Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top tourist destinations for a reason… It has something for anyone, of all ages. And although summer may be its peak season, Niagara Falls is truly a year-round destination, with fun activities to do each season. In fact, I’d say that visiting during the non-peak times is even better–you’ll snag some great travel deals and feel like you have the falls all to yourself. First up in our guide series, winter! You may not think of the falls as a winter destination, but there’s loads to see and do.
Why It’s Great To Visit Niagara Falls in The Winter
Winter in Niagara Falls makes for a great weekend escape (you don’t have to travel or drive too far), it’s not as busy so hotel options are great, the falls may be frozen which just adds to the beauty, and you have the always fun Ice Wine Festival in nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara Falls is all about outdoor adventure, and that doesn’t end in the winter–so get ready to skate, spend time outside and then warm up in a cozy setting.
Where to Stay
Niagara Falls is known for having tons of great hotel options, but when it comes to winter, I love having a cozy, warm, boutique hotel option. And that’s just what you get at the historic Old Stone Inn. This has to be one of the most charming spots in the area. It used to be an old flour mill, and the original building oozes charm and history. Stating in the old wing means you’ll be sleeping in a super comfy bed with vintage touches. The newer wing has modern rooms that are equally as nice, but I like that old boutique charm. The big bonus here has to be their restaurant. Book yourself in for BLunch (their version of brunch) with amazing eggs benny options, skillets, fluffy pancakes and do NOT pass up on the homemade scones. In fact, order extra and keep them for snacks later. During the winter they also have Prix-fixe dining options in their dining cabins and igloos in the Private Winter Square (a cozy courtyard at the hotel). And from December through March the make the most of winter with Winterfest–winter-themed menus, firepits, winter cocktails and so much more.
What to Do in Niagara Falls in The Winter
From December through March the falls may get a bit frosty or frozen, but that just adds to the beauty. If anything, I think the falls look even more majestic during the winter! Just make sure you bundle up, in case it’s misty. Plus you can’t miss the Niagara Falls Illumination–a chance to see the falls light up in gorgeous colours (check out the lighting schedule here).
From early December until mid-March, you can lace up your skates and take a spin around the rink at Wayne Gretzky Estates. Make sure you work up enough sweat (or not!) to enjoy some beer, wine and cocktails post skate by the fire pit.
Get In Some Much Needed Spa Time:
Winter is the perfect time for a spa vacation because you don’t feel like you’re missing out on great weather. Plus it is a great way to warm up if you’ve been down to see the falls! Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa is home to a luxurious new spa experience, Burning Springs Spa & Thermal Pool. They have 3 Thermal Pools with distinct salt and minerals to soothe, restore and impart therapeutic properties. You can also swing by the Himalayan Salt Sauna to cap off your experience.
Catch Some Birds in February:
Did you know that the winter in Niagara Falls is actually a great time to do bird watching? It is! And in February, Niagara Falls hosts the Birds on the Niagara International Bird Festival and Celebration, the only international bird festival in North America. It’s a great for avid birders to check out some incredible birds, and for novices, like me, to learn a lot more about the incredible birds that migrate through the area.
Celebrate Black History Month:
February is also Black History Month and Niagara Falls has a unique connection to the history as one of the final destinations of the renowned ‘Underground Railroad’, a secret network of routes from Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and on to Niagara-on-the-Lake that enslaved people from the United States followed to find freedom in Canada. You can retrace the final steps of the people who found freedom in Canada and learn more about how Niagara Falls played a role. Or skip the self-guided options and pre-book a unique and memorable bespoke tour with Niagara Bound Tours led by Lezlie Harper, a fifth-generation Canadian descendant of freedom seekers who came to Canada from Kentucky in 1851.
Visit The Niagara Power Station:
This is honestly on the list for all year long, because it’s worth more than one visit! The revitalized Niagara Power Station is an incredible look back through time, when the station harnessed the power of the falls to generate electricity for the surrounding area. Today you can learn the history of the building and you can also see an amazing light show called Currents, that depicts the history through music, lights and art. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and trust me–you will want to go back and see it again, so add it to your spring, summer and fall lists!