When ice hockey is your thing, there’s no better place to go than Canada — and within Canada, there is hardly a better vacation destination than Niagara Falls. Attracting travelers for more than two centuries, Niagara Falls is beautiful, exciting and entertaining, and there is plenty for every type of tourist, especially hockey fans. Whether it’s the ice, the players or just the love of the game, hockey is here in Niagara Falls.
Eat at the BlueLine
The BlueLine Diner is a well-known and beloved restaurant that serves all your favorite diner dishes, from pancakes and omelets to burgers and club sandwiches. You might already associate the diner’s name with the lines marking the defending and attacking zones on each side of the rink — but you might not know that the diner’s hockey-related name is thanks to its owner, former NHL player Marcel Dionne, who often pays a visit to his own establishment to hobnob with customers. The BlueLine has hosted several of hockey’s biggest names, including Paul Coffey, Gerry Cheevers and even the great Wayne Gretzky himself. You should stop in and enjoy at least one meal at the place where so many hockey legends once dined.
Enjoy Clifton Hill
Clifton Hill is Niagara Falls’ Street of Fun; here, you can find attractions like the Niagara SkyWheel, the largest observation wheel in Canada, as well as the Wild West Coaster, go-karts and a few mini golf courses. However, hockey fans will no doubt want to spend time on the Great Canadian Midway, a massive arcade filled with games and excitement. Many of the games have hockey themes, so you can spend your tickets playing simplified versions of the sport you love.
Visit in Winter
It’s hard to be a hockey fan and hate the cold; the sport and low temperatures typically go glove-in-hand. If you find the brisk air and ice particularly enchanting, you should strongly consider visiting Niagara Falls in the winter.
Compared to the rest of the Great White North, Niagara Falls usually enjoys relatively moderate winters; temperatures certainly drop below freezing, but the Niagara region generally avoids the road-closing blizzards endured in neighboring parts of Canada. Still, the high tourist season for Niagara Falls is certainly the summertime, with few if any travelers hazarding the cold to see the falls come autumn and winter. As a result, you can see the magically glittering, white landscape of wintertime Niagara without fighting with other visitors for space.
Admittedly, many popular Niagara Falls attractions close down in the winter due to the ice and snow. For instance, you won’t be able to ride a Niagara River cruise up to the base of the falls. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do when the temperature drops. Plenty of Niagara Falls’ best attractions are open every day of the year; you can always Journey Behind the Falls or relax at Fallsview Indoor Water Park.
Plus, during the holiday season, Niagara Falls hosts the Winter Festival of Lights, a massive illumination display that makes the city even more stunning, as well as a significant New Years Eve party with live entertainment. Spending the holidays in Niagara Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up.
Hockey fans will find there are even more things to do in Niagara Falls during the winter hockey season.
See a Minor League Game
Niagara Falls doesn’t have a major league team of its own; locals here root for the Maple Leafs or their hometown team of choice. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no hockey going on in the Niagara region. In fact, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has two junior competition teams in the area: the Niagara Icedogs and the Hamilton Bulldogs. Anytime from September to March, you can probably catch an OHL game near Niagara Falls to see up-and-coming stars who’ll soon grace the ice at NHL games.
Travel for More Hockey Memories
Niagara Falls is right in the middle of hockey country, which means a trip to Niagara Falls puts you smack-dab in the center of outstanding hockey opportunities. While you can venture into Buffalo to catch a Sabres game at the KeyBank Center, it might be a better use of your time to plan a day trip to Toronto. There, you can pay a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where you can see and experience some of hockey’s greatest memories. The museum has the largest collection of hockey memorabilia as well as interactive exhibits where you can go one-on-one against hockey’s best goalies and shooters, call the plays of memorable goals and watch the best hockey movies. Also in Toronto, you can get tickets for a Maple Leafs game at Scotiabank Arena, so you can see how real hockey is played.
Niagara Falls is close to a hockey-lover’s dream vacation. With beautiful scenery and near-unlimited hockey-based adventures, this destination should be at the top of your travel bucket list.