The Niagara Falls area is a popular tourist destination all year round, but it can be especially enjoyable to visit in winter. There are a number of fun activities and festive events to choose from during the colder months. So here are the amazing Niagara Falls activities in winter that you must not miss!
Niagara Falls is one of the most famous natural destinations in North America. Millions of people visit the falls each year to witness their power and beauty.
The falls are located on the border between the United States and Canada and it connects these two countries together at the Rainbow Bridge.
Niagara Falls activities in winter | Reasons to visit Niagara Falls
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The Canadian side of Niagara Falls features a large number of tourist attractions, including a number of casinos.
While the Niagara region experiences cold conditions from November through February, the wintertime is still a great time to visit the Falls. And there are 29 reasons why.
But first, here is how to get to Niagara Falls in Canada
Niagara Falls Canada is located in the province of Ontario. The nearest airport is the Toronto Pearson Airport. You can pick up a car rental and drive to Niagara Falls from here.
The driving distance from the airport is 126 km or 78 miles. It will take you around 1.50 hours to drive there.
You can book a transfer from Toronto Pearson airport to Niagara Falls, and stay there overnight.
Traveling from the US side to Canada
On the US side, Buffalo airport is closest to Niagara Falls. Here is an airport transfer to book (to the Canadian side)
There are multiple tours that offer sightseeing experiences combining both sides of Niagara Falls. Check out this tour here
Visiting Niagara Falls in the winter season
Niagara Falls is spectacular in the winter. The snow makes the landscape even more picturesque, and the mist from the falls creates a delightful haze in the air.
Despite the frigid temperatures, Niagara Falls is just as awe-inspiring in winter as it is in summer.
There are far fewer tourists in winter, so it’s easy to find a spot to take in the view.
And if you’re lucky enough to visit when it’s frozen over, you’ll get to see the falls in an entirely new light.
Is it worth seeing Niagara Falls in the winter when it is so cold?
While you’ll definitely need to pack in warm clothes and winter boots, visiting Niagara Falls in the colder months is a magical experience.
There’s sunshine combined with ice and snow and so much to keep busy with. Trust us when we say, you won’t regret seeing Niagara Falls in winter.
What to do at Niagara Falls in the winter months: Niagara Falls attractions in winter
When you visit Niagara Falls in winter, you get a crowd-free destination with plenty to still see and do.
There are indoor activities for those unbearably cold days, as well as outdoor attractions that are perfect on clear winter days.
The most obvious thing to do is see the Falls – but there are so many ways to do that.
And when you’ve seen enough, there are plenty more places waiting for you to visit. This is undoubtedly a bucket-list Canada destination.
Take a scenic helicopter ride over the Falls
From the sky, Niagara Falls looks like a glistening jewel. Book a weather-permitting helicopter tour over the falls and enjoy this spectacular view, along with being cozy in the chopper.
The best time to do this activity is in the morning when the air is still and the sun is shining.
The helicopter ride provides a unique perspective on the falls, and it’s a great way to get some amazing photos.
The ride also provides a birds-eye view of the river below and the surrounding area.
It’s an exhilarating experience and well worth the price. Book your tour here
Take the “Journey Behind the Falls”
One of the most popular attractions in Niagara Falls is the “Journey Behind the Falls.”
It allows visitors to descend into the Niagara Gorge and view the falls from several different points of view, including from behind the falls themselves.
The attraction also features a museum that tells the history of Niagara Falls.
It takes between 30 and 45 minutes to reach the back of the Falls, and since the trip down to the viewing deck has elevators, it is wheelchair accessible.
Tour the Falls aboard the Niagara City Cruises boat
The Niagara City Cruises boat tour is a popular tourist attraction in Niagara Falls, Canada.
The boat takes passengers on a journey to the base of the Horseshoe Falls, where they can get up close and personal with the falls.
The tour is an exciting and wet experience, and it’s a must-do for any visitor to Niagara Falls. It is available year-round and offers a magnificent look at what is known as “Niagara’s Fury.”
Enjoy a wine tasting at a local winery
The Niagara region is home to many award-winning wineries. With over 100 to choose from, there’s something for everyone’s taste.
During winter, some wineries offer special wine and cheese pairings, which are the perfect way to warm up on a cold day.
Many of the wineries have breathtaking views of Niagara Falls and the surrounding vineyards—definitely worth a visit.
If you’re unsure of which wineries to visit, we suggest starting at any of the following:
- Twenty Valley’s Foreign Affair
- Trius Winery
- Rosewood Estates
- Château des Charmes
- Cave Spring Cellars
- Hidden Bench
Stroll along Clifton Hill
Clifton Hill is a street in Niagara Falls, Ontario, that is known for its many tourist attractions.
It is home to the popular Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, as well as the SkyWheel, a giant Ferris wheel.
The area is also packed with restaurants, souvenir shops, and other tourist attractions.
Clifton Hill is a popular spot for visitors to the area, who come to enjoy its vibrant atmosphere and take in all that it has to offer. It’s known as the “Street of Fun” because there are just so many fun things to do and see.
In the winter, the street is decorated with festive lights, making it a perfect place to take a stroll.
Be sure to stop by the Niagara Fallsview Casino while you’re there. Here is a Clifton Hill savings card!
Visit the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory
The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory is a must-see, regardless of the time of year. But in winter, it’s a great way to escape the cold and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The conservatory is home to over 2,000 butterflies from around the world.
You’ll find the conservatory inside Queen Victoria Park, but while the park is free, there is a small entrance fee to see the butterflies.
The conservatory is open every day of the week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Ride the Niagara Scenic Railway
This funicular ride connects restaurants, shops, and other attractions within Niagara Falls. It’s a convenient ride up a very steep hill, but it’s also an attraction all on its own.
The railway boasts impressive views of the Horseshoe Falls.
It’ll cost just over $5 CAD for a roundtrip for any age (unless it’s a child under the age of 6, as they ride free).
Drive the Niagara Parkway
Soak in the winter wonderland as you enjoy a scenic drive on the Niagara Parkway. This route starts from Fort Erie in the south to Niagara on the Lake in the north.
It is all of 55 km or 34 miles and runs parallel to the Niagara River in Ontario.
Visit Old Fort Niagara and learn about its history
Old Fort Niagara is a historic fort that was built in the 18th century.
The fort has a rich history and offers many educational programs. It’s a great place to learn about the early days of Niagara Falls.
You can do a guided walk, watch a movie, listen to talks, and enjoy the views from the fort.
Note: This is a paid activity and can easily take up at least half of your day. So plan accordingly.
Cross the Rainbow Bridge – to Niagara Falls USA
Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Niagara River between the United States and Canada.
It connects Niagara Falls, New York, with Niagara Falls, Ontario.
It only takes around 5 minutes to walk across the bridge, but waiting at the border can easily take up another hour of your time.
A few things you can see while in New York City include:
- The Seneca Niagara Casino
- Winter Wonderland at Buffalo Zoo
- Niagara Falls State Park
- The Maid of the Mist
- Whirlpool State Park
Note: Because this bridge crosses country borders, you may need your passport, visa, and other important documentation before you’re allowed to cross.
Indulge in a spa day at one of Niagara’s many resorts
One of the best ways to relax and rejuvenate is to spend a day at the spa.
And what better place to do that than Niagara Falls? The area is home to many resorts with world-class spas. So why not treat yourself to a massage, facial, or body treatment?
A few spas you can take a look at include:
- Healing Salt Cave
- Five Lakes Spa Aveda
- Burning Springs Spa & Thermal Pools
See The Falls from The Niagara Skywheel
The Niagara Skywheel is a great way to see the falls from up high.
The Skywheel is located in Clifton Hill and offers panoramic views of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area.
Be sure to take a ride during the day and at night for two different experiences.
Soak in the views of Niagara Falls from your hotel room
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, then consider staying in a hotel room with a view of Niagara Falls.
There are many hotels located in the Fallsview district that offer stunning views of the falls. And what’s better than waking up to the sound of the Falls?
For an unforgettable falls view room, book into any of the following hotels:
- Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel and Suites – This hotel is connected to the Fallsview Casino and is the perfect proximity to the Falls. Book your stay here
- The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls – The name says it all. Book a room with unobstructed views of the Falls, and enjoy access to the 14th-floor Observation level as well. Check availability here
- Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa – Just a 5-minute walk from Fallsview Casino, this hotel is perfect for those wanting to be close to the Falls and have easy access to other attractions. Book your stay here
Don’t miss the glamorous Niagara Icewine gala – Niagara Falls winter festival
This Niagara Icewine Festival takes place at Fallsview Casino Resort every January.
It celebrates the delicate and unique dessert wine made from frozen grapes.
The festival offers Icewine tastings, live music, gourmet food, and more.
The festival is quite busy, with food and wine pairings galore, as well as a few other events that help showcase the region’s magnificent wineries.
Have breakfast with Santa
If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love this festive activity. Many Niagara Falls hotels and restaurants offer a special breakfast with Santa Claus.
A mentionable spot that you can book is Rainforest Cafe, inside the Sheraton Niagara Falls.
During breakfast, the family can take photos with Santa, enjoy a delicious meal, and make holiday crafts. It’s a great way to start the day and get into the holiday spirit.
Explore the Niagara Parks Winter Illumination Route
The Niagara Parks Winter Illumination Route is a 6 km or 3.7-mile stretch of road that’s lit up with lights. It’s the perfect place to take a winter walk or drive.
This route is part of the Niagara Winter Festival of Lights, and it goes through Queen Victoria Park, Dufferin Islands, and more.
The route runs from early December until early January.
Take a hike through Niagara Glen
This 6,000-acre park is a nature lover’s paradise.
The reserve sits near Niagara Whirlpool and has 4 km or 2.5 miles of hiking trails to trek through. It’s a pet-friendly reserve, and you don’t have to pay for entrance or parking.
In winter, the trails are covered in snow and sometimes ice, making for a beautiful hike but also one that you need to be wary of.
Be sure to dress warmly and wear proper footwear.
Some viewing spots and especially treacherous pathways may be closed during winter, so look out for signs — and obey them!
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming town in Ontario that is worth visiting any time of year.
However, it is especially beautiful in winter, when the snow creates a picturesque landscape and the town is lit up with Christmas decorations.
This charming town is filled with 19th-century buildings, tree-lined streets, and a rich history.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as scenic walks along the river. The best part is that it’s all free!
Visit a Christmas market
When you visit Niagara Falls in winter, there’s a high chance you’ll get to experience the Niagara region’s Christmas cheer.
The main place to soak in some festive spirit is at the Niagara Christmas market in Downtown Niagara Falls.
The market is open every weekend from mid-November through December. It’s an outdoor market, with stalls ranging from handmade gifts to delicious Christmas food and drinks.
Take a cooking class
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love taking a cooking class at a local culinary school.
Not only will the kitchen be one of the warmest places you can find, but indulging in a lovingly-prepared meal is another winter warmer idea.
Niagara College offers classes for all levels, from beginner to expert. You’ll learn how to cook traditional Canadian dishes as well as international cuisine.
Discover the underwater world at the Aquarium Of Niagara
This hands-on marine life center is open all year round.
The Aquarium of Niagara is home to over 200 aquatic animal species, including sharks, stingrays, and penguins.
Visitors can try out any of the 30 interactive exhibits in between meeting all of the marine animals.
There is also a hands-on stingray pool, where you can touch and feed the stingrays.
See the Niagara Falls Illumination
While the sight of Niagara Falls during the day is often a breathtaking moment, we’re here to tell you that it gets even better!
Anyone who has visited Niagara Falls only during the day just hasn’t seen this natural wonder’s full potential.
Every night, Niagara Falls becomes illuminated in a rainbow of colors. It’s a spectacular sight and one that you won’t want to miss.
In winter, the show starts at 5:00 pm and runs until midnight.
Catch a firework show at Queen Victoria Park
Every evening at 10:00 pm, a burst of light shoots into the sky above Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls’ main parkland.
This show of fireworks comes from Niagara Gorge, but the best place to see it over the Falls is Queen Victoria Park.
The show only lasts about five minutes, so you really can’t be late. This is also another weather-permitting activity since rain or snow means no fireworks.
Visit Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls Canada
If you drive north from the Falls, in about 10 minutes, you’ll find these European-style gardens.
The 40-hectare green space first opened in 1936 and has been going strong ever since.
The gardens are open all year round and offer a variety of seasonal events.
Visit the Niagara Falls Bird Kingdom
Located just 5 minute walk away from Niagara Falls is the largest free-flying indoor aviary – the Bird Kingdom.
This is a premier Niagara Falls attraction and is a fun visit for people of all ages.
An adult entry ticket starts at $15.95 CAD. When purchased online, the general admission price includes any time visits with no expiration dates (but are non-refundable).
See the famed Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum
For a bit of fun, head to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. It’s full of odd and interesting artifacts from around the world.
It’s a great place to explore on a cold day. You’ll find Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum on Clifton Hill.
Take the “Yellow Bug Elevators” to the top of Skylon Tower
The tower has an observation deck and a restaurant.
The observation deck right at the top of Skylon Tower offers incredible 360-degree views of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area.
To get to the top, you can take the elevator to the top or walk up the 235 stairs (if you’re feeling brave).
Either way, it’s a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the city. The tower is also home to an arcade and a fine dining restaurant.
Note: You will need to buy entrance tickets to gain access to the tower, the deck, and the inside attractions.
Stop for treats at Hershey’s Chocolate World Niagara Falls
Need a sweet treat? Always wished you could go to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Hershey’s Chocolate World is the place to go.
Hershey’s Chocolate World Canada is a tourist attraction located in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The attraction features a chocolate factory tour, a museum, and a gift shop.
Visitors can watch chocolate being made and learn about the history of Hershey’s chocolate.
The gift shop sells Hershey’s chocolate products, souvenirs, and Niagara Falls-themed items.
This is more than a chocolate store. It’s an interactive shopping experience set in a 7,000-square-foot space.
You can take a tour of the chocolate factory, make your own candy bar, and indulge in sweet treats.
And don’t miss out on taking the HERSHEY’S Chocolate Tour ride, which is totally free. This is great for everyone but tops the list of family-friendly activities in Niagara Falls.
Check out the street art in Niagara Falls
At one stage, the entire Niagara region had a problem with graffiti being plastered across the walls of the suburbs.
So residents and business owners decided to take things into their own hands and create street art murals to prevent graffiti and vandalism.
In recent years, Niagara Falls has become a mecca for street art. There are murals and graffiti all over the city. It’s a great way to explore the city and see some incredible art.
Take a walking tour on your own or with a group and discover some of the beauty around the towns.
Interact with exhibits at the Niagara Parks Power Station
Visit Canada’s first major power plant and learn about the hydroelectric power generation process of the station.
Before it was closed, this power plant harvested the energy of Horseshoe Falls to create electricity for Canadian residents.
In 2021, the plant opened as a museum with interactive exhibits. Inside, you’ll find the original turbines that were used to generate power, as well as a variety of historical artifacts.
There are daytime and nighttime tours offered, with views of the falls and light and sound shows on offer.
Niagara Falls winter festivals & events calendar
Here are the special events and winter festivals in Niagara Falls in winter,
|Nov 7 – 13 2022||Niagara Park Floral Show|
Annual Chrysanthemum Show
|7145 Niagara Parkway|
|Nov 9 – Dec 23, 2022||Shaw Festival Theatre presents A Christmas Carol||10 Queen’s Parade|
|Nov 12, 2022|
|Santa Claus Parade||Downtown|
|Nov 12, 2022 –|
Feb 20, 2023
|Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights||Queen Victoria Pk|
|Nov 12, 2022 –|
Feb 20, 2023
|Sparkling Winter Lights” Falls Illumination|
|Nov 12 – 18, 2022||Christmas Markets||Downtown |
|Nov 12, 2022 – |
Mar 26, 2023
|Winterfest in the Square||Old Stone Inn Hotel|
|Nov 18 –|
Dec 23, 2022
|Shaw Festival Theatre presents White Christmas, the musical||10 Queen’s Parade|
|Nov 19, 2022 – |
Jan 8, 2023
|Safari Niagara Lights Drive-Thru||Safari Niagara|
|Nov 19, 2022 – |
Jan 8, 2023
|Niagara’s Annual Poinsettia Show||Niagara Parkway|
|Nov 24 – Dec 9, 2022||Fallsview Casino’s Christmas |
on Ice at Avalon Theatre
|Nov 24, 2022||American Thanksgiving||Table Rock|
|Nov 25, 2022||Magic at the Museum||Niagara Falls |
|Dec 3 – 4, 2022||Niagara Parks |
Christmas Open House
|Dec 4, 2022||Fallsview Christmas Market||Americana Waterpark Resort & Spa|
|Dec 10 – 11, 2022||Heritage Christmas||McFarland House|
|Dec 10 – 11, 2022||Christmas Caravan||St Catherines|
|January||Ice Wine Festival||Niagara-On-The-Lake|
Visit Niagara Falls, Canada this winter season
Niagara Falls is a great place to visit any time of year, but winter offers some unique opportunities.
The cold weather makes the falls more dramatic, and the Christmas season brings festive activities and decorations.
There are also plenty of cozy restaurants and hotels to enjoy.
So, there you have it! Our guide to the best things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada, in winter. We hope you have a great time exploring all that the city has to offer.