Niagara Falls

With less than a month to plan, I booked a weekend getaway to Niagara Falls with some friends. Less than a month to plan for me is crazy! Having never been, I jumped on the opportunity to head to Southern Ontario, Canada.


Just after the new year, two friends of mine who are nurses miraculously got the February long weekend off! Flights to places like Las Vegas or Florida were at least 2x more expensive than other weekends so we decided to plan to go somewhere local. A quick search showed some great deals on Groupon for hotels and getaway packages in Niagara Falls: the destination was set. A third friend of ours lives closer to Niagara Falls than Ottawa so it was a perfect opportunity to see her too!

I booked a hotel room near the falls and a wine tour on Groupon. I wanted to make sure the wine tour included transportation (some of them don’t) and that the hotel room was within walking distance to the wine tour pickup location (it would defeat the purpose of paying more for transportation if we had to drive to get picked up/dropped off!).

A co-worker of mine has family in Niagara Falls and she suggested a few things to do if we had time, such as the Butterfly Conservatory, Clifton Hills, Niagara Falls (of course) and the Maid on the Mist (if it was running). & that is the least amount of planning I have ever done for a trip!


Day one: Drive to southern Ontario, Waterloo/Kitchener, Niagara Casino
Day two: Niagara Fun Tours Wine Tour, the Falls, Clifton Hill, the Falls at night
Day three: Niagara-on-the-Lake, drive home

Day one: Drive to southern Ontario, Waterloo/Kitchener, Dinner, Niagara Casino

It’s about a 6 hour drive (with no weather or traffic) so we left early Friday morning. It was an overcast, dreary morning so my plans to take the scenic route along the 1000 Islands Parkway didn’t pan out. If you’ve never been, it’s a lovely drive along the St. Lawrence River.

We planned to pick up a friend of ours in Kitchener before heading to Niagara Falls we stopped in Waterloo for lunch at the Beertown Public House. The atmosphere was very chill and it was packed on a Friday at lunch time (normally a good sign).



We wandered around in downtown Waterloo until our friend finished work and then continued on our way to Niagara Falls. Traffic wasn’t terrible from Kitchener to Niagara Falls but I was glad to get to the hotel. We checked in, freshened up and made our way to Pranzo Ristorante Italiano for dinner. I would recommend reading TripAdvisor to find restaurants in new areas.

Sunset on the way from Kitchener to Niagara Falls. Makes up for the long drive!

We were given $50 in coupons for the slots at the Casino Resort casino so we walked through the walkway from our hotel to the casino and promptly spent the entire $50 in about 10 minutes. It was time to head back to the hotel and watch the Olympics (or fall asleep immediately in my case).

Day two: Niagara Fun Tours Wine Tour, the Falls, Clifton Hill, the Falls at night

After a quick workout at the gym, we got ready for the wine tour: 3 wineries, a chocolate factory and a stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For breakfast we made the HUGE mistake of stopping at the Starbucks in the hotel. It cost $20 for a breakfast sandwich and latte. I suppose that’s the reason none of the prices were posted on the signs! Needless to say, we did not go back.

Our pickup for the wine tour was in the Casino Resort at the bus stop in the lower level (had to ask the front desk staff at the spa for directions) so after our (expensive) breakfast we may our way down. We were early but unfortunately the lookout from the resort to the Falls was closed for the winter so we just waited in the bus terminal (not for too long though!) We were on a coach bus for the tour and got the seats in the back for the whole day – score!

Our first stop was Joseph’s Winery. We got two wine tastings in a conference room and had about 15 minutes in the bar area to try a few more wines and buy bottles (if so desired). Tastings were $1/glass or free if you purchased a bottle.

Joseph’s Winery Decorations – a frame of corkscrews!
“Save Water, Drink Wine”

Our second stop was Caroline’s Cellars and lunch. I 100% recommend making a stop at this winery. The food was amazing (and way better priced than both dinner the night before and breakfast that day) and the staff were so helpful. Each of us bought three bottles.

Our third stop was in Niagara-on-the-Lake for an hour to browse the shops. The decorations at this soap store were adorable and we had to make a stop at Cow’s Dairy for some ice cream (even though it was 0C). Seriously the best ice cream around.

Canadian Flag in Niagara-on-the-Lake
“Soap Opera” in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Definitely Canada’s Best Ice Cream!

Next stop was the Chocolate FX factory for a few free samples. I would have preferred a tour of the chocolate factory – which looked like they served wine with chocolate, but alas we “only” got some free chocolate and rushed back to the bus.

Our last winery was Lakeview Wine Co. We first went into their factory where they make the wine – the huge barrels carry about 300 bottles of wine each! We got a four samples, including two samples of ice wine. It was interesting learning about how to make ice wine – one grape yields one drop of ice wine. No wonder it’s so expensive! We were sent to the store where we could sample wine (3 tastings for $8) but if you bought wine the tastings were free. Naturally, to save $8 we spent $20.

Huge silos of wine
Each barrel is 300 bottles of wine. I’ll take a barrel please!


After that, it was a quick drive back to Niagara Falls where the bus drops you off at your hotel if you have a case of wine (which we did between the four of us). Luckily, we were right across the street from the final drop-off (the casino resort) so we were able to just walk across the street with our case.

We got back into town with plenty of time to check out the falls. We decided to use the “Niagara Falls Incline Railway” rather than take the 30 minute walk from the hotel to the falls. It cost $5.50 for a roundtrip. Every view of the falls just keeps getting better and standing next to the falls is awe-inspiring.



We spent some time at the hotel relaxing before heading to Kasbah for dinner. It was down the street from the hotel and out of the major tourist area. The food was delicious and way more reasonable than any restaurants on Fallsview.

Afterwards we took a stroll around Clifton Hill and to see the falls at night before heading to bed.

Both Canadian and American Falls
American falls lit at night
Canadian falls lit at night

Day three: Niagara-on-the-Lake, drive home

The sunrise the day before was so beautiful we decided to get up early (6 AM) to check out the sunrise with the falls. Unfortunately it wasn’t as nice as the day before but the pictures still turned out great.

Sun is starting the make an appearance
Falls at sunrise
Falls at sunrise

After a quick workout at the hotel gym, we packed up and decided to go to back to Niagara-on-the-Lake for lunch and shopping. We ate at the Shaw Cafe which had both amazing decorations and delicious food. Definitely stop in if you’re in the area! A friend ordered one of the flights of wine – I will definitely be picking up the Baco Noir if I can get my hands on it!


And that’s a wrap! I love exploring parts of Canada on quick trips like this. Have you been to Niagara Falls before? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Niagara Falls

  1. 1. Hahah wow, when looking at your awesome pics, I can see how plainly the Canadian falls are so much better!
    2. OMG Caroline Cellars was so awesome and I dream about that tasting/lunch! Lol
    3. THANKS for planning ‪such a great little weekend trip 🍷🍷🍷‬🙌🏼🇨🇦👌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

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