For centuries, Niagara Falls has been a destination for the wealthy and powerful; in fact, Niagara Falls first gained international acclaim when Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Jerome, chose to honeymoon at the iconic falls — which first gave Niagara it’s moniker “Honeymoon Capital of the World.” Personages such as Queen Elizabeth and King George IV, Princess Diana (with Princes William and Harry in tow), Marylin Monroe, Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, Oscar Wilde and Shirley Temple have taken time to see the magnificent falls, and you should too.
Even today, as the hoi polloi flood by the millions into the region every summer, there is plenty for high-class gentlemen such as yourself to do in Niagara Falls. Here are a few of the more refined activities in the area.
It’s hardly a trip to Niagara Falls if you don’t spend at least one day in pursuit of gorgeous falls views. The two most popular ways to see the falls are:
- from Queen Victoria Park, which follows the Niagara River and provides outstanding, free views of the falls. It’s common for visitors to walk the park, but you can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy people-watching while you sight-see. During certain times of year, like New Years, the park will host festivals with food vendors, live music and more.
- from a Niagara River cruise. There are two cruise options: the famous and overbooked Maid of the Mist, which launches from the American side, or the more accessible Hornblower Cruises, which launches from the Canadian side. Both cruises provide a near-identical experience that brings you right up to the base of the crashing falls.
However, while these are popular viewing positions, they aren’t necessarily the most luxurious. In truth, you can get magnificent views from nearly anywhere in Canadian Niagara Falls, even your hotel room if you opt for deluxe accommodations in a resort like Sheraton on the Falls. You might also plan to visit restaurants known for their views, like The Keg Steakhouse + Bar or the Skylon Tower dining room, which rotates to provide 360-degree views of the falls and Niagara valley. Finally, for a more romantic falls view, consider riding the Niagara SkyWheel, especially at night during the summer when the falls are illuminated with colored lights.
Besides the waterfalls, Niagara Falls is known internationally for its wine. Though winemaking is relatively new to the valley, Niagara Falls has proven itself to have an impeccable terroir, and many of the wineries in the area have won international awards for their wines. Across the entire Niagara wine region, there are more than 400 wineries and vineyards, so you could spend weeks sipping your way through the valley. Some of the top wineries to try include:
- Peller Estates. This enormous winery is one of the oldest in the region and offers one of the best tours, which includes a trip inside a tasting room made of ice.
- Kew Vineyards. Another beautifully old vineyard, Kew offers a variety of experiences, from a formal tasting room to a fun picnic-style tasting.
- Redstone Winery. Redstone’s wine is good — but its patio is better. You can enjoy some incredibly scenic views from the comfortable and stylish tasting patio.
- Inniskillin Wines. While all Niagara wineries these days sell the iconic icewine, Iniskillin’s is inarguably the best, making this stop a can’t-miss.
Another option is participating in an organized winery tour, which will take you from your hotel to a handful of top wineries, providing Niagara history and wine tasting tips along the way. Winery tours come in many varieties, including bicycle-based tours, so you can enjoy the clean, Niagara air and valley scenery between tastings.
Resting and Relaxing
Niagara Falls is a relatively busy vacation destination; there is activity and motion everywhere, as millions of tourists try to fit in as many attractions per day as possible. If you want to avoid the masses and enjoy a classier trip, you should focus on the slower, calmer activities in the area. For instance, you might take a nature walk through Dufferin Islands, a cluster of artificial islands made centuries ago that function as a secret, serene park close to the falls. Alternatively, you might book a few treatments at Christienne Fallsview Spa — especially a dip in the infinity tub, which provides views of Niagara Falls while you let the stress of travel melt away.
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