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Sightseeing around the falls is only one of the things to do in Niagara Falls. Both the American and Canadian sides have destinations for shopping, strolling, entertainment, and dining. From season to season the attractions change and although the falls keep running year-round, each time of year brings a different view. From helicopter tours to up close and personal walks down into the gorge and boat rides around it, there are many ways to enjoy this spectacular area.

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Overlook

The first of many things to do in Niagara Falls is stand somewhere with a good view and take it all in. From the dazzling rainbows in the bright summer sun to the colorful fall trees surrounding the river and falls, it's new every time you visit. Why the binoculars? In particular, they help to see what others are doing to enjoy the falls including a descending walkway and a boat tour. They can also help to see the powerful currents above and the swirls and eddies below.

all about the Niagara Falls M_a_y_a / Getty Images
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Boardwalk

Viewing the falls from a distance, tourists can see the immensity of the flow, but there's an even better way to get a once-in-a-lifetime impression of Niagara Falls. The power of the falls and immersion in the intense mist draws visitors down a carefully constructed walkway, wearing ponchos which provide protection from a total soaking of river water. If that's not enough, there's also a boat trip which slips right under the falls themselves.

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Maid of the Mist boat ride

Maybe the answer to the question "how do you want to experience Niagara Falls" should be another question: "how wet do you want to get?" This boat trip travels from the American side and goes to the curve of Horseshoe Falls, getting blasted with mist from the tons of liquid pounding into the pool you're riding through. As you ride through the roaring deluge, you'll come to understand why water is such an important force in life. Waterproof cameras only!

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Skylon Tower

From this tower overlooking the falls from the Canadian side, visitors can enjoy:

  • A view of Niagara Falls, both American and Canadian sides
  • Watching the upper river leading to the falls
  • In the distance, a view of Niagara on the Lake village, wineries and shopping
  • Two dining areas including a revolving space and a lunch and dinner buffet restaurant
  • A 3D/4D movie presentation about the falls
  • Seasonal light and firework displays

It's nearly 800 feet from the gorge to the top of the tower and the view on a clear day is 80 miles and includes the skylines of Buffalo, New York and Toronto, Ontario.

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Park on Canadian Side

Balancing the excitement of the falls is the Queen Victoria Park on the Canadian side with plenty of space to relax, enjoy seasonal floral displays and gardens and perhaps catch a special event such as Canada Day, the New Year's Eve concert or the Winter Festival of Lights. Also explore the petite Dufferin Islands, connected by footbridges.

Niagara Falls FLusvarghi / Getty Images
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Park at Christmas and Holidays

Three LED Christmas light displays appear every Christmas on the Canadian side in Niagara Falls State Park. Updated to bright LEDs in 2016 after 20 years of powerful Xenon lighting, the new display is more colorful and impressive than ever and includes modern programmable animations. As visitors travel through the displays, they can consider a contribution to one of the many worthy causes which are featured on different days throughout the holidays and on special occasions when the lights are turned on throughout the year.

Canadian Niagara Falls benedek / Getty Images
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Frozen Mist and the Falls in Winter

The same mist which casts rainbows and delight during the spring, summer and fall clings to the trees and pretty much everything else around Niagara Falls in the wintertime. It's especially dazzling at night when festive lighting or even just the streetlamps make the trees glow in their icy encasements. Some of the attractions are closed, but the falls flow year-round producing beautiful winter rainbows for visitors who brave the cold -- or enjoy the view from indoor venues such as the Skylon Tower. The visitor's center, casino, aquarium, shopping, and dining are all open on the American side.

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Victoria Day and Falls Fireworks

Niagara Falls has a busy fireworks schedule with weekend displays spring and fall and daily launches during the summer. Victoria Day, a Canadian public holiday is a festive late-May celebration on the Canadian side which launches the summer season. Join locals in celebrating the beginning of summer and experience the area in full bloom.

Victoria day Niagara Falls ferrantraite / Getty Images
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Power Generation

The force of tons of naturally falling water has captured the imagination of engineers since electric power was first put to use for factories and homes. It was of course used locally for direct power before that, but in the closing years of the 1800s, Niagara became home to several power generation projects which included long-distance transmission to the city of Buffalo, New York. Success here led the growth of industry locally and the spread of electric power as an industrial resource. Currently, Niagara supplies a large portion of the power needs of both New York State and Ontario, Canada. Ontario Hydro generating plants are visible along the Niagara Parkway, especially by helicopter.

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Helicopter Tours

A great way to get amazing photos from the generating plants to the falls themselves on both the American and Canadian sides is to take a helicopter tour of the area. Brief rides are available which can help you orient yourself and choose which of the many attractions you want to visit in person.

helicopter Niagara Falls bennymarty / Getty Images

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