16 Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY

Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY, Niagara Falls, NY, offers a wealth of activities and attractions that cater to families with children of all ages. From the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the falls themselves to thrilling theme parks and educational museums, there’s no shortage of fun and excitement to be had in this picturesque destination. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best things to do in Niagara Falls, NY for families, providing expert advice, insider tips, and essential information to help you plan the perfect trip.

Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY

Table of Contents

16 Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY

Exploring the Falls

Maid of the Mist Boat Tour

Embark on a thrilling boat tour that takes you up close and personal with the majestic Niagara Falls. The iconic Maid of the Mist tour is a must-do activity for families visiting the area, providing an unforgettable experience and stunning photo opportunities. Don’t forget to wear the provided rain ponchos, as you’re guaranteed to get wet from the spray of the falls!

Cave of the Winds

Descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge and experience the power of the falls from the Hurricane Deck, located just a few feet away from the thundering Bridal Veil Falls. The Cave of the Winds tour is an exhilarating, interactive experience that allows visitors to feel the force of the water up close.

Niagara Falls State Park

As America’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls State Park offers stunning views of the falls, scenic hiking trails, and family-friendly activities such as picnic areas and playgrounds. Be sure to visit the park’s Visitor Center to learn about the history and geology of the falls, and to pick up a map of the park’s attractions.

Observation Tower

For a bird’s-eye view of Niagara Falls, head to the Observation Tower. Standing at over 280 feet tall, the tower provides panoramic views of the falls and surrounding area, perfect for capturing breathtaking family photos.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Aquarium of Niagara

The Aquarium of Niagara is a fantastic destination for families interested in marine life. With over 30 exhibits featuring aquatic animals from around the world, the aquarium offers an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages. Highlights include penguin feedings, sea lion shows, and interactive touch tank exhibits.

Niagara Falls Discovery Center

The Niagara Falls Discovery Center is a fantastic educational resource for families, featuring interactive exhibits, a climbing wall, and guided hiking tours. The center offers visitors a deeper understanding of the geology, history, and wildlife of the Niagara Falls area, making it an ideal stop for curious minds.

Old Fort Niagara

Step back in time at Old Fort Niagara, a historic site that has played a crucial role in the military history of the United States and Canada. The fort offers daily guided tours, reenactments, and living history demonstrations, providing an engaging and educational experience for the whole family.

Thrilling Theme Parks and Entertainment

Fantasy Island

A visit to Fantasy Island, a family-friendly amusement park, is a must for thrill-seekers of all ages. With over 40 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water slides, and a variety of kid-friendly rides, there’s something for everyone at this fun-filled destination.

Niagara SkyWheel

Take a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel, a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel that offers spectacular views of the falls and surrounding area. With climate-controlled gondolas that seat up to six passengers, this is an enjoyable and comfortable way for families to experience the beauty of Niagara Falls from a unique vantage point.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, book a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. These high-speed, open-air boats take passengers on a thrilling ride through the Class V rapids of the Niagara River, providing an unforgettable experience for those looking for an exciting way to explore the waterways surrounding the falls.

Educational Opportunities

Niagara Science Museum

The Niagara Science Museum is a fantastic destination for families with a passion for science and technology. With hands-on exhibits and displays on topics such as energy, ecology, and geology, this interactive museum is both educational and entertaining for visitors of all ages.

Castellani Art Museum

Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Castellani Art Museum, which features a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art. With rotating exhibitions and educational programs, this museum offers an inspiring and engaging experience for the whole family.

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Learn about the history of carousel manufacturing at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. This fascinating museum showcases the craftsmanship and artistry of the carousel industry, with guided tours, hands-on exhibits, and, of course, a fully operational antique carousel to ride.

Dining and Lodging

Family-Friendly Restaurants Niagara Falls, NY, offers a wide variety of family-friendly dining options, including popular chain restaurants, local eateries, and international cuisine. Some top choices include Rainforest Cafe, Como Restaurant, and The Silo Restaurant.

Kid-Friendly Hotels and Accommodations

When it comes to accommodations, there are plenty of family-friendly hotels and lodgings in Niagara Falls, NY. Options range from budget-friendly motels to upscale resorts, ensuring there’s something to suit every family’s needs and preferences. Some popular choices include the Great Wolf Lodge, Sheraton Niagara Falls, and the Holiday Inn Niagara Falls.

Travel Tips and Advice

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Niagara Falls, NY, for families is during the late spring, summer, and early fall months when the weather is warm, and all attractions are open. Peak season is from June to August, so expect larger crowds and higher hotel rates. To avoid the busiest times, consider visiting in May, September, or early October.

Transportation and Getting Around

Niagara Falls, NY, is accessible by car, bus, train, and airplane. The nearest major airport is Buffalo Niagara International Airport, located about 30 miles away. Once you’re in the area, there are several transportation options, including rental cars, taxis, rideshare services, and the Niagara Falls Trolley, which provides a convenient way to get around and see the major attractions.

Packing Essentials

When packing for your family vacation to Niagara Falls, NY, be sure to include comfortable walking shoes, sun protection (hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen), lightweight layers, and a waterproof jacket or poncho for visiting the falls. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone for capturing memorable moments and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated while exploring.

Accessibility and Special Needs Considerations

Accessible Attractions

Many attractions in Niagara Falls, NY, are wheelchair accessible or offer accommodations for visitors with special needs. Niagara Falls State Park, the Cave of the Winds, the Maid of the Mist, and the Niagara SkyWheel are just a few examples of accessible attractions. Be sure to check with individual attractions for specific accessibility information and available accommodations.

Special Needs Resources

Families with special needs may find resources such as the Autism Society of Western New York and the Western New York Independent Living Center helpful in planning their visit to Niagara Falls. These organizations can provide information on accessible attractions, accommodations, and local resources for families with special needs.

Safety Tips and Emergency Services

Safety Precautions

While Niagara Falls, NY, is generally a safe destination for families, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and follow common safety precautions. Stay on designated paths and observation areas, keep a close eye on children near the water, and follow all posted signs and warnings.

Emergency Services

In case of an emergency, dial 911 for assistance. The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is the nearest hospital, offering emergency care and other medical services. It’s also a good idea to have a list of local pharmacies and urgent care centers in case of minor illnesses or injuries during your visit.

Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY for Families This Weekend

if you’re planning a weekend getaway to Niagara Falls, NY with your family, here are some exciting activities and attractions to explore:

Niagara Falls State Park Discovery Pass

A great way to experience multiple attractions during a short visit is to purchase a Niagara Falls State Park Discovery Pass. The pass includes admission to the Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Adventure Theater, and more. It’s an excellent value and provides a fun-filled itinerary for the whole family.

Old Falls Street, USA

Spend some time strolling along Old Falls Street, a three-block entertainment district featuring food vendors, live music, outdoor games, and family-friendly events. There’s always something happening on the weekends, so be sure to check the events calendar before your visit.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY for Families

Niagara Children’s Museum

The Niagara Children’s Museum is a perfect destination for families with young children. The museum features interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and educational programs designed to spark curiosity and creativity in kids of all ages.

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

For a nostalgic and educational experience, visit the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, where you can learn about the history of carousels and even take a spin on a vintage carousel.

Fun Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY for Families

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, consider taking a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. These thrilling rides take you through the Niagara River rapids and are sure to be a hit with the whole family. Be prepared to get wet!

Niagara SkyWheel

Take a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel, a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel offering spectacular views of the falls and surrounding area. This attraction is fun for all ages and provides a unique perspective of the breathtaking landscape.

Unique Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY

Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride

Explore the hidden wonders of the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride, where you can take a guided tour through a historic canal tunnel and enjoy a one-of-a-kind underground boat ride.

Castellani Art Museum

Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Castellani Art Museum, which features a diverse collection of contemporary and modern art, as well as special exhibitions and educational programs.

Kid-Friendly Activities in Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Zoo

Just a short drive from Niagara Falls, the Buffalo Zoo offers a fantastic day out for families. With over 1,000 animals and numerous exhibits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum

Located in downtown Buffalo, this interactive children’s museum features hands-on exhibits and activities designed to inspire learning and creativity in kids of all ages.

Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY This Weekend

Live on the Edge: Goat Island

Spend some time exploring Goat Island, located between the American and Horseshoe Falls. The island offers walking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the falls.

Niagara Wine Trail

If you’re visiting without kids or have a babysitter, consider exploring the Niagara Wine Trail, which features numerous wineries offering tastings, tours, and beautiful vineyard views.

Things to Do in Niagara Falls, NY for Couples

Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute is an ideal destination for couples who love food and cooking. Here, you can take a cooking class together or enjoy a meal at one of the on-site restaurants, which are staffed by culinary students.

Helicopter Tour

For a romantic and unforgettable experience, take a helicopter tour over Niagara Falls. This breathtaking adventure offers a unique perspective of the falls and surrounding area, making it a memorable activity for couples.


Niagara Falls, NY, is a fantastic destination for families seeking a mix of adventure, education, and unforgettable experiences. By considering the tips and recommendations in this guide, you can ensure your trip is enjoyable, safe, and memorable for everyone involved. So gather your family, pack your bags, and embark on the vacation of a lifetime in the beautiful and awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, NY.

Niagara Falls

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best time of year to visit Niagara Falls, NY?

A: The best time to visit Niagara Falls, NY is during the late spring to early fall, when the weather is warm and many attractions and activities are open. However, the falls are also beautiful during the winter months, especially when they’re partially frozen.

Q: Is it safe to visit Niagara Falls, NY with young children?

A: Yes, Niagara Falls, NY is a family-friendly destination with many attractions and activities suitable for young children. Just be sure to keep a close eye on them near the falls and any areas with water.

Q: Can I visit Niagara Falls, NY without a car?

A: While it’s possible to visit Niagara Falls, NY without a car, having one will make it easier to explore the surrounding area and visit attractions further afield. Public transportation options are available, but they may be limited, especially during the off-season.

Q: How much time should I plan to spend in Niagara Falls, NY?

A: To fully experience all that Niagara Falls, NY has to offer, plan to spend at least two to three days in the area. This will give you enough time to visit the main attractions, as well as explore some of the lesser-known gems in the region.

Q: Are there any free attractions or activities in Niagara Falls, NY?

A: Yes, there are several free attractions and activities in Niagara Falls, NY. These include walking the trails in Niagara Falls State Park, exploring Goat Island, and enjoying the scenic viewpoints of the falls. Additionally, Old Falls Street, USA often hosts free events and activities, especially during the summer months.

By following the suggestions in this guide, your family will have a memorable and enjoyable visit to Niagara Falls, NY. From thrilling attractions to educational experiences, there’s something for everyone in this iconic destination.

Leave a Comment