Day Trips from Waterloo

Waterloo is situated in southern Ontario and is located in a central region, offering many incredible day trips from the city. Once you have moved into the area and settled down, you may want to start exploring the area.

The Tri-Cities

Waterloo is located in the Tri-City area, which consists of three cities including Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge.  This area is also widely as the Region of Waterloo.  While these 3 cities are very similar in terms of architecture and amenities offered, they each offer a slightly different experience. Waterloo is known for its trendy cafes, restaurants, and high tech industries. Kitchener offers great shopping, plenty of restaurants, and a more hand- on industry. Cambridge is located on the outskirts of the two cities and offers plenty of shopping, restaurants, and easy access to cities along the 401 Highway including London and Toronto.  For your information, the 401 Highway is a very large provincial highway that passes through this region and connects many cities along its route.

St. Jacobs

Perhaps one of the closest and most enjoyable day trips from Waterloo is taking a trip to the nearby St. Jacobs. St. Jacobs is a small mennonite village located on the outskirts of the city, a short ten minute drive from the center of the city. St. Jacobs is best known for its weekly farmers market, which happens two to three times a week depending on the season. In the summertime, the market takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, while in the winter months it takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays. The farmers market is the largest in Canada and all of the produce, baked goods, desserts, and products are grown, produced, or made in the surrounding region of Waterloo. Clothing, shoes, plants, and jewelry are also sold at the market. Further down the road from the St. Jacobs farmer market, the village of St. Jacobs is a great place to spend the day. With little boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, many of the businesses in the village are independently owned and offer shoppers and hungry patrons the chance to experience something new. St. Jacobs also offers some great hikes, with rivers, forests, and old wooden bridges to cross.

Paris

Located less than an hour’s drive from the city of Waterloo, Paris is a small city with a unique and vintage feel. The downtown area of Paris has a river running through it and many of the old buildings have been turned into restaurants, independently owned shops, and small businesses. If you are looking for a quiet day in a small city, Paris is a great place to explore. Many restaurants have patios that overlook the river, which provides a relaxing and peaceful day out with great views. The drive from Waterloo to Paris is also beautiful, with endless farmers fields filled with corn and other products that are grown and sold locally.

Toronto

Toronto is one of the most well known cities in Canada and serves as an excellent hub for jobs, shopping, nightlife, and sightseeing. It also has the closest international airport to Waterloo, where the airport has airlines that fly to most countries around the world. Toronto is located a one hour drive from Waterloo, however it can take slightly less or more time depending on traffic, as the most direct route takes you along the 401 Highway which often has plenty of traffic throughout the week and during the weekends.

Toronto has some of the most popular and iconic sights to see for tourists including a trip up the CN Tower, which was once the tallest freestanding building in the world. The views from the top of the CN Tower are incredible and many visitors make a point to stand on the glass floor and look down!

Toronto has plenty of things to do including hosting some of the best museums, theatrical productions, and sports games in the country. Many visitors head to sports games while in Toronto, including taking a visit to the Rogers Centre to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play, or going to the Air Canada Centre to catch a basketball game with the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto has excellent shopping and a thriving nightlife that spans from bars to lounges to luxurious nightclubs. Toronto also offers visitors a relaxing and peaceful getaway on the nearby Toronto Island. A short boat ride from the Toronto harbour front, the islands offer visitors the chance to swim, laze on beaches, bike around the island, and enjoy food at restaurants and waterside cafes. The islands are incredibly children and family friendly, making it the perfect day trip for friends and families alike.

London

Located just over an hours drive from Waterloo, again depending on traffic on the 401 Highway, London is a great little city to spend a day in. The city offers much the same as the Tri-Cities in terms of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, however the city is worth a visit to experience something different. Much like Toronto, London has both an international airport and a thriving theatre scene. Many visitors to the city attend musicals and theatrical productions held at the state-of-the-art theatres and concert halls in the city. London has many parks and child friendly areas, that make the city a great day out for families. The city has a well known university and college that ensures the city has plenty of students and, in turn, a great nightlife. Slightly busier than Waterloo, the downtown area of London is well established with plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops.

Niagara Falls

As the biggest waterfall in North America and one of the most iconic in the world, Niagara Falls sits on the border of the United States and Canada. With spectacular views from the Canadian side, the trip to Niagara Falls is under two hours from the city of Waterloo. Niagara Falls offers visitors a lot more than views of the spectacular waterfalls. There are many tours in the city including boat rides along the river to get up close to the waterfalls as well as boat rides through the rapids. You can also splurge and take a helicopter ride over the falls if you are looking for something unique and exciting to do. Niagara Falls offers families endless restaurants and entertainment including haunted houses, fun and interactive museums and games, and plenty of theme and water parks.

Close to Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake is a quaint village that offers a quieter and more natural version of the nearby bustling city. With independently owned shops, horse and carriage rides, and beautiful parks, the village is a great place to spend a couple of hours after visiting the falls.

Parks & Beaches

For those looking to stay out of the cities and head to more natural surroundings, there are tons of nearby places to hike, explore, and spend time in nature or on the beach. In the nearby city of Hamilton, there are many hikes that lead you to incredible views of the Niagara Escarpment as well as plenty of waterfalls and places to enjoy picnics and family time. Since Waterloo sits on the edge of endless farmland and countryside, there are many less elevated walks closely located to the city. If you are looking to spend some time at the beach, there are beaches located less than a two hour drive from the city. Perhaps the most popular, Grand Bend, offers visitors sandy beaches, the lake to swim in, and many restaurants, shops, and pubs.

Waterloo is a great place to establish a home and life in because of its central location to other cities and towns. The city is big enough to enjoy all amenities that you may need, but small enough to want to explore other nearby cities that offer sightseeing, concerts, sports games, and other activities and entertainment.

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