Things YOU GOTTA SEE when visiting the Kitchener-Waterloo area

Here are some quick suggestions for visitors with limited time in the area. Perfect if you have only ONE DAY to visit (like a business trip, when passing through, or when stopping over between flights). The additional days schedule is a recommendation for those who want to see the essence of Kitchener-Waterloo in only a couple of days.
You can read ALL SORTS of travel guides, and carry around pounds of paper, or just print off this ONE PAGE and have all the info you ever need! These are the area’s top activities, family activities and attractions, tourist attractions, historical sites, museums, interesting architecture, sightseeing and top shopping/dining areas. Organized into a nice walking or driving itinerary!

The area has four major communities: Waterloo (with smaller St Jacobs) to the north, Kitchener in the middle, Guelph to the east and Cambridge to the south.

Sightseeing Suggestions

In the middle between Kitchener, Guelph and Cambridge are the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, Bingemans Big Splash, and Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort.

Kitchener - Victoria Park pond with boats - sliver (Shawn Steinman)

Kitchener – Victoria Park pond with boats – sliver (Shawn Steinman)

Kitchener – First Day

Kitchener was once called Berlin by its early German settlers, until a name changed pushed by patriotism during the First World War. The city is now the hard of manufacturing in the region, with access to water, rail, and more recently proximity to the 401.

Right downtown (within block so King St are THEMUSEUM, and just west of downtown is Victoria Park and Schneider Haus National Historic Site (an 1816 homestead was restored and furnished, the home to the area’s first Pennsylvania-German Mennonites settlers)

Kitchener-lakes in the park- sliver (Shawn Steinman)

Kitchener-lakes in the park- sliver (Shawn Steinman)

Just south of downtown is head west to the 24 acre Doon Heritage Village (open seasonally from May to December. The Waterloo Region Museum is open daily), and the 264 acre Huron Natural Area

Woodside National Historic Site, is just east of downtown was the home of Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th prime minister, and hosts regular murder mystery theatre.

Homer Watson Park, nestled between Kitchener and Waterloo has great river & forest scenery.

Waterloo – Second Day

The Waterloo area has strong German agricultural roots, reflecting a mix Lutheran and Catholics from Germany and Mennonites who moved here from Pensylvania after the American Revolution.

Waterloo park with a pond

Just to the west of King Street are Waterloo Region Museum on one side of the Grand River, and on the other are the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower, and the Schoerg Farmstead. nearby is Waterloo Park, with open spaces and laree ponds.
To the west is the Iron Horse Trail recreational pathway.

University of Watgerloo campus

Just to the north is the world famous University of Waterloo (famous for computer science programs and spawn like Blackberry) and its Earth Sciences Museum. A little to the north is the UofW Ecological Preserve, and Brubacher House Museum, depicting 1850s Mennonite immigrant life.
And, further north is the Laurel Creek Conservation Area, which connects to the Westside Trail and GeoTime Trail.

in nearby St Jacobs is the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway (with streetcars dating back to the late 1800s) and the West Montrose Covered Bridge (Kissing Bridge) over the Grand River, and the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market
To the west is the Herrle’s Country Farm Market

Third Day: Cambridge & Guelph

Cambridge riverfront with church spire

Cambridge is south of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, south of the 401, and alongside the Grand River. Many buildings and churches are of grey stone.

Downtown Cambridge, along the Grand River are the Cambridge Sculpture Garden, Mill Race Park, and Cambridge Centre for the Arts, and Cambridge Farmers’ Market (on Saturdays and Wednesdays).


To the north of the core are Riverside Park and Shade’s Mills. If you are interested in cars, the Toyota Plant offers tours []

Guelph is about 10 km east of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, on the Eramosa River, where is is joied by the Speed River (dammed in 1974 just north of the city, for water supply and non-motorized recreation)

Downtown Guelph is the Guelph Civic museum, Guelph Market Square (with splash park in summer and an ice rink in winter). University of Guelph (“U of Gu”) is well known for its Ag program, so take in the University of Guelph Arboretum (with 400 acres of trails, and gardens), the Physics Observatory Telescope, Art Gallery of Guelph,

Take in McCrae House (tribute to the author of Flanders Fields) and Royal City Park along the Eramosa River (where you can rent canoes and kayaks). There is a covered bridge over the Speed River and is near Royal City Park.

  • North of the core is Riverside Park and the Guelph Lake Conservation Area
  • West of Guelph, you’ll find the Fashion History Museum, and the Mill Run Trail
  • South of Cambridge you can explore the Hammond Museum of Radio, and the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
  • East of Guelph are the Rockwood Conservation Area, the Halton County Radial Railway

Kitchener-Waterloo – Additional Attractions Around

If you have more than two days in Hamilton, here are some recommended tours to nearby attractions:

  • Brantford is not only a beautiful community, on the banks of the Grand River, but it is the location of the Alexander Bell Homestead, where the telephone was invented, and has the Six Nations Reserve adjoining.
  • Take a tour of the Toyota car manufacturing plants in Kitchener to see how cars are made.
  • Head south along Highway 9 (toward Hamilton) to see African Lion Safari, Westfield Heritage Village, and Yee Haw Adventure Farm