Best Way to Observe Niagara Falls

Best Way to Observe Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a world renowned tourist attraction which attracts over 20 million visitors per year, most of them visiting during the summer months. The falls themselves are actually a collection of three waterfalls named Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, flowing from the Niagara River to the Niagara Gorge below. The combination of these three falls forms the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with Horseshoe falls being the most powerful individual waterfall in North America.

horseshoe falls

If you are planning a visit to this magnificent city, be sure to read this article for tips on where you can get the best views and have unforgettable experiences. There are several options for visitors such as getting up close and personal with the falls through a boat cruise or observing the falls from several observation decks. For visitors that are willing to spend some extra cash, there is also the option of taking a helicopter tour of the falls.

HornBlower Boat Cruise

If you want to get up close and personal to the Horseshoe falls to experience its vast power and breathtaking water flow, then you have to check out the HornBlower Boat Cruise. This cruise starts off on the northwest end of the Niagara Gorge, very close to the rainbow bridge, which connects Canada and the US. It then heads down through the gorge passing by the Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls, and coming to a rest for several minutes in the heart of the Horseshoe falls where participants can experience the true power and mist of the falls in a unique way.

The HornBlower Boat Cruise operates between April and November every year as long as the weather allows for it. It takes place on a state of the art $25 million catamaran which offers the options to view the falls from behind an enclosed glass viewing area or, for the adventurous type, outside on the open deck where you will surely get soaked with mist from the falls.

hornblower niagara

Aside from the regular daytime service, there are 4 more specialized options to choose from when booking a tour on the HornBlower Boat Cruise:

  • The Voyage to the Falls – This is an early morning cruise allowing you to see the beauty of Niagara Falls while also enjoying the sunrise.
  • Sunset Cocktail Cruise – Choosing this option allows you to sample some of Niagara region’s delicious wines while watching the sunset on the falls.
  • The Falls Illumination Cruise – If you want to see the falls at night and to experience the multi-coloured illuminated falls, coupled with the city lights, this is the option for you.
  • Falls Fireworks Cruise – This option is only available on weekend nights and holidays. It is similar to the Falls Illumination Cruise but with the added splendour of witnessing a beautiful fireworks display above the falls.

Observe the Falls From an Observation Deck

Another way to see the falls in an unforgettable way is by viewing the Horseshoe Falls from one of several observation decks. The two most popular of these observation decks are the Table Rock Welcome Centre and the Skylon Tower.

Table Rock Welcome Centre

The Table Rock Centre is an observation deck and retail centre situated at the brink of the Horseshoe falls attracting over 8 million visitors per year. It allows visitors to view the falls from several vantage points, each having its own benefit:

  • The Observation Deck Just outside of the Table Rock Centre there is a large area that overlooks the Horseshoe falls with many coin operated binoculars. From here you can enjoy the falls 24 hours a day 365 days a year, but be prepared to get wet from all the mist.

observation deck

  • Elements on the Falls Restaurant Inside the Table Rock Centre there is a restaurant that is situated in a great location overlooking the Horseshoe Falls. From here you can experience the magnificent view while enjoying a delicious open-flame grilled meal.
  • Journey Behind the Falls – The name says it all with this one. From the Table Rock Centre you can purchase a ticket to take an elevator ride down 150 feet to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Once you get down there you can get closer than ever to the falls and truly experience the incredible power of 2,800 cubic meters of water per second flowing past you from the observation deck.

Skylon Tower

This observation deck, although a little further from the falls than others mentioned in this article, offers stunning 360° views of Niagara Falls Ontario. From the observation deck at Skylon Tower you will get to view not only the falls, but also the bustling city below, the Niagara wine district and, on clear days, the Toronto skyline far on the horizon.

skylon tower

The experience at Skylon Tower begins as soon as you step foot in one of three “Yellow Bug” elevators. These elevators are located on the exterior of the building allowing visitors to get an exceptional view on their way up to the observation deck. It takes a total of 52 seconds to get from the bottom of Skylon Tower to the observation deck 520 feet above the ground.

Once you reach the top of Skylon Tower you have the option to just chill out and enjoy the 360° on one of its enclosed or outdoor observation decks, or dine at one of their exquisite restaurants. There are two restaurants to choose from at the top of Skylon Tower. The lower restaurant has a revolving dining room, which does a complete rotation every hour, allowing visitors to get a complete view of the falls and surrounding landscape while enjoying dinner. The upper restaurant does not offer a rotating view but, if you are lucky, you can get a table overlooking the beautiful Horseshoe Falls.