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16 Things to do in St. Catharines – For Residents and Visitors

The largest city in Ontario’s Niagara region, St. Catherine offer a lot of fun things to do!

From lush lakeside park view to walking the blue trail and wondering in the wooden conservation area, St. Catherine is an incredible place to explore!

Although people visiting the Niagara Region often get carried away by the Niagara Falls. But the thing is, there is yet another amazing city that offers as much as you could get as in the Niagara Falls. Infact you could travel a days journey to Niagara Falls from St. Catherine if you so wish!

Ultimately, whether you’re planning to explore the lakes, the parks, the wineries, the mountains or everything in-between, St. Catherine city got you covered. Take a deep breath and relax, let’s unveil everything that you can do in this beautiful city.

Where is St. Catharines?

Located at the beautiful Niagara Region, St. Catharines is the largest city in region and the sixth largest urban area in the province of Ontario.

The city is located in Southern Ontario, 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, and is 19 kilometres (12 mi) inland along the Niagara River from the international border with the United States.

It is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal. Known by an official nickname ‘The Garden City’ due to its 1,000 acres (I.e 4 km2) of parks, gardens and trails, residents of St. Catharines are referred to as St. Cathariners.

The city lies between the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and the Canada–U.S. border at Fort Erie.

St. Catharines Population

According to the 2021 census, the city of St. Catharines, in the province of Ontario, had 418,000 residents. Between 2006 and 2011, the population of St. Catharines fell by 0.4 percent, while the province of Ontario grew by 5.7 percent.

Cities Near St. Catharines

Of course, the city of St. Catherines is bordered by many other elegant cities, each of which has their unique features just like it. The cities listed below lies within 45km of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.

  • Niagara Falls, Canada
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
  • Welland, Canada
  • Beamsville, Canada
  • Lincoln, Canada
  • Smithville, Canada
  • Grimsby, Canada
  • Fort Erie, Canada
  • Dunnville, Canada

How to get to St. Catharines by Air and Road?

Are you thinking of how best to access St. Catharines? St. Catherine is easily accessible from Toronto by air or road. Most people arrive by driving in from Toronto or bus.

If you want to arrive St. Catharine by driving, driving is the cheapest and easiest. It will cost around $9-$14 and takes about 1hr 15min. Also, boarding a train or bus is a great option too. There is a direct bus departing from Toronto Union Station and arriving at St. Catharines, ON – Bus Terminal.

Alternatively, arriving by flight can be more luxurious. However, there is only one airport that has direct to St. Catharines since the St. Catharines/Niagara airport is a small airport in Canada. The flight takes around 15 minutes to arrive St. Catharine from Toronto.

Things to do in St. Catharines

#1. Visit the Port Dalhousie lakeside park

One of the first things to do in St Catharines is for to visit the Lakeside Park. Port Dalhousie’s historic Lakeside Park is home to the St. Catharine’s most popular beach, which is located on the shores of Lake Ontario.

If you’re looking for the most elegant views in St Catharines, then you’ll want to head down to this spot. Stand up paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking, and beach volleyball are some of the most popular beach activities you can do.

More ever, the Lakeside Park Carousel, carved by Charles I. D. Looff in 1905 and moved to St. Catharines in 1921, is located right in the park.

At only 5 cents a ride, you can catch all the fun you ever imagined.

Just be sure to have plenty of sunscreen while you’re out because there isn’t much shade around and you might want to stay as protected as possible. Go get some fun!

#2. Check out the Montebello Park

Montebello Park, created by Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, is one of the St. Catharine’s largest and most well-known park. The park houses the city’s greatest rose collection.

In the park, there are about 1,300 rose plants with 25 distinct types. It’s the ideal spot for taking a break and smelling the roses.

The park was established in 1887 and is now a historic site. It has a pavilion and a band shell, both of which were built in 1888, in addition to roses.

#3. Tour the St. Catharine Museum

Another fun thing you should do in St. Catherines is to tour the historic St. Catherine museum.

Although small, the museum uses famous relics, and strives to teach visitors and locals about the city’s history.

Visit the museum to learn about the city’s history through artifacts from the military, as well as the maritime and manufacturing industries. There are also some relics of household furniture on display.

Next, climb to the top of the viewing platform to get a better view of the ships passing through the canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway. After that, browse the museum’s gift shop to feed your eyes.

#4. Hike or Cycle the Bruce Trail

Hiking the Bruce Trails is definitely one fun thing to do in St. Catharines! In case you didn’t know, St. Catharines has some fantastic hiking paths.

This trail is by far the oldest in St. Catharine, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With approximately 7.5 miles long and passing through the city on several locations, the Bruce Trail is definitely for you if you want to loose weight.

There are accessible paths for walking, cycling, and jogging. Also, Cross-country skiing is possible if you visit during the winter.

Moreover,Ontario’s famous Waterfront Trail also passes through the city along Lake Ontario.

#5. Visit the Wooden Conservation Area

If the Bruce Trail doesn’t quite tickle your fancy (or is a little too long for the whole family to embark on, the Woodend Conservation Area is a good alternative.

There are lots of things in store for you to do here! The hikes are still wonderful, the nature, flowers and lots more!

If you’re traveling during the winter, you can even put on some snowshoes and go exploring that way! On your way back, the breathtaking views of Lake Ontario awaits you. This too is a great idea for things to do in St. Catherine.

#6. Watch a regatta

The Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, held in Port Dalhousie, Nova Scotia has been in existence since 1903. Every year, a world-class rowing event takes place right in this spot.

Named after Henley Royal Regatta in England, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta attracts over 3,000 rowers from all over the globe. Later in 1999, the course was upgraded to accommodate the World Rowing Championships.

#7. Get a little tipsy with wine

Imagine taking different sips of wine in the hot sun! This is what you’ll get when you go on a winery tour in St. Catharines.

Of course, St. Catherine is home to a variety of world-class vineyards that are ideal for wine enthusiasts. Spend an afternoon sipping wine on a wine tasting tour.

White wine and ice wines are the region’s most well-known products, and they’re a must-try on a wine tasting tour. Reds are also available, though the area isn’t noted for them.

Additionally, end your wine tasting tour with a  delectable gourmet meal, which is usually served for lunch or dinner. Moreover, transfers to and from your accommodation also get covered. 

#8. Get awed at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Theatre

Officially opened in September 2015, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre is the largest and most popular theatre in the St. Catharines. We recommend you add this to your list of things to do in St. Catherine. You’ll see why!

Actually, with about 8,800 square metre cultural complex in downtown St. Catharines,  the theatre is a key space for shows performed by students attending Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Asides this, a plethora of other shows like concert, dance and films are hosted in the area. Plus a 775-seat concert hall, a 300-seat recital hall, a 210-seat theatrical venue, and a 187-seat film theater which are among the four typical venues of the Ontario perfing arts centre.

#9. Visit the St. Catharine’s Local Farmers Market

Looking for where to shop fresh vegetables and fruits? Then, you really need to take a walk down the St. Catherine’s local farmers market.

The market is an important piece of the city and its history, as it sits right in the center of the city next to the historic Courthouse.

Both locals and visitors come here to buy most homemade goodies. While you’re here, pick up a jar of handmade jam, locally grown  vegies, fruits and some freshly baked bread! You will not be disappointed. This should definitely be on your list of things to do in St Catharines.

#10. Reconnect with nature at St Catharines Marina

The St. Catharines Marina is a beautiful spot to behold, and undoubtedly, deserves to be on the list of your things to do in St. Catharines.

Although this facility is nominally a boat docking place, to us there is more to it! Located between the Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Brock Monument, the region is a suitable place to reconnect with nature.

Apart from watching how the boat are docked, you can pitch a tent in one of the Marina’s campgrounds if you so wish!

Drag a seat, relax, and watch the water current, water creatures and occassionally meditate or gaze into the skies. You can not be wrong studying nature!

#11. Hit the Waterfalls

Hey! Water lovers, you might want to add visiting DeCew falls to your long list of things to do in St Catherines. The falls is of two types; Upper DeCew falls and Lower DeCew Falls.

Upper DeCew Falls is a big plunge waterfall that plunges 22 meters and is around six meters wide. Lower DeCew Falls is a 7.5-meter-high cascade waterfall with a tranquil atmosphere.

Visible from the Morningstar Mill, is the larger waterfall. The lower falls, which are smaller, are located at the bottom of the gorge and you can it by hiking down.

#12. Play with Wildlife

Located along Lake Ontario is Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm. This is a great spot  for animal lovers. Relax on a bench beside a pond or take a stroll around the farm to see the animals in their natural habitat.

Variety of birds, plants, and other animals could be seen at the 1.06 hectare farm home. Meanwhile, individuals are not allowed to get so close to the animals for safety reasons, that is why a designated viewing center is mapped out for your viewing pleasure.

In addition, wide playground, picnic area, and a nature walk can all be found at Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm, as well as restrooms and parking lots. So, have fun! Come with your friends and family to learn more about wildlife.

#13. Have fun at a festival

The folk arts festival is one place you should be if you’re looking for things to do in St Catharines! Talking of culture, entertainment, music and everything in-between! The folk arts festival is one amazing place that has lots of activities in its wake.

Running over 35 years, the Folk Arts Festival is one popular festival to attend. Ensure to visit the Art of Peace Festival if you’re an art lover.

Yearly, over 3,000 people attend the two-day S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival, which showcases largely alternative musicians. The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, which takes place around the region, will be a great delight if wine is your thing.

#14.British Methodist Episcopal Church

It’s time to try something a little different! When it comes to things to do in St Catharines. Next,  list of things to do in St Catharines is the British Methodist Episcopal Church.

The fact that it was founded by African American freedom fighters in 1820 adds to its significance. Though it was legally a place of worship at the time, it was also a significant gathering point for civil rights advocates during the early days of the abolitionist movement.

So, aside from being visually appealing, the British Methodist Episcopal Church has a fascinating history! The church now has a small congregation of about 20 members and provides excellent guided tours for visitors.

#15.Check out the Morningstar Mill

Morningstar Mill is next on our list of things to do in St Catharines. Another beautiful heritage site in St. Catharine’s is the Morningstar Mill. A visit to this mill is considered one of the top things to do in St. Catharine’s due to its unique appearance and incredible waterfall.

Though you’ll find out all about how the mill functions if you choose to pay it a visit, we can tell you that this incredible attraction still uses its original water source to grind grain. It’s an incredibly interesting process to watch, so don’t miss out. Don’t miss this beautiful location on your schedule of things to do in St Catharines.

#16. Go underground

See the terminus of the Underground Railway. The Underground Railroad and Niagara’s Freedom Trail helped black slaves flee the United States for Canada to seek freedom.

St. Catharines was the terminus for this underground network, which can be visited today. The national historic site marks a very important part of history and shows how Harriet Tubman helped so many escape slavery.

Another important piece of this history is the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built for the new citizens in 1855.

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What to do in St. Catharines On Special Days?

If you’re planning a vacation these weekend in St Catharines, you might be looking for suggestions for things to do in St Catharines. Take a look at the list we compiled!

What to do on a weekend?

You’ll barely have time to take your money out of your backpack with so many excellent free attractions to see this weekend:

  • Smell the roses
  • Wander around a port
  • Watch a regatta
  • Go for a walk
  • Sip on wine
  • Explore a park
  • Visit a waterfall
  • Go to the theatre
  • Look at animals
  • Shop in a local market
  • Have fun at a festival

Best Times to Visit St. Catharines

The best time to visit St. Catharines is during the summer. Because the temperatures are in the low 80s, the months of June and August are considered peak season. Of course, there are more people because it is peak season, but it is the greatest time to see all of the sights and enjoy the lovely weather.

The spring and fall seasons have fewer visitors and lower temperatures. The cost of a hotel room decreases as well. Winter has the lowest room rates, however many of the attractions are closed due to the frigid temperatures.

Certain attractions may be closed temporarily or require reservations in advance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the population of St. Catharines in 2021?

According to the 2021 census, the city of St. Catharines, in the province of Ontario, had 418,000 residents.

Is St. Catharines worth visiting?

Most people visiting Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake ignore Catharines, despite the fact that it has a lot to offer. Food and lodging in St. Catharines are greater value and quality than in other tourist sites, which are only 10-20 minutes away.

What is St. Catharines Ontario known for?

St. Catharines became Niagara’s most important industrial center thanks to the canal and mills. The Welland Canal became necessary for shipbuilding, and St. Catharines developed as a result of its presence, whereas places outside of the canal’s route stagnated or collapsed.


Hopefully this list of things to do in St Catharines has been helpful! Make a point of seeing all of the city’s sights. You may also learn more about things to do in Niagara Falls, if you’re curious.

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