What to Do in Lockport, NY Near Niagara Falls
Avatar_160_hilary
Hilary Stockton
Google+

My Award Booking Service helps travelers book first class and business class with miles and points. As an independent affiliate of Cadence, I also have access to Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Peninsula Hotels PenClub, Dorchester Diamond Club, Ritz-Carlton STARS, Starwood Luxury Privileges, Rocco Forte and other 5-star hotel partners, so I can book, for no extra cost, your perfect luxury hotel or luxury cruise with VIP amenities not available anywhere else. Become a client and upgrade your stay!

GOT A BLOG POST IDEA?
Have a travel question we haven't covered yet? Want to share your secrets for traveling well for less?

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruise

 

Lockport, NY and North Tonawanda make a great day out when visiting Niagara Falls with kids or family. As you probably guessed, Lockport takes its name from the Erie Canal locks that connected the Niagara River with the Hudson River through a series of 83 stone locks, so a relaxing canal boat cruise along the Erie Canal and seeing the massive locks is a must, but it's not all Lockport has to offer.

Having recently visited, these are my picks for what to do in Lockport and North Tonawanda:

1. Visit Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride, Lockport

While the munchkin wasn't with me on this trip, I just know that the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride would have been at the top of his list. "Cave" is a bit of a misnomer, since in fact this is a 1600 foot man-made water tunnel that was blasted (at great danger to the men and even kids who worked on it) out of solid rock in the 1850s. Today, even the entrance looks a bit foreboding:

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Entrance to Lockport Cave

 

It all makes for a dimly lit, spooky walk punctuated by "cave kisses" (aka occasional cold splashes of water from the top of the cave). No wonder that Ghost Hunters filmed a "Tunnels of Terror"  episode here!

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Lockport Cave

 

The water is so still that the bottom of the cave looks deeper than it is, due to the reflection. 

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride

 

Why was the tunnel built? Its purpose was industrial: water channeled through the tunnel powered the Holly Manufacturing Company, helmed by engineer and inventor Birdsill Holly, which produced different types of pumps and sewing machines. Water also powered the waterwheels that spun millstones and produced pulp at the Lockport Pulp Company.

The underground boat ride is last, and lets you glide along and see slowly growing stalactites, flow stone, and fool's gold. 

 

2. Savor Lake Effect Artisanal Ice Cream, Lockport

On a warm day, don't miss the crazy, eclectic flavors at nearby Lake Effect Artisanal Ice Cream, just a short walk from the Lockport Cave. I wanted to taste everything, but settled for a "Flight of Five" sampler that included the whimsically named Punditella (chocolate hazelnut), Frozen Hot Chocolate, Peanut Butter Epiphany, Whisky Brown Sugar and Blackberry Currant. My favorite? The Punditella--try it! Plus, cost couldn't be more reasonable--my flight of five, which could easily have fed two, was just $5.

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Lake Effect Ice Cream Flight of Five

 

 

3. Cruise the Erie Canal and Experience the Lockport Locks, Lockport

This is a peaceful ride on the Erie Canal with Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, with the highlight getting to see the massive locks work to lift the canal boat up 49 feet in the only double set of locks on the Erie Canal. Personally I would have been fine with a shorter ride, and young kids may get a bit antsy, so I would do this after the kids have gotten their energy out and need to relax a little. 

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Cruise the Erie Canal

 

 

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruise


4. Ride the Vintage Carousel at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda

Earlier this summer we enjoyed riding vintage French carousels at Governors Island (see Governors Island Ferry, Bicycling and Family Fun) but it was fascinating to actually see the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, that, in its heyday, made many of the carousels in the U.S.--about 3000 hand carved wooden carousels in total. Some were also shipped abroad to Europe, India, South Africa and even Tahiti, so it's possible that one of the vintage French carousels we rode on or saw at Governor's Island was in fact made by the Herschell Carrousel Factory.

On some days you can see wood carving in progress (done by volunteers), see original Wurlitzer band organs and paper music rolls, and of course actually ride the vintage carousel. 

What to do in North Tonawanda - Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

 

What to Do in North Tonawanda - Herschell Carrousel Factory-Vintage Carousel

 

For young children, there's also a Kiddie Carousel that is delightfully child sized (and no, you can't ride on it if you're an adult!)

 

5. Feast on Seafood at the Remington Tavern Seafood Exchange

Formerly a trolley barn, the Remington Tavern Seafood Exchange served up one of the very best crab cakes I've ever eaten. Seared scallops were very nice as well, but the crab cake starter remained the highlight for me. Oysters were also delicious, if not quite in the same league as Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Paris. Others raved about their sesame crusted ahi, so most seafood here is a good bet, although plenty of steak and meat dishes are popular as well.


6. See the Tiffany Stained Glass Windows in the First Presbyterian Church of Lockport

While I unfortunately only saw the First Presbyterian Church from the outside, while cruising the Erie Canal, the church is most visited for its beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows. I adore stained glass, so definitely want to visit this next time.

What to Do in Lockport - First Presbyterian Church Tiffany Stained Glass

Photo: First Presbyterian Church Lockport


7. Enjoy an Art Exhibition and the Gardens at the Kenan Center, Lockport

The Kenan Center in Lockport is a historic Victorian mansion, and its architecture, including the wall and ceiling moldings, are exquisite. As the home of William Kenan Jr., an engineer and later philanthropist, it was one of the first in the area to have electricity. Today it serves not only as a community center but also art exhibition area for Lockport, and is frequently chosen for weddings and events, thanks to its gardens, which are especially lovely when its wisteria tree and perennials are in bloom.

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Kenan Center


What to Do in Lockport, NY - Kenan Center Art Exhibit


8. Lock Your Love Lock in Lockport, Courtesy of Sweet Sixteen Cafe

Sweet Sixteen Cafe is best known for its cupcakes, although it also serves light cafe fare such as sandwiches, salads and soups. The cupcakes looked beautiful, but I actually liked the chocolate chip cookie even more--perfect with its slightly crispy outside yielding to a rich, soft interior.

What to Do in Lockport - Sweet Sixteen Cafe Cupcakes

 

Ellen Martin is the owner, and has an irresistible smile, wit and charm about her:

What to Do in Lockport - Ellen Martin, Sweet Sixteen Cafe

 

Sweet Sixteen Cafe also sells hand painted love padlocks, which you can write your own message on and padlock above one of the locks. 

Since the munchkin was of course very disappointed that he didn't get to come on this trip, my lock was for him--he will definitely be coming on the next trip here, and will get to unlock his lock, since I saved the key just for him :)

What to Do in Lockport, NY - Munchkin's Lock

 

If you've been to Lockport, NY or North Tonawanda, what are your favorite things to do?

Disclosure: I was the guest of Niagara Tourism and received complimentary experiences at several of the places mentioned above, however the views expressed are my own.

Related Posts

Intrepid Museum Review, NYC

Governors Island Ferry, Bicycling and Family Fun

NYC with Kids: Family Travel Guide

Free Tips for the Best 5 New York City Summer Festivals

Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel through us.

If you enjoyed this, join 90,000+ readers: please follow TravelSort on Twitter or  like us on Facebook to be alerted to new posts. 

Become a TravelSort Client and Book Your Hotel with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred VIP Amenities!

  • |
  • Print
    print |
Related Articles
Square_top_2015_mandarin_oriental_3rd_night_free_offers-mandarin_oriental_bodrum
2/26/2015
Mandarin Oriental has some great 3rd night free and 4th night free offers available at several hotels in Bangkok, Bodrum (Turkey), Taipei, Prague, NYC, Paris, and Barcelona now through early spring. Along with Aman Resorts, Four Seasons and Peninsula Hotels,...
Square_tips_for_booking_lufthansa_first_class_awards_with_miles_and_points
2/25/2015
  "How to book Lufthansa First Class awards with miles and points?" is a question I continue to get from clients and readers, especially those based on the West Coast, who would like those highly coveted San Francisco to Frankfurt...
Comments
Leave a Comment
Comment
Facebook-logo
Get Free Email Blog Updates
Popular Articles
Square_which_airline_frequent_flyer_miles_for_which_destination
11/29/2014
  Which airline frequent flyer miles and points should you earn for a given destination? TravelSort reader Jill writes "My family and I want to save up miles to visit Australia/New Zealand, Italy and Japan. Which miles and points are...
Square_how_we_earned_1_million_miles_and_points_this_year
12/30/2014
  "How do you earn your frequent flyer miles and points?" is a question I get on a regular basis from TravelSort Clients and readers, who also want to know how we manage to fly all of us in international...
Square_2015-which_new_credit_cards_were_applying_for
2/6/2015
  Which Credit Cards are Worth Getting in 2015? While everyone's credit card situation is different, depending on which cards you already have (or had) and which miles and points are most valuable to you given future travel plans, many...
Square_when_to_book_hotels_for_christmas-new_years-thanksgiving_travel
12/13/2014
  When should you book hotels for Christmas, New Year's and Thanksgiving travel? TravelSort reader Sam writes "We were disappointed not to be able to book our first choice hotel, the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, for Christmas this year....
Square_our_2015_travel_resolutions
1/1/2015
  Happy New Year! Hope your 2015 is off to a happy, healthy, start, including your travel plans. We really enjoyed our 2014 travels, and were lucky enough to visit several of the resorts mentioned in Best Luxury Hotels of...
Square_5_other_perks_to_speaking_a_foreign_language_with_your_child
1/7/2015
  The time to learn a foreign language is when you're young, as I mentioned in 10 Reasons Why Your Child Should Learn a Foreign Language. That's why I'm always sad when I hear a parent tell me that, even...
Square_happy_holidays_from_our_family_to_yours
12/25/2014
  Happy Holidays from our family to yours! Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season and upcoming New Year 2015, and hope that wherever your travels this season take you, you're able to spend time with your family...