A visit to Niagara Falls in winter may not seem like the best decision. After all, who hasn't seen images on the news of the great northern freezes that freeze everything?
However, have you ever thought about how breathtaking it would be to experience this landscape firsthand? And more importantly, to do it without so many people around you! Today I have a guide of things you can do if you decide to visit Niagara Falls in winter.
1. Photograph the spectacle caused by the frost
While ice covers everything it touches, it's breathtaking to visit Niagara Falls in winter. The reflection of the light on the crystals sparkle beauty in a unique landscape that allows you to photograph a myriad of perspectives.
The water loses strength and changes state, solidifying with every step. Also, unlike the summer season there is much less tourism in the area, so you may be able to enjoy these amazing landscapes almost all to yourself, if you get up early. What if you can get to see the falls completely frozen? Unlikely, but not impossible.
Here's a tip! Climb the observation tower, which is open year-round and free during the winter, and you can get a panoramic view of all three falls.
2. Attend the Festival of Lights
Niagara Falls is a natural spectacle in its own right, but for the past few years it has been breathtaking at night, thanks to a revamped lighting system with LED lights that work when the sun goes down to create a spectacular sight not to be missed.
Colors inspired by nature that are themed according to the charitable event of the day or time of year. Put on a warm coat and get ready to enjoy the magic of light, color and a fairytale frozen landscape starting at 9:30 p.m.
The annual OPG Winter Festival of Lights trail features more than 75 dazzling displays that decorate the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands and the streets of the tourist districts. Bundle up and grab a car to take this 5-mile route and park to enjoy the ambiance.
3. Delight in the Christmas Concert Series
This winter, Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery and Noisemaker are teaming up to bring you indoor concerts by some of Canada's top talent. An intimate live music experience that will thrill you in a relaxed atmosphere. It's one concert a month, but don't miss the Christmas special, featuring the soundtrack of the band's holiday tunes and Skydiggers classics.
4. View the frozen falls from the top of a helicopter
What do you say I treat you to an incredible bird's eye view of this natural gem? The Falls are a spectacle in themselves to admire from any perspective you choose, but without a doubt, doing it from the heights surpasses all expectations you can imagine.The frozen landscape in the winter months only enhances its beauty.
In addition, you can see the setting of monumental waterfalls mixed with huge blocks of ice and snow*, in this region famous for its vineyards.
From Niagara District Airport, you can begin your adventure of seeing Niagara Falls from the air, available every day of the year, weather permitting. A short flight where you can enjoy taking the best snapshots to take away from this trip.
5. Take refuge in the warmth of the casinos.
The attractions of Niagara Falls extend far beyond the natural park. To keep out the cold and have some fun relaxing time, head to one of the casinos in the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. In the commercial area of Niagara Falls, you will find all the fun as if it were Las Vegas.
I recommend visiting Fallsview Casino Resort with its incredible viewpoint of the Falls. In this casino you can also see world-class shows, a spa center and night clubs. Or spend some quality time at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, where you can gamble, dine and see a world-class theater show.
6. Climb Skylon Tower
After Niagara Falls, the most visited place in the area is Skylon Tower. An observation center with surprises, where you can admire the icy landscape not only of the falls but also the skylines of Buffalo, New York and Toronto, and all without getting cold.
And what are these surprises? Well, it's not just a lookout point, it also houses a space for children's fun with interactive games, an exhibition showing dinosaurs of all species, a 3D/4D movie theater where you can experience the power of the falls with special effects or a wide selection of international boutique stores. Are you going to miss it?
7. Enjoy the Canadian Christmas atmosphere
If you want to enjoy the best Christmas atmosphere, come and visit the beautiful village of Niagara on the lake. Here, you will find stores elegantly decorated with all the spirit of Christmas, in a very cool atmosphere. During the first weekend of December you can take a candlelight stroll on Friday.
You can also take a tour of six seasonal houses organized by the Rotary Club, beautifully decorated and decorated, where you can have a wine and a local sweet. Everything is decked out to bring a Christmas story to life for locals and travelers alike to have a warm and welcoming experience with all the charm of the people, the streets and the thoughtful decorations.
8. Shop for the best winter clothing at the outlets
If you're missing some clothes because you forgot them or just want to take a souvenir home with you, visit Outlet Collection. It is located in Niagara on the lake with a new and fresh outlet concept. Here, you can find more than 100 irresistible brands such as The North Face, Nike Factory Store or Tommy Hilfiger among many others.
It is the largest outdoor mall in Canada with a playground for the little ones, a space dedicated to restaurants called The Eatery and an event area where a farmers' market and a social gathering place are set up.
On the American side, closer to the falls, you will find Fashion Outlets Niagara Falls. This is an indoor mall and outdoor area with over 200 designer stores where you can shop for clothing, but also other items from beauty, electronics, health and much more. Get your hands on the most sought-after discounts from your favorite brands to be the king or queen of the ice.
9. Taste the best ice wine of the season
You shouldn't leave Niagara without trying one of the region's gastronomic delights, icewine. For decades, wine has been produced in the region surrounding the falls. Niagara's vineyards have become an attraction for travelers who visit them for a wine tasting and taste the best dishes of the region.
Due to the harsh winter weather, this wine is made from semi-frozen grapes, harvested by hand and pressed immediately to obtain a yellowish, almost golden grape juice, sweet and ideal for desserts. It also pairs very well with cheeses and pates, and can be a great accompaniment to spicy cuisines such as Thai or Indian.
During the month of January, the famous Niagara Icewine Festival is held in Niagara on the Lake. This festival is held once a year for three weeks and is dedicated to Ontario's icewine. During these days the entire Niagara region turns into one big wine festival. Due to the large influx of wine lovers I recommend that you plan your vacation in advance to enjoy these dates.
If wine gives you an appetite, I leave you this post on where to eat in Niagara Falls. However, in winter, check the schedules in case you find any restaurant closed.
10. Go ice skating outdoors
During the Festival of Lights there is a space for fun and outdoor ice skating, it is the TD RINK rink at the Brink. Don't hesitate and practice your favorite sport in a dreamlike setting with the waterfalls in the background and ambient music. Be part of the visitors from all over the world who have been able to enjoy this experience under the open sky and on the edge of the abyss.
At the end, stay to enjoy the surroundings with the illumination of Niagara Falls, one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world. Can you ask for more?
Prices in Niagara Falls during wintertime
Any time of the year is the perfect time to visit this natural monument. If you decide to travel in the months of December to February, low season, the prices will be more affordable than at any other time of the year. But be careful because during the Christmas holidays, prices go up again due to the celebrations and events that take place, both in the area of the Falls and in the surrounding area and towns. January and February are the cheapest months to enjoy this region.
Temperatures in Niagara Falls in winter
We don't know if winter is the best time of the year to visit Niagara Falls, but as you can see it is a season when you will see things you won't see in any other. Of course, temperatures in this area can reach -8ºC, so if you travel at this time I recommend that you wear special clothing for sub-zero weather.
During this time, a unique spectacle is appreciated, pieces of giant ice sliding down the waters of the falls forming a spectacle for the senses like no other. The mist over the overlooks or seeing Niagara Falls completely frozen are one of the attractions to see them in winter and that only a lucky few have the pleasure of having experienced it at least once in a lifetime. Don't forget the appropriate clothing for these dates. Do you dare to experience it too?