The holiday season is here and one of the best ways to celebrate is by attending one of the region’s many Santa Claus parades, happening now until Christmas all around Niagara.
This year’s Niagara Falls Santa Claus Parade is taking place on Saturday November 18th at 11am on Queen Street in downtown Niagara Falls. The parade will feature twelve marching bands, stilt walkers, inflatable gingermen and snowmen, amazing floats including a special Mrs. Claus float, a giant inflatable Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus. During the parade the Salvation Army will be giving out free hot chocolate at Rosberg Family Park, there will be free face painting, balloons and caricatures near City Hall, Canada Post will be collecting letters to Santa along the parade route, and Tim Hortons will be giving away free coffee, hot chocolate and lattes at the corner of Valley Way and Queen Street.
On Sunday November 19th St. Catharines will be hosting their annual Santa Claus Parade beginning at 1pm on McGuire Street and ending on Queen Street. The day’s festivities will also include a post-parade party from 2-4pm at the Meridian Centre where families can enjoy a free skate, visit with Santa, kids crafts, face painting, and outdoor pony rides.
Welland’s 2017 Santa Claus Parade is on Saturday November 18th at 4pm, beginning at Canadian Tire Financial Services and travelling west towards Civic Square. Once at Civic Square there will be the lighting of Welland’s beautiful Christmas tree, visits with Santa, and free hot chocolate and treats.
The historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake will be hosting a Christmas Parade on Saturday December 9th, with a number of fantastic floats travelling down the town’s charming downtown streets beginning at 11am.
This year’s Fort Erie Santa Claus Parade is happening on Saturday November 18th at 4pm, beginning at Jarvis Street and Niagara Boulevard. And don’t miss out on the pre-parade entertainment happening from 2-4pm on Jarvis Street.
Spotlight on Trius at Hillebrand: An Outstanding Niagara Winery
The Niagara region is known for its wine, and you can easily spend weeks on end touring every vineyard and tasting every varietal. However, if you only have a few days (or hours!) in Niagara Falls, there is one winery you can’t miss: Trius Winery. Award-winners several times over — and for several years in a row — the winemakers of Trius at Hillebrand are renowned for crafting some of the best bottles in the world, let alone the Niagara region. If you are eager to taste some of the best wine Niagara wine country has on offer, you can’t miss this amazing Hillebrand winery.
The Trius Story
Though Niagara Falls is more than 12,000 years old, the region hasn’t been known for wine very long. In fact, many of today’s most renowned wineries began in the second half of the 20th century — as is the case with Hillebrand Estates in Ontario. After the Second World War, Canada had a reputation for poor-quality alcohol; even its winemakers focused on proof over taste. Canada’s vineyards were filled primarily with high-yielding, tolerant Labrusca (fox) grapes, which were later mixed with cheap, bulk wine — or worse, grape juice. The result was sticky, sweet, and strong wine coming from most of the nation’s vineyards.
Hillebrand was among the first wineries to change this perception. In 1979, Hillebrand was built in the Niagara region to cater to a different class of wine drinkers. Growing Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Vidal, and Marechal Foch grapes instead of the typical fox grapes, Hillebrand was able to produce new and exciting wines that, before the winery’s founding, were only available from expensive European importers. Not only was the winery among the first to experiment with new varietals, but it was the first to produce Niagara’s iconic and unique icewine. After just 10 years, Hillebrand was able to diversify into different brands, establishing Trius first as a label for specialty blended reds, then as a leader in delectable Niagara wines.
Not long ago, Trius became such a beloved brand that it has taken a dominant role at the Hillebrand Estates. If you enjoy Trius labels at home, you can visit this Hillebrand winery to see the grapes growing in the fields and learn exactly how your favorite vintages get made. Hillebrand has long been an innovator in the Niagara region, and Trius continues that legacy with a long list of award-winning wines, which you can taste on your next trip to Niagara.
The Best of the Best
Trius offers dozens of outstanding wines, so there is hardly any opportunity for you to choose the wrong vintage. Still, if you want to taste the best that Trius has to offer, you should be sure to sample the following reds, whites, and sparkling golds during your tour:
Trius Red. The first wine Trius ever produced continues to be among the best at the winery. A combination of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes comprises this red blend, which has won several trophies and awards during its 30 years on the shelf.
Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay. Light and fresh, with a distinctive mix of sharp apple and musty oak, this sparkling wine is full of dimension. In a world where Chardonnay is often scoffed at for lack of depth, this wine certainly stands out.
Pinot Noir. Crafted from grapes in a single vineyard, this wine should prove Trius’s supremacy among Niagara wineries. Boasting deep, full flavors like black cherry, black tea, and leather, this Pinot Noir exemplifies its varietal in the best ways.
Cabernet Franc Icewine. Icewine is one of Hillebrand’s specialties, so you must sample their latest showcase icewine while in town. Frozen on the vine, the Cabernet Franc grapes are hand-harvested and pressed to produce an utterly matchless wine experience. The balance between sweetness and acidity makes icewine a perfect pairing wine, so you can try it at the Trius Winery Restaurant.
Tastings and Tours
If your next Niagara trip is a romantic one for you and your significant other, you should plan a Couple’s Wine Country Escape. If you are obsessed with anything sparkling, you can schedule a Tasting Stars tour. If you want a historic winery experience, you might register as a Trius Wine Club Member and sign up for The Grape Stomp to be followed by a trip Into the Vault.
Trius offers visitors 18 distinct winery tours — most of which come with additional activities, like spa treatments and nights out in Niagara Falls — but there are several other ways to taste and explore Trius at Hillebrand. For example, for an immaculate pairing with food, you cannot miss lunch or dinner at Trius Winery Restaurant, which is often rated among the best places to eat in the Niagara region. You can also purchase the best Trius wines online, through their store, or in wine shops throughout the area and beyond.
Trius has a reputation for excellence, and a trip to Trius is an excellent way to spend your vacation. No matter what your plans are for your next Niagara tour, you must devote some time to Trius at Hillebrand.
Fruity Fun in Niagara-on-the-Lake: Peach Festivals & More
Thanks to its proximity to large bodies of water — including two of the world’s largest lakes, which allow the falls to be the wonder that they are — the Niagara region enjoys a mild climate relative to its surroundings in New York and Ontario. While deep winter can get nippy, generally the area around Niagara Falls is temperate, which makes the region ideal for growing sweet, natural treats.
While Niagara Falls might be known for its world-class vineyards, it is cultivating a reputation for its orchards, as well. Niagara’s fruit crop is copious, containing peaches, pears, plums, cherries, rspberries, and strawberries. In fact, the peach, cherry, and strawberry harvest is so immense that the region celebrates the fruits with three huge festivals every summer.
While this year’s fruit festivals have just passed, you can plan your summer vacation next year to coincide with Niagara’s strawberry, cherry, and peach celebrations.
Typically held the third Saturday in June — making the next date to remember June 16, 2018 — the Strawberry Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake celebrates absolutely everything about that heart-shaped, red berry. Organized by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, the festival intends to educate locals and visitors about the area, benefit community groups and activities, and ensure everyone has good, wholesome fun.
There are several strawberry farms in and around the Niagara region where you can enjoy picking some fresh strawberries straight from the plant. At the festival, you can buy bushels of fresh strawberries pre-picked and washed — but the most exciting strawberries on offer are already baked into delectable treats. No matter what your favorite strawberry creation is, you’ll likely find it at the Niagara Strawberry Festival; in years past, there has been an abundance of:
Strawberry ice cream
Additionally, there is plenty of barbecue foods, including the local favorite of grilled corn, so if you bring along someone who isn’t keen on strawberries, there will certainly be treats for them to enjoy, too.
However, the Strawberry Festival isn’t just about indulging in delicious food. Visitors can take tours of the historic church and learn about the history of St. Andrews, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the greater Niagara region. Every year, there is a silent auction with fantastic baskets and other prizes. Finally, small booths sell adorable accessories, books, and other trinkets. The Strawberry Festival is full of small-town charm — and it is just minutes away from big-city Niagara Falls.
Perfectly timed to take advantage of the best weather of the Niagara valley, the Cherry Festival is always in early July. While the sun is shining bright and warm, you can explore the festival grounds around St. Mark’s Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake and celebrate the crispest, juiciest, sweetest cherries you will ever taste.
Like the Strawberry Festival, the Cherry Festival does its best to place emphasis on everyone’s favorite small, round fruit. While cherry pies are easily the highlight of the event, there are dozens of other untraditional treats, including all sorts of cherry preserves. Stalls for vendors also abound; the clothing booth is usually a prime attraction, with all sorts of new and old styles to peruse.
Also like the Strawberry Festival, the Cherry Festival is largely held as a fundraising endeavor for St. Marks Church, which is one of the most historic buildings in the region, dating back to 1790. As a result, there is a massive silent auction every year during the festival, during which concert tickets, vacations, and date nights are available to win. If you can’t wait to experience the next Cherry Festival, plan a Niagara vacation for July 7, 2018.
The biggest fruit festival of them all, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Peach Festival is always a smash. Peaches are undoubtedly among the best fruits — juicy, tingly, and lusciously sweet — and the town goes all-out to celebrate their harvest in early August. You just missed Peach Festival 2017, which occurred on August 12 and 13, but you have plenty of time to make next year’s festival, which is slated for August 11 and 12, 2018.
The Peach Festival is so grand because it is usually among the last big events during Niagara’s summer high season. Celebrations last two full days and extend into the night. While the sun is up, you can explore local growers’ fresh-picked peaches in the marketplace, where local bakeries and restaurants have also set up shop, purveying traditional peachy delights, like cobbler, ice cream and marmalade, as well as less conventional peach treats, like peach shortcake and peach cheesecake. In fact, the entire length of Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake is typically covered with merchants selling all sorts of knickknacks and keepsakes — peach-related and otherwise.
Throughout the festival, live music from some of the area’s best bands accompany shoppers and revelers. This year, festival organizers were able to lock down The Toronto All Star Big Band, as well as The Ben Show, a street performer for all ages. Next year should be even bigger and better, and you don’t want to miss it. So reserve a room at a Niagara Falls Hotel during the fruit festival of your preference!
Niagara for Two: A Romantic Night Out for Couples in Love
No matter how long you’ve been with your significant other — be it five dates or 50 years — you should always make time for date nights. Research by the Marriage Foundation discovered that one night every month devoted to a partners-only date improved a married couple’s longevity by 14 percent. Date nights give you a chance to communicate with your partner, to have fun, and build a stronger bond with the person you love. Ultimately, date nights allow you to rekindle your romance — and there’s no better place for romance than Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls couples’ packages are affordable, approachable ways to get time alone with your loved one and reaffirm the love you have for one another. This guide will help you plan a night of romance with your significant other, so you can fall even more in love.
Excitement at Fallsview Casino Resort
There is nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline to bring two people close together. That’s why Niagara’s best gaming club, Fallsview Casino Resort, is an excellent starting point for your date night in Niagara Falls. The floor offers 200,000 square feet of tables, machines, and more, giving you ample opportunities to take home a windfall — or splurge on an even greater couple’s vacation in Niagara Falls.
There is plenty of diversity to hold your interest and keep your heart racing on your romantic night out. If slots are your game of choice, you can choose among 3,000 machines, ranging from a single cent to $100 per pull. You can also enjoy machines for reel poker and video poker; however, if you prefer the real card game experience, you can find a spot at more than 130 tables around the floor. In addition to various forms of poker, you can try your hand at baccarat, blackjack or casino war, as well as a variety of non-card games, like roulette, craps, and pai gow.
If you ever get tired of the flashing lights and bells — or if your wallet is too small to contain all your winnings — there are other romantic adventures within Fallsview. The casino theater boasts an astounding 150 shows per year, and with 1,500 seats, it almost always has room for two more. In the coming months, the venue will host some big names in music, including CCR, Melissa Ethridge, Roger Daltrey, and Sarah McLachlan, all of whom provide a thrilling and tender experience for date night.
Dinner With Romantic Views
Every good date night includes food. Fortunately, as a region noted for its fresh and delectable produce, Niagara Falls is a center for amazing cuisine. Regardless of whether you are dining in a hotel buffet or at a Michelin-starred restaurant, you can be certain to enjoy high-quality food.
Still, you should strive to find something special for Niagara date night — and outstanding views will set the mood perfectly. Only a handful of restaurants offer uninterrupted views of Niagara Falls, so you should make a reservation for two at the following places:
Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra. Perhaps named in honor of Rainbow Bridge, which connects American and Canadian sides of the falls, the Rainbow Room looks onto the thundering waters of Horseshoe Falls. The internationally known chef Massimo Capra uses his familiarity with local Ontario ingredients to craft fresh, exciting plates and drinks.
Windows by Jamie Kennedy. Another renowned chef to build a leading restaurant in Niagara Falls, Jamie Kennedy’s Windows offer several walls of floor-to-ceiling glass for an unbroken picture of Horseshoe Falls. Paired with Kennedy’s marvelous cuisine, the views make for a very romantic night out.
Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room. You can pay for a trip up to Skylon’s observation deck, or you can enjoy a meal in the dining room while enjoying a birds-eye view of Niagara Falls and beyond. The panorama is so gorgeous you might almost forget to eat — until the mouth-watering food arrives.
Passion and Privacy All Night Long
After a few hours of excitement and some unforgettable food and drinks, you should finish your night out with some time together. As the crowds retreat indoors for more entertainment at casinos and clubs around the city, you’ll likely find the parks and pathways around Niagara Falls calm and comfortable for a quiet, moonlit walk. Year-round, Horseshoe Falls is lit by colored lights after the sun sets, creating an ethereal atmosphere perfect for love, and during the summer months, you might even enjoy a firework show during your stroll. The explosions of color should mimic the feelings of passion and devotion you harbor for your significant other.
While you walk, you might enjoy seeing Niagara from different perspectives after dark. If you chose to eat somewhere besides Skylon Tower, you might pay for a night ride up the elevator to the observation deck. Shrouded in shadow, the Niagara region is even more beautiful after the sun sets. You can also see nighttime Niagara from on-high by riding the SkyWheel, the enormous observation wheel on the edge of Clifton Hill. Eventually, you should retreat with your loved one to your hotel room, where you can end the night in a sumptuous bed — if you booked a top-tier hotel through Niagara Falls Hotels, that is.
Autumn is a glorious time of year to visit Niagara Falls: The summer crowds disperse, the hotel prices drop, the warm temperatures mellow, and the lush, verdant trees turn passionate shades of red, orange, and yellow. Though the fall foliage in the Niagara region doesn’t hit its beautiful peak until about the second week of October, visits to Niagara Falls throughout the fall season will be rewarded with glimpses of the leaves aflame in autumn colors. While any time of year is the best time to visit Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls in autumn is certainly hard to beat. Here are the top five spots around Niagara Falls for excellent views of the autumn foliage:
1. Dufferin Islands
Just a short walk from the main tourist district in Niagara Falls, Dufferin Islands Park is comprised of a series of small, man-made islands covered in flourishing forest. Quiet and serene, the park is an excellent escape from the busy walkways closer to the falls. The islands are linked by a series of quaint footbridges, and paths crisscross throughout the forest allowing visitors to explore the park for the absolute perfect spot to rest and relax.
At the start of September, the leaves on Dufferin begin to rapidly change into violent hues. The fallen leaves make excellent cushions for picnics — you might even want to bring along a bottle of Niagara wine. It is difficult to take a bad picture of Dufferin in the autumn, with the landscape so bright and beautiful.
2. Skylon Tower
While a skyscraper might not be your first instinct when you are considering places to see fall foliage, Skylon Tower is absolutely one of the best lookout spots in all of Niagara Falls. The unmissable observation deck soars 775 feet above the rushing falls, providing panoramic views of the Niagara Region, to include its changing fall leaves. From this vantage point, you can look over acres of red, orange, and yellow forest in America and Canada, as well as:
Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Falls
Niagara wine country
The Great Gorge
The Toronto and Buffalo skylines
Plus, you can visit the observation deck again at night for a completely different view, which shows the Falls themselves consumed with bright colors as well as the glittering city lights far below.
Tickets to the Skylon Tower observation deck are about $10 per adult and $6 per child. While you are in Skylon, you might also want to enjoy a meal at the outstanding revolving restaurant, which rotates to give you 360-degree views while you dine on world-class fare.
3. Goat Island
On the American side of the falls, you can take a path to Goat Island — a rather small, heavily wooded island between the two U.S. waterfalls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Goat Island provides a unique vantage point, from which you can view the magnificent autumn colors of the Niagara region while taking in the thundering Falls. The walking paths around Goat Island are truly sublime, especially during the fall season; you can also explore the connected Green Island (which isn’t so green in September and October) and Luna Island, which separates Bridal Falls from American Falls. Goat Island is also home to the Cave of the Winds, where you can see the U.S. falls up close, from below.
4. Devil’s Hole State Park
While you are on U.S. soil traipsing Goat Island, you should also stop by Devil’s Hole State Park. This natural park is full of the same fiery hues as the rest of Niagara in the fall, but its hiking trails tend to be less crowded than more prominent tourist spots. Like Dufferin Islands, paths crisscross the park, leading to lookouts over the Niagara Gorge, clearings with picnic benches, and even close-ups with the eponymous Devil’s Hole, which consists of whirlpools and rapids that make Niagara River outstandingly dangerous. The main trail through the park is well-tended, but it is steep, so you should bring sturdy hiking shoes and a thirst for adventure.
5. Rainbow Bridge
When you can finally pull your eyes away from the flaming foliage on the New York side, you should head back to the Ontario side using the Rainbow Bridge. Completed in 1941 — after the previous connection between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Honeymoon Bridge, collapsed due to heavy ice floes — the Rainbow Bridge is a structure internationally renowned for its architectural beauty and outstanding views. The bridge gained its memorable name almost immediately after construction began in 1939, but the name was solidified with an engraving of a passage from the Book of Genesis, which references the “bow in the cloud.”
From the bridge, you can see up the Niagara Gorge to all three waterfalls plus the iconic Niagara Falls, Ontario skyline, which includes the soaring Skylon Tower as well several top hotels. You can cross the bridge by car, bike, or foot, and the latter two give you plenty of time to take in the mixed reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall season. Currently, the toll for Rainbow Bridge is $0.50 for pedestrians and $3.75 U.S. or $4.75 Canadian for autos. It’s the best time to visit Niagara Falls, Canada, and you can tell for yourself from Rainbow Bridge.
When is the best time to visit Niagara Falls? All year-round, you can find fun and fantastic views, but in autumn, nature puts on a show. Many tourists return year after year to revel in the natural beauty of Niagara in the fall, and once you see it in person, you’ll probably want to do the same.
Falls Avenue Resort’s Niagara Culinary Experiences Series is back for another season, offering six exclusive dinner events throughout 2017 and 2018 at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra and Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar. Each of the dinner events will feature delicious and innovative dishes prepared by Niagara’s top chefs and award-winning wines from all over Niagara and the world.
The first dinner in the series is A Culinary Tour of Piedmont with Chef Massimo Capra on October 27th, which will showcase the best food, ingredients, and wines to emerge from this charming Italian region. Following this dinner is A Farmhouse Christmas Dinner with Jamie Kennedy on December 1st where a traditional turn of the century Christmas feast will be served using local Niagara ingredients and paired with wines from Bachelder winery.
The third culinary event in the series is An Icewine Dinner at Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar on January 19th, hosted in celebration of Niagara’s unique Icewine harvest and the delicious food that the season brings. This dinner is followed by A Culinary Tour of Tuscany on March 23rd at the Rainbow Room, A Spring Fling in Niagara at Windows on April 20th, and A Culinary Tour of Veneto at the Rainbow Room on May 11th.
Dinner-only and Dinner & Hotel Room packages can be purchased at fallsavenueresort.com/culinary, so make sure to book your tickets today to experience the incredible combination of food, wine, and breathtaking views of Niagara Falls.
Whether you’re looking to have drinks at a cool bar, dance at a nightclub or sample craft beers at a brewery, Niagara Falls has a ton of amazing nighttime destinations that will make any night out in the city an unforgettable one.
Fallsview Casino Resort
If you want to play your favourite slots and table games or even catch a live show at the theatre, Fallsview Casino Resort offers a range of nighttime experiences that are both thrilling and unique. The casino’s gaming floor is packed with over 3,000 slot machines and 130 table games available 24/7
Niagara Brewing Company
This new craft brewery located on Clifton Hill is a great place to sit back and enjoy a wide range of innovative craft brews and delicious food like warm soft pretzels and homemade meatball sandwiches. Beers currently on tap include Niagara Premium Lager, Beerdevil IPA, Honeymoon Peach Radler, Amber Eh! Ale, Clockwork Berliner Weisse, Best Bitter, and more. And with daily live entertainment and Hoppy Hour, it’s the perfect place to spend a night with friends.
Spicy Olive Bar & Grill
Spicy Olive Bar & Grill is located in the heart of the city’s tourist district at the top of Clifton Hill and is an authentic Italian restaurant that turns into a lively bar at night. The bar features live music from great local bands along with a full-service bar and plenty of seating space. Spicy Olive is close by to many other Niagara Falls destinations and is an ideal spot to grab a quick drink or sit back with friends for the night.
Dragonfly Night Club
Located inside Fallsview Casino Resort on Fallsview Boulevard, Dragonfly is Niagara’s top nightclub destination that hosts a number of exclusive events you won’t want to miss out on. Upcoming events include Dragonfly Fridays and Saturdays featuring great DJs along with guestlist and bottle service options, which is the perfect time to go dancing and experience all that this Asian inspired nightclub has to offer.
It has just been announced that Rogers Hometown Hockey will be kicking off this season’s tour on October 7th and 8th in Niagara Falls. Hockey is Canada’s national pastime and Rogers Hometown Hockey is a special road trip that will be making stops in great cities and towns all across the country. The tour will be bringing amazing stories and experiences to hockey loving Canadians and will celebrate the ways that this sport connects us.
You can join Ron Maclean and Tara Slone in your hometown on Saturdays and Sundays for an exciting hockey festival featuring a range of free family-friendly activities, alumni appearances, awesome giveaways, and much more. And on Sundays you can catch a live broadcast with Ron and Tara and show your support by cheering on your favourite NHL team.
When Rogers Hometown Hockey is in Niagara Falls the live broadcast on Sunday October 8th will be Montreal at NY Rangers at 6:30pm, which is sure to be an unforgettable time. And because Niagara Falls is the very first stop of Hometown Hockey’s fourth season, you can expect thrilling experiences that will tap into the heritage, culture, and fabric of hockey in Canada. Don’t miss out on this season-long journey that explores and celebrates how hockey unites all Canadians, and come out on October 7th and 8th to the magnificent Niagara Falls.
Everyone on their way to Niagara Falls knows the iconic places to snap a good picture of Horseshoe Falls. In the high season, Queen Victoria Park, which stretches through the tourist area of the Canadian Side, is packed shoulder-to-shoulder with visitors craning for a good view of the falls; boat tours like Maid of the Mist and Hornblower have been booked solid for months; and exciting locations like Skylon Tower and the Skywheel boast long lines for entry. If all you’re after on your vacation is a lowkey look at the falls’ majesty, you are going to need to find someplace unique — someplace hidden.
Fortunately, spots like that exist. In fact, there are several secret scenic spots around Niagara Falls, so you can enjoy the power and glory of the natural wonder in peace.
You could buy tickets to reach the top of Skylon Tower to see stretching views of the entire Niagara region. You could buy tickets to circle around the SkyWheel, getting glimpses of Niagara Falls from above. Or, you might want to enjoy scenic Niagara vistas from the quiet comfort of your hotel room.
The Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls was built in the 1920s to provide glamorous and elegant accommodation to tourists visiting the falls. Back then, it was among the first hotels in the skyline to offer four-star luxury and unparalleled views of Niagara. Today, it remains the standard of sophisticated Niagara travel while still catering to families and budget travelers. Importantly, it isn’t just the unattainable, high-priced suites that provide jaw-dropping views of the falls and beyond; at the Crowne, you can watch the falls through your window without breaking the bank.
Plus, the Crowne offers other unbeatable amenities, as well. In the lobby, you can enjoy some of Niagara’s best shopping experiences, including a trip to Hershey’s Chocolate World and a handful of top-tier gift shops. Furthermore, there are comfortable, indoor connections to Niagara Falls’ most exciting attractions, including Casino Niagara and Fallsview Indoor Water Park — which provides another exhilarating view of the falls.
Connecting the American and Canadian sides, the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge is just downriver from the action — ensuring you get amazing views without competing for space like you would in Queen Victoria Park or other popular viewing spots closer to the falls. From the bridge, you can see both the American and Canadian falls, as well as much of the Canadian skyline. Most tourists drive across the bridge without a second glance at the views, so for just $.50, pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy reaching panoramas of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River without a hassle.
The Rainbow Bridge wasn’t the first bridge to cross the Niagara Gorge. Preceding it was the Honeymoon Bridge, built in the 1890s, which in its time was the largest steel arch bridge in the world. Unfortunately, the Honeymoon Bridge collapsed after a terrible winter storm in the 1930s. The Rainbow Bridge was constructed nearby just a few years later, stronger and safer, though just as beloved as its precursor.
Another reason to take trip to the Rainbow Bridge is to give you time exploring the Niagara Gorge on the American side of the falls. Though the American side is less amenity- and attraction-filled than the Canadian side, its vast natural spaces provide solitude and space to enjoy the splendor of the area. The Niagara Gorge boasts several walking and hiking trails that lead to scenic overlooks of the falls and surrounding country. The Niagara Gorge Rim Trail will lead you up close to the American and Canadian falls, but you might also want to spend time on the American Falls Gorge Trail or any of the trails that take you past Niagara River’s white-water rapids.
You should know by the power of Niagara Falls that Niagara River is no lazy waterway. In fact, just downriver from the falls are Class VI rapids and a dangerous whirlpool. If you’d rather not cross the border, you can see both the rapids and the whirlpool from the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve on the Canadian side — where you can also take a scenic and exhilarating trip in the high-flying Whirlpool Aero Car.
Restaurants Around Niagara
Because Niagara Falls is so massive and breathtaking, plenty of institutions around Niagara Falls have endeavored to keep the falls well within sight. As a result, you can enjoy a picturesque view of Niagara Falls at mealtimes if you dine at any of the following locations:
The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra. The high-class in-house dining at the Crowne Plaza, the Rainbow Room offers a panoramic view of the falls and surrounding landscape.
Windows by Jaime Kennedy. Similarly, Windows is the in-house restaurant for sister hotel Falls Avenue Resort. Focusing on incorporating local fare into its food, this restaurant looks and tastes like Niagara Falls.
Canyon Creek Chophouse. Perhaps the biggest secret view of Niagara Falls, the Chophouse is slightly removed from the river but still offers outstanding food and atmosphere.
As we enter the dog days of summer, even the mild, Mediterranean climate of the Niagara region can start to feel a little warm; therefore, it’s a good idea to sprinkle indoor activities into your vacation itinerary. Additionally, if you are planning an autumn trip to the falls, you might need to plan stops take shelter, as September through November tend to be Niagara’s rainier months. During the winter, low temperatures and sporadic snowfall can chase you indoors. In fact, even in the spring, scheduling indoor-time allows you to rest your feet and learn more about the area.
Regardless of when you visit, you shouldn’t miss out on the following amazing indoor activities and attractions around Niagara Falls.
1. Bird Kingdom
It’s hard to imagine being outdoors in the temperate climate of Niagara and then, one step later, being inside a tropical paradise — but that’s exactly what happens when you visit Bird Kingdom. Home to all sorts of tropical animals, especially birds but also reptiles, amphibians, and a few big spiders, this indoor attraction is thrilling and educational. In the world’s largest free-flying aviary, you can feed and hold a bevy of birds, and dozens of exhibits showcase more delicate and less friendly creatures. Animal trainers and caretakers are eager to teach you about the animals, including where and how they live in the wild.
Visitors usually reserve at least an hour to explore the museum and exhibitions, but you might allow even more time in your itinerary to take it all in. At the gate, tickets are $17.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids — but you can save a few dollars by reserving your tickets online.
2. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
There are waterparks — and then there is Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Home to more than 16 waterslides, a gigantic wave pool, a water-filled rain fortress, a 1000-gallon tipping bucket, a toddler splash area, an activity pool, a sundeck, and an adults-only jacuzzi. Fallsview provides everything you want at a waterpark and then some. The park is enclosed in a three-acre space; because it is indoors, you and your family can relax and enjoy the excitement of the waterpark regardless of the weather outside, and you don’t have to worry about your kids getting lost, sunburnt, or even hungry, because there is a Planet Hollywood bar serving food and drinks all day long.
It’s a good idea to expect a full day spent inside the waterpark: Once kids are wet, they rarely want to get dry again. If your trip to Niagara Falls is planned for the peak season, you can pay $49.95 per person for day passes, but you might be able to save by purchasing a waterpark package through your hotel.
3. Movieland Wax Museum
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see your favorite celebrity in the flesh, you probably remember the heart-pounding, jaw-dropping exhilaration of meeting someone famous. At the Movieland Wax Museum, you can repeat that experience again and again with all sorts of different stars. Finally! You can snap a picture with Justin Bieber or Katy Perry; you can meet your favorite fictional characters, like Lara Croft, Indiana Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Hannah Montana; you can even see stars that have been long-gone, such as Marylin Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson. The wax museum is a great opportunity to educate your kids about cultural icons — and gush over some of your favorite celebrities from the past and present.
You can spend at least an hour touring the wax museum and gift shop — but that’s not including the activity of making your own souvenir wax hand. Admission costs $10.99 for adults and $6.99 for kids, but if you invest in the Clifton Hill Fun Pass, you can save on more exciting indoor activities.
4. Skylon Tower
If you are like most Niagara Falls visitors, your goal in coming to this popular destination is seeing the magnificent, natural waterfalls — everything else is just a bonus. To that end, you simply cannot miss a trip up Skylon Tower, a 775-foot-tall tower that provides unbelievable panoramic views of the falls and beyond. Skylon offers both indoor and outdoor observation decks, making it a must-visit come rain or shine. Plus, you can enjoy the views during lunch or dinner in the revolving dining room. Downstairs, Skylon boasts a 3-D/4-D movie theater that teaches about the geologic history of Niagara Falls as well as a family fun center replete with arcade games and rides.
How long you spend in Skylon depends on how many of its amazing activities you plan to engage in. Tickets to the observation decks cost about $15 for adults and $9 for kids, depending on where you purchase them; however, if you eat in the revolving dining room your trip to the top is free.
5. Niagara Falls Museums
There are several museums in and around Niagara Falls that teach about the history and culture of the area. However, the best options include:
Niagara Falls History Museum. With artifacts dating from the beginning of inhabitance around Niagara Falls and exhibits discussing modern-day issues, this museum covers everything you ever wanted to know about the area.
Battle Ground Hotel Museum. Niagara was an important territory during the War of 1812, and some of the fiercest battles were fought just outside this museum — which is housed in a tavern that stood there almost two centuries ago.
Willoughby Historical Museum. A rural branch of the Niagara Falls History Museum, this museum’s exhibits showcase life for country folk in the Niagara region.