My Mom lived in the Falls for years. The American side, I hate to say, is pretty dumpy! Downtown Niagara Falls is now one big casino. Niagara-on-the Lake is quite nice, up towards Lewiston and on up to Lake Ontario. The Canadian side offers better views of the American Falls, the power plants, and the whirlpool and rapids.Take the ride over the whirlpool in the Spanish Aerocar(cable car) unless you're subject to queezyness!! While in New York, visit the Cave of the Winds(bottom of the American Falls), hike out to Goat Island, and just enjoy the scenery. Summer months are always jammed with tourists. I would seek out reservations early.
Having been raised in that area, that's where we always went on a cheap date. The American falls used to be pretty spectacular before the last big slide and rockfall back in the late 50's(if I remember correctly).
Enjoy Niagara and stay away from barrels!!!!