You go to Niagara Falls for the breathtaking sights of the world’s largest waterfalls — but you stay in Niagara Falls for the myriad other attractions in the surrounding city and landscape. In truth, Niagara Falls is a hub of culture, adventure and culinary delight, and there are unending variations in vacation itineraries to keep any kind of traveler excited for days on end. Still, if you aren’t sure what Niagara vacation will suit you best, there are a few attractions that entice almost everyone who comes to visit the falls. These can’t-miss activities include:
A Niagara River Cruise
If you do nothing else on this list, you should do a Niagara River cruise — and you should buy your tickets as soon as possible. Like other cruises, this boat tour takes you up the Niagara River, but unlike other cruises, this experience is anything but leisurely. These boats take you right up to the base of the thundering Niagara waterfalls, so you can feel the full force of the rushing water in every bone of your body. You will get drenched — but the exhilaration you feel makes it all worthwhile.
There are two Niagara River cruises worth considering: Maid of the Mist and Niagara Hornblower. The former is more famous and is often booked up well in advance. However, if you are staying in a Niagara Falls hotel in Canada, you might prefer to ride the Niagara Hornblower, which launches from the Canadian side and is typically less packed with tourists.
A Niagara Falls Food Tour
Thanks to the nearby Great Lakes and prehistoric geologic activity, the entire Niagara region is delightfully moderate in temperature and is brimming with exceedingly fertile soil. As a result, it produces a bounty of fresh produce, which restaurants all around Niagara take advantage of to create delectable meals and treats.
It’s not always easy to find the best eateries in and around Niagara Falls, due to the overabundance of chain restaurants so close to the tourist districts. That’s why you should sign up for a food tour; it will point you to some of the best places to eat out on your trip, so you can be guaranteed a few good meals. There are a variety of food tours to choose from, some of which are walking, others which take you to nearby townships like Niagara-on-the-Lake, so you should consider your options before you leave for Niagara Falls.
A Niagara Wine Country Tour
If the food in the Niagara region is good, you best believe that the wine is even better. As it turns out, the terroir of Niagara is nearly identical to the terroir of Burgundy, France, meaning that
it has the capacity to create some outstanding tipples. Deservedly, Niagara wine country is gaining global attention for the diversity and quality of wines it produces, and many wineries in the area have earned awards for their unique and impressive vintages.
During your Niagara vacation, you should make time for at least one or two top Niagara wineries, like Peller Estates, Kew Vineyards or Chateau des Charmes. However, if you can’t get enough wine, you should devote a day or two to winery tours, which will take you to a variety of vineyards and wineries in the area, giving you access to sights and tastes you might otherwise miss.
A Night at Clifton Hill
Niagara Falls has long been a tourism hotspot because the city knows how to provide what tourists want. Regardless of what kind of traveler you are, you will find something to enjoy at Clifton Hill. This 11,000-square-foot block is brimming with shops, rides, games, restaurants and more, all provided in the hopes that you have the best time of your life. You can watch the geologic and cultural history of Niagara Falls at Clifton Hill’s IMAX Theater; you can ride Canada’s largest observation wheel; you can get lost for hours in the giant arcade; you can even learn how to make fudge. Plus, at night, all of Clifton Hill lights up like an amusement park, ensuring an atmosphere of excitement and fun.
There are unlimited attractions in and around Niagara Falls — but these are the ones that every visitor, especially first-timers, can’t miss. You should build these activities into your Niagara itinerary, so you can give yourself the best Niagara vacation possible.