Niagara-on-the-LakeNiagara-on-the-Lake is a small town located in Southern Ontario, Canada. It is a popular tourist destination and is known for its stunning beauty and charming atmosphere. From its quaint downtown streets to its picturesque vineyards and wineries, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Niagara-on-the-Lake has something to offer. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history, attractions, things to do, restaurants, shopping, accommodations, festivals, and events of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Table of Contents
Niagara-on-the-Lake has a long and rich history. It was first settled by the Iroquois people in the 1600s and was later occupied by the British in 1781. The town was officially founded in 1792 and was renamed “Niagara” in 1805. During the War of 1812, Niagara-on-the-Lake was the site of several battles between the British and American forces. After the war, the town flourished and eventually became a popular tourist destination.
The town’s economy was largely built on the success of the local wine industry. In the late 19th century, the area began to attract a number of winemakers and wine growers from Germany, Italy and France. Today, the Niagara wine region is renowned for its world-class wines and is home to some of Canada’s most renowned wineries.
Attractions in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to a variety of attractions, from historic sites to outdoor activities. The town is known for its beautiful Victorian architecture, which can be seen in its many historic buildings. Some of the most popular attractions in the town include:
- Wineries and vineyards: Niagara-on-the-Lake is part of the Niagara Wine Region, home to over 100 wineries. Popular wineries to visit include Peller Estates, Inniskillin, Trius Winery, and Château des Charmes. Many offer tastings, tours, and wine-pairing experiences.
- Shaw Festival Theatre: This renowned repertory theatre hosts an annual season of plays by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as newer works. The season typically runs from April to October, with performances in multiple venues around town.
- Fort George National Historic Site: A British military fort built in the early 19th century, Fort George played a significant role in the War of 1812. Visitors can explore the fort’s grounds and buildings, watch historical reenactments, and learn about the site’s history.
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club: Established in 1875, this historic golf club offers a scenic 9-hole course along the shores of Lake Ontario, with views of Fort Niagara across the water.
- Queen Street: The main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake is lined with beautifully preserved historic buildings, boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. It’s a perfect place for leisurely strolls and shopping.
- Royal George Theatre: This historic venue hosts live theater performances, concerts, and special events throughout the year.
- The Lakefront: Enjoy a walk or bike ride along the waterfront, taking in the views of Lake Ontario and Fort Niagara. You can also relax at the parks and beaches in the area.
- Niagara Historical Society & Museum: Learn about the rich history of the Niagara region, including its involvement in the War of 1812, at this local museum.
- Parks and gardens: Visit the beautifully maintained parks and gardens in the area, such as Simcoe Park, the Botanical Gardens at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, or the Floral Clock.
- Guided tours: Participate in a guided tour to explore the history, architecture, and natural beauty of the area. Options include walking tours, carriage rides, and even Segway tours.
Things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake has a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, there is something for everyone in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some of the most popular activities in the town include:
- Wine tours and tastings: With numerous wineries in the region, you can join a guided tour or explore the vineyards independently. Enjoy wine tastings, learn about the winemaking process, and perhaps have a meal at one of the wineries’ restaurants.
- Visit historical sites: Explore the Fort George National Historic Site, a restored British military fort that played a crucial role in the War of 1812. You can also visit the Niagara Historical Society & Museum for a deeper understanding of the region’s history.
- Shaw Festival Theatre: Catch a play or performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre, which showcases works by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as modern productions.
- Shopping and dining on Queen Street: Stroll along the charming Queen Street, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the many eateries, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining establishments.
- Outdoor activities: Rent a bike and explore the scenic countryside or take a walk along the lakefront to enjoy views of Lake Ontario and Fort Niagara. You can also visit parks and gardens, such as Simcoe Park or the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.
- Golfing: Play a round of golf at the historic Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club, which offers a 9-hole course along the shores of Lake Ontario.
- Royal George Theatre: Attend a live performance, concert, or special event at this historic venue.
- Take a guided tour: Join a guided walking tour, carriage ride, or Segway tour to learn more about the history, architecture, and natural beauty of the area.
- Indulge in spa treatments: Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at one of the town’s many spas or wellness centers.
- Attend seasonal events: Throughout the year, Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts a variety of events and festivals, including the Niagara Icewine Festival in January, the Niagara Wine Festival in September, and the Christmas Candlelight Stroll in December.
Restaurants and Shopping in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to a variety of restaurants and shops. From local eateries to international cuisine, there is something for everyone in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The town is also home to a number of unique boutiques and shops, where visitors can find a range of items to take home as souvenirs.
- Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine: This upscale restaurant offers a farm-to-table dining experience, focusing on local ingredients and an extensive wine list, featuring wines from the Niagara region.
- Peller Estates Winery Restaurant: Located within Peller Estates Winery, this restaurant provides a refined dining experience with a menu that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and wine pairings.
- The Irish Harp Pub: A traditional Irish pub in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, offering a wide selection of beers, comfort food, and live music.
- The Cannery Restaurant: Located within the Pillar and Post Inn, this restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and serves a variety of dishes, including seafood, steaks, and pasta.
- The Olde Angel Inn: Established in 1789, this historic British pub offers classic pub fare, local beers, and live music in a cozy atmosphere.
- The Garrison House: Set in a heritage building, this restaurant offers a menu of locally sourced dishes and an extensive selection of craft beers and wines.
- The Pie Plate: This bakery and cafe offers delicious homemade pies, quiches, sandwiches, and salads, perfect for a casual lunch or takeout.
- Queen Street: The main shopping street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Queen Street is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and souvenir stores housed in historic buildings.
- Greaves Jams & Marmalades: A local favorite, this store offers a variety of jams, jellies, and marmalades made with fresh fruits from the Niagara region.
- The Shawp: Located within the Shaw Festival Theatre, this gift shop offers a range of unique souvenirs, books, and clothing items related to the theatre and its productions.
- Irish Design: A boutique shop specializing in Irish goods, including clothing, jewelry, and home decor items.
- The Sentineal Carriages Gift Shop: Located near the carriage tour departure point, this gift shop offers a variety of unique souvenirs and gifts, many of which are horse-themed.
- Cheese Secrets: A specialty cheese shop that offers a wide selection of artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and gourmet food items.
- Wine shops: Many of the wineries in the area have retail shops where you can purchase wines to take home or as gifts.
Accommodations in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to a variety of accommodations, from luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, there is something for everyone in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some of the most popular accommodations in the town include:
- Shaw Club Hotel: This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. It features a range of amenities, including an on-site spa and restaurant.
- Prince of Wales Hotel: This historic hotel is located in the heart of the town. It features a variety of rooms and suites, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar.
- Queen’s Landing Inn: This bed and breakfast is located on the banks of the Niagara River. It features a variety of cozy rooms and suites, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar.
- The White House Inn: This charming inn is located in the heart of the town. It features a variety of rooms and suites, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar.
Festivals and Events in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. From wine tastings to outdoor concerts, there is something for everyone in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some of the most popular festivals and events in the town include:
- Shaw Festival: This annual theatre festival is held from April to October. It features a variety of plays, musicals, and other performances.
- Niagara Wine Festival: This annual festival is held in September and features a variety of wineries and vineyards from the Niagara wine region. Visitors can take part in wine tastings and explore the local wineries.
- Niagara Food Festival: This annual festival is held in August and features a variety of local restaurants and food vendors. Visitors can sample local cuisine and explore the town’s restaurants.
- Niagara Jazz Festival: This annual festival is held in July and features a variety of jazz performances. Visitors can enjoy live music, as well as a variety of local food and drinks.
- Christmas in Niagara-on-the-Lake: This annual event is held in December and features a variety of Christmas activities, from carolers in the streets to holiday markets.
Planning Your Trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake
Planning a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake can be a daunting task. To make the most of your trip, it’s important to do some research before you go. Here are a few tips for planning your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake:
- Plan Ahead: Make sure to plan your trip in advance. Research the attractions, restaurants, and accommodations in the town and book your tickets and reservations early.
- Budget: Make sure to set a budget for your trip. Consider how much you can afford to spend on attractions, restaurants, and accommodations.
- Pack Light: Pack light and only bring the essentials. This will make it easier to explore the town and save you money on luggage fees.
- Take Advantage of Discounts: Look for discounts and deals in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Many of the attractions and restaurants offer discounts for locals and visitors.
- Explore the Outdoors: Take advantage of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s outdoor attractions. There are a variety of parks, trails, and other outdoor activities to explore.
Tips for Exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake
Exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are a few tips for making the most of your visit:
- Get Lost: Explore the streets and alleyways of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You never know what hidden gems you might find.
- Talk to Locals: Talk to the locals and get their advice on the best places to visit. They can give you valuable insight into the town and its attractions.
- Take your Time: Take your time and soak in the atmosphere of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Don’t rush your visit and take time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the town.
- Try Local Cuisine: Sample the local cuisine and explore the town’s restaurants. There are a variety of dishes to try, from local specialties to international cuisine.
- Take Photos: Take lots of photos and capture the beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can look back on your memories for years to come.
Explore the enchanting beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake and discover why it is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. With its stunning scenery, charming atmosphere, and variety of attractions, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great destination for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake today and start planning your adventure!
Some Fun Facts About Niagara-on-the-Lake
- It was originally incorporated as a town in 1792, but Niagara-on-the-Lake was reincorporated as a town in 1970. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the only town in Canada to have a lord mayor.
- You might see it written as Niagara on the Lake, but the official name of the town includes the dashes just like I’ve written them here in this article.
- It is said that Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the most haunted towns not only in the province of Ontario but also in the entire country.
- Only in Niagara-on-the-Lake are there more than 200 different bed and breakfasts to choose from.
- The oldest Anglican and Catholic churches in the province of Ontario can both be found in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
- It is also the location of the oldest golf course that is still in operation in North America.
How do I spend a day in Niagara-on-the-Lake?
- Explore the Historic Centre.
- Indulge at Peller Estates Winery.
- Stroll around Queens Royal Park.
- Find Niagara Apothecary.
- Try ice wines at Inniskillin.
- Explore the town by horse-drawn carriage.
- Take a trip to Niagara Falls.
- Niagara River Recreation Trail
- Niagara on the Lake Heritage District
- Fort George National Historic Site of Canada
- Queenston Heights Park
- Queens Royal Park Gazebo
What are the most popular things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake with children?
How many days do you need in Niagara-on-the-Lake?
In order to see as much as possible of Niagara Falls and a few other nearby attractions, we recommend a two-night stay. There are numerous excellent restaurants to choose from, some with breathtaking views of the Niagara Falls.