Located between Ontario and Upper state New York, the breathtaking Horseshoe Falls are one of Canada’s top tourist destinations. No matter what time of year these thundering falls are a watery extravaganza. However, this is not all there is to see and due in the Niagara region. Fancy wine estates, museums, casinos and stunning scenery are also some of the things you will want to pencil in on your next visit there.
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Day 1 in Niagara Falls
Today, dive right into the action of the Falls with a visit to one or two of these iconic attractions that will take you on, over or under the Falls after a walk along the Niagara Falls promenade, enjoying the sights and sounds of the thundering falls!
1. Hornblower Niagara Cruises : Get up close and personal as you experience the awesome power, thundering roar and amazing mist of the mighty Falls. This boat tour will start off near the calm waters of the Rainbow Bridge before it takes you into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls. Don’t forget your rain poncho, you might get a little wet!
2. Journey Behind the Falls: A year-round attraction that will take you through a scenic tunnel behind and below the falls. Descend 150ft. by elevator to connect with tunnels that lead to the Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal, one third of the way behind the massive sheet of water! Enjoy the view as you walk along upper and lower observation decks at the very base of the Falls.
3. Jet Boat Tour: If you’re feeling adventurous or looking for a thrill, take an up close and personal Jet Boat tour along the Niagara River and its class 5 whitewater rapids. You are guaranteed a wet ride!
4. Whirlpool Aero Car: Standing in an antique aerial cable car suspended 250 feet in the air, take in the sites of the Great Gorge’s spectacular rapids and whirlpools below.
5. Helicopter Tour: In business since 1961, this 12 minute tour includes gorgeous views over the Falls, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Don’t forget your camera.
6. MistRider Zipline to the Falls: Soar across the sky on four parallel ziplines that face the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, riders dangle from a precarious 67 metre (220 foot) high vantage point.
See 1 Day in Niagara Falls for the best way to plan the trip.
When you’ve worked up an appetite from all that exciting adventure, make your way to Cliffton Hill for lunch. The recently opened Niagara Brewing Company, is a chic, rustic brewpub serving artisanal snacks and sliders alongside its brand of skillfully crafted beers and makes a great lunch option. Located at 4915 Clifton Hill across from the Movieland Wax Museum.
Some may say it’s crazy to build Niagara’s newest craft brewery on the street of fun, but we think the idea’s as cunning as a fox. Niagara Brewing Company sits on the former site of the Foxhead Inn, one of the first luxury hotels to be built in Niagara Falls. Built and operated by Howard Fox, the Inn opened in 1925 as a subsidiary of the Clifton House, a hotel that would be lost to a dramatic fire on New Year’s Eve in 1932. From those ashes came development and progress, leading to the creation of Falls Avenue Resort and Niagara Brewing Company. And here at our brewery we honour the spirit of the fox by employing daring processes, bold flavours, and a sharp and fiery desire to create the perfect beer. https://niagarabrewingcompany.com/
After your meal take a walk along Clifton Hill’s world famous – Street of Fun by the Falls. Home to the Canadian Midway, Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and the Niagara SkyWheel. It’s a major amusement area and fun for all ages.
If you like a good fright, stop by one of the Haunted houses such as Nightmares Fear Factory (Victoria Ave) or The House of Frankenstein (next to Ripley’s 4D Moving Theater).
Looking for something a little quieter and less touristy?
The Botanical Gardens (6650 Niagara Parkway) is located just 10 minutes from the Falls on the Niagara Parkway and the Great Gorge. Open since 1936, the 40 hectares are home to over 2,400 roses, symmetrically manicured gardens and horse and carriage tours. Also located on the grounds of the garden is the Butterfly conservatory. Step inside the lush, tropical green and take a self-guided tour surrounded by over 2,000 free flying butterflies.
For dinner tonight, book a table at Elements on the Falls. At the closest restaurant to the thundering Falls you can delight your senses in a glittering mosaic atmosphere, watch your food prepared over an open-flame grill and delight in the stunning views.
After dinner, take your chances at the Fallsview Casino. Besides rows and rows of slots and tables the Casino also offers dining, live shows and nightlife.
Day 2 in Niagara Falls Region – Niagara on the Lake
Today, discover the birthplace of Ontario’s wine industry and the “prettiest town” in Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Surrounded by gardens and lakes you can partake in everything from winery tours, fruit picking, hiking, boat tours and fishing.
One of the best ways to explore this scenic area is on a leisurely bike ride along the cycling trails. If you wish to rent your own bike and take a self-guided tour it will take you approximately 1.5 hours there and back. Otherwise, you can join one of the many guided bike tours.
Zoom Leisure Bikes, offers the largest selection of high quality bike rentals for all ages as well as a varied selection of thoughtfully created escorted tours.
If you decide to go it alone, here are some suggested stops:
Brock’s Monument National Historic Site: This 56-metre monument towering over Queenston Heights is the largest of its kind in Canada and the resting place of Major General Sir Isaac Brock. Tour the battlefield, visit the small museum, climb the 235 steps to the top and enjoy spectacular views.
Konzelmann Estate Winery: Exclusively Lakefront and heralded as providing one of the friendliest, informative and educational experiences in the area.
NEOB Lavendar Boutique: Feel your senses come alive while you tour a lavender field, aromatic greenhouse and shop for natural products and essential oils in the boutique shop.
Fort George National Historic Site: Step back in time and tour the 19th century military architecture of the Blockhouses, Officers Quarter, Artificers Shop and Guard House at this reconstructed military landmark from the War of 1812. In the summer watch training manoeuvers, listen to the sounds of the Fife and Drum Corps and sample food prepared over an open fire in the Officer’s Kitchen.
Once you have pedaled your way or driven in to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s heritage downtown, take some time to browse the one-of-a-kind shops and take in the lovely scenery before resting on a patio to enjoy a casual lunch. Treadwell, on Queen St., is an excellent option if you want something upscale yet still casual and want to sample regional wines. If you prefer something a bit more laid-back, The Irish Harp Pub on King St., has a great atmosphere and great food at a reasonable price.
After lunch take your time riding back and then enjoy a nice rest at your hotel after a full day of cycling.
When you are feeling ready to head out again, make your way to the Skylon Tower. This total entertainment complex has a 775ft indoor/outdoor observation deck, two dining rooms overlooking the Fall, Niagara’s largest indoor amusement area, Skylon Fun Centre and a 4D Theatre. Enjoy an extraordinary dinner at the Revolving Dining Room with award winning, continental cuisine while taking in the views of the Falls.
Before returning to your hotel don’t miss a chance to witness the beauty of the Falls at night. At dusk every evening the Falls become illuminated with all the colors of the rainbow. In the summer, from May to September, you can watch a spectacular firework display every Friday, Sunday and holidays.
Day 3 in Niagara Falls Region: Twenty Valley
Make your last day in the Niagara Region and memorable one. Embark on an unforgettable visit to Niagara’s hidden gem, Twenty Valley along the Niagara Escarpment. With over 50 cutting edge wineries, mostly family run and award-winning, this is the largest wine producing region in Ontario.
This hamlet of wine country with its unpretentious, high quality, down to earth, shops, restaurants, wineries and breweries make it a worthwhile visit. Located only 30 minutes from Niagara Falls along the Queen Elizabeth Way.
But don’t worry if you are not a wine lover. The Ball’s Falls Conservation area in Jordan, offers tons of natural beauty to discover including an award-winning gallery with interactive displays and exhibits focusing on nature, conservation and culture.
If you are not driving and would like a guided tour, Crush Tours offers day tours hand-crafted by their own accredited Sommelier and Wine Author. Each tour is unique to Crush and offers a privileged look inside the world of the Niagara Wine Country. Pickups are available at most hotels and B&B’s in Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas. Advanced booking is required.
To end the day and your trip on a high note, prepare for a jaw-dropping, breath-taking magic experience at the Greg Frewin Theatre. A Vegas-style venue that hosts everything from concerts to live entertainment, but the must see is the illusion spectacle ‘Imagine’ with international grand champion of magic, Greg Frewin. You even have the opportunity to come face to face with a tiger and go behind the scene to see elements of world class magic if you purchase the VIP pass. Dinner packages are also available.
See Planning a Trip to Niagara Falls for more details!
With so many attractions and things to see and do, planning ahead and purchasing an entertainment pass can save you money and stress.
Adventure Pass: Offered by Niagara Parks, you can choose from 3 options starting at $57 dollars.
Clifton Hill Fun Pass: A great deal that allows you to save money and see all the most popular attractions on Clifton Hill.
Niagara Fun Zone: If your interested in Haunted Houses, Arcades, Lazer tag and more, the Fun Zone pass may be the best option for you.
There are many different places to stay depending on your budget and mode of transportation.
B&B are a wonderful, more intimate option if you have your own transportation and would prefer to be away from the buzz of the city.
Cozy Inn B&B is located only a 10-minute walk to the Falls View Casino Resort and only 25 minutes from the Horseshoe falls and offers a relaxed and calm atmosphere.
Greystone Manor Inn is located on the scenic River Road overlooking the banks of the Niagara River Gorge. A short drive or approximately 20-minute walk will bring you to the Falls, Casinos and Clifton Hill.
If you prefer the amenities of a hotel and enjoy being within close walking distance to all the attractions, here are some options.
Sterling Inn & Spa is the only boutique hotel in Niagara Falls and offers contemporary rooms with a fine dining restaurant and full service spa onsite. Located on Magdalen St. a short walk to all the main tourist attractions.
Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview is the closest hotel to the Falls and offers spectacular views. This recenctly renovated, trendy property is walking distance to everything and includes an onsite restaurant, café, bar and special events room.
Many hotels offers special “stay and play” packages so it is beneficial to check the hotels website or visit the Niagara Falls tourism site beforehand.