Niagara Falls in Winter: Visiting Tips & Best Things to Do

If you’re planning a visit to Niagara Falls in winter, this is your sign! The colder months are a fantastic time to see this natural wonder.

You’ll be able to witness a partially frozen Niagara Falls, surrounded by snow and ice! As one of the most visited places in the world, Niagara Falls in winter is underrated and the perfect way to escape the crowds. 

Get up close to amazing attractions with less crowds, take part in fun events, and score some cheaper hotel rates when you visit Niagara Falls during the winter!

While it’s definitely cold, seeing Niagara Falls covered in a layer of snow and ice is magical. It’s a much different experience than visiting during the summer. 

As someone who has lived in the Niagara Region my whole life, here are some of my favourite things to do in Niagara Falls in the winter!

Niagara Falls in winter

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Is Niagara Falls Open in the Winter? 

Yes! Niagara Falls is open in the winter. 

Niagara Falls is always open. While summer is a popular time, winter is a magical time to visit and experience all the Falls has to offer!

If you have your heart set on the attractions in Niagara Falls, it’s good to know that water activities in Niagara Falls are closed during the winter. 

Snowy winter day in Niagara Falls

What attractions are closed in Niagara Falls in winter?

The Hornblower/Maid of the Mist cruise, Whirlpool Jet Boat tours, White Water Walk, and Whirlpool Aero Car are closed during the winter. All other attractions are open in winter.

Is it worth going to Niagara Falls in winter?

It is absolutely worth going to Niagara Falls in the winter! Are you wondering why?

From less crowds and time waiting at attractions, to winter festivals, seeing Niagara Falls illuminated and less expensive rates and deals, visiting Niagara Falls in the winter will create a memorable experience.

Winter is considered off-season for Niagara Falls, which makes it one of the best times to visit. While the weather is the coldest, and some attractions are closed, you’ll wait in line less, have more options for hotels, dining, and parking, and will be able to experience the majestic beauty of the Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil Falls!

Plus, one of the main reasons why people visit during the winter is to see Niagara Falls frozen!

Niagara Falls on a cold winter day

Niagara Falls frozen: Does Niagara Falls Ever Completely Freeze Over?

While sections of Niagara Falls become frozen over, don’t visit Niagara Falls in winter expecting it to be completely frozen!

The last time Niagara Falls froze over was in 1848 with extremely cold temperatures and an accumulation of ice. It was a popular attraction back then for people to walk at the bottom of the frozen falls.

Seeing Niagara Falls frozen over is amazing. The mist rises up around huge ice pillars and snow. Be sure to dress warmly when you visit during the winter – and be prepared to get a bit wet from the chilly mist!

1911 photo of people at the bottom of Niagara Falls

How does Niagara Falls look in the winter?

Niagara Falls transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months! The Falls are covered in ice and snow and huge blocks of ice form at the base of the Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil Falls.

It’s absolutely beautiful, and if you’re dressed appropriately, a winter visit to Niagara Falls is a perfect getaway!

It’s important to remember that the temperature must be very cold for an extended period of time to see this amazing scenery!

Frozen Niagara Falls in the winter
Very large amounts of ice build-up of the American Falls as seen from the Canadian side.

Things to do in Niagara Falls during Winter

Come and enjoy one of Niagara’s most beautiful frozen waterfalls!

Aside from visiting to see the Falls themselves, there are a ton of other things to do in Niagara Falls in the winter!  Here are 20+ things to do when visiting Niagara Falls in the colder months. Many of these activities are indoors but there are a few fantastic outdoor activities as well.

Journey Behind the Falls

Did you know you can walk behind Niagara Falls in winter? Journey Behind the Falls is an amazing attraction that is open year-round! You’ll descend down 125 feet to sheltered tunnels that lead you to two viewing portals right behind the Canadian Falls. 

In the Niagara Falls winter, icy conditions prevent the lower observation deck from being open, but you can experience the Falls from two other viewing portals. Since part of the attraction is closed for the winter, that means the rates are reduced!

frozen Niagara Falls
The platform to Journey Behind the Falls is covered in snow and ice in winter

Niagara Parks Power Station

As the newest attraction in Niagara Falls, I think the Niagara Parks Power Station is the best bang for your buck! This incredible immersive experience gets you up close and personal to over 100 years of history on how energy of Niagara Falls was harnessed for hydroelectric power.

You’ll be able to learn about the tiniest details to the massive turbines and uncover interesting and unusual stories about the Niagara Parks Power Station through exhibits, artifacts, and storytelling.

This is one of the best indoor activities to do in Niagara Falls during the winter!

Inside the Niagara Parks Power Station

The Tunnel at the Niagara Power Station

During your visit to the Power Station in Niagara Falls, take the opportunity to descend 180 feet in a glass-panelled elevator – it’s included in your admission ticket! 

Once you reach the bottom, you’ll make your way through the 2,200-foot Tailrace tunnel, once used as an outlet for the water used to produce hydropower. Learn how it was impressively dug in 1901 with lanterns, explosives, pickaxes, and shovels!

Once you reach the end of the tunnel, you’ll arrive at an observation platform where the tunnel empties into the Niagara River. There are amazing views of Niagara Falls from here!

Good to know: The Tunnel at the Niagara Parks Power Station is open year-round, but access to the tunnel may be limited on days of inclement weather in the winter.

Entrance to the Tunnel at the Niagara Parks Power Station

Currents Niagara Night Show

Looking for something to do at night in Niagara Falls during the winter?

The Currents Niagara Night Show is an incredible sound and sight night show at the Power Station. Interactive media react to your presence at this unique sensory experience. You’ll see machinery reawaken through imagery, colour, sounds, and lights.

Discover this historic space and explore the transformation of water to power.

Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory is the perfect winter activity in Niagara Falls. Not only do you get the chance to walk amongst 2000 vibrantly-coloured butterflies, but you can also watch them emerge from their chrysalis!

You can also admire some tropical plants and lush vegetation, and warm up in their 11,000 square foot, 80 ºC conservatory!

Be sure to wear something colourful – butterflies are attracted to bright, floral patterns and colours! I could easily spend an hour or more here wandering through the paths or sitting and admiring the butterflies fluttering around you. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a chilly winter day in Niagara Falls.

Butterflies feeding at the Butterfly Conservatory

Niagara’s Fury

Niagara Falls is captivating – but have you ever wondered how it was formed? A fun thing to do in Niagara Falls in the winter is Niagara’s Fury – an indoor event that will allow you to discover the ancient story of this natural wonder.

Niagara’s Fury is a multisensory, 4D 360 degree theatre! From falling snow to misting water, be prepared to be immersed in the history of formation of Niagara Falls during the last Ice Age.

This Niagara Falls attraction is worth doing especially if you have kids. Dana and I have done this a bunch of times and we love the animated story and the entire experience! Plus, it’s a great way to spend some time indoors.

Located at the Table Rock Welcome Centre, you can also do Journey Behind the Falls here as well as sit down and relax at one many eateries.

Niagara’s Fury holding room

Skylon Tower

The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls is one of the best ways to see Niagara Falls from above, especially during winter. This 764 foot (233 metre) tower features indoor and outdoor observation areas.

You should absolutely get some photos from outside, but be sure to bundle up! It can be extremely windy up top, and during the winter the cold temperatures can really bite at you, but the views are worth it!

The Skylon Tower is an amazing place to grab some wintery shots of Niagara Falls. Book your ticket ahead of time (it saves you money!) or if you plan to come for a meal, your admission to the top is included.

Dine in the revolving dining room for exceptional wintery views of Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill, and Niagara Falls, New York. If you visit for dinner during the Winter Festival of Lights, you can see twinkling displays from above as well as the Falls Illumination. You may even catch the 8:00 pm fireworks!

View of Niagara Falls from the Skylon Tower observation deck

Bird Kingdom

Another great spot to head indoors during a chilly winter day in Niagara Falls is Bird Kingdom! Whether you are travelling with kids or not, it’s a fun experience regardless how old you are. 

Bird Kingdom is the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary. Hundreds of tropical birds (and 40 species!) call this place home, and you’ll be able to see them up close as you explore the pathways through the multi-level rainforest.

From friendly parrots to playful lorikeets, there’s no shortage of colourful birds to see and take photos of. You can also head into the lorikeet enclosure and feed and interact with these charismatic birds. My favouite section is the Night Jungle where the nocturnal animals are kept. 


Have fun on Clifton Hill

Visiting Niagara Falls in winter has its perks; you can enjoy the entertainment on Clifton Hill without the crowds! From bowling, haunted houses, fun houses, museums, dining establishments, Clifton Hill offers year-round fun!

You can purchase Clifton Hill passes to save some money, like the Clifton Hill Fun Pass. This pass includes 6 activities along Clifton Hill, including:

  • Niagara SkyWheel
  • Movieland Wax Museum
  • Wizards Golf (indoor – or Dinosaur Adventure Golf in the warm season!)
  • Ghostblaster’s Dark Ride
  • Cosmic Coaster 4D Theatre
  • Zombie Attack

If you have a Costco membership, you can pick up these Clifton Hill Fun Passes there too!

Of course, there are loads of other things to do on Clifton Hill. You can easily spend an afternoon taking part in some of the attractions, museums, and restaurants around here.

Clifton Hill in the winter

Hike at the Niagara Gorge

Winter is one of my favourite seasons! Hiking at the Niagara Gorge in Niagara Falls during winter is a real treat. The colour of the Niagara River is so vivid, and the trails are like a magical winter wonderland when it’s covered in snow. 

Important to know: It’s best to come well-prepared for this hike, and use your best judgement. Snowy and icy weather can lead to treacherous conditions at the Niagara Gorge. Wear crampons and hike with a buddy to be safe!

Ride the Niagara Skywheel

Take a ride on the Niagara Skywheel in the winter! With reduced wait-times for lines and cozy gondolas, you’ll be able to catch some amazing views of Niagara Falls from the Skywheel in the winter.

If you time it right during the Winter Festival of Lights, you can even catch the 8:00 pm fireworks from the top of the SkyWheel!

Niagara SkyWheel at night

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

If you are looking for a scenic spot to walk around and take some photos, visit the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens!

While there won’t be anything in bloom during this time of the year, the buildings and trees make beautiful backdrops for a leisurely stroll around the property. This is one of my favourite free things to do in Niagara Falls.

Helicopter Ride over Niagara Falls

If you’re looking for an amazing view of Niagara Falls during the winter season, Niagara Helicopters is offering their Winter Nights and Lights Experience during the Winter Festival of Lights from November 18th – January 7th!

These special flights take place from sunset until 8:00 pm daily during this time. Take part in the first sunset helicopter tour over Niagara Falls; the perfect way to soak in the magic of the winter and the Festival’s shimmering lights from above!

Niagara Falls during the day in the winter

Snowshoeing in Niagara Falls

Something unique to do in Niagara Falls in winter is snowshoeing! Try snowshoeing at the Whirlpool Golf Course all winter long.

You can get an unlimited trail pass and rent snowshoes on-site, or bring your own

Try one of the three self-guided snowshoeing trails as they wind their way through sections of the snow-covered golf course. This activity is available on weekends from the end of December until the end of March, weather permitting. 

Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara

One of the big draws of Niagara Falls are the two casinos in town. Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara offer a plethora of gambling fun.

Whether your choice is a slot machine or a table, it’s a great way to spend some time indoors in Niagara Falls during the winter. Hopefully you get lucky and win big!

Fallsview Casino with projection lights for the Falls Illumination

You can also shop at a variety of shops, and dine within both casinos as well, so you don’t have to be exposed to the elements.

Both casinos are also connected to some hotels in Niagara Falls, so you may not even have to step foot outside on really chilly days!


Up for a chilly but exhilarating experience during a Niagara Falls winter?

Did you know you can zipline in Niagara Falls year-round? With less line ups and unique views of a frozen and snowy Niagara Falls, ziplining is one of those winter activities you just have to try!

Special events in Niagara Falls during the winter

While there are a number of amazing things to do during winter in Niagara Falls, there are also some special events happening during the winter.  

Winter Festival of Lights

Not to be missed is the Winter Festival of Lights during the holiday season. This magical display of lights spans 8 km along the Niagara Parkway, Queen Victoria Park, and Dufferin Islands. Over 3 million lights and 75 displays light up Niagara Falls at night.

The festival is running this year from November 18th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024.

Read my Winter Festival of Lights guide for more information!

One of the light displays at Dufferin Islands

Falls Illumination

Did you know you can see Niagara Falls lit up at night? To celebrate the annual Winter Festival of Lights, a unique illumination light show “Sparkling Winter Lights” will transform Niagara Falls with movements inspired by winter in Canada. 

This includes a multi-colour light and water display, with displays including gentle snowfall, blizzards, frozen Falls, and the northern lights moving over snowy tundra.

The Sparkling Winter Lights Falls Illumination is part of the regular nightly illumination of the Falls, with a special 6 minute light show projecting on the Falls three times on the hour, at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and 8:00 pm during the Winter Festival of Lights.

Niagara Falls Illumination

Niagara City Cruises Light Up the Night Voyage to the Falls

Looking for a unique way to experience the Winter Festival of Lights and Falls Illumination?  Light Up the Night Voyage to the Falls cruises are planned between November 18 – November 26, 2023! 

These special cruises take place during the evening hours, so if you want to see the magic of the Falls lit up at night, book your spot early with Niagara City Cruises!

Floral Showhouse Annual Poinsettia Show

The Floral Showhouse transforms into a festive winter display during the Annual Poinsettia Show.  The Poinsettia Show runs for 5 weeks over the Christmas holidays. It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit while visiting Niagara Falls!

On display this year from November 18th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024, the Floral Showhouse features over 1400 poinsettias and 1000 display plants grown just for this event! Combined with lighting displays outside, it’s an unmissable event during your visit during winter in Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Fireworks

The fireworks in Niagara Falls during the Winter Festival of Lights are scheduled for 26 nights this season!

November: 18th , 24th – 25th at 8:00pm
December: 1st – 2nd, 8th – 9th, 15th – 16th, daily 22nd – 31st at 8:00pm
December 31 (New Year’s Eve) at 12:00am
January: daily from 1st  – 7th at 8:00pm

You can enjoy the fireworks from any number of locations, including an array of hotels.

My favourite spot to watch the fireworks is from the promenade across from Queen Victoria Park. The views are the closest and are the most unobstructed, and in my opinion, is the best spot to watch the fireworks in Niagara Falls!

Hot Chocolate Trail

One of the best parts about the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls is the Hot Chocolate Trail! What better way to warm up during winter than with a delicious drink while you soak in the beauty of the Falls?

This self-guided tour leads you to 17 different delicious stops around the Falls. These chocolate concotions are created by mixologists, chefs, bakers, and chocolatiers across Niagara Falls, and there’s 23 unique flavours to sip and savour (including adult beverages!).

Check out the Hot Chocolate Trail map, and plot out your stops on your visit to Niagara Falls!

Niagara Icewine Festival

If you’re looking for something to do in the winter in Niagara Falls in January, the Niagara Icewine Festival is a perfect addition to your trip. This is a great way to uncover some of what Niagara is most famous for – its wineries!

Winter is especially magical for its Icewine production. Indulge in the region’s celebrated “liquid gold” wine – commonly served for dessert. It’s noted for its intense sweet flavours and smoothness.

As a part of the Niagara Icewine Festival, you can take part in six memorable seasonal tasting experiences at some of Niagara’s top wineries over 3 weekends in January.

Note: You will need a car for this event! There are also designated driver passes for a discounted price.

You can even attend the Cool As Ice Gala at the Niagara Parks Power Station on January 13, 2024! Take part in a culinary journey featuring dishes created by top chefs paired with Niagara’s finest Icewines.

Red grapes for ice wine.

When to Visit Niagara Falls in Winter

If you’re wondering when to visit Niagara Falls in winter, it can vary depending on what you want to see and do!

If you want to see Niagara Falls frozen or partially frozen, keep an eye on the weather. Niagara Falls will only freeze after extended periods of extremely frigid temperatures. 

Niagara Falls in December

Visiting Niagara Falls in December is always special. The excitement and leadup towards Christmas means there are a lot of fun events happening.

Catch the Winter Festival of Lights, the Hot Chocolate Trail, Poinsettia Show at the Floral Showhouse, and various Christmas markets in Niagara Falls in December. 

However, if you are planning to visit to see Niagara Falls frozen, there’s a good chance it won’t be this month. Niagara Falls needs a lot of days with cold temperatures to create the pillars of ice!

Winter Festival of Lights at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant

Niagara Falls in January

Visiting Niagara Falls in January means you can catch the end of the holiday highlights with hardly any crowds! 

January is typically one of the quietest months to visit Niagara Falls. Experience the Winter Festival of Lights and Hot Chocolate Trail, Poinsettia Show at the Floral Showhouse, in addition to snagging cheaper hotel rates! You can also enjoy the Niagara Icewine Festival and taste what the Niagara Region is known for!

Temperatures in January tend to dip down low this month, and if you visit mid-month to the end of January there’s a good chance you will see parts of Niagara Falls frozen.

Snowy Niagara Falls in January

Niagara Falls in February

February in Niagara Falls is the best chance to see the frozen falls. February temperatures are usually at their lowest, and with prolonged days of cold, you can expect to see snow and ice surrounding Niagara Falls.

Visiting Niagara Falls in February means you can take part in some fun Valentine’s Day events and dine at romantic restaurants.

Niagara Falls at night in February

Niagara Falls Winter Temperature 

During winter, daily averages for Niagara range between 2°C to -8°C. There is often a windchill factor added onto this, which will make the temperature feel colder. The weather is typically windy, snowy, and chilly, and if you’re right at the Falls, it is also misty.

However, the winter temperatures during the last few years haven’t been as cold as I remember, so we’ll see how this winter is!

What to wear on a winter visit to Niagara Falls

When visiting Niagara Falls during the winter months, you want to be prepared! For outerwear, you’ll absolutely want to pack a weather-proof jacket that can withstand cold temperatures. 

You will also want a warm hat and gloves, as well as a scarf. The chilly mist and wind can really seep down to your bones, and there’s nothing less enjoyable than touring around while freezing cold!

You will also want to have boots with warm socks, and appropriate clothing under your jacket, like a sweater (with a layer underneath in case you get warm), and warm pants.

If you are planning to visit Niagara Falls in December, a great way to warm up is by stopping at one of the 17 stops along the Hot Chocolate Trail during the Winter Festival of Lights! Nothing beats a warm drink on a cold day! 

Skylon Tower in the winter

Where to stay in Niagara Falls

Staying in Niagara Falls in the winter is much cheaper than any other time of the year. 

For this reason, it’s worth choosing a hotel with a fallsview room. It’s a great way to catch the Falls illumination at night, and catch the sunrise over the Falls in the morning!

You can also keep your eyes out for Travelzoo deals that offer highly discounted rates for Niagara Falls hotel, dining, and attraction packages!

Getting from Toronto to Niagara Falls

Visiting Niagara Falls from Toronto? Fortunately there are a number of easy ways to get from Toronto to Niagara Falls.

The easiest way is by car. Driving to Niagara Falls on your own from Toronto should take around 1.5 hours on a day with little traffic. 

I recommend leaving Toronto early in the morning to avoid the traffic. If you visit during a weekday, you will find the traffic is not as heavy compared to weekend traffic. You can also compare car rental prices to find the best rate.

Another great and easy way to get from Toronto to Niagara Falls is by booking a tour.

There are a number of tours you can book to Niagara Falls that include attraction entrances, dining, transportation, and so much more! You can also book a special winter adventure crossborder tour of Niagara Falls on the Canadian and the US side, so be sure to bring your passport!

P.s. Keep an eye out for the tours that include Hornblower Cruises. The boat tours in Niagara Falls close mid-November, so these tours will be supplemented with another activity.

If you want to visit Niagara Falls and spend time at your own leisure, you can hop on the GO Train throughout the year. GO Train has packages that include WeGo transportation within Niagara Falls, so you won’t worry about having to get around town!

Best Niagara Falls Winter Tours

Visiting Niagara Falls in the winter and not sure what to do or what to see?

If you’re stuck for ideas or don’t want to plan out how to get from A to B, I highly recommend booking a small group tour with See Sight Tours! You can also customize your experience and make it a private tour, if you wish!

You can read about my experience with See Sight Tours! Fully reviewed and tried first-hand, I know this tour is one of the best ways to see some of the top Niagara Falls attractions, even in winter!

Visiting Niagara Falls in Winter

If you were planning on visiting Niagara Falls in the winter, hopefully this guide has convinced you!

It’s one of my favourite times to visit, and there is so much to experience and enjoy. With quieter crowds, loads of activities, and great hotel rates and deals, visiting Niagara Falls during the winter is a no-brainer!

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Niagara Falls in the winter
Niagara Falls in winter

Some photos sourced from Depositphotos