U.S. vs. Canada: Which Side of Niagara Falls Should You Visit?

Niagara Falls is something you have to see to believe. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s beautiful. But visiting Niagara Falls also requires that you make a few choices. Like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, there are two very distinct sides –  one in Canada and one in the United States – both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

Despite what many people think, Niagara Falls is not a national park in either the United States or Canada, which means the experience is not regulated by the national governments and has the potential to be a bit overwhelming and commercialized. Nonetheless, it really is one of those natural wonders that people should make the point to see at least once in a lifetime.

First, the Nitty-Gritty Details

Niagara Falls can be reached from a number of popular destinations in Canada and the United States:

  • Distance from Buffalo, New York, to Niagara Falls: 20 miles / 32 kilometers
  • Distance from New York City to Niagara Falls: 408 miles / 656 kilometers
  • Distance from Toronto to Niagara Falls: 83 miles / 133 kilometers

There are four airports located within two hours of Niagara Falls. They are:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) – Located in Canada, about 1.5 hours to the north.
  • Hamilton International Airport (YHM) – Located in Canada, about 1 hour to the north.
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) – Located in the United States, about 30 minutes to the south.
  • Niagara Falls (New York) International Airport (IAG) – Located in the United States, about 15 minutes to the east

You can reach Niagara Falls by car, train, bus or organized tour.

  • In the United States: Amtrak has a train station in the city of Niagara Falls in New York. It is located at 2701 Willard Avenue. A number of companies offer bus service to Niagara Falls from New York City.
  • In Canada: There is a VIA Rail/Amtrak train that runs from Toronto to the Canadian side of the falls. There is also a GO Train and a Go Bus that operate from Toronto. All forms of these forms of transportation from Toronto have several stops between the city and the waterfalls.

And now that you’ve finally reached the site that you came to see, what side of Niagara Falls should you visit? Consider the following:

Canada

083016 - Niagara Falls - Canada

Prepare for commercialization. After driving through the relatively sparse landscape of Ontario, it can be a bit jarring to suddenly happen upon Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. Right next to the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls is a busy street lined with chain restaurants, shops filled with souvenirs and several tour operators. There is no shortage of commerce taking place right on the edge of the falls, but if you need anything at all, then you can buy it on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

niagara falls canada

Views are arguably more spectacular.

There are several waterfalls on the U.S. side, which means it’s a lot easier to see all of them from the Canadian side. There is a long, clean view of the massive falls from the Canadian side, which makes the whole of Niagara Falls almost more spectacular when you can see everything all at once. If you’ve come to see the waterfalls and that’s it, this is the place to do it.

Parking is more difficult to find and more expensive.

Follow the signs to find parking on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and you’ll find yourself driving far, far away. The walk from the parking lot to the falls can be quite long depending on how busy it is. Also, if you park in Canada, expect to pay somewhere around $20.00. If you park in the United States, you’ll only have to pay $10.00 in the state park, and the information station regarding all of the U.S.-side activities is just a short walk away.

Expect more people.

Perhaps it’s the fact that Niagara Falls from the Canadian side is more built up or the views are better, but in general, it’s just more crowded. You’ll be enjoying the view with many others by your side when you experience it from Canada.

The walk is easier.

The path from which visitors view the waterfalls from the Canadian side is paved, making it much easier to navigate for those with strollers, wheelchairs or other mobility issues. It is a wide sidewalk with plenty of room for lots of people, so it’s incredibly accessible, and everyone can enjoy the falls without much effort.

United States

niagara falls united states

It’s located in a state park.

Niagara Falls is not part of the United States’ national park system, but it is a state park in New York. This means that it’s not overdeveloped or paved with concrete. There are more trees and meandering walking paths, and the overall landscape is just a lot more scenic. Waterfalls by their very being are natural, so it only makes sense to enjoy them within a natural setting, wrapped by trees, rocks and slick moss.

niagara falls united states

The area is cleaner.

When you visit Niagara Falls from the United States, it seems to be a bit cleaner. I’m not sure if it is because the U.S. side of the falls are located in a state park or because the rim of the falls isn’t as close to a busy road, but there’s just a lot less garbage when seen from the U.S.

Spend less money on the U.S. side.

It is worth noting that several activities related to the falls are found on both sides, many of which are quite similar (or even run by the same company!). Nonetheless, in cases where there are similar activities, it is always cheaper to take advantage of them on the U.S. side. Also, as noted, parking is less expensive in the United States.

Make it an all-day event.

You can see Niagara Falls for free in both the U.S. and Canada, and you can take the Maid of the Mist (the under-the-falls boat) from both sides as well, but if you want to experience Niagara Falls from as many angles as possible from one country, then visit from the United States side. You’ll be able to take a walk down along a boardwalk that’s practically built below the falls plus there’s a movie and other interactive activities to enhance your visit. The one main highlight in the United States that isn’t found in Canada is the observation tour, which peeks out over top the falls.

Take your walking shoes.

Paths along the U.S. rim are a bit windy, and, in addition to strolling right above the falls, there are several other walking trails in the state park. If you want to enjoy all that the park has to offer, take some time to walk around the rest of the park after you’ve checked out the waterfalls.

Prepare to get wet.

You’ll definitely get up close and personal with Niagara Falls in the United States, and even if you don’t venture down to the Maid of the Mist or the boardwalk under the falls, you’ll still feel a bit of spray. It feels good, especially during the summer months, and it’s not a ton of spray, but do be prepared that you’re likely to get at least a little damp.

My Recommendation

If you have a day to spend at Niagara Falls, I recommend you start by parking in the United States. Take advantage of all of the activities in the United States as well, especially since this is where you’ll have the greatest selection of choices and the prices are better.

Once you’ve explored the park on the U.S. side, cross the bridge by foot to Canada. A quick note: Don’t forget to check your country’s regulations regarding crossing from one country to the other, as the rules change depending on where you hold a passport from. For some countries, this may require a visa, so do your research well in advance of your visit.

Spend the afternoon taking enjoying the sweeping views with a leisurely stroll on the Canadian side, and grab a bite to eat over here for dinner if you’re so inclined. There is a $.50 toll fee to get back across the border, so be prepared to spare a couple of quarters at the border on your way back to the United States.

Tour Resources

Since first publishing this post, I’ve had several people contact me regarding travel options to, at and including Niagara Falls. Below please find some touring options from Tours4Fun. I have not personally taken these tours. However, I have participated in a Tours4Fun excursion in the past and recommend the company’s services. In full disclosure, these are affiliate links.

93 Responses to “U.S. vs. Canada: Which Side of Niagara Falls Should You Visit?”

  1. Abi

    I agree with you – do both! The streets around the waterfalls are the most commercialized I have ever seen (apart from Lourdes.) They are so bad, they are almost worth a visit in their own right 😉

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I was shocked how built up Niagara Falls is, especially on the Canadian side. For some reasons, I always thought it would be pristine and natural.

      Reply
  2. Abby

    I’ve NEVER been!! It’s ridiculous. When I go, someday, I’ll be back to this post. And go NY for making it a state park!

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      You live in New York but have never been?? Definitely add it to your to-do list!

      Reply
  3. Jill

    JoAnna, I must respond to your comment about how built-up Niagara Falls is. When I was first there in the 1960s the place to go was the Canadian side because it was clean, beautiful and “not built up”! The New York side was considered to be a “slum” in comparison. A few years ago I visited again and was blown away by how nice the New York side is. A total turn-around. The view is great from both sides & that’s what really matters.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      That’s exactly my point, Both sides definitely have something to offer, and Niagara Falls really is stunning wherever you see it from, there are just different things to consider depending on where you view the site.

      Reply
  4. Cam

    Sadly, as a proud Canadian, I have to agree that the US side is better. I grew up about an hour away from the Falls and visited a lot as a kid, haven’t been back in years though!

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      If you visited it again, I’d be curious to know what you think.

      Reply
  5. Deb

    I very much disagree. Sorry, I love you girl, but this post touched a nerve in me.
    We visit Niagara Falls at least once a year and there is a reason that the Canadian Side is busier, it is better. There are great hiking trails around the escarpment and you can go bouldering just a few minutes down the road at Niagara Glen. We have an amazing wine region just down the road too at Niagara on the Lake.
    The people mover in Niagara Canada can give you a life to places like The Butterfly Museum, Rapids Walk, Journey under the falls, The cable car…so many things to do. And I love the wax museums and Nightmares and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. It is an amazing weekend getaway. And the whole point of it is being fun. Canada has so many places that are not built up and dedicated to National Parks, it is fun to have a place that offers some excitement. You can go 10 minutes down the road and be back in rural Canada hiking the Bruce Trail.
    AND, I have never noticed that the Canadian side wasn’t clean.I’ve hiked through many of the trails around Niagara falls and it is very clean. The city may be busier so our garbage cans may be more full, but it is a clean area and the trails etc are in excellent condition.
    Cam, if you haven’t been there since a kid, maybe you should go back and then decide.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Thank you for providing a different perspective, Deb. I appreciate your honesty and suggestions for visitors.

      Reply
  6. Nomadic Samuel

    I think this is great advice – see it on both sides & save some money in the process by starting from the US. I must admit after visiting Iguazu Falls I’m less impressed with NF 😛

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      If Niagara Falls is impressive, then Iguazu Falls must be beyond describable.

      Reply
  7. Ray

    Always loved Niagara Falls. Used to go every couple of years and always liked the Canadian side much better, to the point of not even going to the US side, and I’m from Massachusetts. I used to have a friend who lived in Buffalo but now lives in Florida. Unfortunately it’s been about 15 years now since I’ve been. Have to make plans to go again. It’s been too long. Too bad we have to get a passport now.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Well, if you live in the U.S. and want to visit the Canadian side, you’ll definitely need a passport. There are security checkpoints on both sides of the bridge.

      Reply
      • Patricia Calhoun

        If you live in Ny can you still use enhanced license?

        Reply
        • JoAnna

          I do not know all the intricacies of the enhanced drivers license, Patricia, but I checked the Homeland Security website and it appears that having one allows travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean easily. I would assume this means you can easily go from the U.S. to Canada and back at Niagara Falls without a problem, however, I would double check with Homeland Security just to make sure before you travel.

          Reply
    • flor

      Actually, you don’t need a passport book. You can cross using a passport card, which is significantly less expensive than a book. They’re accepted at land borders between US, Mexico, and Canada. Cheers xxx

      Reply
      • JoAnna

        Thanks for the information. You’re right – I’m surprised no one thought to mention that earlier!

        Reply
  8. Madhu

    Hi Joanna,

    How long does it take to cross the border from US to Canada. Can we cross by foot or have to drive? Cos we booked the tour and it only includes U.S side of the Niagara falls. I am from U.K and I hold British Passport. And many of them are mentioning to cover the camera. How do we do that? simply covering it with a sandwich bag? Please advice. Thank you.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Madhu ~ You can easily cross from the US side to the Canadian side by foot. It’s just a single bridge that you have to walk across. In fact, it’s a lot easier to walk, otherwise you have to find a new place to park. There is a small fee (less than a dollar) to cross back from Canada to the US by foot. Regarding your camera, if you ride one of the boats down by the falls, it will get wet. I’m not an expert on how to keep cameras safe from water, so you should research that on your own, but what I did was take photos up to the point where I felt safe with my camera out, and then I stowed it when we were so close we were getting wet. It was nice to just enjoy the ride anyway and not worry about taking photos. Hope that helps ~ safe travels!

      Reply
  9. Samy

    Hi Joanna, we are US permanent residents and planning to visit the falls this weekend. I find your post interesting and hopefully helpful. We want to see both sides of the fall and gosh you touched the point exactly and how to make the best of it, by parking on US side and walk across the bridge by foot, without forgetting the passport. Madhu asked the exact same question that I had. your answer is great! Thank you. so, we plan to walk (with a 4 & 8 yr old). hoping for fun!

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I hope you enjoyed your visit to Niagara Falls, Samy. We had a lot of fun when we went. It was hard to believe we spent a whole day there!

      Reply
  10. justin

    Hi Joanna,
    I would like to know ,if there is a specific address or park name for the US side fall view or park… I am coming from canada side..

    Thanks

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Justin ~

      The park on the U.S. side is called Niagara Falls State Park. You really can’t miss it since the falls are right in the park and there is lots of signage leading visitors to the falls.

      Safe travels!

      Reply
  11. Heidi

    I am taking my daughters, 13 and 10, to visit the falls for the first time at the end of March. We plan to stay either 2 nights. Would you suggest that it is cheaper to stay on the U.S. side?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      You may be able to get a cheaper hotel on the U.S. side away from the falls, but there are a few hotels that offer great views of the falls from the Canadian side. In addition, there are more immediate amenities near the falls on the Canadian side. If you’re looking for the cheapest accommodations, consider camping instead of staying in a hotel.

      Reply
  12. Claudia

    Hi Joanna,

    great website!

    I only have a visa for the US so I’d like to go on a Maid of the mist ride starting from the US side. Do you know if there is any border control during this boat trip? Do I need a passport for it? Or will I remain in the US for the time of the trip?

    Thanks!
    Claudia

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      There is a boat on each side of the falls. If you’re on the U.S. boat, you stay on the U.S. side, and if you’re on the Canadian boat, you stay on the Canada side. You don’t cross the border during the trip or need a passport.

      Reply
  13. kumar

    Thanks JoAnna for your help. We have already visited Niagara falls from US side couple of times and planning to come again to show it to my parents. We would like to see from Canada side this time. However, we need to take Canadia tourist visa. For Canadian visa, we need to wait 45 days and spend 150 dollars (for two people) to visit the falls from Canada side. Can you please advise if it’s worth to spend that much time and money to see from Canada side or it is better off to see from US side alone? Please advise. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Kumar ~ Though some people prefer the Canadian side to the U.S. side, I am more of a fan with the experience in the United States. If the trip over the bridge was easy for you, I would suggest taking the trip to Canada, but I personally don’t think it’s worth $150 dollars to experience it from both sides. Perhaps if you plan another trip to Canada someday, you can make a quick stop to catch the falls fro the Canadian side.

      Reply
  14. Divakar

    Thanks JoAnna for the infn regarding spending $150 just to see NF from Canadian side. We are planning to see the NF from US side during Aug-Sep and were thinking whether it is worth taking Canadian Visa just for this purpose. We are from India and you saved us from spending $300. As you suggested we shall make it when we plan to visit Canada separately.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Glad to hear you’ve made some decisions regarding your vacation. Safe travels!

      Reply
  15. amy

    JoAnna, thank you for your awesome explanation. You are an angel! I & my fam are going to visit Niagara at US side and was wondering, is it worth to process Canadian Visa just see the falls from Canadian side for 3-4 hours or better to spend it to buy $33 pass for all attractions at US side. Really appreciate your tips.

    Reply
  16. amy

    Awesome JoAnna,

    yesterday when i post my question i haven’t read your comment to Kumar. Its answered my question, since i also have to pay $75 each person to get Canadian visa and plan to be in Canada just to see the horse shoe fall for few hours. Will the boat tour from US side take us to see from the front of Horse shoe fall? Your post is really helpful, thanks!
    and i like your smile 😉

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Amy! Yes, the boat tours from either side cover basically the same thing. We did the boat tour from the U.S. side and I was completely satisfied with the experience.

      Reply
  17. deb sue

    My husband and I are coming for about 5 days to see the falls ,was told to stay on the Canada side because there was nothing to do in the evenings on the us side . so should we do some activities on the us side first , you said it was cheaper there.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      The U.S. side is much more serene, and the Canadian side is much more touristy. There are more things to do on the Canadian side in the evening, but they are touristy activities, so if you’re into that, then you should visit the Canadian side. If you’re interested in focusing on the Niagara Falls-specific activities, then, yes, the stuff on the American side are less expensive, but if you’re looking for a multi-day/multi-night experience, then Canada might be your better choice. Keep in mind that, if you have a passport and appropriate visas (as needed) then you can easily cross from one side to the other.

      Reply
  18. sue ellen

    so…. coming to falls for first time for one night. want a great hotel with fall view. Canada or us side? thank you.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I’m not sure if there are any hotels that are right on the falls, but my guess is you’re going to have better luck finding something on the Canadian side that meats your needs since the U.S. side is a state park.

      Reply
  19. Raju

    Hi JoAnna, approximately how long is the walk on the bridge from U.S. Side to Canadian side of the fall? Which side has better view during night time? I have heard about fireworks at the fall. Are there perticular days when they do the fireworks?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      It’s just a standard bridge, so you can walk across in about five minutes, but you might want to stop and take pictures from the bridge. Regarding nighttime viewing, I personally haven’t been to Niagara Falls at night, but nighttime illumination happens year round, and I imagine it is quite spectacular regardless of where you’re standing. Fireworks are set off over the falls by the Niagara Parks Commission and visitors on both sides of the falls can enjoy them.

      Reply
  20. Chai

    I was stunned to see so much of commercial activities in the Canadian Side, for me it just killed the pistine beauty of the falls it self.
    In that sense, the Lake Superior and pictured rocks are magnificent in Michigan. I have to plan to visit the US Side if Niagara sometime.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I hope you’ll get the chance to visit the US side. Though still crowded, I find it to be much more serene than the Canadian side.

      Reply
  21. Paige

    Hi JoAnna. My family and I are visiting the US side of the NF this weekend. I have read that it is dangerous to be out at night, is this true? What are the options as far as places to eat on the US side?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Paige ~ I may be a bit late to provide any insight as I believe you and your family have already traveled, but I’m not sure I’d be much help anyway. The U.S. side is actually part of a state park and I don’t know if it’s dangerous or not. I have not heard either way. But it is a popular tourist destination, so I imagine there may be the usual concerns about being mindful of where you’re going in the dark, but I don’t know of anything specific that makes the U.S. side particularly dangerous at night. Regarding where to eat on the U.S. side, there is a small town with a few really fun places to eat. There are also a lot of wineries here (http://kaleidoscopicwandering.com/2011/10/19/niagara-falls-wine-tour-niagara-falls-wine-trail/) so make sure you order a glass of wine with your dinner! I like to turn to the review site/app Yelp! for suggestions on where the locals like to dine.

      Reply
  22. Alex

    Great post and pictures. I definitely think most people prefer to go to both sides and I imagine if you’re traveling to Niagara Falls you might as well visit both the American and Canadian sides (per having a passport). Regardless, very in-depth write up on the differences between both sides.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I’m glad we visited both sides of Niagara Falls as I thought it provided a different perspective for different reasons, though I do realize not everyone has that freedom. Both have pros and cons, so I’m glad you found the write-up helpful. Safe travels!

      Reply
  23. RV

    1. The panoramic view of all the falls from the Canadian side is surely a plus …

    2. .. but the American side lets you get closer to the falls, not to mention all the footbridges that let you cross the river just before the falls (“the calm before the storm”).

    3. The Horseshoe falls is crazy-big which is a plus and a minus – the mist/spray from it is so much you can hardly see anything!

    4. The Canadian side is over-designed. It’s like Disneyland minus the ushers. Getting from the bus stand at Table Rock to the incline Railway right across the street requires passing through a gift shop, a crowded atrium, etc. etc..

    5. The long stroll on the Canadian side from the Rainbow bridge to the Horseshoe Falls is amazing.

    6. On the American side, Goat Island with its nooks, corners, and views, is simply lovely.

    I agree with the recommendation about starting at the American side and walking over to the Canadian side. If you have more than a day, spend a day here and a day there – which is what I did during a recent visit.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Thanks for your perspective and insight, RV. Much appreciated!

      Reply
  24. Douglas Peng

    As a Canadian living in nearby Toronto, we go to Niagara Falls (both sides) all the time. However, visitors should also consider visiting the quaint village of Niagara-On-The-Lake on the Canadian side. It’s about 15~20 minute drive from Niagara Falls Canada and is in the center of Ontario’s wine country. The village itself is beautiful (kind of like Main St USA in Disney World or a smaller version of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California) and is surrounded by dozens of fairly large wineries where they offer wine tours and taste testing. If you drive all the way to Niagara Falls Canada, might as well travel a bit more to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Thanks for your insight, Douglas. I knew that area was a rich wine country, and I agree with you. What better way to top off a visit then to hit up a few wineries?

      Reply
  25. Andy

    I think that travelers should definitely see both sides. There is no point in just staying on one side if you can get both perspectives. I found the US side to be somewhat like you described it, just abandoned though when you get away from the border.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Certainly if you’ve got a passport or the crossing doesn’t require too much undue stress, you might as well see both sides. They’re very different from each other.

      Reply
  26. Sid

    Definitely Canadian side. No doubt! 🙂 I want to go back to see it. So beautiful!

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I think it’s beautiful from both sides, but I think I lean toward the U.S. side myself.

      Reply
  27. Manzar

    Thank for the review. I am visiting USA and Canada in September. Would it be a good time to visit the NF?
    I am planning to travel from New York to Buffalo spend a day in US NF and cross over to the Canadian side and spend a night there before moving on to Toronto,

    I am Non-US citizen but have both US and Canadian visit visa. Can I do the crossover from US to Canadian side and then continue my jorney to Toronto?

    Thanks for the response!

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Manzar ~ Thanks for stopping by! September is a great time to visit the falls, though you’re heading into the fall months, so take a jacket with you just in case you hit a chilly day. You might also be treated to the fall colors of New England during your travels.

      Regarding your visa question, I’m not qualified to answer definitively. From what you describe, it sounds like you should be able to complete your travels as you’ve laid them out, but I don’t know that for sure and I am not an authoritative resource. I suggest you check with the U.S. and Canadian embassies for confirmation.

      Reply
  28. Hari Kumar

    Dear Joanna
    I am a British citizen planning a visit to Canada and the US. I plan to start in Toronto, then take a train (rail) to Niagara, go to Buffalo to fly to Washington.
    Questions:
    Stay on Canadian side or US side?
    Is one day enough or should I stay one day each on each side
    With a suitcase and a handbaggage, how do I cross the bridge?
    Thanks for youe suggestions

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Hari ~ I found one day to be more than enough to visit both sides of Niagara Falls. For someone who won’t have a car, I think it would probably be easier for you to stay on the Canadian side of the falls as it is much more built up with hotels and restaurants very close to the waterfall. If you wanted to visit the U.S. side, you could then walk across. You can cross the bridge by car, foot or bicycle. Taxis can cross the bridge, so perhaps you’d like to use that mode of transportation with your luggage.

      Reply
      • Millie

        How far if we walk it from U.S. side to Canada

        Reply
        • JoAnna

          Less than a mile. Probably closer to about a quarter to half a mile.

          Reply
    • JoAnna

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jessica. I agree – it is so much fun to stand in two countries at once!

      Reply
  29. henry

    I was there with my wife for our 5th wedding anniversary and it was gorgeous. Reading our post ahead of the trip made me feel like I had a personal tour guide in my head telling me it’s all going to be worth it. I knew what to look for and nothing here is exaggerated or demeaned. From the American side of the Falls, it didn’t feel like we missed anything especially since the “Maid of the Mist” boat rides you straight into the largest of the three falls. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      So glad you enjoyed your trip. Niagara Falls is a very cool place – perfect for an anniversary getaway!

      Reply
  30. Renee

    We have a 10 hour layover in Toronto and want to rent a car to drive to Niagara Falls. We’ll be leaving around 6:30am from Toronto and needing to be back around 2pm. Not sure what traffic will be like or how long it would take to cross borders and our time is limited, so looking for any suggestions! Thanks

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Renee ~

      Great questions – and I don’t blame you for wanting to take advantage of a 10-hour layover. My first word of advice is don’t cross the border during your layover, as you never know if you might encounter a hang up going through border crossing. The foot crossing at Niagara Falls when we visited was very quick and easy, but I’m not sure if it ever backs up. Also, we got stuck in a five-hour traffic jam when we visited Toronto. A truck flipped over and no traffic was moving whatsoever and they had to close the freeway. Now, this is obviously just a fluke, and we just happened to encounter this situation outside of Toronto, but I guess my point is that you never know what snags you might encounter when you travel. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you give yourself ample time so you don’t spend your layover excursion stressing out!

      Reply
  31. DKK

    Do most of your buying on the U.S. side because most things are much cheaper in the U.S. but don’t miss the view of the falls from the Canadian side!

    Reply
  32. Roseann

    I have never seen the falls. Any suggestions that you can give me is greatly appreciated. We are going Memorial Day weekend. Thanks

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Roseann ~ Both sides of Niagara Falls are worthy of a visit. Whatever side you choose to visit, I’m sure it will be crowded and busy, but you can get a great view of the falls from either side and both offer some sort of boat ride. The U.S. side is a bit more serene while the Canada side has more amenities like dining, etc. I don’t have any specific tips regarding Memorial Day except to prepare for crowds. And I would check to see if you can book your boat ride in advance, if you’re interested in doing that.

      Reply
  33. Betty

    Hi, what is the best way to get to the Niagara Falls from New York City? Thanks. Would appreciate it if you can also advise on the options, eg, drive , take a day tour etc.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Betty! NYC to Niagara Falls is about 400 miles, but lots of people make the trip, even though they aren’t located near each other. You could drive, of course, but there is also a train, you can go by bus and you can fly. There are tours available for those who are interested. I do not have specific recommendations for tour companies.

      Reply
  34. Betty

    Thanks JoAnna for the speedy reply. If we choose to fly, which airport do we fly to from New York?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      There are four airports you might want to consider: Toronto’s international airport (YYZ), Hamilton International Airport (YHM) in Ontario, Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF), and Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG). Keep in mind that flying to Toronto and Hamilton from New York is an international flight.

      Reply
  35. Debbie

    Hi,
    I’m overwhelmed right now with trying to book a hotel and a tour of both US & Canada side of Niagara Falls. I found a company called Viator that offers a tour of both. I read some not-so-good reviews and am very nervous about booking over the internet. Do you have any suggestions on how to see both sided, not drive, and an inexpensive hotel that might offer a shuttle?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Debbie ~

      I’m not sure that I can be much help in regard to your travel plans. I can tell you that I’ve been on a Viator tour before, and I’ve enjoyed it. I believe the company is a third-party vendor, so you don’t go on a Viator tour as much as you book through Viator, but I’m not 100% sure that’s how it works. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with my experience.

      I do not know the hotels in the area well enough to recommend one to you. Perhaps you could call the local tourism boards and see if they’re able to suggest one that offers this service?

      Reply
  36. Pete

    Hi Joanna my girlfriend and I like to sightsee but also enjoy bar hopping without having to drive. Are there lots of bars to choose from and from what it seems would it b more so on the Canadian side?

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Pete ~

      I’m not very familiar with the bar scene around Niagara Falls, but from what I could tell while I was there, the Canadian side definitely had a livelier social scene beyond simply viewing and experiencing the waterfalls themselves.

      Reply
  37. Tara

    Planning a trip to the USA side of Nigara falls. Wondering what attractions was on the ny side? Planning to stay 3-4 days.. I’m 8 hrs away is it worth the trip??

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Tara ~ When we traveled to Niagara Falls, we were really just passing through, so I’m not sure what you could do to over the course of three or four days, thought I’m sure there are plenty of attractions. I’d suggest getting in touch with the local tourism bureau and see what they have to say. I can tell you that on the New York side we put together a self-driving winery tour, and that was great fun. There are tons of wineries in the area. Hope this helps ~ safe travels!

      Reply
  38. Thomas Kinney

    I just returned from the falls yesterday.we started on the US side and loved everything about the falls.we then spent an hour crossing the bridge and stayed the night in Canada. No offense to the great and friendly people to the north but the falls are what I came to see not all the stores. I’ll stay in the US next time loved the park there.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I’m with you, Thomas! If I had to choose one side or the other, I would choose the U.S. side because I am much more interested in the natural side of the falls versus the touristy center.

      Reply
  39. Irene

    Wondering when is a better day to go to see Niagara Falls Sunday or Monday

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      I have no idea, Irene, though my gut tells me it would be less crowded during the week versus on the weekend.

      Reply
  40. Kerry

    Hi JoAnna what an awesome blog. We are planning on travelling to the Niagara Falls in December. Plan at the moment is to arrive in Toronto on Friday 16th in the afternoon after a 25 hour flight! Spend the night in Toronto then drive down to the falls (2hours?) on Saturday, spend the night so that we can see the falls in day and night then drive back to Toronto on the Sunday afternoon. Fly onto Washington on the Monday morning. Does that sound feasible? Had thought of going to the falls from New York but it is quite a distance and thought we would end up having to do two custom entrances into US.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Hi Kerry! I’m excited to hear you’re planning on visiting Niagara Falls. I think your plan sounds feasible, though we had terrible traffic heading into Toronto on our last trip there, but you seem to have some cushioned extra time planned. I have not been to Niagara Falls in the winter, so I’m not sure what you can expect traveling during that time of the year.

      Reply
  41. ASESH KUMAR DAS

    Hi, Joanna! Many thanks for your detailed info & your suggestions to each individual query. We’re aged Asian Indian couple likes to visit Niagara on US side. Can you suggest us how we can visit with less walking (being arthritic patients) & any other precaution we’ve to take? If there be any Tour operators arranging for visitors like us, please inform us. We’re worried, but very much eager to visit Niagara.

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Thanks for visiting! From what I remember, in order to fully experience the falls on the American side, you’ll need to park your car and walk along a path that goes along the rim. I don’t remember there being several places where you could park and just get overviews of the falls. And, to walk down near the falls, I know there were lots of stairs and steep climbs, but I’m unsure if there was an elevator. Also, I am not aware of any tour operators that offer kinds of services you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I’d search online to see if you can find something that meets your needs. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but I’m just not sure what to advise in your situation.

      Reply
  42. HolidayPorch

    Niagara Falls is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year I would love to be at Canada side.

    Reply
  43. Bob Patel

    I am planning to fly from Chicago while I am visiting Chicago from New Zealand. If I fly in early morning into Baffalo and fly back late at night will there be sufficient time to see the falls and it’s surround. I can stay overnight. Is there hotels on the USA side?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • JoAnna

      Sure, a day is more than enough time to visit the falls. We visited both sides with sufficient time in a single day. And, yes, there are hotels on the U.S. side – not right on the edge of the falls like they are in Canada, but there are accommodations nearby in the United States.

      Reply

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