The city of Kitchener has a lovely combination of small town vibe and plenty of activities.
This area was historically inhabited by German mennonites and while little of this population is left, you can feel the European heritage throughout this vibrant city.
Kitchener is pretty close to Toronto, but has a unique culture and vibe which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Overall, it’s a fantastic place to live and visit— especially if you know where to go and what to do.
I also went to school near Kitchener, and it’s definitely a fun and vibrant city with plenty of things to explore!
Keep reading as we breakdown all the best things to do in Kitchener, Waterloo and get ready to start planning your next trip!
The Best Things To Do In Kitchener
If you’re wondering what to do in Kitchener, I can guarantee there is no shortage of activities and hidden gems to enjoy–year round!
Here is our list of the best things to do in Kitchener, Ontario.
1. Enjoy Nature At Victoria Park
Kitchener is home to Victoria Park, and this is definitely one of the best Kitchener attractions if you’re a nature fan.
This beautiful park is situated right downtown and was also developed by the same people who built New York’s Central Park.
It’s a great place to take a stroll and enjoy a picnic, nearby a lake and surrounded by the beautiful gardens.
2. Go Skiing At Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort
If you love skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, you have to check out Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort! Even if you’ve never tried these winter sports, it’s a great place to learn.
There are 11 runs that appeal to all skill levels, from beginner to seasoned experts, so it’s a great family activity as well.
The resort stays open year round, so if you’re visiting in the summer, you can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, volleyball, and tennis!
3. Learn The History At Doon Heritage Village
Head to Doon Heritage Village to experience Kitchener as it was in 1914.
With 24 hectares of historical homes and interactive experiences, it’s a great way to spend the day learning about history.
As you wander around the village, you’ll see barns, a post office, grocery store, a sawmill, harness shop, which you can ask about when chatting with the employees– who are all dressed in era appropriate costumes, of course.
4. Party Like The Germans At Oktoberfest
Here’s a fun fact: Kitchener has one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations, second only to Berlin.
This 9 day festival starts the Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving and sees about 700,000 attendees annually.
If you like beer, you can expect to drink plenty at the many events that take place at Oktoberfest. Though there are also many cultural and non drinking events, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
5. Take Your Kids To THEMUSEUM
THEMUSEUM is the perfect way to keep the kids entertained, with plenty of fun interactive exhibits.
They can dance around on a massive piano, lie on a bed of nails, watch some fish swim around a 125 gallon tank, draw some graffiti, and enjoy the indoor garden and art installations.
Be sure to check out the temporary exhibits, since THEMUSEUM does special events for some holidays, like Cinco de Mayo and Halloween.
6. Play A Round At The Doon Valley Or Rockway Golf Course
Rockway Golf is a favourite in Ontario, featuring an 18-hole, par 70 course, designed by the famous Canadian Golf Course Architect, Stanley Thompson.
The Doon Valley has a 9-hole, 18-hole, and a Pitch ‘n Putt course, which you can enjoy before sitting down for a beer and a bit to eat at the on-site restaurant.
7. Enjoy The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery features contemporary art from Canadian and international artists.
It’s part of a larger network of galleries that share their Art, so there’s a pretty large rotation of exhibits to enjoy, so you can enjoy the gallery again and again.
It’s also good to keep up with their activity schedule, since they host seasonal exhibits and regular programs for both adults, children, and families.
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8. Enjoy A Kitchener Festival
The lively city that it is, Kitchener has plenty of festivals that celebrate the cultures of the city. You can enjoy music, dancing, and delicious food at all of these events that take place over the year.
There is also the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival, which runs over two days and features foods and musical dance performances from all over the world.
9. Learn More History At The Waterloo Region Museum
Get to know the Kitchener-Waterloo township better at the Waterloo Region Museum, which outlines over 12,000 years of the region’s history on-site and across historical landmarks in the area.
Check out the Joseph Schneider Haus from 1816 or the Woodside National Historic Site, built in 1853, to get an immersive experience into this period and learn some of the interesting history of the region.
10. See A Show At The Centre In The Square
If you like musicals, plays, and symphonies, you’ll love Centre in the Square. With a full schedule of performances, you’re sure to find something to feed your thirst for the arts.
Centre in the Square is situated downtown Kitchener and is the largest venue in the area, but we also recommend checking out the lineup at smaller venues, like:
- The Registry Theatre
- Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts
- Lost & Found Theatre Company
- Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
11. Canoe Down The Grand River
Hop in a tube, kayak, or canoe, and enjoy a long scenic ride down Kitchener’s heritage river. You’ll get to experience the region from a whole different perspective.
Canoeing the Grand offers rentals and a shuttle service to take you and your equipment to the starting point. So pack a picnic and get ready for a day on the water!
12. Go For A Hike In Huron Nature Area
Huron Nature Area features the largest network of trails in Kitchener, without plenty of lookout points and opportunities to learn about the ecosystem and Indigenous culture and history of the region.
The park offers events and programs year round, with the goal of teaching the community about the culture, history, and wildlife of Huron Nature Area.
Other Fun Things To Do In Kitchener
Now that we’ve covered some of our favorite things to do in Kitchener Ontario, here are a few more fun ideas you can add to your itnerary:
- Check out some cool Kitchener breweries (Graffiti Market is very cool!)
- Visit Saint Mary Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Church
- Listen to the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony perform
- Head to the Mapleton Organic farm to see animals and for a corn maze
- Visit the Woodside National Historic site
- Go to the Descendants Beer and Beverage Co for a pint
- Shop at Fairview Park Mall
- Head to a cool Kitchener cafe like Queen Street Commons
- Visit the Joseph Schneider Haus museum
- Go to Kitchener Ribfest (this usually runs every summer in July)
- Go to Saint Jacob’s Market in Waterloo
- Grab even more beer from the Counterpoint Brewing Company
- Have some fantastic pizza from La Cucina Pizzeria in Kitchener
- Visit Bingemans for a day of fun
- Go to Sky Zone kitchener for a day of trampolining and more fun
These are just a few more fun things to do in the area, and many of these Kitchener activities are kid-friendly and perfect for weekends as well.
If you’re on a budget, anything outdoors is also ideal since you don’t have to spend a penny!
I hope this list has inspired your next trip to Kitchener, since there’s so much to do when you know where to look.
It’s definitely worth picking your trip dates based on Oktoberfest, a museum exhibit, or the upcoming ski season– so be sure to look at the events planned in the city for the year and choose the one that calls your name the most. If you’re lucky, you may get to experience a few special events within your stay.
And if you’re a Kitchener local trying to get to know your city better, we hope we could direct you to a hidden gem in the city.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your new favourite spot!