30+ Charming Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake From a Local

30+ Charming Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake From a Local :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

While Niagara Falls is the premier destination of the Niagara Region, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect spot for some small-town charm in Ontario. If you’re wondering whether or not Niagara-on-the-Lake is worth visiting, that’s a resounding yes! With plenty of historic sites, galleries, restaurants, parks and more, there’s a reason why so many return again and again. I definitely took the town for granted as I grew up in Niagara but I’ve been happy to change that since moving back. If you want to know the ins and outs of this iconic Ontario destination, this Niagara native has you covered! Check out the incredible things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: With everything going on right now, some Niagara-on-the-Lake attractions and experiences may not be available due to local restrictions. If you have your heart set on something, I’d recommend calling ahead to confirm availability.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links where I may receive a kickback at no extra cost to you. It helps keep IBB alive so thank you!

About Niagara-on-the-Lake

Situated where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake has long been an important part of Canada’s history. It served as the first capital of what was Upper Canada, though it was known as Newark at the time. However, this land has been home to the Anishinaabe, Attiwonderonk (Neutral), Haudenosaunee, Mississauga and Seneca Peoples long before European settlers ever stepped foot on this land.

Niagara-on-the-Lake has a rich history as has been strategic in a number of battles, most notably the War of 1812. This is where the Battle of Fort George occurred which saw the Americans taking control of the area, though the British regained control a year later. While the town was decimated during the war, it was later rebuilt by the citizens of Niagara, starting with the area around Queen Street.

Nowadays, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a hot destination for tourism with folks from all over travelling to experience its charm. It also helps that it’s a part of wine country, another major draw to the area. The Niagara Region produces over 80% of Canada’s ice wine, with the majority of it sourced by wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake! Though when referring to Niagara-on-the-Lake, most are referencing the historic district however the actual town’s boundaries span across 130 km.

Some Fun Facts About Niagara-on-the-Lake

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake was originally incorporated as a town in 1792 but was reincorporated in 1970
  • It’s the only town in Canada that has a lord mayor
  • While you may see it written as Niagara on the Lake, the town’s official name includes the dashes as I’ve written it in this article
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake is said to be one of the most haunted towns in not just Ontario but the entire country
  • There are over 200 bed and breakfasts located in Niagara-on-the-Lake alone
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to the oldest Anglican and Catholic churches in Ontario
  • It is also home to the oldest surviving golf course in North America
Niagara-on-the-Lake in Spring :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

Springtime Means Plenty of Blooms in Niagara-on-the-Lake!

Top Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Whether you plan to spend a day in Niagara-on-the-Lake or enjoy a weekend getaway, there are plenty of things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Chances are you’ll fall in love with the area and will be planning a return visit! Alright, let’s start with Niagara-on-the-Lake downtown, shall we?

Enjoy a Stroll in Downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake

Start your visit by getting acquainted with the town. Explore Queen Street from King Street until Mississauga Street where you’ll find the majority of the town’s top points of interest. Besides the beautiful buildings (with some dating back to the 1800s!), there are plenty of little shops, restaurants and galleries to wander through. If you’re a fan of enjoying a beverage as you walk, pop into Il Gelato di Carlotta and grab a coconut latte. They also have amazing frozen treats and, of course, gelato!

Celebrate Christmas Year-Round

One of my favourite places to pop into while in Niagara-on-the-Lake is The Christmas Store. It has been a staple of town for as long as I can remember! I have plenty of fond memories visiting with my mom whether it be as the snow starts to fall or as the buds start to bloom. If you’re a fan of Christmas, you’ll want to pop in and see what holiday goodies they have as you never know what you’ll find!

Grab Some Ice Cream at Cows

Looking to enjoy a taste of the east coast without the long trek? You’ll find the only Ontario location of this ice cream chain Prince Edward Island on Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake. With over 30 flavours to choose from, I guarantee there’s one that will tickle your taste buds. Oh, and make sure you get one of their homemade waffle cones.

Sign of Heritage Architecture on Red Brick Wall :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

Just One of the Many Plaques You’ll Find in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Admire the Local Architecture

While you’re wandering, make sure to take a moment to explore some of the side streets just off of the main drag. Keep an eye out for plaques like the one above which mark the historically designated buildings in Niagara-on-the-Lake. You just might be surprised at how many there are!

Learn About the History of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Over a century ago, the Niagara Historical Society opened Memorial Hall which is where you will find the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum. Ontario’s first purpose-built museum, step inside to learn about the unique stories of this historic town. The museum is home to over 8,000 artefacts, over 40,000 documents, 2,500 photographs and 600 books dating from pre-colonization until the present day. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for students and children 12 and under are free.

Treat Yourself to a Chimney Cake

Yes it’s true, you can enjoy a taste of Budapest right in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Head to Budapest Bakehouse where they serve Hungarian Chimney Cakes also known as Kurtoskalacs. Baked in-house every day from scratch, you can choose from either sweet or savoury flavours as you watch them be made right in front of you. While I typically err on the side of savoury, flavours like Oreo and cheesecake icing might have me opting for sweet instead!

Voices of Freedom Memorial in Niagara-on-the-Lake :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

The Voices of Freedom Memorial is a Must-See in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Visit the Voices of Freedom Memorial

Located on the corner of Johnson and Regent Streets, the Voices of Freedom Memorial brings the forgotten stories from those of African descent to the forefront. Niagara-on-the-Lake was greatly shaped by many Black men, women and children, though their stories are not told nearly as often as they should be. Each part of this memorial park is a representation of the experiences had by these marginalized voices. Take some time to walk through the park and reflect. Then, head to the very corner where you’ll find an interpretive plaque explaining what each piece means.

Visit an Art Gallery

Tucked in between the shops and restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll find a number of beautiful art galleries. One of the most popular is the King Street Gallery which is housed in one of the oldest buildings in town. Inside you’ll find a variety of works from impressionist-style painting to textiles. There is also the All in the Wild Gallery, the Butterfly Gallery, the Edward Spera Gallery and the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre if you’re looking to do a little gallery crawl in NOTL’s heritage district.

Though I have to highlight my absolute favourite, the Upper Canada Native Art Gallery. This gallery specializes in Inuit and Haudenosaunee art and has been working with Indigenous artists from across the country for over 30 years. You’ll find a variety of beautiful works including sculptures, dreamcatchers, jewellery and more.

Take a Swing at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club

Any golf enthusiast will want to book a tee time on North America’s oldest golf course. Enjoy a round of 9 holes as you’re treated to scenic views along the shores of Lake Ontario. While the grounds have changed over the 135 years (and counting!) the course has been around, the green of hole 8 hasn’t changed since it was established over a century ago! It’s truly a unique experience to play the course with an important piece of history just a stone’s throw away. If golf isn’t your game, you can also enjoy a meal or a beverage on the golf club’s patio.

Part of the Fortifications of the Fort George National Historic Site :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

A Glimpse of the Fort George National Historic Site

Explore One of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Historic Sites

As I mentioned earlier, Niagara-on-the-Lake is full of rich history. As one of the earlier settlements during colonization, many events have shaped the town into what it is today. There are three Parks Canada national historic sites where you can learn more.

Learn about the early military history of the area at the Fort George National Historic Site. Built between 1796 and 1802, it served as the British Army’s Centre Division headquarters during the War of 1812. This fortification played an important role in defending Upper Canada due to its strategic location overlooking the Niagara River. Read more about this vibrant history here or plan to stop in while visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake. Admission is $11.90 for adults, $10.20 for seniors 65 years and up, and children 17 and under are free.

Just behind Fort George, you’ll find five wooden buildings which comprise the Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site. Named after Colonel John Butler, this complex essential component of the British Military’s presence in Niagara. While only the Commissariat Stores, Junior Commissariat Officers’ Quarters, the Men’s Barracks and the Gunshed still stand, over 20 buildings were located here by the mid-1800s. Unlike Fort George, this historic site is free to visit and can be explored all year round.

Head to the other end of town by following Ricardo Street until it turns into Front Street and you’ll find the path which leads to the Fort Mississauga National Historic Site. This one’s a little awkward as the path takes you right through the aforementioned golf course, but just follow the trail and you’ll be taken past the Old Fort and to the shores of Lake Ontario. This historic site is also free to visit and accessible throughout the year.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to one more historic site, Queenston Heights, which is located about a 20 minute drive south of the heritage district. Click here to jump to that section.

View from In Front of the Niagara Apothecary in Niagara-on-the-Lake :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

The Niagara Apothecary in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Heritage District

Step Into the Past at the Niagara Apothecary Museum

You’ll be transported to 1869 as you step inside the mid-Victorian commercial building that’s home to the Niagara Apothecary. What was once a practice that operated in town from 1820 until 1964, it is now an authentic restoration of its former self. Operating for almost 150 years, it was overseen by six owners during its time before becoming a museum in 1971. This building is the only surviving building of the Canadian Confederation period in Niagara-on-the-Lake. What makes the Niagara Apoethcary so unique is the elaborate, ornate nature of the interior design and ornate fixtures, especially due to its location in such a rural setting.

Now run by the Ontario Heritage Trust, it is open daily from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm from Mother’s Day to Labour Day with the extended hours of 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on July and August weekends.

Brave a Haunted Ghost Walk in Niagara-on-the-Lake

You may not realize that Niagara-on-the-Lake has a ghastly side but the folks over at Ghost Walks know it best. Take a tour of what they say is Canada’s most haunted town. Why does NOTL take that title? Well, the town burned to the ground during the War of 1812, it was a prominent location in slavery (and the site where it was abolished for future generations), and more. With stories of “the watcher”, the legend of Sobbing Sophia and not one but two ghost tours of the town, you’ll quickly realize how Niagara-on-the-Lake earned this title. If you can’t wait until a tour, you can read about the devilish side of NOTL in this book.

Catch a Show at the Shaw Festival Theatre

The Shaw Festival has been a huge draw to Niagara for culture connoisseurs since its inception in 1962. While its first season was just eight shows that embodied lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty’s passion for Irish playwright Bernard Shaw, it has since grown into 10 or more productions yearly. You can catch a show from May until December at one of three theatres across town. The Shaw Festival has become a major Canadian cultural icon, attracting visitors from across the province, country and globe.

Queens Royal Park with Lake Ontario in the Background :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

Queens Royal Park on the Edge of Lake Ontario

Relax in Queen’s Royal Park

Take a break from wandering in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake and take a seat at Queen’s Royal Park. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, this is where you’ll find the iconic gazebo you’ve probably seen in a number of photos on the internet. Take a walk along the path that follows the shore of Lake Ontario and spend some time relaxing on the seat-like rocks by the beach. It’s the perfect way to rest your feet before continuing on your adventures. Don’t forget to wave to our neighbours just across the river in New York State as you admire the views of Fort Niagara.

Indulge in Some Local Craft Beer

Did you know that Niagara-on-the-Lake has its own craft brewery? While Niagara-on-the-Lake is clearly the place to be for Ontario wine, Niagara has a stellar craft brewing scene too. Grab a pint at Exchange Brewing located right on Queen Street, almost kitty-corner from the Prince of Wales hotel.

You’ll find a wide variety of brews whose offerings depend on the season. Keep an eye out for beers like their Cerise Belgian-style ale as it was a true taste of Niagara with the brew fermenting amongst local sour cherries. Their two-tier taproom includes two eight-tap bars in their beautifully elegant building. While this is honestly one of the snazziest breweries I’ve ever stepped foot in, the best place to enjoy one of their brews is from their second-floor patio which offers beautiful views of Simcoe Park.

Hop on a Whirlpool Jetboat Tour

This is hands down one of the most exhilarating experiences you’ll have in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Grab a seat in one of their custom-built vessels as you tackle Niagara’s notorious Devil’s Hole Rapids. With currents reaching speeds of 32 km and 6-metre tall waves, you’re in for a wild ride! While they have locations in Niagara Falls as well as New York State, you can hop on a tour right by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club. There’s also the option to depart from Queenston if that’s more convenient for you.

Grab a Bite at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Restaurants

Despite the town proper being quite small, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants to dine at. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a full sitdown meal, you’ll find the perfect spot in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Summertime is the best as the majority of these restaurants have patios so you can soak up the sun while enjoying your meal! Keep scrolling or click here to see what Niagara-on-the-Lake restaurants you should check out.

Rows of Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

One of the Many Sprawling Vineyards You’ll Find in Niagara-on-the-Lake

More Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake

The aforementioned things to do focus around the town proper. However as you now know because you’re a pro when it comes to NOTL, it’s actually much larger than the Niagara-on-the-Lake heritage district! If you’re still wondering what to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake, here are some more spots to check out in the area.

Hop On a Niagara Wine Tour – I mean, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the heart of Ontario wine country after all! There are a number of tours to choose from like this full-day tour which takes you to Konzelmann Estate Winery, The Hare Wine Co, Hinterbrook Winery and Lakeview Wine Co. You also have the option of visiting wineries at your leisure (responsibly of course). My personal favourites are Chateau des Charmes, Inniskillin, Pondview and Pillitteri Estates, though you can read all about the best wineries in Niagara in my guide.

Walk or Bike Along the Niagara Parkway – Enjoy beautiful views of the Niagara River with a lovely trip along the Niagara Parkway. Often travelled by car while exploring the region, you can enjoy this paved path at a more leisurely pace. Bring your set of two wheels or rent a bike from one of the operators in Niagara-on-the-Lake. There’s also the option to utilize your own two feet if biking isn’t your jam.

Visit the McFarland House – Pay a visit to this historic Georgian home and get a taste of what life was like over two centuries ago. Inside you’ll learn about the life of John McFarland, one of Niagara’s earliest settlers, along with some of his family members who resided in the house between 1800 and 1950. Enjoy a guided tour with costumed interpreters and keep an eye out for special events during the holiday season. You can also enjoy some freshly made treats with an afternoon tea session at the Conservatory Tea Room. Admission is $6.75 for visitors 13 years of age and older, $4.50 for children 6-12 years old and children 5 and under are free.

Visit the Living Water Wayside Chapel – Said to be the smallest chapel in the world at just 72 square feet, the Living Water Wayside Chapel is a fun spot to pull over for a photo op. While it was built in 1964 by the Niagara Falls Christian Reformed Church, it’s not known who manages it now. Visitors can step inside for a quick peek if the doors are unlocked before continuing on their journey through Niagara.

Stop in at Walker’s Country Market – Right next door to the Living Water Wayside Chapel, you’ll find Walker’s Country Market. Family-owned and run since the 1930s, you can enjoy a number of delicious farm-grown fruits when in season. The market also offers fresh-baked goods and sandwiches, making it the perfect pit stop if you’re feeling a little peckish.

Views Along the Niagara Parkway in Spring :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

Springtime Views Along the Niagara Parkway

Explore the Laura Secord Homestead – Laura Secord is the famous heroine who is known for risking her life to walk 32 km through American-occupied territory to warn British forces of an impending American attack in 1813. This homestead is where she lived from 1803-1835 and was where her journey began. You can get a taste of her route by hiking the Laura Secord Legacy Trail which starts here in Queenston and finishes at DeCew House near St Catharines.

Visit the RiverBrink Art Museum – Originally the country home of London lawyer Samuel E. Weir, it is now an art gallery whose mission is to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts. Pop into this beautiful property and admire the works from their permanent display. Admission is by donation.

Check Out the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum – Step inside the home of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, to learn about 500 years of printmaking history. Visitors can learn about the linotype press with a hands-on experience as well as witness the oldest printing press in Canada. It’s also one of the world’s last original wooden presses! Admission is $6.75 for visitors 13 years of age and older, $4.50 for children 6-12 years old and children 5 and under are free.

INSIDER TIP: If you’re interested in the historical sites of Niagara-on-the-Lake, you can purchase the Niagara Falls Heritage Trail Pass from Niagara Parks for $22.12 and save 40% on admission.

Explore Queenston Heights Park – The site of the battle of Queenston Heights during the War of 1812, you’ll now find a gorgeous public park. The iconic column which stands just shy of 58 metres in height commemorates the grave of Sir Issac Brock who died while defending this area from invading American soldiers. Explore the beautiful grounds and enjoy the amazing views of the Niagara River from this vantage point along the Niagara Escarpment. This is where you’ll also find The Six Nations and Native Allies Commemorative Memorial which commemorates the contributions and sacrifices made by First Nations allies as well as the ceremony of peace and reconciliation held on August 31 and September 1, 1815, in Niagara.

Go for a Hike Along the Bruce Trail – If you’ve never heard of the Bruce Trail, it’s arguably Ontario’s most famous trail and the oldest marked footpath in Canada. Spanning almost 900 km, it roughly follows the Niagara Escarpment through the Niagara Region all the way up to Tobermory. Queenston Heights Park is a great spot to do hike the Bruce Trail as it’s where you’ll find the trail’s southern terminus! If you’d like to learn more about this epic trail, check out my beginners’ guide.

Check Out the Floral Clock – Say hello to one of the largest floral clocks in the world! Niagara Parks’ Floral Clock face is made up of 16,000 plants that are changed twice per year. Some years, visitors will be treated to a unique design to commemorate a special event in Niagara such as the Whirlpool Aerocar’s 100th anniversary in 2016. If you visit on the quarter-hour, you’ll be treated to the melodic tune of the Floral Clock’s Westminster chimes.

Niagara's Screaming Tunnel in the Summer :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

Niagara’s Infamous Screaming Tunnel

Satisfy your Sweet Tooth at Chocolate F/X – If you’re a fan of all things chocolate, you’ll need to pop in for a visit to Chocolate F/X. They pride themselves on exploring unique and unexpected flavour combinations. You can enjoy one of their free daily tours where you’ll be able to sample some of their goodies while learning about their tasty creations.

Walk Through Niagara’s Screaming Tunnel – Okay so this is technically in Niagara Falls but it’s literally just on the other side of the boundary that it’s practically Niagara-on-the-Lake. Anyways, the Screaming Tunnel is a part of the aforementioned Bruce Trail and is said to be haunted. Built in the early 1900s as a drainage system for trains, legend has it a local farm caught fire and a young girl was inside. Alight with flames, she ran into the tunnel screaming for help but perished due to her wounds while inside. Rumour has it she still haunts the tunnel and if you light a match around midnight, you can hear her scream.

Shop at the Outlet Collection of Niagara – Who doesn’t love a good bargain? This open-air shopping mall features big names such as Kate Spade, Coach, Fossil and more. It’s a great spot to find some deals (especially towards the end of a season) on everything from household items to clothing to outdoor gear.

Check Out NEOB Lavender Boutique – If you’re a fan of these beautiful purple flowers and their enchanting scent, plan to visit the NEOB Lavender Boutique. They offer tours of the facility where you can learn about how lavender is harvested and how essential oils are made. June is the best time to visit as this is typically when the lavender is in full bloom. If you’ve never been to a lavender farm in Ontario, you’ll definitely want to change that!

Take a Helicopter Tour of Niagara – Head to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake where you’ll take to the skies for an aerial view of the region. While there are a few companies you can go with, this Niagara helicopter tour goes above and beyond with breathtaking views of Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country, Queenston Heights Park and not one but TWO passes over the brilliant Horseshoe Falls. This tour will definitely make your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake one that you’ll never forget!

Deep-Fried Brie at Bistro Six One, One of the Restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Deep-Fried Brie at Bistro Six One

Niagara-on-the-Lake Restaurants to Eat At

For such a small town, there is certainly no shortage of amazing restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake. One thing I love is that there’s such a wide variety of cuisines available just blocks from each other! Whether you’re craving pub food, Greek, sushi or otherwise, chances are you can find something if not right in the heart of NOTL, then just a few kilometres away. Here are a few Niagara-on-the-Lake restaurant suggestions to get you started.

Bistro Six One – You’ll find stellar Italian-inspired eats at Bistro Six One. Everything is made fresh to order and you’ll find a variety of items on the menu from pizza to fish and chips. If you’re a cheese lover though, you have to order their deep-fried brie because it is seriously incredible.

The Epicurean – This restaurant has upscale vibes with a beautifully decorated interior but the food and portions are very reasonable. While I’ve only enjoyed brunch here, their eggs benedict is on point. They also have a beautiful outdoor patio in the summer months.

Fournos – If you’re a fan of Greek eats, you have to visit Fournos. You’ll find everything from souvlaki to dolmades on the menu and their tzatziki is on point. To me, that’s the sign of a solid Greek restaurant! Fournos also has two patios, one right off of Queen Street and the other is just around the corner on Queen Street.

I’d be amiss not to include at least one of the amazing winery restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wine tasting is definitely one of the most common things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but not nearly enough people take advantage of the great eats many of these wineries have to offer!

RELATED: If you’d like to know more, check out this guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake winery restaurants on Eat Local Ontario.

Peller Estates Winery Restaurant – Chances are Peller Estates is on your radar as they’re one of the premier wineries in the Niagara Region. Open for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on weekends, their seasonal menu is FeastON Certified with many of the ingredients coming straight from the garden on-site. They also have a seasonal outdoor patio called the Barrelhouse Grill which is said to be the most picturesque patio in all of Niagara’s wine country.

Caroline Cellars’ Farmhouse Cafe – If you’re looking for a laid back spot that’s perfect for delicious yet low key eats, head to the Farmhouse Cafe at Caroline Cellars. They make “food for food lovers” and you’ll find hearty, home-cooked eats on the menu. It’s not uncommon to find German dishes like schnitzel or spaetzle along with fish and chips, sandwiches, poutine and more.

The Old Courthouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake

One of the Most Iconic Buildings in Town, NOTL’s Old Courthouse

Things to Know For Your Trip to NOTL

Ready to plan your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake? Awesome, here’s the lowdown on logistics. If you’re wondering how to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s pretty easy considering it’s pretty much as far east as you can get in the Niagara Region!

Coming from the direction of Toronto, you’ll want to follow the Gardiner Expressway to the Queen Elizabeth Way and follow it until you reach St Catharines. Take the Niagara Street exit and make a left. Continue along it until you hit Lakeshore Road, then take a right. Follow it as it twists and turns through wine country and it will turn into Mary Street. Follow it until you hit a t-intersection and turn left onto King Street. Continue for four blocks and you’ll reach the intersection right on the edge of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake!

Something to note is that if you plan on parking in the heart of town, be prepared to pay for parking. Meters are enforced from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm, seven days a week. Yes, even on holidays. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find free parking – but you’ll have to work for it! It will require a little extra walking but there is free parking available at Veteran’s Memorial Park as well as just off the Niagara Parkway on Ricardo Street. You’ll want to get there early though as it doesn’t take long for these lots to fill up, especially on weekends in the summer!

When planning your visit, you may want to keep an eye out for some of the seasonal events in Niagara-on-the-Lake. That way you can enjoy the historic charm of town along with these added bonuses!

  • In January, Niagara-on-the-Lake closes down part of Queen Street for the Niagara Icewine Festival. Take a look at my full guide to learn more.
  • You may not realize but Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great spot to catch some cherry blossoms! Typically these flowers bloom around early May but it really varies depending on the weather and temperatures each year. Check out my guide to cherry blossoms in Niagara for full details or take a peek at my cherry blossoms in Ontario post for even more blooming options.
  • September is a popular time for wine connoisseurs to visit as they head into town for the Grape and Wine Festival. While the main event is held in St Catharines, a number of the wineries have food and wine pairings at special prices to celebrate the occasion.
  • As the busy season comes to an end, November is a truly fantastic time to plan a weekend getaway in Niagara for the Taste the Season event. Across all weekends in November, you can enjoy tastings at 25+ wineries across the region!

While Niagara-on-the-Lake makes a fantastic day trip from Toronto and other Ontario cities, you need at least a weekend to truly enjoy the area. I mean, I think this post outlining all of these Niagara-on-the-Lake activities clearly demonstrates that!

View of the Prince of Wales Hotel from Across the Street :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog

The Most Iconic Hotel in Town, The Prince of Wales Hotel

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hotels & Accommodations

If you’re team weekend adventure, then you’ll want to know about some of the great Niagara-on-the-Lake accommodations. With plenty of bed and breakfasts, hotels, Airbnbs and more, there’s no shortage of options. However, it’s not uncommon for things to be booked up so if you want your top pick of accommodation, you’ll want to plan early! Here are a few of my suggestions of where to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Prince of Wales Hotel – This is easily the most iconic hotel in all of Niagara-on-the-Lake. This historic Victorian-style hotel has been a staple in NOTL since it opened in 1927. Enjoy a luxurious stay in one of their uniquely decorated rooms and indulge in regional tastes at the Noble Restaurant on-site. If you’re really looking to spoil yourself, you may want to book a treatment at their Secret Garden Spa, featuring an indoor saltwater pool, spa lounge and fitness centre. See what previous guests have to say about their experience or click here to book your stay.

Cobblestone Bed & Breakfast – During my last trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I opted for the bed and breakfast route. If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway, this is the perfect spot for you. My room had plenty of space with a king-size bed, couch, ample closet space and a full bathroom complete with a tub. As someone who loves to walk around, my aching feet were thankful for a soak! While the Cobblestone B&B is a little further out from the heritage district, it’s a fantastic spot to stay for your weekend getaway. See what previous guests have to say about their experience or click here to book your stay.

Of course, there are plenty of other accommodation options in town. Take a look at this map of Niagara-on-the-Lake for more options of where to stay in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ready for your Niagara-on-the-Lake getaway? Take a look at these frequently asked questions and get planning your adventure. Who knows, maybe I’ll run into you on Queen Street one day!

How far is it from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake?

You might be surprised to find that it is about a 30 minute drive from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s downtown core. While there are a few routes you can take, the best and prettiest route is along the Niagara Parkway. Because of their close proximity, many visitors experience both in one trip! If you’re looking to see both on your trip, don’t miss my insider tips for Niagara Falls.

Is Niagara-on-the-Lake safe to visit?

As a solo female traveller, I highly recommend travelling to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The area is fairly affluent so while you may come across some snobby people, I have not once felt unsafe while exploring the area.

When is the best time to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake?

Most tend to visit in the summer months from June until August when the weather is beautiful, the area is in full bloom and most attractions are operating at full hours. However it honestly depends on your preference! Niagara-on-the-Lake is also a fantastic winter destination with the Niagara Icewine Festival and it’s also easier to find affordable accommodation in the off season.

What are the best wineries to visit in Niagara-on-the-Lake?

This honestly depends on your personal preference, but there are certainly some top-notch wineries in Niagara. I give you the full lowdown in my guide to Niagara’s wineries here so you can either take my advice or see for yourself. The world is your oyster… err, Niagara is your wine barrel?

Can you walk to wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake?

In all honesty, this really depends. Most wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake are quite spread out from each other, making walking between them quite difficult. While you can hop on one of the guided Niagara wine tours, or enjoy a cycling tour of Niagara’s wine country, there are a handful of wineries you can walk between. Peller Estates and Two Sisters are side-by-side, making it easy to visit both in one visit. There are also a number of wineries along Lakeshore Road including Palatine Hills, Konzelmann, Hinterbrook, and Strewn which are approximately 2.5 km apart. While this would be walkable, there are no sidewalks so you’ll be doing so at your own risk.

Is Niagara-on-the-Lake worth visiting?

It’s certainly no secret destination but Niagara-on-the-Lake is definitely worth visiting! There are so many things to do in the heritage district as well as across town. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of the arts, a foodie or one for outdoor adventures, you’ll have an incredible time in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or a family adventure!

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