Millions of people from all over the world visit Niagara Falls every year because it is one of the most astonishing natural wonders in the United States. Located in the far northwest of New York State, it is a twin city of the same name in both the United States and Canada.
The spectacular Niagara Falls provide the inspiration for many of the top things to do in Niagara Falls, including tours, vistas, and adventure activities. Hiking beside their rushing rivers and soaking in sweeping vistas from islands, bridges, and observation towers are just a few of the activities available around these natural wonders, in addition to enjoying spectacular boat journeys and zipline rides to experience them up close.
Top 11 attractions in Niagara Falls
The falls are a major attraction, but the city itself offers plenty of interesting things to do and shops to buy at, so don’t let the tourist traps put you off. Here’s a list of the top tourist attractions in Niagara Falls.
- Niagara Falls State Park
- Maid of the Mist
- Cave of the Winds
- Niagara Falls Observation Tower
- Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour
- Niagara Gorge Trail
- Aquarium of Niagara
- Old Fort Niagara
- Three Sisters Islands
- Devil’s Hole State Park
- Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls State Park
The Niagara Falls State Park safeguards not just the river but also three magnificent waterfalls, which is surely the top attraction in Niagara Falls. Most visitors come to see the falls and take pictures, but the area around the gorge is also wonderful for activities like hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing.
American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls are the main attractions in this state park, which was created in 1885 and is, therefore, the oldest state park in the US. They are over 160 feet tall in some spots and extend over 3000 feet in length.
The three magnificent waterfalls are the park’s primary draw, but there is also a museum and a movie theater for visitors to enjoy. You can always count on finding a beautiful picnic area or a breathtaking vista on any of the islands you visit.
Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist is as popular as ever and may even be more so than the Cave of the Winds, which both are two of the main attractions of Niagara Falls. The astonishingly long-running boat excursion has been transporting visitors out to the falls since 1846.
Excited tourists in ponchos squeeze into the bus from the base of the Observation Tower, anticipating a good soaking. The roaring sound and spitting spray of the waterfalls become louder and more thrilling as you get closer to them.
You can get a feel for the falls’ massive proportions and breathtaking beauty as you make your way into the thick of the action. The trips only run from April to October, but the experience of passing by American Falls and Horseshoe Falls is unforgettable.
Cave of the Winds
Another one of the city’s must-see vantage points, the spectacular Cave of the Winds, is located just a short distance from Prospect Point. Boardwalks at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls provide some of the greatest close-up views of the falls in town, but you’ll almost certainly get wet.
The wooden walkways here are an incredible twenty feet from the base of the roaring falls, and the area is so stormy that it has earned the nickname “hurricane deck.” Your ticket includes souvenir sandals and rain ponchos, so you won’t have to spend the day in soggy footwear and clothing.
Goat Island in the middle of the river gets its name from a big natural cave that used to be located behind the falls but now serves as a top tourist attraction in Niagara Falls. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the stunning waterfall up close, hear its powerful roar, and get soaked by its waters.
Niagara Falls Observation Tower
The huge Niagara Falls Observation Tower may be seen on the American side almost straight across from the zipline. It has been one of the best spots to watch the falls and one of the main attractions in Niagara Falls for decades due to its unrivaled vistas of the glistening white cascades.
It was constructed in the early 1960s near the bottom of the valley to the east of American Falls and was given the alternate name of Prospect Point. Its tower is 282 feet high, giving visitors a great vantage point for taking images of the roaring waterfalls below.
The refreshing shower may occasionally even reach those high up outside, making the tower’s observation deck the ideal spot to take in this natural phenomenon. After you’ve had your fill of the falls, go on over to the gift store to pick up some mementos.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour
The Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour takes you into the turbulent waters of the powerful Niagara River and is an unforgettable experience that makes it one of the main top attractions in Niagara Falls. You’ll get the trip of a lifetime as the courageous open-top boat flows across the surface and plunges into severe waves and whirlpools.
Even while the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds will get you close to the falls, nothing beats this wet and chaotic excursion. This is due to the fact that after experiencing the rapids firsthand, practically everyone can’t stop talking about how much fun they had on the boat.
The crew members are hilarious and will keep you laughing the whole time, so even being wet won’t ruin your spirits.
Niagara Gorge Trail
Hiking the Niagara Gorge Trail is the best way to get some fresh air, take in breathtaking views, and work up a sweat. It meanders along the US side of the rushing river and falls, allowing you to see the rapids, rock formations, and whirlpools far below you as you travel along the gorge’s precarious rim.
The walk begins at the trailhead and travels 6.2 miles to Prospect Point, a popular lookout point over Niagara Falls and one of its top attractions. Epic vistas await you at every turn as you make your way through shaded woods, over rocky cliffsides, and along the rim.
Most of the gravel route is extremely straightforward and accessible to trek along, although there are some areas that may get pretty muddy and damp. The beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and vistas more than compensate for the time and effort spent wandering.
Aquarium of Niagara
The fantastic Aquarium of Niagara can be found just north of the central business district. It is home to hundreds of charming marine animals, fish, birds, and reptiles. A popular destination for families, the aquarium features countless tanks and displays that are a joy to explore and frequent events like feedings, demos, and presentations.
Since its inception in 1965, the aquarium’s collection has expanded to include over 125 different species and over 1,500 individual creatures. Some examples include the fun Peruvian penguin, the deadly lionfish, and the terrifying piranhas.
It has a fantastic touch tank where visitors of all ages may enjoy petting starfish, sea snails, and hermit crabs and seeing adorable penguin shows and magnificent sea lion demonstrations. Make sure you visit this place on your trip to the city, as it is one of the best attractions in Niagara Falls.
Old Fort Niagara
Old Fort Niagara is a fascinating glimpse into the history of one of the continent’s most hotly fought locations and should not be missed as it is one of Niagara Falls’ top attractions. Located on a picturesque cliff above Lake Ontario near the mouth of the Niagara River, it was a battleground for the British, French, Americans, and Indians.
It was originally constructed in 1726 and expanded with additional batteries, artillery, and defenses, making it one of the most significant and spectacular forts of the eighteenth century. History enthusiasts may now explore its gardens and walls, with the fortified French castle serving as the undisputed centerpiece.
The excellent tourist center also has many fascinating historical items and educational displays. During the summer months, the fort plays host to historical reenactments of ancient conflicts, as well as period dances and community gatherings.
Three Sisters Islands
The Upper Falls are best seen from Three Sisters Island, which also features beautiful landscapes and wildlife. Visitor attractions include magnificent stone bridges, charming waterside walks, and an abundance of lush vegetation.
The wooded boundaries of these islands—which are really comprised of four smaller islets—are located right upstream from the enormous Horseshoe Falls. Asenath, Angelina, and Celinda are the names of General Parkhurst Whitney’s three eldest daughters; the smallest is called Solon or Little Brother Island.
You may enjoy great views of the falls while strolling around its beautiful green fields and over its attractive tiny bridges, which makes it one of the greatest attractions in Niagara Falls. The wild Niagara River surrounding the island only serves to enhance the mystical and majestic atmosphere.
Devil’s Hole State Park
Located downstream from Whirlpool State Park, Devil’s Hole State Park takes its name from the rapids that run through it. This state park is surely one of the best attractions in Niagara Falls.
The Devil’s Hole Trail is moderate in difficulty, although it has many stairs and the possibility of rock falls since it travels down the embankment and down the gorge close to the water’s edge.
This 1.25-mile track may be accessible from either the northern end of the Niagara Gorge track (Rim Trail) or the southern end of the Whirlpool Rapids Trail. Devil’s Hole Rapids is a great place to experience the majesty and force of water up close and personal.
Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls
Another one of the best attractions in Niagara Falls is the amazing mall called Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls is the largest and most convenient shopping center in Niagara Falls, with more than 120 retailers, restaurants, and cafés spread throughout its massive property. Just 10 minutes east of Niagara Falls State Park, it has just undergone an expansion and renovation.
The enormous mall is a popular destination for both residents and visitors because of its wide selection of well-known brands. As a result, tourists have access to a vast array of goods, from clothes and accessories to jewelry, sporting goods, and electronic gadgets.
If you’ve worked up an appetite while shopping, don’t worry; the mall’s food court and other restaurants and cafés serve up a wonderful fare. The mall’s huge sales and discounts are what keep customers coming back, not its gleaming cleanliness or huge floor space.