Niagara Falls Canada Side: 20+ Best Things to Do – Boat Tours, Tunnel, Gorge Hiking & More

niagara falls canada side

Niagara Falls-Canada Side

If you’ve been to Niagara Falls before, it’s easy to understand why you’d want to take your family to see this sight. It’s certainly a favorite vacation destination for Michigan families.

Over the centuries, the fast-flowing Niagara River has carved out an awe-striking river gorge and waterfalls that visitors get to experience in a variety of ways.

It’s one of those things that you just have to see to believe.

Mountains of water endlessly crashing over a cliff are not only mesmerizing but also beautiful.

giphy

Plus, with its close proximity to Canada, Niagara Falls is easy to get to from Michigan. We crossed into Canada via Port Huron, MI, and had very little wait in either direction.

FAQs – Niagara Falls

is Niagara falls in Canada or new york?

Niagara Falls (the famous waterfall attraction) is located in both the US (New York) as well as Canada!

The Niagara River forms the border between the two countries. The river splits before the drop-off, creating two main sets of falls.

NIAGARA FALLS map

The US side is known as the American Falls and the Niagara Falls Canada side is called Horseshoe Falls.

Additionally, there are two towns named Niagara Falls. One is located in Ontario, Canada, and the other is in the state of New York.

is the niagara falls canada side open to visitors from the USA?

The Niagara Falls Canada side is open to international visitors, provided certain conditions are met in spring 2022.

Check current Niagara Falls Canada attraction status

You can cross the border to Canada from the USA if you are a fully vaccinated adult. Details

All visitors must use the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours prior to arrival in Canada.

Unvaccinated children, youth, and adult dependents may accompany a parent, step-parent, guardian, or tutor who qualifies as a fully vaccinated traveler when they enter Canada.

Those traveling to the US by car are not required to have a negative COVID test. If you’re arriving by plane, as of May 23, 2022, you still need to have a negative covid test on file.

Where does the water at Niagara Falls come from?

The water flowing over Niagara Falls travels downhill from one Great Lake to another via the Niagara River.

Lake Erie, where the water originates, is at an elevation 325 feet higher than the water in Lake Ontario.

The result? The Niagara River’s descent over its 13.5-mile journey is drastic in several places, most notably at the falls.

(Boats obviously can’t safely go over the falls, so any ships traveling from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario use the Welland Canal system instead.)

which is the best side of niagara falls?

The Niagara Falls Canada Side is arguably the side with better views of both falls.

However, each side offers different experiences and it’s relatively easy to visit them both.

If you have time, put both Niagara Falls Canada and Niagra Falls New York on your itinerary.

niagara falls canada side (1)
new york side of niagara falls
Looking at the New York side of Niagara Falls

what is the best time of year to go to Niagara falls?

Niagara Falls is open 356 days of the year.

The weather – and the visual display created by the falls – varies tremendously by season.

The best time to visit depends on your trip goals but most people prefer the warm, sunny summer weather.

SUMMERHighs: 80-90 F; shorts & teeshirts, flowers & sunshine
FALLHighs: 40-60 F; rain jackets & gloves, fall colors & moody clouds
WINTERHighs: 20-30 F; parkas & boots, dramatic ice formations
SPRINGHighs: 40-60 F; hats & jackets, spring flowers

do kids need birth certificates to enter Canada?

When driving: Kids under 16 need proof of US citizenship – a birth certificate or passport to complete the border crossing. (Our kids used birth certificates.)

Be sure to check up on the latest regulations well before your planned trip as these requirements may change.

Adults and kids 16 and older need a passport or an enhanced driver’s license to cross the border by land.

Niagara Falls-Canada Side Things to Do

Niagara Falls is part of the Niagara Parks system, encompassing 35 miles of the Niagara River corridor.

Within this area, you’ll find river adventures, exciting hiking, meticulously maintained gardens, restored heritage sites, and local food options.

1 – NEW! Walk the tunnel at niagara Parks power station

7005 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6T2

The first thing you’ll want to do when you get to Niagara Falls is to go see the falls! And now, you can do it from the century-old 2,200-foot-long tunnel in the Niagara Parks Power Station. This massive building and tour opened to the public in July 2022.

As part of the tour, you’ll take a glass-walled elevator 180 feet down to the power station wheel pit.

Not only will you find out how this tunnel was excavated with just lanterns, rudimentary dynamite, pickaxes, and shovels, you get to step out of the tunnel at the water’s edge onto a new viewing platform. The observation deck extends into the lower Niagara River, providing a unique perspective of the falls that has never before been accessible to visitors.

 2,200-foot-long tunnel in the Niagara Parks Power Station 📷: Niagara Parks
2,200-foot-long tunnel in the Niagara Parks Power Station 📷: Niagara Parks

Observation Deck Niagara Falls Power Station
Tunnel Observation Deck • 📷: Niagara Parks
Wheel Pit Niagara Falls Power Station
Wheel Pit – Niagara Power Station 📷: Niagara Parks

Pro Tip: Save $$ with the Adventure Pass for Niagara Parks.

You save money on the included attractions and you save time waiting in line.

2 – soak up epic falls views along the Niagara River trail

Table Rock Welcome Center 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L0S 1J0, Canada to
Rainbow Bridge Rainbow Bridge, 5702 Falls Ave, Niagara Falls, ON

Next get yourself to the one-mile promenade that hugs the Niagara Falls Canada side.

niagara falls canada

It’s ground zero for magnificent views of the falls.

niagara falls photo

Let walking this path be the first of many times that you watch the water; the falls take on a new look depending on the time of day and the weather conditions.

Niagara falls canada side river trail

Start at the Table Rock Welcome Center and head north along the trail until you reach the Rainbow Bridge.

niagara river trail

There are stops and attractions along the way. Some of our favorites:

  • Table Rock Welcome Center for amazing falls views, WEGO bus passes & transfers, Niagara’s Fury 4D film, gift shops, & restaurant
  • Queen Victoria Park for the seasonal flower displays (6345 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8, Canada)
  • Zipline to the Falls
  • Niagara City Cruises
  • Clifton Hill Entrance
  • Oakes Garden Theatre
  • Rainbow Bridge

3 – take the Niagara city cruise

5920 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8, Canada

Grab that plastic poncho – you’re going to need it for this! Wear flip-flops and put your phone in a waterproof case if you can. This is one wet experience!

Formerly known as Maid of the Mist tours and then Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Niagara City Cruises offer the closest to falls experience.

niagara city cruises

Feel the power of the falls as you motor past the American Falls and into the Horseshow Falls to get as close as you can get.

This is the only boat ride in Canada that will get you close to the falls.

niagara falls niagara city cruises

4 – Explore Oakes garden theatre – the secret garden in the city

Oakes Garden Theatre
5825 River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3K9, Canada

Find your zen at Oakes Garden Theatre, a beautifully manicured oasis tucked away in one of the busiest parts of the city.

It’s easy to visit the Niagara Falls Canada side and not even realize this place exists. It’s truly a Niagara Falls hidden gem.

niagara falls canada side oakes garden theatre
niagara falls canada side oakes garden theatre

Formal gardens and exquisite landscaping compliment falls views from almost every section of the park.

Be sure to climb to the top of the theatre for the best views, and don’t miss the lily pond and iron gate at the Falls Avenue entrance.

niagara falls canada side oakes garden theatre
niagara falls oakes theatre secret garden

5 – journey behind the falls

6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 3E8, Canada

Put on that yellow poncho and prepare for the spray and thunder of the falls! 

Journey Behind the Falls takes you into tunnels (and viewing portals) behind the bedrock of the Niagara Falls Canada side.

Go down 125 feet, then climb out to an observation deck and get close to the falls.

niagara falls journey behind the falls canada side

Pro Tip: Save $$ with the Adventure Pass for Niagara Parks.

You save money on the included attractions and you save time waiting in line.

Journey Behind the Falls Niagara Falls
niagara falls journey behind the falls canada side

6 – Ride in the whirlpool aero car

3850 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 3E8, Canada

Visitors have been testing their mettle on the Whirlpool Aero Car since 1916!

This antique cable car pulls you over the Niagara Whirlpool where you can watch the turquoise water swirl every which way right under your feet. You might just need to take a few extra deep breaths during the trip.

niagara falls whirlpool aerocar
Whirlpool Aero Car Niagara Falls

While we were up there, we saw a Whirlpool Jet Boat revving up for a spin around the whirlpool waves in the gorge.

Little did I know that would be us in a few days. Read on to hear more (and watch our video) about that drenching experience!

Niagara Falls with Kids Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour

Pro Tip: Venture beyond the main falls area

Many people drive in to gaze at the falls and drive away not knowing there is a whole region of amazing to discover. 
Niagara Falls is just one highlight of the Niagara Parks area.

7 – Sign up for the open-top whirlpool jet boat tour

55 River Frontage Road, Queenston, ON L0S 1L0, Canada

Remember that picture from the Whirlpool Aero Car showing the little red boat? That boat isn’t really so little!

It’s one in the WhirlPool Jet Boat fleet and it’s a special boat designed to drive up the huge standing waves in the Niagara River and fly over the other side. You’re going to get wet!

The boats take on a ton of water – water that will come up to your knees or higher – and pump it out.

There is not a dry seat on the boat (watch the video below to see!) and each trip is peppered with spirit and fun by the adventurous crew.

open top whirlpool jet boat tour

Before you’re even allowed on the boat, you’re given a thorough safety briefing and suited up appropriately. Bring a full change of clothes – and wear warm clothing on the ride itself.

We sat in the back – with little kids, that’s where you have to go. Our oldest wanted to be in the front where you got a face-full of water every three seconds (watch the video below to see what I mean.)

If we were to do it again, I’d suggest going with kids ages 8 and over, or just be sure the younger ones are extremely adventurous. (Show them our video and see what they think.)

8 – walk over the rainbow bridge to New York

Rainbow Bridge, 5702 Falls Ave, Niagara Falls, ON

Yes, you can walk across the Rainbow Bridge to the New York side of the falls on a pedestrian pathway and be treated to gorgeous, unique views of the falls.

rainbow bridge niagara falls
The Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls

Often, a rainbow can be seen in the mist of falls.

niagara falls rainbow
Rainbow at Niagara Falls

The bridge is about 1/4 mile long and it takes about 10 minutes to cross – unless there is a long wait at the border crossing station.

There is a $1 fee to cross the bridge as a pedestrian.

pedestrian pathway looking at united states from rainbow bridge niagara falls
Pedestrian pathway on the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls

As this is an international border crossing, you will need to have a passport or enhanced driver’s license to enter the USA. To return to Canada, you will need your identification, have proof of vaccination, and use the ArriveCAN App.

To find the pedestrian entrance to the Rainbow Bridge on the Niagara Falls Canada side, head to 110 River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3K9, Canada and look for the sign that says “Pedestrian Entrance to U.S.A.” It’s in the same building as Peg’s Candy Kitchen and is near the Duty Free shop.

9 – Do the Niagara Falls Zipline

5920 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8, Canada

Zipline to the Falls takes adventurous people on a 2200-foot, 40 mph thrill ride along the edge of the Niagara River, right in front of the falls.

niagara falls zipline
niagara falls zipline

10 – Marvel at the waves on the white water walk

4330 River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 6T2, Canada

Courageous souls constructed a boardwalk along the Great Gorge on the Niagara River so that you and I could safely get up close to the raging waters.

This White Water Walk follows Class 6 whirlpool rapids as they form 10 to 16-foot standing waves in the river. It was jaw-dropping.

While I knew my kids were perfectly safe walking along the wooden pathway, I kept them at arm’s length most of the time. That water is powerful and dangerous!

niagara falls whitewater walk

11 – ride the wego Bus

If you set your GPS for the Niagara Falls Canada side and arrive without knowing what the parking situation is, you’ll see the falls briefly and then wonder where you can park the car.

Truth be told, Niagara Falls is a major tourist destination, especially during the summer months, and parking anywhere remotely close to the falls takes either luck or very strategic planning.

If you’re a family visiting with kids or a person with limited mobility, we know you want to make the most out of the foot power your group has. That’s why we use the WEGO bus system when visiting the falls (after parking the car at our hotel).

WEGO is a year-round hop-on-hop-off bus system that connects most lodging, attractions, and parking areas, making it easy to get to the places you want to go to, without the parking headache.

WEGO Fares & Passes

Prices in CA $

24-hour Pass: $10 adult; $7 Child (ages 6-12); 5 & under are free
48-hour Pass: $15 adult; $11 Child (ages 6-12); 5 & under are free

WEGO Passes can be purchased at these locations.
Passes are not sold on board WEGO buses.

WEGO Table Rock Center Niagara Falls canada side
WEGO Table Rock Centre Transfer Hub
WEGO Bus Niagara Falls canada side
WEGO features numerous clearly marked bus stops

WEGO Routes

Three WEGO routes serve the Niagara Falls Canada side:
– Red: Lundy’s Lane includes campgrounds and hotel lodging
– Blue: Clifton Hill attractions, restaurants and lodging
– Green: Niagara Parks destinations, including the falls. Follows the Niagara River.

WEGO Bus Routes Niagara Falls canada side
WEGO lines in Niagara Falls

Get the WEGO app

WEGO uses the Transit App.
Download it to your device and you’ll be able to see where buses are in real time, nearby bus stops, and the estimated arrival time of your next bus.

WEGO Greenline Niagara Falls canada side
WEGO Greeline route detail on the Transit App

Double Decker Bus to Niagara-On-The-Lake – and Tours

From June 24 to September 5, 2022, the Double Decker bus operates the Niagara parks Express Shuttle to Niagara-on-the-Lake (extra fee) and They also offer a variety of Niagara falls tours.

12 – See Niagara falls at night

Get ready for some fireworks and a nighttime falls glow!

At 10 pm each evening from May 20, 2022 through October 10, 2022, enjoy nightly fireworks over the falls.

Plus, the Niagara Falls are illuminated with a rainbow of colored lights every night of the year at sundown, adding to the spectacular display.

The fireworks and illumination can be seen from both sides of the falls.

The fireworks at Niagara Falls are launched in front of the American Falls.

On the Niagara Falls Canada side, your best bet for viewing is in Queen Victoria Park or nearby. Find your viewing spot at least 15 minutes early. The fireworks will last for about 5-6 minutes.

Do check the Niagara Parks event calendar before your visit; there are often special concerts, fireworks displays, and other events going on at the falls.

Niagara falls at night
The Falls are illuminated at night
niagara falls at night fireworks
Fireworks are a nightly attraction in warmer months
niagara falls at night where to watch fireworks
Fireworks viewing locations

Fireworks performances are weather permitting and may be canceled due to poor weather conditions.

skylon tower at night
The Skylon Tower offers nighttime rides with illuminated falls views

13 – hang out at clifton hill

Clifton Hill is hard to miss!

It’s the entertainment district of the Niagara Falls Canada side and offers experiences designed for families.

niagara falls clifton hill

In contrast to Niagara Parks, which features nature-made attractions, Clifton Hill will dazzle your senses in a whole different way.

Restaurants, rides, arcades, and hotels are the stuff Clifton Hill is made of and our kids loved playing Dinosaur Adventure golf with an erupting volcano and riding the Sky Wheel after dark.

Niagara falls with Kids Clifton Hill
Niagara falls with Kids Clifton Hill

The Niagara Speedway is also a big draw; participants drive go-carts on a four-acre, sometimes elevated, coaster track. Some have even dubbed it a real life Mario Kart racetrack!

Drivers must be between 58″ – 78″ tall and 18+ years old. Address: 4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3N4, Canada

niagara falls speedway

14 – hike Niagara glen

3050 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
Trail Map – 2.5 miles of trails or a 1.6 mile loop – moderately challenging

One of our family favorites on this trip was hiking to the river at Niagara Glen.

In fact, we loved this old-growth forest river gorge trail so much that we made sure to hike it twice!

Niagara Falls Hiking

Be prepared to descend many steps down to the glen and you’ll be greeted by numerous paths through boulder formations and along the rapids of the aquamarine Niagara River.

Niagara Glen Hiking Trails

Bring water and give yourself plenty of time to explore! Also, make sure to set out well before sunset. It gets dark quickly under the dense tree canopy – sun sets earlier at Niagara Glen than elsewhere in the park.

Niagara Glen Hiking Trails
Niagara Glen Hiking Trails (1)

15 – visit the butterflies & Botanical garden

2565 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Mix waterfalls, tropical temps, and tropical plants with 2000+ butterflies and you’ve got the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory!

This year-round attraction is a fun stop for families. Be sure to bring your camera and wear bright colors to encourage the butterflies to land on your shoulder for a picture.

Niagara Falls Butterfly GardenNiagara Falls Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Conservatory is on the grounds of the Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens.

Niagara Falls with Kids botanical gardenNiagara Falls with Kids botanical garden

While you’re out visiting the butterflies, be sure to save time to explore the paths and feature gardens of this lovely area. You might even want to hop on a carriage ride while you’re there.

Niagara Falls with kids

16 – Trek up to niagara on the lake – notl

Niagara-on-the-Lake: If you’re from Michigan, you can think of Niagara-on-the-Lake as a British version of Traverse City.

Surrounded by wine country, and on the shores of Lake Ontario, this picturesque town is delightfully charming and quite romantic.

Niagara-on-the-lake with kids
niagara on the lake
Niagara-on-the-lake with kids
Simcoe Park

We stopped by a lakeside park and explored the shops and restaurants lining the lovely downtown.

Niagara-on-the-lake with kids
Queen’s Royal Park

17 – Spend a Few Hours at bird kingdom

5651 River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 7M7, Canada

Before you head home, try to fit in a visit to Bird Kingdom.

Niagara falls with Kids Bird Kingdom

After passing through admissions, you’ll follow a path that leads through a few different rooms with various animals and birds.

One of these rooms offers opportunities to get up close and personal with cool birds like the hyacinth macaw.

Niagara falls with Kids Bird Kingdom

My favorite part came after this room, though.

The final room you enter is a gigantic open space with birds everywhere. This is the free-flying aviary.

aviary

Visitors start at the top of the aviary and follow a path that leads them to multiple viewing points and discovery platforms throughout the hall. This stop is full of interactive experiences; everyone in our family had fun here.

18 – Get up high

Niagara Falls looks different from up high.

Great choices include:

Skylon Tower Niagara Falls Canada Side
Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls Canada Side
niagara falls view from hilton hotel
View from Hilton Niagara Falls Hotel, Room on 31st floor, Niagara Falls Canada Side

19 – Get a hotel with a great pool – or a water park!

We’ve stayed at a couple of different hotels in Niagara Falls.

Hilton Niagara Falls Hotel and Suites

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9, Canada

Most recently, we opted for the Hilton Niagara Falls Hotel and Suites because of their two full floors of swimming pools, including an infinity pool and a family pool and hot tub.

niagara falls hilton infinity pool
Infinity pool overlooking Niagara Falls
niagara falls Hilton family swimming pool
Family swimming pool at Niagara Falls Hilton

Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls

5950 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G 3L7 Canada

The Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls was also a good choice for our family when we needed to watch the budget and wanted swimming pool access.

They have both an indoor and outdoor pool and are located in Clifton Hill, close to lots of entertainment and restaurants.

niagara falls clifton hill courtyard marriott outdoor pool
The Pool at the Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls

3950 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 7M8 Canada

Yep, there’s even a Great Wolf Lodge at Niagara Falls.

In addition to the giant indoor/outdoor waterpark, spend time playing mini golf, bowling, playing arcade games, or winning at MagiQuest.

GreatWolf Lodge at Niagara Falls

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

5685 Falls Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 6W7 Canada

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is also located in Clifton Hills and connects to three hotels. Day passes and overnight packages are available.

niagara falls fallsview indoor waterpark

20 – visit a historical site

I was surprised by how interesting it was to look at a historical event through the lens of a country other than the US. Since Canadians were on the other side of the War of 1812, our visit to Old Fort Erie helped me see the event from their vantage point.

What a great way to get a new perspective.

Old Fort Erie Niagara falls with Kids

We found the costumed characters quite engaging as they helped us learn what life must have been like for the soldiers who called the fort home.

Old Fort Erie Niagara Falls with Kids

The Laura Secord Homestead offers another fascinating look into Canadian history.

This woman is a legend in Canadian folklore. She’s known for a heroic journey during the war of 1812 – a journey you can learn more about as costumed guides take you on a tour of her restored home.

Laura Secord Homestead Niagara Falls with Kids

21 – take your little kids to Niagara’s fury

Table Rock Welcome Center 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Get fully immersed in the Niagara Falls experience with this 4D attraction that is kind of like a Disney ride and good for younger kids.

Niagara’s Fury takes you on a journey through the history of the falls that leaves you with a racing heart and a little wet (where’s that poncho, again?).

The floor under your feet rumbles, water pours out of the walls, snow falls from the sky… all while participants learn the history of the falls.

Niagara's Fury Niagara falls with kids

More to Explore

8 thoughts on “Niagara Falls Canada Side: 20+ Best Things to Do – Boat Tours, Tunnel, Gorge Hiking & More”

  1. Are there age requirements for the boat rides?-our youngest will not quite be 5.
    Does the bus transportation included in the Adventure Pass take you back & forth between a hotel near Clifton Hill to the falls?

    1. It’s fun for all ages but at three they will be limited on the hiking. We went when my daughter was that age and she didn’t want to go on the boat ride, either. Otherwise, go and have fun!

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