Gathering information on how to spend one day in Niagara Falls? You are in the right place!
Niagara Falls is one of the great wonders of the world and by far, Canada’s top tourist destination. The Falls are truly as spectacular as they seem, do not let the crowds turn you away, the immense volume of visitors showcases just how wondrous they are!
I have spent days upon days, (mostly day trips from Toronto), visiting Niagara Falls. Taking family from out of town, random girls trips, weekend romantic getaways, (the list goes on).
Niagara Falls is one of those places almost every Torontonian has been to at minimum 10 times and can easily tell you how to spend your time there.
This Niagara Falls 1 Day Itinerary has you covered on all of the must see attractions and activities to do in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Some links in this one day in Niagara Falls 1 day itinerary are affiliate. If clicked, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls
The best time to visit Niagara Falls is during the summer months, the weather is gorgeous, the mist from the falls will cool you down and it is the best time to take in the sights on foot.
Visiting Niagara in winter is also just as beautiful, however, may be too cold to spend most of your day outside. The shoulder months, Canada’s spring (March – May) and autumn (September – November) will have the least amount of tourists compared to summer and the holiday time.
Whichever time you decide to visit Niagara Falls, Canada, you are sure to enjoy it!
How to get to Niagara Falls, Canada from Toronto
Driving to Niagara Falls from Toronto
Driving from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Canada is quite easy and just along one major highway, the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW).
The drive from Toronto takes approximately 1.5 hours and is a pleasant drive.
If you are visiting Niagara Falls from within Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), getting to Niagara Falls is very easy. You can also drive here from the United States.
However, if you are traveling here from afar, I recommend renting a car in Toronto to have complete flexibility in your Niagara Falls day trip.
Bus or Train to Niagara Falls from Toronto
There are a few bus companies from Toronto that go straight to Niagara Falls.
Check out BusBud for a list of bus companies that go from all over Toronto all the way to Niagara Falls.
Toronto’s Via Rail goes from Union Station in downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls, you can check them out on BusBud as well.
The train ride is 2 hours in length and very comfortable!
How many days in Niagara Falls: Is 1 Day Enough in Niagara Falls?
In order to see the main attractions, one day in Niagara Falls should be enough. When I take family members from out of town to see the sights, we just do a full Niagara day trip from Toronto.
However, I recommend adding on an extra day to spend a full day in Niagara on the Lake region and going on wine tastings.
Do you need to stay overnight for one day in Niagara Falls?
If you are visiting from Toronto or slightly outside of Toronto, an overnight stay is not necessary for a day trip.
However, if you plan to add time in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and/or are coming from further outside of the province or from the USA, staying overnight is recommended.
Where to stay in Niagara Falls, Canada
One of the best hotels in Niagara Falls for the views. The rooms with the Niagara Falls view are incredible. Be mesmerized by the magic of the falls in the comfort of your pyjamas in bed. In the winter, enjoy the fireworks above the Falls.
Milestones restaurant, Starbucks and a breakfast cafe on site. Go for a swim in the indoor pool or hot tub after working out at the fitness centre.
I have stayed at a couple of DoubleTree Hotels during my travels and always have a wonderful experience. This DoubleTree is located 500 metres from Niagara Falls, has a restaurant, bar and Starbucks on site.
Enjoy the views of the city from your room or visit the spa after a nice swim in their indoor or outdoor pool. If you are not afraid of the cold of winter, go in the outdoor hot tub. This is one of my favourite things to do in the Canadian winter.
My husband and I recently stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls and had a pleasant stay.
Located a few minutes from Niagara Falls, enjoy this hotel fully equipped with two pools (indoor and outdoor).
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar is on site to enjoy a delicious steak dinner.Booking.com
This is one of those ONCE in a lifetime places… or twice, or three times. I visited a couple of times as a kid and LOVED IT.
This waterpark is perfect for young families with children who LOVE water slides. You are not likely to leave the resort, so I would add this ON top of a trip to Niagara Falls for a day.
Niagara Falls is located about 3 kilometres away from the resort.
Enjoy the on site shops, restaurants, spa, mini golf and room suites after a long day of swimming and water sliding.
Niagara Falls 1 Day Itinerary: The PERFECT One Day in Niagara Falls, Canada
Set an alarm and start your day as soon as you wake up, get to Niagara Falls as early as possible to take in all of the sights. Since you only have one day in Niagara Falls you want to get as much in as possible.
This is going to be a jam packed day to really experience all that Niagara Falls, Canada has to offer.
If you are sleeping over for the night, you can put some activities into the following day!
Time to spend here: ~1 hour
We have to start the morning off with the Falls themselves. This is the reason we are all here, Niagara Falls!! You may think that I am 100% biased here when I say that the Canadian side is better than the American side in terms of views and the expansiveness of the falls.
However, take away my Canadian bias and I am pretty sure most people feel this way.
The views are more intense over here in Canada. That is not to say you won’t have a fabulous experience on the American side, however, there is just something so extraordinary about being STEPS away from the biggest waterfalls.
Spend time walking along the main street, you will pass the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls (both in the United States), before you get to the big Canadian falls (Horseshoe Falls)!
I typically spend up to an hour along here taking photos and just admiring the views. This is the best way to see them & it is FREE to walk along. No entrance fee needed.
If you want an up close & personal experience, I would opt for the Niagara City Cruises.
Niagara City Cruises
Time to spend here: ~40 mins (boarding & boat ride)
Niagara City Cruises, not to be mistaken for Maid of the Mist. Maid of the Mist is the company that operates on the New York, America side. Ontario, Canada’s side is named Niagara City Cruises.
The Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour is 20 minutes in length and brings you right NEXT to the falls. I’ve done the tour twice now (just to bring overseas family on it), I would definitely say it’s a once in a lifetime thing.
Only issue I have with it is not being able to fully enjoy the views of the falls because water is SPLASHING in your face every way you turn. But it is definitely worth it. Not so much as mist as it is buckets of water haha.. Depending on where you stand. However, also note that you do get ponchos to wear.
This is great to do on a super hot day to cool you off, (and you will dry just as easy).
Tickets cost around $33 CAD for adults and $23 CAD for children, kids under 2 are free.
Tickets include a mist poncho. The tickets are timed entry and can be purchased online or in person at the gates.
There is a Falls Fireworks Cruise option as well that occurs at night. This tour includes a 40 minute boat ride taking you to the Falls for fireworks.
Tickets include a complimentary poncho and are around $37 CAD per person.
The boat boarding place to line up for your timed ticket is at the Main Ticket Plaza 5920 Niagara Pkwy Niagara Falls, located next to the large white sails by the zipline tour.
If the weather is not nice, I would skip this activity and do something else on this list. However, note that it is definitely worth it to do at least once in your life!
Journey Behind the Falls
Time to spend here: ~1 hour
Open year-round, visit the Niagara Falls from BELOW with Journey Behind the Falls.
This is one of the cooler tours in Niagara, I think you can choose between this activity and the boat cruise if you want to do the rest of the activities on this list.
Just like the boat cruise, you will receive a free poncho because trust me, you will get wet under there. Take the elevators down and get up close and personal with the wonders of Niagara Falls.
I recommend a waterproof phone case while doing this experience, we use this one!
If you are not wearing sandals or waterproof shoes, bring an extra pair of socks just in case.
Tickets cost $16 – $25 CAD (child, adult).
Time to spend here: ~1 hour
If you have not yet had enough views, make a stop at Skylon Tower for 360 degree views of the city and the Falls.
You can head to the top day AND night to get these gorgeous views.
TIP: If you dine at the restaurant, the tickets to the top of the observation deck are FREE!
Time to spend here: ~1 – 2 hours
Walk through the colourful and lively streets of Niagara Falls’ Clifton Hill. Think of Clifton Hill as an amusement park that lines the streets.
Rides, arcade games, mini golf, fun candy shops, restaurants, an interesting wax museum and so much more.
This is a very tourist heavy area, but is definitely worth walking through once or twice.
You can purchase a fun pass that gives you access to 6 attractions.
Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory
Time to spend here: ~2 hours
One of my favourite things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada is visit the Butterfly Conservatory. This activity is perfect for those rainy days but also is just the sweetest place to visit rain or shine.
Arujan and I used to joke that we visited more butterfly conservatories in our relationship together (6 years) than we had been to concerts together (which is bizarre since we have the same taste in music, lol). I think they’re tied now.
Spend a couple of hours enjoying the butterflies, they fly all around and land on you, it is such a fun experience.
Time to spend here: ~1 hour
If you are a bird lover, this place is for you. Bird Kingdom is known as the largest free-flying indoor aviary. Interact with birds of all different species.
While visiting, you will be transported through a rainforest. Here you will be able to admire hundreds of tropical birds flying freely above you.
Bird Kingdom is open year round, 365 days per year (amazing if you are visiting Niagara during the holidays and need something to do!).
From 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM. (with last admission at 4:15pm).
Tickets cost $13.95 online. If you know you will be visiting again within the same year, opt for the annual membership for just $29!
You can purchase in advance online here or at the door, you do not need to make a reservation.
Niagara Falls at Night
Be sure to come back and visit Niagara Falls at night. Every night of the year the falls turn into a colourful show of lights, Niagara Falls Illumination.
Niagara Falls Fireworks & Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
During the winter months, especially leading toward the holiday season, Niagara Falls turns into a gorgeous lights festival with fireworks above the Falls.
You can enjoy the fireworks from the side of the falls or head aboard the boat cruise to enjoy the fireworks from down below.
Bundle up and spend your winter Niagara night walking through the lights festival, drinking hot apple cider.
Time to spend here: As long as you want!
End off your Niagara evening at Casino Niagara. If casinos are not your thing, not to worry I am sure you are EXHAUSTED after trying to fit in the above mentioned activities.
Have a wonderful night.
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Final Thoughts on your One Day in Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls is one of those places that you MUST see once in your life. Whether you can fit in a week in the area or just have one day in Niagara Falls you are going to be rewarded with gorgeous views, unmatched fun and a life long memory.
Ontario has many other places to explore other than Toronto. After your time in Niagara, visit Tobermory, Ontario for some more outdoor adventure.
Let me know your favourite thing to do in Niagara Falls!
Niagara Falls FAQ
Is one day enough at Niagara Falls?
One day is enough in Niagara Falls. You will be able to see all of the top sights in one day, from the Niagara Falls themselves to Journey Behind the Falls or Niagara City Cruises to Clifton Hill, the Butterfly Conservatory and fireworks to end off your Niagara day.
Can you walk around Niagara Falls for free?
You can walk around Niagara Falls for FREE! This is one of the best activities for all budgets as it is completely free. Walking around Niagara Falls is one of the best ways to see the Falls from above and costs you no money.
How much time should I allow for Niagara Falls?
To walk around and visit Niagara Falls, allot for 1-2 hours of time. If visiting Niagara Falls from out of town make sure to give yourself at least 1-2 days in order to see all of the sights Niagara Falls has to offer.
Is it better to see Niagara Falls at night or day?
Niagara Falls is spectacular during the day AND the night. There is no better time to see the Falls, but whenever you prefer. The Falls light up each night and this draws many visitors in the evening. Depending on the time of year, Niagara Falls has a fireworks show to end your night..
What side of Niagara Falls is best?
Without a doubt, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is best. You are able to see the American Falls from a distance but get up close and personal with the expansive Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.