Choosing A Hotel in Niagara-On-The-Lake
Quick Summary of Most Popular Areas
Heritage District: a cozy and inviting area full of restaurants and boutiques
Niagara Wine Region: a pretty vast geographical area known for fruit farms, most notably grape farms, that produce some world-class vino
Queenston: beautiful and scenic park with a lookout point across Lake Ontario where, on a clear day, you can actually see the skyline of downtown Toronto
Where to Stay in Niagara-On-The-Lake
Hands down the best area to stay in Niagara-On-The-Lake is in the Heritage District, which is the northeast point of the Niagara Wine Region. The Heritage District's main area is along Queen Street, which is particularly beautiful in the summer. You'll find a lot of boutique shops, historical sites and numerous dining options along this walkable stretch. Parking in this area is pretty easy to find as there is street parking and public lots tucked behind, in some of the side streets (it's a tourist hot spot so paid parking of course). It's also worth noting that Queen Street is home to the Niagara Apothecary museum, the oldest apothecary in Canada.
A little about the Niagara Wine Region
It's common for those unfamiliar with the area to confuse Niagara-On-The-Lake with the Niagara Wine Region. Niagara-On-The-Lake is an area that is contained within the wine region, so if you are looking for a hotel near the Historic District of Niagara-On-The-Lake, choose a hotel carefully. The wine region itself is quite vast (because you know, farms do take up a lot of room) and stretches almost as far east as Stoney Creek.
If you're in the area to visit a vineyard or two (there are roughly 25 in the region) it's fairly easy to book a guided tour. Most of the wineries are open to the public and provide an inside look into the production of their product. You can even rent a bicycle and winery-hop to incorporate some cardio into your trip. However, go easy on the tasting because it's not safe to drink and ride (and you might get lost and end up in Hamilton...a terrible fate, I know).
A bit south of the Historic District will bring you to the Queenston area. The drive along the Niagara Parkway from the Historic District alone is worth the visit. This scenic route provides awesome views across the water to New York on the east side and beautiful homes overlooking the lake on the west side. If possible, make friends with these homeowners and offer to house-sit while they're away on vacation! Queenston Heights Park is a really beautiful area that has a lookout point across Lake Ontario. Also, if you keep heading south (about a 30 minute drive from Niagara-On-The-Lake) you'll hit the world-famous tourist area of Niagara Falls.