The county of Niagara’s main geographic feature is Niagara Falls, running over the past 12,000 years since the last ice age eroding over seven miles south. Both the Niagara river and falls are both the drainage point for four of the Great Lakes constituting the world’s largest supply of fresh water. In Niagara County, there are many points of interest, especially speckled in the five towns we have listed below as the best places to live in Niagara County, NY. Without further ado, let us take a deep dive into these towns and what makes them special in their unique ways.
1. Youngstown, NY
Located at the corner near the northwestern part of where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario, Youngstown, New York stands as a historic village, though it is an area known to Native Americans for hundreds of years before its settlement. Less than a mile from where the village stands today is a mark left by a French explorer, La Salle, in the form of a small fort in 1670.
According to Niche, the median home value of Youngstown, New York is $165,700, with the national home value being $229,800. The median rent value is $714, and the national value in the town is $1,096. Residents living in Youngstown, NY find that the town offers a sparse suburban feel. Here, 84% of residents own their homes, and 16% rent. Youngstown ranks #16 of 893 as the best place to buy a house in New York.
- Old Fort Niagara. Known for being a living history site within a close driving distance of Niagara Falls in both New York and Ontario areas, Old Fort Niagara features an original 18th-century stone building built by both the French and British. There are an array of structures, artifacts, and documentary materials that can be viewed when visiting the museum that depicts the way of life through the site’s history.
- Sanger Farm. Bring your family along to tour Sanger Farm by foot or a fun hayride where you can wander orchards and pick fresh, crisp ripe fruits and vegetables. For a snack after a long day of picking, you can sample a large variety of homemade goods baked from scratch. Here you can also choose from the freshest produce, cheeses, and baked goods.
- Niagara Jet City Cruises. When you take this thrilling cruise, you will be sure to roar for more after riding on the Niagara Jet City Cruises. On this cruise, the captain will blast their favorite playlist while you are taken on a fun, uptempo journey along Class 5 rapids in the Niagara River.
- Youngstown Village Diner. The Village diner can be found in an old-style building servicing well-priced breakfast specials. Youngstown Village Diner is in the heart of the town, with a beautiful, cozy interior you will be glad to find in many other restaurants.
- Main Street Pizzeria. At the pizzeria, you will find that comfort food is one of the main sources of the laid-back environment at Main Street Pizzeria. You will find that each pizza is handcrafted and freshly baked. You will also find that Stromboli and calzones are on the menu as well.
- Stone Jug. Stone Jug is a restaurant in the style of a historic inn with a tavern serving the Niagara Frontier since 1842. has a cozy bar with a fancy shuffleboard table to enjoy drinks while having fun. There is a sprawling backroom and backyard that hosts music, events, and year-round fun!
2. South Lockport, NY
A hamlet in the town of Lockport in Niagara County, New York, South Lockport is a part of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan area. The name derives from a set of Erie Canal locks in the city of Lockport built to allow canal barges to traverse what is the 60-foot drop of the Niagara Escarpment.
According to Niche, the median home value of South Lockport, New York is $67,000, with the national home value being $229,800. The median rent value is $578, and the national value in the town is $1,096. Residents that live in South Lockport, NY find that the town offers a sparse suburban feel. Here, 68% of residents own their homes, and 32% rent. South Lockport ranks #4 of 383 as the best suburb with the lowest cost of living in New York.
- Lockport Cave & Under Ground Boat Ride. This tour features guided boat tours through the 19th-century Erie Canal locks, tunnels and caves. At Lockport Cave & Under Ground Boat Ride, you will learn that one of the caves formed naturally in underlying dolomite and limestone bedrocks, with the other cave being a man-made hydraulic raceway constructed in the 19th century. Here, you will begin with the walking tour and ride the boat underground all while letting the rich history of New York surround you.
- Erie Canal Discovery Center. This museum features art along with information on the history of the Erie Canal and houses a fun gift shop to go through after the tour. The 1863 brick home known as the Outwater Memorial Building stands as the headquarters for the Niagara County Historical Society at the Erie Canal Discovery Center. Here, you will find the old Victorian parlor, a Historic pantry, an old toy room, the Civil War room, and a changing exhibit room.
- Arrowhead Spring Vineyard. This winery produces wines that reflect thoughtfully chosen soils and climates to grow sustainable vineyards. At Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, you will find traditional winemaking methods used, such as cluster thinning, leaf removal, shoot thinning, and balanced pruning. Fine wines are produced at the estate including delicacies such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc…
- Aguacates Mexican Restaurant. The name of the restaurant derives its origin from the Spanish word for avocado, delivering fine Mexican cuisine. From minimalist guacamole to a fried tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon sugar as a Mexican dessert, Aguacates Mexican Restaurant features standard Mexican fare or Tex-Mex with more than 50 meal options.
- Steak Stone & Sushi. At this upbeat sushi house, you will find that Steak Stone & Sushi serves Pan-Asian fare, alongside table-side cooking and a full bar in contemporary digs. Here, you are sure to find authentic Asian food such as sushi, hibachi meals, house chicken noodle, Thai-style pad Thai, and much more!
- Kalamata. At this restaurant, you will find Greek and American dishes served in a family-friendly atmosphere. Daily specials are offered at Kalamata, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served all day long. A children’s section of the menu satisfies all age groups and ranges.
3. North Tonawanda, NY
The city of North Tonawanda is located halfway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls and is the second-largest community in the County of Niagara Falls. In the Seneca’s tongue, the name Tonawanda means “Swift Running Water,” with the city being named after Tonawanda Creek south of the border.
According to Niche, the median home value of North Tonawanda, New York is $129,200, with the national home value being $229,800. The median rent value is $735, and the national value in the town is $1,096. Residents that live in North Tonawanda, NY find that the town offers a sparse suburban feel. Here, 70% of residents own their homes, and 30% rent. North Tonawanda ranks #11 of 383 as the best suburb with the lowest cost of living in New York.
- Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. This special-interest museum features historical and elaborate Herschell carousels in the original factory building. At Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, you can ride the 102-year-old carrousel, while listening to band organs playing every day! Each month there are special events for family audiences presented.
- Riviera Theatre. Home to the Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ, Riviera Theatre was originally built in 1926. This theatre is listed on the National and New York State registers of historic places. Here, you can find that the theatre hosts over 175 events and 100,000 visitors annually.
- North Tonawanda History Museum. At this museum, you can find great art collections exhibited in art galleries. Take a tour through North Tonawanda History Museum to find out how major events changed the surrounding of North Tonawanda throughout the years. The exhibitions offer assisted tours, videography, and a tour guide.
- Hideaway Grille. At this restaurant, you can find a global twist on American fare in an easygoing space with a sports-themed bar and front patio. Long-time favorites of Hideaway Grille include award-winning stuffed banana peppers, Ed’s BBQ ribs, and homemade seafood bisque. There is also a creative bar and cocktail menu.
- Webster’s Bistro & Bar. This restaurant is a French-style fine dining offered in an intimate, white-tablecloth setting with a modern flair. Webster’s Bistro & Bar offers casual warmth and comfort with a menu that provides a great variety. To add to the experience, explore cocktails, wines, and desserts on a separate menu.
- The Dockside Bar & Grill. Located in a 19th-century Erie Canal storage facility, The Dockside Bar & Grill offers a casual American menu, as well as karaoke and weekend bands. Here, you can find a variety of special cocktails while enjoying the view from your waterfront dining space.
4. Olcott, NY
A hamlet in the town of Newfane in Niagara County, Olcott, NY is also referred to by locals as Olcott Beach. It is part of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan area. It is a lakeside community and home to the deepest harbor on Lake Ontario west of Rochester. The largest county-operated park in Niagara County is located in the northeast part of the village known as Krull Park.
According to Niche, the median home value of Olcott, New York is $108,300, with the national home value being $229,800. The median rent value is $842, and the national value in the town is $1,096. Residents that live in Olcott, NY find that the town offers a rural feel. Here, 77% of residents own their houses, and 23% rent. Olcott ranks #80 of 893 as the best place with the lowest cost of living in New York.
- Olcott Beach Carousel Park. This small amusement park is aimed at younger audiences and the Olcott Beach Carousel Park has that fun vintage atmosphere paired with old-fashioned rides that kids can enjoy.
- Lakeview Village Shoppes. This center overlooks the stunning view of Lake Ontario where you can browse a unique mix of 11 specialty gift, clothing, antique, and food shoppes on the boardwalk. The Lakeview Village Shoppes are seasonal, as they are open in May, September, and October, as well as every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Krull Park. A great place to spend in shaded areas near the lakeside, Krull Park is the jewel of Olcott Beach. The park includes five softball diamonds, soccer and lacrosse fields, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, two playgrounds, tennis courts, and a splash park, as well as four exercise stations.
- Covey’s Cove. At Covey’s Cove, if you set the course, you are sure to find a welcoming, affordable experience with amazing food, drinks, and service. Here, you can also find local, regional, and international cold ones awaiting you, as well as non-adult beverages for families of all ages.
- Bye’s Popcorn. A widely known destination for travelers, Bye’s Popcorn is a tradition for many. Located in the quaint hamlet of Olcott, this fun stop is 60 seconds away from the Lake Ontario waterfront. Bye’s has been serving gourmet popcorn and caramel corn to visitors since 1923.
- Maxwell Station Restaurant. The restaurant is nostalgic-themed, showcasing much of Olcott and Newfane’s past. Maxwell Station Restaurant is a family-styled restaurant that offers an array of different kinds of foods, with Tuesday nights being trivia nights to keep things interesting!
5. Porter, NY
The town of Porter, New York was originally formed from the Town of Cambria in 1812 by an act of the New York State Legislature, and because of its strategic location between Niagara River and Lake Ontario, and Old Fort Niagara, the town was later settled. There is a rich history of Indigenous people that runs deep in this area, as it has been inhabited by many cultures, and at the time of European encounters, the territory was under the power of the Iroquois Confederacy.
According to Niche, the median home value in Porter, New York is $177,600, with the national home value being $229,800. The median rent value is $909, and the national value of the town is $1,096. Residents that live in Porter, NY find that the town offers a rural feel. Here, 85% of residents own their houses, and 15% rent.
- Fort Niagara State Park. This park offers lake and river boating, as well as secluded hikes. Fort Niagara State Park also has a pool paired with a waterslide at the park with a nature center.
- Four Mile Creek State Park. This lakeside park comes along with 275 campsites. Four Mile Creek State Park has many stunning campsite views of the water, and for those who love being in nature, there are options for hiking along beautiful wooded bluffs.
- Old Fort Niagara Lighthouse. Spanning more than 300 years, you will get to take a tour through a historical timeline of the construction of Old Fort Niagara Lighthouse. You can also find original 18th and early 19th-century military architecture and related artifacts.
- Ray’s Diner and Tavern. A third-generation off-the-beaten-path, Ray’s Diner and Tavern prides itself on fast service, as well as being all-inclusive with accessibility for the wheelchair-bound.
- Jetport Restaurant. Operated seven days a week, and family-owned/operated since 1972, Jetport Restaurant offers family dining along with quality food located near the Niagara Falls International Airport and the Fashion Outlets mall.
- Leon’s Italian Bistro & Pizza. Heaping big portions of Italian staples with a pizza counter dishing thin-crust pies, Leon’s Italian Bistro & Pizza has been serving the area of Niagara County since 1978. Here you can count on fresh delicious foods, no matter whether the order is placed for pickup or ordered in the restaurant.
For more local information on real estate in Niagara County, NY, and the five best locations to live, check out our website.