Guide to Enjoying Niagara Falls in Autumn
Although summer is generally considered “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 are 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 July and August, while weather typically remains pleasant (though it is a bit cooler than 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.
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.
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 along, as it does tend 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 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 in close proximity to 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 any time of year. A number of 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 definitely 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.
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 certain months of the year. But, even with that restriction, there are many months to choose from! “Open” season for Hornblower Niagara Cruises continues all the way 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 a good time to see Niagara Falls – it is one of the best!