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Fun and Free Things to Do in Niagara Falls

The spectacular views aren’t the only pleasures at Niagara Falls USA. From outdoor summer fun to al fresco art, this is how you see Niagara Falls on a budget.

Plan a selfie scavenger hunt.

The summer months offer great opportunities to score that perfect Niagara Falls shot! There are plenty of photo-worthy spots in Niagara Falls State Park* proper, but there are several other drool-worthy views around the county (hint: they don’t call them Great Lakes for nothing!). Use our roundup of the best views of the Falls and the most scenic spots in the area to plan your Falls photo safari.

Discover Niagara via trolley.

You’re on vacation — so sit back and enjoy the ride. Really! Climb aboard the Discover Niagara Shuttle and hop on, and off this seasonal, and complimentary shuttle. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Niagara Falls USA, while exploring over 30 different attractions and experiences along the Niagara River and the Erie Canal.

Get your art fix.

Need a dose of culture? Head to Lockport to browse the galleries at the lovely Kenan Center*, an 1800s Victorian home-turned-arts center on 25 acres of manicured grounds. You’ll find exhibitions by local and regional artists as well as stunning Victorian-era furnishings and décor. Or tour the Castellani Art Museum* in Lewiston, NY, featuring a mix of Fine art, Folk art, as well as Falls art. (Castellani is open Saturday and Sunday only.)

Be free as a bird.

Niagara Falls’ abundance of feathered creatures makes the region a wildlife wonderland for bird lovers. The Falls are a haven for birding, with species ranging from gulls in colossal colonies to geese enjoying the view during migration. You may even spot a bald eagle; over the past decade, the American icon has made a comeback in the region. Get that camera on zoom!

Experience Niagara Falls at night.

Welcome to the best show in town! Niagara Falls’ nightly illumination spectacle transforms the natural wonder into a true rainbow river! Colors flicker and, depending on when you visit, you may even catch a special event display, when the Falls change colors in support of various causes and significant milestones.

Stroll colorful al fresco gems.

Looking for a hidden treasure in downtown Niagara Falls, NY? Take the alley off 425 Third St., and discover the most vibrant urban surprise: Art Alley NF. The public mural project features an eclectic slideshow of local street artists. Inspired? Keep exploring the public art scene by checking out these other spots around the county.

Walk through an old-growth forest.

Just across the Niagara Scenic Parkway from Whirlpool State Park* lies another state park called DeVeaux Woods, which is home to 10 acres of old-growth forest teeming with majestic red oaks and fiery sugar maples. A short, easy hike leads you beneath the canopy — it’s spectacular in the fall, and a good glimpse at what the area would have looked like centuries ago. There’s a new bark park at DeVeaux Woods, as well, so feel free to bring your furry friend along!

Take a spiritual journey.

Open year-round, Our Lady of Fatima Shrine features 15-acres of gardens, over 100 life-sized statues, a pond, and a heart-shaped Rosary Pool for reflection. Climb to the top of the awe-inspiring Dome Basilica for a birds-eye view of this peaceful haven. Daily masses and confessions available.

Power up and play.

Just north of the Falls, the Niagara Power Vista* is an electrifying experience for kids and kids-at-heart. Experience interactive exhibits, the chance to design your own dam, and a high-tech virtual ride across the landscapes of New York State. Free admission, free parking, and open year-round.

Take a hike.

Niagara Falls USA is home to some of the best hiking trails — from leisurely, level strolls through lush surroundings to more rugged scrambles into the depths of the Niagara Gorge*. Experience the region’s natural areas for a total mind, body, and soul wellness journey.

*Discover Niagara Shuttle destination stop