The Getaway
15 Things to Do in St. Catharine's, Ontario

Nestled in the heart of the Niagara region, St. Catharines stands as a beacon of culture, history, and natural beauty. This vibrant city, known as the Garden City for its lush parks and gardens, offers a plethora of activities for visitors of all interests. From exploring historic sites and enjoying the arts to indulging in culinary delights and embracing the great outdoors, St. Catharines is a destination that promises memorable experiences. Let's dive into the top 15 things to do in this charming Ontario city.

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01 Explore the beauty of Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie

St. Catharines is often celebrated for its picturesque Port Dalhousie, a historic waterfront village that offers a delightful mix of leisure and recreation. Visitors can stroll along the piers, enjoy the sandy beach, or take a ride on the century-old carousel. The area is also home to boutique shops and cozy eateries, perfect for a relaxing day by the water. Port Dalhousie is also known for its marina, making it a popular spot for boating and fishing enthusiasts.

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02 Visit the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre

St. Catharines Museum

For those interested in the rich history of the region, the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre is a treasure trove of local heritage. The museum showcases the development of the city and the famous Welland Canal, including interactive exhibits and artifacts that bring the past to life. The Welland Canals Centre also offers a viewing platform for watching ships navigate the locks, providing a unique glimpse into the maritime industry.

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03 Take a hike through Short Hills Provincial Park

Short Hills Provincial Park

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the trails of Short Hills Provincial Park, where the Carolinian forests and rolling terrain provide a perfect backdrop for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. The park's diverse ecosystem also makes it a prime spot for wildlife observation and photography. With seven different trails to choose from, visitors can experience a variety of landscapes, including wetlands and meadows.

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04 Enjoy a performance at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre

The First Ontario Performing Arts Centre is a cultural hub in the heart of St. Catharines, offering a variety of live performances ranging from music and dance to theater and comedy. With its state-of-the-art facilities, the centre is a beacon for arts enthusiasts and a showcase for both local and international talent. The centre's four venues ensure there is always something on stage to captivate any audience.

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05 Indulge in the Niagara Wine Region

Niagara Wine Region

St. Catharines is a gateway to the renowned Niagara Wine Region, where connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike can indulge in wine tasting and vineyard tours. The area's unique climate and soil conditions produce some of Canada's finest wines, making it a must-visit for anyone with a palate for the grape. Many wineries also offer dining experiences with menus designed to complement their wines.

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06 Discover the art scene at Rodman Hall Art Centre

Art lovers will appreciate the Rodman Hall Art Centre, a historic mansion turned gallery that features contemporary works by Canadian artists. The centre also offers educational programs and workshops, fostering a creative community within the city. The surrounding gardens and the historic nature of the building itself add to the charm and cultural significance of the art centre.

07 Experience the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta

St. Catharines is home to the prestigious Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, an annual rowing event that draws athletes and spectators from around the globe. The regatta is a celebration of sport and tradition, with the Martindale Pond providing a perfect stage for the competition. This event has a rich history dating back over a century and is a highlight of the summer sporting calendar.

08 Relax at Montebello Park

Montebello Park is a Victorian-inspired oasis in the city, complete with a bandstand, rose garden, and lush greenery. It's an ideal spot for picnics, leisurely walks, or simply unwinding amidst the beauty of nature. The park is also a central location for many of the city's festivals and events, bringing the community together in a picturesque setting.

09 Shop and dine at the downtown market

The St. Catharines Farmers Market is a vibrant downtown destination where locals and visitors can shop for fresh produce, artisanal goods, and gourmet treats. The market also hosts a variety of food vendors, offering a taste of the region's culinary diversity. It's a great place to connect with local farmers and artisans, and to find unique, handcrafted items.

10 Admire the architecture of St. George's Anglican Church

St. George's Anglican Church stands as a testament to Gothic Revival architecture, with its stunning stained glass windows and intricate stone work. The church is not only a place of worship but also a piece of the city's architectural heritage. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the history and architectural details of this landmark.

11 Attend the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival

The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is an annual celebration of the region's viticulture, featuring wine tastings, parades, and live entertainment. It's a festive occasion that highlights the best of local wine and community spirit. The festival also includes educational experiences, where attendees can learn about the wine-making process from vine to bottle.

12 Explore the trails of the Bruce Trail

Bruce Trail

The Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath, runs through St. Catharines, offering hikers breathtaking views of the Niagara Escarpment. The trail provides a range of difficulty levels, ensuring that everyone from novices to experienced trekkers can enjoy the scenic journey. Along the way, hikers can discover waterfalls, cliffs, and a variety of flora and fauna.

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13 Visit the Morningstar Mill

Morningstar Mill

Morningstar Mill is a fully restored, working gristmill dating back to the 19th century, nestled at the top of the Niagara Escarpment. Visitors can explore the mill, the historic home, and the scenic DeCew Falls, which provide a picturesque setting for photography and picnics. The site is a living museum, demonstrating the milling techniques of the era and offering a glimpse into the daily life of early settlers.

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14 Play a round of golf at Royal Niagara Golf Club

Golfers can enjoy a round at the Royal Niagara Golf Club, which boasts three impressive 9-hole courses. With its challenging layouts and immaculate greens, the club is a favorite among locals and visitors looking to tee off in a beautiful setting. The club also features a pro shop and a clubhouse where golfers can relax and enjoy a meal after their game.

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15 Take a leisurely cruise on the Niagara River

Niagara River

For a different perspective of the region, visitors can embark on a leisurely cruise along the Niagara River. The boat tours offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and a chance to learn about the area's history and ecology from knowledgeable guides. These cruises often include sightings of local wildlife and pass by historical landmarks, making for an enriching and enjoyable experience.

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