My birthday is tomorrow! As an early birthday gift I was taken on a quick surprise trip to Niagara-on-The-Lake, Ontario, a few hours outside of Toronto. The only catch was we only had about 30 hours to get the most out of this picturesque, rural getaway adjacent to Niagara Falls. Keep reading for a rundown of my favorite places I visited. Whether you’re planning a trip there or just hoping to learn more about the area, my guide will give you an inside look at some of the best spots in the area!
30 Hours in Niagara-On-The-Lake
First off let me start by saying I know I’ve been gone for over two months and I’m so sorry! These past two months have been very trying for my professionally as I make a series of transitions and unfortunately, as a result, this blog suffered. Part of what made this quick trip so refreshing was that I needed a getaway from all the stress and though it was hectic at times trying to fit every activity in, the new scenery and overall slower change of pace was really appreciated.
Let’s start off by covering some basics. There are so many charming hotels to rest your head in while taking in everything Niagara Falls’ quaint sister city has to offer. I highly suggest staying in one of the vintage-style hotels over a generic chain hotel or BnB. I stayed at Queen’s Landing which was beautifully decorated centrally-located.
Old Town, Niagara-On-The-Lake
About a 10-minute walk away from the hotel was Old Town, the city’s bustling downtown core. It was filled with cute boutiques and restaurants all along a walkable strip. Walking along the road felt like being in an old-fashioned city center. I really appreciated the antique touches like the large clock tower and kitschy souvenirs shops.
Reif Estate Winery, 15608 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Niagara-On-The-Lake is most known as Canada’s wine country so when you come it’s essential to visit the wineries. While there are various options, I only got to visit one due to time. I toured Reif Estate Winery, Canada’s oldest family-run vineyard. We took a tour of the facilities and tasted wine-infused gelato, along with some of their best wines, including their icewine. For those who don’t know icewine is a rare, very expensive type of wine mostly only produced in Canada and Germany. It is known for it’s uniquely sweet taste and the fact that it is made from frozen grapes which are picked the first morning of an intense frost.
Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls
You can’t come this close to Niagara Falls and not actually go, so I did. I started with dinner high in the sky, taking in the breathtaking views of Niagara Falls (both the American and Canadian sides). From there I hit the streets to walk through Clifton Hills which I can best describe as a Canadian Times’ Square. It was packed with people, lights, and sounds. There’s tons of attraction to take in including a huge Ferris wheel.
Neob Lavender Boutique, 758 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
In addition to wine, Niagara-On-The-Lake is also known for its lavender production. In addition to its aromatic boutique, we visited Neob to tour their sweeping lavender farm and learn more about the plant and its many uses. We sampled lavender-infused shortbread and sparking water and learned about the different kinds of lavender the boutique grows. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures because the lavender had just been harvested. If you’re looking to take a quintessential lavender field picture like I was, you should come sometime in June or early- to mid-July before it’s been picked.
Chocolate F/X, 335 Four Mile Creek Rd, St. Davids, ON L0S 1P0
Chocolate F/X is such a cute chocolate shop and it was a pleasure to visit and tour the facility. It’s in a 125 year old building which was originally a cannery. Now instead of canning goods, they create tasty artisan and quirky chocolates. We samples everything from spicy, ghost pepper-infused, chocolate covered cashews to Greek yogourt covered puffed quinoa and more. They produce all kinds of chocolate treats and 80% of what they make is sold all across the world.
The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, 2565 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
The Butterfly Conservatory offers the unique and magical experience of being surrounded by 2000 butterflies from 30 different species in a tropical environment. The butterflies flutter freely within the expansive, enclosed space, often times landing on you and giving you a closer look at their beauty. It is located within the sprawling Botanical Gardens so once you’re done in there you should also check out the various other nearby horticultural attractions.
As crazy as this sounds, visiting these places wasn’t even the entirety of what I did in 30 hours but rather just a quick list of highlights. It was a great way to ring in my next chapter and I hope my guide gave you a newfound or deepened appreciation for this vacation spot. Now I’m off to continue the birthday festivities!