While there are endless possibilities of things to see and do on a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, why not save-a-buck on your visit with this list of fun things to do...all for free!
Free in Niagara Falls
1. NIAGARA FALLS
Witnessing the extraordinary beauty of the powerful Niagara Falls with your own two eyes is available 24/7, 365 days a year, always for free. Whether you stroll along the Falls stopping for photo ops among the mist, or drive along the Niagara Parkway to get a peak in the comfort of your own vehicle, the experience is of no charge. Be sure to schedule a visit after the sun’s gone down to see the water illuminated by bright lights on the backdrop of the night sky.
What better way to experience Niagara Falls, then with exploding fireworks high above the thundering waterfall. While the fireworks schedule varies depending on when you’ll be visiting and is weather dependent, with any luck you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking display.
3. Dufferin Islands
These 10 acres of secluded paradise known as the Dufferin Islands, contain several small islands connected by small bridges and footpaths. With bird feeding stations, hidden tranquil spots perfect for a picnic and even a catch-and-release fishing program the islands are loved by locals and visitors alike.
4. NIAGARA RIVER RECREATION TRAIL
Bring your bike and head out on one of the many bike trails that make up the more than 300km cycle routes across the region. The Niagara River Recreation Trail totals 56 km paralleling the Niagara River, extending from historical Fort Erie, through Niagara Falls along the waterfall, and ends at Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ride the trail end-to-end or start and stop where you please – you’ll find plenty of cycle-friendly businesses along the way.
For hiking fanatics, be sure to visit local hotspot, the Niagara Glen for winding paths through a pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest. A designated nature reserve since 1992, the Glen offers well laid out trails mixed with slightly rugged terrain along the Niagara River. If you’re here during the spring or summer months, you can set out on a guided hike led by Niagara Parks to learn more about the wild flora and fauna you’ll encounter.
6. FLORAL CLOCK
Just 2.5 kilometres north of the Botanical Gardens, sits the massive 40-foot wide Floral Clock. Built in 1950, the clock is one of the largest in the world, made up of a display of nearly 20,000 plants changed twice a season.Make a wish in the water garden that curves around the base of the timepiece or wander next door to another stunning flower display at the Centennial Lilac Garden.
7. NIAGARA PARKS BOTANICAL GARDENS
Established nearly 100 years ago, the Botanical Gardens contain 99 acres of pristine gardens, including their world-famous rose garden made up of more than 2,400 roses. Themed seasonal display beddings are changed three to four times each year always complimenting the permanent collection of perennials, flowering trees and shrubs. It’s no wonder why the incredible gardens are home to both the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and the Butterfly Conservatory.
8. HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD
While of course you can buy all the Hershey chocolate (…bars, kisses, covered strawberries, milkshakes, etc) you’ve ever wanted, a walk through this 650 square-foot chocolate lover’s dream is free! Enter through the 4-storey high Hershey Chocolate Bar and explore this confectionary heaven. Take photos with the Hershey Kisses statue, meet Hershey mascots roaming the store and you may even find yourself a free sample or two! However, we’ll tell you one thing for free, it’s nearly impossible to leave this place empty handed.
9. THE STREET OF FUN
While the attractions on the street aren’t free, a stroll down iconic Clifton Hill won’t cost you a thing. Stroll among the flashing attraction signs, karaoke bar’s blaring tunes, interesting window displays of life-size celeb wax figures, haunted houses omitting eerie noises and try not be lured in by the delectable scents lingering outside of both the Fudge Factory and Sweet Jesus.
10. NIAGARA FALLS HISTORY MUSEUM
Every Thursday evening the Niagara Falls History Museum offers free admission from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Explore Niagara Falls’ rich history including the pivotal Battle of Lundy’s Lane, considered one of the bloodiest during the War of 1812. They also offer a variety of happenings, from yoga classes to movie screenings, every Thursday as part of their ‘@ The Museum Thursday Night’ event series.
Free Things To Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake
While it may seem simple, taking a beautiful drive or cycle along the picturesque Niagara Parkway, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie, is a great way to enjoy the scenery. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way, or drive all the way along Lakeshore Road west to Port Dalhousie and on to Jordan Village. Whatever route you decide to take, as long as you have a great soundtrack and even better company, you’ll enjoy the ride.
VISITING FARMER MARKETS
Niagara is famous for its rich agriculture, and fresh farmer markets. Pick your own produce or enjoy the various roadside markets on your drive through Niagara.
Wander through Niagara-on-the-Lake’s heritage district for quaint shops full of character and unique finds. Spend the afternoon pouring through one-of-a-kind ancient treasures, as you hop from shop to shop along the arbour framed streets.
While you may associate wineries with being costly, the truth is you can visit almost all of them completely for free. See the breathtaking properties and vineyard that make up some of Canada’s most well-known wine country. You’ll even get a free sample or two if you decide to purchase a bottle (or several) to enjoy long after you’ve finished exploring Niagara.