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Top things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Visit a winery or join a historical tour to explore all that this world-famous wine region has to offer.
Looking to escape the big city? Check out our list of the top experiences and activities you can enjoy while visiting the quaint township of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Explore the tree-lined streets of Old Town or stroll through picturesque Queens Royal Park on the bank of the Niagara River. And if you’re feeling a bit parched after all that walking? Spend an evening swigging fine wine or a hearty brew at one of the area’s several wineries, breweries and distilleries.
Whether you’re staying for a day or a couple of weeks, there’s plenty to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Our favourite things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
1. Take a winery tour
There are over 20 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, including the Wayne Gretzky winery and the world-famous Jackson Triggs and Peller wineries. If you want to avoid the crowds, The Hare Wine Co. and Between the Lines wineries are both good options as well.
Some wineries focus on Merlots and Pinot Noirs, while others do Rieslings and Syrahs. And every place will put its own spin on the region’s famous ice wines. But no matter which winery you choose to visit, make sure to take a guided tour.
This will allow you to explore the vineyards, learn more about the operations and try different tastings. And if you’re lucky, you may even be able to pair your choices with cheese and chocolate for the full sensory experience.
2. Stay in a heritage bed & breakfast
Enjoy a hearty breakfast and a comfortable stay in one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s quaint bed and breakfasts. From heritage buildings to farmhouses to country villas, there’s a little something for everyone.
You can check out the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association for some of the best places on the market.
Our pick? The 4-star Oban Inn, situated right across the street from Lake Ontario and complete with spa, restaurant and outdoor pool.
3. Practice your swing at a local golf club
There are several public golf courses in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which rank among some of the best in Ontario. Practice your swing or putt on one of the many spectacular greens, or grab a coffee while you take in views of the lake.
You can enjoy a game off the shore of Lake Ontario at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club, which is the oldest course in North America. Or you could try the Royal Niagara Golf Club or Heritage Woods Golf Course for a more off-the-beaten-track experience.
And don’t forget to stop for lunch in the clubhouse or book a lesson to finetune your game.
Things to do in winter
4. Enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride
Get whisked away on a private sleigh ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake’s historic downtown. You can book an informative narrated tour with a reputable company like Sentineal Horse & Carriage.
Take in the sights and sounds of one of Ontario’s most picturesque streets as you trot through the snow. And if you get cold? Snuggle up under a blanket and bring a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate to fight off the chill.
5. Have afternoon Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel
Spend a long and lazy afternoon snacking on tarts and sipping hot tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel. You can escape the cold with a light lunch fit for royalty, with everything from ornately decorated tea cups and rose chandeliers to floral tablecloths and a wide array of finger foods.
And if you’re looking for dinner? Check out their evening tea for a bit of old Scottish tradition. You’ll get a savoury Scotch pie followed by an array of scones, cakes and pastries, along with a wide selection of classic teas.
6. Go skating at an outdoor rink
Slap on a pair of skates for some good old fashioned Canadian fun with outdoor skating at one of the many rinks in the area.
Head to the Fort George National Historic Site to go skating and then tour Fort George. And make sure to keep your eye out for actors skating in period costumes throughout the winter.
You can also head to the Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery where the kids can skate while you kick back and enjoy a wine or cocktail on the Whiskey Bar patio.
7. Relax and unwind with a spa day
With more than 10 spas in Niagara-on-the-Lake offering a wide range of aesthetic and body treatments, you can truly get the royal treatment.
Start with a therapeutic massage in the tranquil surroundings of Spa at 124. Or head to 100 Fountain Spa to enjoy the year-round outdoor hot springs and indoor saltwater pool.
And if you want an experience unique to the region? Ask about the signature Vinotherapy treatments which use grapes from local vineyards for instant relaxation.
Things to do for families
8. Explore the local landmarks
Get some Instagram-worthy shots of the kids at some of the region’s most notable landmarks, from the Floral Clock to the Brock Monument to Laura Secord’s Homestead and Fort George.
And if you’re a history buff? You can also visit world-famous war monuments and battle sites like the Chippawa Battlefield Park, Brock’s Monument and the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada.
You might need to rent a car for this activity, or you can hop on a guided tour of the area to get the low-down on some of the best places to visit.
9. Catch a play at the Shaw Festival
As one of Canada’s best playhouses, the Shaw Festival Theatre is a top spot for entertainment enthusiasts of all ages.
This niche theatre shows plays written and inspired by George Bernard Shaw and draws crowds from all across Ontario every year for award-winning performances.
There are plenty of plays suitable for kids, and it’s a great (and affordable!) addition to any itinerary, with shows running from May to December.
10. Go on a bike ride
For great a family-friendly experience, cycle your way through the scenic backcountry of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Follow the Niagara River Garden Trail all the way out to Fort Erie, which hosts an interactive museum on the War of 1812.
Or meander along the water on a guided biking and wine tasting tour, and try out the region’s world-famous ice wine (with apple juice for the kids!).
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