Niagara Falls Ontario is well known for its many attractions such as viewing the thunderous Horseshoe Falls from several vantage points, enjoying multiple entertainment options on Clifton Hill and exploring the beautiful surrounding areas. If you plan your trip accordingly, you can visit these world renowned attractions while also taking part in one of many festivals that Niagara Falls Ontario has to offer.
With over 30 million tourists visiting Niagara Falls annually, the region has become well known for hosting world class festivals and events year round. Whether you would like to taste delicious Niagara region wines or listen to live music by the falls, Niagara Falls has a festival for you. Below you will find a description of Niagara Falls Ontario’s top festivals with information regarding when to come, what to expect and what not to miss.
Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
Going strong since 1983, the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights is an illumination festival in Niagara Falls that shouldn’t be missed. Being Canada’s biggest illumination festival, the Winter Festival of Lights has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 winter festivals and one of North America’s top 100 events. It takes place every year from late November all the way through to the end of January. The event is free of charge, however, a $5-$10 donation per car is suggested to support the continuation of this spectacular festival. The festival
What to expect
The Winter Festival of Lights is a spectacular display of colourful lights that span a 5 kilometre stretch of road through the beautiful Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland, Dufferin Islands and nearby tourist districts. With millions of colourful lights illuminating the streets you will be blown away by the artistic displays that have been created.
Throughout the duration of the Winter Festival of Lights there are several events worth checking out to make the event even more exhilarating:
- Spirit of Niagara Sound and Light Show - Immerse yourself in Niagara’s culture, entertainment and arts displayed through the use of music, impressive lighting and projections using the facade of The Oakes Hotel as a giant screen. This show last 15 minutes long and takes place every hour from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m.
- Fireworks Over the Falls - Experience an impressive fireworks display over the illuminated Horseshoe Falls, with the shimmering lights from the festival as a backdrop. This impressive display happens every friday evening at 9:00 p.m. throughout the duration of the festival, and daily during Christmas week.
What not to miss
Come to Niagara Parks on New Years Eve to celebrate right by the Horseshoe Falls at a live concert with popular bands playing all night long and two spectacular fireworks shows taking place over the falls to ring in the new year. The party starts at 8:00 p.m and goes until just after midnight with delicious food and a licensed area for alcohol. Don’t forget to dress warmly for this one!
Niagara Falls Wine Festivals
With over 40 wineries participating in Niagara Falls Wine Festivals, this is a great place for any wine enthusiast to taste some world class wines and visit the wineries they come from. The Niagara region is home to several different types of wines, the most popular being the world renowned Niagara Icewine which can be tasted at all 3 wine festivals.
What to expect
Whether you can only go to one wine festival, or all three, you will have a fantastic time going on wine tours to taste the delicious Niagara region wines, learning how to cook gourmet meals at several cooking classes and listening to great live music. Each wine festival does, however, have some unique features to them giving you the option to choose one that suits you well.
- Niagara Icewine Festival - Ice wines from the Niagara Region are known to be some of the best ice wines in the world. During the Niagara Icewine Festival you will have the opportunity to taste top quality VQA ice wines from over 20 of the best wineries the region has to offer. Pair this with delicious meals from Niagara’s tops chefs, live music from the region’s most popular bands and a beautifully designed outdoor winter wonderland full of magnificent ice sculptures and a fully stocked ice bar. This festival takes place over 3 weekends in January.
- Vintage Wine Festival - Taking place during mid June for 9 days, the Niagara Vintage Wine Festival is a great way to celebrate the beginning of the summer season. Award winning vineyards open their cellar doors for visitors to get a true feel of what goes into making the delicious wines of Niagara Region.
- Niagara Wine Festival - The Niagara Wine Festival is definitely the largest celebration of the three. Taking place during harvest season and lasting over 2 weeks long, the Niagara Wine Festival has over 100 events for people to enjoy. Some of these events include live concerts by local talent, fresh local food prepared by some of the regions top chefs, wine cellar tours, street parades and of course the opportunity to taste some of Niagara Region’s best wines.
What not to miss
All three wine festivals in the Niagara Region are a great place to not only sample some of Niagara Regions best wines but also to get up close and personal with the award winning winemakers by taking part in vineyard tours. Each festival has several package options that will give you an unforgettable experience for a great price. A great example of this is the discovery pass which gives you the opportunity to take part in 8 winery experiences from any participating winery where you can taste delicious wines or try some savoury cuisine. Each individual winery experience costs $10 but with the discovery pass you get 8 experiences all for the low price of $40.