There’s no place like Niagara Falls and it is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Half of it lies in Canadian territory and the other on American soil. But which side is better for attractions and viewing platforms? Let’s take a look.
The image of the Niagara Falls area is perfect for showing where the Niagara River floods over a shelf, creating one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. In the middle of the river is Goat Island which is on the American side along with the smaller waterfall on the left-hand side of the photograph. The Canadian half is the more famous “Horseshoe” Falls. The border continues along the middle of the river, with the USA on the left and Canada on the right of the photo.
The Canadian Side
The Canadian Niagara Falls is by far the more commercially developed of the two. Known locally as the Las Vegas of Canada you have pretty much everything you can imagine within minutes of the waterfall: casinos, haunted houses, carnival arcades, a ferris wheel (called the Sky Wheel), wax museums, Hard Rock Cafe, viewing tower (Skylon Tower), IMAX… you name it. This area is called Clifton Hill and is one of the most touristy things you could ever do on your holidays in Canada.
There are a few really cool things you can do on the Canadian side that you can’t on the American. Journey Behind the Falls is a fab attraction that takes you down into tunnels behind the waterfall and at some points you can stand right behind where the water comes down in a thunderous rush. The adjoining museum is an interesting collection of all the vessels that have been sent down the waterfall with people inside, from wooden barrels to small submarines.
From the Canadian side you have front on views of the American Falls and you can walk up within a couple metres of where the water falls over the edge. It can get pretty misty so don’t forget a rain coat!
The American Side
The American side has plenty of good attractions, but it’s a lot less developed commercially (which is good in some people’s books). Goat Island is a must; it’s the oldest state park in the USA and is only accessible from Niagara Falls, New York. The cool thing about this side is that, unlike the Canadian side, you can actually go down into the Niagara Gorge right up next to the falls. It’s called the Cave of the Winds and a raincoat or plastic poncho is essential. You will get soaked.
The New York State Observation Tower in Prospect Point Park is the best way place for views of both waterfalls from the American side. A platform juts out enough that you can look back onto the American Falls and also get a good view of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Looking for a more authentic experience in Niagara Falls? Discover Niagara Falls like a local.