Niagara Falls: American Side or Canadian Side?

Beautiful Niagara falls.

Niagara Falls is a beautiful and exciting vacation destination no matter when you visit. During high summer, you can see how large and roaring the falls can be; in the winter, the snow and ice transforms the landscape into a true wonderland; and the shoulder seasons of spring and fall offer smaller crowds and lower costs. Because it doesn’t truly matter when you plan your Niagara vacation, you can focus more energy on another important decision: Which side will you visit?

Niagara Falls straddles the international border between the United States of America and Canada. To the east, you will find New York, and to the west you’ll discover Ontario. Though it isn’t difficult to cross the border — as long as you have the proper paperwork — the time you’ll spend crossing back and forth is often better spent on seeing and doing more during your trip. So, before you go, it is best to know what each side has to offer.

What to Do on the Canadian Side

Niagara Falls hotelThe Canadian side is typically the side you imagine when you think of Niagara Falls. In Ontario, you’ll find all the amenities you expect from a world-class vacation destination: luxurious resorts, five-star restaurants, designer shopping, etc. You are more likely to find a comfortable Niagara Falls hotel on the Canadian side, as well as the following significant attractions:

1. Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls is the largest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls, and getting up close to it makes for the most magnificent pictures.

2.River Cruise

This boat tour takes you up to the base of the thundering waterfalls for a heart-pounding experience. On the Canadian side, the Niagara River cruise is called Hornblower Niagara.

3. Journey Behind the Falls

Another thrilling attraction, Journey Behind the Falls gives you access to tunnels within the rock behind Horseshoe Falls, so you can feel and hear the crashing water.

4. Wine Country

Niagara wine country is an up-and-coming wine region that is gaining international attention for its wine quality and diversity.

5. Dufferin Islands

Downriver from the falls, these manmade islands offer a quiet and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of more touristy areas around the falls.

6. Queen Street and Clifton Hill

When night falls, there is plenty more to do at Queen Street or on Clifton Hill. Both districts offer fun and excitement as well as delectable culinary experiences.

What to Do on the American Side

Maid of the MistThe American side is a bit less busy than the Canadian side — but that doesn’t mean it has less to offer eager travelers. In fact, if you do journey to the American side, you are likely to find the following:

1. American and Bridal Veil Falls

Both of the other two waterfalls that comprise Niagara Falls lie on the American side of the border. Neither is as large as Horseshoe Falls, but they remain stunning and picturesque.

2. River Cruise

By now, you’ve probably heard of the Maid of the Mist, the oldest and most famous tour to the base of the falls. This cruise launches from the American side, but tickets are almost always sold out.

3. Cave of the Winds

This attraction allows you to descend to a “Hurricane Deck,” where you are as close as possible to the booming Bridal Veil Falls — even closer than boat tours allow.

4. Wine Country

The soil and climate of Niagara stretches across the border, meaning there are several American winemakers worth visiting, as well.

5. Luna Island and Goat Island

Luna Island separates American and Bridal Veil Falls, and Goat Island separates Bridal Veil from Horseshoe Falls. Both islands offer unique views and historical sites to explore.

6. Buffalo

There isn’t much nightlife in Niagara Falls, New York; in fact, you might be hard-pressed to find an available hotel room any closer than Buffalo on the American side. Fortunately, Buffalo offers its own charming attractions.

The Canadian side and the American side offer nearly identical experiences, so it isn’t much worth your while to try to fit in every attraction in both countries. Instead, you should consider what you want and need from your Niagara Falls vacation and prioritize such activities on one side of the border. Then, you’ll have time to enjoy Niagara Falls — its beauty, its excitement — without the stress of crossing the border.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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