Niagara Falls FAQ: Visiting Niagara Falls
- How tall is Niagara Falls?
- Are Niagara Falls the tallest in the world?
- What shape are the Falls?
- Where does all the water come from?
- How fast does water fall down Niagara Falls?
- Why is the water that shade of blue/green?
- What is that foam below the falls?
- Why do they call it Luna Island?
- What are the rock layers that make up Niagara Falls?
- How loud is Niagara Falls?
- Where did the name ‘Niagara’ come from?
- How old is Niagara Falls?
- Have the Falls ever stopped flowing?
- Has Niagara Falls the Falls ever frozen over?
- Has a boat ever gone over the falls?
- How many people have gone over the falls?
- Why isn’t the “Cave of the Winds” an actual cave?
- How far have the falls moved over time?
- How did they build the first bridge over the Niagara Gorge?
- How much of the water is being diverted for power generation?
- When and where was electricity first generated at Niagara Falls?
- Was electricity discovered at Niagara Falls?
- How many power plants are there at Niagara Falls?
- Which power station is the biggest?
- How do the power plants turn water into electricity?
- How much power is generated by Niagara Falls?
- How has power generation changed the Falls?
- What are those structures upstream from the falls?
- What does the International Control Dam do?
- How many people visit the Falls each year?
- When do they light up the falls?
- When are the fireworks?
- What Casinos are near Niagara Falls?
- What tours of Niagara Falls are available?
- Where can one play Golf at Niagara Falls?
- Where is the best view of Niagara Falls?
- What is the closest viewing area at Niagara Falls?
- How long is the Niagara River?
- What is the elevation difference between Lakes Erie & Ontario?
- When the Niagara River splits around Grand Island, does it become two rivers?
- Where is the Niagara River deepest?
- How did the Niagara Whirlpool form?
- In what direction does the Niagara Whirlpool flow?
- How deep is the water at the Niagara Whirlpool?
- What classes of rapids are in the Niagara River?
- What is Devil’s Hole?
- Where are the Niagara River Gorge walls the tallest?
How many people visit the Falls each year?
It is estimated that roughly 13 million people visit Niagara Falls each year. Peak season is June through August.
When do they light up the falls?
2023 Schedule – Regular Illumination
Regular illumination is then the falls cycle through various solid colors.
|DATE||START TIME||END TIME|
|January 1 – 31||5:00 p.m.||1:00 a.m.|
|February 1 – March 11||5:30 p.m.||1:00 a.m.|
|March 12 – 31||7:30 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|April 1 – May 14||8:00 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|May 15 – July 31||8:30 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|August 1 – 15||8:00 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|August 16 – 31||7:30 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|September 1 – 19||7:00 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|September 20 – 30||6:30 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|October 1 – 15||6:15 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|October 16 – October 31||6:00 p.m.||2:00 a.m.|
|November 1 – December 31||4:30 p.m.||2:00 a.m|
2023 Schedule – Special Illumination/Events
|May 31, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Niagara Children’s Centre||Blue, Yellow|
|May 31, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Preeclampsia Awareness Month||Blue, Pink|
|May 31, 2023||11:00 – 11:15||OACETT||Red|
|June 1, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||June National Deafblind Awareness Month||Blue|
|June 1, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Pride Month||Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple|
|June 2, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Wear Orange – Everytown for gun safety, Buffalo chapter||Orange|
|June 2, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||BGC Club Day||Green|
|June 4, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Gutsy Walk||Red|
|June 5, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||World Environment Day||Green|
|June 5, 2023||10:30 – 10:45||Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) Awareness Week||Purple|
|June 6, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Sweden’s National Day||Yellow, Blue|
|June 9, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||13th Annual Italian Heritage Month||Red, Green, White|
|June 9, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Mental Health and PTSD||Green|
|June 9, 2023||11:30 – 11:45||Bulgarian Folklore Festival||White, Green, Red|
|June 10, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Mountainview LemonAID Day||Yellow|
|June 12, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||125 Years of Philippine Independence||Blue, White, Red|
|June 14, 2023||Top of the hour 9:00, 10:00 & 11:00||National Blood Donor Week||Red|
|June 15, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Elder Abuse Awareness Day||Purple|
|June 17, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||CDKL5 Awareness Day||Green|
|June 18, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Sickle Cell Day||Red, White|
|June 19, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||Juneteenth Freedom Day||Red, Green & Black|
|June 19, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||St Jude’s Research Hospital||Rainbow|
|June 19, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Pollinator Week 2023||Yellow, Orange, White|
|June 20, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Refugee Day||Blue|
|June 21, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Migraine Solidarity Day||Purple|
|June 21, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||ALS Awareness Month & Global ALS Awareness Day||Purple|
|June 23, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Global HHT Awareness Day||Red, Blue|
|June 24, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Pride Celebration||Rainbow|
|June 25, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Vitiligo Day||White, Purple|
|June 28, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Pride||Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple|
|June 29, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||#tealforscleroderma World Scleroderma Awareness Day||Teal, White|
|June 29, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Pride||Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple|
|June 30, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||Pride||Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple|
|July 1, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||Canada Day||Red & White|
|July 4, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||Independence Day||Red, White & Blue|
|July 4, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)||Blue, Yellow, Green|
|July 5, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Injury Prevention Day||Green|
|July 9, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Nikola Tesla Day International Festival||Red, Blue, White|
|July 10, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Nikola Tesla Day International Festival||Red, Blue, White|
|July 10, 2023||10:45 – 11:00||Independence of the Bahamas||Blue, Yellow|
|July 11, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Canada||Red, Blue, White|
|July 22, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Landmark Lighting||Blue, Orange|
|July 22, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||World Fragile X Day||Teal|
|July 23, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Day of Egypt||Red, White, Black|
|July 23, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||Chromosome 9p Minus||Green, Blue|
|July 28, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Hepatitis Alliance||Green|
|July 29, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Landmark Lighting||Blue, Orange|
|August 5, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Food Day Canada||Red, White|
|August 10, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Ecuador Independence Day||Yellow, Blue, Red|
|August 19, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Restoration Day – Dominican Republic||Red, White, Blue|
|September 1, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Day of the Slovak Republic||White, Blue, Red|
|September 2, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Prostate Cancer Awareness Month||Blue|
|September 9, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Viva Mexico at the Niagara Falls||Green, White, Red|
|September 11, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Childhood Cancer Awareness Month||Yellow|
|September 13, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Sepsis Day||Pink|
|September 15, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Costa Rica Independence||Blue, White, Red|
|September 23, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Mitochondrial Disease Week||Green|
|September 25, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Women in Utilities (WiNUP) group||Blue|
|September 30, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||National Day of Truth and Reconciliation||Orange|
|September 30, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||NICU Awareness Day||Green|
|October 1, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Liver Awareness Month||Green|
|October 1, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||CIBC Run for the Cure||Pink|
|October 7, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||11th Annual Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day||Teal|
|October 9, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||Canadian Thanksgiving||Red, White|
|October 12, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Day of Spain||Red, Yellow, Red|
|October 13, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Thrombosis Day||Blue, Red|
|October 13, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day #LightUpMBC||Green, Pink, Teal|
|October 14, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||World Skin Disease Awareness Day||Blue, Green|
|October 15, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Wave of Light||Pink, Blue|
|October 19, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Light It Up! For NDEAM||Purple, Blue|
|October 19, 2023||10:15 – 10:30||National Psoriatic Arthritis Day||Purple, Orange|
|October 29, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Rett Syndrome Awareness Month||Purple|
|November 1, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||MADD Canada’s 2023 Project Red Ribbon||Red|
|November 6, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Color The World Orange for CRPS/RSD Awareness||Orange|
|November 8, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||National Indigenous Veterans Day||Orange|
|November 9, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||2023 Softball Canada||Red, Yellow, White|
|November 11, 2023||Hourly 6:00 – 11:00||Remembrance Day||Red|
|November 11, 2023||Hourly 6:15 – 11:15||Veterans Day||Red, White, Blue|
|November 18, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||Independence Day of Latvia||Red, White|
|November 19, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||National Enteropathic Arthritis Awareness Day||Purple|
|November 23, 2023||Top of every hour for 15 minutes||American Thanksgiving||Red, White, Blue|
|December 8, 2023||10:00 – 10:15||40th Anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY||Red, Yellow, Blue|
About Niagara Falls Illumination
Prior to 2016 the illumination display took 21 xenon lights rated at 4,000 watts each. 11 of those are directed towards the Horseshoe Falls, 9 on the American Falls and one centered on the Bridal Veil Falls. The bulbs last about 4 months and cost $1100 each to replace, not to mention the cost to power them. In 2016 the LEDs replaced the old setup, offering more consistent lighting, better color range, and power efficiency. Today, the lighting is far more consistent with a wider range of colors than ever before.
Illumination can be seen from either side, with the best spot to see it being from the Canadian side near the Ramblers Rest Pavilion or Grand View Observation Deck.
When are the fireworks?
The 2023 Fireworks series runs every night from May 19 to October 9, 2023 at 10 p.m.
The show lasts about 5 minutes. All dates and times subject to change and dependent upon weather and wind conditions.
Best places to see them
Queen Victoria Park in Canada, one of the best places to view the falls. The walkway along the gorge will close preceding the show. Reserve a spot on the other side of the Niagara River Parkway as early as 9pm to get a decent view. The closer to Canadian Falls, the better. The Skylon tower and the Niagara Skywheel are two amazing experiences during the show, but they tend to jack up prices around this time.
On the US side, Goat island and the Observation Tower offer the best views.
What Casinos are near Niagara Falls?
There are currently three casinos in the Niagara Falls vicinity: one on the US side and two in Canada.
- Fallsview Casino Resort – The single largest provincial investment ever made in the Niagara region and is currently the largest commercial development in Canada. The 2.5 million square foot complex includes more than 3,000 slot machines and 150 gaming tables, a 368-room five-star hotel, fine-dining restaurants, a health spa, shopping mall, a 1,500-seat theatre and more. Distance from the Falls: 2,000 ft.
- Casino Niagara – The first casino constructed near Niagara Falls. Featuring 1,700 slot and video poker machines, 70 tables of gaming excitement, three restaurants, three bars and live music performances. The Market Buffet serves an all-you-can-eat menu inspired by cuisine from around the world. The Sports Section offers multi-sport wagering with plush seating and walls of HD screens. Distance from the Falls: 3,000 ft.
- Seneca Niagara Casino – A massive casino and the only one on the American side, Seneca-Niagara offers plenty of slots and table games as well as shops, restaurants and world-class shows. The resort features unrivaled luxury accommodations and a first-class spa. The casino floor has an area of 112,590 square feet with an impressive 2,000+ slot machines. Distance from the Falls: 3,000 ft.
What tours of Niagara Falls are available?
Various tours are available from numerous businesses on either side of the border.
|Bedore Tours||Bus tour departing from various US and Canadian hotels as well as NYC. Charters also available. Covers major attractions.||yes||$$|
|Gray Line of Niagara Falls||A wide variety of tour packages for the Canadian side, as well as the American side and Buffalo tours.||yes||$$$|
|S&S Limosine||Limousine service serving the western NY region. Offers tours around Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.||no||$$$$|
|Magnificent Tours Niagara Falls||A wide variety of tour packages including a Niagara-on-the-Lake wine tour and winter Festival of Lights tour.||no||$$|
|National Helicopter Tours||Several helicopter tours. Sights you will never be able to see by land.||no||$$$$|
|Niagara Majestic Tours||A wide variety of tour packages including one that covers both sides of the border. Custom tours and airport pickup available. Tours start from either side.||no||$$|
|Over the Falls Tours||Various tours in full or half day packages, including customized tours. Offers an American side package.||yes||$$|
|Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours||Several helicopter tours. Sights you will never be able to see by land.||no||$$$$|
|Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours||Travel up the Niagara River to the Whirlpool rapids in this 1500hp speedboat. Prepare to get wet. Departs from US and Canadian shores.||no||$$|
Where can one play Golf at Niagara Falls?
Golf is big business in the Niagara region. Several public courses are open on either side of the river, with several more in the making. Most courses close to the falls lie on the Canadian side, while in the United States, more courses can be found further south towards Tonawanda and Buffalo. Unfortunately, no course will give you a view of the Falls, but the Whirlpool Golf Club is positioned along the Niagara Gorge just above the Whirlpool Rapids.
Golf courses in the Niagara region have lush rolling hills and plenty of ponds. Most courses provide driving ranges and putting greens for warming up and clubhouses and accommodation packages for extended stays. We highly recommend you call ahead to confirm fees and tee times. We compiled a list of the most popular public courses near Niagara Falls:
On the American side:
|NAME||DISTANCE FROM FALLS||PAR||HOLES||YARDAGE||DRIVING RANGE||GREEN FEES||MAP|
|Beaver Island State Golf Course||14 mi (23 km)||72||18||6652||yes||$$||map|
|Brighton Park Golf Course||17 mi (27 km)||72||18||6530||no||$$||map|
|Deerwood Golf Course||16 mi (26 km)||72||27||6948||yes||$||map|
|Delaware Park Golf Course||21 mi (34 km)||68||18||5359||no||$||map|
|Hyde Park Golf Course||5 mi (8 km)||70||36||6255||yes||$$||map|
|Niagara Falls Country Club||7.2 mi (12 km)||70||18||6621||yes||Private||map|
|River Oaks Golf Course||13 mi (21 km)||71||18||6483||yes||$$||map|
|Sheridan Park Golf Course||14 mi (23 km)||71||18||6534||yes||$$||map|
On the Canadian side:
|NAME||DISTANCE FROM FALLS||PAR||HOLES||YARDAGE||DRIVING RANGE||GREEN FEES||MAP|
|Beechwood Golf & Country Club||7 mi (12 km)||72||18||6550||no||$$||map|
|Eagle Valley Golf Club||4 mi (7 km)||63||18||3253||yes||$||map|
|Grand Niagara Golf Club||5 mi (8 km)||72||18||7560||no||$$$$||map|
|Legends on the Niagara||5 mi (8 km)||72||45||7019||yes||$$$||map|
|Loch Ness Links||16 mi (25 km)||72||18||6884||yes||$$$||map|
|Willodell Gold Club||7 mi (12 km)||71||18||6407||yes||$$||map|
|Niagara Falls Golf Club||4 mi (7 km)||72||18||6135||yes||$$||map|
|Niagara-On-The-Lake Golf Club||15 mi (24 km)||72||9||5875||no||$$||map|
|Oaklands Golf Club||3 mi (5 km)||72||18||6288||yes||$$||map|
|Peach Trees Golf||14 mi (22 km)||28||9||1375||no||$||map|
|Queenston Golf Club||8 mi (12 km)||35||9||2857||no||$||map|
|Rolling Meadows Golf & Country Club||9 mi (14 km)||70||18||6500||no||$$||map|
|Royal Niagara Golf Club||9 mi (14 km)||70||27||6500||no||$||map|
|Thundering Waters Golf Club||1.3 mi (2 km)||72||18||7000+||no||$$$$||map|
|Whirlpool Golf Club||5 mi (8 km)||72||18||7019||no||$$$||map|
Where is the best view of Niagara Falls?
The best views of Niagara Falls are subjective. I feel that there are so many places to get a clear view of either falls, that the choices below are simply recommendations for different/must-see spots. Here’s my list of spots that give you wonderful views of all of the falls together:
- Rainbow Bridge (US/Canadian Border)
- The walkway across the US/Canada border gives you a panoramic view of both falls and the skyline of the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. It’s the best way to capture it all in one frame.
- Skylon Tower (Ontario, Canada)
- The aging tower is still a top attraction. The windowed elevator ride up the exterior is worth the price of admission alone, but once up, you are free to walk around the 360° observation deck for as long as you want. It’s an open deck with a steel chain-link fence protecting visitors. The gaps in the fence easily allow clear photos through. Signage around the deck tells you what landmarks are in any direction. This is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the falls.
- Niagara City Cruises/Zipline building (Ontario, Canada)
- The complex that houses the relatively new Zipline Launch as well as the River City Cruises (what they call the Maid of the Mist) has a 4 story tower that offers a clear view of both falls. While the Zipline attraction has taken over the top floor, the one below it was still open to the public as of 2022.
Attractions such as the Journey Behind the Falls (Ontario) and Cave of the Winds (New York) get you closer but not full views of all of the falls.
What is the closest viewing area at Niagara Falls?
- Walkway outside of Table Rock on the Canadian side.
- The west-most observation point on Goat Island (New York). West of the Top of the Falls restaurant.
- From the Canadian side, view from directly across the river at the Maid of the Mist/City Cruises Building. Buying a ticket and riding the boat will get you closer.
- The observation area on Luna Island between American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
- The Cave of the Winds deck on the New York side.