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Built in the 1960s, the Skylon Tower is a great vantage point above Niagara Falls if you’re looking to catch some ariel views and photos of both the American and the Canadian side of the falls. The tower still has a very 60s/70s look and feel but that all kinds of adds a bit of retro-feel to the experience, which is kind of charming in its own way (you feel like you’re entering a once, state-of-the-art architectural marvel from your parents’ time). Apart from that, the tower is a perfect stop if you’re in search of one of the best views of Niagara Falls and are the type of traveler always interested checking out iconic viewpoints from up high.
The 52 second “ride to the top” costs $13.91 CAD but if you purchase your tickets on-line you’ll usually save a couple of bucks at $10.70 CAD ( both prices are for adults). You can also combine your tickets to check out the 4D theater but we weren’t really interested in that. You can order your tickets for the Skylon Tower here.
The view from the observation is definitely one of the best views you can capture of the falls. We had a decent view from the 16th floor of the Marriott Fallsview but it didn’t really compare to the sweeping views we were afforded from the observation deck. The observation deck is over 500 feet above ground level and actually stands about 775 feet above the base of the falls. If you’re looking for an excellent way to capture the entirety of both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls then this is definitely a must and for about $11 CAD, it’s really not that bad of a price.
If you want to make an evening out of your trip to the tower you can also reserve a table at the Skylon Revolving Restaurant. We didn’t opt for a dinner there so I can’t comment on the food or the experience but from what I’ve heard, it seems like a decent way to splurge a little bit on a fancy dinner. Inside the base of the tower there’s a giant arcade area with tons of games. Since we were visiting in December, we were among only a few other visitors and the arcade was hauntingly void of tourists. We also didn’t have to wait in a line to ascend to the observation deck via the “Yellow Bug” elevators. The 52 second ride up is cool in that you have a view of the surrounding area the whole way up and although these Yellow Bug elevators were once one-of-a-kind, they don’t exactly scream “state-of-the-art” anymore — still it was a smooth ride and I didn’t have any complaints.
One thing that was cool was the glass shop inside the base of the tower. There’s a glass shop with all kinds of fascinating glass pieces and if you arrive at the right time, you can even watch the glass makers in action, which I thought was really interesting. Overall, the experience of visiting the observation deck was cool but not unforgettable. Perhaps a meal and some wine for dinner could’ve added to the experience but it didn’t really matter to me. I really just wanted to visit the observation deck to see the falls from above and to capture some great shots from up high since we didn’t opt for a helicopter tour or anything of that nature.
Speaking of photography, as far as I know, tripods are allowed in the observation deck and I didn’t have any issues using mine, at least not from the staff. The hardest thing to work around is the fencing that covers the windows from the outdoor portion of the observation deck. Trying to fit your camera through the holes in the fence while maintaining position with your tripod on a cold, slippery and uneven concrete is difficult, especially if you’re attempting panoramic shots. With some patience and the right kind of tripod it’s definitely doable but just be ready for a little bit of a challenge.
That’s all I have for the Skylon Tower. In the end, it’s a cool attraction worth at least a few minutes of your time if you’re into checking out one of the best views of Niagara Falls with a bird’s eye view.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.