One of the most common questions asked be people wanting to or planning to visit Niagara Falls is which side is it best viewed from, USA or Canada.
Whilst we are not going to directly tell you which side you should visit, as each has its merits, we will do our best to list the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed choice. We do have our own favorite but that’s our own personal opinion and it would be wrong to tell you outright one way or the other. We will explain the facts and hopefully all your questions will be answered.
So lets get some statements out there to begin with:
The view most commonly seen in photos and on the media looking across the Niagara river at the falls is the view from the Canadian side, other than looking at Horseshoe falls ( one of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls ) you will only ever see the falls side on from the American side. Now of course this is only true if you are planning on staying on dry land. If your not that bothered about looking across at the falls but you are planning on going on the Maid of the Mist then arguably the American side is better as the Maid is Based here, although she does pick up from the Canadian side also.
Goat island is within US territory and is only accessible from the American side. Whilst not on every visitors list, if its on the wishlist then accessibility should be noted. The Island is very much different from the Canadian park offering in that once on the island there is a selection of shop, restaurants and the Cave of the Winds Tour. Just like the Canadian counter part, it is free to access and take in the views of the falls.
Behind and down to the falls is something which both sides offer although they do have slight differences. The Canadian tour branded Journey Behind the falls offers trips down to viewing platforms emerging from the rock faces very close to the edge of horseshoe falls, the standard tour does not as you might think allow you to walk about freely behind the falls. The american offering, Cave of the winds begins with a similar elevator trip down inside the rock but the remainder of the tour leads you along many exposed platforms.
So whats the cost of all these attractions, well the most comparable multi attraction ticket at the time of this being published is $38 US and $55 CAD. Both get you similar entrances and privileges, the Canadian being Journey behind the falls, Hornblower Niagara cruise, Niagara’s Fury Experience, White water walk and a WEGO buss pass. The American ticket includes the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara adventure theater, Niagara Gorge Discovery center and a Niagara Trolley Pass.
What about viewing platforms. Well the Canadian side does not have one simple. It does however have the whole side of the Niagara river looking onto the falls so you cant get much better than that but the American side does have a dedicated viewing platform which extends out over the edge between American falls and the Rainbow Bridge.
The towns on each side provide very different experiences. The Canadian Niagara falls is pretty much a giant tourist resort whilst the American side is pretty much like and other american city. Both sides have restaurants, hotels and plenty of souvenir shops. However, Mall shopping is most easily available on the American side.
So in summery both sides have about the same to offer, it will come down to what side you like the sound of the most, which country you are already in and maybe even where you can get the best hotel deal. It must be mentioned that which ever country you are already in, traveling from one side to the other is relatively hassle free for most nationalities, although please do bare in mind if you are a national or traveling from a country that does not participate in the various visa waiver plans you may need visas which will need to be applied for in advance.
- Travelammo: Niagara Falls Canada
- Travelammo: Niagara Falls USA
- Maid of the Mist
- Niagara State Park – USA
- Niagara Tourisum – Canada
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