Nicknamed “The Honeymoon Capital of the World,” the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, sits on the edge of three world-renowned waterfalls collectively known as Niagara Falls. The city’s major tourist attraction, the falls actually belong to both Ontario and to neighbouring New York state. The Canadian city overlooks Horseshoe Falls and provides a far-off view of the American Falls, which are accessible on foot or by car across Rainbow Bridge, which connects the two sections. Born of melting glaciers some 10,000 years ago, Niagara Falls is an astounding force of nature. The water tumbles and flows at a rate of 75,000 gallons per second.
Each year, Niagara Falls attracts millions of visitors from both sides of the border. Numerous parking lots, gift shops, high-rise hotels, movie theaters, restaurants and casinos testify to the city’s popularity as a tourist attraction.
Some cynics throughout time have derided the falls as underwhelming. Irish writer Oscar Wilde famously described the scene as “simply a vast amount of water going the wrong way over some unnecessary rocks.” Yet the vast majority of visitors find Niagara Falls simply awe-inspiring and breathtaking.
Niagara Falls offers many attractions for tourists beyond stunning views of the powerful waterfalls. The longest-running and most popular Niagara Falls attraction is the “Maid of the Mist” steamboat. These very safe boats navigate close to the base of the falls, providing visitors a spectacular underside view. For more than a century and a half, boat riders have been happy to soak up the falls’ mist and spray during this must-do activity. Rain gear is provided.
For the record, Wilde revised his opinion after gaining this particular perspective of the falls, noting, “It was not until I stood underneath the falls at Table Rock that I realized the majestic splendor and strength of the physical forces of nature here.” Visitors today can access Table Rock from an elevator at the Table Rock Centre.
There is no shortage of overnight accommodation at Niagara Falls. Fallsview Casino Resort, the largest of its kind in all of Canada, literally overlooks the falls and provides entertainment at all hours. Families can check out the Americana Resort and Spa, which features a 25,000-square-foot indoor water park for children and a spa for adults. Whether visitors are on their honeymoon or a summer trip with the family, Niagara Falls offers lodging to fit, from quaint bed and breakfasts to upscale casino resorts.
Given the excess of neon signs and amusement parks, tourists are sure to find plenty to do in Niagara Falls. Yet some find it difficult to imagine the original splendour of the falls. One way to appreciate modern influences on the falls is to spend at least one night in town. From dusk until around 10 p.m. nightly, the falls are illuminated in spectacular style. Lights shift through the spectrum in a captivating display of colour, water and rock that will leave even the most jaded spectator speechless.