Located midway between Niagara Falls and Buffalo and bordered by the Erie Canal and the mighty Niagara River, historic North Tonawanda is a must-stop place to visit near Niagara Falls — or a day-trip destination in and of itself.
Morning: Marvel-ing at History
Spend some time strolling the waterfront and the streets of what was once called “the Lumber Capital of the World,” eventually making your way to the North Tonawanda History Museum and the Gateway Cities Welcome Center, which will provide you with a time capsule of everything you need to understand the backstory of North Tonawanda — and the region as a whole.
Breakfast: Get your coffee, bubble tea or fancy hot chocolate with a side of comic books-browsing at local favorite Pulp 716.
Afternoon: Carousels & Candy
Your history lessons continue, but in more nostalgic, delicious ways. At the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, a favorite North Tonawanda tourism spot, you can take a spin on an original Alan Herschell carrousel — its horses were carved back in 1916 from the lumber that made North Tonawanda famous. Be sure to explore the historic complex, which was built in the early 20th century to house the factory that made America’s most famous carousels. Afterwards, head to Platter’s Chocolate Factory to get a taste of Platter’s legendary orange chocolate and sponge candy, made the same way since 1938. Be sure to linger long enough to take a peek at the process — or to sample the goods in the factory’s ice cream shop.
Lunch: Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co. shares space with Platter’s — they’re both housed in the landmark Wurlitzer building that dates back to 1892. Settle in for a hearty sandwich or a woodfired pizza and wash it down with a Woodcock IPA or a Niagara Lager. Afterwards, be sure to pop into Tattered Tulip Home — also in the Wurlizter Building! — to browse the farmhouse-chic décor and curated gifts.
Evening: Theater Magic
The Wurlitzer name you’ll see around town is indeed that Wurlitzer — the company that created the world-famous pipe organ. You can experience a working Wurlitzer (with more than 3,000 pipes!) at the Riviera Theatre & Performing Arts Center. The historic 1926 venue plays host to musical artists and also screens movies — including silent films accompanied by that legendary organ.
Dinner: Pretend you’re in Paris for the evening at Webster’s Bistro & Bar, where you can enjoy French bistro favorites — escargot, boeuf bourguinon, moules frites, sumptuous steaks — with a glass of Burgundy. If it’s seafood you’re after, try Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange for fresh oysters, broiled or steamed clams, seared scallops, lobster and more in a historic setting on the Erie Canal.
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