Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls are one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural features. Formed after the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, the Falls lie on the Niagara River, which runs between the Great Lakes Erie and Ontario. Straddling the US–Canadian border, the Niagara Falls are actually constituted of three smaller waterfalls. The largest, The Horseshoe Falls, is on the Canadian side of the border; the American and the Bridal Veil Falls (the smallest) are found on the American side. Both the Canadians and Americans have built towns named after the great waterfall either side of the border. While the Canadian town has been described as the ‘Las Vegas’ of Canada, its American counterpart is smaller and quieter by comparison. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy for visitors to cross the border in either direction.


Without doubt, people visit Niagara to see the incredible waterfall. However, the natural tourist trap has seen both Americans and Canadians taking the opportunity to develop other attractions at the waterfall and in the surrounding area.

Around the Falls themselves there are endless possibilities for the visitor. On the Canadian side the famous Maid of the Mist boat ride will take you right into the dense spray at the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. Boats have been making this trip since 1846 and it is still very popular. Journey Behind the Falls will bring you down into caves beneath the Niagara river, allowing visitors the chance to stand behind the tumbling water of the Falls. The Skylon Tower is the tallest structure in Niagara and boasts unbeatable views.

The US also offers a variety of competing attractions. The Cave of the Winds, takes the visitor down to a ‘hurricane deck’ perilously close to Bridal Veil Falls. The Observation Tower is situated right next to the gorge and features an open air platform that extends hundreds of feet above the churning water of the American Falls.

At night the Falls are illuminated in dazzling light displays that can be seen from the promenades and many of the hotels.

Niagara’s surrounding area is one of astounding natural beauty. Both countries have set aside nature parks to ensure that this is preserved. On the US side, Niagara Falls State Park offers a wealth of opportunities for the visitor. Take the Niagara Scenic Trolley for a relaxing guided tour around the peaceful countryside, or visit the Discovery Centre, which features films and exhibitions detailing the geography and history of the Falls and local area. Children especially might enjoy meeting the sea lions, sharks and other sea life at the Aquarium of Niagara.

On the Canadian side the reserved parkland is great for visitors. For the active minded, there are picturesque heritage walks, nature trails and golf courses. The Butterfly Conservatory and Botanic Gardens area also well worth a visit. In the city itself, two grand Casinos await a visit. You will also find an IMAX theatre, and the Marineland theme park. The Clifton Hills area of the town is dedicated to tourists, and features shopping arcades, haunted houses, theatres and a circus.


On the Canadian side, shopping in Niagara itself is centred around the Clifton Hills area, and is resultantly rather touristy. The shops are on the whole souvenir themed, offering both items specifically relevant to Niagara, and to Canada more generally. Only a few miles away from the Falls is the Canada One Factory Outlet, which sells a large variety of goods at bargain prices.

Across the border in the US, the majority of the shops are souvenir and gift based.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Clifton Hill (Canadian Side) offers quite a few opportunities for a night out. There are large night clubs and bars, alongside the Casinos and circus. There are several restaurants, mostly feature or chain establishments offering simple, filling food in a fun atmosphere.

On the US side of the gorge nightlife is a bit more limited. There are two Niagara themed restaurants that offer magnificent views of the Falls. For a lighter snack, there are plenty of stalls serving pizzas, hamburgers and other quick bites.

If all this seems too much, at night the Falls are beautifully lit, and a walk along the promenade can be ideal.

Tourist Information

Canadian Side:Niagara Falls Tourism5515 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. L2G 3X4Tel. +1 905-356-6061Fax. +1 905-356-5567American side:Niagara County Tourism Niagara Office Building, 345 Third Street, Suite 605, Niagara Falls, NY 14303, USA. Tel: +1 (716) 282 8992


The closest airport on the American side is Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, New York (State). On the Canadian side, Pearson International Airport in Toronto is the closest. Coaches run between both airports and Niagara.

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