Have you been postponing your trip to Niagara Falls until the ice thaws? You’re not the only one. Most tourists visit this destination in the summer – and that’s just one of the reasons why you should consider a winter trip to Niagara Falls. Not only will it be cheaper and less crowded, but viewing the ice-covered falls surrounded by snow is an experience that’s hard to beat.
Yes, it will be cold in Niagara Falls in the winter, and yes, you should pack your warmest coat, scarf, mittens, hat and long underwear. But we think winter in Niagara Falls just isn’t to be missed, and here’s why.
Beat the Crowds
Perhaps the biggest reason to visit Niagara Falls in the winter is that you’ll beat the crowds that tend to swarm over this world-famous attraction in the spring, summer and autumn months. Frigid winter temperatures keep most of the tourists away. Parts of the river and the falls themselves freeze, and if it’s cold enough, the entire waterfall freezes. Trees, shrubs and other foliage along the banks of the Niagara are frozen solid, clinging to the cliffs. Mist rises from the icy water. And there you’ll be, standing alone at the edge of the mighty Falls, awestruck at the ethereal beauty of one of the world’s largest waterfalls covered in ice and snow.
Since there won’t be as many tourists in town, you’ll save money on everything from your Niagara Falls, Canada hotel room to your parking costs. One travel blogger reported paying just $5 to park all day at Niagara Falls in the winter – you won’t get that rate in the summer! Attraction passes, like the winter-season Niagara Falls Wonder Pass, are cheaper, too. And you won’t find any shortage of things to do in Niagara Falls; Journey Behind the Falls remains open if the weather is mild enough, and other attractions, like those at Clifton Hill, give you a chance to get in out of the cold and warm up for a while.
Get Unparalleled Views of the Ice-Covered Falls
The falls have been illuminated at night since 1925, and in the winter, illumination periods run longer, since it gets dark sooner. Illuminations begin at 4:30 p.m. in November and December and at 5:00 p.m. in January and run until midnight. You might not be able to take a boat tour of the Falls in the winter, but you can get a birds-eye view through a helicopter tour! You’ll see the Niagara Whirlpool, the Rainbow Bridge, the Niagara Rapids, American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. There’s no better way to see the glittering ice floes on the Niagara River and enjoy the beautiful winter landscape.
Marvel at the Winter Festival of Lights
The Winter Festival of Lights is scheduled to run from November 3, 2018 to January 31, 2019 this winter season. The Winter Festival of Lights includes breathtaking light sculptures depicting deer, moose, angels and bison along a four-mile (eight-kilometer) route that hugs the Niagara Escarpment and travels through the Dufferin Islands. In addition to displays such as the world’s largest Canadian-American Flag, Noah’s Ark and Canadian wildlife, you’ll also see more than 50 trees decked out in beautiful LEDs. Laser light shows, weekly fireworks, the Deck the Falls Holiday Walking Tour and other events also form part of the festival.
Shop Area Christmas Markets
If you’re coming to Niagara Falls for a winter vacation, it’s just a short trip to the world-famous Toronto Christmas Market, which is open from November 15 to December 23 this year. You’ll also find Christmas markets in Niagara Falls itself, as well as in other nearby villages, like St. Catharines and Port Dalhousie. Take the opportunity to visit some of these local markets, and while you’re at it, try some of the local ice wine; it’s a world-renowned delicacy of the region. You may want to pick up a bottle or two to take home!
Niagara Falls might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a winter vacation destination, but don’t discount it just yet! You can have just as much fun in Niagara Falls during the winter – and perhaps even more, since you won’t have to fight the crowds for parking and access to attractions. If you’re looking for something different to do this winter, come see Niagara Falls as few have seen them, at the center of a peaceful winter landscape.