The Waterloo region is home to more than 200 parks, hosts the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany, and claims to be the birthplace of the humble yet hugely popular apple fritter! Here are the top things to do in Waterloo and Kitchener next time you stop by.
If the above alone isn’t enough to convince you to visit the region lovingly referred to as the “K-W”, check the schedule of countless festivals of world music, food, culture, and art that draw in thousands of annual visitors. This is a city that knows how to party. There’s also a rich cultural and historical heritage to explore.
Head to the northern edge of the city to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market, the largest year-round market of its kind in Canada. Afterward, check out the world-class live performing arts theater, the Centre in the Square, explore local restaurants and cafés, or stretch out by the man-made lake in historic Victoria Park, the city’s crown jewel. During winter, be sure to hit up Chicopee’s ski resort or their tube park. This resort is also open during summer to experience a number of warm weather activities. If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Waterloo region, be sure to go to the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum. If you prefer a more flashy museum with interactive exhibits, TheMuseum in Kitchener may be more up your alley. The area also features several historic houses from the 19th century that you can explore.
For Nature Enthusiasts
The Kitchener-Waterloo area is home to a number of beautiful parks you can spend days exploring. In Kitchener, you can head over to Victoria Park, a particularly popular spot with a water pad, wild animals in their natural habitats and a beautiful clock tower. If you’re up for it, hike along the scenic corridor from Kitchener to Waterloo via the Iron Horse Trail, which is one of several trails open year-round, and part of an extensive system that stretches out for hundreds of miles. Waterloo Park is a popular spot for sports enthusiasts and even has a farm. As mentioned earlier, Kitchener-Waterloo is home to over 200 parks so you’ll have no trouble finding greenery to spend your days nestled in nature.
Festivals, Food, and Fun!
Oktoberfest aside, the Kitchener-Waterloo region has an endless amount of festivals happening throughout every season of the year. In early December, those wanting to experience a German Christmas can head to the Christkindl Market. Waterloo also has its own festival of lights called Wonders of Winter, where you can gaze at the lights or take a relaxing ride in a horse-drawn carriage. More recently, Ever After Music Festival in June has been a growing favourite amongst electronic dance music enthusiasts. If EDM isn’t to your liking, Kitchener also hosts a very successful Blues Fest every year during summer. With summer, you’ll also run into the Kitchener Ribfest, where you can try the best ribs that Canada and America have to offer while sipping on delicious craft beers. And if you happen to be visiting between April and October, you can take a shuttle or short drive over to Stratford for the Stratford Theatre Festival for a show.
Things to Do with Kids
Bring the kids to experience the interactive art and science exhibits at The Museum in the city’s center or travel back in time with living history museums like the Joseph Schneider Haus or the Doon Heritage Village, which recreate 19th-century rural village life. Take the kids even further back in time by riding on the historic Waterloo Central Railway. These heritage cars have been restored so you can enjoy a nice ride on a steam engine train, just like the old days. During summer, you can also head to the beach by Laurel Creek Park to cool off, have a picnic or even go on a nice canoe ride. For some outdoor fun, bring the kids to Victoria Park where you can find a long list of activities and attractions to keep them busy and having a blast all day long.