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The Niagara Falls Vacation and Travel Guide
Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.
Niagara Falls are famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.
From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lies on the border of the United States and Canada with the American Falls entirely on the United States' side, separated by Goat Island.
The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the United States' side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. The international boundary line was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.
Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.
The Horseshoe Falls drop about 188 feet (57 m), while the height of the American Falls varies between 70 and 100 feet (21 and 30 m) because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The larger Horseshoe Falls are about 2,600 feet (790 m) wide, while the American Falls are 1,060 feet (320 m) wide. The distance between the American extremity of the Niagara Falls and the Canadian extremity is 3,409 feet (1,039 m).
Ships can bypass Niagara Falls by means of the Welland Canal, which was improved and incorporated into the Saint Lawrence Seaway in the mid-1950s. While the seaway diverted water traffic from nearby Buffalo and led to the demise of its steel and grain mills, other industries in the Niagara River valley flourished with the help of the electric power produced by the river. However, since the 1970s the region has declined economically.
The cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and Niagara Falls, New York, United States, are connected by two international bridges.
The Rainbow Bridge, just downriver from the falls, affords the closest view of the falls and is open to non-commercial vehicle traffic and pedestrians. The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge lies one mile (1.6 km) north of the Rainbow Bridge and is the oldest bridge over the Niagara River. Nearby Niagara Falls International Airport and Buffalo Niagara International Airport were named after the waterfall, as were Niagara University, countless local businesses, and even an asteroid.
Touristic Attractions in the Niagara Falls
Peak visitor traffic occurs in the summertime, when Niagara Falls are both a daytime and evening attraction. From the Canadian side, floodlights illuminate both sides of the falls for several hours after dark (until midnight).
The oldest and best known tourist attraction at Niagara Falls is the Maid of the Mist boat cruise, named for an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character, which has carried passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls since 1846. Cruise boats operate from boat docks on both sides of the falls.
Niagara Falls: U.S. Side
From the U.S. side, the American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park, which also features the Prospect Point Observation Tower and a boat dock for the Maid of the Mist.
Goat Island offers more views of the falls and is accessible by foot and automobile traffic by bridge above the American Falls. From Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds is accessible by elevator and leads hikers to a point beneath Bridal Veil Falls.
Also on Goat Island are the Three Sisters Islands, the Power Portal where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla (the inventor whose patents for the AC induction motor and other devices for AC power transmission helped make the harnessing of the falls possible) can be seen, and a walking path that enables views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. Most of these attractions lie within the Niagara Falls State Park.
The Niagara Scenic Trolley offers guided trips along the American Falls and around Goat Island. Panoramic and aerial views of the falls can also be viewed from the Flight of Angels helium balloon ride, or by helicopter.
The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. A casino and luxury hotel was opened in Niagara Falls, New York, by the Seneca Indian tribe. The Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel occupies the former Niagara Falls Convention Center. The new hotel is the first addition to the city's skyline since completion of the United Office Building in the 1920s.
Niagara Falls City, New York, United States
Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. It is adjacent to the Niagara River, across from the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. The city is within the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Western New York region.
Niagara Falls' main industry is tourism. The city and falls are currently visited by almost ten million people each year, with the waterfall considered one of the United States' top ten tourist destinations. However, the city struggles to compete with Niagara Falls, Ontario, which has a much more vibrant tourism industry and stronger economy.
The city is home to the Niagara Falls State Park. The park has several attractions, including Cave of the Winds behind the Bridal Veil Falls, Maid of the Mist, a popular boat tour which operates at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, Prospect Point and its observation tower, Niagara Discovery Center, and the Aquarium of Niagara.
Several other attractions also near the river, including Whirlpool State Park, De Veaux Woods State Park, Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park in nearby Lewiston, New York, and Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, New York.
Attractions in the downtown include the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. Pine Avenue was historically home to a large Italian American population.
Niagara Falls - Canadian Side
On the Canadian side, Queen Victoria Park features manicured gardens, platforms offering views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls, and underground walkways leading into observation rooms that yield the illusion of being within the falling waters. The observation deck of the nearby Skylon Tower offers the highest view of the falls, and in the opposite direction gives views as far as Toronto. Along with the Minolta Tower (formerly the Seagrams Tower and the Konica Minolta Tower, now called the Tower Hotel), it is one of two towers in Canada with a view of the falls.
Along the Niagara River, the Niagara River Recreational Trail runs 35 miles (56 km) from Fort Erie to Fort George, and includes many historical sites from the War of 1812.
The Whirlpool Aero Car, built in 1916 from a design by Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, is a cable car that takes passengers over the Niagara Whirlpool on the Canadian side. The Journey Behind the Falls consists of an observation platform and series of tunnels near the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.
There are two casinos on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. The former is situated in the Fallsview Tourist Area, while the latter is adjacent to Clifton Hill, the major tourism promenade, on Falls Avenue.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Niagara Falls Ontario is a City in Canada located on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. The city is dominated by the Niagara Falls. The American and Horseshoe falls can be best seen from the Canadian side of the river, so the city has one of the world's major tourist attractions. The natural spectacle attracts millions of tourists yearly.
This area, which stretches along the Niagara Parkway and Tourist Promenade, is particularly concentrated at the brink of the falls. Apart from the river's natural attractions, it includes observation towers, high-rise hotels, souvenir shops, casinos and theatres, mostly with colourful neon billboards and advertisements, and sufficient parking to accommodate visitors. Further to the north or south, golf courses are operated alongside historic sites from the War of 1812.
Niagara Falls Top Touristic Attractions
Niagara Falls Observation Attractions
- Tablerock Welcome Centre
- Niagara Hornblower Cruises
- Journey Behind the Falls
- Skylon Tower observation deck
- Weekly fireworks over Niagara Falls
- Nightly illumination of Niagara Falls
- National Helicopters
- Niagara Helicopters
- Niagara Skywheel
Niagara River and Parkway Attractions
- Niagara Botanical Gardens
- Floral Clock
- Bird Kingdom
- Spanish Aerocar over the Niagara River whirlpool
- White Water Walk (formerly called the Great Gorge Trip, then the Great Gorge Adventure) at the Niagara River rapids
- Winter Festival of Lights
- Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory
- Niagara Heritage Trail
- Dufferin Islands
- Niagara Parks School of Horticulture
- Niagara River Recreation Trail
- Whirlpool Jetboat tours of the Niagara Gorge
- Numerous parkway golf courses
- The Rainbow Carillon, which sounds from the Rainbow Tower
- Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls: Tourist promenade featuring a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, arcades, five haunted houses, four wax museums including a Louis Tussauds Wax Works, and themed restaurants including the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood.
- MarineLand: Aquatic theme park
- Casinos: Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
- Major Theme Restaurants including: Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe and the Hard Rock Café
- IMAX Theatre and Daredevil Museum
- reg Frewin Theatre: Las Vegas style magic show
- Skylon Tower: Revolving dining towering 774 feet (236 m) above Niagara gorge
- Fallsview Tourist Area
- Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
- MGM Studios Plaza
- Queen Street Arts & Culture District
- Konica Minolta Tower Centre - the area's second tower
- Flyboard Niagara: Watersports, Leisurely Activities
Discover the Niagara Falls
If you are planning to travel to the Niagara Falls, whether for business or tourism, in addition to the passport and visa, we recommend you to check the following information: International Airports, Airport security rules, Type of luggage allowed and weight limits, Most visited cities, Driving in the Niagara Falls Cities, Electricity, Time Stripes, Business Hours, National Holidays, Weights and Measures, Commercial Practices and Etiquette Rules.
An foreing wishing to enter Canada must obtain a temporary resident visa from one of the Canadian diplomatic missions unless he has a passport issued by one of the 51 countries and territories exempt from eligible visas or proof of permanent residence in the United States.
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The Niagara Falls International Airport
Niagara Falls International Airport (IATA: IAG, ICAO: KIAG, FAA LID: IAG) is 4 miles (6.4 km) east of downtown Niagara Falls, in Niagara County, New York. Owned and operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the airport is a joint civil-military airfield and shares its runways with the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
The airport is in Class D airspace and has a FAA control tower. The airport covers 1,067 acres (432 ha) and has three paved runways.
Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG / KIAG). This airport has domestic flights and is 11 km from the center of Niagara Falls, Canada.
Another major airport is that serve Niagara Falls in the Canadian Side is the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF / KBUF), which has domestic flights from Buffalo, New York and is 51 km from Niagara Falls, Canada.
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