Things to Do in Niagara Falls & Around
Grand and powerful Niagara Falls is actually composed of three sets of falls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls). Combined these cascades have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world—more than a million bathtubs of water plummet over the edge every second. The falls straddle the border of Canada and the United States, and while they’re wildly impressive from both sides, here’s how to have a Niagara adventure from the Canadian side.
While Niagara Falls is justifiably famous for the force of nature that is the falls themselves, the Floral Clock is one of several other impressive attractions in the area. Comprising thousands of colorful plants and flowers, the clock blooms from spring to fall. It’s a fun photo opportunity, especially for nature lovers and avid gardeners.
Perched on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the lofty Skylon Tower is famous for its bird’s-eye views. Boasting a panoramic observation platform, ambient dining, movies, shopping, and activities for the whole family, this 775-foot (236-meter) tower offers an entire day’s worth of entertainment.
Niagara Falls is an incredible sight from land and by boat, but at Journey Behind the Falls visitors who wish to truly experience its massive power can get up close and personal—and wet. Standing on an observation deck behind the falls, where more than one million bathtubs of water thunder over the edge every second, is a truly unforgettable experience of Niagara.
Your visit to the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls begins at the Table Rock Welcome Centre. Here you’ll learn how to make the most of your time at the falls, plus you can buy tickets for some area attractions if you didn’t book a tour in advance. The complex has viewing platforms, restaurants, shops, and attractions.
Queen Victoria Park offers a quiet respite from the bustle of Niagara Falls. Take in stunning views of Horseshoe Falls and spend some time strolling among the plants and flowers that grow throughout the park. The colorful gardens and manicured lawns offer both relaxing picnic spots and great photo ops of the falls.
Ewald Reif founded this classic Niagara-on-the-Lake estate in 1977 and the popular winery known for sweet ice wine and bold Cabs opened to the public just five years later. Since then, locals and travelers have been gathering to sip glasses of red and white inside its historic coach house. The Reif Estate’s wines have also received dozens of national and international awards.
Travelers who want to sample the flavors of Reif Estate have a number of options to choose from, but perhaps one of the best experiences is the Annual Harvest BBQ that blends food, drink and fun with the Niagara Wine Festival kick off each September. Tastings are available daily, including a sensory wine option, that includes blind taste testing and optional chocolate pairings. Group options are available for larger parties, too.
Visitors can tour the vineyards on their own, or take a comprehensive tour of multiple estates by bus or bike. Foodies can opt for wine pairings and gourmet meals alongside Niagara-on-the-Lake’s famous wines.
At 183 feet (56 meters) tall, Brock's Monument in Queenston Heights National Historic Site is the highest of its kind in Canada. It commemorates Major General Sir Isaac Brock, a hero of the War of 1812. In Queenston, a short drive from Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, the national historic site is a fun, informative place to visit while touring the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Suspended high over the Niagara River, the Whirlpool Aero Car passes directly over Niagara Whirlpool—a swirling, whitewater vortex created by conflicting currents. The antique cable car has been on the go since 1916, carrying passengers out to the bend of the river, where they dangle over and gawk at the dangerous whirling rapids below.
Clifton Hill is a neon-heavy, Vegas-like strip filled with a concentrated cluster of family-friendly attractions and entertainment options. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, the 175-foot (53-meter) Niagara SkyWheel, Guinness World Records Museum, Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, and several haunted houses are among its prominent points of interest.
More Things to Do in Niagara Falls & Around
Opened in 2006, this towering Ferris wheel carries passengers up to a height of 175 feet (53 meters), far above the hubbub and neon lights of bustling Clifton Hill. From the enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, passengers can see for miles in every direction and admire the grandeur of Horseshoe and American falls.
The Peller Estates Winery is one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s hidden gems with roots that date back to the late 1920s. This iconic destination was started by a Hungarian immigrant who hoped to bring his knowledge of European grapes and wine to North America. The estate is known for its ice wine, Rieslings and Chardonnays, which have been drawing visitors and winning awards for more than 50 years.
Travelers who venture to Peller Estates Winery can opt for one of a number of experiences that cater to wine lovers. From tastings tucked among the vineyards to courses on wine and food pairing. Travelers will find a little bit of everything at this Zagat-rated estate. It’s possible to make a day—or just a short stop—at Peller Estates, but travelers who want to see more of Niagara-on-the-Lakes vineyards can opt for one of the area’s popular wine tours.
With scenic vineyards and wineries, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a popular destination for oenophiles during the summer months. With new wineries frequently opening in the region, there is always something to do or a vineyard to explore. One of the newest additions to the Four Mile Creek appellation is PondView Estate Winery. Family owned and operated, PondView Estate (who makes the official wine of Canada’s Grey Cup) has embraced the traditional art form of Sicilian grape growing and winemaking. By capturing the harmony between earth and vine, PondView Estate Winery is recognized as a creator of some of the finest wines in the Niagara region.
Drawing on more than three generations of winemaking experience, PondView Estate Winery has cultivated a warm and inviting environment that makes visitors to the vineyard feel right at home. (The close-knit staff that clearly enjoy their work definitely helps to create that atmosphere.) Owner and winemaker Luciano Puglisi crafts his Ontario VQA wines, rooted in his Italian heritage, with such enthusiasm and reverence for the winemaking process that he earned the title of Grape King in 2008 — an award given by the Ministry of Agriculture to the finest vineyard operator in Ontario.
The Kurtz family has always been a major producer of jam and jellies. At their land on the scenic Niagara Parkway, 50 acres of orchards and vineyards (and a large retail barn) overlook the dramatic Niagara River. A half-century ago wooden wagons out front offered fresh peaches and cherries along with a few jars of homemade jam. Today at Kurtz Orchards the second and third generations have elevated what was once a simple orchard to a haven for culinary tourists.
Surrounded by acres of scenic beauty, Kurtz Orchards stands as a testament to the land’s richness and ability to produce quality foods. At the marketplace visitors can savor the best of the farm’s estate products, from honey to wine jelly. Food demonstrations, culinary workshops, and other events are offered throughout the year. Kurtz Orchards also hosts private events, including weddings.The family-owned-and-operated business continually develops new products to capture the flavors of the Niagara region. Visitors can have a walkabout with a complimentary culinary tasting, take one of the Orchards’ regularly scheduled cooking classes, request a picnic basket of farm-fresh delicacies and baked goods, and even host an event there with ‘land-to-table’ catering done entirely by the Orchards.
Known as one of Ontario’s most beautiful towns, Niagara-on-the-Lake is an ideal destination for wine lovers and anyone looking for a slow-paced, scenic vacation. Located just over the US–Canadian border on the shores of Lake Ontario, this picturesque spot is an easy weekend getaway or day trip from Buffalo in New York, Toronto, or Niagara Falls.
Situated in the wine-growing regions of Niagara Peninsula and Okanagan Valley, the award-winning Jackson-Triggs is one of Canada’s leading wine producers. The winery’s Niagara estate, planted with chardonnay, pinot noir, and riesling, offers visitors the chance to learn about the winemaking process and taste their acclaimed wines.
The unique and organic 34-acre family-owned winery is over 100 years old and is located in the warmest sub-area of the Niagara region. It has been passed down from one generation to the next since David Jackson Lowrey, the current owner’s great grandfather, purchased the property in 1867. The Ravine vintages mostly consist of Chardonnay-based wines, as it is the top growing grape in the region. They also produce award-winning ice wines.
The estate is also home to the 200-year-old Loyalist Georgian Wm. Woodruff House, one of the most architecturally significant ancestral homes of Canada. There is also an organic restaurant with seasonal menus sourced at the on-site farm, where the Lowrey family grows their own produce and raises their own livestock.
Head to the Niagara Falls IMAX Theatre, where the films screened teach visitors about the falls’ history and culture. From local native people to daredevils who rolled down the falls in a barrel, the IMAX 3D films provide Niagara Falls’ backstory and make viewers feel as though they’re right there in the middle of the action.
Not far from the famous falls, the Outlet Collection at Niagara is an open-air shopping center with some of the world’s top clothing and accessory brands available at a discounted outlet price. More than 100 shops make up the modern complex, including brands such as J. Crew Factory, the Nike Factory Store, Coach, Fossil, Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, Lululemon, and The North Face.
The collection is uniquely shaped as eight interconnected buildings in the shape of a racetrack, completed with expert style and design. Partially covered walkways make for a comfortable stroll between the different shops. Food options range from The Eatery food court to a weekly farmers market and frequent events. Kids can enjoy the playground area, and strollers are available to shoppers and guests. Though the shopping center is expertly maintained and manicured, it is family-friendly throughout. It is the largest outdoor outlet shopping center in Canada.
More than 2,000 butterflies representing about 45 different species flutter freely around this climate-controlled conservatory, occasionally landing on passersby. The glass-enclosed greenhouse, which is planted with lush vegetation and crisscrossed by paths, is part of Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens.
Aside from the falls themselves, the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is one of Niagara Falls’ most popular family attractions. Fallsview features 16 waterslides—some as high as six stories—a wave pool, outdoor pool and sundeck, tots pool, adults-only hot tub, and much more. When you need to fuel up, there are great food options as well.
Three fun attractions are part of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls: The Odditorium, which displays quirky exhibits; the Ripley’s Moving Theater motion simulator ride; and Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. It’s a fun-filled attraction to visit before or after you’ve seen the amazing falls, and is a popular place with both kids and adults.
After seeing spectacular Niagara Falls, head up the road to Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks for a different kind of fun. The faux Tudor building on the Canadian side of the falls houses more than 100 lifelike wax figures of celebrities, from movie and sports stars to politicians and historical figures.
Ripley's 4D Moving Theater in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a fun addition to a visit to the spectacular waterfalls that give the town its name. Kids and adults alike will love the excitement of the 4D movies, which take viewers on a ride right into the action. Sit down, buckle up, and be prepared for a few shrieks and giggles.
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