Getting through your holiday to-do list AND spending some quality time together as a family can seem like a tall order. This year, multitask your way to a happier holiday season by spending a day or two together enjoying all St. Catharines and the surrounding Niagara Benchlands communities have to offer. Blend some fun family activities with holiday shopping and a few meals out, and everyone will head home feeling recharged, reconnected and ready for the season.
Take It Outside
Head to Downtown St. Catharines and Port Dalhousie from December 2 through January 8 to celebrate the magic of winter at Let It Glow: A Celebration of Light. This free, accessible, family-friendly outdoor festival features interactive light installations, entertainment, winter workshops and cultural programming.
If your crew prefers a vibe that’s a little more country, head to the Niagara Benchlands. This December, there’s a magical addition to the natural beauty and spectacular scenery of Ball’s Falls Conservation Area. A special Holiday Trail sparkles with thousands of lights and holiday décor. Hiking through this conservation area and its heritage buildings from the 1800s is guaranteed to leave your family filled with the holiday spirit.
Get Kids In The Spirit
Having kids make their own gifts for loved ones is a great way to teach them what the holiday season is all about.
- 4 Cats Art Studio in St. Catharines has an extensive lineup of hands-on workshops that guide kids through crafting everything from winter glow trees to pottery gingerbread houses and more.
- Crock A Doodle in St. Catharines invites families to come in and create hand-painted pottery pieces together.
- The Watering Can in Vineland offers winter floral and craft workshops for kids between the ages of four and 12.
- The Creative Bug in Beamsville offers a variety of art-based activities for artists of all ages and abilities.
Enjoy A Well-Timed Treat Break
If having a hot chocolate and cookie break is on your family’s holiday bucket list, you have plenty of tasty options in Niagara.
- St. Catharines has so many hot chocolate hotspots there’s an entire blog post sharing all the local favourites.
- In Beamsville, Conversations Café is an excellent option.
Divide And Conquer
Splitting up your crew so one adult can do some holiday shopping while another keeps the kids entertained is a great way to make the most of your time away. Excellent activities to keep the kids busy for hours include:
- Rock climbing at Gravity Climbing Gym
- Trampoline fun at Aerosports Park
- Laser tag and arcade games at Parkway Social
- A kid-friendly live performance like Alice in Wonderland or The Nutcracker at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines.
Stretch Out Your Stay
Rather than rushing home at the end of the day, surprise the kids with an overnight stay at a place that offers fun evening activity options.
- Holiday Inn and Suites Parkway Conference Centre is connected to Parkway Social, where you can enjoy an evening of family bowling.
- A hotel with a pool, like the Best Western Hotel and Conference Centre or Hampton Inn St. Catharines, is a great choice if your kids love to swim.
- A lakeside view for you and the Le Grand Hermine sunken ship for the kids; the Beacon Harbourside Resort has all the amenities you need to plan your next winter adventure.
If you spend the night, don’t forget to take advantage of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit. This limited-time credit allows you to claim up to 20% of your accommodation expenses on your 2022 income tax return.
Supported by the Tourism Partnership of Niagara