are like something straight out of a fairytale, so don’t forget to snap a few pictures to immortalize the moment!

Check Niagara Falls helicopter tours starting from the US side.

Check Niagara Falls helicopter tours starting from the Canadian side.

3 – Stroll around Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park

Known for being one of the nation’s oldest parks, the Niagara Falls State Park is as history-focused as it is nature-focused.

Encompassing the protected area surrounding the famous falls, you’ll be awestricken no matter which direction you look. Savor these sights atop the 282-foot Prospect Point Observation Tower, or from the ground aboard the Niagara Scenic Trolley.

The park features exciting attractions, interactive exhibits, miles of hiking trails, and many restaurants that you can enjoy with your family and friends.

4 – Feel the thrills on a jet boat tour

Whirlpool jet boat tours in Niagara Falls

For an unforgettable, heart-racing experience, don’t pass up the opportunity to descend the bubbling waters of the Niagara River strapped into a high-speed, open jet boat!

This longstanding activity is one the best (and wettest) ways to take in the magnificent surroundings.

Check jet boat tours starting from the Canadian side.

Check jet boat tours starting from the US side.

5 – Climb the hills on the Niagara Hornblower Funicular

Niagara Hornblower Funicular
Credit to Niagara Cruises

The Niagara Hornblower Funicular is one of the earliest-built attractions in the greater Niagara Falls area. Despite its long history, it remains one of the most scenic and in-demand activities available!

A ride on the funicular paints views of a beautiful landscape, with a pleasantly surprising variety of terrains. It’s all part of a broader overview of the entire region, and it’s a must-do for visitors of all ages!

6 – Set sail on the Niagara Hornblower Cruise

Niagara Hornblower cruise

The Voyage of the Falls – Hornblower Cruise is one of the most popular boat tours in Niagara Falls, for good reason!

The video below gives you an insight into the incredible atmosphere that this boat tour has to offer. You’ll be blessed with the chance to get extremely close to the falls and notice a rainbow or two on the way as well.

We strongly advise wearing a waterproof coat!

7 – Take a break at Riverside Patio

Credit to Niagara Crises

If you’re stomach’s starting to rumble, but you simply can’t take your eyes off the cascading falls, then this restaurant is for you!

Take a break with a snack or opt for a well-deserved drink in the company of your friends – either way, you’ll be able to continue soaking in the stunning views.

8 – Explore the hiking trails in Devil’s Hole State Park

Devil’s Hole State Park

Overlooking the Devil’s Hole Rapids, this New York slice of nature presents as a fantastic family-friendly environment for any afternoon.

You can find picnic areas, hiking trails, and stunning views of the rapids. The Devil’s Hole State Park is also known for being an excellent spot for fishing!

9 – Feel the vibrations at Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls

If you want to feel like you’ve stepped into the heart of Niagara, try the Journey Behind the Falls! The powerful vibrations of the falls encapsulate you as you descend over 100 feet and venture through 130-year-old passages.

Once you step out onto the observation, you’ll be starstruck. This is a fantastic activity to do while visiting Niagara Falls and is perfect if you want to feel like you have done it all.

10 – Immerse yourself in nature on the White Water Walk

The White Water Walk

Don’t feel like getting wet but still want to witness the power of the rushing water? Then the White Water Walk awaits!

Stunning colors and views are aplenty as you stroll down the footpath at your own pace. Don’t forget to snap a few photos of the 410-million-year-old stone layers of the Niagara Gorge. It’s one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls — no doubt about it!

11 – Experience the history of the falls at Niagara’s Fury

Niagara's Fury, Niagara Falls
credit to Niagara Parks

Sure, you might have already felt the wind in your face and the spray of the waters… but what about traveling through time? Book a seat in Niagara’s Fury, and prepare to see the region in a whole new way!

Take a 4D journey through thousands of years of erosion, glacial movement, and other geological phenomena.

It’s an amazing multisensory adventure!

12 – Visit Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort NiagaraSituated on the American side, Old Fort Niagara is an 18th-century building that will allow you to walk in the footsteps of history.

The fort offers stunning views as well as educational history programs. Check out the video below for more details. It’s an experience not to be missed!

13 – Try the DiCamillo Bakery

DiCamillo Bakery

Situated on the American side of the Niagara River, the DiCamillo Bakery is renowned for its delicious handmade bread!

The menu doesn’t end there; it also offers tasty rolls, pizza, cakes, cookies, donuts & Italian bakery specialties.

If you’re feeling peckish, this is the best place to recharge the batteries before ticking off all the other activities that are waiting for you!

14 – Get up close and personal with the falls on Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

Climb aboard the Maid of the Mist, feel the mighty rush of the mist splashing up onto the decks, and hear the thundering roar of 600,000 gallons of water crashing down right in front of you. No other activity will get you this close to the bottom of the falls!

With a pink waterproof poncho keeping you dry (which doubles as a take-home souvenir), get ready to experience one of the most unforgettable moments of your life! Maid of the Mist is high atop any list of the best things to do in Niagara Falls.

15 – Experience the wonder of Wild Magic

Wild Magic, Niagara Falls
credit to Greg Frewin Theatre

Ready to be enchanted? Then take in the wonders of Wild Magic, a lively show full of mysterious feats.

Hosted by globally renowned magician Greg Frewin, this memorable performance includes everything from illusions and professional dancers to guest appearances from trained tigers.

The whole spectacle is hosted in the beautiful Greg Frewin Theater, founded by the magician, which also hosts everything from concerts to a yearly Elvis festival.

16 – Experience the Whirlpool Aero Car

Whirlpool Aero Car

We couldn’t write an article about the things to do at Niagara Falls without mentioning the Whirlpool Aero Car. This activity is part of the oldest ones in the area, while also being one of the most enjoyable.

After your ride, stop by Whirlpool State Park for hiking and sightseeing. The video below gives you a pretty good idea of what is waiting for you!

17 – Try your luck at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

The AAA-rated Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is a full-amenity destination offering everything from restaurants to shops, slots and table games.

You will also be able to take a seat at a live poker table, relax at a full-service spa, witness some superstar entertainment, and dance the night away at the fantastic nightlife venues.

It is a must-see Casino in the Niagara area.

18 – Join an ArtPark show

Artpark Niagara Falls

Overlooking the Niagara River gorge at 450 South 4th Street, Lewiston (on the American side), ArtPark is an organization that hosts cultural events and visual arts performances.

During summer, offers an array of fantastic festivals to enjoy. Who said visiting Niagara Falls was only about the falls?

19 – Play a round at the Whirlpool Golf Course

Whirlpool Golf Course

The Whirlpool Golf Course is renowned as one of the best-rated greens in Canada, presenting as one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls for any golf lover.

Situated near the main tourist area, the course offers a stunning visual background to which few others can compare. Bring the family and friends as well!

20 – Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory

Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory will allow you to go through a self-guided walking tour, which begins with a short and informative video presentation.

You’ll find over 2,000 colorful butterflies consisting of over 45 different species. This is a fascinating place that’s both educational and enjoyable. Kids, in particular, absolutely adore it.

21 – Visit the Niagara Falls History Museum

Niagara Falls History Museum

Not far from the falls, you will find the Niagara Falls History Museum. The entry is very affordable, and you will learn a lot about local history.

Perfect for a rainy day, the museum also offers fun activities to do with children.

22 – Explore the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve

Niagara Glen Nature Centre

The Niagara Glen Nature Centre offers visitors the chance to stroll along guided hiking trails and learn about the rich ecosystems of the Niagara Falls area.

Lace on your best climbing shoes and enjoy what nature has to offer! Once you watch this short below, you’ll be planning your visit in no time.

23 – Walk across the Rainbow Bridge

Niagara Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge is famous for crossing the Niagara River, acting as the link between the United States and Canada.

Isn’t that exciting, crossing a bridge and being in another country in 5 minutes? Not to mention the amazing view on offer from the top, of course!

24 – Get a bird’s eye view from the top of the Tower Hotel at Fallsview

The Tower Hotel at Fallsview
credit to Tower Hotel at Fallsview

The Tower Hotel, situated right next to the main waterfall, offers one of the most exclusive, impressive, and unique views of this natural wonder.

This four-star hotel boasts all the services you could ever need: hot tubs, casinos, restaurants, bars, shops, and high-class hotel rooms – you won’t be disappointed!

Don’t forget to take pictures from the top!

25 – Meander through Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park

Walking through Queen Victoria Park, you’ll find an abundance of different plants and flowers. Of course, you’ll be able to admire the famous falls from there as well.

The vibrant colors of the park mixed up with the light blue falls in the background create a unique and picturesque atmosphere that’s impossible to replicate.

26 – Have fun at the Niagara SkyWheel

Niagara SkyWheel

Situated adjacent to the Horseshoe Falls, the SkyWheel offers the most pristine views of the falls below.

At night, the wheel and all the surrounding restaurants switch on their white and red lights, creating a fantastic, bubbly, neon-lit atmosphere.

This short video shows you exactly what is waiting for you. The best is yet to come!

27 – Have a few glasses on the Niagara Wine Trail

Niagara Wine Trail

For an off-the-beaten-track experience at Niagara Falls, take the Niagara wine trail tour around the region. Despite Niagara’s reputation as solely a waterfall attraction, there’s plenty more to see if you just know where to look.

The Niagara Wine Trail will allow you to taste excellent wines in a delightful atmosphere. Standout spots include Schulze Vineyards & Winery, Honeymoon Trail Winery, and A Gust of Sun Winery.

Pair your drink with some delicious treats, courtesy of the area’s cheese tastings.

Check wine-tasting tours starting from the Canadian side.

Check wine-tasting tours starting from the US side.

28 – Get adventurous at Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World

Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World, Niagara Falls

If you’re visiting during the summer, Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World is the perfect place for some all-ages fun!

Enjoy thrilling rollercoasters, laidback water rides, and live entertainment that will take you right back to the days of the Old West.

And younger visitors will love going wild at Kiddieland, where they can pilot their own boats, drive through the circus, or even pilot a pint-sized helicopter!

29 – Make new friends at the Bird Kingdom

Bird Kingdom

Situated just 5 minutes from Niagara Falls, you’ll be surprised to find the biggest free-flying indoor aviary in the world!

Hundreds of tropical birds and exotic animals call the Bird Kingdom home, and they’re all waiting for you to come and say hello!

This attraction is adored by children, so make sure to share this experience with family and friends.

30 – Place your bets at the Fallsview Casino Resort

Fallsview Casino Resort, Niagara Falls

With over 3,000 gaming machines and 100 gaming tables to choose from, Fallsview Casino Resort is the biggest and most elegant gaming resort in Canada.

The retreat also includes 374 luxury rooms, a spa, and plenty of shops and cafés. This is the perfect place if you’re after a combination of luxury, entertainment, and convenience.

All in all, an ideal spot to stay on your next vacation to Niagra Falls!

31 – Learn about nature at the Adventure Theater

Adventure Theater, Niagara Falls
credit to Niagara Falls Tourism

For a great introduction to the beauty of the falls, check out the Adventure Theater!

This half-hour movie is packed with fascinating stories about the area, from its long history of human habitation to its evolution as a world-famous vacation spot.

After the show, you can head out to view the real thing – and take in its beauty with a whole new perspective!

32 – Visit the Upside Down House

Niagara Falls Upside Down House

Situated on the Canadian side, the Upside Down House sells itself as a totally unique landmark. You can see it from the outside, but you can also step inside; everything inside is upside down too!

You’ll see furniture, shoes, and carpet on the ceiling, all of which make for plenty of hilarious photo-ops. This activity is made for all ages.

Get a taste of what’s waiting for you in the video below.

33 – Check out Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge aquapark

Great Wolf Lodge, a fun indoor water park that is kept warm year-round, is one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls during the summer months.

Kid-friendly activities, restaurants, shops, and more are all centralized in one area. If you want to share great moments with your family, look no further!

34 – Enjoy the scenery at the Floral Showhouse

Floral Showhouse, Niagara Falls

For a splash of color all year round, stop by the Floral Showhouse, which hosts a wide variety of beautiful blooms.

Enjoy the stunning orchids and lush palm trees in the South House, or the rotating displays of seasonal plants in the North and Center Houses.

And don’t miss the Life on Display exhibit, a delightful diorama of Ontario landmarks and traditional villages, all circled by a small steam train.

35 – Hop around the Clifton Hill attractions

Clifton Hill attractions

Clifton Hill, smack-bang next to Horseshoe Falls, is home to a number of noteworthy attractions. There’s the Niagara Speedway, Dinosaur Adventure Golf, the Movieland Wax Museum, the Niagara Wheel, and heaps more!

Don’t hesitate to stroll through Clifton Hill for an afternoon (or night) of fun. After dusk, the atmosphere takes another leap when the array of neon signs illuminates the streets. Then cut loose with over 300 lively games at the Great Canadian Midway.

36 – Embrace the bizarre at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Niagara Falls

Come face to face with some unique taxidermied creatures. Practice folding yourself into a contortionist’s box. Or have a heart to heart with Beyonce’… in wax form, of course.

All this and more await you at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, a loving tribute to the bizarre. From unusual collections to zany inventions, there’s no telling what you’ll find around every corner.

And the Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks section, with more than 100 reproductions of celebrities, superheroes, and historical figures, makes for an especially fun photo opportunity.

It’s one of the most wonderfully weird things to do in Niagara Falls!

37 – Soak in the amazing views atop Skylon Tower

Skylon Tower

At 236 meters above the ground, the views from Skylon Tower are near impossible to beat.

Skylon Tower is known for its rotating restaurant; dine with family while taking in the unmatched views of the falls and the city below. Just wait till you see it at night!

Arrive before sundown to enjoy the landscape as it transitions from daylight to dusk to a twinkling night. Visually, it’s an unbeatable Niagara Falls activity.

38 – Have fun at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Situated on the American side, the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark offers many outdoor and indoor water-based activities, presenting as one of the most enjoyable things to do in Niagara Falls.

Slide down into numerous pools and splash the day away! Kids, in particular, rave about this place.

Check out this video to learn more!

39 – Admire the Floral Clock

Floral Clock
credit to Niagara Parks

Heading north from the Botanical Gardens, you’ll find the Floral Clock. It might be hard to believe, but this piece of art contains no less than 16,000 plants!

It could be a beautiful backdrop for the pictures that you’ll be showing off to your friends and family. And don’t miss nearby Queenston Heights Park, with its historical monuments and beautiful walking trails.

40 – Taste some excellent beers

beer tasting in Niagara Falls

There are few better ways to celebrate an amazing vacation than with a nice beverage, so don’t miss out on the local beer tastings!

From charming microbreweries to popular alehouses, there’s no shortage of excellent options.

And if you have a broader palate, you can even book combo tours that offer delicious options such as wine, whiskey, and charcuterie boards.

41 – Spook yourself at the Nightmares Fear Factory

Nightmares Fear Factory, Niagara Falls

If you want to test your courage, forget the adrenaline sports; Nightmares Fear Factory will push you to your limit!

As you explore this spooky realm, you’ll encounter gruesome special effects, creepy actors, and plenty of wonderfully eerie environments.

This haunted house has become famous for posting pictures of some of its “victims” on the Internet, and if their terrified faces are anything to go by, you’ll have a wonderfully scary time to look forward to!

42 – Visit the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Center

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Center
Credit to Niagara Falls USA

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Center offers many exhibits focusing on the history, politics, and struggles of the people who crossed and settled, in Niagara Falls. It’s a great stop for those wanting to learn more about the area.

This interactive attraction is also ideal for children, free for kids under five years old. You can have a great look at what the center has to offer in the video below.

43 – Tour the Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds

The Cave of the Winds is easily one of the most astonishing things to do at Niagara Falls. Protected by a hooded raincoat, you’ll get up close and personal with the foot of the falls, totally immersed in powerful nature.

Be prepared to get out of this attraction completely wet! But even if you’re soaked, it’s still one of the most enjoyable things to do in Niagara Falls!

44 – Catch a fireworks spectacle

Niagara Falls Fireworks

After a long day wandering around all of Niagara’s attractions, cap it all off with an eccentric fireworks spectacle. The colorful lights of the fireworks merged with the falls’ laser display create a visual experience that is guaranteed to take your breath away.

Check illumination tours from the US side.

Check illumination tours from the Canadian side.

How to book Niagara Falls tours?

As a hit tourist attraction in two different countries, there are plenty of excellent ways to visit Niagara Falls.

On the Canadian side, you can hop aboard the Hornblower for a scenic cruise, or get a different vantage point with the Journey Behind the Falls. You can also take plenty of day trips from Toronto, which boasts some wonderful cultural attractions.

And on the American side, set sail on the Maid of the Mist, or discover the wonders of the Cave of the Winds. Or visit on a day trip from New York City, a stellar attraction in its own right.

Where to stay in Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa
credit to Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa

On the American side, Wingate by Wyndham will give you a luxurious home-away-from-home, from the mini-market to the saltwater pool, all within walking distance of the launch point for the iconic Maid of the Mist.

Or you can finely absorb nature at The Comfort Inn The Pointe, just outside of Niagara Falls State Park; it also provides easy access to shops, casinos, and the Niagara Falls Conference Center.

On the Canadian side, you can unwind from a day at Horseshoe Falls or Skylon Tower at the Wyndham Garden Niagara Falls Fallsview, which features everything from a pool and hot tub to its own IHOP restaurant!

At Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview, you’ll find a spa, restaurants, cafés, bars, and many other services that combine to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Appreciated by couples, this hotel could be perfect for a honeymoon vacation right next to the falls.

And at Days by Wyndham Niagara Falls Centre St. By the Falls, you can squeeze in a swim or a workout, then head out to nearby amenities like Casino Niagara and Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.

Where to go next?

In Canada, you’ll find tons of awesome things to do in Toronto, one of the largest and most fascinating cities in the country. From vibrant neighborhoods and a bustling food scene to abundant art, intriguing historical sites, and gorgeous outdoor vistas, this metropolis will always have you coming back for more.

Meanwhile, the American side boasts two nearby cities that each provide their own distinct flavor.

NYC is, of course, one of the world’s most famous stops; from classic pop culture spots to Broadway shows to Major League Baseball games, it’s the perfect place for nonstop adventures.

And if you head a little bit west from the Falls, you’ll be able to take in the underrated wonders of Cleveland, which features unique museums, great food, and a rich history that includes everything from presidential monuments to rock and roll.

Final thoughts

You could easily spend a whole trip to this splendid region just admiring the powerful flow of the water. But with so many incredible things to do in Niagara Falls, it’s well worth venturing out further!

From wild amusement parks to contemplative spaces, this gorgeous area has more to it than meets the eye. So grab a poncho and get ready for a truly memorable vacation!

Happy travels!

Born in Paris, Guillaume Picard has spent years immersing himself in diverse cultures, living everywhere from Asia's hubs like Singapore and Bali, to European destinations such as Portugal and Italy. Now, as the CMO of TourScanner, he's at the helm of a platform that echoes his passion for travel. Guillaume oversees the content, particularly the blog, offering readers firsthand insights and tales from his global escapades.