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The Perfect Day in Lewiston

Just a 10-minute drive north of Niagara Falls, this charming, historic village lies waiting to be explored. Here’s how to spend a day in town, from sun-up until sundown.

Morning: Walk through History

Home to the first major battle of the War of 1812 and revered as the final stop on the Underground Railroad, Lewiston’s been privy to some monumental history. (Not to mention the fact that this neck of the Niagara River is where the Falls first formed some 12,000 years ago.) Start your day of exploring Lewiston attractions by placing yourself in others’ shoes at the historic monuments in town. At the Freedom Crossing Monument on the banks of the river, you’ll get perspective on what it might have been like to be a freedom seeker risking their life to cross to Canada. At the Tuscarora Heroes Monument, you’ll get up close and personal with the image of Tuscarora Nation members helping a fleeing family during the War of 1812.

Continue your history lesson at the charming Lewiston Museum, which is housed in a church dating back to 1835, or at the electrifying Niagara Power Vista, where you can learn more about the region’s hydroelectric power prowess. Peruse the 50 interactive exhibits on hydroelectricity and then sneak outside for a bird’s-eye view from the observation deck, which is perched 350 feet above the Niagara Gorge.

Breakfast & Brunch: Hit the Village Bake Shoppe for raspberry jam scones, apple-cinnamon swirl buns, banana chocolate muffins and the like, and grab a latte or a fresh-roasted brew at Orange Cat Coffee Co.

Afternoon: Test the Waters (or the Wine)

Lewiston’s location on the mighty Niagara Gorge makes it the perfect place to get a rush of adrenaline on the Niagara River. Hop into a high-speed jet boat and cruise the Class V rapids in the gorge — you’ll get a side of geology lessons with your white-knuckle thrills. (If you want to experience the gorge on foot instead, you can hike down into it via the Niagara Gorge Trail System.) If you’re looking to chill instead of seek thrills, head to one of the nearby wineries for a tasting or a tour, like Bella Rose or A Gust of Sun, or simply stroll through historic downtown’s Center street, stopping in at the antique shops and boutiques.

Lunch: Barbecue lovers will happily dig into the smoky and meaty fare at Brickyard Pub & BBQ. In the summer months, Silo Restaurant — right on the river — is the draw. It’s known for “the Haystack”: a steak sandwich topped with crunchy hashbrowns that comes in regular or (gulp) footlong sizes.

The famous “Haystack” at the Silo.

Evening: Dinner & a Show

In the high-season — from May through September — be sure to check out the lineup at Lewiston’s famed 150-acre Artpark, home to the most exciting events in Lewiston, NY. More than 150 performances take place here each year, including the likes of Patti LaBelle, Barenaked Ladies, Wilco, Chicago and Jack White. The venue boasts both indoor and outdoor stages and a commanding view of the Niagara Gorge. There are also art installations to wander on the grounds as well as film screenings, dramatic performances, festivals and more.

Dinner: Grab a table at one of Lewiston’s local-favorite eateries for a pre-show meal. Italian lovers will be wowed by the farm-to-table fare at Carmelo’s or the classic Italian-American dishes at family-owned Casa Antica. Those looking for something a bit more casual or kid-friendly will find solid options at  Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen. And no visit to Lewiston would be complete without a stop at Hibbard’s Custard (open seasonally), which has been serving delicious frozen custard since 1939.