Visiting Niagara Falls: better the Canadian or the American side?

Although not only the highest waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls or Niagara Falls is the most famous waterfall in the world. With a height of 52 meters, they owe their importance to the great flow of water from the Great Lakes, which creates a unique, impressive and evocative landscape.

The Niagara River forms a natural border between the United States and Canada, countries that also share this magnificent natural attraction. Anyone who is in the area to visit cities such as New York, Boston or Toronto, cannot miss a visit to the wonderful Niagara Falls.

Which side of the falls to choose?

Niagara Falls, along with the Niagara River, not only form a natural border between the United States and Canada, but also separate with their streams. the twin cities of Niagara Falls in Ontario and Niagara Falls in New York State.

These 2 cities are the destinations to reach if you want to see this splendid and unique spectacle of nature. I am located on the 2 edges of the sides of the falls and the river, it allows you to see the 3 waterfalls from different angles.

Each side not only offers different views, but also has different features, such as attractions and accommodations. So which is the best side to look at to see Niagara Falls, but also to stay on? Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each side.

Canadian side

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is represented by the city of Niagara Falls in Ontario.

The advantages:

  • the Canadian side is known to be the most interesting, offers the best views, has a much wider hotel offer and many more leisure options.
  • it is considered cleaner, more beautiful and safer than the American side.
  • the view of the falls is the best from Canada. Practically the Niagara River Falls are on the U.S. side, so the best viewing is on the Canadian side, which faces it.
  • There is a larger area to walk and observe the falls from several points, much more comfortable even for people with mobility problems.
  • The tourist offer is much greater. There are fantastic hotels (many with exceptional views of the falls), casinos, shopping malls, numerous attractions and restaurants, it feels like a mini Las Vegas.

The downsides:

  • if arriving from the U.S., you must complete customs formalities to enter Canada.
  • there are many more tourists and fewer parking spaces
  • is the more expensive side. Lodging, attractions and restaurants cost more than the U.S. side.

American side

The American side of Niagara Falls is represented by the city of Niagara Falls in New York State.

The advantages:

  • the American side has large parking areas and the rates are better than the Canadian side. Many visitors park their cars on this side and then walk to the Canadian side.
  • The visit and the whole experience is much more peaceful and natural than on the Canadian side. There are many green areas, rest areas and trails that offer a closer look at the power of the water.
  • Overall, the visit is less expensive. Attractions, parking, restaurants and stores are less expensive.
  • the view of the falls is closer and there are trails that allow you to get even closer to the falls and cool off from the "mist" produced by the falling spray.

The disadvantages:

  • although from the United States there are some trails that allow you to get much closer to the falls, with excellent viewpoints, the view from the Canadian side is undoubtedly better.
  • on the American side there are many attractions, hotels, stores and restaurants, although there is no doubt that the Canadian area offers much more.
  • the area is considered less safe than the Canadian side, especially at night.

If you are undecided, you can choose the side depending on the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and the Canadian dollar, whichever is more favorable than the Euro.

What to do: main attractions

Maid of the Mist boat ride

It is the main attraction of Niagara Falls. It is a boat ride that starts on the American side, continues on the Canadian side and then concludes its journey under the American side of the falls, where the water falls with all its rush and force.

At the exit, a plastic raincoat is provided to protect you from the splashing water. It is a fun and exciting experience, especially if you do it in the warmer months.

Ticket rates (in US dollars)
The ticket price for adults (over 13 years of age) is $ 19.25
The ticket price for children (from 6 to 12 years old) is $ 11.20
Children under 5 years old are free

White water hike

White Water Walk is located just 4 km north of the falls, on the WEGO bus route, near the Whirlpool Bridge, 500 meters from the train and bus station. If arriving by car, free parking is available.

The White Water Walk includes a 70-meter elevator ride down and through a 73-meter long tunnel. From here, with a footbridge that runs along the Niagara River, with a length of 305 meters, you can admire the rapids before the falls.

Two overlooks on the river bank can be accessed by stairs. This attraction is also wheelchair accessible, except for the two small viewing areas that can only be reached by stairs.

Ticket rates (in Canadian dollars)
The ticket price for adults (over 13 years old) is $13.
The ticket price for children (from 6 to 12 years old) is $ 8.45
Children under 5 years old are free

Opening dates
This is a seasonal attraction open between April and mid-November, weather permitting.

Helicopter Tour

Of all the things to do in Niagara Falls, flying over it is one of the best experiences. The flight lasts about 15 minutes and during the flight you wear a helmet that explains everything you see in your chosen language.

You can leave by helicopter, to live this fantasy of Esperia, both from the American side and from the side. The price per person is 130 Canadian dollars or 100 US dollars. All children under two years old travel free with their parents.

Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour from the Canadian Side

View from Skylon Tower

If you can't afford the helicopter flight, another much cheaper option for viewing the falls from above is the Skylon Tower, a tower with excellent views of the falls. The observation deck is 232 meters above the falls.

From the observation deck and the revolving restaurant you can see all 3 falls: Canadian Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. On clear days, visibility from the observatory can reach a distance of 130 km. You can also see the skyline of Toronto and Buffalo.

The tower is located in the city of Niagara Fall in Ontario. If you have lunch or dinner at the tower's restaurant, you have free access to the observation deck and tower attractions.

Ticket rates (in Canadian dollars)
The ticket price for adults (over 13 years of age) is $ 23.20
The ticket price for children (from 4 to 12 years old) is $ 8.45
Children under 4 years old are free

Buy a ticket for the Skylon Tower at a reduced price.

Other attractions

Nightmare Scare Factory, located in the city of Niagara Fall in Ontario, is a fun house of horrors, the oldest in North America. Reserve your admission ticket.

Bird Kingdom, an aviary that houses about 500 birds from Australia, South America and Africa. It is located in the city of Niagara Fall in Ontario and is one of the largest aviaries in the world. Book your entrance ticket.

View of the falls at night, every night in the summer months, you can enjoy the beautiful light show that illuminates the falls. Free of charge.

Butterfly Conservatory, located at the Niagara Fall Botanical Gardens in Ontario, is home to approximately 2,000 butterflies of 45 different species.

Where to sleep in Niagara Falls: best areas and hotels on the Canadian and American side.

How to get to Niagara Falls

In addition to arriving comfortably by car, Niagara Falls can be reached by bus from major cities in the area such as New York, Toronto or Boston, or with organized tours.

Distances in km

New York - 633 km

Boston - 753 km

Toronto - 131 km

Buffalo - 33 km

Montreal - 654 km

Detroit - 383 km

Chicago - 847 km

Washington - 640 km

Philadelphia - 643 km

When to go to Niagara Falls

While visiting Niagara Falls is possible all year round, the warmer season is recommended, both because the colors and scenery are more beautiful, and because it can get wet and on cold days it is not ideal. The maximum flow of water can be seen in the spring with the melting of the snow.

Visiting Niagara Falls: better the Canadian or the American side?
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