Niagara Falls in Winter

Winter, despite the cold, is a good way to experience a travel cliché as it makes it just a tad different. One place where this is true is Niagara Falls. The area around the falls is a tacky nightmare so to minimize the horror, a winter evening visit is the best time to go. This way, one wouldn’t have to combine the battering of crowds with the visual assault of what is built up near the waterfalls. Niagara Falls (1)

Niagara Falls is actually a set of three waterfalls on the border of (Ontario) Canada and (New York) the United States. There are American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Only Horseshoe is on the Canadian side…but that’s okay since that one is the best of the three. This falls is the most powerful in North America when you consider both the height and flow rate – on average, about 4 million cubic feet of water goes over the edge every minute! In high flow season (late spring/early summer), it can get up to 6 million cubic feet per minute. Horseshoe Falls has a drop of about 188ft (57m) and is about 2600ft (790m) wide.

Seeing the falls at dusk is actually very pretty despite the fact that my fingers were getting frostbitten and my camera kept randomly refusing to take a picture. It was cold.  While Horseshoe Falls themselves were mostly not frozen, the Niagara River and base of Bridal Veil and American Falls had tons of ice and ice boulders. Also, the street lights and the railings were covered in thick layers of ice due to the fine spray that comes up off the falling water. When it got quite dark, all of a sudden there were various colours being projected onto all three falls. While pretty, I have never understood why there is this need to impose something man-made onto nature to make it “cooler”. Just appreciate nature for itself!

Near the Niagara Falls, there are many other things that can help amuse you if you so desire. There are casinos, many hotels, tons of restaurants (including an IHOP practically on every corner), and Clifton Hill. Clifton Hill is an area where for a couple blocks, all I could think was, “Thank my lucky stars I didn’t come here in the height of summer when the crowds would be massive”. This area does not fit my idea of fun but for many other folks, this is the place to be when visiting Niagara Falls. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves and you decide if it would be fun for you!

Overall, despite the built-up tackiness, Niagara Falls is something to see as it is such a North American icon. However, if you are an introvert, I suggest going in the winter. If you are an extrovert, go in the summer. Either way, it is one place where you get three waterfalls with minimal effort. And for a lazy person like me, that’s the best thing about the place.

Have you been to Niagara Falls? What did you think?

18 responses to “Niagara Falls in Winter

  1. Very cool photos, and a great idea to go in winter. I went when I was a kid, before all that awfulness was there (or at least most of it).

    • thanks, Lex! I’ve been as a kid as well but had no memory of it so I’d always wanted to go back. It’s such a shame all of that stuff has been built up around it!

  2. I have never been to Niagara Falls and probably never will be, so I’ll enjoy it through your stunning photos! I like your description “tacky nightmare,” (could be used for many places).
    Have you ever been to Iguazu Falls? That is a place I would really like to visit, but have never known anyone who went there.

    • Hey Marilyn – I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Re Iguazu Falls, no, not yet! It is on my bucket list, though. One day, and hopefully soon!

  3. Would love to see Niagara Falls if I ever am in the area. I would agree that it is pretty iconic, which is why I would want to visit. Haha…oh and that first photo of the lamp, I thought you had done some effects on the photo only to realise it’s cold!! And you still went? Haha! 😄

    • It was freezing! But despite not liking the cold, I am used to it since where I live it was even colder, lol. I hope you get to visit Nagara soon!

  4. I love seeing Niagara Falls in the winter, it’s beautiful! I can definitely see the advantage of the fewer crowds, but knowing how cold I found it when we went in May a few years ago, you must have been freezing!

    I remember seeing an old timey picture of a year when the falls completely froze over, that would’ve been exceedingly cool!

    I found a lot of the touristy stuff (especially Clifton Hill) over the top and tacky. My one recommendation for anyone visiting Niagara Falls is to go on the Niagara Ghost Walk ( It’s in downtown Niagara Falls, which is actually away from the falls. The lady who hosts it will give you some ghostly stories, but also a lot of interesting info about the history of Niagara Falls. It’s both interesting and sad to see downtown Niagara Falls, lots of history, definitely away from the obnoxious glitz of Clifton Hill, but also sadly neglected.

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