MORNING: Set Sail
Located just 20 miles from Niagara Falls, the city of Lockport is a vibrant and historic canal town, offering a charming day out along the Erie Canal. History abounds here, so why not start your day with a lesson? The Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride offers a unique snapshot to the Erie Canal’s fascinating construction — the 70-minute guided tour sees visitors glide through haunting caves and “eerie” rock formations. If you’d prefer to soak up the city’s engineering marvels above ground, you can also embark on a scenic canal cruise with tour outfit Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises. Their daily cruises take passengers along the Erie Canal via locks 34 and 35, where you will pass the historic Flight of Five locks dating from the 1800s.
Breakfast & Brunch: Bring a little ooh-la-la to your morning with a visit to Bonjour Crepes, a recently opened eatery that flips and fills mouth-watering French-style pancakes (and offers locally roasted coffee, to boot). Looking for the classic American breakfast? Tom’s Diner, with its inviting retro vibes, is an excellent spot for all the breakfast faves, from omelets and waffles to breakfast burritos.
AFTERNOON: Hit the Trail
Picture-perfect Lockport is crisscrossed with endless trails that will delight fitness and nature enthusiasts of all levels. Start near the canal, where you’ll discover mule towpaths which have been transformed into glorious waterfront trails, ideal for hikers, bikers or casual strollers. The Lockport Nature Trail also offers miles of woodlands and waterfalls to explore — keep an eye out for the myriad birdlife that calls the environs their home!
There’s a completely different trail to explore, too: the Niagara Wine Trail, USA. Lockport is one of the gateway cities to this growing viticultural area — Lockport-based Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is a good place to start your exploration.
Lunch: Whether you want a wrap, panini, bahn mi, reuben, salad, soup or even a quinoa bowl, you’ll find it at Scripts Cafe. And if you’re in need of an ice cream break (and really, who isn’t?), be sure to check out Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream, where you’ll find handcrafted flavors like French caramel macaron and toasted s’more.
EVENING: Dinner and a Show
For such a small town — it’s only around 20,000 people — Lockport sure has a big dining and drinking scene. Beer lovers (and lobster mac-and-cheese lovers!) can delight in the ever-lively New York Beer Project. Inspired by Brooklyn’s brewhouse culture, NYBP houses a kicked-back taproom offering the likes of huckleberry wheat beers and Lockport lagers, while their rooftop terrace, biergarten and roaring fires provide the perfect backdrop, whatever the season.
Prefer wine? Niagara County may be known for its wineries but Flight of Five offers oenophiles something a little different: an urban winery. The venue celebrates the best of the region’s vineyards, offering delicious tastings in the historic surrounds of the Old City Hall. The perfect pre-dinner venue, they also offer cheese pairings to whet your appetite.
While you’re in town, be sure to check the schedule at the Historic Palace Theatre, the heart of downtown Lockport. Dating back to 1925, this proscenium arch-style theater stages Broadway-style shows in a setting straight out of the early 20th century — there’s even an original Wurlitzer organ!
Dinner: One of Niagara County’s top restaurants, Shamus is a lively gastro-pub offering contemporary house specials from blackened sea scallops to buttermilk fried chicken. Veggies and vegans won’t go hungry, either, with fresh vegetable pastas and a hearty vegetable shepherd’s pie. End your evening at the Lock 34 Bar & Grill, where you’ll find live music on Friday and Saturday nights.