niagara falls canada

There are many attractions in this world that leave us speechless and Niagara Falls is definitely among those to achieve that! For this reason, after a brief mention of this great waterfall on my 2-week epic road trip around Canada, I want to share with you the best highlights, tours and things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada!

Below we will talk about how to visit Niagara Falls both as part of an organized tour group and if you organize it yourself.

what to do in niagara falls

NOTE: Remember that seeing the actual waterfall is absolutely free, you do not need any ticket for that like, for instance, at Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, because it is free and visible for everyone who takes the road that passes through!

Not only you will learn what awesome activities are near Niagara Falls, but I will also give you many practical tips such as how to get there, where to stay, where to park your car, and much more.

Let’s get started! Here are the best things to do in Niagara Falls:

1. Organized tours from Toronto or New York City

Here are some great tours for you if you do not want to organize the transportation and accommodation on your own. By the way, most of them even offer door-to-door pick up!

Tours from New York City to Niagara Falls

niagara falls tickets

Here is a curious fact to begin with: each year about 13 million tourists visit the Falls of which 8.4 million are from Canada (67.1%) and 3.2 million are from the United States – that’s 24.5%! Crazy, right?

Out of this percentage, most of them use Buffalo and New York City as their initial point for travel because they are conveniently close to Niagara Falls and also ideal for a shopping spree.

NOTE: You can get to the Falls in about 30 minutes (31 km) if you start from Buffalo, and in almost 7 hours by driving from NYC (658 km).

Below I am going to share with you some tours that you can take from New York City to the Falls. You can choose the best option for you based on your budget and how much time you want to spend there:

1. Full-day bus tours from New York

niagara falls vacation

Get your backpack ready for this 19-hour bus ride that will leave you speechless once you get to the waterfalls!

You can purchase the tour here online and forget about any ticket lines or where to leave your car once you arrive; just sit back and enjoy!

The tour starts very early in the morning with a snack stop so nobody gets hungry. After seeing the falls and riding the Maid of the Mist boat ride, you will head out for an enjoyable lunch and some souvenir shopping. You will be back home around midnight but it will be a worthwhile trip to remember!

DURATION: 19 hours

PRICE: $275 USD per person

2. Two-Day Falls and Shopping trip from New York City

niagara falls american side

If a day tour sounds like too much hustle, I recommend staying for 2 days at the Falls, so you will be able to fully immerse into the atmosphere and enjoy the views with no rush!

The beauty of a 2 day-trip is that you will be able to see the falls at sunset with an illumination show and the next day you can enjoy them first-hand on a boat ride!

Plus, two days will give you enough time to join a day tour to the waterfalls and then go for some shopping in the city!

I recommend checking this tour or this tour and, you will not only get to see the waterfalls, but also go to Goat Island and the Three Sisters Island!

Goat Island is a small island right in-between Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge. The Three Sisters Island is a group of smaller islands that were mostly known for having moss covered rocks. Both are worth stepping onto for their unique view of the rapids before they become a waterfall.

DURATION: 2 days

PRICE: $320 USD

3. Private tour from New York City

niagara falls hotels canada side

This private tour is perfect for up to 4 people – so you can get the gang together and go for a different day adventure to Niagara Falls!

During this tour, you’ll have a private car and guide for you and your group which includes the iconic views of the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat.

The best part is that you’ll be able to enjoy this unique option with your friends and you’ll also be free to ask away any questions you have for the guide!

Taking a private tour also means you’ll have the advantage of being flexible, so you can request, for example, more time at the Falls for pictures, or to stop along the road trip for a chance to eat in the nearby restaurants.

DURATION: About 22 hours

PRICE: $1,399 USD for a group of 4 people

Tours from Toronto to Niagara Falls

niagara falls tours

If you, like me, are traveling from Toronto, nothing can be easier! There are many private and group tours that depart daily from Toronto.

The road trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls takes 1h and 40 minutes, but I highly recommend choosing a tour that would also stop by Niagara-on-the-Lake – a charming town right before the Falls!

RELATED READ: Things to Do in Toronto

1. One-day bus tour to Niagara Falls with wine tasting

Join a one-day sightseeing Tour and you won’t need to worry about driving – just get on the bus and enjoy the ride.

This tour not only includes transportation to Niagara Falls and a ride on the Hornblower Boat Cruise (or a visit to Skylon Tower if the boat is not operating), but you will also get to stop on the way for some yummy wine tasting!

DURATION: 8 hours

PRICE: $132 CAD ($100 USD) per person

2. One-day bus tour with Niagara-on-the-Lake

things to do in niagara falls

A perfect way to tick Niagara Falls from your bucket list is to join this scenic tour departing from Toronto. Your local driver and guide will share their knowledge along the way to keep you informed about the best scenic stops.

Plus, you will get up to 3 hours of free time at Niagara Falls so you can choose among  your favorite activities. Part of the journey also includes about an hour of exploration at Niagara on the Lake, a very picturesque town on the way to your final destination; it’s a great moment to recharge with some food or just to enjoy the historic vibe!

DURATION: 9 hours

PRICE: $102 CAD ($77 USD) per person

3. Private tour

niagara falls pass

This great private tour is 8-hours long and you will be in the comfort of an Executive Sedan without having to worry about driving nor parking.

During this tour, you will be able to see the falls at your own pace by arranging your own itinerary or let your driver be your guide. Your driver will also share with you some interesting facts and anecdotes you will never find in any travel book!

Add a spin around the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, stop for a picture with the Floral Clock, or even finish the ride with an award-winning winery visit. You can even add a Helicopter Tour over the Falls if interested!

DURATION: 8 hours

PRICE: $820 CAD ($620 USD) for 2 people

2. Amazing tours to take once you are at Niagara Falls

niagara falls coupons

If you don’t want to take a tour to the Falls, that’s no problem, there are many ways to get to the falls by yourself. We, for example, decided to rent a car for our entire itinerary around Canada!

NOTE: Please read my detailed instructions below in this post on how to get to the falls by yourself if you don’t want to go with any of the tours below.

Here is a list of some cool tours that you can take once you are AT Niagara Falls:

zipline over niagara falls

As I told you, there are really a great variety of things to do whether you are traveling as a couple, with kids, alone or with a group of friends – everyone will easily find activities to do there for at least a couple of days.

Let me tell you more about the coolest things to do once you are at the Falls:

2.1 Niagara Falls Boat Tour

niagara jet boat

When it comes to boat tours, you will definitely hear about both the Hornblower Niagara Cruises or the Maid of the Mist, but what’s the difference between them?

There’s pretty much no difference, just that one boat departs from the USA side, the other one from the Canadian side.

Let me briefly tell you about both of them:

Maid of the Mist – from the American side 

niagara falls attractions

The Maid of the Mist that docks on the American side has been functioning since 1846, back when it was the best way to cross from one side to the other, before they opened the bridge across the river. After that, the boat was only used for tourist activities.

PRO TIP: I recommend getting tickets in advance because the line is going to be loooong.

DURATION: 20 minutes. The boat leaves every 15 minutes from Prospect Point, NY.

WORKING HOURS: 9:00AM – 7:30PM

PRICE: $19.25 USD

Hornblower – from the Canadian side 

niagara falls usa

The Hornblower departs from the Canadian side and has been running tours along the three waterfalls since 2014.

Just like for Maid of the Mist, you will get a raincoat for the trip so you don’t get soaked. The classic ride during daytime takes up to 20 minutes, while the Sunset Cruise and Illumination Cruise are almost 40 minutes long.

Hornblower also offers an evening Fireworks Cruise, which is simply magical!

DURATION: 20 minutes. The boat departs every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the time of day

WORKING HOURS: everyday from 8:30AM to 8:30PM

PRICE: $28.95 CAD (~$22 USD) + tax

I recommend getting tickets in advance online as well and you will understand why once you get there and see the huge queues at the ticket booth!

niagara falls boat tour

All in all, it does not matter which boat you choose since they work pretty much the same way – you will get a raincoat in order not to get completely soaked.

I also recommend trying to protect your phone and/or camera using a waterproof case as it might malfunction because of the thousands of water drops from the falls! I am talking from experience here – I once “killed” a pretty expensive lens like this because we got too close to a waterfall in New Zealand, so learn from my mistakes! 🙂

PRO TIP: I recommend being among the first ones to get onto the boat; this way you will be able to see the waterfall not from behind the backs of the other tourists, but from the first row! Note that the boats can hold up to 200 or 300 people depending on how many decks they have.

2.2 Journey Behind the Falls

toronto to niagara falls

The “Journey Behind the Falls” is an unguided tour only available on the Canadian Side, near Horseshoe Falls. The 30-minute walk starts 38 meters under the falls where you will go along some 130-year-old tunnels found in the bedrock; you will get a feeling of Horseshoe Falls before you even get to see it!

I was honestly fascinated with the power of the water, as you could sense it through the tunnels’ vibrations! Once you reach the observation deck you will be left breathless and somewhat wet but these viewing portals cut through the rock so you will get a unique view of the waterfall’s magnificence!

DURATION: 30 – 45 minutes (but I was there for more than an hour)

WORKING HOURS: 9:00AM – 10:00PM

PRICE: ~$16.6 USD

2.3 Niagara Falls Grand Helicopter Tour

niagara falls helicopter ride

Just the idea of a helicopter ride should get your adventure spirit on alert! The ride will take you above it all and you will get to enjoy what birds can see every single day!

The regular tours include watching the falls at eye level while walking on the street, getting up on the Skylon tower to see it from above, or navigating near the falls to feel their power. But this unique helicopter ride lets you see it from a unique perspective and it gives you the chance to get some of those envy-inducing pictures you see online!

I really recommend this tour if you have the budget for it; you will have an unforgettable experience! This Niagara Falls Helicopter ride is offered in English, French and Chinese and, in order to book it, you need a group of minimum 2 and maximum 6 people.

The trip soars over Niagara Falls but also goes around other historic landmarks of the famous wine region.

DURATION: 20 minutes

WORKING HOURS: 10:00AM – 5:00PM

PRICE: ~$145 CAD ($110 USD)

Niagara falls tours by types of travelers

what to do in niagara falls

In know, I know, the variety of tours and things to do at Niagara Falls is overwhelming, but no worries, I made my extensive research and here are all the tours in and around Niagara falls, sorted by type and preference:

Activities for families

If you are traveling with kids, the tours and attractions below are the ones I recommend taking, your kids will love it!

  • Niagara Butterfly conservatory – $12 USD + tax for adults and $8 USD + tax for kids
  • Niagara Botanical Gardens – Free
  • Niagara Adventure Theater – $9 USD for adults and $7 USD for kids
  • Illuminations – Free. At the end of the day, they light up the Falls and it is stunning. At first I thought it would spoil the impression, but it was actually really pretty! The light changed together with the light outside.
  • Scenic Trolley – $2.50 USD for adults and $1.50 USD for kids
  • Fallsview Indoor Waterpark – around $38 USD per person depending on the season. Ideal for all ages; they have 16 slides, a wave pool, and a 1000 gallon tipping bucket.

Niagara Falls for couples

flights to niagara falls

Here are some romantic Niagara Falls activities you might enjoy as a couple:

  • Take a 40-minute Fireworks Night Cruise along the illuminated waterfall cascades and the stunning fireworks display, soaking up the amazing views with no crowd!
    PRICE: $38 USD per person
  • Go for an adventure and zipline over the falls. You can choose to do it during the day or at night, when the falls are illuminated.
    PRICE: $43 USD – $62 USD per person, based on whether you select the day or night option.
  • For a romantic trip, go for this Airflight Tour Niagara which is then followed by visiting a winery and chocolate factory. Who doesn’t like wine OR chocolate, if not both, the final experience will make it a day to remember!
    PRICE: $116 USD per person
  • Start your day at 10:30AM from the comfort of your accommodation on either Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake and go on a Lunch Fiesta Wine Tour. It is a 6-hour tour where you will visit four of the best wineries in the Ontario region and you will also see the wine-making process – from the vine to the barrel room. To top off this amazing and delicious wine route, lunch is included in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Quite a relaxing idea to have lunch while enjoying the best wine!
    PRICE: $96 USD per person

Attractions Passes in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls passes

Of course, I could not let you go before explaining a bit about the best passes and deals for Niagara Falls that will save you from the struggle of deciding which attractions to visit! Here’s how to save some money while visiting Niagara Falls:

  • Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic gives you 2 days to enjoy the Journey Behind the Falls, White Water Walk, an interactive Niagara’s Fury 4D show, and the Hornblower Niagara Cruises’ Voyage. This is a great deal for a Niagara Falls Pass if you have the time and you’re interested in seeing it all. After my calculations, you will save approximately $5 USD if you purchase this pass instead of getting tickets for the 4 attractions individually.
    PRICE: $50 USD (online)
    YOU SAVE: $5 USD
  • Niagara Parks Experience Pass includes access to the Falls Incline Railway, WEGO buses transport, the great Journey Behind the Falls, the White Water Walk, Niagara’s Fury and a daytime boat tour on Hornblower Niagara Cruises. I think this card is a convenient option, as it will save you more than $5 USD for the attractions and transportation included.
    PRICE: $74 USD
    YOU SAVE: $5 USD
  • Clifton Hill Fun Pass is dedicated exclusively to fun rides such as Zombie Attack, Wild West Coaster, Movieland Wax Museum, but also Niagara Skywheel. The pass is only valid for a single use per attraction but can be used throughout one year from the day of purchase.
    PRICE: $23 USD
  • Niagara Falls Wonderpass gives you a pass for the Journey Behind the Falls, the Butterfly Conservatory, and the Floral Showcase. This pass has a great deal if you buy it online!
    PRICE: ~$56 USD or only $19 USD if you buy it online!
    YOU SAVE: $15 USD by purchasing it online
  • Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Plus – this exclusive 2-day package is a bit more expensive than the rest, but it includes so many wonders: a trip on Hornblower Niagara Cruises, the Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, White Water Walk, Whirlpool Aero Car, Floral Showhouse, and the colorful Butterfly Conservatory. It also gives you access to the Heritage sites: Old Fort Erie, Laura Secord Homestead, Mackenzie Printery and McFarland House, as well as unlimited visits to the Falls Incline Railway.
    PRICE: ~$144 USD or ~$68 USD if you purchase it online!
    YOU SAVE: $58 USD if purchased online

How to get to Niagara Falls by yourself

8 things you should know before renting a car in Canada 3

If you like driving and you actually have more fun doing and planning this trip on your own, I suggest you go for a rented car and visit the falls yourself!

I can share my own experience with you, since we had a 2-week road trip starting in Toronto and going by Niagara Falls. For instance, I think that Niagara-on-the-Lake is a must-visit location before you reach the Falls. It is a super cute town and it can serve as a great lunch pit-stop. It can take as little as an hour to walk around, but I think it is worth checking out!

Below I’ve made a very detailed description on how to get to the Falls by yourself using different means of transportation from both the USA and Canada:

By plane

American side:

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) is 40 km from the Falls. From there, you can choose between renting a car, getting a taxi or getting a bus to get to Niagara Falls. The Shuttle Service leaves every hour, costs $36 USD/person one-way and drops off at any hotel no more than 2 miles from the Falls. A taxi ride can cost $85 USD for up to 5 passengers in the vehicle. Shuttle and taxis are found at Crosswalk 3.
  • Arriving at Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) on the American side is a short 15 minute drive to the waterfalls.

Canadian side: 

  • The quickest option of flights to Niagara Falls is with FlyGTA. You can book a flight ticket that takes 12 minutes, cost $99 CAD and takes you to Niagara District Airport (YCM), which is the closest airport. Feel free to see which is the most convenient flight for you here.
  • The Lester B Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto is 130 km from the Falls. From the Toronto airport to Niagara Falls, you can take the local train, airport shuttles or buses to get to Toronto and from here pick among the local services to get to Niagara Falls.

By car

8 things you should know before renting a car in Canada cover simple

  • Driving from New York: The fastest route to get from New York City is about 656 km long, which might take you about 6 hours and 35 minutes, more or less. Along with some smaller roads, you will have to take the I-81 N and the I-90 W for this journey.
  • Driving from Buffalo, NY: It will take you a fast 30-minute drive to get to Horseshoe Falls from Buffalo. The fastest route is taking the I-190 N. If you then want to go over to the Canadian side, you will need to cross the Rainbow Bridge which can be about 20 minutes, give or take.
  • Driving from Toronto, Canada: From Toronto it’s a 130 km drive that takes about 1.5 hours. It is recommended to take Highway QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) to reach Niagara Falls City. I have done this route myself and you can read more about it here.

PRO TIP: By the way, parking options around the waterfalls are quite overpriced, but I will tell you about a secret spot where the price is the lowest in the Bonus section so use the tip! 🙂

Crossing the border between the USA and Canada:

niagara hotels canada

If you want to cross the Canada – US border while on your own road trip or just want to see the waterfalls through a tour, you need to present your passport with a proper visa or permission to enter.

You can cross the border by taking the Lewiston Queenston, Rainbow, and Peace Bridges. In each case, the average traffic time is no more than 40 minutes either way. The time includes the toll paying process where you will be having your documents checked by a customs officer.

The bridge toll for Pedestrians is $1 USD and for every kind of vehicle it can be from $3.75 USD to $5 USD, depending on which way you are going.

NOTE: When crossing as pedestrians, children under 5 years old and baby carriages are not charged any bridge toll fee.

By bus

visiting niagara falls

American side:

  • From Buffalo, NY: You will only have to take a 30-minute trip on Busbud towards Niagara Falls; the price is $7 USD.
  • From Buffalo Airport: Take a Megabus for a 1 hour and 35 minutes trip; the price is $6 USD and it departs at 10:45 AM or 8:40 PM.
  • If you want to take a shuttle, go for Airport Taxi Service here, it will be about $28 USD but it may be more convenient if you do not want to take the bus and if you are traveling in a group.
  • From NYC: Greyhound bus service offers a 9.5 hour-long ride and the ticket prices start at $62 USD. You will have comfy seats, individual power outlets and Wi-Fi. The earliest departure is at 5 AM and 10 PM is the latest.
  • Second option from NYC: and leading you straight to Niagara Falls Canada side is found through BusBud and although the tickets are about $51 USD, the seats are not as comfortable and the entire trip takes almost 18 hours.

Canadian side:

  • Greyhound bus services offers an option that takes you from Niagara Falls Bus Terminal and Downtown Toronto; the price is $15 USD on average and the ride takes almost 2 hours.
  • Megabus has a route from Toronto Coach Terminal to Niagara Falls, ON. The ride is 1 hour and 50 minutes long; the price is $16 USD or less, based on your selected dates. The bus to Niagara Falls leaves every hour.
  • From Toronto Airport Terminal: Busbud has a route from the airport terminal to the Bus Terminal at Niagara Falls; the ride is less than 2 hours long and the price is $13 USD.

By train

11 Things to do in Oxford england train

  • From Toronto, Union Station: ViaRail train leaves at 8:20 AM and gets you to Niagara Falls in less than 2 hours for a price of $18 USD. Once you get off at Niagara Falls Train Station (which is near the Whirlpool Bridge) you are 4 km from the Falls and 2 blocks from downtown.
  • From Toronto, Union Station: The Season Go Train works between June 21 and September 2, departing from Toronto’s Union Station and stopping at Niagara Falls VIA Station. There are three services per day and the price is $35 USD per person.
  • From NYC, Penn Station: you can take an Amtrak train that will get you to Niagara Falls, NY in 9 hours. There are three direct trips each day, starting at 7:15 AM, and the price is about $100 USD per person. Price varies depending on your selected dates.

BONUS: How to find good, cheap parking near Niagara Falls

niagara waterfall

The biggest issue of renting your car is: where to park? Keep in mind that when you arrive at Niagara Falls there will be many parking lots in sight, but please remember that the ones closest to the falls are the most rip-off ones.

During our trip, we found something for $8 CAD per day, while a “normal” price everywhere was $5 CAD an hour!

Please click on this link and it will take you to Google Maps to show you the coordinates of our parking; it was a 4-5 min walk from the Falls, so not far at all!

If you are going to park on the American side, you will find four available parking lots. Parking Lot #1 and #2 charge $10 USD per car, per day, while parking Lot #3 and Lot #4 have a fee of $8 USD per car per day. You can see more details on how to find them here. On that link you will find a downloadable map document of the Niagara Falls area where the parking lots’ location is marked.

PRO TIP: If you are driving from the USA, make sure to park your car on the USA side and walk across the bridge. Crossing the border by car would be much more time consuming, trust me! The line at the Peace Bridge can be very long so it makes sense to leave your car on the American side – unless you are continuing further to Canada, of course!

Some practical info about Niagara Falls

Here are some important practical tips such as where to eat, where to stay, when to visit, how to get there and what to do in Niagara Falls. Enjoy!

How much does it cost to visit Niagara Falls?

things to do in niagara falls

It is actually absolutely free to see the falls (you will just need to pay for parking, as there are no free parking spots around). But as a bare minimum, I would also recommend taking the Hornblower boat tour for $21.88 USD ($28.95 CAD) and the Journey Behind The Falls for $16.59 USD ($21.95 CAD).

So, all together, the price is $38.50 USD ($50.90 CAD) + taxes.

The parking situation will always be a tough thing around the Falls, but I found this great spot which I share with you called “Parking Area B, All Day Parking” on the Canadian side. It is fairly big and is a 5-minute walk to reach the waterfalls, with a price of $8 CAD per day!

As for the American side, there are more options for parking lots and their all-day fee is also US$10. For more details on all the other parking lot locations click here.

When should I visit Niagara falls?

visiting niagara falls

The ideal time to visit Niagara Falls is mostly up to you and you weather preferences. Some people say that summer (June through August) is the best and peak season throughout the year. Because of the high temperatures it is more than enjoyable to take the boat ride and feel cooled by the water breeze. Most of the summers they organize some fantastic firework shows almost every day!

September and May could also be great months for checking out Niagara Falls because the weather should still be fine (no one can guarantee it though!) and there are way less crowds! For example I have visited in mid-September and it was great!

Note that the following attractions from the Park – Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds– are only seasonally open and are closed between November 4th and last days of May due to low temperatures. The rest of the park is open year round.

niagara falls vacation

As a last mention about the weather, if you go during November and the end of March (which are the coldest months), other than probably having to skip the boat tours, the rest of the activities are available.

NOTE: To answer your questions about the low temperatures, you might want to be careful when walking around if there is too much ice. But don’t worry about the waterfalls being frozen! You can still take beautiful pictures, although the image will not have the same effect as the water creating a cloud when reaching the bottom; but Niagara Falls still moves and falls under the veil of frozen water.

Which side of Niagara Falls is more beautiful – Canadian or American?

niagara waterfall

Even if I haven’t been to the US side yet, I’ve seen the pictures and the lookout pretty close, as it was right in front of me. It was pretty clear that the Canadian side has a better angle of the waterfall itself!

A more objective reason as to why the best panoramic views are on the Canadian side is that the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located in Niagara Falls, NY. Meanwhile, the biggest cascade, Horseshoe Falls, is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on the Western bank of the Niagara River.

If you can only see Niagara Falls from the US side, do not be sad! Just take the boat tour I mentioned above. Technically, the boat goes through the canadian waters and the angle is perfect from there, so you are not missing on anything!

Where to stay near Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls hotels where to stay

I definitely recommend choosing something within walking distance from Niagara Falls, so you can park your car at your hotel/apartment and then simply walk to the waterfalls!

UPDATE: I also have an article that will help you book your accommodation in minutes if you, like me, are going to travel around Ontario and Quebec provinces.

This is my selection of Niagara Falls hotels that I compiled for you based on great reviews, their proximity to the Falls and your traveling budget:

American Side

niagara falls motels

  • Luxury & Middle-priced  ($110 USD and more): Red Coach Inn overlooks Niagara River and is a 1-minute walk from the American Falls. Thinking of taking the Maid of the Mist tour? You’d be less than 1 kilometer away from it!  The Giacomo, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member is a luxury boutique hotel very close to the falls that will amaze you with its 19th floor Skye View Room, full lounge and fully equipped gym ready for guests to enjoy.
  • Budget ($55 USD – $110 USD): Comfort Inn & Suites Niagara Falls is one of the best Niagara Falls hotels in USA, located only a 30-minute drive from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and is based next to the waterfalls. Staying here means you no longer have to think about where to leave your car! Hyatt Place Niagara Falls is another budget-friendly option near the attraction and shopping centers; you can even take your pets if desired!

Canadian Side

niagara falls vacation

  • Luxury ($160 USD and more): These are the top luxury options of Niagara Falls Canada hotels with awesome rating, service, and of course prices. Niagara Gorgeview Inn is a 4-bedroom holiday home built in 1912 that is perfect for big groups. It’s main draw is its architecture, which is simply stunning! Redwood Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful Victorian-style bed and breakfast in Niagara Falls that overlooks the Niagara Gorge, and is only a 2-minute drive from the Falls which means about a 20-minute walk!
  • Middle-priced ($55 USD – $160 USD): Vittoria Hotel & Suites is only minutes away from the Horseshoe Falls and offers guests assistance for the surrounding Niagara Falls attractions. Serene Niagara Inn is a great choice if you do not have a car because it is less than 2 kilometers from the Greyhound Canada and is also within walking distance of the Skylon Tower.
  • Budget ($55 USD or less): Howard Johnson by Wyndham by the Falls Niagara Falls is in the center of the Clifton Hill tourist area and is only an 8-minute walk from the Niagara Waterfall. While there, you can enjoy the classic and comfortable rooms as well as the wellness facilities provided! Days by Wyndham Niagara Falls Centre St. By the Falls is a 3-star hotel with spacious and comfy rooms, conveniently located near a currency exchanger and within walking distance to the downtown strip.

Will I need a car to visit Niagara Falls?

things to do in niagara falls canada

I personally think that at least half of my Canada experience was so great thanks to having all the freedom to go where I wanted with our rented car! 

Since the roads in Canada are a pure pleasure to drive and there are lots of amazing views, that is an experience which I highly recommend! You can read more details about car hire in Canada in my article about 8 Things to Know When Renting a Car in Canada.

If you don’t want to stress over searching for a parking lot or driving around a city you probably are not familiar with, you can choose to travel with a taxi, bus or train. For more details, you can scroll up to the section where I talk about how to get to Niagara Falls by yourself.

Should I take a tour or can I visit it by myself?

niagara falls tours from toronto

A tour is not required if you don’t want to! As I mentioned above, you can organize your trip by yourself, just like I did. However, in some cases it is actually cheaper to go with a tour if you take into consideration the price you will pay for the gas, car rental, food and accommodation there.

I suggest you have a look at the previously mentioned group tours so you can choose the specific attractions you are interested in visiting or activities you want to take part in.

If this stop is part of your bigger road trip plan, just like it was for me, then doing it by yourself makes complete sense! Otherwise, if you want to visit the falls from New York or Ontario as a 1-day or 2-day trip, you might be better off booking a tour.

What should I pack for Niagara Falls?

things to do in niagara falls canada

The essentials you need to pack when visiting Niagara Falls are:

Where can I eat near Niagara Falls?

niagara falls dinner

Want to grab a bite around the waterfalls and enjoy the view? There is a great selection of restaurants and cafés for all kinds of budgets there, including Italian food, seafood, Japanese dishes, Chinese meals, Indian food, etc. You name it, you can definitely find it!

But based on their convenient location near the Falls and the landscape view you can get, these are the restaurants I suggest. Here are my recommended Niagara Falls food places that you should try:

American Side

  • Mackinali’s Cafe and Bake Shop – A lovely pastry store less than 2 kilometers away from the waterfalls. It’s a great stop for an energy boost of sweet desserts and coffee. Their diversity of products fits perfectly with many budgets!
  • Mother Cluckers Inc. – This is a simple street food truck with a variety of food options mixing Portuguese and American ingredients. Worth the stop it you want a low budget and fast meal around the park. (Price range: $5 USD – $12 USD)
  • Hard Rock Cafe – This stop is for all Hard Rock fans or if you’d rather go for a classic and “safe” choice for a meal. (Price range: $20 USD – $30 USD)
  • Flip Burger – Best place for hand-crafted burgers, fresh ingredients and free toppings! It has nice outdoor seating and a takeout location, so it’s clearly not the typical overpriced meal near a famous attraction like these waterfalls. (Price range: $5 USD – $10 USD)
  • Cates Steak & BBQ – An entertaining BBQ spot located on the Rainbow Bridge itself, definitely worth the walk!

Canadian Side

niagara winery restaurants

  • Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room – Located at the top of the Skylon Tower, it offers a free ride to the top for all visitors with a reservation. Because of their rooftop view, it is one of the most frequented restaurants in Niagara Falls, Canada side. Don’t forget to book your spot! (Price Range: $19 USD – $38 USD)
  • Massimo’s Italian Fallsview Restaurant – The restaurant is only available for dinner and is found at the top of Sheraton on the Falls Hotel. (Price Range: $22 USD – $49 USD)
  • Prime Steakhouse Niagara Falls – A great restaurant with a different view of the Falls than the Skylon Tower locations. It has amazing reviews for service and food, perfect if you love a good steakhouse! (Price Range: $15 USD – $53 USD)
  • Summit Suite Buffet – This restaurant is located less than 1 kilometer from the waterfalls and is available for lunch and dinner. I do suggest you book your spot because it is one of the most appreciated Niagara Falls Restaurants so it’s always packed; you might enjoy the afternoon better because of the Niagara Falls changing colors show.
  • Niagara Brewing Company – This one does not have a perfect view of Niagara Falls but it does have a great variety of local beers and snacks ideal to refuel and then head over to the Falls! (Price Range: $8 USD – $23 USD)
  • Paris Crepes Cafe – This one is for all visitors interested in a French-style meal at affordable prices. It does not have a view of the falls either but it does have a fun and unique decor! (Price Range: 12 USD – 35 USD).
  • Horseshoe Landing Patio – This is probably the closest place you will get with a direct view of the waterfalls and the fresh outdoors to recharge your spirits!

Conclusion

Canada Road Trip Itinerary Niagara Falls

Niagara Waterfall is an extraordinary show by itself, but having the chance to move around them by a bridge, boat, or the sky gives a different touch of amazingness to the visit!

In this article I have shared with you not only some great tips on where to go, how to get to the Falls, what roads to follow, and what to pack, but I also gave you a full list of the activities that are offered near Niagara Falls, broken down by the type of travelers and the listed prices for each!

As you can see there are many activities to do around the falls, so in the end the decision of what to do on your trip is entirely up to you and the time you have available to visit them all!

I hope you liked these tips and details on activities for your next Niagara Falls vacation and I hope I helped you plan the ideal itinerary for your next trip!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below and I am more than happy to answer.

Yulia

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things to do in niagara falls canada

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things to do in niagara falls canada