Fall is a funny season because the beginning of it still feels like Summer and usually by the end of it (mid November), it feels like Winter. You never really know if you will be waking up to snow, sun or rain and I sort of enjoy the inconsistency. It’s also a time when people start to get into the holiday spirit. Late Fall also happens to be when I celebrate my birthday. Lastly, it also makes it a perfect time to visit Niagara Falls! Thanks to Expedia.ca we got to go there over my birthday weekend and experience everything that Niagara Falls has to offer in late Fall. It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday; surrounded by my family, nature and fun activities to please everyone!
5 reasons whey you should visit Niagara Falls in late Fall & Winter
Visiting off-season means that the crowds are low. We happened to be there on a particularly warm day but even still, it wasn’t super busy. That means that you don’t have to push your way through the crowds and can take your time to watch the Falls from anywhere along the perimeter taking in the beauty of nature in your leisure.
Not to mention, most of the great attractions are still open so there’s practically no line ups for attractions like Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury and the Butterfly Conservatory. You can find out more about our experience visiting these attractions HERE.
Another fun thing to do if the weather cooperates is to enjoy lunch near the Falls. There are several picnic spots located near the Falls area. The kids had fun running around the park and there’s truly nothing like enjoying a meal outdoors listening to the roaring sound of the Falls.
Get into the Holiday Spirit Early
What’s the point of enjoying the holiday only for a day!? I love that people get into the holiday mood and spirit early… like mid November early! Niagara Falls is no exception. You’ll find holiday decorations and holiday themed activities! It’s also the start of the annual Winter Festival of Lights which takes place nightly until January 31. Enjoy spectacular lights displays, Laser Light Shows, and over 2 million lights displayed along Queen Victoria Park and throughout the city.
It’s a perfect activity to enjoy from the comfort (and warmth) of your car. Drive along the Niagara Parkway, tune in to 100.5FM and enjoy the scenery while listening to holiday music. I have to say that the highlight for me was the fireworks (on select dates till January 27)! An amazing display of fireworks over the Falls. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this. Well, it does when the opening ceremonies happen on your birthday (which it did)! It was a perfect way to wrap up our day!
Unique Shopping Experience
Speaking of the holidays, Niagara Falls is a great place to start your holiday shopping. Specifically, it’s a great place to pick up some unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list. A seasonal favourite are snow globes and don’t forget to grab a few “Canadian” goodies like Maple Syrup and T-shirts to send to friends and relatives overseas. Of course they also make for a great souvenir too! My kids’ favourite store is the Hershey store (of course), where you can find a variety of packaged chocolates, In mid and late November you can also enjoy a traditional holiday market which features themed gifts, crafts, food vendors, entertainment and more. If you’re driving to the Market make sure to take the Park & Ride program from Falls Parking, next to the Horseshoe Falls, for just $5 per vehicle.
Enjoy Seasonal Food Cuisine!
While I’m no foodie, I do enjoy a good meal… especially the ones I don’t have to prepare. What I enjoy most about eating in one of the five, full-service, Niagara parks restaurants is that the meals are all prepared by trained chefs using locally sourced ingredients including a selection of VQA wines from the vineyards of Niagara. That means you can enjoy the best the season has to offer without disappointment. For my birthday dinner, we visited the Elements on the Falls Restaurant.
I really can’t recommend this place enough. Not only are you situated on the top level of Table Rock Centre with direct views of the Horseshoe Falls, but the service was exceptional and the decor made it feel like a lounge. It’s a perfect setting whether you’re enjoying a romantic dinner for two or a celebratory family meal (and yes, there’s a children’s menu). John and I enjoyed vegetable Samosas and Grilled Bosc Pear Salad (to die for) for appetizers and a (char-grilled Elements) Hamburger and Atlantic Salmon Fillet for the main course. Of course, a birthday dinner wouldn’t be complete without some dessert. We shared the Niagara Spy Apple Barge which is as delicious as it sounds!
Besides the food, the restaurant’s other main pro is that you can enjoy your dinner with a view! Both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls are illuminated every evening with energy-efficient LED lights. Every time I turned to look out the window I was in awe of the beauty and power of the Falls.
Hotel rates are typically lower this time of the year. Lucky for you, it means you can score a great deal at one of the top notch hotels situated in the main area of Niagara Falls. Through Expedia.ca we were able to score a great deal on the famous family-friendly accommodation – Great Wolf Lodge.
It’s our kid’s favourite place to stay for good reasons. Besides the main attraction – a water park complete with slides for various ages, wave pool, lazy river and a water play structure – there is tons of other great entertainment including MagiQuest, an arcade, a spa, indoor bowling, an arts & crafts playroom and a variety of activities in the main lobby throughout the day.
The suits are also just as fun! We stayed in a Kid Cabin room which included a double bed and a separate kid bedroom area that included a double bed and a single bed. The kids loved their own private area complete with a TV. Each room also includes a balcony.
While we didn’t get the meal plan, we did bring some food with us (there’s a small fridge and microwave in the room) and often purchased food from one of their dinning options and brought it back to our room. We love the pizza from Northwoods Pizza Company and the chicken fingers from Buckets Incredible Craveables. My other main tip is to purchase a Paw Pass for your kids. They cost $65 but if you use everything it includes (and you will), it’s a $120 value!
I can write a whole post detailing all of the amazing features of this hotel, and I will… so stay tuned for more! You could easily spend an entire weekend at Great Wolf Lodge and never leave, but of course I would encourage you to check out all of the amazing things Niagara has to offer too!
If you’ve been to Niagara Falls during this time, what was your favourite part?