When I say 10, I really mean 9 reasons to visit Niagara Parks cause obvi The Falls is going to be one of them — that’s just a given! I know because it’s right in our backyard, no one is rushing to go see it (see what I did there?), but consider this, 30 million people visit it every year. 30 MILLION! Not too shabby for a large body of water eh? Besides the falls though, there are more than stellar places to eat and see while you’re exploring Niagara Parks. (Hint : bring your golf clubs)
Andrea from I’m Mad Hungry, Heather of Hamilton Small Fries and Jen of instagram fame TasteHamont explored (almost) all of what Niagara Parks has to over on a recent press trip. This is our Top 10 thing to do in Niagara Parks. These are my ride or die foodie girls so show them some love and check out their pages out too! (After you finish reading mine though – k?)
Whirlpool Aero Car |
Chanry: They’re not kidding when they say Niagara Parks is a “56 km outdoor adventure museum”. The aero car is my new favourite thing to do in Niagara. Mesmerizing views of the whirlpool and beyonce selfie opportunities from the cable car. I felt like one of those extreme sport athletes. (But you’re locked inside and never in actual danger , so maybe minus the sport part, and the athlete part, but extreme still applies!)
Heather: I almost flipped my lid when I realized we were about to go on the Whirlpool Aero Car during our #FeastOnTheParkway Culinary Crawl. Dangling over a gorge full of swirling water in a metal cage from 1916 isn’t usually my idea of fun….Oh, did I mention I’m scared of heights? Seriously though, I braved this out and I am SO GLAD that I did. The views were like none I’ve ever seen. Absolutely breathtaking. And I only peed my pants a little 😉
Chanry: TMI Heather! TMI! LOL
Andrea: This totally qualifies as an extreme sport. You’re suspended over rushing water! Like Heather, I also have a ginormous fear of heights but we both faced our fears together! Also, hold-on tight to your cameras and phones! Here’s a fun tidbit: cows were used to test the weight limit on the Aero Car!
Jen: It’s a must-do, so just put the big girl/boy pants on and just do it! Haha.
Queenston Heights Restaurant | Queenston St, Queenston, ON
Chanry: Niagara Falls might be known for chain restaurants but there are actually a handful of locally owned gems. All five we visited on this press trip were FeastOn certified. This means they’re all champions of Ontario food & drink. They help to support local growers, producers and craftspeople. That’s pretty kick ass if you ask me.
Heather: Quite possibly my favourite restaurant of all the Niagara Parks restos. I’ve been a couple times, and the food knocks my socks off every single time.
Andrea: The estate had a Dutch-cottage vibe with beautiful mid-century chandeliers hanging in the dining room. Our first meal of the day, and possibly one of my faves, was Braised Short Rib with Sundried Tomato and Arugula Risotto. The spiced and savoury meat was a bite of heaven. followed by creamy and rich carbs. It was so elegant, I felt like I needed to eat with my pinky sticking out. When the chefs talked about the dishes, you could see their passion in using and supporting local products. They’re doing good things over here!
Jen: Totally agree with Chanry and Andrea! Love seeing the passion in the chefs and it’s always about eating and supporting local products. Also, this place has beautiful, BEAUTIFUL views of the Niagara River.
Whirlpool + Legends Golf Course |
Andrea: If you don’t play much golf (like me), you can pretend and just take selfies on the golf carts. And that’s exactly what we did! Now, Legends is grand as fuck. Even the driveway leading up to the clubhouse is grander than the drive up to Parliament Hill.
Chanry: Everyone knows about Clifton Hill and the outlet malls and the usual “Niagara Falls” tourist destinations. But did you know Niagara can get fancy AF too. We’re obviously not cultured enough for this type of pastime but Like Andrea said – Legends was grand AF. Like the-hills-are-alive-sound-of-music type stuff. I don’t claim to know anything about golf but we’re told the Whirlpool golf course is Canada’s most highly rated and renowned public golf courses. That’s gotta be something to brag about
Jen: Correction (re: Chanry and Andrea’s comment) — You mean “Chanry’s House” was grand AF LOL. If I feel like dusting off my golf set (yes, I have my own set. Korean Kid FTW) and decide to play golf, Whirlpool and Legends golf course would be the place to go!
Heather: I’ve never played golf in my life, but I think I’ll take it up after seeing Whirlpool & Legends.
Whirlpool Restaurant |
Jen: I could play Real Housewives here. Enjoy my wine, sit there and not play golf :p
Andrea: Dude, I’ll join you. Let’s take lots of selfies on the golf carts.
Chanry: This is what you get when you take four foodies to a golf course restaurant.
Legends on the Niagara Restaurant |
Andrea: If I wasn’t pacing myself, I would’ve cleared my plate and licked it clean.. I don’t have manners. The pork tenderloin came with a sauce that hit all the Asian notes and, of course, it was paired with bok choy and bean sprouts. The dish was a balance of savoury, sweet, and spicy flavours.
Chanry: I couldn’t agree more with the way Andrea described the dish. It was one of my favourites of the night. The noodles could have been more authentic, but the flavours were still there.
Elements on the Falls Restaurant |
Andrea: Elements has the sickest view out of all the restaurants because it’s right at the top of the Falls. We sampled Timbale of Spaghetti Squash and Bean Pulses, which was super artistically constructed on a tile of slate. It was a dish that was too beautiful to destroy.
Jen: This is the restaurant that is the closest to the Niagara Falls. Sometimes you just gotta pay for the view. But when the food is as good as the view…
Chanry: Table Rock Centre is the heart of Niagara Parks and is as close as you’re going to get to the excitement of the Falls. Elements on the Falls is located inside Table Rock and open all year round. It’s almost worth getting a table just for the spectacular view. They have a gorgeous wrap around window with the most perfect view of the falls – minus the cold mist and annoying bus loads of tourist cramping your space.
Heather: Like Chan said – no tourists, view of the falls; This place is freakin’ romantic. It’d be such a good date location.
Andrea: Seems like Heather is hinting at something. You gonna be back there soon?
Wild Play Niagara |
Chanry: Opening this summer is two new high-adrenaline experiences. Ziplining AND Adventure Courses. I’m both shaking in my pants and giddy with excitement writing this. There is going to be lots of climbing, zip lining, jumping, swinging and lots of hysterical screaming and crying (from me) but I am looking forward to enjoying every minute of it!
Andrea: This is for all the adrenaline-junkies out there and clearly, Chanry is one of them! Hopefully the Adventure Course won’t be too challenging, I don’t remember the last time I exercised LOL
Jen: AHHHHHH I love Ziplining! So freaking excited!! Don’t worry Andrea, I will push you, jump with you, zip with you and swing with you LOL. I will even let you scream! Haha
Andrea: So basically, you want to hold my hand and watch me die from a heart attack! JK. I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy it more than I know!
Queen Victoria Place Restaurant |
Heather: The open patio at Queen Victoria is perfect for warm summer evenings. Plus if there’s a Falls light show happening, this is the best place to check it out. All over a delish plate of food.
Jen: Summer is coming and if you are a patio-lover then this is the place to go! Amazing view of the Falls without having to see it through a window. This huge open patio is perfect for a nice pitcher of sangria, beer or any ice cold beverage (for you peeps who don’t drink).
Andrea: I’ll get that pitcher of water. Or juice! 😀 Maybe I’ll fance it up with a cocktail.
Butterfly Conservatory |
Andrea: A playground for botanists, insect lovers, nature enthusiasts, and families. The gem-like glass roof creates a lush and humid environment and diffuses sunlight for gorgeous photography! Watch butterflies nibble on oranges and bananas or sit on the benches scattered around the path and take it all in. Andrea: A playground for botanists, insect lovers, nature enthusiasts, and families. The gem-like glass roof creates a lush and humid environment and diffuses sunlight for gorgeous photography! Watch butterflies nibble on oranges and bananas or sit on the benches scattered around the path and take it all in.
Heather: Guys, butterflies actually feel surprisingly strong when they land on you. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Visit the Butterfly Conservatory. You’ll also get the best pics of butterflies and your friends will be jealous.
Niagara Falls |
Andrea: Have you seen Niagara Falls from the American side? No? Me neither. Don’t even bother because it can’t get any better from the Niagara Parkway! There are so many great spots on our side and it’s so easy to get a decent shot. The most thrilling view is by the Visitor Centre. Listening to the rush of the Falls is so intense, you physically feel the power and force of the rushing water! Here’s a fun tidbit: Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by vertical height and flow rate. Go Niagara!
Chanry: Wow Andrea, that was deep.
Heather: Andrea said it best.
Jen: *Points up* What she said!
Dessert by Niagara Parks Chefs |
Chanry: HOLY @%#^.. That’s all I can say. No wait — I want to say more. Every time I’ve seen one of these on the interwebs I think yuck cause it always looked way too rich and everything is just swimming in chocolate. Well, nope. I was wrong. It was a beautiful dessert. The sorbet was the perfect temp and the sponge cake was incredibly light and moist. It was a bomb dessert and we all had fun with it. Kudos to the Niagara Parks Culinary team for pulling off a fantastic dish. < watch the video here >
Andrea: This got me feeling all kinds of excitement and happiness! I’m with Chanry on this one. I’ve only seen this online and the amount of chocolate on the plate usually turns me off. I was unable to give a shit about sweetness and richness when I got to witness the melting action. The whole experience was S T U N N I N G.
Jen: I was screaming out loud when I saw the dessert come out. I see this on instagram all the time and I watch it on loop, dreaming one day I’d be able to have one. My dream came true, peeps, it came true! One word describes it best – UNBELIEVABLE!
Heather: :O! (insert shocked, jaw dropping emoji) That is all