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Although summer is generally considered the “high season” for Niagara Falls tourism, autumn brings scores of visitors each year. Shorter lines at attractions, gorgeous fall colours, and festivals galore make this a prime destination for fall visitors. But is September, October, or November the right time for you to book your trip to Niagara? What types of events, weather, and attractions can you expect as the season wears on? Here’s what you need to know when planning an autumn trip to Niagara Falls.
Visiting Niagara Falls in September
Planning to visit Niagara Falls around the autumn equinox? You’re in luck. September is a popular month for visitors, and for good reason – crowds are smaller than in July and August, while the weather typically remains pleasant (though it is a bit cooler than in August, with a slight increase in rain). Late September is also a great time to enjoy a fair or festival in the greater Niagara region, including one of the biggest wine events of the year offering comfortable conditions for outdoor activities. Most attractions are still open and tourists and locals can make the most out of shorter lines and less chaotic conditions.
What to wear: The first part of September may as well be summer – while the breeze and precipitation pick up somewhat, temperatures over 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) are common. A few cooler days and nippy nights do make layers advisable, but in most cases, lighter clothes will be just fine!
Seasonal favourites and special events in mid-to-late September:
Stop at a Fall Fair on your way into (or out of) town. Ancaster, Wainfleet, Binbrook, Fort Erie, and West Niagara all host dynamic agricultural events each September.
Enjoy the last few weeks of patio season at one of Niagara Falls’ many unique restaurants and bars
Get out on the water – lineups for Hornblower Niagara Cruises’ legendary boat tours tend to shorten by mid-late September, and fishing in the Niagara River is at its peak. If you love setting sail, this is a great time to visit!
Treat your palate at the popular Grape and Wine Festival, which takes place on the last two weekends of September. Vendors from across the region take over Montebello Park with food and wine tastings. Most Niagara wineries also serve up special tours and food pairings for the occasion.
If you want to elevate your evening experience, the Mighty Niagara Falls makes the perfect backdrop for a special night of wine tasting followed by the rare opportunity to light up the falls in a magical array of your own colors with Niagara at Night: Wine Tasting and Illumination Tower Experience. You will meet your local guide as the sun begins its descent over the falls. You will enjoy breathtaking views on the outdoor deck as you hear about historical figures who stood in the same spot. Sample four hand-picked wines, locally grown and produced alongside mouthwatering appetizers. The next stop is the Niagara Falls Illumination Tower where you will meet the veteran Light Master who will share amazing tales dating back to the first lighting in 1860. Taking control of the lighting system and seeing them come to life will take your breath away. You will spend an evening making memories of a lifetime.
Visiting Niagara Falls in October
Early October can be one of the most delightful times to visit Niagara Falls. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the Fall colours and be able to enjoy most of the area’s attractions before they close up for the season. Late October can be equally enjoyable; Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s Halloween hotspots, and there are many events and attractions leading up to October 31. Popular experiences like the Niagara Falls boat cruises and Journey Behind the Falls also remain open throughout the month.
What to wear: October is marked by temperate days and cool nights in Niagara, so bringing a sweater and a fall coat to layer up is a good idea. An umbrella or waterproof jacket is also worth packing, as it tends to rain a bit more frequently this time of year.
Seasonal favourites and special events in October:
Experience Halloween in Niagara! Local highlights include Haunt Manor, Canada’s largest haunted attraction (open from September 28 through November 1), Niagara Parks’ All Hallows Eve at Old Fort Erie, and an annual live performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show Show presented by Oh Canada Eh.
Enjoy harvest season at the many roadside stands, farmer’s markets, and restaurants in the region.
Catch some of the shortest lines of the year at popular Niagara Falls attractions. Autumn Hornblower visitors tell us that the lack of crowds and easy access to top sights more than makes up for the nippier weather in October.
Be “wowed” by the autumn colours across Niagara. You don’t have to go far to see the gorgeous red, yellow, and orange tones across the region’s foliage – there are plenty of trees and views near Niagara Falls. Have a car and a few extra days? Ball’s Falls, wine-growing areas like Niagara-on-the-Lake, and parts of the Bruce Trail are all great spots to enjoy the scenery.
Visiting Niagara Falls in November
Is it worth visiting Niagara Falls in November? We think so! While summer and early autumn are more popular times to visit the region, the legendary waterfalls are a beautiful sight at any time of year. Several attractions are still in operation, especially during the first half of the month. If you arrive after November 15, many seasonal sites may be closed; however, you can more than fill your schedule with the many holiday festivities that pepper the region.
What to wear: Pack a light winter jacket in case of light snowfall or an evening chill, especially later in the month. While temperatures are typically lower this time of year, they can reach as high as 10 or 15 degrees Celsius (50-60 f) in the heat of the day, so layers are advisable.
Seasonal favourites and special events in November:
The Winter Festival of Lights begins in mid-November each year. With 8 kilometres of gorgeous displays, the spectacle attracts over a million visitors each year.
Enjoy wine and food tastings with the Taste the Season event on November weekends. Enjoy stunning pairings from wineries throughout the region without having to compete with summer crowds!
Stay warm during your Niagara Falls boat cruise. Hornblower cruises typically run until mid-November, and the indoor viewing area makes it easy to enjoy this must-see attraction in any weather.
Must-See Niagara Falls Attractions
There are a few attractions that you must see in Niagara Falls in Autumn if you’re visiting on the Canadian side, helping to create a unique experience as you explore the park. Below, you’ll find a few activities to add to your itinerary during your next fall time trip.
Journey Behind the Falls
For days during the fall when the weather is too chilly, consider taking a self-guided tour behind the falls. This tour allows you to explore the caves behind Niagara Falls, offering incredible views from a different perspective.
At the end of the Journey Behind the Falls tour, you’ll find the Observation Deck for even more incredible views of the falls.
This is a must-do tour in Niagara Falls. Get up close as possible to the Falls on a boat tour with Niagara City Cruises.
If you are on the US side, jet boat tours are also available to experience! These boat rides are a great time for the whole family. Prepare to get wet!
Niagara Parks Power Station
The Niagara Parks Power Station is another great option to explore during rainy or colder fall days. This power station is a newer attraction offering beautiful Romanesque architecture, artifacts, exhibits, and information on this previously operating power plant.
As you explore the power station, you’ll learn about how the falls helped create power for around 100 years.
Should I visit Niagara Falls in the Fall?
The truth is, there is no “bad” time to visit Niagara Falls. The natural wonder is majestic 365 days a year. As long as there is no fog or storm in your way, you should have no problem admiring the waterfalls whenever you arrive.
That said, the full experience of Niagara Falls (including getting up close with a boat tour) is only available during certain months of the year. But, even with that restriction, there are many months to choose from! “Open” season for Niagara City Cruises continues through November (weather depending), so you can check off all the quintessential Niagara experiences even with a later autumn visit.
Bottom line: Visiting Niagara Falls between late September and November is a one-of-a-kind experience: the fall colours, Halloween festivities, and harvest flavours make it an excellent choice for a cozy getaway. With a bit of planning, autumn isn’t just an excellent time to see Niagara Falls – it is one of the best!
Is October a Good Month to Visit the Niagara Falls?
Yes, Niagara Falls in October is a spectacular sight. During this month, there are fewer crowds so that you can enjoy the attractions for longer in a calmer environment. The weather is typically around 60F, so it’s not too hot or cold as you explore the park and the falls. It’s also the perfect time to explore the area, as many fall festivals occur nearby Niagara Falls this month.
Is Niagara Falls Pretty in the Fall?
Yes, Niagara Falls is incredibly beautiful during the fall. The changing leaves help create a dramatic contrast between the waterfalls and the landscape in Niagara Falls Park. There are also quite a few activities to do in the fall, making it an excellent time to visit.
When Is the Best Month to Go to Niagara Falls?
The best month to visit Niagara Falls depends on your trip intentions. If you’re looking for fun summer activities and don’t mind larger crowds, you’ll enjoy heading to Niagara Falls in summer during the peak season.
If you’d like to explore the park without long lines and without the heat that summer brings, Niagara Falls autumn trips are an excellent option. Niagara Falls in September and October are especially pleasant.
Do hotel rates drop in the fall?
Hotel prices are dependent upon your travel dates and prices for a 3-star hotel will average between $70-$100 USD a night and will increase around Canadian Thanksgiving in October and American Thanksgiving in November.
How Many Days Do You Need to See Niagara Falls?
There is so much to do in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area that a one-night stay won’t cut it. 2-3 nights is the optimal amount of time in Niagara Falls, as it will allow you to see the major attractions in the park. If you have a flexible timeline and can stay longer, that’s even more ideal as you’ll be able to check out the attractions nearby.
If you’re visiting Niagara Falls in the fall, you’ll want to add a day to experience the fun festivals in the area.
Original post date: October 29, 2019
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