Blake Walsh

17 Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY

  • Published 2022/10/23

If you’re looking for a perfect trip, fret not because the gorgeous Niagara Falls in Niagara County has got you covered.

Tucked in northwestern New York along the border of the United States and Canada, Niagara Falls is abundant in natural attractions and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Likewise, the eponymous waterfall is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the world.

While the iconic waterfall alone brings euphoria and offers plenty of ways to experience its magnificence from different perspectives, there are more exciting things to do in the city’s other popular attractions.

Whether one prefers the land, water, or air, the city doesn’t have a shortage of surprises for everyone.

So, join the millions of tourists and visitors enjoying the best things to do in Niagara Falls, New York!

Explore the Spectacular Natural Wonders at Niagara Falls State Park

Scenic view of Niagara Falls State Park

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Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park is the nation’s oldest state park.

Sprawling over 400 acres, the park brims with beautiful attractions, unparalleled scenery, a network of hiking trails, interactive exhibits, gastronomic restaurants, and many more.

Its top attraction, the mighty Niagara Falls, comprises the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls, which share a portion with Canada.

Observation deck at Niagara Falls State Park

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The park is also home to numerous charming islands on the Niagara River.

In every direction of the park, there are many things that everyone of all ages can enjoy.

Visit Niagara Falls State Park to discover why it draws millions of visitors annually!

People touring around Niagara Falls State Park

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See the Natural Swirling Aqua-Colored Waters at Whirlpool State Park

Aerial view of Whirlpool State Park

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Whirlpool State Park, located roughly three miles north of Niagara Falls, sits along the Niagara River.

This 109-acre park has two levels: the street level and the river level.

You can picnic with your family at the street level since it has picnic tables, pavilions, a playground, and restrooms.

It offers numerous overlooks along the Rim Trail that present impressive views of the natural whirlpool on the Niagara River, the park’s main point, rapids, and the lower Niagara Gorge.

Likewise, you’ll enjoy the river level when you descend the stairs.

Swirling waters of Whirlpool State Park

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You’re in the Niagara Gorge, which gives access to fishing in the Niagara River.

Hikers can use the Whirlpool Rapids Trail that heads along the river and the Devil’s Hole Trail that goes to the nearby Devil’s Hole State Park.

You can also go biking and cross-country skiing at Whirlpool State Park.

Also, note that this park is free to visit and an ideal spot to leave the crowds at the falls.

Trail at Whirlpool State Park

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Meet the Aquatic Animals at the Aquarium of Niagara

Don’t skip the Aquarium of Niagara if you happen to be in the city.

It opened in 1965, attracting those who love and appreciate aquatic life.

It brags more than 30 educational exhibits and over 125 species of marine mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds.

From adorable Humboldt penguins to impressive California sea lions, there’s something for you to meet amazing animals here.

There are feeding sessions, shows, and live demonstrations, too.

Apart from animal encounters like the seal and penguin encounters, the Aquarium of Niagara also offers and hosts animal training, birthday parties, programs, and other special events.

Enjoy Land and Water Activities at Hyde Park

Daytime view of Hyde Park

Buffalutheran, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find Hyde Park at the foot of Little Italy Niagara and along Hyde Park Boulevard.

Locally known as the “Jewel of Niagara Falls,” this park has heaps of amenities and activities that people can enjoy.

It has one 18-hole and two nine-hole golf courses that golfers, whether beginners or pros, can enjoy along with the scenic views.

There are also facilities for those who love volleyball, tennis, baseball, bocce, lawn bowling, and ice skating.

Besides family picnics in the spring or summer, children will love to enjoy the playgrounds and spray park just as you take advantage of the Olympic-sized swimming pool with them.

Hyde Park Lake is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing for trout.

Other features at the charming park include a rose garden, Sal Maglie Stadium, Veteran’s Memorial, and more.

There’s much more to enjoy at Hyde Park alone or with families and friends, from relaxation to water adventures.

Hike the Trails or Go Fishing at Devil’s Hole State Park

View from a cliff at Devil’s Hole State Park

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Overlooking the Devil’s Hole Rapids and the lower Niagara River, Devil’s Hole State Park is historically significant.

Native Americans used this location as a portage route to go around the rapids of Niagara Falls and Niaga River.

Visitors can enjoy this park’s picnic areas, arresting hiking trails, and panoramic overlooks.

Besides being famous for hiking, it’s also an ideal spot for fishing.

You’ll enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, too.

Follow the signage and stay on designated trails when hiking here, as off-trail hiking is not allowed.

Using the Devil Hole’s Trail at the Niagara Gorge’s bottom and the gorge’s rim trail, which creates a loop, will connect you to the nearby Whirlpool State Park.

You’ll find Devil’s Hole State Park on Niagara Scenic Parkway.

Go on an Air Adventure with Rainbow Air Inc. Helicopter Tours

Rainbow Air Inc. Helicopter Tours will give you the most unique and electrifying experience at Niagara Falls.

Located on Main Street, Rainbow Air Inc. has served the area since 1995 with elite pilots guiding their guests.

You’ll enjoy the grandeur of Niagara Falls and the aerial view of the surrounding vista while soaring over them from the air in a helicopter.

Don’t forget to use your camera and capture these critical moments.

Bring your family and friends, too, as your limousine in the sky awaits your visit!

Watch the Majestic Falls at Niagara Falls Observation Tower

Daytime view of Niagara Falls Observation Tower

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Head to the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, also known as the Prospect Point Observation Tower, if you need a short break.

This 282-feet tower rewards breathtaking views of all three Niagara Falls.

Its elevators give access to the foot of the gorge and the boarding area for the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

People at Niagara Falls Observation Tower

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Aside from overlooking the majestic falls, you can also birdwatch at this observation deck.

Some birds you’ll spot are bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and different gull species.

Niagara Falls Observation Tower is on Prospect Street.

Scenic sunset over Niagara Falls Observation Tower

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Venture into a Fun Trip with the Maid of the Mist

View of a Maid of the Mist boat

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If you try the Maid of the Mist, you’ll consider this as one of the apexes of your trip while in Niagara Falls.

This sightseeing boat tour has been a favorite attraction since 1846.

The journey starts at the base of Niagara Falls Observation Tower, then goes past the three falls, including the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian portion, before ending on the nation’s side at Niagara Falls State Park.

People wearing raincoats whole on a Maid of the Mist boat


The 20-minute-long tour will make you hear the mighty roars of 600,000 gallons of rushing water and get up-close views of the falls while donning a poncho.

The double-deck Maid of the Mist’s all-electric tour boats will give you an unforgettably enjoyable and safe adventure.

People boarding a Maid of the Mist boat

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View Life-Sized Wax Figures at the Niagara Wax Museum of History

Located on Prospect Street, the Niagara Wax Museum of History will take you back in time.

Opened in 1968, this museum has 46 exhibits outlining Niagara Falls’s history in its more than 10,000 square feet of viewing space.

You’ll see artifacts, photos, life-sized wax figures, a recreation of an 1800s general store, and more.

At the Niagara Wax Museum of History, you’ll also learn about the people who helped build the area.

Get Sprayed at the Cave of the Winds

Tourists climbing up to Cave of the Winds

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The Cave of the Winds is another fantastic thing to do while at Niagara Falls.

Joseph Ingraham discovered a cave behind the Bridal Veil Falls in 1834.

Its name came from drafts of air produced by the rushing water that made a windy atmosphere inside.

However, the cave collapsed in 1920, yet its name remained.

Scenic view of Cave of the Winds

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Clad in a yellow poncho, you’ll walk over the wooden walkways to the renowned Hurricane Deck to get up close to the foot of the falls.

Although you will get soaked from the spray of the falls, you’ll enjoy the adventure.

Don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera so you can photograph a memorable experience.

The Cave of the Winds is a famed attraction on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park.

Tourists at Cave of the Winds

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Immerse in a Tranquil Setting at the Three Sisters Islands

Stone bridge at Three Sisters Islands

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The Three Sisters Islands are near Goat Island and part of Niagara Falls, New York.

These islands are named after Asenath, Angeline, and Celinda Whitney, the daughters of General Pankhurst Whitney, one of the city’s early settlers.

A river at Three Sisters Islands

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The three islands feature narrow bridges and amazing views of the rushing waters and rapids that dash for the falls.

You deserve a break from your hustles and bustles, and the Three Sisters Islands are natural and peaceful treasures that will make your getaway worthwhile.

The grounds of Three Sisters Islands

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Listen to History at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

If you want to know the true stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in the city, visit the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center.

The museum preserves and interprets historic resources within the Heritage Area.

Aside from encouraging visitors to recognize the past, it helps develop economic opportunities and promote heritage tourism.

The permanent exhibition “One More River to Cross” features the brave actions of Niagara Falls residents, particularly African American residents, during the days of the Underground Railroad.

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center also offers group and virtual tours and hosts events.

It’s on Depot Avenue West near Whirlpool State Park.

Cross the Rainbow Bridge

Daytime view of the Rainbow Bridge

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Just thinking about traversing a bridge that takes you to another country in about five minutes is already dramatic.

Walk across the world-famous Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge.

This famous landmark offers striking views of the falls and river, with rainbows appearing often.

This arch bridge connects Niagara Falls, New York, in the United States, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Structure of the Rainbow Bridge

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Its name serves as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

You can cross it on foot, by bicycle, motorcycle, or vehicle.

Also, crossing the Rainbow Bridge will require a passport and a fee.

There are plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and other exciting things near the foot of both ends.

Aerial view of the Rainbow Bridge

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Feel the Welcoming Ambiance at Old Falls Street

Buildings along Old Falls Street

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You shouldn’t skip the three-block destination street named Old Falls Street.

Just footsteps from the falls, it features numerous exhilarating spaces for beautiful things.

Daytime view of Old Falls Street

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You can watch concerts, dine at one of several restaurants, sit in the chairs and relax, join the fun during festivals, enjoy family-friendly activities, and more in the city downtown.

The street also links Niagara Falls State Park with many attractions.

Old Falls Street serves as a “Welcoming Center” for residents and visitors.

Jam with Friends at the Niagara Falls Blues Festival

Niagara Falls Blues Festival is an annual two-day September event on Old Falls Street.

You’ll enjoy various entertainment and activities, including live music from a line-up of excellent musicians and internationally acclaimed live blues bands.

The festival also features delectable food from local food vendors.

Enjoy catching up with friends, beer, and wine at the Niagara Falls Blues Festival.

Relax at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

Exterior of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

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Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is a top-tier vacation destination in the city that has bagged many awards.

With its full amenities, including more than 600 rooms and suites, ten restaurants, and seven shops, your stay at this casino resort is worth it.

It continuously draws many guests who want entertainment and relaxation under one roof.

Welcome sign of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

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There’s more to enjoy lots of things besides dining and shopping, like gambling, having a body massage, relaxing in the pool, watching mindblowing shows, and more.

You can find Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino on 4th Street, approximately one mile from Niagara Falls State Park.

Entrance doors of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

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Shop ‘til You Drop at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

Exterior of the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

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If you love shopping, go to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls on Military Road.

It’s one of the best outlet centers in the nation, featuring over 200 designer brands.

Popular stores and brands include Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Victoria’s Secret, Kate Spade, Forever 21, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.

If you feel hungry, drop by for delicious eats and drinks in the available dining options.

Signage of the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

Deutsch Fetisch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Besides offering discounts, some amenities include free Wi-Fi, a text concierge, shopping passes, and more.

Located near the nation’s side border, it’s also a favorite shopping destination for Canadians, particularly from Ontario and Toronto.

Visitors can also park for free in their over 1,100 parking spaces.

Final Thoughts

Niagara Falls, New York, has the gorgeous Niagara Falls as its main attraction.

You’ll enjoy plenty of things from the land, water, and air with your family, friends, and sweetie.

If you have time or want to look for a perfect holiday vacation, this city won’t disappoint.

Enjoy the best things to do in Niagara Falls!

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