10 Unique Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Ontario (Hometown Series)
Intro: Through the hometown series, we have traveled to big cities and small towns across the globe as travel bloggers share with us why their hometown should be on our bucket lists! We have explored the small town of Russellville, Arkansas, Virginia Beach, Delhi in India, Utrecht in the Netherlands, and my own small hometown of Herkimer, New York. Next we will head over to the popular Canadian destination that is home to one of the most well known water falls in the world-Niagara Falls, Ontario. Marianne from the Journeying Giordanos takes us to her hometown to share ten unique things to do in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Niagara Falls is one of the most recognizable places in the world. In fact, not only was Niagara Falls once considered to be the ‘Honeymoon Capital of the World,’ but at one time it was also thought to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Known for its kitschy tourist experiences, there are also a ton of amazing and unique things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Unique Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Canada
Push Your Limits on a Zipline
The Zipline to the Falls takes you on an adrenaline-filled ride into the gorge, towards the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This fully-guided experience is open year-round, and is truly like no other in the world!
The 670 meters (2,200 feet) zipline takes you past the American Falls, all the way to the observation deck at the base of the Horseshoe Falls. The entire experience from check-in to shuttle back is approximately 60-90 minutes.
And if the regular zipline adventure isn’t thrilling enough, how about experiencing it in the dark! Zipline past both the American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, while both are fully illuminated in a cascade of colors!
Visit a Haunted Tunnel
Located in the northwest corner of Niagara, you will find the Screaming Tunnel. This small limestone tunnel was constructed in the early 1800s, and is considered to be one of the top haunted roads in the world, as well as Niagara Falls’ most chilling story!
According to local legend, over a century ago a farmhouse that was located just past the south entrance to the tunnel, caught fire one night. A young girl ran screaming from the house with her clothing engulfed in flames. As she ran through the tunnel looking for water and a way to extinguish her garments, she collapsed and died on the tunnel floor.
The story alleges that if you stand in the middle of the dark tunnel at midnight and light a wooden match, the flame will go out, and a girl’s screams will be heard.
Hike The Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail is one of the oldest and longest footpaths in Canada. It starts (or ends depending on which way you look at it) in Niagara Falls and leads to the Bruce Peninsula.
The Bruce Trail is also the only publicly accessible route that leads to the Niagara Escarpment and UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserve. The total distance the trail covers is about 900 kilometers, 130 of which cross through Niagara Falls.
The trails are well-kept and are extremely scenic no matter what time of the year you choose to hike them. You will often find waterfalls, ruins, historic buildings, and amazing flora and fauna along the Bruce Trail.
Get a Birds-Eye View of the Falls by Helicopter
Seeing the Falls from above gives you a perspective like no other! And doing a guided tour by helicopter is probably one of the most unique things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada.
The flights offer awe-inspiring views of the Niagara Region, all while comfortably seated in one of the quietest helicopters in its class. Listen to audio commentary about your flight path, and learn the history of the remarkable Horseshoe Falls.
On a clear day, you will be able to see the outline of Toronto to the North and the shores of Lake Erie to the South. Get your cameras ready, the views are absolutely breathtaking! Rides typically last between 15 and 20 minutes.
Do a Wine Tasting in a Heated Dome
You can’t visit the Niagara Region without heading over to one of their world-class wineries for a tasting! And why not kick your wine tasting up a notch with a truly unique experience – Wine Domes!
Fielding Estates Winery offers Wine Domes that are both heated and transparent, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors in comfort. Add in a wine flight and one of their delicious charcuterie boards, and you have the perfect winery experience!
Best for fall and winter tastings, the domes can be booked for up to 6 people, for 1.5-hour time slots. The cost is $20 for the dome rental.
Visit a Different Waterfall
We all know most people visit Niagara Falls because of the iconic Horseshoe Waterfalls. However, there are also some other beautiful waterfalls around that most tourists don’t end up visiting.
They might not be as grand as the Horseshoe Falls, but with fewer visitors, you also get a more peaceful experience. Balls Falls Conservation Area is the perfect place to go for a hike (or stroll).
Grab a map from the Visitor’s Center, and you can then venture out on the Village Trail to see the Lower Falls. After that, head out on The Cataract Trail which takes you through a wooded area to the Upper Falls.
Both trails are an easy walk, and will also connect you with the Bruce Trail and the Twenty Valley Trail for a longer hiking option. They also take you through the small 19th-century hamlet which features the original Ball home, a church, a blacksmith shop, among other buildings.
See a Shipwreck
If you are heading to Niagara from Toronto, you will see what looks like a pirate ship in the Jordan Harbour, just west of St. Catherines. The shipwreck, which sits just a few meters from the Niagara stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), is quite a sight to see from the highway!
Built in Lauzon, Quebec in 1914, the ship named “Le Progress,” has served many purposes, including St Lawrence River Ferry, a cargo ship, and then a floating restaurant.
In 1991, the ship was renamed “La Grande Hermine,” and was towed from Montreal to Jordan harbor. The intentions at the time were to turn it into a restaurant or a gambling venue. Unfortunately, the owner passed away before his dream could be brought to life, and the ship was later the victim of an arson fire.
What’s left of the ship remains rusting, damaged, and run down. However, the shipwreck has since become a distinctive landmark in the Niagara area.
Enter Canada’s Smallest Church
The Living Water Wayside Chapel was built in 1964 by the Christian Reformed Church. It is the smallest church in Canada and an interesting roadside attraction. As you enter through the wooden frame, you will see just how tiny the Living Waters Wayside Chapel is. Just be careful! The door is low enough that most people will have to duck on the way in!
At 72 square feet, the Chapel is not much bigger than a one-car garage. You can fit about 6 people inside, along with the four short pews, two Bibles, and a guest book that are also tucked in there. Whether you are religious or not, visiting this attraction is definitely one of the unique things to do in Niagara Falls Canada.
Do a Ghost Tour
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming town that is steeped in a not-so-charming history. The area was actually central to the War of 1812 — a war between Britain and France.
The war brought violence and death to the region, which probably explains much of the spooky happenings occurring throughout the town and the surrounding areas. As a result, Niagara-on-the-Lake holds the reputation of “Canada’s most haunted town.”
Take an amazing walking tour through downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake. Your guide will not only cover the history of the town but also its ghostly happenings! Learn about the mystery of the Apothecary, the theatre ghost, the Olde Angel Inn, the Prince of Wales Hotel, and the tale of the Watcher. This tour should definitely be on your list of unique things to do in Niagara Falls Canada!
Visit the Falls at Night
Most people who visit Niagara Falls come during the day. And yes, the Canadian Horseshoe Falls are truly spectacular to view at this time.
But did you know that the Falls are lit up every single night of the year? The illumination of the Falls occurs for a few hours beginning at dusk in varying colors. Get your camera ready, it really is a sight to behold!
And if you like the illuminated Falls, you will absolutely love to watch the fireworks display over the brink of Niagara Falls! You can catch Canada’s longest-running spectacular fireworks series throughout the summer, during the Winter Festival of Lights, and on select holidays throughout the year (ON HOLD FOR 2021).
Unique Places to Eat in Niagara Falls
One of our favorite places to eat when visiting the Niagara Falls area is The Olde Angel Inn. Established in 1789, this small English-style pub is the oldest operating inn in Ontario. The Angel Inn is famous for its fish and chips, as well as their awesome selection of beer from their draft ale menu.
But did you know that the Inn is said to be haunted by Captain Colin Swayze, a British Captain from the war of 1812? I think one of the best parts of dinner was listening to the ghost stories told to us by our awesome server! She mentioned several things she has seen, or that have happened to her over the years… some definitely on the creepy side!
Go for the food, stay for the stories! The Olde Angel Inn is a must-see when in Niagara Falls!
Unique Places to Stay in Niagara Falls
Head to Niagara-on-the-Lake and pamper yourself by staying in a luxurious vintage hotel. With 4 choices right in the heart of town (Queen’s Landing, Pillar & Post, Prince of Wales, Moffat Inn), and 2 in nearby Jordan (Inn on the Twenty, Jordan House), you are sure to find one that tickles your fancy.
Whichever of the vintage hotels you choose, they all offer luxurious rooms, fantastic dining experiences, spa treatments, and a wonderful ambience! Treat yourself to some old-world charm!
Final Thoughts on the Unique Things to Do in Niagara Falls Canada
With so many unique things to do in Niagara Falls Canada, you should have no problem finding something that both appeals to you and has you coming back for more!
About the Author
My name is Marianne, and I am the writer and founder behind the JourneyingGiordanos.com. We are a family travel blog based in Toronto, specializing in Canadian travel and adventure. Together with my husband and four children, we are roaming the country making new memories and learning through travel.
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