So, one of Andrew’s and my favourite places on earth to escape to is, Niagara on the Lake. We absolutely love the vibe there. It’s like country chic, but surrounded by the most gorgeous wineries, beautiful trails, and yummiest restaurants to eat at. Today on the blog I want to share some things to do in Niagara on the Lake.
Andrew and I have been going to NOTL for years now. My family has a cottage there and we love going multiple times in the summer. It really is the perfect getaway to relax and unwind. We feel very satisfied after a weekend there.
Fun fact: Andrew proposed to me there as well, so the place is just all around special to us. Read our engagement story here.
I was inspired to write this post because A LOT of you actually DM’ed me when we were there a couple weeks ago, asking what wineries you should try/see. I feel almost like a NOTL winery expert since we’ve been to almost all of the wineries at least once if not more.
They are ALL so gorgeous so you really wouldn’t be disappointed with any. But we do have our favourites, which I will share with you in this post, along with other things to do in Niagara on the Lake. If you’re not much into wine, don’t worry, there are lots of other things you can see and do.
THINGS TO DO IN NIAGARA ON THE LAKE:
COLANERI: One of the most beautiful wineries EVER. It’s like an Italian castle. Colaneri Estate Winery is family owned and operated, beautifully situated on the St. David’s Bench in Niagara’s wine region. The winery is in the shape of a “C” after the family name. The building itself is absolutely stunning and just so picturesque to look at. In the summer they do pizza and wine on the piazza which is so chic. It’s a must-do when you’re in Niagara on the Lake. The wine is a bit expensive, but definitely worth it!
TWO SISTERS: Another favourite of ours! In fact, I did an entire blog post on Two Sister’s winery a while back. We love the vibes, the food, and of course, the wine. You absolutely must have lunch on their patio in the summer and do some wine pairings with the food. Ask your waiter for their recommendations. The property is stunning and run by two sisters, Melissa and Angela…hence the name. Read more about this winery here.
RAVINE: Ravine is a cute and charming winery with delicious wine and food. They also have an on-site garden which grows most of their fruits and veggies which they use at the restaurant. I highly recommend doing a tasting when you’re here because the wines are SO good.
CHATEAU DES CHARMES: Oh my! This winery is a beauty! I spent an afternoon sipping wine and nibbling on cheese here with my best friend and we loved every second of it. Definitely a must-do winery in Niagara on the Lake. I suggest getting the cheese platter as well because it’s very fitting. You truly feel like you’re transported to France. You can sit among the vines and sip on their Rosé Sparkling Wine. Is there anything better?
HINTERBROOK: Okay this winery gets extremely busy in the summer. You will always see a ton of bachelorette groups gathered here, but the wine and atmosphere is fantastic. I suggest going when it’s off peak season so that you avoid the high traffic. Again, I do recommend doing the tastings here because the wine is GOOD. Andrew and I pick up a bottle of the Autumn Snow Riesling every time we go, because it’s delicious. SO crisp and tangy for a summertime wine.
To be honest, we haven’t been to a ton of restaurants in Niagara on the Lake because we either grab lunch at a winery we are visiting or make our own dinner at the cottage. We love a good BBQ. But here are a couple of restaurants I do recommend.
VALLEY ITALIAN FINE DINING: We recently visited this little gem and it did not disappoint! It’s been on our list for a while now and we finally made reservations (which I recommend doing). We got the bruschetta to start off with, which was done on their homemade focaccia. SO GOOD.
Andrew got the Ragu di Cinghiale – Tender boar slowly stewed with tomatoes, Chianti and herbs served on a bed of pappardelle with a hint of truffle. He loved it!
And I got the Cannelloni a Fungi Portabella – House rolled portabella stuffed cannelloni, oven baked and topped in a Truffle mushroom-cream reduction sauce. This was actual heaven on a plate!! 100% recommend!
GARAGE PIZZA: We went to this little hole-in-the-wall pizza place a couple of summers ago, and it was SO GOOD. It’s situated in an actual garage and you can just pull up a seat and eat your pizza. There’s no formal seating area. It’s more of a grab and go situation, but definitely worth trying out!
There are lots of really good restaurants along the main street of Niagara on the Lake, so pop into any of those for a good meal. Most of those are just delicious.
OTHER THINGS TO DO:
DOWNTOWN NIAGARA ON THE LAKE: Downtown Niagara on the Lake is super charming and wonderful to walk around in. Especially during the summer months. The streets are filled with people visiting little shops, bakeries, and of course all the yummiest restaurants. You can spend an afternoon doing all kinds of things around here. There are even tours that will take you on a little history tour of NOTL. There’s a quaint little park in the area as well. You can grab some sandwiches and make yourself a little picnic at the park. Sometimes in the summer they have live theatre shows that happen there. If you keep driving on the main street you will eventually find yourself by the lake. It’s so beautiful and calm there.
BIKE RIDE: There are tons of places where you can rent bikes and ride around NOTL. The city is super bike-friendly and you will see lots of bikers everywhere. You can even do winery bike tours where you go from winery to winery on bicycles doing tastings. I’ve done this before and it’s an extremely good time! You can book these tours online. However, whether you are doing wineries on bicycles or just riding around town, bikes are a great idea. There are lots of stopping points where you’ll want to take in the scenery. It’s such a beautiful town.
FARMERS’ MARKET’S: Another fun thing to do is visit some of the farmers’ markets in the summers. But go in the mornings, because a lot of their produce will be gone by late afternoon. The last time we went, all the markets had their pumpkins out which was super cute and festive. I stocked up on all my fall decor. Nothing is better than fresh, local produce. I recommend going during corn and peach season! Nothing beats a Niagara peach – trust me!!
Okay, those are my Niagara on the Lake recommendations. I will keep adding to this list for future so you guys can use this as a guide.
Have you been to NOTL? What are some of your favourite things to do there? Let me know in the comments.
++ If you’re interested in other getaways, check out this post on Grey Country, Ontario.