Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls

The Best of The Best

Niagara Falls is such a majestic place, not only for its natural wonders, but because of its man-made unique structures. From everything to walks through the gardens to getting bombarded with butterflies on top of your head, there is much to do while in this ever-growing city. One of the main attractions of course is The Falls itself, and with that comes a whole slew of activities that will take you to the ends of the earth to explore this natural wonder of the world. The second you choose to hop on the Maid of The Mist or go on a Journey Behind The Falls, you'll be encompassed in a world you didn't even know existed. I do have to say, it's always fun to drive on down to The Falls to see everyone's eyes light up the second they stand in front of this monster of a natural creation. Whether you like to fit each and every activity into your weekend, or you are more a laid back vacationer, The Falls has it all and so much more. Take to the streets and embrace the beauty of The Falls no matter which adventure you partake in. The beauty of the area is that there is so much to explore and so many adventures that are awaiting you, that no matter which adventure you latch onto, each and every memory of The Niagara Region will last a lifetime. And so while in Niagara Falls don't forget to partake in adventure or two from this perfectly crafted top 10 list.


If you feel there's something magical about the presence of a single butterfly, imagine having 2000 of them flying about! Thanks to tropical foliage and flowers, a waterfall and an added dose of humidity, the experience becomes downright exotic. Visitors wander the facility's pathways, watching the creatures light on flowers, flutter through the air and create a show of color and fragility. More than 65 species inhabit the space; outside, native counterparts can be found in the butterfly garden. A cafe is available and staff members present butterfly-related programs regularly.

Melaina's expert tip: This is the perfect park to visit on a rainy day, as the indoor tropical park showcases a plethora of butterflies flying high above.

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It's like a theme-park ride, but it's real! These tours take passengers into the churning waters of the Niagara Gorge and the famous Whirlpool for a true water-soaked adventure. Down river from the Falls, the currents still hold immense power, and folks are certain to get a wild ride. The whole trip takes about an hour, and although rain gear is provided you'll definitely want to bring a change of clothes. Kids under 6 aren't permitted on-board. If you just don't want to get wet, Jet Dome boats provide a dry alternative to the rowdy Jet Boats. Reservations are required.

Melaina's expert tip: If you like to go on a wild ride, the jet boat tour is your best bet. Book a ticket today and you'll fall in love with the majestic nature of the riverside.

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Niagara Falls
Photo courtesy of iStock / Orchidpoet

One of the world's great natural wonders, Niagara Falls is over a mile in length and sends more than a half-million gallons of water per second over the edge. Boats and helicopters provide a closer look at the curtain of water, but Journey Behind the Falls offers the most breathtaking views. Be sure to catch the nightly illumination of the falls as well and enjoy fireworks on Friday evenings during the summer. Although you can purchase tickets for each individual attraction, the best value is the Adventure Pass, which includes Maid of the Mist, White Water Walk, Journey Behind the Falls and the Butterfly Conservatory. Paid parking only, about $10.

Melaina's expert tip: If you're not keen on paying to see The Falls up close and personal, than walk along the parkway to take some panoramic views of The Falls. With restaurants and hotels along The Falls, you certainly can enjoy the sights and sounds of it without hoping on The Maid of The Mist.

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Journey Behind the Falls
Photo courtesy of Ozar

If you think Niagara Falls is impressive from the front, try viewing it from the back! This tour takes visitors in an elevator to the base of the waterfall and lets them see, from behind, the sheer magnitude of the water as it's forced over the cliffs above. An observation platform provides views from the side, while tunnels and portals cut into the rock lets folks experience the rush of water from within the falls. Tours are self-guided, rain gear is included and a gift shop is available after you've made your way through.

Melaina's expert tip: Be sure to get to the Journey Behind The Falls nice and early as the lines continually are extra long during the summer months, and this is one adventure you'll want to go on.

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Niagara Skywheel
Photo courtesy of Hamilton

Niagara Skywheel, it is not just a plain old Ferris Wheel that enables you to see Niagara Falls from up above, it is an experience that is awaiting your arrival. The Skywheel, towering as tall as 175 feet (53 meters), has views of the fascinating Niagara Falls, bright-light Clifton Hill and the city itself. The beauty of this Ferris Wheel ride is that the gondola is fully enclosed and equipped with heating and air conditioning so tourists can enjoy the landscape of Niagara Falls everyday of the year. Come down to The Niagara Skywheel to see the bright lights and long nights from up above, you will certainly be amazed at the view.

Melaina's expert tip: If you don't mind being up high at night, venture onto The Skywheel at night as the views are certainly a thing of perfection.

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Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of Enking

Initially established in 1936, these botanical gardens attract nearly a million visitors each year. In fact, folks can't seem to get enough of NPBG's 100 acres of manicured beds and plantings, which are maintained by a select group of students from the Park's horticultural school. The arboretum features a wealth of specimen shrubs and trees, including flowering cherry trees. Other specialty gardens include those devoted to roses, herbs and vegetables. You'll also see rhododendrons, irises and a wide variety of perennials. NB Blooming is seasonal, of course, so make sure you call ahead.

Melaina's expert tip: The botanical gardens are perfect anytime of the year, but the best time to venture off to explore the gardens is during the summer when all the lovely smelling flowers are in bloom.

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Fast! Unleashed! Mammoth! The superlatives abound for the features at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark and they are well deserved. The slide racing is super-slick and speedy, the Toob Tower provides height and speed, the full-size wave pool simulates the beach and the Plunge Bowl gives you a chance to ride a centrifuge, spinning and splashing all the way. Little ones will love the Tiny Tots Splash Park area especially designed for safety and fun. 125,000 square feet of waterlicious fun. Hours do vary seasonally; please call to confirm.

Melaina's expert tip: If you have children, and they love to play around in the water, you'll want to buy a package to The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. It's one of the best spots to enjoy 125,000 square feet of water fun.

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A combination theme park and aquarium, this complex teaches as it entertains and delights. Killer whales, sea lions, walruses and dolphins perform for visitors who are given the opportunity to view feedings and even touch the killer and beluga whales. A colony of deer and elk ensures there's equal opportunity for land animals. Also on the premises are roller coasters, play areas and other amusements, not to mention a handful of restaurants.

Melaina's expert tip: When you venture off to Marineland you'll want to catch the whale and dolphin shows. The staff, along with the silly, friendly creatures create a hilariously, high-energy show like no other.

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Ground-level sightseeing is terrific, but you'll move to the next level when you book a helicopter tour. The panorama of Niagara territory is heightened from the air, and four-person vehicles ensure that you get personalized attention. Lift off from Toronto and head off to the wine country and catch sight of the impressive estates and vineyards. The trip includes a vineyard luncheon, tasting and tour before the return flight. Honeymoon flights are also available, and corporate outings can be arranged as well. Certified pilots.

Melaina's expert tip: It's best to go on a helicopter ride in the morning, as the views are certainly perfect at this time of day. If it's too cloudy or raining out, you may want to reschedule as visibility will be slim.

Read more about National Helicopters Discover Niagara Adventure →

Maid of the Mist
Photo courtesy of Belvins

Certainly the most long-lived draw for tourists, these boat tours provide a surprising immediacy to the Falls experience. Sturdy vessels navigate waters at the base of the Falls, taking folks practically into the deluge pouring from the cliffs above. The rush of water rings in your ears, and you're washed by mist and spray as you approach the Falls, but nothing else brings you closer to Niagara's majesty. The trip lasts about a half-hour; rain gear is provided. A must, as it has been for more than 150 years.

Melaina's expert tip: The second you get to Niagara Falls go out and buy a ticket to The Maid of the Mist. Get here nice and early as during the summer months the lines are insanely long.

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Meet Melaina Gasbarrino

Melaina is a native to The Niagara Region. Though she's traveled the world, she loves coming home and experiencing the true beauty that The Niagara Region has to offer. From hikes through The...  More About Melaina