St Catharines Ontario

How to spend a day in St. Catharines

St. Catharines is a beautiful destination full of green space, and is the largest city in the Niagara region. It's often called the "Garden City" due to its many gardens, parks and trails within the city limits, though is also home to beaches and waterfalls.

Beyond its natural beauty, St. Catharines also has a rich history and culture, with several museums, art galleries, theatres, and a vibrant downtown to explore with tons of shops, restaurants, and more. Only a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto, it's the perfect place to take a day trip to.

Here's how to spend a day in St. Catharines.

9 a.m. - Grab breakfast at a local spot

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the city's best offerings. Head to Rozie's Cafe in Port Dalhousie for your choice of classic sweet or savoury plates, or try The Diner House 29 for elevated twists on diner-style fare.

For vegan options, try Rise Above Restaurant, which offers an all-vegan menu and bakery with delicious breakfast items like waffles, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches. They also offer a special Sunday Brunch menu.

10 a.m. - Walk along the waterfront

After breakfast, get some fresh air in one of the city's many green spaces and take a stroll through Rennie Park, complete with a waterfront path and large sculptures to admire.

Alternatively, head to Lakeside Park and walk along the sandy beach. The park also has several trails, a picnic pavilion, concessions, and even an antique carousel which is still operational.

11 a.m. - See a picturesque waterfall

Although Niagara Falls is a short distance away, St. Catharines has some stunning waterfalls of its own, albeit much smaller. Venture out to DeCew Falls, a beautiful 22 metre ribbon plunge waterfall with the bright red heritage Morningstar Mill, above.

Rockway Falls is another hidden gem over in the town of Lincoln. Here, you'll find two spectacular waterfalls after a short and easy hike.

12:30 p.m. - Head downtown for lunch

Downtown St. Catharines has a ton of great restaurants to choose from for a delicious lunch. The Lemon Tree at Henley Square serves up great vegan Mediterranean dishes in a relaxed dining room.

If you're super hungry, head to Hambrgr and try one of their delicious offerings of massive gourmet burgers.

1:30 p.m. - Grab a coffee

For a post-lunch pick-me-up, grab your choice of a caffeinated beverage at 416 Coffee Co. in Port Dalhousie. The St. Catharines-based specialty coffee roaster has a small coffee bar in town, which is the perfect grab-and-go spot.

Mahtay Cafe and Lounge is another popular pick. The cozy space is filled with art and often hosts events like live music and open mic nights.

2 p.m. - Explore Montebello Park

Of all the gardens and outdoor spaces in the city, Montebello Park is the largest. Located in the heart of the city, the park was designed by the same designer behind New York's famous Central Park and has over 1,300 rose bushes in 25 different varieties.

3 p.m. - Go wine tasting at a nearby winery

The region of St. Catharines has incredible cool climate white wines and Icewine varietals to try, with several world-class vineyards nearby. Take a short drive to Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, which boasts beautiful views and award-winning wines.

13th Street Winery is another great must-visit, featuring local art and a bakery.

5 p.m. - Learn about the city's history

St. Catharines has a rich history to discover, with various sites and memorials dedicated to the Underground Railroad along Niagara’s Freedom Trail.

Head to the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre to learn more about the area's past, including Harriet Tubman's life in St. Catharines, where she once helped transport nearly 300 formerly enslaved people into Canada.

6:30 p.m. - Grab a delicious dinner 

Finish off your day with an amazing meal at one of the city's incredible restaurants. For fine dining, check out Dispatch in the heart of downtown. The restaurant's global cuisine has earned it a nearly-perfect score on Google reviews, as well as being named one of Canada's Top 10 Best New Restaurants by enRoute Magazine in 2019.

You can also head over to Port Dalhousie's The Twisted Pig for a hearty Italian meal and extensive wine list, or try East Izakaya's menu of Japanese cuisine including sushi and yakitori in a sleek pub setting.

8 p.m. - Watch a movie at The Film House

End your day at The Film House, a boutique cinema that shows a mix of independent and mainstream films. There, you can even indulge in a glass of wine or beer while you watch.

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