The Ultimate Guide to the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights

Dec 19, 2019 | What's Going on in Niagara Falls, Winter Falls

Niagara Falls in the Winter is Awesome!

Niagara Falls is one of those places that you can visit literally any time of the year. And we mean it literally. It doesn’t matter if you come in Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, we guarantee that you will be mesmerized all the same.

While it’s true that Niagara Falls is beautiful during any season of the year, we have to admit that there’s something about coming in the Winter that will take your experience to a whole nother level of excitement. 

We’re talking about one of the largest waterfalls in the world completely frozen in the subzero temperatures. The prospect of seeing this alone should be enough motivation for you to leave the comfort and warmth of your living room and brave the winter chill. 

But there’s more to Winter at Niagara Falls than snow that will make it worth the top spot of your bucket list. Presenting: Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights!

What is Niagara Winter Festival of Lights?

Founded in the year of 1982, Winter Festival of Lights is dubbed as Canada’s biggest light festival. Every year during the winter months, over three million lights will light up and transform Niagara Falls and the surrounding Niagara State Park into a literal winter wonderland.  

Picture this: the snow-blanketed landscape of Niagara State Park, Dufferin Islands the tourist district of Niagara Falls town made a thousand times more magical by an artful display of multicolor LED lights! But the festival is more than just light display. You will also find installation arts by leading artists from around the globe, not to mention firework shows. 

Image source: Niagara Falls Tourism Website and
Winter Festival of Lights Twitter Account

But the best part of it is: you can actually experience all of this for FREE

Yep, you heard it right! All of the displays in Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights can be visited free of charge. However, if you want to participate in preserving this wonderful tradition, you can also make a donation in a designated area in Dufferin Islands.

If you haven’t already, you really should mark this event into your holiday calendar. You can even make it a winter tradition for the whole family! We assure you that this is an experience unlike anything else. 

Travel Tips for Niagara Winter Festival of Lights

While it is possible to come and experience the festival on an overnight trip, to fully appreciate Niagara Winter Festival of Lights you might want to look into staying in the area for several days.  

Here we compile some tips to help you plan out your stay and to make your trip to Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights the best moment of your life.

When To Come

Image source: Winter Festival of Lights Website 

For it’s 2019 edition, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights will run from December 10, 2019 until January 12, 2020. Weekends are generally the best time to come, especially since the fireworks show only runs on Fridays until December 21. However, from that day onwards, it will be held every night at 9pm from the Fallsview Casino and resorts.

The light display will run starting from 5pm onwards, so you’ll have the entire morning and afternoon to marvel at the beauty of frozen Niagara Falls. If you haven’t got any plan to ring in the new year, there will be huge festivities with celebrity guests. In addition to the 9pm regular fireworks, there will also be an additional display at exactly midnight on January 1, 2020.

2: Bring Your Passport

The Niagara Falls is actually a collective name given to three waterfalls located in the Niagara River, right on the border between Canada and the US State of New York. Horseshoe Falls can be found on the Canadian side of the border while the other two: American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located on the American side.

You can visit the falls from both sides of the border, however, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is taking place in the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario, on the Canadian side of the border. If you’re coming from the United States, make sure to bring your passport with you to avoid being denied entry at the border crossing.

3: Plan Your Visit In Advance

The Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights doesn’t simply transform the falls and the whole city into a beautiful display of colorful lights. It also offers a wide range of activities for all ages. For the festival’s 2019 edition, the festival will feature interactive art installations by world’s leading artists such as Serge Maheu, Victor Engbers & Ina Smits, Gali May Lucas, Angelo Bonello, Victor Vicsek and Angela Chong. 

The festival will also feature, for the first time ever, a visual scavenger hunt that you can participate in. The scavenger hunt will take place along the 8 km long illumination route. 

If you are coming on a multiple-day trip, you may want to spread out the activities over the entirety of your visit. Dedicate a whole night to view all of the art installations and lights display and watch the fireworks and do the scavenger hunt on another night. If you are coming on an overnight trip, however, it is wise to just pick several activities only, rather than trying to squeeze everything in a short period of time. 

Due to its popularity, Niagara Winter Festival of Lights sees over one million visitors every year. Hotel occupancy is expected to go through the roof. It may be a good idea to book your room way in advance. You can easily find major hotel chains on both the Canadian side and the American side of Niagara Falls. However, booking a hotel in the tourist district of the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario may be more convenient if you are planning to follow the festivities until late in the night.

4: Pack Comfortable Shoes or Take Your Car With You

Once you see the beauty of snow-blanketed landscape in multicolor fairy lights, you may be tempted to see every single display in the entire illumination route. While it is possible to walk in between all of the major displays, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is spread along an 8km stretch of Niagara Parkway. Thus, walking may not be the best option for this.

However, you should not let this stop you from fully immersing yourself in the festival spirit. Our tip is to take your car with you so you can drive along the route, then park on every display to appreciate its beauty. Take a lot of photos in every display you visit then move on to the next display and repeat.

5: Book a Guided Tour 

Considering that Niagara State Park is the oldest state park in the United States, you don’t simply visit Niagara Falls for its natural beauty, you can also learn about parts of Canadian and American history. By booking a guided tour, you make sure that you’ll have both of them covered, plus it’s also a hassle-free way of fully immersing yourself in the experience.

Over the Falls Tours is the number 1 rated under Niagara Falls Tours, according to Tripadvisor. We offer Winter Tours of Niagara Falls both from the American and Canadian sides of the Falls, some of which include the Winter Festival of Lights experience. Go to our website to browse and book a tour now!

Over The Falls Tours

Contact Us

Over the Falls Tours
8888 Porter Rd
Niagara Falls, NY 
14304, USA

Office: (716) 283-8900
Toll Free: 1-877-783-8900
(US & Canada)
Fax: 1-716-282-3656

fallsinfo@overthefallstours.com

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