Niagara Falls Festival of Lights - Breathtaking
I love, love, love the Niagara Falls Festival of lights. It always kicks off the Christmas season for me.
Just imagine getting all bundled up, grabbing your favorite hot drink and heading down to the falls for a truly breathtaking sight.
Now the falls are heart stopping on their own, but combine them with three million Christmas lights, an illuminated falls and fireworks on a Friday night and you are in for a treat.
Our view of the lights from the Embassy Suites Hotel Room
Walking the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights
This year my family decided to walk down to the festival from our hotel room at the Embassy Suites on Fallsview Blvd. We walked down Murry Hill and toured Queen Victoria gardens which is just opposite the American Falls. We took some fun pics and then decided it was much to cold not to have a hot drink so we strolled on up Clifton Hill. Two popular places to enjoy a nice hot beverage are Tim Horton's and Starbucks. We each got a hot chocolate to warm us for the rest of the tour.
Heading down towards the falls with our hot chocolate our family walked on the Niagara Parkway viewing the American and Horseshoe falls. While on our stroll we passed many beautiful exhibits.
New displays pop up every year, so if you think you will get tired of the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights there is always something new to enjoy. This year it was filled with so many great selfie opportunities and 3D displays. We cannot wait to see what they think of next year.
Dufferin Island Festival of Lights
Of course I couldn't just stop at a walking tour of the lights, I convinced my family that we needed to go to tour the Dufferin Island Festival of Lights. So we all hoped in the van and sat back and enjoyed the view.
Dufferin Island is part of the Niagara Parkway and the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights. It is a great place to go for a hike or a picnic in the summer, but it becomes a winter wonderland during the festival. There are so many amazing displays to look at, I was not disappointed. The whole family enjoyed seeing the new and old displays. Imagine huge maple trees being wrapped in thousands of lights, guiding your way through the Island. It is truly beautiful!
Quick Facts on the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights
- Anyone at any age can enjoy the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights. You can go by car and keep nice and cozy warm or walk or even do half of it walking and half of it driving like we did this year. I do prefer to walk the tour, but it can be chilly and is long if you want to do it from start to finish. Make sure you check the weather forecast if you want to walk it.
The illuminated Horseshoe Falls in the background
- The Niagara Falls Festival of Lights runs every year starting at the beginning of November until the end of January - it is a very popular attraction on New Year's Eve! They kick off the festival with a very fun and entertaining opening ceremonies to illuminate the lights. The ceremony takes place in Queen Victoria Park at the bottom of Murray Hill (just below the Skylon Tower)
- The lights are situated all along the Niagara Parkway, Queen Victoria Park and Dufferin Island.
- Absolutely free! Driving or walking it does not cost anything. If you do decide to drive the route through Dufferin Islands - which I strongly suggest checking out - before you exit you will meet a volunteer that is asking for donations for the ongoing improvements to the festival. It is not mandatory, but I thought I should mention it.
The Horseshoe Falls illuminated in the background
- Christmas Eve - December 24
- Christmas Day - December 25
- New Year's Eve - January 1 are by far the busiest times to venture down to the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights. But even if you wait in your car to enter Dufferin Island you can still enjoy the view while you wait. The benefit to walking is that you can go at your own pace.
Did I mention I prefer this option? The only problem if you do decide to walk is...
- If you get out of your car to walk down to the falls you have some parking options. You can park at the underground casino lot on Murray Hill, but it will be expensive. Another place to park is the open lot at the Skylon Tower. They have two lots, one will be less expensive than the other as it is further away from the falls. You can also get parking at the top of Clifton Hill. There are many lots off of Victoria Ave that offer parking, I would like to say you can get it for $5, but on the really busy nights they jack the price way up. It is a bit of a hike from the top of Clifton Hill, but we have done it many times down to the falls. It might be a bit far to travel to Dufferin Island from there, but not impossible.
How long does the tour take
- If you want to walk the tour through Queen Victoria Gardens, over to the American Falls and then to the Horseshoe - Canadian - Falls, it will take you about 1 hour. My family took about 2 hours to come from our hotel, tour the gardens, up Clifton Hill for a hot drink, back down to the falls and then back to the hotel room. You can spend longer in the gardens if you have little ones that want to run and play. It is very safe as the displays are far back from the road.
- Driving through Dufferin Island all depends on how busy it is. But with the slower moving traffic and giving yourself time to enjoy all the displays it will take you about 30-45 minutes.
No matter how you decide to enjoy the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights you will not be disappointed. It thrills kids of all ages.
Hope to see your smiling faces here at the festival.