Let’s talk about Stratford Ontario, popularly known as Stratford upon Avon, the beautiful city in Southwest Ontario which sits on the Avon River. Most people will know Stratford, Ontario, for its famous annual Theatre Festival, but is the Stratford festival all that the city has?
Well, not really. Stratford is a heavenly location for visitors to explore a lot of things. And today, this article will take you across the most exciting and soul-filling things to do in Stratford, Ontario.
Be ready to witness another side of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with us.
Top Things To Do in Stratford Ontario
1. Take a tour of the Shakespearean Gardens
5 Huron St, Stratfor, ON
Your visit to Stratford, Ontario, should start with something fun, right? And that is possible just by simply visiting the Shakespearean Gardens.
This Garden will feel like you have just entered a fairy tale. If that is something you find amusing, your first stop in Stratford, Ontario, should be this.
One of the exciting things you should know about this garden is why it got its name “Shakespearean Gardens.” When this garden was first built, it only had flowers known or heard by people through Shakespeare’s plays.
Although other plants and flowers have been planted over the years, there are still flowers from Shakespearean times. This theme park is an absolute delight for people who love to see flowers bloom.
2. Take a historical tour.
If you are someone who loves admiring historic buildings and has a keen eye for architecture, Stratford, Ontario, has something for you.
You might know that Stratford’s history dates back to the 1800s, and some exquisite buildings of that time are still worth looking at.
A few such remarkable buildings are the Stratford City Hall, the Perth County Court House, Shakespeare Schoolroom & Guide Hall, and so on.
These historical homes make for great photo opportunities and exploration. You can learn about its history as well during your tour.
3. Indulge in a self-guided chocolate trail
If you are a fan of sweets, one of the best things to do in Stratford, Ontario, is being part of the self-guided chocolate trail.
This city is known worldwide for its range of bakeries and confectioneries, and this chocolate trail will take you across the best places in town.
The chocolate trail is a year-round activity that provides you six passes for just 30$ that you can redeem at any 20 stops throughout the trail.
All 20 stops are notable, but one stop you should never miss is Rheo Thompson Candies. They are the most famous in Stratford for chocolates. Their chocolates taste like Lil drops of heaven.
4. Visit the Stratford Perth Museum
4275 Huron Road, RR#5
Your visit to Stratford, Ontario, would be a complete waste if you didn’t visit the Perth Museum. Want to know why? Because this is the place where you can learn all the history behind all the fantastic places and things in Stratford, Ontario.
For the history buffs, be ready to be amazed as you will travel back in time and learn 200 years of history. Here you will learn about the making of Stratford, Ontario.
Apart from learning the fascinating history of Stratford, in the Perth Museum, you can enjoy various exhibits that keeps changing throughout the year.
5. Go to a theatre show.
If you visit Stratford, you cannot miss out on a theatre show. Stratford Tourism is highly dependent on the theatre shows, mainly during the Stratford Festival.
People visit Stratford for its performing arts and entertainment scenes. You can catch a theatre show at famous places like the Festival Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Avon Theatre, or the Studio Theatre.
Here you can enjoy various stage performances by actors in musical shows. Whether or not you are a theatre buff, it will undoubtedly leave you wanting more once you attend these shows.
6. Be a part of the Bacon and Ale Trail.
If you want to get a taste of Stratford, the Bacon and Ale Trail is what you need to be a part of. This trail will take you across the best of Stratford’s food offerings.
Bacon and Ale Trail is a self-guided tour that takes you through 15 stops introducing you to the brewing history of Stratford and their delectable pork.
The trail will cost you $30 + tax and offers you five coupons that you can use at any five stops of your choice from the 15 stops.
7. Appreciate street art
As you might know, Stratford is a city filled with art and culture, and there’s a vast array of street art to be appreciated and discovered. So, if you are someone who enjoys good art, stroll through the streets of Stratford and look for street art.
Especially in downtown Stratford, you will find stunning wall art and decorated telephone boxes. These sights also offer great opportunities for photos.
For more artistic pieces, visit the Stratford Art Gallery. You will get to see beautiful public art statues and stunning outdoor pieces.
8. Go for a walk along the Avon River
A trip to Stratford will be worth it when you explore the Avon River. The best way to enjoy the river is by taking a leisurely stroll with a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage.
You will see Stratford’s famous swans, ducks, geese, and other water birds during the summer months.
There are two sides from which you can start your exploration. Most people prefer the path parallel to Lakeside Drive, but the William street side is worth exploring.
9. Enjoy the “Lights on Stratford.”
One of the best ways to “call it a night” in Stratford is by enjoying the Lights on Stratford. Lights on Stratford is a winter festival; however, you can get glimpses throughout the year.
The entire downtown area and the park system are lit up with luminous art and light installations. Every year they set up a theme for the festival.
The theme for the 2021 festival was “an act of traveling from one place to another.” Stratford features some of the best creative minds, prop builders, light designers, and artists, well displayed during the festival.
Lights on Stratford, in a way, honor the local talent that cannot be found anywhere else. The best thing about this event is it’s completely free to enjoy.
10. Do some shopping
During your trip to Stratford, Ontario, you will want to do some shopping. Stratford is the perfect place to get unique items for yourself and your close ones.
The streets of Stratford are filled with unique small shops. Also, if you would like to get a few additions to your wardrobe, Stratford is there to help you with that as well.
Here are a few shops that might interest you:
Distill Gallery is a well-crafted Canadian design store with sustainable and ethical fashion. Established in 2003, this store has managed to keep up with the hype in Canada.
Here you will find the best items by Canadian designers and artists.
MacLeods Scottish Shop
This is one of the favorite shops of tourists visiting Stratford. From across the United Kingdom, Macleods Scottish Shop, located on 80 Ontario Street, offers the finest giftware and clothing options.
Here you will find an exciting range of products, from tartan blankets Harris Tweed jackets to scarves and whiskey glasses.
They have been in service for over 30 years, intending to provide their best services to the customers.
If you cannot physically visit them, you can also buy products online, hassle-free.
11. Check out some restaurants to eat
A visit to Stratford, Ontario, won’t be complete without you exploring the best places to eat. There are more places in Stratford to eat than you can think of.
Here are a few must-visit restaurants:
Located at 46 Ontario St, Stratford, N5A 3G8, Edison’s cafe is a must-visit for someone who enjoys a cozy ambiance.
The cafe has both a patio and interior seating arrangement, but both have limited seats, so be sure to arrive early, or you can go for a take-out as well.
They are famous for serving freshly baked cookies and muffins. You can find a bunch of breakfast items and vegan bowls as well.
So, choose according to your taste.
Located on Brunswick Street, Braai House stands out as one of Stratford’s best eating places. This restaurant introduces African taste with a modern twist through their cuisines.
Not only do their cuisines have a unique and incredible taste, but the vibe and ambiance at Braai are also worth mentioning.
The restaurant is focused on open-fire cooking, which is quite an interesting concept. And they have an extensive range of food items, so whether you are a non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or vegan, there’s nothing to worry about because Braai won’t disappoint.
Along with food, their in-house beer collection is quite impressive too.
12. Experience a Ghost Walk
Well, for an old city like Stratford, it is quite obvious that there will be ghost stories floating around. And what’s better than having a first-hand experience of one such story?
Stratford makes it possible for you with its “Stratford Ghost Tour.” Through this tour, you can learn all about the scary characters roaming the streets of Stratford.
Most tours occur during Halloween; however, you can be a part of these tours through Thursdays to Saturdays in summer.
13. Visit Upper Queen’s Park
55 Queen Street, Stratford Ontario
Upper Queen’s Park is 6 acres of beauty, sitting in the middle of Queen Street. This place is one of the best places in Stratford for a relaxing and calm evening.
With massive green spaces, beautiful monuments, scenic gardens, and waterfalls, you will be amazed while at Upper Queen’s Park.
You can do anything you want here. Go for a leisurely walk, ride, or even walk your dog throughout the park. There are baseball and soccer fields for sports lovers, and for the kids, there is a massive playground.
And right next to the playground awaits tasty treats at the Ice Cream Shack and Duke’s Grills.
Upper Queen’s Park is more than just exploring green spaces. The park also hosts various hit events such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Stratford Festival, Stratford Winterfest, Easter Egg Hunt, and music events like Jazz concerts.
14. Learn how to cook at the Chef’s School
Stratford is known as a culinary destination, and there’s good enough reason why. It is because Stratford is home to Stratford Chef’s School.
This is where the magic begins, the place where education takes a delicious turn. Established in 1983, this not-for-profit institution focuses on nurturing aspiring chefs.
And the best part about this school is, there are classes at all cooking levels. So if you are in Stratford, Ontario, for quite some time and love cooking, you can surely get yourself enrolled.
The cooking community over here is fantastic.
Well, Stratford, Ontario, truly stands out. For decades, visitors have been flocking in here and for obvious reasons.
This small town in Southern Ontario is a real mix of what people look for in holiday destinations. Here, you get to explore the history, and you get to experience the culture, you get to enjoy heavenly delicacies, watch festivals, theatre.
At one point, you will feel like there’s so much to see, yet so little time on your hands. And that’s the beauty of Stratford, and it keeps you wanting more.
So, pack your bags, book the tickets, and take the flight.
PS: The list of things to do in Stratford, Ontario, doesn’t end here. And if you are wondering where to stay during your visit to Stratford, Ontario, there’s just the right place.
You can make your bookings at the Shakespeare Hotel, the picturesque 17th-century 4-star hotel.
Have a marvelous time here. And do let us know your experiences.