Spending a portion of your day in Niagara’s quaint and charming community Niagara on the lake is a great way to pass the time. You may have lunch at one of the numerous restaurants that line Queen Street or go window shopping instead, whichever activity seems most appealing to you.
You aren’t especially hungry, but would you want something sweet? You won’t have any problem satiating your hunger at any of the many Ice cream or candy stores.
It is well-known that Niagara on the lake is a Canadian national historic site. This is due to the enormous collection of structures like fort Niagara established after the War of 1812, between 1815 and 1859. A good number of them have undergone meticulous restoration.
Even though the town is a popular destination for tourists, it has been able to preserve its historic character and small-town atmosphere. This contrasts with its more elaborate cousin, Niagara Falls, located 25 kilometres to the north.
Another well-known fact about Niagara on the Lake is that it is the location of the Shaw Festival. Therefore, you should play all day, and then in the evening, you should see a performance before returning to your five-star hotel or posh bed and breakfast.
Because the town is so compact and easy to navigate on foot, feel free to park in any of the abundant paid parking places that line either the main road or the side streets. Parking on the side streets farther out from the central business district is free if you don’t mind having to walk a little bit.
Utilize our best things to do in Niagara on the lake list as a guide for organizing your vacation itinerary.
1. 10 Things to do in Niagara on the Lake
1.1. Historical Queen Street
Walking up and down Queen Street is the activity visitors to Niagara on the lake should prioritize above all others. This is a tempting pastime and heritage district because of the wide pathways and amazing flower arrangements.
This historically significant route is the location of several important structures and tourist sites, some of which date back to 1846 and include the courthouse building, the cenotaph, and one of the playhouses used during the Shaw Festival.
In addition to these magnificent buildings, like the heritage district in upper Canada, you’ll also come across Ontario’s first pharmacy, which was in operation from 1820 until 1964. On the inside of the building is a meticulous recreation of the pharmacy as it would have appeared in 1869, complete with the original bottles, displays, and counters.
The Prince of Wales hotel, located at the crossroads of Queen Street and King Street, the courthouse is another well-known landmark that should not be overlooked. This grand hotel at Niagara on the lake was built in 1864 and is considered one of the most prestigious accommodations in Niagara on the lake.
Not only is Queen Street rich in historical significance, but it is also an excellent location for doing some shopping. Discover one-of-a-kind boutiques and art galleries tucked away among buildings that date back to the 19th century.
If all of the history and shopping wears you out, try to find a sunny patio seat at one of the several restaurants that also line the street and see if you can recharge your batteries there. There is nothing quite like relaxing beneath an umbrella with some pals, enjoying a refreshing beverage, and catching up on the latest news while covertly engaging in some people-watching at the same time.
1.2. Fort George
In 1813, a decisive battle was fought and ultimately lost at Niagara on the lake and Fort George in the Niagara region. Still, if you believe that the cannons have been silenced today, you are incorrect. The appearance of Fort George nearby Niagara Falls at the start of the 19th century is quite similar to how it appears now.
Soldiers dressed in period garb may be seen moving about the fort while the other people who live inside go about their everyday activities as if time had stopped.
These helpful interpreters, dispersed around the eight structures that make up the fort, can answer any questions about their work and the activities that make up their daily lives. Live musket firings are one of the most exciting exhibits. These historic firearms release a massive cloud of smoke when they discharge their projectiles in Niagara on the lake.
The grounds are wide, so there is plenty of room to roam around and world-class theatre to discover new things in Upper Canada. It is highly recommended that you ascend to the gun emplacements to take in the scenery.
1.3. Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
If you and your significant other seek a romantic activity together, a tour of the city in a carriage pulled by horses is a perfect choice. You may pick your own time and make a reservation online at least 24 hours in advance if you want the carriages to wait for you outside the Prince of Wales hotel on King Street. Alternatively, you can opt to wait inside the hotel.
The walking tours in Niagara on the lake take either 30 or 45 minutes to complete and follow a predetermined path that goes down Queen Street, along the shoreline, and into the charming residential neighbourhoods of the city. A local guide will provide you with a guided commentary as you make your way down the path.
The carriages can seat two children in addition to four adults. The tours are available from Sunday through Monday.
1.4. Prince of Wales Hotel
If you want to get the most out of your trip to Niagara on the lake, there is no better way to do it than by staying at the Prince of Wales hotel, which is both elegant and historically significant. The hotel has a fantastic location at the King and Queen Streets intersection, in the middle of the city’s bustling downtown district.
The hotel is exquisitely furnished with works of art of the highest calibre, and the magnificently restored architectural features of the 19th-century structure combine to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for guests who choose to stay here. If you have spent a long day seeing the Niagara area, the Secret Garden Spa offers a choice of relaxing treatments to help you feel revitalized and prepared for the evening ahead.
In addition, the hotel is well-known for its restaurants, particularly the Noble, which serves upscale cuisine, and the Drawing Room, which serves classic afternoon tea.
1.5. The Niagara Parkway
The Niagara Parkway Scenic Drive is a scenic route that begins at Fort Erie, travels via Niagara Falls, and ultimately arrives in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The distance travelled by this road is 55 kilometres, and although the entire route is beautiful, the segment that travels from Niagara Falls to Niagara on the lake is especially breathtaking.
Along this street, you will go past several interesting places, such as Fort George, the Laura Secord Homestead, and Queenstown Heights Park from Toronto Pearson airport, southern Ontario.
Although the road runs next to the Niagara River, it isn’t easy to get a clear view of the waterway from the road since the riverside is lined with densely packed trees. Fertile farmland is abundant in the region around Niagara on the lake and horseshoe falls, and you’ll be able to locate some of the season’s freshest fruits.
Always look for roadside boutique shops and the royal George theatre that offer stone fruits, including peaches, nectarines, cherries, and plums.
Because it is also one of Ontario’s most important historic districts of grape-growing districts, the land beside the highway has a very picturesque landscape. A photographer’s dream come true, these vines have been meticulously maintained and are neatly arranged in rows.
Renting bicycles from one of the businesses in Niagara on the lake and riding along the separate paved bike route that runs parallel to the road is a popular activity among visitors to the town. If you don’t attempt to climb the Niagara Escarpment, it’s an easy ride since it’s clearly marked, generally flat, and doesn’t need much effort.
1.6. The Shaw Festival
Since 1962, the Shaw Festival has been bringing smiles to the faces of theatregoers not just in Niagara on the lake but also across the globe, the town’s history. Over 250,000 people attend the Shaw Festival each season; horseshoe falls in a new courthouse from May to November yearly.
During each season, there are often eight to ten shows on display and performed in one of the town’s three theatres. However, in recent years, the Shaw Festival has extended its repertoire to include works by other artists.
The primary theatre district can be found at number 10, Queen’s Parade, just a few minutes from downtown Niagara on the lake. The Festival Theater is the biggest of the three theatres, with seating for 856 spectators, while the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theater has a capacity for 267 customers. Both of these theatres are located in this area.
The ancient Royal George Theater can be found at 85 Queen Street, right in the middle of the downtown area, and it has seating for 305 people. Before you go, double-check to see which theatre your play will be performed in so you can plan accordingly.
It will cost you a lot of money to park at the main theatre, located at 10 Queen’s Parade. You may want to think about parking and antique shops, navy hall, residential quarter, military sites, outlet collection, guided tour nearby Niagara Falls and on the street at a meter or going back a few blocks where parking is free.
1.7. Queen’s Royal Park
Queen’s Royal Park is one of the most underrated destinations in Niagara on the lake, with good reason. It’s a shame, considering this lovely park offers vistas of the Toronto cityscape that can’t be matched anywhere else across Lake Ontario.
On days when the sky is very clear, one can see quite a ways out and still make out the structures of downtown, most notably the CN Tower. Old Fort Niagara, not to be mistaken with Fort George, located closer to Niagara on the lake, is an amazing structure that can be seen on the opposite bank of the Niagara River in the United States.
Large trees that provide shade, a gazebo, and a walking path along the lakefront are some features that can be found at Queen’s Royal Park, located on the rise above Lake Ontario. You may reach the park quickly and simply by strolling south on King Street from the Prince of Wales Hotel until you reach the Lake when King Street ends.
1.8. Queenstown Heights Park
In Queenstown Heights Park, on a hill that looks out over the Niagara River, there is a structure that is often considered among the most spectacular monuments in all of Ontario. In honor of Sir Isaac Brock, who played a pivotal part in defense of Canada during the War of 1812, a monumental memorial has been constructed in his name.
The historic Niagara Escarpment is responsible for the breathtaking views that can be seen from the park, looking out over the Niagara River and in the direction of Niagara on the Lake. Around 11,000 years ago, Niagara Falls began its trip to its current position, making this point in its journey the starting point. The world-famous Bruce Trail ends at this park, which marks the end of its 904-kilometre stretch.
The park stretches back along the Niagara Escarpment. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful spots along the Niagara Parkway, where visitors may pull over for a picnic. Spending a warm summer day with the family in a setting with towering shade trees, expansive lawns, and gorgeous gardens is the ideal way to pass the time.
1.9. Simcoe Park
It won’t take long for you to realize that Niagara on the lake is a paradise for gardeners as you make your way around the town. The planters are a riot of color and brimming to the brim with exotic and unusual vegetation, most of which you have most likely never seen before.
If you are looking for the entrance to Simcoe Park and find one of the biggest displays near the intersection of Queen and King Streets, then you have successfully located the entry.
Walk through this spectacular exhibit and drop into the comfortable environment that is liked by both the residents and the visitors alike. Large trees that provide shade offer a welcome reprieve from the sweltering heat of the summer, while seats positioned in just the right spots invite thoughtful reflection.
There is a statue of Lord Simcoe, the park’s namesake, located on the park’s eastern boundary. His contributions to the growth of Canada in the middle of the 18th century are commemorated by a plaque.
If you are going on a trip with younger children, a playground or free water park are excellent places to let them burn off some of their boundless youthful enthusiasm. A big bandstand is close to the park’s south side and periodically plays host to summer performances. Additionally, there are public restrooms located in the park.
1.10. Niagara Falls Drive
The magnificent Niagara Falls may be reached quickly and in beautiful scenery by using the Niagara Parkway. At this point, the Niagara River makes its dramatic descent into the river canyon below, plunging over the remnants of the Niagara Escarpment.
When you reach the town, park the vehicle, and then go to the edge of the falls so that you can see and hear the thunder of the water as it crashes over the brink.
You may have a more in-depth experience by going on the journey Below the Falls, which involves riding an elevator down far into the soil behind the falls and then walking through a series of tunnels to emerge slightly above river level.
The town of Niagara Falls, located a short distance from the falls itself, is a popular tourist destination. Take a walk-up Clifton Hill to get your fill of cheesy and gaudy entertainment, which may cause adults to roll their eyes but will make children quite happy.
If you have the time, you might think about staying around after the sun has set so that you may see the falls lit up in a rainbow of hues.
Suppose you will be in Ontario anytime and are interested in seeing Niagara Falls. In that case, you should include Niagara on the lake on your list of places to visit. Are you curious about the reason? Check out all of these different activities that can be enjoyed in Niagara on the lake to learn more about why this destination should be included on the itineraries of all visitors to the province of Ontario.
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