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Niagara Falls in Winter

Although many tourists are put off by the big freezes of winter, the truth is that a visit to Niagara Falls at this time of year is no less enjoyable than at other times of the year. Here's why and how to enjoy your winter visit to the fullest.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

8 min read

Niagara Falls in Winter

Frozen Niagara Falls | © Elvir K

A visit to Niagara Falls in the 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 to do if you decide to visit Niagara Falls in the winter.

1. Attend the festival of lights

Winter Festival of Lights at the Falls| ©Paul Boudreau
Winter Festival of Lights at the Falls| ©Paul Boudreau

Niagara Falls is a natural spectacle in itself, but for the past few years it has been breathtaking at night, thanks to the renovation of the lighting system with LED lights that work when the sun goes down to create a spectacular sight that you can't miss.

Colors inspired by nature that are themed according to the charitable event of the day or time of year. Put on a good coat and get ready to enjoy the magic of light, color and a fairytale frozen landscape starting at 9:30 pm.

In addition, the annual OPG Winter Festival of Lights route offers 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 for the 5-mile drive to park and enjoy the ambiance.

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2. Photograph the spectacle caused by frost

Frost on the Niagara| ©Heather Rhoades
Frost on the Niagara| ©Heather Rhoades

We don't know if winter is the best time of year to visit Niagara Falls, but it's certainly a season when you're going to see things you won't see in any other. As the ice covers everything it touches, it is breathtaking to visit Niagara Falls at this time of year. The reflection of the light on the glass sparkles beauty in a unique landscape that allows you to photograph a myriad of perspectives.

The water loses strength and changes state, solidifying with each 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.

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3. Delight yourself with the Christmas Concert Series

Entrance to the Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery where the concerts are held.| ©Leonora Enking
Entrance to the Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery where the concerts are held.| ©Leonora Enking

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 you can't miss the Christmas special, featuring the soundtrack of the band's holiday tunes and Skydiggers classics.

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4. View the frozen falls from the top of a helicopter

View of the Falls in Winter| ©Michael Whyte
View of the Falls in Winter| ©Michael Whyte

What do you say if I invite you to have an incredible experience with a bird's eye view of this natural jewel? The Falls are a spectacle in themselves to admire from any perspective you propose, but without a doubt, doing it from the heights exceeds all expectations you can imagine.
The frozen landscape in the winter months only enhances its beauty.

In addition, you can see the surroundings over which you can see 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 to see 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.

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5. Take refuge in the warmth of the casinos

Facade of the Fallsview Casino Resort| ©Bogdan Migulski
Facade of the Fallsview Casino Resort| ©Bogdan Migulski

Niagara Falls attractions extend far beyond the natural park. To take shelter from the cold and have a relaxing moment of fun, 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 of Las Vegas.

I recommend you to visit 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 watch a world-class theater show.

6. Climb Skylon Tower

Skylon Tower| ©Gary J. Wood
Skylon Tower| ©Gary J. Wood

After Niagara Falls, the most visited place in the area is Skylon Tower. An observation center with surprises, where you can admire the frozen landscape not only of the falls but also the skylines of Buffalo, New York and Toronto, and all this without being cold.

And what are these surprises? Well, it's not just a viewpoint, 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

Niagara on the Lake Christmas Shops| ©Shankar S
Niagara on the Lake Christmas Shops| ©Shankar S

If you want to enjoy the best Christmas atmosphere, come and visit the beautiful town 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 make a Christmas story come alive for locals and travelers to have a cozy and warm experience with all the charm of its people, its streets and its neat decorations.

8. Shop for the best winter clothing at the outlet stores

Outlet Collection at Niagara| ©MarriottGatewayFalls
Outlet Collection at Niagara| ©MarriottGatewayFalls

If you're missing some clothes because you forgot them or just want to take a souvenir home, 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 dedicated restaurant area 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 more than 200 designer stores where you can shop for clothing, but also other items from beauty, electronics, health and much more. Get the most sought-after discounts on your favorite brands to be the king or queen of the ice.

9. Taste the best ice wine of the season

IceWine at Niagara on the Lake| ©Anthony
IceWine at Niagara on the Lake| ©Anthony

You should not leave Niagara without tasting one of the gastronomic delights of the region, icewine. For decades, wine has been produced in the region surrounding the falls. The vineyards of Niagara 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 an almost golden yellowish grape juice, sweet and ideal for desserts.

This wine pairs very well with cheeses and pates, while it 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. Of course, in winter check the schedules in case you find any restaurant closed.

10. Go ice skating outdoors

Ice Skating at Niagara Falls| ©Naturally in Niagara
Ice Skating at Niagara Falls| ©Naturally in Niagara

During the Festival of Lights there is a space for fun and outdoor ice skating, the TD RINK rink at the Brink. Don't hesitate and practice your favorite sport in a dreamlike setting with the falls 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. And when you finish, 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

Niagara in Winter| ©S Mazzikim
Niagara in Winter| ©S Mazzikim

Any time of the year is perfect to visit this natural monument. If you decide to travel in the months of December to February, low season, 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. So the months of January and February are the cheapest months to enjoy this region.

Winter temperatures in Niagara Falls

Visiting Niagara Falls in Winter| ©Heather Rhoades
Visiting Niagara Falls in Winter| ©Heather Rhoades

In winter temperatures in this area can reach -8ºC, so if you are traveling at this time I recommend that you take special clothing for sub-zero weather.

During this season, 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 viewpoints or seeing Niagara Falls completely frozen are one of the attractions to see them in winter and that only a few lucky ones have the pleasure of experiencing it at least once in a lifetime. Don't forget the right clothes for these dates. Do you dare to live it too?

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