Most people imagine visiting Niagara Falls in summer, but there is a calm and magic about the Canadian attraction that comes during the cold of winter. Even though the temperature can often be below zero between November and February, pretty much all of Niagara Falls stays open and there is still plenty to do, including the spectacular visuals of the annual Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights.
When and Where to See the Show
From the beginning of November until the first week of January, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is a spectacular light show that includes an illuminated 3-mile route of lighted displays, fireworks over the falls and more, including concerts and children's performances.
All the light shows are free of charge, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Most of the events take place in the heart of Niagara Falls adjacent to the Falls themselves and near to the major hotels and Clifton Hill.
Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland
A beautifully decorated 3-mile route stretching from Dufferin Islands along the Niagara Parkway, adjacent to Niagara Falls, past the Rainbow Bridge, to Whirlpool Bridge is known as the Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland. It includes nearly two million lights and over 100 lighting displays, including:
- Enchantment of Disney, featuring Walt Disney classics like The Little Mermaid
- The world's largest animated Canadian-American Flag display
- Twas the Night Before Christmas audio-visual display
- Menorah Display
If you're not up to walking the whole Niagara Winter Festival of Lights route, consider a shuttle tour of the event. Ask at the information booth or your hotel for details.
Fireworks over the Falls: Enjoy a spectacular fireworks display over the mighty Niagara Falls every Friday evening at 9 p.m. as well as select dates throughout the holiday season. A special New Year's Eve illumination occurs on December 31.
Laser Light Shows: Catch a laser light show nightly at the top of Clifton Hill. Each show is free and 15 minutes long.
Deck the Falls Holiday Walking Tour: Walk through the tourist district of Niagara Falls. Each venue along the way offers activities like food sampling, holiday beverages, entertainment, games, and crafts.
One of Niagara Falls' biggest draws is the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. With a hotel, restaurants, live entertainment, spa, and casino, the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort tends to be the heart of the action. After seeing the light show, the Casino is a great locale for a warm drink, snack, or full meal.
During the daytime, when the lights are at rest, there's still plenty to do. Among the top attractions in the area are the Observation Deck of the Skylon Tower, The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservator, or even a sky view of the falls inside a Niagara Helicopters. For those traveling with kids, the historic Morningstar Mill is one of Ontario's oldest flour mills, and the observation deck at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls has an amazing view.