5 Things to Do in Niagara Falls, USA (Or “Why the American Side is Way Better. So There.”)

August 19, 2013


I have been to Niagara Falls more times than I can count.

Seriously, you guys.

I’m not saying this just because I’m particularly bad at counting. Which I am.

I’m saying this because I’ve been there like a lot of times. This is just what happens when you grow up less than twenty miles from one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. You end up going there almost every year on a field trip when you’re in school and every single time someone comes to visit you when you’re an adult.

In the past year alone, I’ve been to the Falls at least a half dozen times.

Not that I’m complaining.


It never really gets old.


You know what does get old, though?

People always saying the Canadian side is better.

Seriously, you guys, I’ve been hearing this for years.

To which I would like to respond with this eloquent, thought-out response:


I know what you’re thinking.

You think I’m just saying this because I’m American.

But I’m being completely honest here. If the Canadian side were better, I would totally tell you.

In fact, there are many instances where I’m happy to admit that Canadians are doing a better job than Americans.

Like with national healthcare. And recycling. And poutine. I mean, any country that thinks to smother their fries in cheese curds and gravy is totally genius by me.


So THIS = genius.

But, in the case of Niagara Falls, the American side is way awesomer.

Trust me.

Just to give you an idea as to why I think the American side is better, this is a picture of your typical afternoon on the American side:


See? Lovely.

Whereas this is your typical afternoon on the Canadian side:


See? Shoot me.

I mean, sure, the view  of the Falls is quite lovely on the Canadian side. Due to it’s position across the Niagara River, you can see all three of the Falls from the Canadian side – the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horshoe Falls.


The 3 Falls: American Falls (to the left), Bridal Veil Falls (the “little” one in the middle) and Horseshoe Falls (to the right)

Which means you can take photos of yourself like this:


Just chilling in front of Niagara Falls. As you do.

On the American side, you don’t get quite the same panoramic view, but you are able to get much closer to the Falls. I mean, you’re pretty much standing right next to the Falls. I’m not even kidding you. It is JUST RIGHT THERE.

Holy schnikeys, that's close.

Holy schnikeys, that’s close.

Which means you get to take lots of pictures of yourself like this.


Which, come on, totally awesomer, right?

Not sold yet?

Well, on a recent trip with Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, I found even more reasons to love the American side.

Even if we don’t have fries covered in cheese curds covered in gravy. (Or do we? Someone please tell me poutine exists on the American side.)

Spirit of the Mist Native Dance Performance


My trip started off at one of the American side’s newest attractions – a dance performance at Smokin’ Joes Native Center.

You got to love it when your day begins with watching hot Native American dudes dancing. Especially hot Native American dudes doing crazy stuff with hula hoops.


Plus, the people at the Center were really nice, and they even gave me this necklace:

2013-08-18 19.16.53

When’s the last time Canada gave me jewelry?

How about NEVER.

(Seriously, Canada, what’s the deal? How many times have I visited you? And I have yet to even get so much as a ring. I think it’s over between us.)

Cave of the Winds

2013-08-13 13.00.33

Unlike the Maid of the Mist boat ride, which is offered on both sides of the Falls, Cave of the Winds is only offered on the American side.

Probably, because, Cave of the Winds is TOTALLY CRAZY-PANTS, you guys, and only a bunch of crazy-pants Americans would think this was a good idea. (Mind you, I am allowed to say this as a fellow crazy-pants American who thinks this is a really good idea.)

Back in the 1800s, Cave of the Winds referred to an actual cave behind the Bridal Veil Falls. Public tours of the cave were available until it was closed down because, apparently, it was deemed really unsafe to hang out in a crumbley, old cave behind a massive, thundering waterfall. I can’t imagine why.

These days, Cave of the Winds consists of a series of wooden walkways and platforms built at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. The decking is replaced each year, and, according to the fine people at Wikipedia, the decking is not secured into the rocks with bolts or construction materials of any kind; it’s just wedged into the rock crevices.


So basically you get to go stand on a piece of magically floating wood underneath Niagara Falls.





You also get free shoes.

2013-08-13 12.45.29

I can’t even remember the last time Canada gave me free shoes.

Oh, probably because they haven’t.

Helicopter Ride Over Niagara Falls

2013-08-13 14.00.03

When I was told that my trip would include a helicopter flight over Niagara Falls with Rainbow Air, Inc, I basically stopped breathing for two days. Because HELICOPTER RIDE OVER NIAGARA FALLS, YOU GUYS!

I already knew the ride was going to be pretty much the coolest, but it was made even cooler by the fact that I got to be shoved into the helicopter by a bunch of cute boys.

And then I got to sit right next to the pilot and wear one of those headphone-thingies just like they do on The Bachelorette.

2013-08-13 13.51.38

And take photos like this:

2013-08-13 13.56.56

And this:

2013-08-13 13.54.15

And then my ride ended with me having my picture taken while holding a wrestling title belt. I’m not entirely sure why, but I figured it was best not to ask questions and just hold the title belt and smile.


Don’t even ask.

Sure, you can take a helicopter ride over the Falls from the Canadian side, but will there be cute boys pushing you into a helicopter and a title belt involved?

I seriously doubt it.

Oakwood Cemetery

Feeling like quite the daredevil after my helicopter ride, I was super excited to commune with my fellow daredevils.

Too bad they were all dead.

At Oakwood Cemetery, I got to visit the graves of some of Niagara Fall’s bravest stunters, including Annie Edson Taylor, a sixty-three-year-old former teacher and the first person to survive the trip over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel.

2013-08-13 14.24.05

I also got to go inside the E.B. Green-designed mausoleum, where I learned a whole bunch of stuff about crypts.


Seriously, you guys, when has Canada ever invited me into its mausoleum to check out its crypts?


Eat, Drink, and Eat Some More


I have had plenty of phenomenal food experiences in Canada. I mean, who can forget the cheese-wrapped-in-maple-syrup-wrapped-in-what-I-can-only-assume-was-heaven from Toronto?

But I’ve never been that impressed by the food options available on the Canadian side of the Falls. The restaurants there tend to be more touristy and of the chain-variety.

Whereas the American side offers a lot more unique food experiences, in my opinion.

Like this brick oven pizza which I got at Wine on Third Pizza Bistro.


Pizza at Wine on Third Pizza Bistro

Which maybe doesn’t seem all that unique but it was supposed to be the “half-pizza” and it was basically the same size as my head and I could only eat half of it. And I have a big head and an even bigger appetite, you guys.

And there’s the new Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, which is open to the public and offers everything from an upscale restaurant and a European-style patisserie to community education classes and wine tastings of regional wines.

2013-08-13 15.03.15

Wine tasting at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

And, well, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this in Canada:

2013-08-13 15.56.05

Twist o’ the Mist ice cream shop

See? It’s an ice cream cone in front of an ice cream shop in the shape of ice cream cone. Which you have to admit is pretty genius. Even if it’s not fries covered in cheese curds covered in gravy.

Have you ever visited Niagara Falls? Which side is your favorite?
P.S. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Niagara Falls Tourism & Convention Center for organizing and sponsoring my trip. I’d also like to thank the people at Rainbow Air Inc, Oakwood Cemetery and Niagara Falls Culinary Institute for spending time to talk to me and generally being awesome.

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On August 19, 2013 at 10:04 am Christy@SweetandSavoring said:

    That’s it, I am planning a trip up there for my first three day weekend once the semester starts. My husband’s been up to the Falls, but I, the one actually born and raised in NY, have not. I think you’ve done your job well when you make huge tourist attractions look appealing 😉
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..Three Weeks at a Medieval German Castle

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm Sally said:

      You must! It really is fantastic. I’ve visited it in all 4 seasons (even winter — BRRR!) and it’s just phenomenal every time I go there.

      • On June 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm Cheryl Alessi said:

        My husband and I grew up in Dunkirk, NY and have been going to the Falls on the Canadian side since we could drive! We have never been to the American side (really!) but we are going next week with our three children who do not have passports. We now live in NC and it’s been a long time since all of us have been to the Falls. So, thank you for this blog with all the fantastic things to do! Our adventurous 17 year old will be excited about Cave of the Winds and I did not realize Maid of the Mist was accessible on the American side. My husband will love the restaurant rec’s, actually my entire family will!

        Many thanks; I’m glad I stumbled on your blog!

        • On June 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm Sally said:

          I can’t believe you’ve never been to the American side! I think I went there almost every year growing up on some field trip or another. Have a great trip. I’m sure you’ll love it!

      • On August 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm Kathleen Duvichersëïnghhë said:

        Candian side is still way better typical afternoon on the American is a total joke
        I’ve been to both and I’m American and I say the Canadian has a lot more fun things to do offers the exact same helicopter ride just no stop

        • On August 28, 2016 at 11:48 am Sally said:

          Have you been to the American side recently? It has changed a lot in the past 5 years. I grew up there and went on many field trips there. I would agree that twenty or thirty years ago, the American side was rather dingy and didn’t have much to offer. But the few times I’ve been back there recently, I’ve been really impressed. Of course, it all depends on what you like to do. As I mentioned in my post, I’m not a crowd person and I much prefer to be surrounded by nature than amusement park rides and other touristy stuff like that. But, hey, if that’s your thing, I could understand why the Canadian side might be more your style.

          • On February 8, 2017 at 9:39 pm chris said:

            Well ya sold me. planning trip with friends and 16 yr old daughter and planning on staying on Canadian side but you have touched on all my heart strings…….nature……less crowded……cool awesome sauce Cave of the Winds tour (which we were going to do anyway but…ya know…you made it look AWESOME) ….free jewelry and shoes…. very clever and intriguing blog…. but…but….(…the exchange rate…) thoughts? ploys? switcheroos?? we’re driving from Detroit, too, so….shorter

          • On February 9, 2017 at 7:40 am Sally said:

            I would recommend you visit both — that’s usually what I do when I have people visiting and I’m taking them there for the first time. You can easily spend your morning on one side, and then walk over the bridge to the other side for the afternoon.

  2. On August 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm Linda said:

    Niagara does have a lot to offer as you say and I enjoy Goat Island as much as possible. If the Orchard Grill on Main St was still open you could enjoy Poutine there. Sadly our pizza did not look like the one you picture. Ours was a slightly burned pepperoni pizza not pretty at all and we were disappointed, so will not go back there. We miss Lola’s.
    LOVE the Culinary Institutes food.

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm Sally said:

      I didn’t have a chance to try the Culinary Institute’s food as the restaurant wasn’t open when I was there — I’ll definitely have to go back!

    • On August 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm Kathleen Ordiway said:

      Do go back to the Pizza Bistro and give them a second try. It’s actually the same chef and I haven’t had a bad meal there yet! Don’t let one bad pizza scare you!

  3. On August 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm Colleen Brynn said:

    I think the only real reason anyone ever says the Canadian side is better is because of that view you mention. Yes all that Vegas-lights-casino-hotels garbage is just that – garbage. But it’s kitschy and amusing to some tourists I guess. I like that you actually have some good solid reasons to back up this post though. Like food. But let’s be real, that’s all you really had to write about to get me on board.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..City Quirks: Perm

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm Sally said:

      There are definitely times when I like my kitschyness — like in Japan, I was a huge fan of all the kitschy tourist stuff. I was the first person to hop in a ferris wheel or run around taking cheesy photos of myself in front of stuff. I guess because it was new and different to me, so I can understand why people would be into that kind of thing. But, for some reason, it just drives me a bit mad on the Canadian side of the Falls — probably because I’m used to it and it’s not “exotic” to me.

  4. On August 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm Ang said:

    Great News! You can buy a VARIETY of poutine just outside the main gates of the park on Old Falls Street! Don’t miss the Buffalo Chicken Poutine… because plain old poutine wasn’t good enough!

  5. On August 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm Kathleen Ordiway said:

    LOVE your blog!! It’s great to hear someone rave about Niagara Falls USA! I have the pleasure of working at the falls 2 days a week all summer long… as Annie Edson Taylor, herself! I get to talk to tourists, get my picture taken and dress in Victorian clothing, too. That’s something else Canada doesn’t have – History come alive with 6 different characters wandering the park and making the visit a little more cool.

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm Sally said:

      I’ve seen you guys at the Falls this year, but haven’t had a chance to stop and talk to you. I’m going to have make it a point to stop and chat next time — I especially want to talk to Annie Edson Taylor. I’m dying to know the true story about her cat!

      • On August 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm Kathleen Ordiway said:

        Annie and the rest of the cast of characters only have 2 more weeks before they go into partial hibernation! Tuesdays 11 – 4 and Saturdays 12 – 5, as well as the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 12 – 5. Track us down and Annie will definitely share the TRUTH of her cat!

  6. On August 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm Miriam Lou said:

    Great article!! They do have poutine, or the American homogenized version at Jim’s SteakOut. http://www.jimssteakout.com/jims-steakout/menu-2/page/3/#prettyPhoto/4/

  7. On August 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm palmajo simmons said:

    I am born and raised in Niagara Falls, N Y Still live here and am in awe of the falls every time I see it-which is at least once a week! It really is a wonder of the world-and is kept so well on American side -no honky tonk!

  8. On August 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm Shawn said:

    It’s nice to see someone not from here have such nice things to say about our city. 🙂 Two points: It’s Bridal Veil Falls, and yes, you can find poutine in the US, but you have to go to Buffalo. That said, our neighbor Buffalo is pretty swell, so the trip there is worth it. 🙂

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm Sally said:

      Well, I am kind of from around “here.” Well, not technically Niagara Falls, but I grew up in Buffalo (as I kind of mentioned in my post) and moved back to the area about a year ago. So I imagine the American side does have a hometown advantage in my heart, but, to be honest, I preferred the Canadian side when I was younger.
      And thanks for the tip on the name of Bridal Veil Falls. I made the changes, but I’ve actually seen it referred to by both names. The City of Niagara Falls brochure that I was using for lots of my information on Cave of the Winds refers to it as simply “Bridal Falls.”

  9. On August 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm Christina Gmyr said:

    Loved this post! I grew up a few hours away and then went to college at UofR, so I’ve been to Niagara Falls at least 7 times. And I agree, it never gets old. My appreciation of the American side has definitely increased as I’ve gotten older, in spite of the lack of poutine.

    A heli ride over the falls?! That’s pretty remarkable. Also the wrestling belt made me laugh out loud!
    Christina Gmyr recently posted..Thousand Islands (Alexandria Bay, NY)

    • On August 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm Sally said:

      I totally agree with you on age and appreciation of the American side. When I was younger, I totally thought the Canadian side was cooler because that’s where all the casinos and night clubs were… not that I even went to casinos or night clubs because I was pretty lame. But now I just love how peaceful and naturey the American side is. Sure it gets its crowds… but once you wander off the beaten path, it can really be very peaceful. Plus, the changes they’ve made to the American side in the past few years are amazing. I hardly recognize the place!

  10. On August 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm Leslie in Portland, Oregon said:

    Thanks for all these tips, given in your inimitably delightful way! I have not yet been to Niagara Falls, but when I first go, it will definitely be to the American side.

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:29 am Sally said:

      Well, I definitely recommend checking out the Canadian side, too. If only to see what all the hype is about… and the view IS quite nice. Plus, you can easily do both in a day.

  11. On August 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    Looks like you had the FULL Niagara Falls experience. I’m exhausted just looking at all these photos.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Outdoor Adventure Activities at Hood River

  12. On August 20, 2013 at 12:31 am Ross said:

    I’ve been there a couple of times (only because I was in the area for other reasons). I tend to be biased towards Canada for many things but I much prefer the USA side. Just need the Canadian/USA side photos to know why. Actually just need the Canadian side photo to know why.
    Ross recently posted..Scars

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:27 am Sally said:

      Yep, just LOOKING at that photo from the Canadian side gives me the heebie jeebies. I will say that that was taken on a holiday weekend, so it was particularly packed. But I don’t think I’ve ever been there when it hasn’t been packed — whereas the American side can be quite calm on a weekday. I suspect this has something to do with the fact everyone thinks the Canadian side is better! Maybe I shouldn’t have let the secret out!

  13. On August 20, 2013 at 12:41 am Nicole said:

    The minute I find that poutine-smothered French fry, I’ll let you know. I think I would skip around on the borders and see both sides. A lovely day in the park and a lovely day on a Ferris wheel sounds nice.

    Actually, no. The Ferris wheel part sounds scary, especially at the very top. I’ll go for a walk in the park. 🙂
    Nicole recently posted..A Shoe and Hand Guide up Cat Ba Mountain

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:26 am Sally said:

      I definitely recommend checking out both. You can easily visit both sides in a day. Plus, you get to walk across the bridge to Canada which I think is super cool. How many times can you just walk to another country?

  14. On August 20, 2013 at 4:11 am Emily Wilson said:

    Canadian side rocks! We have dare devil graves ( Drummond hill cemetery) and a Casino! Although you are bang on…..we do not have anything close to the Cave of the Winds….by far the best attraction going. Been in the Maid of the Mist 16 times….a small unhealthy obsession of mine. Truly love Niagara Falls, both sides….but have to like my is more….lol

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:12 am Emily Wilson said:

      *my side more*

    • On August 20, 2013 at 4:25 am Sally said:

      Ooo, I didn’t realize the Canadian side had a daredevil grave site as well. I’ll have to check it out. We also have a casino on the American side. And, yes, the Maid of the Mist is totally worth the obsession. That boat is so cool and definitely doesn’t get old no matter how many times you’ve been on it. Although I don’t think I’ve ever been on it on the Canadian side — maybe I’ll have to try that. It may sway me. Although, I’ll have you know the ponchos for the Maid of the Mist on the American side are MUCH nicer… 🙂

  15. On August 20, 2013 at 9:34 am Heather said:

    I’ve only been once and went to the Canadian side, but next time I go I want to check out the American side. The free shoes are a bonus, and I would LOVE that helicopter tour. A must in my book! Thanks for giving us the scoop.
    Heather recently posted..May the 4th be with you! Small ways to incorporate Star Wars into a May 4 wedding

  16. On August 20, 2013 at 10:01 am aimee said:

    Um, casinos?! does the American side have casinos? if it does then they’re tied for me. “Oh wow, a waterfall. cool. okay, I’m going to play some slots”

  17. On August 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm joe cody said:

    Ispent 2 years 50 years ago at Niagara U. To this day I have fond memory of Niagara Falls en total. Time and Distance lend enchantment to the view. My grand son a medical student at a Niagara Hospital chose that education location because I talked so much about the total Niagara Falls……St Catherines Ont. and Buffalo and The Tuscarora Nation.These were some of the happiest days of my life

  18. On August 21, 2013 at 12:17 am Sine said:

    Yes, I actually have been there! Five kids in tow! All I really remember is the Maid of the Mist, and mainly just because of the cool name. I mean, what a great alliteration. I also remember cruising forever before finding parking. And I remember almost getting stuck at the border post (we were coming from Toronto) because something wasn’t quite right with one of our passports. I am very happy you wrote this post because ever since I’ve had doubts whether I shouldn’t have visited the Canadian side. So now I know.

    • On August 21, 2013 at 7:28 am Sally said:

      I think both sides are definitely worth visiting… at least so you can form your own judgments and not have to just believe all those people saying the Canadian side is better and one certain blogger saying the American side is better. 🙂

  19. On August 21, 2013 at 12:59 am Jess said:

    I was going to say the Canadian side still wins because poutine. Because I judge the beauty of natural wonders by the food I can eat while I view them. But the ice cream and pizza may tip things back towards Team USA.
    Jess recently posted..Sod, Sod, and More Sod – Archaeology in the Alaskan tundra.

    • On August 21, 2013 at 7:27 am Sally said:

      The ice cream was pretty phenomenal. And, now according to my lovely readers, I’ve been informed there IS poutine on the Canadian side — Buffalo chicken poutine at that!

  20. On August 21, 2013 at 2:28 am Katherine Belarmino said:

    I’ve only been to the Canadian side of the falls because my best friend who lives in Rochester took us and says the Canadian side is the best. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that she used to go there back in the day to drink before she turned 21? I’ll have to try the American side next time.
    Katherine Belarmino recently posted..Snorkeling Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi Islands

    • On August 21, 2013 at 7:26 am Sally said:

      Ha ha. Probably. I used to think the Canadian side was cooler when I was younger even though I didn’t even drink. Just knowing that I COULD drink on the Canadian side made it cooler to me, I guess.

  21. On August 21, 2013 at 3:28 am Selly said:

    Delighted to find out that I can access your blog without a VPN and also madly jealous. I’ve never been to the falls and would love to go… It’s on my list of places to see. Or day!

  22. On August 21, 2013 at 9:54 am Heather said:

    I grew up in VA, lived in NY for 5 years and somehow never made it up to the Falls. But I’ve already made clear to family that we will be taking a trip up there once I’m back States-side. Hopefully they like helicopters!
    Heather recently posted..The Best Meals We Ate in Budapest

  23. On August 21, 2013 at 11:15 am Priya said:

    Um, I want a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls! Oh, and PS, on The Bachelorette, you get to say “you’re scared” and then hold the guy’s hand sitting next you. OK, that was a little mean. I might be saying that because I’m totally jealous of your helicopter ride.
    Priya recently posted..Legends Of The Summer (AKA My Secret Love For Boy Bands Which Is Not So Secret)

    • On August 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm Sally said:

      Excuse me, the Bachelorette would NEVER say she’s scared. She would just talk about how a helicopter ride is a lot like love… scary and exciting and full of highs and lows but also cute guys shoving you in the butt. Or something like that.

  24. On August 24, 2013 at 9:19 am Ceri said:

    As always, I am now sooooo hungry after reading your post.

    Also, that random wrestling belt made me laugh way too hard.
    Ceri recently posted..Ten Years, Five Years

  25. On August 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm Allison said:

    Going to be making our first trip to Niagara Falls with in a year. We were trying to choose between this and Las Vegas. (I lived in Las Vegas years ago) Your blog sold me on Niagara Falls. Thanks. I never thought I would enjoy a helicopter ride but your photos made me want to. I also wanted to say I loved your down to earth blog.

    • On August 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm Sally said:

      Thanks, Allison. So glad you enjoyed the post. And, if it makes any difference, I totally vote for Niagara Falls over Vegas. Not that I have anything against Vegas but it’s NIAGARA FALLS. Come on!

  26. On August 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm Julia said:

    I’m so jealous! I’ve never been to Niagara Falls but have always wanted to (my mom and brother went and left me home with my Dad -so not cool).

    Thanks for the entertaining post…and I totally want to try some poutine now, because you really can’t go wrong with adding cheese/gravy to anything.

  27. On August 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm Gail said:

    I’m from Ohio and visit about 6 times a year. I’ve gone to the Canadian side countless times over many years but it’s the American side that I prefer – and not just Niagara Falls but the entire Niagara Region, U.S.A. Great article! You said what I keep imploring to others. Except I didn’t get a free necklace… And the helicopter ride is in the near future. I want to see the Falls from above and also the neighborhoods where my grandmother grew up over 100 years ago.

  28. On August 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    Right well … here’s the thing … our activity list on the Canadian side on our last trip:

    Bird Kingdom
    Butterfly Conservatory
    Clifton Hill
    Greg Frewin Theatre
    Fort George National Historic Site
    Journey behind the Falls
    Marine land
    Niagara’s Furry
    Niagara Sky wheel
    Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum
    Sky con Tower
    Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
    White Water Walk
    Elements on the Falls Restaurant (FOOD & VIEW)
    Table Rock
    Shaw Festival
    Fort Niagara
    Inniskilin and Reif Winery Estates (WINE!)
    Short Hills Provincial Park
    Navy Hall

    Maybe both sides just rock?
    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted..What Dog Owners Should Know About the Islands of Folegandros – Greece

  29. On August 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm Noel said:

    Amazing shots. I’ve never been to Niagara Falls but hopefully soon, my wife and I will go there. We’ve just arrived in New York so we need to plan our trip over there. Anyway, thanks for giving me a general idea of what to expect in Niagara Falls most especially on the American side. We’ll also visit the Canadian side to see the entire greatness of Niagara.
    Noel recently posted..Filipino Businesses on Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, New York City

  30. On August 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm Alouise said:

    I went to Niagara Falls for one night before going to TBEX, and while the views on the Canadian side are pretty awesome I have to admit the American side was really cool. I especially liked that when I walked over to Niagara Falls, New York from Niagara Falls, Ontario that I was greeted with seeing a very pretty state park, and not the strange commercialization that’s found on the Canadian side. The nice thing about Niagara Falls is that it’s really easy to visit the US and the Canadian side.

  31. On September 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm becky hutner said:

    Ha! I’m Canadian & have never liked all the tat on our side that in my opinion, spoils the vibe. You’ve made me think though…why have I never BEEN to the American side? All those trips as a kid…did my family have some kind of misguided patriotic sense that we’d be traitors if we crossed that line? You’ve made a convincing argument here, Sally. I will right the wrongs of my childhood next time I’m at the Falls.
    becky hutner recently posted..Back to SE Asia Part 2

    • On September 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm Sally said:

      Hmmm… obviously your parents were involved in some Canadian plot to brainwash you into thinking there’s only one side of the Falls. And, yes, please do visit the other side!

  32. On September 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm Choi Kum Fook said:

    Comparing the falls of Niagara between USA and Canada is a bit diffcult.Everybody has his own directtion of viewing. As for me, both are equalvalant! The Falls are really magnificent and wonderful! I do not know when I could see them on the spot! May be one day I hope, of course not so long! Ha! Ha!

  33. On September 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm Jonathan said:

    Great post! I went to both the American and Canadian sides of the falls but that was like 8 years ago. I think the next time I go I’ll stick with the American side 🙂 The helicopter flight sounds pretty awesome.
    Jonathan recently posted..Tucan Travel Overland Tour Experiences: Driving Days

  34. On October 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm Sand In My Suitcase said:

    Even though we live in Canada, we can’t disagree with you on which side of Niagara Falls is better – since OMG – we’ve never visited (one day…). Now, if you like food, get your taste buds out to Vancouver (our hometown) – you’ll luv our restos.
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted..Exotic Thailand

  35. On October 3, 2013 at 8:36 am Chelsea said:

    I just discovered your blog via The Huffington Post and I wanted to tell you what an amazing first impression you made! I just bumped Niagara Falls up a few spaces on my to-do list (I’ve never been that far North in the US!) because you made it look so fun! Although I might have to venture to the Canadian side despite your case for the American side because really, let’s be honest, POUTINE! Thank you for this post, and for all of the other ones I will be reading in the near future! 🙂
    Chelsea recently posted..Stockholm or BUST!

    • On October 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm Sally said:

      Yes, poutine definitely is cause enough to brave the crowds on the Canadian side. I did hear tale of poutine on the American side, but I never saw it.

  36. On February 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm almas abbasi said:

    Thanks for excellent review. we r planning to go in March. Do u recommend any good hotel on American side. Thanks

    • On February 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm Sally said:

      I’ve never actually stayed in a hotel on the American side as my family lives in Buffalo (a short 30-min drive away). But I’ve heard the Giacomo is lovely — it’s in a beautiful historic building within walking distance from the Falls. That would be my pick if I were staying overnight.

      • On December 8, 2015 at 9:32 pm Lori said:

        Which side would you feel best for 2 12 year old boys?

        • On December 9, 2015 at 6:52 am Sally said:

          Hi Lori,
          I think either side would be suitable, it just depends on what you are interested in doing. The American side is a bit more low-key, but there are still a lot of things to do there. I think the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds would be great for 12 year olds. There’s also Old Fort Niagara, which is about 15 minutes away from the Falls, which is a super fun, educational place to visit. The Canadian side is much more built-up and has a lot more touristy options (i.e. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, a Ferris wheel, Hard Rock Cafe, etc.), but, as a result, it’s also a lot more crowded and expensive.
          It’s also entirely possible to do both in the same day, as long as you have passports. I’ve gone to the American side in the morning and spent the morning/early afternoon there. And then walked across the bridge to Canada and spent the late afternoon/evening there.

  37. On April 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm pam said:

    i wanna plan a trip on the us side any info on where to stay or what to do? we are a family of 6 i would like to be close in walking distance to everything.since we have kids no casinos lol. what is the rainbow bridge. the maid of mist looks interesting. any info from anyone is greatly appreciated.

    • On April 20, 2014 at 10:05 am Sally said:

      I definitely recommend the Maid of the Mist — that’s good for all ages. Cave of the Winds is also excellent — but probably a bit scary for younger kids (also not sure if they have a age/height requirement). There’s a Native American dance show and an aquarium pretty close by the Falls, as well. If you have a few days and a car, there’s lots of fun places to visit nearby. Old Fort Niagara is great. I also really liked the Lockport Locks Erie Canal Cruise. I recommend checking out the Niagara Tourism’s website for more info and hotel recs: http://www.niagara-usa.com/

  38. On April 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm alesia conner said:

    hello. the 3rd pic down… can you tell me the name of this place and exactly where its located. looks like a nice place to go for a walk with the boyfriend 🙂

    • On April 24, 2014 at 7:59 am Sally said:

      Hi Alesia, I believe this was taken on the walk to Goat Island, which is right next to the Bridal Veil Falls. This is just one of many lovely walking paths between the 3 different parts of the Falls.

  39. On April 26, 2014 at 8:18 am Amy said:

    Loved reading about your Niagara experience! I am a Florida gal and headed to Niagara May 7th for the first time. I am so excited! We will have a full three days there. Any other must see, must do suggestions?

    • On April 26, 2014 at 8:59 am Sally said:

      Hi Amy,
      Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds (if it’s open) are must sees! There are also lots of great day trips that can be done in the area. Old Fort Niagara is great. You can go on a local wine tour and take a boat ride on the Erie Canal. I suggest checking out Lewiston, which is this super cute town just north of the Falls. Here’s the website for Niagara, USA: http://www.niagara-usa.com/
      Also, if you have time, I recommend heading into Buffalo to have REAL Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar or Duff’s. (But, as a Buffalonian, I’m kind of required to say that!).

  40. On April 27, 2014 at 9:15 am Aaron said:

    Honestly, I thought the American side would stink and there would be nothing to do with a boring view. Glad to say I was wrong after reading your comments and seeing your pictures. I have family coming to the United States for the first time to visit and I wanted to show them Niagara falls, which I am excited about doing now. Could you recommend a nice place to stay that isn’t to far from these attractions and is not too expensive. Thank you from Syracuse.

    • On April 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm Sally said:

      Hi Aaron,
      I’ve never actually stayed in Niagara Falls, as my family lives in Buffalo so I just stayed there. I’d check out the list of hotels on the Niagara USA Tourism website: http://www.niagara-usa.com/hotels/hotels/#.U2Ex0YWgXfg
      I’ve heard the Giacomo is really nice — although maybe a bit pricy. There are also some really cute B&Bs and smaller hotels in Lewiston, which is a really cute historic town about 15 or 20 minutes from the Falls.
      Have a great trip!

  41. On May 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm Texas Girl said:

    We went there 40 years ago on our honeymoon. We are going back this weekend. I’ll let you know.

  42. On June 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm Maddy said:

    Love your blog on Niagra Falls. Quick, easy and to the point. What side to visit…obvious no brainer, USA. Thanks for all the links so I could get details without being overwhelmed. Good job!

  43. On June 20, 2014 at 4:04 am Sharon said:

    I really enjoyed reading ur post on Niagara falls. I will be in New York on 14th Aug till 16th Aug and want to visit the American side of Niagara.
    I wish to do ‘Cave of the Winds’, ‘Maid of Mist’, ‘1000 islands’, ‘Howes Cavern’ and ‘Niagara Night time illumination’, ‘Hersheys Chocolate Park’, and @Glenn Park’.
    Would you know of a tour that does all this??? If so please let me know.
    B Rgds

    • On June 22, 2014 at 10:32 am Sally said:

      Wow! That’s a lot of stuff to do in only 3 days! You should be able to do all or most of the Niagara Falls stuff in one day — including Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist and the night time illumination. However, the other stuff — 1000 islands, Howes Cavern and Hershey Park — are really quite far from Niagara Falls and would probably take at least a day each to visit. I’d suggest either just sticking around Niagara Falls and doing some other sites in the area (Old Fort Niagara is great as is Lewiston… you could also explore Buffalo or go over to the Canadian side if you have your passport) or choose one of the other sites to visit and rent a car. I highly doubt you’ll be able to find a tour that will fit in all those sites. Good luck!

  44. On June 27, 2014 at 11:26 am Chrystal said:

    Hi! I really enjoyed reading this article!! I even read every single comment and reply! I just have one question… My fiancé and I are considering going to Niagara Falls for our honeymoon. Are there enough things to do to keep us busy for a week? Or do we need to plan other activities away from Niagara as well?

    Thanks for all the info!!

    • On June 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm Sally said:

      The Falls itself is worth a good full day of exploring. I’d say if you have a week, you should definitely plan on getting out and about in the area. Nearby there’s Old Fort Niagara and the really cute town of Lewiston. There are also plenty of parks and other outdoorsy stuff in the vicinity — I went fishing in Lewiston; that was super fun. You can easily drive to Buffalo (about 40 minutes away) and catch some museums, a show or a sports game. If you have your passports, you can also go to Canada to check out the Canadian side or go to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
      You definitely won’t have any trouble filling up a week. Have a great time! And congrats on your future wedding!

  45. On July 5, 2014 at 11:32 pm Bob Foss said:

    Yes, you are so right. I went to the Falls the first time in the late 1950s as a kid. My father said the Canadian side was better, but having been to both, I love the tranquil, park setting of the State Park in New York, and like others said, you can get really close. Now, I have advised several sites, including Wikipedia, that according to the U.S. Geological Survey maps, one-third of Horseshoe Falls is in the U.S., despite some people calling it the “Canadian” Falls. Most of it is in Canada…but not all of it…and with erosion more of it will be in the U.S. in the future. I really like Canada, especially their social policies, but I found Niagara Falls, Ontario, to be quite tacky, touristy, and much less relaxing. They have a bit better view of all the Falls, but I’d rather walk my dog or have a picnic on the U.S. side.

  46. On September 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm Mel Rolph said:

    We are coming to NF in Oct. I am trying to plan the trip (first one)and your blog has been really helpful. I think we will be staying on the US side and walking everywhere (we are English!!). Thanks.

  47. On October 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm Nat said:

    Hi, I’m planning a trip over winter where most of the attractions/activities would be closed… Sadly. Any recommendations on what to do, where to go over winter if I still want to visit Niagara Falls?

    • On October 11, 2014 at 8:55 am Sally said:

      I actually LOVE Niagara Falls in the winter. It’s so magical… and really cold… but mostly magical. It’s true that a lot of the attractions are closed, but you can walk around the Falls. And a fun bonus is the observation deck which usually costs money is free in the winter. If you have a car, I’d suggest checking out some nearby attractions. Old Fort Niagara is great and would be fun to visit in the winter. And nearby Lewiston is an adorable little town with lots of quaint shops, cafes, restaurants and a spa. Or if you want to go a little bit farther afield, you can go to Buffalo (about a 30 minute drive) where there’s tons to do in the winter, including museums, theater and, of course, hockey.
      Have a great trip!

  48. On October 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm DJ said:

    As a fan of BOTH sides of the Falls, I enjoyed this article a LOT. I’ve always leaned toward the Canadian side if I had a choice, but always had a sneaking suspicion that the American side wasn’t far behind. You’ve made me want to get back up there.

    I live in the Cleveland area, and used to go at least once @ year, and have seen it multiple times in every season. But stuff like work, divorce, lack of money, and un-400-mile-round-trip-worthy beater vehicle has kept me away for several years now.

    I’ve GOT to get back.

  49. On November 18, 2014 at 5:39 am Nik said:


    Nice post… Me n my wife r planning to go this Christmas for 2 days.. Will it be worth it if we go just to the US side considering all the attractions r closed? Or should we plan for a different season/Canada side as well? (We r not Americans, so gotta apply for Canadian visa)

    Also, how did u get the free helicopter ride? Care to share? 😉


    • On November 18, 2014 at 9:54 am Sally said:

      Hi Nik,
      I LOVE going to Niagara Falls in the winter. Yes, it’s FREEZING, but it makes for amazing photos. Plus, bonus: no crowds! It’s true that the attractions aren’t open, BUT you can get on the observation deck for free during the winter (it usually costs money during the non-winter months) and there are some nice attractions nearby that are open. I love Old Fort Niagara, which is about a 15 minute drive away, and is open year-round. Check out the Niagara USA website (http://www.niagara-usa.com/) for more info on what you can see & do during the winter months. Enjoy your trip!

  50. On January 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm Maria Lopez said:

    This post looks awesome and you looks like having the great time of your life in the pictures. Thank you for this wonderful post, I can’t wait to visit the falls anytime soon and try these stuff that you suggested. Thank you for sharing.

  51. On March 3, 2015 at 11:59 am Lisa Arnold said:

    Thanks so much for the great info! You have inspired us to visit the US side!!! We were thing of going the last week of March/first week of April. Will the falls still be frozen? All the attractions open? Or would you recommend not going during that time frame? Thanks again!

    • On March 6, 2015 at 8:27 am Sally said:

      The Falls won’t still be frozen, but I’m sure it will be pretty chilly. I’m not sure if the Maid of the Mist or the Cave of the Winds will be open yet at that time. You should check out the Niagara USA website for details (http://www.niagara-usa.com/). If they’re not open, there are plenty of other nearby attractions that will be. If you’re into history, Old Fort Niagara is fantastic and open year-round. There’s also an aquarium and lots of wineries in the area. And Buffalo’s only a 30 minute drive away and they have tons of great museums and other fun stuff to do there — check out the newly opened Canalside. It’s a great place for a stroll and a stop at one of the bars.

  52. On March 21, 2015 at 8:47 am karen Beaulieu said:

    I enjoyed reading your post about the falls. we are camping in NY 6 miles from Canada, figured we were going to see both sides anyway and it would be cheaper to stay on the American side and take trips to the Canadian side. We are going in July for 10 days…. Have you ever taken one of the bus tours that they offer to see all the sites, we thought we might just do that rather than drive around ourselves. So excited , its our first time there and our 40th Anniversary get away….

    • On March 28, 2015 at 12:08 pm Sally said:

      Hi Karen,
      What a great trip! I haven’t camped around that area, but would love to do so sometime. It’s a beautiful part of the country.
      I’ve never taken a bus tour there before, but it sounds like a good idea — especially to get to the sites which are a bit farther afield, like the wineries. As for the sites at the Falls (like the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds), those are all within easy walking distance from downtown Niagara Falls. You can also easily walk to the Canadian side from the American side (much quicker than driving — the bridge is always jam-packed with traffic!) and you can see most of the sights on the Canadian side by foot.
      Have a wonderful trip & happy anniversary!

  53. On April 9, 2015 at 12:58 am Kimberly said:

    Amazing blog with recommendations on insight of NF! So, I’m trying my best to plan a trip that includes 2 days spent in NYC and then flying into Buffalo, NY to see the Falls for 2 days.

    My question(s) are: would you recommend any places to eat or visit while in Buffalo? And is a passport required to visit the falls when visiting on the U.S. side? I’ve read different things so I wanted to see if you could help me out!

    Thanks in advance!

    • On April 9, 2015 at 1:01 am Kimberly said:

      Also, are there must try restaurants when visiting NF?!
      I know time is limited, but if a passport is required regardless of visiting the US side of the falls or Canadian, I wanted to see what places were worth sight seeing!

      We will be renting a car in Buffalo, so I hope that will not limit us from crossing borders if we do!

      • On April 11, 2015 at 11:12 am Sally said:

        I’m usually in NF just for the day — so I’ve only ever really eaten lunch there. But there are a lot of nice restaurants popping up in the area. I liked Wine on Third. I’ve also heard good things about Griffon Pub. Also, if you find yourself in Lewiston or Tonawanda, two cute towns in Niagara County, there are some really nice restaurants there. But, honestly, your best bet for good food is Buffalo. There are so many amazing restaurants in the city. In fact, Buffalo was just voted one of the top food cities in the world by National Geographic. Buffalo may have a bad rap for snow and sports, but we definitely know how to eat there!

    • On April 9, 2015 at 8:35 am Sally said:

      Hi Kimberly,
      You don’t need a passport to see the American side, but you do need a passport to go to the Canadian side. You can actually just walk over to the Canadian side from the American side if you have your passport — this is usually quicker and often easier than driving as the bridge is usually packed with car traffic and parking on the Canadian side can be a hassle (and expensive!).
      As for restaurants in Buffalo, there are tons of great places to eat in the city as it’s a very foodie city. Of course, you have to check out Anchor Bar, the home of Buffalo wings. If you’re a big Buffalo wings addict, I also suggest trying Duff’s which is Anchor Bar’s rival (and many Buffalonians prefer it). A few other places I’d recommend: Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, Pano’s on Elmwood and Mother’s in Allentown. Have a great trip!

    • On April 11, 2015 at 11:19 am Sally said:

      Oh, and I forgot to mention places to visit in Buffalo (I guess I was just too focused on eating!). There are some good museums in the city. For art, try Albright Knox and the Burchfield Penney (they’re right across the street from each other). For history, try the Buffalo Historical Society and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. If you’re into architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House is a must-see. If you’re there on a weekday, definitely try to catch a free tour of Buffalo City Hall (if you can’t get a tour, still stop by and check it out — there’s a great viewing area from the top floor where you can get a panoramic view of the city). Also, Canalside, a boardwalk near downtown, is a great place to wander, sit on a big deck chair, rent a kayak or take a boat tour or have a beer at the pub. Oh, and one more (kind of unusual suggestion): Forest Lawn Cemetery. It’s where all the bigwigs from Buffalo’s heydey were buried, plus it’s gorgeous, and they offer historical tours with reenactors. It’s really great and gives you insight on how influential and up and coming Buffalo was back in the day.

  54. On April 11, 2015 at 11:23 am Kimberly said:

    Okay great! I’ve added those restaurants on our itinerary, and I’ll do the same for the places you’ve listed too!

    On the other hand, do you think having one full day and half a day is enough to explore buffalo (we land at 5 pm) and then go into Niagara Falls US for the next full day?

    We’re looking into perhaps getting our passport and then flying from Toronto to Vancouver and spending a day there. I know, so many ideas but we’retrying to make it work for June!

    • On April 11, 2015 at 11:39 am Sally said:

      A day and a half should be enough time to get a good overview of Buffalo. The city is a bit spread out and the public transport options aren’t great, but as long as you have a car you should be fine.
      If you’re heading to Toronto, I’d suggest having at least 2 days, maybe 3. There’s really so much to do and see there — and so many good food options! There are also lots of nice places between NF and Toronto (Niagara on the Lake is gorgeous and worth a one day visit), so you might just consider staying in Ontario for a bit, rather than heading on to Vancouver. But that’s just me — I like to travel sloooowwww and see as much as I can of one area, rather than jetting around and seeing more places.
      Have a great trip!

  55. On April 18, 2015 at 11:18 am Lynda said:

    Loved this, was a riot and a half as well as helpful thank you for the pleasure and fun.

  56. On May 26, 2015 at 6:31 am Kesbo said:

    Thank you Sally – you’ve definitely made my mind up- USA USA….side. We’re a couple of Brits coming over in September but unfortunately we’ve only got 5hrs at Niagra so what do you recommend we focus on?

    • On May 26, 2015 at 7:49 am Sally said:

      I’d say you definitely have to do the Maid of the Mist — that should still be open in September. And if you have time, Cave of the Winds is super awesome too. Check out the Niagara USA website for more info. Have a great time!

  57. On July 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm Lanaya said:

    I am so glad i ran across this we have never been to NY much less the Falls so I decided this was the year so I started asking advise I really didn’t want the hassle of a passport just for a 2 day trip and was about to give up the trip once people started telling me not to waste our time on the NY side of the Falls but your pics look amazing so I say with fingers crossed on with the trip!!

    • On July 22, 2015 at 8:50 am Sally said:

      The NY side is definitely worth it! Especially in the past few years they’ve made so many wonderful changes on the American side to make it more interesting, attractive and accessible to visitors. They even have a viewing platform above the Falls which shows you a very good panoramic view of the Falls (almost as good as the view from the Canadian side — but you don’t have to put up with the insane crowds). Definitely go, enjoy yourself and tell those nay-sayers that they were wrong!

  58. On September 3, 2015 at 2:37 am anne said:

    OMG i just teared up laughing from reading your post, unbravegirl! Youre the funniest blogger ive ever known! hahahahaha!! looking forward to seeing the niagara falls new york side this autumn!

  59. On October 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm Jill said:

    I just returned on Oct 2nd from my first trip to Niagara Falls which had been on my “bucket list”. I am an American and I was shocked at how what you wrote and some pictures you shared SO MISREPRESENTED the Canadian side! Maybe you have not taken the time to go beyond the bridge and where the Ferris wheel is, all the way down to Horseshoe Falls where you CERTAINLY CAN get as close to the falls as you were on the USA side. No, Canada does not have Cave of the Winds, but they DO have Journey Behind the Falls where one descends 125 ft & CAN go behind (no banned crumbling cave there) to see the power of the pouring down water as well as go out on an open viewing area RIGHT beside the edge of Horseshoe Falls. I have searched the web for photographs comparing the two sides and NO QUESTION in my opinion, the Canadian side is WAY BETTER! Had I gone to the American side only expecting to see what I had dreamed of for so long I would have been SO DISAPPOINTED! Maybe there is no path through trees, but there are parks with trees, BEAUTIFULLY designed with gorgeous flowers and plants! I went to Niagara Falls to see just that; the falls & anything else is superfluous. Wish I could post MY photos, they are FABULOUS! Canada side IS BEST! Those who don’t see them from Canada is missing out big time!

    • On October 6, 2015 at 7:04 pm Sally said:

      I grew up an hour away from the Falls. So, trust me, I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see on both sides of the Falls. And, yes, I would definitely recommend that tourists check out both sides of the Falls and form their own opinions for themselves. But I’m an American-side girl all the way! You can take your hoardes of tourists and Horseshoe Falls and overpriced chain restaurants. I’ll keep my pleasant leavey walkways, Cave of the Winds, and local artisan pizza joints, thankyouverymuch. 🙂

    • On January 14, 2017 at 8:39 pm Jaime said:

      Yes, exactly. I cannot agree with you more. I was surprised by how limited this blog was on the Canadian side and what natural beauty can be found in addition to the Falls. This person missed out on SO MUCH. It really is a shame.

      • On January 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm Sally said:

        Hello. As the “this person” who wrote this blog post, I feel like you missed the whole point of this post. I wanted to introduce people to the different things they could see and do on the American side of the Falls as many people are not aware of all the great stuff that exists there. Also, with passport requirements and visa restrictions, a lot of people are unable to visit the Canadian side and are unsure whether or not it’s even ‘worth it” to visit the American side. I wanted to assure them that it is.
        While I personally prefer the American side, I have nothing against the Canadian side. I have been there often and have taken many friends there. Maybe some day I’ll write a blog post about the Canadian side. But this post is not it.

  60. On December 3, 2015 at 2:26 am Jeff Flach said:

    First, the Three Sister’s Restaurant in the Seneca Niagara Casino (technically a third country within walking distance of the falls but on the American Side) has poutine for sure. There are other places too but that is the easiest for anyone to find.

    I don’t think you emphasized the large trail system along the Gorge Cliff as well as below the Gorge Cliff that if you walk those you’ll discover all sorts of additional natural wonder you simply don’t have access to on the Canadian side nor any Canadian equivalent.

    Third if you want to spend less money the American side is way less expensive even when the exchange rate is so much in the US Dollar favor. So you can stay on the American side, dine here and run over for the panoramic views maybe hit one of their vegas like attractions (spend lots of money) and come back for an equally good accommodation for less money.

    Speaking of accommodations, the American properties tend to be rated higher than their canadian counterparts at least with regard to everything the property can control, like cleanliness, security… but get dinged due to the American Niagara Falls having that post industrial look but that will change.

    An example of what I’m talking about (if you’re into hostels) is the two best Hostels in the entire state of New York are in Niagara Falls, the best hostel on the American side ties the best hostel in Ontario which happens to be almost two hours away in Toronto.

    So next time you’re Niagara Falls you should stay there or at least stop in and let me tell you all the things you haven’t seen or done in Niagara Falls so that you can rest easy knowing your are totally right the American side is better.

    • On December 8, 2015 at 7:08 am Sally said:

      Thanks for all the great info! I had no idea there were hostels on the American side. And, yes, I definitely need to check out the Gorge trail system more. I keep on meaning to do it every time I’m in the Buffalo/Niagara area. Hopefully next time!

  61. On April 5, 2016 at 10:24 am Davis Hartford said:

    I agree with you Sally! Viewing the falls from the American side is a true marvel of what nature provides us with! One can stroll the esplanade along the edge of the river and see both sides of the falls. The force of the freezing cold water was pushing the cold air upwards which looked amazing during March like a huge steam cloud erupting into the atmosphere. The surrounding vegetation had 6″ icicles hanging from the branches which made the whole place seem so magical. Regardless of the seasons, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed in making the effort to visit the falls.

  62. On May 23, 2016 at 11:19 am Laurie said:

    I just dismissed the idea of the Am side–b/c of what everyone says…This was a great blog–laughed a lot! You convinced me… let’s go!!

    • On May 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm Sally said:

      The thing is that the American side has changed SO MUCH recently. If you talk to someone who went there 10 or 15 or 20 years ago, yeah, they’re going to say not much was happening there. I grew up there and went on a billion field trips there, so, trust me, I know. But it’s really been revitalized in the last few years. Each time I go back it’s gotten better and better. I really suggest going. And, if you still want to see the Canadian side, it’s super easy to do both sides in a day if you have your passport.

  63. On June 15, 2016 at 9:52 am Ken from Rochester said:

    Thanks for the great ideas and fun style! Another reason the American Side is cool for lots of people, stateside: – No passports or enhanced license needed! Although I have an Enhanced NY drivers license lots of friends visiting don’t think to bring their passport. Going up for a day it’s really easy to just wander around the American Side. If you have more time and passports, it is good to see both.

    • On June 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm Sally said:

      Agreed. I usually go to the American side in the morning & the Canadian side in the evening — especially if I’m taking around visitors. I want them to experience both sides.

  64. On July 11, 2016 at 1:56 am Cassidy Leiner said:

    the travel packages that i have seen on-line are sometimes oversold, they are cheap but the inclusions sucks`

  65. On July 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm Lori said:

    Hello Sally,
    I first wanted to Thank you for creating this site and providing us some great points on Niagara Falls US Style. My husband and I are planning a trip and we will be hitting the open road in under a week to visit. Reading this has made me even more excited, and I was already pretty stoked to send the kids to Grandmas and have a little adult time. Thanks again!!

  66. On July 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm PaulaC137 said:

    I am recently planning to take my significant other for a Falls trip in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been to visit dozens of times, mostly in my childhood (as grandparents live in Buffalo area) and I’ve only ever been to the Canadian side. Without a passport on the spur of the moment, however, we will be confined to the American side. I stumbled across your blog by chance looking to find attractions on the American side to do. From various childhood and young adult trips, I remember the Ripley’s Believe it or not, the carnival type rides, the many wax museums, the night clubs/restaurants, Maid of the Mist, a museum with barrels/boxes from Falls “daredevils” and the colored lights on the Falls after dark. I even ate dinner in the revolving tower from the Canadian side on a romantic get away once, but this will be my first American Falls tour. After reading your blog, I’m looking forward to the Cave of Winds and seeing what else there is to discover. Thanks for posting your viewpoint on this.

    • On July 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm Sally said:

      I hope you have a great trip, Paula! It’s best to go in with an open mind and expect the best. Yes, the American side isn’t nearly as developed and does have some grungy bits… but the park around the Falls is truly lovely and Cave of the Winds is totally worth the trip! Plus, they built a look-out tower above the Falls (after the whole passport requirement thing), so now you can get *almost* the same view of the Falls as you can on the Canadian side. Enjoy!

  67. On August 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm Michelle said:

    Hi Sally- great write up about American side! Thank you!! I realize it’s an old blog, but I’m hoping you’re still able to respond
    I grew up in buffalo, and of course have been to the falls! Big crazy enough, we live in NC now and will be traveling up Labor Day weekend with an Italian exchange student!! I can’t take him across the border, so I was so glad
    To see your article!! My question for you is I can’t wait to go on the maid of te mist- is it smart to purchase tickets ahead of time online? Do the boat rides ever sell out? Is it a long wait? We will be on a time crunch; lots to do so little time so I need to be Good with some planning!
    Thanks so much!

    • On August 14, 2016 at 10:54 am Sally said:

      Hi Michelle,
      I’d definitely suggest purchasing the tickets beforehand if you can. Not sure if they ever sell out (but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do), but things do get super busy in the summer. Especially if you’re there on a weekend. I’ve definitely had to wait in line for a while. Have a great trip! And, if you have a chance, stop by Buffalo — especially Canalside. SO MUCH has changed there. It’s amazing!

  68. On September 14, 2016 at 12:27 am monica said:

    I wonder if we can enter to see the falls in December , as we see, all the tours are on sale until October … you know why ???

    • On September 14, 2016 at 6:44 pm Sally said:

      Hi Monica, You can definitely see the falls in December. The park, itself, is open all year round. And I definitely recommend visiting during the winter as it’s very beautiful (if VERY cold!). However, the Maid of the Mist boat tour and Cave of the Winds do not operate in the winter due to the snow and ice. It’s just too dangerous.

  69. On November 22, 2016 at 6:06 am Steve Bye said:

    On the American Side you can also take a day trip to Lockport NY, Where the Erie Canal goes up over the Niagara Escarpment.

    On the South side of the Canal is the Lockport Locks and Canal Cruises that will Lock you through the locks both up and down.

    On the North Side of the Canal is the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride Tour. It is a historical tour though a hydraulic raceway that was used to give water mechanical power to three industries. One of the companies was Holly Manufacturing which invented the process of providing water to water lines under a continuous presser. This made firefighting with hydrants possible.

    Near by is Mid-Lakes Navigation in Macedon, NY near Rochester offers the Self-Skippered Rentals of their Lock Master boats.

    A little further on the thruway in Skaneateles, New York, Mid-Lakes Navigation offer day trips on the Emita II.

    Video: The Emita II Descending Erie Canal Lock Through at Lockport NY USA (19 Minutes Video & Slide Show) Plus views of the 1842 North Tier of the “Flight of Five” Combined Locks at Lockport NY (Before Restoration). (2010)


  70. On December 18, 2016 at 11:36 am Sarah Seymour said:

    See, I’m like you. I grew up going to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side constantly. What you obviously don’t realize are the little parts on the Falls. Want an escape from the bright lights of Clifton Hill? Pop into the secret garden and walk around a totally different world. Just be careful because it’s a pretty popular place for marriage proposals? Still not enough? That’s okay! Because unlike others thoughts that it’s all buildings, casinos and lights, there is a gigantic park to walk around in. Go feed swans, look at the Christmas displays, even be able to stand beneath the lights as they change the colour of the Falls. And you can stand beside Falls. You get right up close and personal with the horseshoe falls, practically being in the water as it rushes over. Want some ice cream? Walk down Fallsview to go into the gigantic Coca-Cola store. Then grab yourself some fresh made fudge from the Hershey store. Maybe stop at the Hard Rock and look at David Bowies guitar. I could go on and on. Yeah, maybe you won’t get free flip flops or whatever. But what you will get is a warm conversation with a Mountie. A free chocolate bar or fudge sample because it’s cold out. A free cup of cocoa or lemonade to beat back the weather. Don’t let yourself think that Clifton Hill is all there is to the Canadian side of the Falls. Niagara is a huge district filled with great history, entertainment, chocolate, wine, food and people. Actually walk around and explore and talk to people.

    • On December 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm Sally said:

      I have spent a lot of time on the Canadian side of the Falls. I have walked around and explored and talked to people. And, I agree, that many of the parts of the Canadian Falls are quite lovely. But they also tend to be quite crowded — much more crowded than the American side — and I am really not a crowds person. The restaurants and shops also tend to be a lot more expensive and a lot more commercialized. I’d rather support small local businesses, of which there are many on the American side, rather than the chains, like Hard Rock Cafe and the Hershey store (as you mentioned in your comment).
      Usually when I have friends visiting I take them to both sides — the American and Canadian side — so we can see the good (and bad) parts of both. It makes for a very well-rounded trip.

  71. On March 6, 2017 at 7:27 pm Fleur Ambrosa said:

    I am travelling from Australia to visit my son in December and would love to see Niagara Falls when I come. Any tips or hints? Other than bring warm, wet weather gear lol

    • On March 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm Sally said:

      If you go in December, you’ll have the whole place to yourself! Not a lot of people visit in the winter months, but they should because it’s gorgeous. On the downside, a lot of the attractions (such as the Maid of the Mist and Cafe of the Winds) are closed for the season. But other attractions (such as the overlook deck) are open and free to the public at that time. Definitely bring (or be prepared to buy) winter gear including water-proof boots. And have a great time!

  72. On March 16, 2017 at 8:13 am Jessica See said:

    Great article. I’m going there in May with my hubby. Where’s a good place to stay for 3 or 4 days? I’m a travel writer as well for magazines.

  73. On June 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm Ronnie Northrop said:

    Wow – Came upon this blog – 68 years old and I have never been there! Heading there tomorrow for 3 days – Canadian side due to groupon offer. Sounds fantastic. How’s the dress code – do people get dressy at night not at the fall. What do you wear if on the Canadian side and no free gear?
    Ronnie from Massachusetts

  74. On August 6, 2017 at 8:56 pm Wanda said:

    I really enjoyed your article. I’m planning a trip 2018 with my 2 daughters. We’re thinking the end of April. We’re driving from SC to Washington staying a day or two then going to NYC for three or four days the onto Niagara Falls. I was so glad to hear your comment about American side all I been hearing is Canadian side is the best. We want to ride the Maid of the Mist. Thank you so much for comment.

  75. On August 25, 2017 at 5:45 pm J Castellanos said:

    Love this article. I had doubts if the US side would be good enough as I’ve heard the Canadian side is better. In about a week I am taking my wife and 2 kids (8 and 15) for a road trip from RI to see the Niagara Falls for the first time. We have a friend couple visiting from DR, and we invited them to join us. As they are in the country with a visitor US visa, and they won’t be able to cross the border, we decided to stay in this side so we all have fun together. We are planning to spend 2 full days and nights there. We will be arriving at the hotel friday afternoon and leaving monday morning, so we will have a full saturday and sunday to enjoy. BUT I personally think is too much time to spend there as some of my friends have been there before and they say that you mostly see and do everything in one day, like the Maid of the Mist and Cave of The winds. I also feel that spending more that the actual required time will just mean more expenses in another hotel night. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think 1 day would be enough, or should be do the 2 days stay?


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