Niagara Falls Ice Winter

Niagara Falls, NY, is a great place to visit in the winter, with plenty of off-season activities to keep everyone entertained! Niagara Falls is an ideal destination for a family trip, allowing every family member to find something to enjoy. Because the winter is the off-season, the hotels and activities in Niagara Falls, New York, are much cheaper.

In winter, the best things to do in Niagara Falls, New York, vary from tourist traps to playing in the great outdoors. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, but here are 22 of our favorite winter activities in Niagara Falls, NY!

Check out our article on the 21 best Niagara Falls American side things to do

The Best Niagara Falls, NY Winter Activities

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Traveling with your family allows for valuable time with the ones you love and helps create lasting memories. In winter, the best things to do in Niagara Falls, New York, range from outside activities, like snowshoeing to observe the Falls, to indoor activities like swimming and dining. There’s something for everyone in a family getaway to Niagara Falls in the wintertime. If you’re looking for things to do in Niagara Falls, New York, in winter, you can also take a small group “Winter Wonderland” tour.

Woman in front of Niagara River in Niagara Falls New York USA

Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds is open year-round, but the name is misleading. In the 1800s, a rock overhang allowed tourists to stand under the Falls. The Cave collapsed in the early 1900s, but the name stuck.

However, the Falls access is limited. In the winter, the upper and hurricane decks are pulled down to be rebuilt in the spring. Luckily, the lower price for the tour makes up for the lack of decks. It’s still a magnificent view.

The walkway is open daily, except on major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Bring footwear and clothing that can get wet. They used to provide sandals and a poncho, but on our last visit, they only gave us the poncho.

Niagara Falls Observation Tower

Visit the observation deck (weather permitting, so check ahead). During the winter season, admission is free. If the weather is below freezing, the water in the river and Falls become an ice sculpture.

The Falls at Night

Niagara Falls at night in winter is still lit up. The illumination display showcases vibrant colors and motion found in nature. The five-minute lighting display repeats at each half hour and displays Niagara Falls in a different light. Hours vary based on daylight hours.

Read more about Niagara Falls Night Illumination Tour: American, Bridal, and Horseshoe Falls.

Fireworks at the Falls

The Niagara Falls fireworks can be viewed at Niagara Falls State Park, near Prospect Point. All fireworks displays are subject to weather conditions. The fireworks schedule is more limited during the winter.

Ice Skating

if you want to visit Niagara Falls in winter, ice skating can be a fun and exciting activity for the entire family. Whether you’re a USA native or an international traveler, ice skating can be a great way to enjoy Niagara Falls, USA in the winter months. So bundle up and join your family on an adventure this winter – and make sure to have fun on the ice!

Ice skating is also a great way to stay active and bond with one another, making it perfect for family trips. Moreover, Niagara Falls is the perfect destination for families looking to have fun and make memories together. Ice skating is one of Niagara Falls’s many activities, allowing families to stay active and bond with one another.

  • Hyde Park Ice Pavilion: Built in 1970 and recently renovated, this Niagara Falls indoor ice arena is perfect regardless of the temperature.
  • DeVeaux Woods State Park: This New York state park offers free ice skating but is strictly weather-dependent since it’s outside. A path leads across the Niagara Scenic Parkway to Whirlpool State Park, with access to the Niagara gorge trail system.
  • Reservoir State Park: Free ice skating at an outdoor rink is weather-permitting, and you must provide your own ice skates. Please call (716) 284-5778 for the status of the rinks.
  • Dwyer Arena: Located in Lewiston, this rink only occasionally has public skating times. Make sure to check the website to make sure you can free skate!

Make a snowman at Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park in New York is a winter wonderland. Located on the banks of the Niagara River, the park offers breathtaking views of the iconic Niagara Falls. The park is blanketed in snow during winter, making it the perfect spot for a wintry getaway. The state park features 400 acres of snow, and your snowman will have the best view in the country.

Nikola Tesla Statue

Tesla monument with boy on book

The monument of Nikola Tesla is in a quaint park on Goat Island overlooking Stedman’s Bluff. The area is open 24 hours a day and upriver from the Horseshoe Falls. Access it by walking through the old arch of the Niagara Falls hydroelectric power plant that Tesla built in 1895. Tesla is sitting in a chair, with his head bowed to read blueprints on his lap. Tourists often use these prints for photo opportunities. The monument is understated and celebrates Tesla’s quiet genius. Admission is free, but you will need to pay to park.

Hiking Trails

Visitors can explore Niagara Falls State Park’s trails and take in the beauty of the falls. With its picturesque views and abundance of winter activities, Niagara Falls State Park is a great destination for those looking to experience the beauty of winter in New York. You’ll need sturdy boots and warm winter gear, but the fresh powder on the trails are unrivaled.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the snowy landscapes and spend quality time together as a family and bring your family closer together. This outdoor activity will let you exercise, explore the winter wonderland, and appreciate nature, all while spending quality time with your family. So if you’re looking for an outdoor activity to enjoy with your family this winter, why not try snowshoeing?

View of Niagara Falls in winter

It is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, making it the perfect outdoor activity for the whole family. Snowshoeing is also an excellent way to stay active during the winter months. It can help keep everyone warm and burn extra calories. Next time you plan to hit Niagara Falls with your family, why not consider going snowshoeing together? It’s an enjoyable and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed year-round and will keep everyone warm and active! Who knows, it may just become a regular part of your Niagara Falls family trips from now on.

  • Niagara Falls State Park: Borrow pairs of snowshoes at the Cave of the Winds Pavilion for free daily between 10 am – 2:30 pm (weather permitting).
  • DeVeaux Woods State Park: This New York state park offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Beaver Island State Park: Located at the south end of Grand Island in the upper Niagara River, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and ice fishing! 

Sledding

Sledding is a great winter activity for families of all ages- it’s fun and easy! A winter trip that offers sledding for the family can help draw you in and make for an unforgettable experience. Don’t let the winter blues keep your family from enjoying the amazing experiences that come from travel.

Whether sledding down a mountain or tubing on a hilltop, plenty of attractions provide an invigorating sense of adventure while keeping everyone safe and comfortable. Family travel is an amazing way to bond and make memories, so why not consider sledding your next destination?

Helicopter Rides

With helicopter rides, your family can experience the unique perspective and splendor of Niagara Falls, NY, from above. The power and beauty of the Horseshoes and Niagara falls are special when viewed from above. The helicopter tour will take you over the city of Niagara Falls, Niagara River, Rainbow Bridge, and Whirlpool Rapids. The helicopter ride is an unforgettable way to experience the beauty of Niagara Falls, New York.

Check out helicopter rides from Niagara Falls, USA, with a helicopter ride, tour, and lunch.

Art Alley

425 Third Street Niagara Falls, NY

Four children and one adult in front of the heart mural on Old Falls Street Niagara Falls USA

This public mural project is a few minutes away from Niagara Falls State Park, combining a pedestrian walkway to public parking with 19 murals. The public art gallery is a ten-minute stop providing fun photo opportunities for children. The public art gallery features free two-hour parking on Third Street. Graffiti art is a huge hit with my children, but this is a quick stop!

Old Fort Niagara

While open in the winter, the hours at Old Fort Niagara are limited. Old Fort Niagara is located at the mouth of the Niagara River and controls access to the Great Lakes. This fort’s strategic value decreased with the Erie Canal’s advent. If you go during the winter, you will have to drive the 25 minutes yourself because the free shuttle is only available from May to October.

History lesson time! Three nations held Fort Niagara: the French established the first post in the 1600s, and Britain gained control during the French & Indian War but yielded it to the U.S. in 1796 under a treaty. The British recaptured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812 but ceded it back to the States following the war’s end. Fort Niagara was a barracks and training station for American soldiers until 1963. Now, the Coast Guard is stationed at the fort.

Indoor Adventures

If you prefer enjoying the indoors after checking out the falls, there are many local attractions where you can stay warm.

Niagara Wax Museum of History

Three children going over the Falls in a barrel

In the winter, the wax museum of history is only open on the weekends. There are 46 exhibits describing the regional history of Niagara Falls in a 10,000 square feet viewing area. The dramatic history of balls and barrels used by daredevils over the falls are celebrated here! Historical life-size wax figures include Princess Di, Julia Roberts, Mother Teresa, and Abraham Lincoln. Most importantly, take a fun photo of your family going over the Falls photo while you’re here!

Underground Railroad Heritage Center

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center describes authentic stories of the Underground Railroad from freedom seekers and abolitionists. This Niagara Falls center empowers visitors to recognize inequity resulting from slavery and work towards an equitable society.

Visit the Rainforest and Reef

Rainforest Cafe Niagara Falls New York entrance in the Sheraton hotel

The Sheraton Hotel Niagara Falls, New York, is an ideal destination for a winter getaway. Located near the iconic Niagara Falls, the hotel offers a variety of amenities to make your stay enjoyable. We like to visit the Sheraton Hotel because the Rainforest Cafe is fun for kids and is next to the At the Falls arcade with various games and activities. Guests can take advantage of the Reef Beach Club, a complex with a giant pool, large indoor hot tubs, and fish tanks to swim near.

Reef Beach Club Pool with fish and sharks

Hot Cocoa at Platter’s Chocolate Factory

After a day of sledding or snowshoeing, you can warm up with a hot cup of cocoa or other treats to keep the fun going! A family trip to New York is perfect for creating a lasting memory, from the hot cup of cocoa nearby to reignite your energy after a day of sledding to the treats that can be shared with family and friends.

Hot chocolate at Platter’s Chocolate Factory is definitely a bucket list item. You can take a guided factory tour with more than 20 people. If your family is smaller, multiple production viewing areas are open to the public to tour at your leisure. However, the 20-minute drive in winter weather leaves something to be desired. Parents can enjoy chocolates and coffee, too, because New York offers plenty of wintertime activities to keep everyone happy and make your trip memorable.

The Niagara Falls Aquarium

The Aquarium of Niagara is a great place to spend a winter day in New York. With its wide variety of winter activities, it’s a great way to enjoy the season. From interactive exhibits and educational programs to behind-the-scenes tours, the Aquarium offers something for everyone.

During the winter, visitors can observe penguins, seals, sea lions, and other aquatic animals in their natural environment. There are also touch tanks where visitors can get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s inhabitants. For a unique experience, visitors can participate in a penguin encounter, where they can feed and interact with the penguins.

The Art Museum

The Castellani Art Museum is on the Niagara University campus. Opened in 1978 as the Buscaglia-Castellani Gallery, this museum was created to be an accessible center of arts education for both the campus community and Western New York. The museum officially shifted to the Castellani Art Museum in 1990. These galleries are home to a growing collection of artwork personifying artistic trends, Niagara Falls art, and local folk art traditions.

Red Coach Inn

The brunch menu at the Red Coach Inn is iconic whether you get Crème Brulee french toast, salmon benedict, or crab omelet. The Red Coach Inn is one of our top places to visit before a busy day. Also, if you’re a fan of ‘The Office’ like I am, you will recognize some of Jim and Pam’s iconic moments.

Visiting Local Wineries

Visiting a local winery is a great way to introduce kids to the culture and history of the region. Who knew family activities could be this much fun? Kids can learn about the different types of grapes and fermentation processes, while parents can sip a glass of wine and chat with fellow travelers. After the winery, explore nearby vineyards and little towns to experience local life. Family activities on vacation give kids a glimpse into how people live in a different country or region, making the travel experience even more meaningful. Plus, it’s an opportunity for families to bond together and create lasting memories with plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls in the winter.

Local wineries can offer unique experiences like wine tastings, vineyard tours, and educational workshops tailored for all ages, making the winter season the perfect time for a family travel adventure! Whether sampling winter-themed wines or learning about the science behind winemaking, winter provides a great opportunity for families to bond and discover something new. Exploring the winery grounds is also a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy nature with the family- and winter offers a picturesque backdrop for the vineyard view! What better way to spend winter break than exploring and experiencing your local wineries as a family?

The Niagara Power Vista

While temporarily closed, the Niagara Power Vista is an excellent indoor attraction during the winter.

Is Niagara Falls Closed in Winter?

No, Niagara Falls is open all winter long. There are many Niagara Falls winter activities, but some major attractions face closures beginning in October or November each year. Most Niagara Falls attractions open again in May of each year.

Is Niagara Falls, NY, Worth Visiting in Winter?

Yes, there are plenty of winter activities in Niagara Falls, New York, such as:

  • Cave of the Winds
  • Niagara Falls Observation Tower
  • The Illuminated Falls at Night
  • Fireworks at the Falls
  • Ice Skating
  • Make a snowman at Niagara Falls State Park
  • Nikola Tesla Statue
  • Hiking trails
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sledding
  • Helicopter rides over the falls
  • Old Fort Niagara
  • Art alley
  • Niagara Wax Museum of History
  • Underground Railroad Heritage Center
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Reef Beach Club
  • Hot cocoa at Platter’s Chocolate Factory
  • The Aquarium of Niagara
  • The Castellani Art Museum
  • Eat at the Red Coach Inn
  • Visit the Niagara Wine Trail
  • The Niagara Power Vista

Since most seasonal attractions and restaurants are shut down by November, searching for things to do in December, January, February, or March can feel overwhelming. If you’re wondering if it’s worth going to Niagara Falls in the winter, there are plenty of winter activities in Niagara Falls, NY.

What closes in Niagara Falls, New York, in the winter?

  • Maid of the Mist closes for the winter the first week of November.
  • Unfortunately, Schoellkopf Power Plant Ruins Site elevator only runs from May to October (although we did go on it in the first week of November!)
  • Niagara Legends of Adventure Movie is closed seasonally.
  • Many restaurants are seasonal and open only in the summer. For example, our highly rated beef on weck at Adrian’s Custard and Beef closes for the season.

Does Niagara Falls freeze in the winter?

Niagara Falls New york winter frozen

No, but the look of the frozen Niagara Falls in the winter is a memorable vision. Niagara Falls does not freeze every year or ever. You might see the Falls covered in snow and ice during winter. Niagara Falls looks frozen with icy structures, but the ice forms on the river each winter, and the water moves beneath the ice. The winter features high temperatures from 30 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 17 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit with typically clear weather.

Final Say

If you are visiting Niagara Falls, NY, in the winter, there are things to do for each family member. From the youngest child to the oldest grandparent, Niagara Falls is a destination for everyone to explore and create lasting memories. So why not make Niagara Falls your next family travel destination? There are plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls, USA, in the winter and beyond.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker watching the Niagara River thunder down or just looking to relax and enjoy the sights, these fun winter activities will provide endless entertainment and memories for years to come!

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