Fall in Love with Niagara-on-the-Lake

Aero Cable Car in Fall

Fall is for lovers. It’s also the ideal time to fall in love with Niagara-on-the-Lake with those you cherish by your side. In order to live happy and prosperous lives, we are meant to go through every season differently and align with the energy of the season. In Chinese Medicine, autumn is the season of:

  • Embracing a new beginning
  • Letting go of what is no longer needed
  • Appreciating the gifts of life
  • Honouring what we value the most
  • Realigning with our purpose and destiny
Mature couple

The Autumnal Equinox also coincides with the start of Libra season — a time when everyone’s focus turns to balance, relationships and beauty. Temperatures are cooler. Vibrant colours explode to create a feast for the eyes. The fields have been harvested. Come October 9, we’ll rejoice in the bounty Mother Nature has provided us as we give thanks for and to those we love and value most. 

So double up, slow down, set your mood to “happy” by listening to one of the happiest songs on Earth (according to science), breathe in the freshness, and book your fall escape to Ontario’s prettiest town.

Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy the best of what the season has to offer in Niagara-on-the-Lake:

Snuggle Up
STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake features a wide assortment of accommodation choices ranging from charming, one-of-a-kind bed and breakfasts and inns to self-catering apartments, cottages and villas. Whether you prefer historic, quaint or contemporary lodgings, with or without breakfast, there is something to suit everyone’s budget, needs and tastes. A convenient online map helps you to determine where each property is located so you have the experience you desire.

Apples and glass of cider

Savour Nature’s Bounty
Surrounded by fields of rich, fertile soil, Niagara-on-the-Lake is blessed with fresh, local produce, which is hand-picked and incorporated into creative menus prepared by some of Ontario’s best chefs. Roadside stands are laden with vegetables, fruits, flowers and preserves if you prefer to lay out a feast of your own at your self-catering facilities. 

Get Into the Spirit
A host of wineries, distilleries and breweries in the area are open and ready to welcome you in for tours, tastings, food-and-wine pairings and educational workshops. Some even offer cooking classes and live entertainment. The Dig Our Roots event on October 13 and 14 at the NOTL Museum is a great way to experience more than 40 VQA wines in one single setting. On Monday nights, grab your dancing shoes and head over to Spirit in Niagara for jazz, blues, cocktails and food. Perhaps a pint or two of craft beer is more your style? Live music and food await you at Silversmith Brewing Company on Thursday nights and at Oast House Brewers on Friday evenings.

Embrace the Arts
The world-renowned Shaw Festival continues to engage audiences with a variety of stage performances and musical events until October 15, and then begins its Holiday Season repertoire through December 23, starting with A Christmas Carol on November 5 and followed by Brigadoon on November 15. Art galleries and studios throughout the area feature exhibits by local artists, potters and photographers. Your STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts are happy to point them out.

Black woman massage - LR

Practise Self-Kindness
Everyone deserves a little TLC. And when it comes to self-care, Niagara-on-the-Lake is hard to beat. The spa experiences featured at the Oban Inn, Q124, the Prince of Wales, and the Pillar and Post are second to none. For instance, why not indulge in a one-of-a-kind hydrotherapy wellness circuit at Q124, featuring the only snow room in Canada? Breathe in the soothing aromas of fresh, locally grown lavender as you roam the NEOB Lavender Flower Farm or visit their Queen Street boutique in Old Town. Explore a world of medicinal herbs on a self-guided tour at the Apple Hill Apothecary. Caress your body with beautiful scents of Fall at One Earth, where you’ll find all natural products made with high-quality, ethically sourced products.

Admire the Natural Beauty
Outdoors, Mother Nature will be putting on a splendid show as leaves magically turn to shades of red, burgundy, gold and rust and sparkle under the bright sun. Drive, cycle or walk along the beautiful Niagara River Parkway, dubbed “the prettiest drive in the world” by Winston Churchill in 1943 — and it still is. Follow the 10-kilometre Upper Canada Heritage Trail on foot, bike or horseback though a variety of landscapes from urban and Carolinian forest to rural orchards and vineyards. Hike a portion of the Bruce Trail along the Niagara Escarpment in Queenston to take in the majestic view of the valley and Lake Ontario in the distance. Explore the well-marked trails at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre along the shores of the mighty Niagara River.

A Bounty of Fall Events Awaits You in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Check out what’s in store this fall:
September – October 4: Paint & Collage Course at Riverbank Art Museum
September 30: Reif’s Fire Dinner! at Reif Estate Winery
October 7: Portraiture Photography Workshop at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre
October 14: Oktoberfest at the Exchange Brewery
October 21: Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake
October 21: Reif’s Annual Harvest Dinner at Reif Estate Winery
October 28 to December 3: Bravo Niagara!
October 28: Halloween Masquerade at Spirit in Niagara Distillery
November 10: “Hello, It’s Me! ADELE” at the Court House Theatre
December 1: 2023 Candlelight Stroll
December 2 & 3: Reif Holiday Market at Reif Estate Winery

Helpful Tips
Did you lose something while you were in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Contact the lost and found centre at the NOTL Chamber of Commerce located at 26 Queen Street in the lower level of the building. Or call 1-905-468-1950 or email tourism@niagaraonthelake.com for more information.

Most Town parking meters, except for four located in the Heritage District, no longer accept credit card payments. They do, however accept credit card payments via the Honk Mobile app. The Town understands the frustrations this has caused visitors and apologizes for the inconvenience. Town is working on short- and long-term solutions to the matter. In the meantime, coins are accepted at all parking machines, and the four machines that still do accept regular credit card payments are located in the Court House lot, the Prince of Wales lot, Queens Royal Park lot (down by the lake) and near the Post Office on Queen Street. Parking is free after 8 p.m.

Niagara-on-the-Lake: June is for All Lovers

Wedding couple kissing in the vineyard

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast
it invented romance.
– Sir Bernard, English Philosopher

From weddings and honeymoons to vow renewals and anniversaries, couples want to celebrate their special day in a setting of their dreams. Niagara-on-the-Lake has become one of those dream destinations — and for so many reasons.

Wine Lovers
The world’s prime wine-producing regions are located between the 30th and 50th parallels of latitude in both hemispheres. Situated at roughly 43 degrees latitude, the Niagara Region is the geographic centre of winemaking excellence in Canada. In addition to its ideal location for wine production, fertile, complex soil conditions and a unique climate create a winning combination for growing grapes and producing quality Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet France as well as rosé, sparkling wine and Canada’s famous Icewine.

Sip and Sizzle vineyard/lake view with Konzelmann wine bottle, red wine glasses, food

A popular way to enjoy wine country is on a guided half- or full-day winery tour with one of the many tour companies in the area. However, you are free to explore on your own as well. Most wineries offer tasting opportunities and a variety of tours of the vineyard and wine-making facilities. Some include food-tasting options ranging from flight-pairing snacks to full-service dining rooms and restaurants. Feel free to ask your accommodation hosts for some recommendations.

Food Lovers
What is fine wine without some tasty creations to accompany it? One thing is certain: you will never go hungry or thirsty in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In addition to all the food-and-wine pairing menus offered by winery restaurants and dining rooms, our little town has attracted some of the most creative chefs in the culinary field. Our menu book lists a number of our favourite dining options.

Menu Book Cover

From fast-food restaurants, pubs and four-course fine dining to Italian, Greek and Thai, there’s something for every budget and taste. Ice-cream and gelato lovers will have a fine time comparing the variety of flavours served at numerous locations along Queen Street. Sample all Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer on a Niagara Culinary Tour. Fancy yourself a chocolate connoisseur? A chocolate-lover’s paradise awaits you in St. David’s at The Chocolate Factory where you can learn all about the intricate process of chocolate-making on a complimentary tour.

Music Lovers
Food and wine always tastes better with a little music thrown into the mix. And perhaps no one does it better than Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate where incredible performances take place under the stars at their one-of-a-kind amphitheatre. The Music Niagara Festival kicks off its 2023 season in June with performances by the Toronto Children’s on June 18, Dang Thai Son on June 19 and soprano Katelyn Bird, countertenor Christian Massuci Facchini and baritone Alexander Dobson on June 29.

Audience at Jackson-Triggs Outdoor Concert
Concert under the stars at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate

And who doesn’t love the performing arts and a Broadway-inspired musical? The Shaw Festival’s musical fable, Gypsy, will surely captivate starry-eyed audiences throughout its run at the Festival Theatre until October 7. Other musical productions, Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon and The Amen Corner, will have you tapping your feet and swaying to the music. More musical events are planned throughout the summer at the Shaw’s BMO Stage, in the new Spiegeltent and their Pop-up Patio.

A couple of pubs in town, like the Angel’s Inn and The Irish Harp, regularly feature local entertainers as does the Barrelhead at Pillitteri Winery on Stone Road where delicious pizzas, salads and wine are served daily in their cherry tree orchard from noon to 10 p.m.

Art Lovers
The beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake has been the inspiration behind many an artist. While Old Town is filled with art galleries that display local creations, you’ll want to explore some of the gems found in the surrounding area as well.

Floral painting by Sandra Lafrate
Art by Sandra Iafrate

In town on Queen Street, the King Street Gallery displays a wide variety of amazing art by very talented artists. The Edward Spera Gallery specializes in the art of wildlife photography. The Pandaya Gallery features a wide variety of items from around the world. Upper Canada Native Art showcases aboriginal artwork from across North America. ARTSPACE106 sells contemporary and traditional paintings and sculptures as well as hand-blown glass, pottery, stained glass and jewellery by Canadian artists. The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre on Ricardo Street displays works by local artists and artisans. Be sure to check out their programs as well. At her Gate Street Studio, Sandra Iafrate brings a nostalgic feel to her fresh colourful work. The Steele Gallery at 233 John Street West features the work of Scott and Richard Steele, which can be viewed on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or by appointment Monday to Friday). The gift shop at the Festival Theatre also carries some delightful gems.

A little further afield at the Niagara Image Gallery located at 1627 Niagara Stone Road, you’ll find works of art by Trish Romance, Tanya Jean Peterson, Jordan Morrison and Alex Colville. At 755 Lakeshore Road, Ron and Barb Zimmermann sell unique stoneware pottery at their Lakeside Pottery Studio. You’ll find more stoneware pottery creations at the Queenston Pottery Studio at 1648 York Road in Queenston. Or maybe you want to create your own designs in a Bélisle Pottery workshop.

Outdoor Lovers
Mother Nature has blessed Niagara-on-the-Lake and its surrounding countryside with spectacular beauty that changes with the seasons. In June, gardens become a feast for the eyes as they burst with colour and leave visitors in awe. Visit the best Niagara has to offer on the Shaw Guild Garden Tour on June 24, which features nine fabulous private gardens in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The NEOB Lavender Farm located at 933 Niagara Stone Road invites you to roam through their lavender fields. Just look for the lavender picnic tables. Or drop by their shop at 38 Queen Street.

Garden ornament - iron bicycle with pink flowers
June blooms

There are so many more ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Fill a picnic basket with local fresh fruits and vegetables from one of the many roadside stands in the area. Or order your picnic from Picnix Niagara. Then, cycle along the off-road pathway that follows the mighty Niagara River to choose your super scenic spot to spread out and watch the world go by. The banks along the river are also popular for birdwatching and fishing.

Organized outdoor activities abound. Get soaked on a Whirlpool JetBoat Adventure or challenge yourself on an adventure course at WildPlay. Several tour companies, like ZOOM Leisure, Grape Escape and others, offer guided cycling tours to various wineries, breweries and distilleries throughout the area. They’re a great way to meet fellow cyclists from around the world.

Cyclists in vineyard
Cycling through the vineyards

As you can see, the possibilities for entertainment and enjoyment are endless in Niagara-on-the-Lake. And so are your accommodation options. STAY Niagara-on-the-Lake is your go-to website to check out availability at licensed bed and breakfasts and cottage, apartment or villa rentals in Old Town and the surrounding countryside and communities of Virgil, St. David’s, Queenston and Glendale. And our hosts are only too happy to help you plan your time with them so you come away with memories that last a lifetime and have you coming back for more.

So Many More Reasons to Visit

Fresh strawberries
June is strawberry time

June 9–September 15: Jackson-Triggs Summer Concert Series
June 17: Strawberry Festival
June 17 & 18: Outdoor Juried Art Show & Sale at RiverBrink
June 18–August 29: Music Niagara Summer Festival Concert Series
June 21: Drumming Down the Sun & Yoga (Summer Solstice) at Ryerson Park
June 22: NOTL Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament
June 23: Humor and Hops at the Exchange Brewery
June 24: Shaw Guild Garden Tour
June 24: Seafood Dinner at Reif Estate Winery
June 24–25: Fort George in the Great War
July 1: Canada Day at Fort George
July 1–3: Artistry by the Lake; Canada Day Fireworks;
July 8: St. Mark’s Cherry Festival
July 10–14: Kids’ Summer Art Camp at RiverBrink Art Museum
July 15-16: Battle of Fort George Re-enactment
July 15–23: TD Niagara Jazz Festival
August 12: Peach Festival
August 12: Sip, Savour & Stroll
August 23: Shades of Summer Dinner
August 19-20: Fife & Drum Muster & Soldiers’ Field Day
August 31: Heritage Garden Party at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

The Culinary Capital of Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake is renowned for its abundance of gastronomic delights, which make it a veritable feast for gourmets. Is it any wonder it was named the culinary capital of Canada in 2014? And the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association is pleased to be in partnership with so many of the fine dining venues in the area. So, whether you’re craving a delicious hamburger or wishing to experience the fine tasting menus created by celebrity chefs, your hosts will gladly point you in the right direction.

Here are some fine dining establishments you may want to check out while you’re touring Niagara-on-the-Lake:

Benchmark Restaurant: This one is very special indeed as it is located in Niagara College, which means everything on the menu is created and prepared by student chefs and service is provided by students planning to enter the hospitality industry. This little nugget is open of lunch Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Reserve your dining experience at 905-641-2252, ext. 4619.

Savour dishes created by student chefs at the Benchmark Restaurant at Niagara College.

Savour dishes created by student chefs at the Benchmark Restaurant at Niagara College.

Bistro Six One: Offering great food at reasonable prices for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this bistro-style restaurant on Queen Street features an informal atmosphere and a diverse menu as well as wood-fire pizza. And, if you’re feeling peckish, it’s also one of the few places still open after evening theatre performances.

Epicurean Restaurant: Located at on Queen Street opposite the Royal George Theatre, this dining establishment features counter service for lunch and sit-down table service for dinner. Its outdoor patio is a splendid spot to spend a summer evening under the stars. There’s also an indoor dining room. Call 905-468-3408 for dinner reservations.

Farmhouse Café: Situated in the family-run Caroline Cellars on Line 2, this café is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. This a wonderful place to stop for lunch if you’re cycling or driving through wine country.

The Farmhouse Café at Caroline Cellars in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great place for lunch.

The Farmhouse Café at Caroline Cellars in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great place for lunch.

Fournos Family Restaurant: Care to experience a little taste of Greece in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Also on Queen Street, this dining venue is open for lunch and dinner and features a kids’ menu.

Ginger Restaurant: If you love Asian fare, this is the place for you. Situated on 390 Mary Street, this restaurant features great food served in an intimate setting. Call 905-468-3871 for dinner reservations.

Grill on King: Situated immediately across from the Prince of Wales Hotel entrance on King Street, this dining venue features the flavours of the Mediterranean. It’s open for lunch and dinner. Call 905-468-7222 to reserve your table.

HobNob Restaurant: For a truly special dining experience in Niagara-on-the-Lake, consider this dining room at the Charles Hotel on Queen Street, which is located in the old parlour and features original crystal chandeliers, fireplaces and plenty of charm. Savour a multi-course meal prepared by Chef Steve Sperling then, later, retreat to the Lounge for a glass of port or ice wine or a specialty coffee. The dining room is open seven days a week for lunch, afternoon tea and scones or dinner.

Enjoy afternoon tea at the HobNob restaurant at the Charles Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake (reservations required.)

Enjoy afternoon tea at the HobNob restaurant at the Charles Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake (reservations required.)

Irish Harp Pub: Next door to the Grill on King, this pub serves traditional Irish fare, great beer and whiskey, and good old fashioned Irish “craic” (fun and chat). And on weekends, there’s great music as well.

Irish Tea Room: Tucked away at the back of the Irish Shoppe on Queen Street, this little gem delivers a wee taste of Ireland in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Step in for a cup of tea or a meal until 5 p.m. any day.

Kitchen 76: Located at Two Sisters Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this new restaurant was inspired by the Italian table and features ever-changing tastes and flavours of the season and a local Niagara menu created to complement their award-winning wines. For lunch and dinner reservations, Tuesday through Sunday, call 905-468-0592.

Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Little Red Rooster Restaurant: This wallet-pleaser is located on Mary Street and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Favourites include light-as-air pancakes, a hearty meat lasagna, BBQ back ribs, eggplant parmigiana and homemade pies. Enjoy it all inside or outside on their patio until 8 p.m. any day of the week during the summer.

Old Winery Restaurant: Fresh Mediterranean cuisine inspired by the Tuscan countryside is what you’ll find here. Open for lunch and dinner, this popular dining choice gets busy, so be sure to call 905-468-8900 to make those dinner reservations. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, check out their Wine Bar where they host live entertainment after 8 p.m.

Olde Angel Inn: This one has been around since 1816 and it’s a popular one with locals and visitors alike for lunch or dinner. Check out their tasty Angus Burger and fries special offered Sunday to Thursday nights after 9 p.m. for just $5 (with every non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage purchase). Be sure to stick around for lively entertainment until 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

OLiV Tapas Bar & Restaurant: This new addition to our dining roster in Niagara-on-the-Lake is located in the Strewn Winery on Lakeshore Road and it promises to become a favourite for lunch or dinner. Whether you choose to share a selection of tapas or order a meal from their dining menu, every mouthful will tantalize your taste buds. Book your outdoor patio or indoor table at 289-868-8898.

Share a selection of tapas at the OLiV Tapas Bar and Restaurant at the Strewn Winery.

Share a selection of tapas at the OLiV Tapas Bar and Restaurant at the Strewn Winery.

Peller Estates Winery Restaurant: Enjoy sweeping vineyard views and a warm ambience as you relax and enjoy creations by Chef and CityLine personality Jason Parsons and his team at this Zagat-rated dining establishment situated at the heart of the Peller Estates Winery. For lunch or dinner reservations, call 905-468-6519, ext. 2.

Ravine Restaurant: This very popular (reservations highly recommended for lunch and dinner) restaurant features a farm-to-table culinary program. They bake their own bread, raise their own pigs and grow their own certified organic vegetable as well as produce their own wines. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and it’s open for lunch and dinner daily. Call 905-262-8463, ext. 34.

Ristorante Giardino: Craving some true Italian fare? This is where to go. Whether you book an indoor or outdoor table, a very special dining experience awaits you on Queen Street. For dinner reservations, call 905-468-3263.

Riverbend Inn and Vineyard: The warm, elegant and intimate dining room features four-diamond cuisine and a menu filled with delicious surprises. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Reserve your table at 1-888-955-5553.

Treat yourself to lunch on the patio at the Riverbed Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Treat yourself to lunch on the patio at the Riverbed Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Sandtrap Pub & Grill: Join locals and visitors alike at this pub situated at 358 Mary Street for local beer, wines and produce. They claim to have the best pizza and wings in town and all menu items are available for take-out. The Games Room features pool tables, dart boards and Golden Tee video game. A friendly place for fun and great food at prices that won’t break your wallet.

Sweets & Swirls Café: If you’re up around the Community Centre or Niagara-on-the-Lake Library, stop in for a cup of fresh coffee, soup, sandwich or dessert in this little haven of tranquility. And the price is right, too.

The Old Firehall Restaurant: Located at 268 Four Mile Creek Road in St. David’s, this longstanding favourite is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week until 9 p.m. and features a remarkable menu. If you like French onion soup, this is the place!

Trius Winery Restaurant: If you seek luxury and pampering, let Chef Frank Dodd and his team impress you with his fine-dining menu. They’ll even tailor wine pairings specific to your preferences or exploration goals. For lunch or dinner reservations, call 905-468-7123.

Dine in luxury at the Trius Winery Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Dine in luxury at the Trius Winery Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Willow Cakes & Pastries: Sometimes all you need is a cup of coffee or tea and a quick bite on the go and that’s what this little bakery at the corner of Mary and Mississauga offers. Breads, chocolates, cakes, pastries and tarts are made on the premises. In fact, you can watch Catherine and her team at work through the viewing window.

Zees Grill: Located in the Shaw Hotel, directly across from the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this very popular dining venue offers indoor and outdoor seating and features a classic cuisine updated with a creative, modern twist. It’s open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are highly recommended: 1-800-474-0632.

COMING SOON! Backhouse Restaurant: These “new guys on the block” aren’t really so new as the chef and his wife were integral in opening the Stone Road Grille at the same location. They now run their own farm and have expanded upon the farm-to-table maxim by integrating hands-on sustainable farming into their restaurant, which is scheduled to open for lunch and dinner on July 15. For the ultimate dining experience, ask about the chef’s table. Dinner reservations are a must at 289-272-1242.

If you find yourself in Niagara Falls, as so many of our guests do, we recommend the Windows by Jamie Kennedy on the 14th floor of the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, where you’ll experience a revolutionary dining experience as you enjoy a spectacular view of the world-famous Niagara Falls. To book your special evening, call 1-866-374-4408.

Bon appétit!


Posted by Donna Vieira on behalf of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association