Visit to Niagara Falls: better the Canadian or the American side?

Who I am
Pau Monfort

Author and references

Although not only the highest waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls or Niagara Falls are the most famous in the world. With a height of 52 meters, they owe their importance to the large flow of water from the Great Lakes, which it 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 attraction of nature. Anyone who is in the area to visit cities like New York, Boston or Toronto, absolutely cannot miss the 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 rushing water 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, allow you to see the 3 waterfalls from different angles.

Each side not only offers different views, but also has different characteristics, such as attractions and accommodations. So what is the best side to see to see Niagara Falls, but also to stay? Let's see 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 best from Canada. Virtually the Niagara River Falls occur on the American side, so the best observation is on the Canadian side, which is in front of it.
  • there is a larger area to walk around and observe the falls from various points, much more comfortable even for people with mobility problems.
  • the tourist offer is much higher. There are fantastic hotels (many with great views of the falls), casinos, malls, numerous attractions and restaurants, it feels like a mini Las Vegas.

The disadvantages:

  • if you arrive from the United States, you must complete the customs formalities to enter Canada
  • there are many more tourists and fewer parking spaces
  • it is the more expensive side. Accommodations, attractions and restaurants cost more than the American 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 paths that offer a closer view of the power of the water.
  • overall the visit is cheaper. Attractions, parking, restaurants and shops 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 spray of water as it falls.

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 certainly better
  • on the American side there are many attractions, hotels, shops and restaurants, although there is no doubt that the Canadian area offers so much more.
  • the area is considered less safe than the Canadian side, especially at night.

If you are undecided, you can choose the side based on the exchange rate of the US dollar and the Canadian dollar, whichever is more favorable than the euro.

What to do: the main attractions

Boat ride on the Maid of the Mist

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

Upon departure, a plastic raincoat is given to protect against splashing water. It is a very fun and exciting experience, especially if you do it in the warm months.

Ticket fares (in US dollars)
The adult ticket price (ages 13 and up) is $ 19.25
The ticket price for children (ages 6 to 12) is $ 11.20
Children under 5 get in for free

White Water Walk

The 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 you arrive by car, free parking is available.

The White Water Walk route includes a 70-meter descent in an elevator and crossing 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.

With stairs you can access two observation areas on the edge of the river. This attraction is also wheelchair accessible, except for the two small observation areas that can only be reached by stairs.

Ticket fares (in Canadian dollars)
The ticket price for adults (ages 13 and up) is $ 13
The ticket price for children (ages 6 to 12) is $ 8.45
Children under 5 get in for 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 the chosen language.

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

Niagara Falls helicopter tour from the Canadian side


View from the Skylon Tower

If you can't afford the helicopter flight, another much cheaper option to see the falls from above is the Skylon Tower, a tower with great views of the falls. The observation deck is located 232 meters high over the falls.

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

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

Ticket fares (in Canadian dollars)
The ticket price for adults (ages 13 and up) is $ 23.20
The ticket price for children (ages 4 to 12) is $ 8.45
Children under 4 get in for free

Buy the ticket for the Skylon Tower at a reduced price


Other attractions

Nightmares Fear Factory, located in the city of Niagara Fall in Ontario, is a fun horror house, the oldest in North America. Book your entrance ticket.

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

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

Butterfly Conservatory, located in 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 Canedian and American side

How to get to Niagara Falls

In addition to arriving comfortably by car, Niagara Falls can be reached by bus from the main 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

Although the visit to Niagara Falls is possible throughout the year, the hottest period is recommended, both because the colors and landscapes 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.

Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls -
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