All Ages

Niagara Falls, NY vs. Niagara Falls, Canada

See recent posts by Amanda Geronikos

Which side of Niagara Falls is better? Many travelers says Canada is the best side of Niagara Falls, but those who live and work in Niagara Falls, New York, or have traveled there may tell you otherwise. We’ve been to both. The verdict? You should go to both, too (especially since it’s so easy to visit both). Here, a comparison of Niagara Falls, New York vs. Niagara Falls, Canada.

Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls, New York, USA.What It’s Like
Niagara Falls, New York, doesn’t seem very exciting at first glance, admittedly. It feels dreary and run-down, with one high-rise casino (Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel) and some hotels and restaurants scattered throughout. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see the area offers quite a lot for families. In fact, some of Niagara Falls’ most famed attractions are in New York, offering the best opportunities to get up close with the famed falls.

Maid of the Mist
You can’t go to Niagara Falls and not ride Maid of the Mist, which has hosted tourists since 1846. The iconic ride doesn’t just provide unparalleled views of the falls; it takes visitors into the falls. Prepare to get soaked!

Cave of the Winds
This is another unique experience that allows visitors to get up close with Niagara Falls; in fact, you probably can’t get any closer to the falls than this. You can walk right up to Bridal Veil Falls via walkways and viewing decks. Tip: Go at night when the falls are lit up in different colors. You might be lucky enough to see fireworks, too.

Niagara Falls State Park
Walk or drive right into Niagara Falls State Park — there’s no cost (you’ll just have to pay for parking). You and the kids will, once again, have an amazing opportunity to get close to the falls, as well as the rapids. Pack a picnic lunch.

Old Falls Street
Old Falls Street, which spans just three blocks, plays host to festivals, concerts and activities for families. Saturdays are actually dedicated to “Free Family Fun,” with cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, life-size board games and more.

Recommended Hotels
If you’re looking for a hotel right on Niagara Falls, you won’t find it in New York — Canada wins in that category. You can, however, find reasonably priced Niagara Falls, New York, hotels within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park. Here are our picks for Niagara Falls, New York, family hotels:

The Red Coach Inn

The Giacomo

Sheraton at the Falls

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, CanadaWhat It’s Like
Niagara Falls, Ontario, feels glitzy, but livelier in comparison, with flashy arcades, oddball museums and dozens of chain restaurants on Clifton Hill and Lundys Lane (where all the action is, aside from Niagara Falls). Niagara Falls, Ontario, also offers more tourist-centric attractions, including its own version of New York’s Maid of the Mist.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises
Hornblower is Canada’s Maid of the Mist. It takes riders right to Horseshoe Falls. The company has a catamaran that holds up to 700 people, but families can also elect to ride a private charter (150 people).

Wildplay’s MistRider Zipline to the Falls
Introduced in 2016 is WildPlay’s Mistrider Zipline to the Falls, which offers visitors (ages 7 and up) the chance to glide straight toward Horseshoe Falls and take in unbelievable views of both sides of Niagara Falls.

Skylon Tower
Every city’s tower and observation deck is advertised to offer the “best views,” but sometimes, those views aren’t really views at all. That’s not the case at Skylon Tower, which rises 775 feet to provide vistas of Niagara Falls in New York and Canada. It also offers two restaurants.

Niagara SkyWheel
Situated on Clifton Hill, Niagara Sky Wheel provides another means to view Niagara Falls. It’s the largest observation wheel in Canada, towering 175 feet.

Journey Behind the Falls
Journey Behind the Falls is similar to New York’s Cave of the Winds, but this experience allows visitors to go to the Cataract Portal and Great Falls Portal, one-third of the way behind the water.

Recommended Hotels
Niagara Falls, Ontario, offers a wealth of hotels with views of Niagara Falls. Of course, the rates to enjoy those views come at a premium — but they’re worth the splurge. Families can also find affordable accommodations (some with excellent package deals) sans views. Here are our picks for Niagara Falls, Canada, family hotels

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls

Sheraton on the Falls

Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel and Spa

More From Family Vacation Critic:
The Best Canada Family Vacations
Niagara Falls Water Park Hotel Packages

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