While it’s the iconic waterfalls that draw visitors, Niagara Falls’ historic charm elevates your trip from bucket-list experience to sublime vacation. The pleasant summer weather and relaxed feel makes the area a great post-WorldPride recovery trip, offering excitement (if you still haven’t had enough) and sophistication with cool-down activities like vineyard tours and art gallery strolls. Best of all, Pride at the Falls, on July 5, delivers the sheer spectacle of the world wonder lit up at night in a rainbow set to live music by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
How to Get There
- Daily one-hour flights to Buffalo Niagara International Airport leave from JFK on JetBlue, Newark on United and LaGuardia on Delta. The falls are a 30-minute drive from the airport.
- Amtrak’s Empire Service from Penn Station goes directly from New York to Niagara Falls by train via a scenic nine-hour journey.
- Rent a car and drive to Niagara Falls from NYC in under eight hours, if you start early in the day.
In June, average highs are 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), while lows drop into the pleasant mid-50s Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius). Be prepared with a rain jacket or umbrella in case of rain.
What to Pack
Even though water shoes aren’t particularly sexy, bring a pair of Tevas, Chacos or even—dare we say?—Crocs with you to explore Niagara Falls’ top attractions. That way, you won't have to worry about soaking your favorite kicks while enjoying the Maid of the Mist and The Cave of the Winds. Otherwise, basic summertime essentials are key: sunglasses, linens, a sun hat, comfy shoes for exploring town and a rainbow-colored poncho to celebrate Pride at the Falls. Also, don’t forget your passport if you want to walk across the Rainbow Bridge to the Canadian side.
Things to Do in Niagara Falls
June 15–16, Lewiston, NY
Embrace your green thumb and head 15 minutes north to the idyllic village of Lewiston for the Lewiston GardenFest—a free display of extensive open gardens along with exhibits from vendors and landscapers.
Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival
June 29–30, Lockport, NY
While it isn’t a queer-specific festival, this 44th annual fest displays over 200 vendors selling woodwork, pottery, jewelry, metalwork, fabric and much more. It’s like a giant outdoor market, great for discovering handmade treasures.
Pride at the Falls
July 5, Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, NY
Get ready for a triple rainbow! Pride at the Falls takes place just off Rainbow Boulevard, with the Rainbow Bridge in sight, as the falls are lit up in a full rainbow of colors. The day is full of fun and festivities, including a free concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and a climactic fireworks display.
French & Indian War Encampment
July 5–7, Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY
Watch hundreds of participants reenact the historic siege of 1759, when British and New York soldiers attacked the French-held Fort Niagara. Be sure to stick around for demonstrations, exhibitions, musket firings and living-history camps that will further immerse visitors into the legacy of the region.
Niagara USA Wine Festival
July 27–28, Academy Park, Lewiston, NY
Rosé all day! Head to the adorable Village of Lewiston for this two-day festival celebrating the Niagara wines with tastings from nearly 20 different vineyards. Be sure to try the sweet ice wines that have made the region famous.
Maid of the Mist
Cruise into Horseshoe Falls on this half-hour boat tour that’s been in operation since 1846. Get up close and personal with the Falls, and be awestruck by 600,000 gallons of water plummeting each second into the Niagara River below.
Niagara Jet Adventures and Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
These 1,500-horsepower boat tours zip across the Niagara River below the Falls, providing an adrenaline-pumping trip that guides you through enormous class V rapids (like the Devil’s Hole) before skimming over the infamous Niagara whirlpool—which plummets 125 feet into the depths of the river.
Niagara Wine Trail, USA
Travel along the Niagara Wine Trail with Erie Canal Bike Tours and explore three wineries by bike. If that sounds like too much exercise, opt for a limo or bus tour and enjoy a wider sampling of the region’s 22 wineries, breweries and cideries. Either way, be sure to try a selection of award-winning fruit and ice wines.
Rainbow Air Inc., Helicopter Tours
Swoop above the mighty Niagara River with Rainbow Air, a helicopter tour company that welcomes everyone to experience the falls from an aerial point of view. Take in the entire Niagara region and spot historic sites like Fort George and Fort Niagara with the company’s customizable tour packages.
For more LGBTQ+ inspiration and information on places to explore in and around Niagara Falls, visit niagarafallsusa.com.
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