Located just a short drive from Buffalo, the American side of the Niagara Falls is one of the world’s must-visit destinations. Home to a beautifully landscaped state park, powerful whirlpools, and attractions such as the Old Fort Niagara, Earl W. Brydges Artpark, and Goat Island, the area surrounding Niagara Falls is a vacation haven for hikers, history buffs, and thrill-seekers. Whether you wish to admire the beauty of spectacular falls, hike amid scenic vistas, or learn more about the American Revolution-era history, this list of things to do in Niagara Falls NY has got you covered.
1. Niagara Falls
Opened in the 19th century, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest park in New York. Covering 400 acres of nature trails and gardens, this fabulous state park is home to 5 impressive islands and three waterfalls. The park’s main attraction, the Observation Tower is a perfect place to enjoy amazing views of all 3 falls. Don’t miss the visitor center where you will find everything from historical exhibits to dozens of restaurants and a small gift shop. The visitor center also hosts an awesome 4D presentation that lasts for about 40 minutes.
2. Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
There are many things to do in Niagara Falls, NY for couples and the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour is one of them. This 20-minute double-decker boat tour takes visitors to the base of the famous Horseshoe Falls where they can experience the mighty rush of thousands of gallons of water. The tour is operated from the American side of the falls and also allows travelers to see the powerful American and Bridal Veil Falls.
3. Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
Fans of gambling exploring the American side of Niagara Falls will definitely want to check out the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. With slots, keno, and poker games, this casino resort makes for an excellent night out in Niagara Falls. The resort is also home to a nice hotel with dozens of restaurants and live music entertainment. Our favorite dining establishment here is the mighty Thunder Falls Buffet that offers the most delicious crab legs ever. A visit to Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls, NY at night.
4. Goat Island
No visit to Niagara Falls is complete without spending an afternoon on the Goat Island. Located right between Horseshoe and American Falls, the Goat Island is home to the Cave of the Winds where you will find boardwalks that take you under the mighty falls. If you don’t want to get wet, we recommend purchasing a pair of sandals and ponchos at the Cave of Winds. Once you reach the famous Hurricane Deck, you will have a chance to admire the beauty of Bridal Veil Falls from up close.
5. AQUARIUM OF NIAGARA
Searching for things to do in Niagara Falls NY for families? Make your way to the Aquarium of Niagara which is located on the northeast edge of the Niagara Falls State Park and boasts over 1,000 species of salt and fresh-water critters. Expect to see everything from penguins and sharks to seals and colorful fish. It’s a great place to visit with the little ones who just love the hands-on sessions with penguins and daily feedings. There is also a nice gift shop where you can purchase cool souvenirs to take back home.
6. OLD FALLS STREET, USA
A three-block area that connects the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls with Niagara Falls State Park, Old Falls Street is all about family-friendly activities including festivals, concerts, outdoor movies, and special events. Whether you wish to see nearly 100 trees illuminated in LED lights, attend popular events such as New Year’s Eve Guitar Drop, Niagara Falls Music & Art Festival, and Niagara Falls Blues Festival, or experience the popular Fridays on Old Falls outdoor concert series, there is no shortage of fun things to do here on Old Falls Street.
7. National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center tells the story of comedy in America and celebrates some of the greatest people in comedy including Dave Chappelle and Charlie Chaplin to name a few. Expect to find world-class exhibits, as well as exclusive comedy collections. This 37,000-square-foot facility that takes you on an interactive journey is an ideal place to visit with the entire family.
8. Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, USA
If you are looking for things to do in Niagara Falls, NY in winter, we recommend spending a day at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. This fabulous indoor outlet shopping mall is conveniently located within walking distance from the Niagara Falls State Park and boasts more than 200 outlets and brands such as Burberry, Banana Republic, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and many more. Don’t forget to stop by the mall’s food court where you will find a wide range of fast food options.
9. Old Fort Niagara
Located close to the falls, Old Fort Niagara is one of the most famous forts from the 18th century in the United States. History buds can look forward to learning more about the history of the fort, while kids traveling with parents can see artillery demonstrations. The visitor center is home to many exhibits and artifacts and guided tours of the fort are available throughout the year. Old Fort Niagara also hosts re-enactments and a bunch of special events.
10. Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards
A fun destination for the entire family, Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards is a small family farm where visitors can sample around 20 wines, as well as handmade pies, hard ciders, and cookies made from high-quality products. It is worth mentioning that fresh fruits and veggies are available for purchase from late spring to fall. In case you wish to organize an event on their lovely estate, Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards can be rented out for events like baby showers, weddings, company parties, and other social gatherings.
11. EARL W. BRYDGES ARTPARK STATE PARK
Opened back in 1974, Earl W. Brydges Artpark is one of the best outdoor destinations in Niagara Falls. Home to picnic facilities, a world-class amphitheater, and public art installations, this amazing state park has it all. Whether you wish to see orchestra performances and concerts in the Mainstage Theater, enjoy the park’s scenic nature trails, or join a variety of weekend family programs, there are plenty of activities available at the Earl W. Brydges Artpark. Some of the other attractions in the park include fishing docks, theatre workshops, and gallery exhibits.
12. SIX FLAGS DARIEN LAKE
Located just a short drive from Niagara Falls, Darien is a family-friendly destination where travelers come to enjoy everything from a 10-acre water park and 7 world-class roller coasters to live music shows and other entertainment. Hop on the Sky Screamer which is the tallest ride in the state or pay a visit to the largest water park in the region and its amazing wave pool. In case you wish to spend the night, Darien Lake offers a wide range of accommodation options including campsites, rental RV’s and posh hotels.
13. Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
A family-owned winery, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is a great place to visit while exploring the American side of the Niagara Falls. Wine lovers can look forward to a guided tour of the property that includes an educational walk in the vineyard, tour of the production facilities, and wine, artisanal bread, and cheese tasting. If your idea of having a good time includes sampling wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and enjoying spectacular views of a local vineyard, a visit to Arrowhead Spring Vineyards should be included in your Niagara Falls travel itinerary.
14. Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Conservatory
Nature lovers visiting Niagara Falls will want to spend the day at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Conservatory. Located just a short drive from Niagara Falls, this 100-acre space features dozens of well-maintained gardens where travelers will find everything from perennials and vegetable plantings to rhododendrons and azaleas. Not to be missed is the beautiful Rose Garden that is home to over 2,500 roses. Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens are also home to the Butterfly Conservatory which is a true tropical paradise where thousands of colorful butterflies and a few charming waterfalls can be found.