The Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls

nycgo.com staff, sponsored by Destination Niagara

Niagara Falls USA is a great addition to a summer New York City trip. Located just 30 minutes from Buffalo, New York, the American side of the Falls offers a chance for visitors to immerse themselves in the attraction’s natural beauty. Witness 3,160 tons of water flowing over Niagara Falls every second; go hiking amid picturesque vistas; immerse yourself in American Revolution–era history; and discover the Falls’ role as a source of hydroelectric power. No matter what sort of traveler you are, Niagara Falls has the power to captivate. Read on to create a perfect itinerary based on your personality: Thrill-Seeker, Adventurer or Explorer.

How to get there

New York City lies about 400 miles south of Niagara Falls USA. A direct flight from NYC to Buffalo Niagara International Airport takes less than an hour. It’ll take about seven hours if you decide to make the scenic drive. Another option is Amtrak service from Penn Station to Niagara Falls USA, which takes around 10 hours.

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For thrill seekers

Visitors will get their hearts pounding with these recommendations, all of which take them right to the edge—literally. Ride a jet boat to the outskirts of a whirlpool; stand within feet of the thundering Bridal Veil Falls; and feel an adrenaline rush that’s faster than the rapids of the Niagara River.

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Niagara Jet Adventures & Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
Visitors go from zero to pure adrenaline on a fully guided whitewater tour through the Class V rapids of the Niagara River. The excursions offer a breathtaking view of the Niagara Gorge.

Artpark
Enjoy one of the most striking performing arts venues anywhere. Onstage, you might witness a concert by touring talent like Jack White, Boy George, Portugal. The Man, or actors in a Shakespearean play—all while you’re at the top of the Niagara Gorge. Hear the rush of the water, hike the trails or take in a show for an experience you’ll never forget.

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Cave of the Winds & The World Changed Here Pavilion
Niagara Falls and electricity have a long history. By the end of the 19th century, for instance, inventor Nikola Tesla’s technology used Niagara Falls’ cascading waters to power the city of Buffalo. Learn about that process, travel into the Niagara Gorge and feel the majesty of the Falls’ waters yourself from the Hurricane Deck.

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For adventurers

Intrepid visitors will enjoy these activities, which offer impressive views and a taste of leisure. Experience natural wonders and the flavors of award-winning local wines.

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Maid of the Mist
Cruise into the heart of the American and Horseshoe Falls on this legendary boat ride. See crashing waves, take in breathtaking views and forge memories that will last a lifetime—accompanied by the thunderous roar of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water cascading down the gorge every second.

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Niagara Gorge Trail System
From an easygoing stroll to a more challenging boulder-hopping excursion, visitors can experience nature at their own pace on one of the region’s many hiking trails. No matter which you choose, you’ll feel a deep connection with the beauty around you.

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Niagara Wine Trail, USA
The region features a dream convergence of climate and soil that makes it ideal for winemaking. With more than 20 wineries, breweries and cideries to explore, there is a beverage to delight every palate. Opt for a guided tour or chart your own course.

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NYPA – Niagara Power Vista Center
A surge of excitement awaits with 50-plus interactive exhibits that will energize inquisitive minds of all ages. Take a high-tech virtual ride across the landscape of New York State and see electricity titans Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison battle over AC and DC power in their late-1800s “War of Currents.”

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For explorers

Slow and steady wins the race. These attractions allow visitors to relax and enjoy the region with enough time and space to truly appreciate its majestic beauty.

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Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride
This subterranean attraction gives visitors insight into the Erie Canal and hydroelectric power’s role in the region, which dates back to the 1800s. Visitors can see natural wonders and relics from the tunnel’s construction. (Hint: It’s also Instagram gold.)

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Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises
Featured on the History channel, this leisurely cruise takes you through the only set of double locks on the historic Erie Canal. Sit back and soak in the history and traditional canal music—the waterway has inspired a series of popular folk tunes that you may recognize.

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Old Fort Niagara
Reenactors and history experts work tirelessly to bring this 18th-century fort to life. Walk in the footsteps of British, French and American soldiers who fought in America’s Revolutionary War with Lake Ontario as your scenic backdrop.

For more information and to start planning your trip, visit niagarafallsusa.com.

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