Niagara Falls has been luring travellers for centuries. Located on the Canadian-U.S. border the mighty Niagara Falls is an all-time favourite vacation destination and there are plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls for all seasons.
It was once nicknamed “The Honeymoon Capital of the World” (you can still see remnants with some old motels sporting that classic heart-shaped Jacuzzi in the honeymoon suites). To boot, the renowned Horseshoe Falls has been the inspiration for many who have peered at this magnificent natural wonder. It truly is spellbinding, and especially so in winter.
A couple of celebrities that have even been caught by its mystical draw are Titanic director James Cameron who claimed he was inspired by the swirling waters as a kid growing up; and Nick Wallenda, the daredevil tight rope artist, who was the first person to walk directly over Niagara Falls on a high wire. Now it’s your turn to take a plunge at some of the best year-round thrills in and around the fabled Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls in the Winter
Come winter Niagara Falls takes on a dramatic look as the icicles and frothy white snow caps magically appear against the roaring Niagara Falls. Photographs of the ice jams are world-renowned.
Tuck inside one of the pubs and sample the highly revered Icewine. For annual events, during the holidays the Niagara Parks morphs into a winter wonderland as the Winter Festival of Lights takes over the park every November through January.
The pretty snow draped vineyards are also celebrated in neighbouring Niagara-on-the-Lake as vintners, outdoor lovers, and Icewine fans mingle for the annual Niagara Icewine Festival which takes place in January.
And one of the biggest shows that happens is the annual New Year
s Eve party, a huge crowd pleaser at Queen Victoria Park that headlines some of Canadas biggest musical acts in the business.
Niagara Falls in the Spring
After a long winter it’s time to awaken the senses.
Budding blossoms are beautifully showcased throughout the Niagara Parks Commission.
In early spring head inside the Floral Showhouse in Queen Victoria Park to smell the fragrant forced perennials and come mid-spring outside along the garden beds are a blanket of tulips and daffodils that emit that warm feeling you love about the season.
Popular stops in the Niagara Parks include the famous Floral Clock with its 19,000 springtime flowers just north of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station; the Centennial Lilac Garden near the Queenston Lewiston International Bridge; and the Botanical Gardens, 40 hectares of beautifully manicured gardens.
In May musicians and revellers get in the groove for Springilicious, a free outdoor music festival.
Niagara Falls in the Summer
This is high season. Across the city and throughout the Niagara Parks Commission good days are bumper-to-bumper days when traffic snakes to a crawl.
Summertime is also the ultimate sightseeing time. Sightseers head out to see The Falls and the countless attractions available throughout the NPC.
Get sopping wet on a Niagara Hornblower Cruise as visitors cruise close to the bottom of the mighty Niagara Falls watching the wall of thundering water with its thundering sounds. One word: Awesome!
Continue the thrills on another wild and wet visit as you descend an elevator to go through a long, narrow tunnel behind The Falls.
This view is spectacular. Another cool spot to get up close is by the White Water Walk, which is a boardwalk along the Great Gorge that showcases natural surrounds beside the raging river.
Cycling is popular. A good route is along the 56 km multipurpose path known as the Niagara River Recreation Trail that connects from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can also start the route anywhere in the park as the paved trail is mostly a separate route away from vehicles.
The fireworks are spectacular. While scheduled at various times throughout the year, summer is fabulous to watch the free fireworks over The Falls so is the accompanied streaming lights that illuminate both the American and Horseshoe Falls.
Niagara’s version of bright lights Vegas style is Clifton Hill. Take a walk up the hill at night to see the colourful lights from local shops, and restaurants. Clifton Hill is also home to quirky museums. For squirmy fun, head to the Odditorium at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum or scour the Guinness World Records Museum for equally surprising exhibits.
Niagara Falls in the Autumn
As kids head back to school the city takes on a different vibe.
The local wineries and fruit farms begin to harvest their crops. One of the nicest drives to explore the bounty of Niagara is a drive to neighboring Niagara-on-the-Lake along the pretty Niagara River Parkway.
Set with Carolinian forest, the fall foliage is blazing and beautiful as the road snakes along the river passing historic hamlets and landmarks like Queenston Heights.
At Queenston Heights Park ascend the legendary Brock’s Monument for panoramic views of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lake Ontario.
Leaf peepers enjoy a thrilling ride in an ancient cable car that crosses the Niagara River. Known as the Whirlpool Aero Car it’s another fabulous perch from which to see the fall season in all its glory.
In fall golf courses continue to attract golf lovers. At the Niagara Parks, the public golf courses have relaxing club houses with great food, drinks and service.
Marathon runners are also getting ready to lace up their sneakers in the upcoming Niagara Falls International Marathon in late October. Thousands of runners race in this picturesque stretch that ends just before the rushing Falls.
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