I saw Niagara Falls from 9 places. Here's how each viewpoint ranks from worst to best, including the one with the fewest crowds.

Snaphots of various Niagara Falls Viewpoints
Niagara Falls can be viewed from boats, parks, towers, rides, and hotels.Joey Hadden/Insider
  • Niagara Falls is among the most epic sights I've ever seen, and there are many ways to view it.

  • I viewed the falls from the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel, Skylon Tower, and seven other places.

  • Here's every spot where I viewed Niagara Falls, ranked from least to most compelling.

I took my first trip to Niagara Falls in August and viewed it nine different ways over three days.

The author views Niagara Falls from two different places
The author views Niagara Falls from the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel (L) and Fallsview Trail (R).Joey Hadden/Insider

Niagara Falls borders the US and Canada and consists of three massive waterfalls that are world wonders: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls.

A map of Niagara Falls US and Canada
A map of Niagara Falls shows the US and Canadian sides.Google Maps

Source: Step Out Buffalo

To come up with this ranking, I considered the angle of each viewpoint, the crowds or lack thereof, and the overall feeling I had in each place.

The author takes a photo of Niagara Falls from the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel
The author photographs Niagara Falls.Joey Hadden/Insider

To me, the first and least compelling viewpoint was the Niagara Falls Observation Tower on the US side.

Niagara Falls viewed from an observation deck
The Niagara Falls Observation Tower in New York.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Niagara Falls State Park

The Niagara Falls US Observation Tower charges $1.25 to enter the deck, which extends into the Niagara Gorge just north of the American Falls.

Niagara Falls viewed from an observation deck
A look at the observation deck.Joey Hadden/Insider

From this deck, I could see all three sets of falls, but its location to the right of all three made it difficult to get a good look at any of them, since I could only see them from the side.

Niagara Falls viewed from an observation deck
A view of the falls from the observation deck.Joey Hadden/Insider

At the same time, I thought the observation tower was one of the more peaceful places where I viewed the falls, since there were very few people there when I visited around 5:30 p.m. I didn't feel rushed or have to deal with crowds during my visit.

Niagara Falls viewed from an observation deck
Few people view the falls from the observation deck.Joey Hadden/Insider

My next viewpoint, the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the US and Canada, offered a slightly better view, I thought, because I got a better angle of the falls.

Rainbow bridge
Rainbow Bridge viewed from the US side.Joey Hadden/Insider

Rainbow Bridge, like many viewpoints on this list, is free to walk through on the US side. I saw a handful of other pedestrians when I visited around 7 p.m.

Rainbow bridge
The US side of Rainbow Bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

When I first started walking across the Rainbow Bridge from the US to the Canadian side, I thought the views were similar to the Niagara Falls US Observation Tower, except I was positioned even further away.

Niagara Falls viewed from Rainbow bridge
A view from the US side of the bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

 

 

But as I walked closer to the Canadian side on the bridge, I watched the views improve and was able to see the front of the falls.

Niagara Falls viewed from Rainbow bridge
A view of the Canadian side of the bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

There was also a set of binoculars on the bridge to get a closer look at the falls, which I avoided touching out of my own personal fear of germs.

Niagara Falls viewed from Rainbow bridge
Binoculars on the bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

The next best view, in my opinion, was from Skylon Tower on the Canadian side.

Arrow points to Skylon Tower
Skylon Tower viewed from Rainbow Bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Skylon Tower

For $19, visitors can take an elevator to the top of the Skylon Tower, which is 775 feet above the falls.

View of Skylon Tower from park below
A close up of the tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

At the top, there's an indoor and an outdoor observation deck that has 360-degree views of the falls and surrounding city.

Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower
A view from the top.Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower

I thought this view from Skylon Tower was great because I was able to get a look at the front of all three falls.

Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower
Horseshoe Falls viewed from the top of the tower.Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower

But since Skylon Tower's viewpoint so high up, I felt like the falls were less compelling than from closer viewpoints, where I thought I could view it in more detail.

Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower
The American and Bridal Veil Falls viewed from the top of the tower.Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower

Plus, finding a spot to stand was tough with the large crowds when I visited around 4 p.m.

Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower
People look out from the top of the tower.Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower

Next up was Niagara Skywheel, a Ferris wheel overlooking the falls on the Canadian side.

Arrow points to Skywheel
Niagara Skywheel viewed from Rainbow Bridge.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Niagara Falls Canada

The Niagara Skywheel was crowded when I visited around 5 p.m. It cost $15 and required about an hour of waiting in line.

Niagara Falls skywheel
People wait in line to ride the Niagara Skywheel.Joey Hadden/Insider

But I was glad I waited. Even though I couldn't see Horseshoe Falls well, I thought the Ferris wheel provided unique views since it moved in circles, bringing me up and down in the sky.

Niagara Falls skywheel
The American Falls viewed from Niagara Skywheel.Joey Hadden/Insider

I enjoyed a cart to myself and the ride circled three times. The Ferris wheel is certainly one of the more unique ways to view the falls, in my opinion.

Niagara Falls skywheel
The author enjoys her ride.Joey Hadden/Insider

I determined that the next best way to view the falls was from Oakes Garden Theatre, a park on the Canadian side near the border, adjacent to the falls.

An arrow points to a park next to Niagara Falls
Oakes Garden Theatre viewed from the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel.Joey Hadden/Insider

This park was free to enter and I found it to be full of plants and unique landscaping.

Park with Niagara Falls view
A view of the falls from the entrance of the gardens.Joey Hadden/Insider

I noticed shaded benches lining the outer rim of the gardens with exceptional views of the falls.

Park with Niagara Falls view
People enjoy the falls from the gardens.Joey Hadden/Insider

I went to Oakes Garden Theatre multiple times during my stay. It was always calm and never crowded, in my experience.

Park with Niagara Falls view
A view of the falls from a bench inside Oakes Garden Theatre.Joey Hadden/Insider

I thought the next best view of the falls was from Fallsview Trail, a boardwalk lining the falls on the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
People zipline above Fallsview Trail.Joey Hadden/Insider

Facing Niagara Falls directly, the trail provided one of the clearest, closest views I could find because it positioned me in front of them and was free to explore.

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
A view of the American and Bridal Veil Falls from Fallsview Trail.Joey Hadden/Insider

However, it's also worth noting that in my experience, Fallsview Trail was incredibly crowded during the afternoon.

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
Crowds at Fallsview Trail.Joey Hadden/Insider

Some of the best spots to view the falls from on the trail were lined with people, so I had to wait around to get the most amazing views.

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
People crowd the edge of Fallsview Trail.Joey Hadden/Insider

But I thought waiting to stand at the front of the Fallsview Trail viewpoint was more than worth it...

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
A view of Horseshoe Falls from Fallsview Trail.Joey Hadden/Insider

... especially next to Horseshoe Falls. Seeing the falls from just above the drop was one of the highlights of my trip.

Niagara Falls from Ontario walkway
A closer look at Horseshoe Falls.Joey Hadden/Insider

Next up was the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel on the Canadian side.

Sheraton Fallsview Hotel in Niagara Falls
Sheraton Fallsview Hotel viewed from Oakes Garden Theatre.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Marriott

 

For roughly $500 a night, I stayed in a room with a view of the falls.

View of Niagara Falls from Sheraton hotel room
A look inside the author's hotel room.Joey Hadden/Insider

My room came with floor-to-ceiling windows and a door for a better glimpse of Niagara Falls. When I opened the door to it, I could hear the water crashing down.

View of Niagara Falls from Sheraton hotel room
A closer look at the hotel room view.Joey Hadden/Insider

Although the hotel did not have not the closest view, it ranks high on my list because of how easily accessible Niagara Falls felt while staying here. I was able to watch the sun set and rise over them without leaving my room.

View of Niagara Falls from Sheraton hotel room at sunset
A view of the falls at sunset.Joey Hadden/Insider

And each night, I had a spectacular view of the fireworks show over the falls from my bed.

View of Niagara Falls from Sheraton hotel room at night with fireworks
A fireworks show over Niagara Falls viewed from the Sheraton.Joey Hadden/Insider

While I enjoyed my hotel room view, I think that the second-best view of Niagara Falls came from the Niagara City Cruises boat tour I went on, on the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls hornblower
A boat tour approaches Horseshoe Falls.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Niagara City Cruises

 

For about $30, I boarded a boat that took visitors up close to all three falls. My tour took place around 6 p.m.

Crowds on the boat at Niagara Falls
People look around onboard a Niagara City Cruises tour.Joey Hadden/Insider

While I found the boat to be crowded, I thought the views were epic. Seeing the falls from just below gave me a better sense of how massive they are.

The author at Niagara Falls
The author enjoys the boat ride.Joey Hadden/Insider

Finally, while I thought the Niagara City Cruises boat tour on the Canadian side was memorable, I was the most impressed by the views from the Maid of the Mist Boat tour on the US side.

Niagara Falls viewed from Maid of Mist boat
A boat tour near the American Falls.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Maid of the Mist

 

For $25, this boat tour took a similar route to the Canadian boat tour, showcasing all three falls.

Niagara Falls viewed from Maid of Mist boat
The boat approaches Horseshoe Falls.Joey Hadden/Insider

But it was far less crowded when I visited, which was at 6 p.m. on a different day. I'm not sure if the Maid of the Mist is usually this empty or if I just got lucky.

Niagara Falls viewed from Maid of Mist boat
The author enjoys the tour.Joey Hadden/Insider

Either way, the lack of crowds made finding a spot on the edge easy. I even had enough room to walk around the deck of the boat and take in the most spectacular views unobstructed by human heads.

Niagara Falls viewed from Maid of Mist boat
A rainbow appears during the tour.Joey Hadden/Insider

After trying out nine different viewpoints at Niagara Falls on both sides of the border, I think that if you do one thing at Niagara Falls, you should take the Maid of the Mist boat tour. It brings you incredibly close, and, in my experience, without as many crowds.

Close up of American Falls at Niagara Falls
A view of the American Falls from the boat tour.Joey Hadden/Insider

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