Niagara Falls is gorgeous year-round with rainy day rainbows in spring, summertime blooms along the escarpment and vibrant fall foliage come September. But there’s something special about Niagara Falls in winter when snow and ice add a certain drama to the falls and the town lights up with holiday festivities.
Canada comes into its own in winter, and Niagara Falls is no exception — but with the joy of snowfall and ice hockey comes super cold weather that makes it easy to skip out on winter activities. That’s why we’ve done all the work for you, so you can focus on hitting all the best tourist spots, restaurants, and things to do in Niagara Falls in the wintertime.
Whether you fancy sipping a mulled wine by the falls, touring the city’s coziest restaurants, or browsing the beloved Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, we’ve got your trip covered so you can focus on falling in love with winter at Niagara Falls.
Visiting Niagara Falls in the Winter
Before we get into the slew of awesome things you can do in Niagara Falls in the winter, let’s have a chat about the weather. It can get downright frigid in town because of the cold mist off the falls. When you’re planning your winter Niagara Falls trip, make sure to pack warm outerwear.
You’ll want to bring a super warm coat, a cozy hat, and some gloves to keep you warm. Don’t forget warm socks and shoes, too — the perfect opportunity to rock those new boots you bought!
Niagara Falls has so much to offer outdoors, so make sure you’re bundled up properly so you don’t have to stop enjoying the wintry goodness. If you do need to warm up, though, hot cocoa or mulled wine is never too far in Niagara Falls.
Nostalgic Niagara Falls Winter Activities
The wintertime is filled with nostalgia — sitting by a warm fireplace, watching a tree light up, and spending time with the ones you love most. Here are the best nostalgic Niagara Falls activities that’ll get you in the mood for a winter full of cozy cashmere sweaters and cuddling up with good books.
Niagara Parks Winter Marketplace
If you’re visiting Niagara Falls at the beginning of winter, don’t miss out on the holiday celebrations that draw in thousands of Canadians each year. The Niagara Parks Winter Marketplace only runs for two weekends in November, but it’s a cozy and nostalgic experience that’ll get you in the mood for winter.
Beginning with a tree lighting ceremony in Queen Victoria Park, the marketplace opens up to tourists and locals for food and drink, holiday shopping, and live entertainment. You can find luxurious artisanal wares at the marketplace, crafted by local artists and makers. The food and drink cabins offer warm pick-me-ups and tasty, indulgent food that’ll send you right back to your childhood.
The marketplace is located right near sections of the Winter Festival of Lights, so you can easily stroll from one winter activity to the next.
OPG Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
From the middle of November through February, the Niagara Parkway transforms into an array of intricate light displays to celebrate the magic of the winter season. Grab a warm beverage and set aside an evening to peruse 50 exciting illuminations that spark your holiday spirit.
A nighttime walk through the Festival of Lights is a romantic date night, or you can make lifelong memories with family. Watch as humongous depictions of wildlife sparkle in the winter wonderland created just for you. With over 3 million lights and 75+ spectacular displays (8 new displays for 2021) providing colourful visuals, Niagara Falls will be transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland along the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands and across the tourism districts.
This is by far the most popular winter activity in Niagara Falls, but the hype is well deserved — you could spend hours looking at the lights and posing for this self-guided, totally Instagrammable experience!
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT ON WEEKENDS
BONUS: This exciting indoor activation will allow guests to warm up along the Festival route and enjoy live music, magicians, story time and more.
Annual Poinsettia Show
A family holiday tradition for over 65 years, the Floral Showhouse Annual Poinsettia Show features cyclamen, azaleas, Christmas cactus and paperwhite narcissus in addition to a spectacular display of festive poinsettias.
Best Winter Shopping in Niagara Falls
Shopping is one of the best — and warmest — winter activities. No matter the weather, you can hit these Niagara shopping centres for a new pair of shoes, a dazzling new sweater, or something to remember your trip by.
Canada One Outlets
Just a few minutes drive from downtown Niagara Falls, this robust outlet mall offers tons of designer and brand name shops. Enjoy the upscale finds at Laura, find a new bag at the GUESS store, or stock up on some staples at Tommy Hilfiger.
You can drive, take rideshare, or hop on public transit to get to the Canada One Outlets from downtown Niagara. There are plenty of delicious restaurants and cozy spots to grab a drink after your shopping extravaganza, so don’t fret about getting back to the falls too fast.
Hidden away in the lobby of the Sheraton Fallsview is the Wine Rack, where you can find the best Canadian wines from near and far. This shop has international selections, too, with hundreds of wines to choose from. Pick a local fermentation to commemorate your visit to Niagara Falls, or choose something you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else — Wine Rack has it all!
Wine Rack is located inside the Fallsview Casino Resort, so you can go straight from the slots to the wine shop. You don’t have to stay at the resort to shop at the Wine Rack, although you’ll want to stay the night after trying a few samples.
What to Eat & Drink in Niagara Falls During Winter
During a trip filled with holiday festivities, illumination shows, and shopping, the food you eat is all-important. Luckily, Niagara Falls is filled with cozy spots to sit for hours and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Here are our favourites.
Niagara Vines Winebar
Located in the Sheraton Fallsview, this expansive wine bar is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy a drink during your winter stay in Niagara. The bar offers samplings of every single wine produced in Niagara Falls, hailing from as far as the escarpment stretches. With more than 80 wineries in Niagara, that’s a lot of wine!
There’s plenty of space to spread out with your group, kick back, and take your time tasting all the local wines you can handle. If you find something you love, you can always pop over to Wine Rack to bring a bottle home with you.
It’s like Weinkeller was designed specifically for flushed tourists looking for a spot to cozy up. This winery-restaurant combo is located in downtown Niagara, so it’s an easy stop if you’re walking around town.
The interior brick walls and wine barrels make for a setting that soothes the soul, not to mention the roaring fire you can sit beside. If the ambiance doesn’t warm you from the inside out, the menu will, with the likes of fried goat cheese, herbed mussels, vegan tandoori, and of course, a selection of great wine.
Fun Winter Activies In Niagara Falls
Known as the place for romantic getaways, it makes sense to indulge in spa experiences to up the romantic vibes a bit more. There are a few options available for lover birds including Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa’s luxurious new spa experience, Burning Springs Spa & Thermal Pool. The new spa pays homage to one of Niagara’s first attractions and is situated on the original location of a spectacular natural spring of burning water which enthralled visitors and drew crowds to Niagara Falls. The Spa features 3 Thermal Pools with distinct salt and minerals to soothe, restore and impart therapeutic properties.
Skating (early December – mid-March)
This is one of the best winter in Niagara Falls activities. Cocktails, wine and beer and a fire pit at Wayne Gretzky Estates make for a fun skate alongside the vineyards of this hat trick winery, brewery and distillery. Popular weekend events include Friday Date & Skate and Saturday DJ Night.
Niagara Icewine Festival
Whether venturing through the snow-covered parks to capture the perfect selfie with the Falls, sipping signature Niagara Icewine at one of the region’s wineries or discovering the chill from the outdoor viewing platform at Journey Behind the Falls, a winter visit is an absolute must!
Take in the view
The stunning but frosty panoramic view from the Skylon Tower Observation Deck is a must. For those looking for a bit more more comfort, the beautiful vistas from the comfort of the climate-controlled Niagara SkyWheel on Clifton Hill are for you.
Find the Tropics
If you’re looking for a more tropical vibe in the winter without leaving the country, Niagara Falls has you covered! From the exhilerating and family friendly fun at waterparks to the humid eco-systems inside the Butterfly Conservatory and Bird Kingdom, there are plenty of escapes to make you forget the winter chill outside.