9 of the Best Niagara Falls Viewpoints

See Niagara Falls from all angles to appreciate its overwhelming beauty — and slightly terrifying power.

View of rainbow bridge and niagara falls

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Travelers eager to get a close-up view of Niagara Falls might book a tour with Maid of the Mist, an iconic boat operator that carries guests as near to the thundering water as is possible, rain poncho provided. But a boat ride isn't the only way to see this grand North American sight. If you would prefer to keep your feet on terra firma (or at least an observation deck), scenic viewpoints dot both the American and Canadian sides of the falls. Some get you close enough to get wet, while others provide a panoramic view of all three of the falls that make up Niagara Falls —  American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls (which is also known as the Canadian Falls.) If you're planning a trip to this region, consider adding one or more of these top viewpoints to your itinerary.

01 of 09

Journey Behind the Falls

close up view of the falls at Journey behind the falls

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This viewpoint on the Canadian side of the falls requires a ticket, but it's worth the price. Journey Behind the Falls brings you 125 feet down, via elevator and 130-year-old tunnels, to the foot of Horseshoe Falls. From here, you can take in the thunderous power of the water from two observation decks. Be warned, though: You will get wet, even if you wear the yellow, biodegradable poncho you're given upon entry (you can take it home as a keepsake). Before you leave, explore the tunnels a bit, where you'll find two portals that open directly behind the falls — hence this attraction's name.

02 of 09

Cave of the Winds

View of stairs that lead up to the cave of the winds

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Feel the fury of Bridal Veil Falls at Cave of the Winds, a viewpoint within Niagara Falls State Park. Despite the moniker, there are no caves here anymore — there used to be a cave-like overhang, but it collapsed more than 100 years ago. Instead, there's a series of boardwalks and viewing platforms that bring you to the foot of the falls. You and your shoes will definitely get wet, so come prepared. Note that a timed-entry ticket should be purchased in advance of your arrival.

03 of 09

Skylon Tower

Looking up at the Skylon Tower

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If you want an aerial view of the falls that doesn't involve a helicopter, head to the top of Skylon Tower. This Space Needle–like structure on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls stands 764 feet above the water and has an observation deck with great views. Book an entry ticket for daytime, nighttime, or both, if you'd like to see the falls under the sun and when they are colorfully illuminated with LED technology after dusk. You might also make a reservation at the revolving restaurant, located above the observation decks.

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Niagara Falls Observation Tower

View of Niagara falls observation tower

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To access the 282-foot-tall Niagara Falls Observation Tower, head to Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park on the U.S. side. Tower admission is $1.25 per person, and you can see all three falls from the observation deck. If you're feeling adventurous, take the elevator to the bottom of the gorge, then hike up the stairs to the Crow's Nest viewpoint for an up-close look at American Falls.

05 of 09

Queen Victoria Park

View of Niagara falls from Queen Victoria Park

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This well-manicured park on the Canadian side offers gorgeous views of Niagara Falls, and exploring the park grounds is a treat on its own, too. Start at Oakes Garden Theatre, the Beaux Arts entryway that debuted with the park in 1937, then stroll through a tea rose garden, rock garden, and lots of groomed flower beds. If you want to catch an evening fireworks show, you can do so from the park as well. The Falls Fireworks Series runs May through October, during the winter holiday season, and on other select holidays throughout the year.

06 of 09

Terrapin Point

People walking up to Terrapin Point

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Terrapin Point is a popular overlook on Goat Island, set in New York's Niagara Falls State Park. Situated between Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, Terrapin Point looks over the latter and toward Canada. Though the viewpoint is at the top of the falls, it's still frequently enshrouded in mist, so be sure to arrive in waterproof gear.

07 of 09

Luna Island

View looking up at Luna Island

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Set in the middle of Bridal Veil Falls, Luna Island is accessible via a short walk over a bridge from Goat Island. From here, you can watch the river rush to the edge of the cliff before cascading down dramatically into the gorge below. Underneath the overlook is the Cave of the Winds — you'll be much drier than the visitors down there.

08 of 09

Table Rock Welcome Center

Table Rock Welcome Centre at dusk, Niagara Falls, Canada

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This welcome center sits atop Horseshoe Falls, and it's the starting point for any Journey Behind the Falls experience. But the welcome center is free, as is access to its viewing platform overlooking the falls. You can have a meal at the center, too. Choose from quick bites at Table Rock Market or a sit-down meal at Table Rock House Restaurant, which has windows facing the water.

09 of 09

Rainbow Bridge

View of rainbow bridge and niagara falls

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The Rainbow Bridge connects the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls, and it's not just for automobiles. Pedestrians can cross the bridge and enjoy the view as they go, possibly spotting a rainbow or two in the mist. Note that you do need a passport to cross this bridge, and there's a $1 toll. If you're interested in shopping, duty-free shops line both ends of the bridge.

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