Known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World, Niagara Falls is a rare, yet romantic mix of natural wonder, hidden gems, and more. Whether you’re searching for a post-wedding trip or a family vacation, you’ll find it in Niagara Falls. Plan your visit and discover the top landmarks, best places to stay, and how to navigate the airport, all in one place.

Niagara
The Falls in Niagara Falls.

Early Morning: Visit the Falls

With between 12 million and 30 million visitors each year, the falls at Niagara Falls are by far the most popular attraction in the city and one of the most-visited in New York state. Summer is peak season at Niagara Falls, so if you plan on visiting during this time, head to the falls early in the morning. During the low temperatures of winter, the falls are covered in snow and ice, creating a scene that’s absolutely amazing. However, you may want to check the weather to decide what time of year to visit.

The best places to see the falls are from Niagara Falls State Park and Goat Island, located adjacent to the falls. Depending on where you gather, you should get an excellent view of the three falls that make up the entire Niagara Falls: Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and Horseshoe Falls.

If you feel like you aren’t getting the view or picture you want, don’t worry. Book a trip on the Maid of the Mist. Started in 1846, this legendary boating company sends you into the heart of the falls, allowing you to feel the crash of the waves in your chest and the mist on your face. Don’t forget your poncho!

Late Morning: Learn More About the Falls and Get Some Exercise

After visiting the falls and taking a boat ride, you probably have caught Niagara Falls fever, so the next logical step is to head to the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center on the grounds of Niagara Falls State Park. The Discovery Center offers hands-on exhibits for all ages, a rock climbing wall, and a 180-degree multi-screen theater experience that educates you about Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Another interesting landmark just by the Discovery Center is the Schoellkopf Power Station ruins. Constructed between 1905 and 1924, this power station was once the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. The complex once included dozens of buildings, offices, and gates, while also including a nearly mile-long canal that diverted water from the falls to generate electricity. Today, only the ruins remain of the once high-tech facility, but you’re free to take pictures and explore.

Get some exercise after you leave the Discovery Center by hiking the grounds around the park. The Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center provides several trail options in the area ranging from easy to challenging. If you want to head to one of the more iconic natural landmarks, don’t miss the hike to Devil’s Hole, Giant Rock, and Whirlpool Rapids.

Noon: Grab Lunch at the Historic Third Street Entertainment District

Located in downtown Niagara Falls just a short walk from the falls themselves, the Third Street District has been the dining, drinking, and entertainment capital of Niagara Falls since the 1950s. Easy to traverse on foot, the district boasts the best restaurants for a nice lunch, offering a variety of options for all budgets.

If you’re looking for something upscale, hop on over to Wine on Third. This wine and tapas bar is a superb place to unwind, grab a glass of wine, and share some tapas that will hold you over until dinner. For a more casual atmosphere, stop over at the Third Street Retreat Eatery and Pub. With eclectic wall decor, darts, and pool, you can hang out and play some games before chowing down on pub fare and local craft beer. Before or after your trip, walk around the district to see a bit of what Niagara Falls was like over 60 years ago.

Nikola tesla monument goat island
The Niikola-Tesla-Monument on Goat Island in Niagara Falls.

Afternoon: Explore Old Fort Niagara

Located 20 minutes north of downtown Niagara Falls, Old Fort Niagara has been continually occupied for the longest time of any fort in North America. Built in 1726, the fort originally protected the colonial interest of France until it was captured by the British in 1759. It remained under British control until 1796 and went back and forth with American occupation until 1813, when it became American-owned. Today, the fort still remains as a small base for the U.S. Coast Guard.

During the year, Old Fort Niagara is open for guided tours that explain the rich history of the fort and its important strategic location at the mouth of the Niagara River. If you go during the right time, you may also get to experience war reenactments, which are one of the most exciting events at the fort.

Late Afternoon: Visit the Aquarium of Niagara

Opened in 1965, the Aquarium of Niagara is an impressive and beautiful attraction just 700 feet from the falls. As you walk in, you’ll notice a massive mural that sets the tone for the visit. Inside the aquarium, you’ll find a fun, interactive experience that showcases over 1,500 aquatic animals and a tidal pool display. Some of the animals include sea lions, turtles, sharks, penguins, and seahorses.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $11.25 for seniors, and $9 for children.

Evening: Go for a Strange Journey Through the Niagara Wax Museum of History

One of the most interesting attractions in Niagara Falls is certainly the Niagara Wax Museum of History. Combining wax figures with history is certainly effective, and since 1968, this mix of entertainment and education has been a must-visit. It’s one of the few survivors of the city’s attempt at urban renewal in the 1970s and ’80s, and much of it remains in its original state.

While you’ll see Abraham Lincoln and other national figures, most of the museum explores regional history. Subjects include Indian battles, a diorama of the Devil’s Hole Massacre, and the actual barrel that daredevil Jean Lussier took over the falls in 1928. Some may find the figures creepy, but most will enjoy the oddities contained within this one-of-a-kind museum. Admission is $10.

Horseshoe falls
Horseshoe Falls.

Late Night: Check Out the Falls at Night

The falls during the day are nothing short of spectacular, but at night, they transform into an amazing mix of natural beauty and manmade lighting to create a setting that’s only describable as astonishing. The Canadian side of the falls uses giant colored lights to illuminate the falls until 2 a.m. Throughout the year, both the American and Canadian sides offer fireworks shows that provide even more beautiful lighting, and these are often accompanied by a concert. For a final hurrah at Niagara Falls, there’s no better option.

Niagara Falls Airport Guide

To make your trip easier and more convenient, Niagara Falls has two airport locations within 25 miles of the major attractions and thoroughfares.

Niagara Falls International Airport

Located four miles east of downtown Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls International Airport is the closer of the two area airports. Once a military airport, it was transformed by the city into a joint military/civilian transportation hub with the opening of a new terminal in 2009. The airport has four gates, two airline providers, and serves just over 233,000 passengers per year. Direct flights are available from locations in both Florida and South Carolina.

Because the airport only has four gates, it’s easy to find the dining establishments, baggage claim, gate, rental cars, and outdoor area. To reach points of interest or your accommodations, you can use the Metro Bus, Amtrak, limousine services, taxis, and ride-sharing services.

Observation tower
Prospect Point Observation Tower.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport

Situated 25 miles southeast of Niagara Falls, Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the third-busiest airport in New York, handling over 4.7 million passengers per year. Eleven airlines have direct flights into the airport, with some airlines also offering seasonal flights to destinations in Mexico, Florida, New York City, and the Midwest.

All gates of the airport are on the upper level of the airport, as well as restaurants and bars such as the Lake Erie Grille, Tim Hortons, and the Anchor Bar. After landing, passengers go down to the lower level, where they’ll find the baggage claim area, services such as a barber and currency exchange, vending machines, rental car services, and other transportation options. Shuttles, vans, taxis, ride-sharing services, and buses are all available into Buffalo or Niagara Falls.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York, providing countless accommodation options. Choose from the top Niagara Falls hotels, hostels, romantic bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals to provide the perfect trip to the city.

Top Hotels

A longtime resort town, Niagara Falls still has plenty of luxurious hotels for travelers with a larger budget. The Giacomo Hotel is one of the newest boutique hotels in the area, but it also has a storied history. Housed in the United Office Building that was built in 1929, the Giacomo opened in 2010 and features 41 upscale guestrooms. It blends a Mayan revival motif with an Art Deco vibe to create an experience unlike any other. It’s also walking distance to most of the area attractions and offers arguably the best view from the American side of the falls.

If you want to splurge on your lodging and hit the slots, book a stay at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. Each of the 604 guestrooms offers top-notch views of Bridal Veil Falls, a pillow-top mattress, and other nice appointments. Hit the jackpot, head to the resort and spa, or dine at one of the area’s top restaurants, all in one convenient spot.

Bridal veil
Bridal Veil Falls.

Best Hostels

Looking to save some cash on your vacation for tours, fine dining, or other plans? Book a room at a Niagara Falls hostel. These low-cost lodging options offer single rooms, double rooms, and dorm-style rooms, a group concierge service, and other social gatherings that allow travelers to meet others along the way.

Located one block from Niagara Gorge and a five-minute walk from Niagara Falls State Park, Wanderfalls Guesthouse is the top choice for affordable, communal living. This hostel has all the extras, including complimentary Wi-Fi, a free breakfast, a fully stocked kitchen, library, and garden.

The Gorge View Hostel is another solid choice for affordable accommodation in the area, closer to the falls than any other hostel. The front desk is always willing to help you book trips in the area or suggest bars and restaurants in the Third Street entertainment district that’s just a block away from the hostel. With shared rooms, private rooms, and spacious apartments, Gorge View has arrangements for everyone.

Romantic Bed and Breakfasts

Although Niagara Falls’ reputation as the Honeymoon Capital of the World may have wavered, it still has some of the best and most romantic bed and breakfasts in New York and the Northeast. The Little Italy Bed and Breakfast of Niagara Falls is a charming new accommodation just steps away from the city’s Little Italy.

Another romantic option in Niagara Falls is the Hanover House. Situated in a 100-year-old home, Hanover House is an intimate setting for anyone from newlyweds to couples on their 30th-anniversary trip. Each room features a queen bed, free Wi-Fi, and cable television, and the owners offer one of the most delicious breakfasts you’ve tasted.

Homelike Vacation Rentals

When you’re traveling with a larger group or the entire family, you may want home-style amenities that provide you with a comfortable stay without breaking the bank. If that’s your scenario, consider booking a private vacation rental. Many of these boast full kitchens to save money on food, while others have extras such as hot tubs, balconies, and pools. From vintage houses with old-time charm to full homes with all the extras, vacation homes offer the perks you want.

If you’re ready to plan and book an unforgettable trip to Niagara Falls, you can find everything from transportation to accommodation and more, right here on GoDoTrip.