While the Maid of the Mist may not be shuttling blue, garbage bag clad tourists around the Falls at this time of year, Niagara is a super affordable local place to pack up and visit. Speaking from over 10 trips to Niagara Falls in my short lifetime, winter is arguably the best time to go, especially if you are a local who won’t overly miss the Maid and getting soaked down to your underwear. <strong>The Falls look prettier</strong> Sure the Falls are pretty no matter what season you go see them in, no one can argue that. However, there is something fantastic about seeing nature attempt to placate the raging waters. Although the Falls rarely freeze over completely (but got close this year), the bottoms of the falls start to resemble ice sculptures as the water hits the cold rocks and freezes over layer after layer. When the nightly light show happens, it looks even cooler when shone on the icy base of the Falls, especially on the American side. <strong>The crowds are smaller</strong> I still have nightmares of particular summers dressed in horrid ‘90s velvet dresses and purple tights where trying to get near the Falls put you about <em>this</em> close to being shoved off into them by pushing tourists. Never mind being left behind at the Hilton because all the people rushing around made it impossible to keep track of one bucktoothed ginger kid. And sure, a decade later and I may not be getting left behind as much, but hell if the danger isn’t still there with the absolutely ridiculous amounts of tourists clogging the streets in the summer. This alone is reason enough (and this includes a smaller casino crowd). <strong>TD Rink at the Brink and OPG Winter Lights Festival</strong> While these events will both be finished by the time this article is published, they are both so quintessentially winter that if you swing this trip next year, be sure to check them out. <strong>Discounts</strong> Any time you travel off-season, you get to reap the awesome benefits of cheap attractions and reduced rates. Attending Clifton Hills during the winter is surreal because when you go to the haunted houses or other attractions lining the street you are no longer crippled by ridiculous prices. In fact, the prices are so great that it totally warrants multiple run-throughs — this time with enough foresight and experience to not freak out and punch the actor dressed as a clown. Also, even if the Maid of the Mist isn’t open, Journey Behind the Falls sure is. And who would have guessed it, they have an off-season discount too. So if you are in need of a Falls fix, you can always get it this way. <strong>Icewine</strong> This is pretty self explanatory… Don’t you want to sound classy? Impress your friends by saying things like, “Oh Niagara’s icewine is the only icewine I’ll ever touch again. One trip and I’m a convert.” The fact that you’ll have an opinion on it will be proof enough of your inevitable coolness.