Niagara on the Lake is certainly known for its wines and perfect outdoor festivals, but if you make the trek on down here, one of the very best spots to go is to The Queen's Royal Park. Not only does it offer up a perfect spot to lay out a picnic, go for a walk, or just take in the sun, but the gazebo is the perfect spot to take the loveliest family photo. This park offers up lovely views of historic Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York to the east as well as Lake Ontario. And the very best thing about the location of this park is that it's just seconds away from the downtown core, so grab a coffee or sandwich from any restaurant and pull out the blanket, you're perfect picnic awaits.
Local Expert tip: On a clear day you can see Old Fort Niagara, and The USA just across the way, so be sure to bring your camera for your afternoon at Queen's Royal Park.
In the tradition of such cities as Geneva and Edinburgh, this floral clock combines both art and utility in a tourist-friendly package. The attraction, first created in 1950, utilizes approximately 16,000 plants to achieve its distinctive appearance. The entire face is changed out twice each year to accommodate temperature variations and plant tolerance. The clock, which is 40 feet in diameter, also features an oval pool at its base and is a favorite spot for tourist photos. This is one spot you don't want to miss as you find unique places in The Niagara Region that are all yours for free, as you don't here 'free' and 'Niagara' in the same sentence all that often!
Local Expert tip: Check out The Floral Clock during the summer, the brilliant flowers are blooming to their fullest potential then.
The Niagara Gorge is one of the best hiking spots in The Niagara Region. As you hike along its rugged terrain you'll be swept away in all its beauty. With the backdrop as The Niagara River, and the massive rock formations jutting out from the trails, the gorge is the best free hiking spot to get lost in all its perfection. If you're looking to learn a little bit more about the gorge, check out The Discovery Centre where you'll walk through interactive exhibits and displays that show just how the river has carved out local terrain and how, 12,000 years ago, the Falls were created. Certainly a day that will be remembered forever as you travel through The Gorge past and present.
Local Expert tip: The best time to hike The Niagara Gorge is during the spring or fall, the weather is the best then, and the sights are just beautiful.
The Oakes Garden Theatre is the gateway park into The Queen Victoria Park. What is so unique about The Oakes Garden Theatre park is that is was built on the site of a destroyed hotel. Completed in 1937, the remaining ruins of the hotel can still be found throughout the park. Remaining faithful to the lay of the land, it takes the shape of an amphitheater, and the stage, engagingly, employs the Falls as a backdrop. Formal in nature, the garden features limestone hardscaping, iron gates, a curved pergola and geometric beds. Water features and rock gardens add character as well, truly a lovely place to enjoy a little freedom from your wallet.
Local Expert tip: Down by The Falls is where you'll find this lovely gem of a park. Come here to relax for the afternoon.
The floral and fauna that you'll see as you stroll through Queen Victoria Park certainly embodies that 'wow' factor that is portrayed throughout the likes of Niagara Falls. The beauty of this spot that it is of course free to roam through, and is all about nature. When you are bombarded with all things related to the flashy side of Niagara Falls, it's one of the best spots to kick back and just enjoy the view, minus all the bright lights. Favored for incredible views of the Falls and its seasonal sweeps of floral color, this park is beautiful any time of year. The plants throughout the park hail from across the globe. From Magnolia trees to carefully clipped shrubs beauty is cultivated wherever you look.
Local Expert tip: Take a picnic to Queen Victoria Park and stumble into the worlds natural beauty.
Initially established in 1936, these botanical gardens attract nearly a million visitors each year. Visitors just can't get enough of The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens 100 acres of manicured beds and plantings. As you stroll through the gardens, you'll notice just how pristine it is, all thanks to a select group of students from The Park's Horticulture School. Whether you have a love for roses, herbs, or perennials, the garden is home to an abundance of flowers that will outlast the test of time. Explore the arboretum's shrubs and trees, or stroll through the vegetable garden. If you have a love for well-kept gardens, The NPBG is the place for you.
Local Expert tip: You'll find the reddest roses at the famous rose garden in The Botanical Gardens, come during the summer and they'll be in full bloom.
Queenston Heights is regarded as Canada's birthplace. With much history, and victory created here you can stretch up your legs and enjoy the beauty of this massive park and historical site. During the War of 1812, a decisive battle between the British and Yanks resulted in a British victory, halting an American attempt to annex Canada into US boundaries. The park pays homage to historical figures such as Major-General Isaac Brock and Laura Secord has BBQs, a water-park, baseball fields, and wide open spaces for you to kick back, relax and enjoy all the beauty of The Niagara Region for free.
Local Expert tip: Grab some friends and have picnic in the park, it's a favorite picnic spot for locals and tourists alike.
Niagara Falls is beautiful during the day, but at night, the magic is heightened by a series of lights illuminating the massive waterfall. As you walk along The Parkway, you will experience the beauty of light, sound and perfection. The pounding water will mesmerize you, and the lights illuminating The Falls in shades of pink, green and blue will have you in awe. With twenty-one xenon lamps focused on the rushing water it truly is a sight to see. The lighting schedule changes, depending on the season and time of sunset, but details are readily available. An added perk during the summer is that a fireworks display is added to the spectacle each Friday night.
Local Expert tip: The best place to see the illumination of The Falls is as you're sitting on The Niagara Skywheel, the views are pretty amazing.