Niagara Falls NY Local

Enter to Win Locally Designed Niagara Falls Necklace or Keychain

Niagara Falls Jewlery

We’re giving away your choice of a beautifully designed necklace or key chain, donated by local artisan, BfloGALS. 

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Our drawing period has ended. The winner will be contacted at the email address they used to enter the contest.Winner’s name can be obtained by emailing a request to [email protected] after 3/25/20.

Visiting Niagara Falls in Winter

niagara falls usa in winter

A Special Time to Visit Niagara Falls

Winter visitors from December through March may be treated to snowy landscapes and ice formations.  Whether or not there is snow on the ground, ice formations build up below Niagara Falls after steady streaks of cold temperatures.  The American and Bridal Veil Falls on the New York side of The Falls in particular are a great place to look at Mother Nature’s ice sculptures.

Constant mist from The Falls and cold winter temperatures create a glazing of ice above The Falls too.  Lamp posts, railings and park benches are often encased in ice creating a glistening landscape on sunny days. The white landscape makes a bold contrast to the rainbows often seen over Niagara Falls.

A pair of winter boots with good tread is recommended when you walk near the Falls. Sidewalks are well maintained.  But paths can still be slippery.

ice below niagara fallsWinter Schedules and Activities

There is plenty to see in Winter, despite some outdoor attractions like the Maid of the Mist or Jet Boats going into hibernation for winter months,   The quieter season means visitors may find less wait times at attractions and an easier time getting reservations at the top restaurants and accommodations of your choice.

Here are a just a few local picks for winter entertainment.

The Aquarium of Niagara Falls is a great place to learn about aquatic life from the ocean and local waters. Watch one of the daily shows to be entertained by sea lions, harbor seals or penguins.

Niagara Power Vista Visitor Center is just five minutes away from Niagara Falls.  This educational center is a virtual reality and interactive experience for the whole family.

The Niagara Adventure Theater will entertain and educate you in a 30-minute film about the history of Niagara Falls.

Skating – check for a weekend open skate session at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.  Skate rentals plus ice time is a real value at just $8 per person.

Seneca Niagara Casino is a great spot for a group of friends or a date night to enjoying gaming and entertainment.

Take a side trip to the villages of Lewiston for shopping and dining or visit the local wineries where you can learn why the Niagara Region is unique for growing grapes and  making ice wine.

Take a step back in history at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown.

See our Attractions page for more ideas.

Walking in Niagara Falls State Park in Winter

Niagara Falls State Park Walking Paths in Winter

Icy Bench on Goat Island

Ice Covered Bench Goat Island

Holiday Fireworks Guide for Niagara Falls USA

Fireworks Nightly at Niagara FAlls

Thanksgiving, Christmas Season & New Year’s Eve Holiday Fireworks

Holiday Fireworks displays return to Niagara Falls for many nights in November, December and January.

Shows are promptly at 9 PM, weather permitting* unless otherwise noted.

Friday nights Nov 22, Dec. 6, Dec. 13

Saturday, Nov. 30th Old Falls Street USA as part of Jingle Falls USA. This show only is at 6 PM.

Every Night  from Friday, Dec. 20 until Sunday, January 5.

New Year’s Eve, December 31st there are two fireworks displays, 9PM and Midnight.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday January 10-12.

*Fireworks displays over the Falls continue rain or shine but may be affected by prevailing winds. If you question whether there is a schedule change, you can call 1-877-642-7275 for information.

You might also be interested in reading about holiday lighting and tree displays.

Holiday Tree Lighting, Light Festivals & Tree Festivals for the Niagara Falls Area, NY

Holiday Tree Lighting Events

Nov 24th, the New York Beer Project in Lockport already held their holiday tree lighting and the lights are on for the holiday season.

Saturday, Nov. 30th, Niagara Falls Tree Lighting, part of the Jingle Falls USA Festival.  A 5PM Candlelight Stroll accompanied by Niagara Falls High School marching band, culminating with the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Fireworks at Old Falls Street at 6PM. For more Jingle Falls Events visit the event page.

Wednesday, December 4th, Seneca Niagara Casino & Event Center lights their tree for the season at 5:30 PM.

Friday, December 6th, Village of Lewiston Tree Lighting.  7 PM at Hennepin Park.

Holiday Lights and Christmas Tree Festivals

The Festival of Lights is already underway at our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston. Drive through the outdoor display of lights any night from 5-9 PM now through the first week of January.

The Festival of Trees at the New York Power Authority begins lighting trees on Sunday, December 1st. The trees will be on display every day from 8am until 5 PM until December 31st.

See beautifully decorated homes and trees in the Holiday Tour of Homes in Lewiston, December 7 & 8.

Niagara Falls Illumination happens year round after dusk.

The schedule for lights over the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls for the rest of 2019 is as follows:

  • November 5 – December 30: 4:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • December 31: 4:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.

The colors of the lights on many occasions are selected to recognize special causes. If you would like to know why Niagara Falls is lit up with a particular color on any given night, you can check the calendar or special causes.

 

5 Ways to Cool Off on a Hot Day in Niagara Falls

View of Niagara Falls from Goat Island

Looking to Cool off on a Hot Summer Day in Upstate New York?

Taking a day trip to Niagara Falls is one of our favorite ways to beat the summer heat.

Do you ever use a mist-spraying system on a hot day in July or August? Think of The American and Canadian Falls as the world’s biggest spray mister.

The water coming off the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls can be seen from dozens of miles away if you have a clear line of sight.

Naturally, standing next to The Falls is an instant way to combat the discomfort of a really warm day.

Here’s 5 Ways Niagara Falls New York is a Great Place to Beat the Summer Heat

maid of the mist
1) Ride the Maid of the Mist. There’s a reason putting on a rain coat is required for this iconic boat ride.

The Maid of the Mist takes you up the lower Niagara River to as close as any boat can get to the bottom of The Falls.

The spray given off from The Falls is like a cool rain.  You’ll forget about the heat as you travel up close to the Falls for a truly majestic view.

cave of the winds

2) Visit the Cave of the Winds

Descend to the bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls. Just traveling down the elevator will bring down the ambient temperature quite a few degrees.

Step out from the elevator onto the boardwalk. You’ll journey to the edge of Niagara Falls and walk right through the spray.

Hiking in Whirlpool State Park

3) Take a Walk in the Gorge

The Lower Niagara Gorge was carved out by Niagara Falls. When you hike down into the Gorge, you’ll be surrounded by trees, and rocks and most of the time you’ll be entirely shaded from the sun.

There are several points where you can enter the trail system. Try the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, Whirlpool State Park or Devil’s Hole State Park.

Bring plenty of water to keep hydrated. If you do park at the Whirlpool or Devil’s Hole entrances, keep in mind the stairs climbing back out of the Gorge will get your heart rate elevated at the end of the trip.

The Discovery Center offers a gentler, more gradual ascent.

Visit our Hiking and Biking Page for a map of the trails.

Whirlpool Jet Boat

4) Try a Jet Boat Ride

These fast tour boats take you up the lower  Niagara River for a ride you’ll never forget. From the safety of your boat, ride through the lower rapids. Tour boat operators know the best spots to ride the waves.

Expect not only to cool off, but to get wet. Very, very wet. Or you could opt for a covered boat, but getting soaked is half the fun.  There are two tour companies for Jet Boats. One departs from Lewiston and the other from Youngstown.

Aquarium of NIagara Falls NY

5) Visit the Niagara Aquarium

Choose the comfort of air conditioning and spend a morning or an afternoon visiting with seals, penguins and fish at the Niagara Aquarium.

NFNY Local’s Picks for Events the Week of July 1-7

Fireworks Nightly at Niagara FAlls

July 1 is Canada Day and July 4th Independence Day.

With Niagara Falls spanning the border of two countries with national holidays, this is one busy week.

Watch Fireworks Displays Any Night of the Week

July 1st and 4th the 10PM displays over The Falls are extended to longer shows marking the holidays.

Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino offers a big fireworks event on July 6.

Fantasy Island Theme Park will light up the skies with fireworks July 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Hyde Park and the Town of Tonawanda have displays as well. Check out our Events calendar for more details.

See a French and Indian War Encampment and Battle Reinactment

Encampment & Reenactment Weekend at Old Fort NiagaraHistoric Old Fort Niagara will be the scene of one of the largest French and Indian War encampments in the world.

Events happen at the fort all day Saturday and Sunday, with battles at 2PM.

Independence Week Block Party

Old Falls Street is the site of a 3-day block party with food, drink, games, and plenty of live music.

The party runs from noon til 10:30 PM Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For More Events This Week and This Summer

See our events calendar for more ideas.

If you’re hosting an upcoming event and would like to make sure it is added to our calendar, email us at:  visit(at)NFNYLocal.com.

Just replace the (at) with @.   If you really want to know why we do that – websites list (at) instead of @ just as a way of keeping web addresses more secure.

Local Event Picks for This Weekend

There is so, so much to see and do in and around Niagara Falls this weekend. It was hard to choose our local picks.

Also we’ve just added a new Events Calendar feature to our website and are feverishly entering data for all the July happenings, so keep checking it for more!

We’ve got to make a few recommendations so here goes:

The Friday Night Block Party at Old Falls Street USA. This weeks’ headline act is Nerds Gone Wild

Its’ an old-fashioned block party in the street with live music and vendors.

Dance the night away to your favorite 80’s New Wave and Rock hits by Nerds Gone Wild until the fireworks begin at 10PM.

Lockport Outdoors Arts & Crafts Festival.  

Saturday and Sunday find your favorite artisans and crafters and discover new as you stroll Main Street in Lockport.

Free Fishing Weekend – New York

Anyone can fish the Niagara River and Lake Ontario this weekend, or anywhere in New York without purchasing a license June 29-30.

Fishing regulations still apply.

And More

Of course there’s live music and restaurants and pubs throughout Niagara Falls and Fireworks every night at 10PM.

It’s a beautiful weekend from Mother Nature to get out and enjoy all that Niagara Falls has to offer: The Maid of the Mist, the Cave of the Winds, Hiking the Niagara River Gorge, Jet Boat Rides in the lower Niagara River and more.  Get outside and enjoy one of the wonders of the world and all the community has to offer around it.

Next Week: Is probably the biggest week of the year in Niagara Falls USA. We celebrate two major birthdays.

Canada Day for our neighbors to the north on July 1 and Independence Day for America on July 4. So we’ll get back to feverishly adding activities to that events calendar because there’s lots to share for you to explore!

Events This Weekend in Niagara Falls, June 14-16

Events this Weekend

There’s no shortage of events to entertain guests of all ages in Niagara Falls and surrounding areas this weekend.

Here’s a few of our top picks for what to do this weekend.

Weekend Picks for Friday June 14 – Sunday June 16

Festivals:

Lewiston Garden Festival, Saturday and Sunday

Taste of Niagara Falls, Saturday, 11 AM – 8 PM, 2nd Street in The Falls

Kids Events:

Safety Fair and Touch a Truck – Saturday 10-3, Niagara Power Vista

Fireworks Over the Falls:

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10PM Sharp.

Live Music

Chill 443 – Live Music Friday 6-9:30 PM

Hard Rock Café – Burgers and Beats on Friday 11 AM – 9 PM

Hard Rock Café – Rock Out With Pops on Sunday, 11 AM – 11 PM

Hyatt Place- Tom Bender, Saturday, 7-10

Parkway Prime – Saxman Slim 7-10

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino – Jon Secada, Saturday, 8 PM

Wine on Third,  Vincent Bonelli on Friday, 7-10PM

If you’re a venue hosting live events, drop us an email at vist (at) nfnylocal.com. We’ll send you a reply how to submit your upcoming activities.

It’s quick and easy.

 

 

 

Top Things to do in Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park Map

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America. It is the only place in the US or Canada where you can get up-close access to all 3 waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls: the American, Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls. Many of The Falls’ top attractions in the USA are within the park.

Here are 10 top things to do in the park, followed by 10 more ideas, making it an even 20!

Top 10 Things to do in Niagara Falls State Park

  1. See all 3 Falls from Prospect Point. This is a perfect spot for your first breathtaking view of Niagara Falls, USA. See the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and a portion of the Horseshoe Falls from here.
  2. Take in the view from the Observation Deck. It’s worth a ticket to go out to the observation deck for a full view of all 3 Falls.  This is a must if you aren’t going to also see The Falls from the Canadian side.  The ticket booth closes in the late afternoon or early evening, so cross this off your list during the day.
  3. Look down from Terrapin Point. Goat Island’s best vantage point for the Horseshoe Falls is Terrapin Point.
  4. Ride the Maid of the Mist. This iconic boat ride runs Spring through Fall. There’s no better way to really get a perspective for how massive The Falls are, than looking up at them from the middle of the Niagara River.
  5. Descend the Cave of the Winds. Take the elevator to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls and walk the boardwalk as the spray of the Falls hits you.
  6. See The Falls illuminated at night. The colored lights create a view not to be missed.
  7. Watch fireworks over The Falls. A brief fireworks display at 10 PM on summer nights is a must. For more information on schedules, click here.
  8. Visit the Aquarium of Niagara Falls. Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Penguins and Jellyfish are among the creatures you’ll meet up close at the Aquarium.
  9. Explore the islands: Goat, Luna and Three Sisters.  Walk around the park grounds on the Islands for up close views of the Niagara River right up to the brink.
  10. Tour the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. Learn about the geology and nature you’re seeing in the park.

Ten More Things to do in the Park

  1. Walk or hike into the Gorge. From the Discovery Center, find one of the trailheads to walk down the Gorge.
  2. Go to the park Visitor Center and watch the movie in the Adventure Theater. It’s only 30 minutes long. The visitor center in the State Park also has great information.
  3. Have lunch on Goat Island. Either bring a picnic basket, or order at the Top of the Falls restaurant.
  4. Look for the barge.  There’s one that got stuck in the rapids just above The Falls.
  5. Watch the rapids. Before the water drops, it’s also impressive to watch the rapids churn.
  6. Take the trolley. Cut down on your walking and ride the Trolley through Niagara Falls State Park.  You’ll learn a lot from your guide during the trip.
  7. Check out the old power station. It’s just outside the Discovery Center, where you can learn more about it.
  8. Learn about the history of The Falls. Films at some of the park attractions and signs and statues throughout the park will teach you a lot about what happened here and how it changed the world.
  9. Post a selfie.  Tag us in your photo, @NFNYlocal and we just might repost it!
  10. See The Falls again at a different time of day or in a different season.  Winter is just as amazing as summer and is a very different experience.

About Niagara Falls State Park

The oldest State Park in America was established in 1885. It spans over 400 acres, 140 of them covered by water. For more information on the park, visit their website here.

Local’s Tips: Purchase a Discovery Ticket Package if you want to do all the major events. Then park your car and ride the Trolley for the day. You’re going to get wet on the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds, so take a good selfie in front of The Falls before you visit those attractions.

 

 

Local Food to Eat in Niagara Falls and Buffalo

chicken wings a local food in western new york

How to Eat Like a Local When Visiting Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Western New York

Every area has foods that are distinctly local. You know what we mean – the items you grew up with and may have taken for granted, but can’t seem to find anywhere else. Part of the fun of travel can be experiencing native foods when you explore new areas. If you’re visiting Niagara Falls, NY and want to try something truly Western New York, choose these favorites.  You can look for these local foods in Niagara Falls Area Restaurants.

Sponge Candy

If you love chocolate, try sponge candy. The inside of this chocolate-coated treat is a caramel-like sugar whipped to an airy, yet brittle, crunchy consistency. The sugary patterns filled with light air pockets give the candy it’s spongy name. But the texture is crisp and light and practically melts in your mouth as you bite into it. The chocolate-covered confection is seasonal. It can only be made when the humidity is just right

Loganberry

Keeping with a sweet tooth, this local food or berry is most commonly served as a beverage. The  drink is hard to describe if you haven’t tasted it. The closest we can describe it to would be ordering some sort of mixed-berry flavor. But there’s no mixture, just one tasty, tiny fruit here providing all the flavor. You’ll find this non-alcoholic drink served alongside popular beverages like Coke and Pepsi. But it’s not carbonated.

Beef on Weck

Dip thinly-sliced beef in hot au jus gravy, then pile it in deep layers on a fresh roll. Not just any bun will do. Freshly baked rolls topped with caraway seed  and salt, known as “weck” rolls are the appropriate complement. If you like a bit of zing and want to clear your sinuses, act like a true local and spread horseradish inside the bun. Just don’t’ spread too much unless you’re sure you can handle it.

The Most Famous Local Food Here is Wings

Chicken Wings are probably the local food most synonymous with Western New York. They were invented just 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Most of the country calls them Buffalo Wings, but locals will only call them Wings, or Chicken Wings.

You can visit the Anchor Bar’s location right in Niagara Falls, or ask for a single or double order of wings at most local pubs and pizza restaurants.

Fish Fry

Much of the country thinks of Friday Fish Fry as a Lenten or spring happening. But Western New York restaurants serve up haddock diners every Friday of the year. Beer-battered is the standard, but you can often choose healthier options like cajun, broiled or Italian baked. Reservations are helpful 52 weeks of the year on Friday nights at popular fish fry locations. You can also check local event listings, because community halls and organizations from fire departments to churches will host an occasional Friday Fish night.

Food Brands Locals Ask For

Ask anyone who’s moved out of the area, there are certain brands they ask to have shipped for a taste of home. Weber’s Mustard, DiCamillo’s Baked Goods, Sahlen’s Hot Dogs, and Chiavetta’s Chicken are just a few.  If you call Niagara, Erie or adjacent counties home and have your own area picks, send us your thoughts in the comment area below.