With its stunning and dramatic scenery, Niagara Falls has long been considered the Honeymoon Capital of the World – not to mention a destination for daredevils.
Although it's illegal to throw yourself or anything else over the Falls, there are plenty of other ways for adventurers to experience the breathtaking power of this natural wonder
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a history buff, a hiker or a foodie, you’ll find lots of surprises on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. Here are 10 to whet (and, in some cases, wet) your appetite:
Art Alley NF
Art Alley NF features 19 murals by local artists — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
This public mural project is located on 3rd Street just a few minutes from Niagara Falls State Park, and it’s transformed a pedestrian walkway into an outdoor art gallery.
Nineteen colorful murals line the walls of these old buildings. All of the works were created by local artists, and it’s a great place to take an Instagram shot or two. "Greetings From Niagara Falls New York" is picture-perfect, and a selfie in front of it is cooler than sending an actual postcard.
Cave of the Winds and Pavilion
Journey into the Cave of the Winds for an up close and personal look at the Falls — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
Before descending into the Niagara Gorge, travel through the World Changed Here Pavilion, where you’ll learn how Nikola Tesla harnessed the Falls’ power to create alternating current, experience what Niagara Falls looked like once upon a time, and see why people have been drawn to the edge of the Falls for centuries.
Then, don your souvenir sandals and poncho and head 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge. Stand on the Hurricane Deck, within feet of thundering Bridal Veil Falls, and drench yourself in their awe-inspiring power.
Niagara Gorge Trail System
The Niagara Gorge Trail System is a great way to experience the area's beautiful scenery — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
Made up of a series of smaller trails that parallel the Niagara River Gorge, the Niagara Gorge Trail System offers some of the best hiking and biking trails in the area.
Trails range from easy to challenging – some feature steep stairways and boulder hopping – so you can experience nature at your own pace. You may even see a Peregrine Falcon or an American Bald Eagle on your trek, as the Niagara River Corridor is recognized internationally as an "Important Bird Area" (IBA).
Jet Boat Rides
Experience Niagara River's class V rapids in a jet boat — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
If you’ve graduated from the iconic Maid of the Mist boat ride, it’s time to go head-to-head with the class V whitewater rapids of the Niagara River on a high-speed jet boat.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours and Niagara Jet Adventures both offer adrenaline-pumping experiences, practically flying across the water, making breathtaking 360-degree turns and plunging into gigantic waves. Depending on just how much of the waves you want to soak in, you can opt for the covered boat or leave yourself completely open to the elements for an exhilarating connection with this force of nature.
Learn the stories behind some of Oakwood Cemetery's most famous residents — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
The permanent home to more than 22,000 residents, Oakwood Cemetery was established in 1852 and provides a fascinating history of the area.
Take the Daredevil Tour to learn about some of Oakwood’s more celebrated residents, like Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over the Falls in a barrel.
10 amazing pedestrian bridges you need to see – and cross
10 amazing pedestrian bridges you need to see – and cross
The Winery at Marjim Manor
Enjoy wine and spirits at the haunted Winery at Marjim Manor — Photo courtesy of Stephen Shoemaker
As they warn on their website, "The difference between wine and spirits at The Winery at Marjim Manor is that wine is what you taste and spirits are who you meet."
The 19th century mansion is reportedly haunted, and it’s been featured on Ghost Hunters and Most Terrifying Places in America. Come for a tasting, where you’ll also be treated to tales about the manor’s former residents. You may need another glass of award-winning wine to calm your nerves.
Red Coach Inn
Red Coach Inn has been welcoming guests for almost a century — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
Overlooking the majestic Upper Rapids, and just 500 yards from Niagara Falls State Park, the Red Coach Inn lets you fall asleep to the roar of the Falls.
Modeled after the Bell Inn in England, the Red Coach Inn is the city’s most distinctive historic structure, with its English Tudor exterior and warm country ambiance. The Inn has been welcoming guests since 1923 – and, according to its haunted history, some of them have never left.
Niagara Power Vista
The hands-on exhibits at Niagara Power Vista are electrifying — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
On par with some of the best science museums, the Niagara Power Vista Center is filled with interactive exhibits designed to educate and entertain.
Design your own dam, operate a power grid during a storm and walk through a turbine. Watch electricity titans Edison and Tesla argue over AC vs DC power. You can even take a high-tech virtual ride that zips you along high-tension power lines across New York State. You’ll leave...energized.
The Haystack sandwich at the Silo is as legendary as the property — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
A former coal silo sitting on the picturesque Lower Niagara River, The Silo now serves up delicious comfort food that will warm your belly – along with spectacular views.
Be sure to try the nationally-acclaimed Haystack, a seasoned rib eye sandwich piled high with melted mozzarella cheese and toasted hash browns. But save room; the Sand Dock Sundae includes 10 scoops of ice cream, crushed Oreos, fudge, gummy worms and so much more served in a pail with a shovel instead of a spoon.
If that’s too much for you, order a milkshake at The Caboose, an actual 19th century train car, where dessert is off the rails.
Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride
The underground boat ride along the Erie Canal takes you back in time — Photo courtesy of Destination Niagara USA
There’s something about this underground boat ride along the Erie Canal that’s both peaceful and, well, eerie.
One of the longest underground boat rides in the country, it takes you back in time into an Industrial Revolution-era tunnel that was blasted out of solid rock in order to channel water from the canal to power several local factories.
You’ll see artifacts left by miners and view cave formations in their early stages of development. You’ll also gain a new appreciation for creations both man-made and natural.