16 Unforgettable Things To Do In Stratford Ontario

things to do in Stratford Ontario
Image by steve oprey from Pixabay

Stratford is your next best holiday getaway situated in Southwestern Ontario. Famous for its festivals and prominent Shakespeare plays, the city bustles with liveliness.

May to October is the festival season, with people visiting from all over the world to witness the plays and interact with talented actors in the festival theatre. You can visit some of the most beautiful places in Ontario and relish the beauty of the art town. Thomas Edison is known to have lived in Stratford in the 1860s.

Dine at the best restaurants or visit Shakespeare’s birthplace! There are numerous things to do in Stratford Ontario.

1. Things to Do in Stratford Ontario

With some of the best indoor and outdoor venues, here’s a guide to making the best out of your stay at Stratford Ontario.

1.1. Indulge In The Delicious Cuisines At Stratford

With the perfect spots for coffee lovers and top-rated dining restaurants, Stratford offers a variety of options to try out! 

Visit Stratford to indulge and discover the unique cuisines it has to offer. Some famous restaurants and coffee shops you can visit are:

1.1.1. The Planet Diner

Offering plant-based foods, the restaurant aims to provide something for everyone. Most of the restaurant is vegan and serves meat-based food for carnivore lovers.

Planet Diner uses numerous local Stratford resources, which makes the food taste better and fresh. Their Vegan Benny and Breakfast Taco are famous.

Courtesy: The Planet Diner

1.1.2. The Alley

Situated on Brunswick Street, The Alley is a popular destination for handcrafted cocktails and grilled goodies. Visit the restaurant to indulge in some mouth-watering dishes.

1.1.3. Edison’s Cafe Bar

Once the home of Thomas Edison, the small inn is now a cafe bar. Enjoy vegan cuisine with Edison’s drawings across the walls. Sitting and admiring the little cafe is one of the most peaceful things to do.

1.1.4. The Alley Cat Cafe

Snuggle with the rescue cats while sipping on your favourite coffee. A one-of-a-kind cat cafe that is perfect for all cat lovers in Stratford Ontario.

Courtesy: Alley Cat Cafe

1.1.5. Balzac’s Stratford

The interiors strongly represent the culture and history of Stratford-upon-Avon. With white and beige interiors, the Balzac’s has the perfect ambience and an assortment of eatables. Opened in the year 1996, it is one of the famous spots for locals to chill in.

1.1.6. Romeos Corner Cafe

Romeos Corner Cafe is an espresso bar in Stratford, Ontario with mouth-watering gourmet wraps and special burgers. You can find delicious food like egg benedicts to different types of burgers like the California Burger and the Cowboy Burger.

Eating and enjoying the delicious treats in the streets is one of the best things one could do in Stratford Ontario.

1.2. Discover The Shakespearean Gardens

With over 175 plants of unique species and great quotations beside them, the Shakespearean Gardens have species mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. You can spot a statue of William Shakespeare created by Cleeve Horne.

The pretty garden has flower varieties like tulips, roses, daffodils and much more. It is an amazing place to relax with your family.

Your trip to Stratford would be incomplete without visiting these magnificent gardens.

1.3. Join In To Celebrate The Stratford Theatre Festival

Found by Tom Patterson, the Stratford Festival is a festival theatre usually operating from April to October. Various dramas, musical events and Shakespeare’s plays are performed during the festival.

The lively performances and live music are all entertaining to the human eyes. Over 1,800 visitors can be accommodated in the theatres.

things to do in Stratford Ontario
Image by steve oprey from Pixabay

1.4. Take A Peek Into The Past

Visit the historical buildings and remnants of the past to relish the history of Stratford. It is among the best things to do if you want to educate yourself about its rich history.

Some famous historical places you can visit during your trip to Stratford are:

1.4.1. Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Shakespeare’s childhood home is situated in Stratford. The house made of timber was his abode for about 50 years.

things to do in Stratford Ontario
Photo by Swati Kedia on Unsplash

The house has a workshop in it. Today, it is a well-preserved museum with some originals from Shakespeare’s era.

1.4.2. Perth County Courthouse

The Perth County Courthouse opened in 1897 and was among the first buildings to have electricity. The courthouse is located near the Shakespearean Gardens.

Terracotta carvings on the walls are awe-inspiring, while the doors and windows are large and historic. The medieval architecture of Perth County makes it a must-visit for history lovers.

1.4.3. Holy Trinity Church

Also known as the Shakespeare Church, it is the oldest building in Stratford. With mythical carvings and large windows, the church was restored several times.

William Shakespeare’s grave is located in the church where he was also baptized. Holy Trinity Church holds great historic significance.

things to do in Stratford ontario
Photo by David Roberts on Pexels

1.4.4. National Trust – Charlecote Park

Located about 4 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, Charlecote Park has a deer park surrounding it. One gets to spot deer in the open grounds along the Avon River.

You can also find a variety of wildlife in the park nestled amongst the historic buildings in the ground. The Lucy Family lived in the Victorian House.

1.5. Ride Along The Avon River

What could be better than a peaceful day at the Avon River? You can paddle a boat, kayak or cruise along the Avon River. One can also rent canoes for a peaceful ride along the river.

Boating along the Avon River is one of the most popular things in Stratford Ontario. The 40-minute cruise passes through the William Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Canoes and rowing boats are also available.

1.6. Enjoy The Self-Guided Chocolate Trail

Explore the world-famous chocolatiers with the self-guided tour at Stratford. With six stops and six vouchers to redeem, the chocolate trail is bound to make your mouth water.

Indulge in the finest chocolates and bakery items during your journey. The sweet delights stacked upon each other are among the best treats to enjoy.

You can also avail yourself of the self-guided audio tour provided by Destination Stratford.

1.7. Witness The Fall Colours In Upper Queen’s Park

The Upper Queen’s Park is located on Queen St – an absolute beauty in nature. With a historical building and natural beauty, visiting Upper Queen’s Park is on the checklist.

1.8. Celebrate The Weekend Festival In Downtown Stratford

With live music and puppetry artists from all over the World, the World in a Weekend Festival is an amazing place to spend time! The event usually takes place in winter in downtown Stratford Ontario.

You can spot colourful puppets and costumed artists walking around. Both free and paid events can be joined at the festival. The puppet shows are made for adults and kids with fascinating stories and talented artists.

1.9. Admire The Art Galleries In Stratford

With contemporary visual art and artifacts, the art galleries in Stratford have a variety of collections, with each piece of art conveying a different story.

You can spot historical buildings and gift shops all along the way. The Stratford Art Gallery or Gallery Stratford remains the most famous one. The gallery Stratford represents some of the best ceramicists and artisans.

Courtesy: Gallery Stratford

Among the many art galleries, here are some of the best galleries you can visit:

  • Gallery Stratford, Ontario
  • Stratford Art in the Park
  • Gallery Indigena
  • Koolen Fine Arts
  • Agora Gallery
  • Shane Norrie Contemporary

1.10. Visit The Stratford Perth Museum

The Stratford Perth Museum houses collections from the 20th century, including the Fryfogel Tavern. With over 20,000 artifacts, the museum displays some fascinating exhibits.

You would be surprised to find a place dedicated to Justin Bieber and his stories. Not just that, you also get to see Anne Frank exhibits! Apart from an informative trip, visit Stratford Perth Museum to enjoy a day out with your family.

1.11. Enjoy A Game Of Mini Golf

Located on the banks of Avon, the Stratford mini golf is a popular venue for golf lovers and tournaments. With challenging hurdles and the best players visiting from different countries, the entire experience at the mini golf is fun!

1.12. Admire The Annual Swan Parade

Have you ever heard of swans making a parade? This is an annual parade witnessed by many and an amazing sight for kids and adults alike! You can witness these waddling ducks making their way to the Avon River.

1.13. Discover The MAD Museum

Located on Henley Street, the Mad Museum stands for Mechanical Art and Design Museum. The museum in Stratford Ontario displays mechanical art and moving sculptures. One can find interactive models and sculptures that work just by pressing a button.

It combines art, science and design and is a perfect spot for machine lovers. You can adore different types of designs, such as kinetic art and automata which world-renowned engineers and artists design.

1.14. Visit Some Of The Best Parks In Stratford Ontario

Stratford offers some of the best parks for nature lovers. Spend your time doing recreational activities with your family or friends.

1.14.1. Bancroft Gardens

Located along the Avon River, the Bancroft Gardens is picturesque, with the river as the backdrop. With green lawns and water fountains, the garden is a beautiful place to spend time. You can spot statues of characters from Shakespeare’s plays.

1.14.2. Stratford Greenway

Situated between Long Marston and Milcote, Stratford Greenway is the best place for cyclists, with a great parking place. You can take a walking tour along the garden for a relaxing evening.

1.14.3. The Recreation Ground

The recreation ground has a three-lap park run by the river. You can find a lot of open space in the park and it is well-maintained. There is a big Ferris wheel from which you can view the beauty of Stratford.

things to do in Stratford Ontario
Photo by Young Shih on Unsplash

1.15. View The Mesmerizing Tom Patterson Theatre

Designed by Harini Pontarini architects, the Tom Patterson Theatre has beautiful modern architecture with mesmerizing views. The theatre has a 600-seater facility with a glazed curtain wall.

Apart from architects, the theatre was designed by acoustic artists. With cantilevers and ceramic tiles, the architecture is a breathtaking experience.

1.16. Anne Hathway Cottage

Anne Hathway was Shakespeare’s wife who lived at the cottage before her marriage. It has 12 rooms and is quite big as a cottage. Made with timber frames, the entire location gives cottage core vibes.

With a nine-acre garden, you can explore the gardens and orchards with the staff guiding you about the house throughout.

Photo by Liv Cashman on Unsplash

2. Is Stratford Ontario Worth Visiting?

Also known as ‘Canada’s Art Town‘, Stratford is emerging as one of the most popular destinations for tourists and art lovers. The live theatres and street art filled with passion make it a more lively location.

Sophisticated cafes and mesmerizing artifacts are all you can enjoy in Stratford Ontario.

3. What Can You Enjoy With Kids In Stratford Ontario?

There are many exciting things to do in Stratford, Ontario with kids. Visiting the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Upper Queen’s Park are some of the best things to do in Stratford with kids.

The guided chocolate trail is best for relishing some delicious chocolate treats.

A visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace would also be an amazing day trip with much to learn and experience. The Stratford Festival is another fun-filled experience for kids and adults alike.

4. What Is Stratford Festival Famous for?

There are numerous things to do in Stratford, Ontario, from attending theatre plays to exploring local restaurants. The festival’s main focus is on Shakespearean plays and their enactings. Apart from these plays, various German and other plays are performed.

The festival brings famous puppet artists from all over the World and the town’s charm lightens the entire atmosphere.

5. Who Is Famous From Stratford Ontario?

Many actors, writers and producers are well-known from Stratford Ontario. Some famous personalities are as follows.

  • John Bradshaw
  • Ron Kennell
  • Richard Manuel
  • Jay Baker
  • Don Wyndham
  • Meghan Landers

6. How Do You Spend A Day In Stratford Ontario?

You can explore the streets of the small town with a charming vibe. Have breakfast at some of the best restaurants and grab coffee at the cafes.

things to do in Stratford Ontario
Photo by Boom Sirada on Unsplash

You can ride along the Avon River for a relaxing ride and visit the famous historical places to have a peek into the past.

Souvenir Shops such as Timeless Tales and the Farmers Market are also must-visits to explore the picturesque town of Stratford. You can design your pizza at the Taverna Pazzo Pizzeria or admire the Justin Bieber area at the Stratford Perth Museum.

7. What Day Is Market Day In Stratford?

Waterside Upmarket remains open every Sunday.

Some of the top markets you can visit are as follows.

  • Woodstock Farmer Market
  • St. Jacob Farmer Market
  • Stratford Farmers Market
  • Noman’s Farm
  • Wild Hog Country Market

8. Some Other Places To Visit In Stratford Ontario

things To do in Stratford Ontario
Image by Dele Oke from Pixabay
  1. Junction 56 Distillery
  2. Studio Theatre
  3. Gregory Connor Antiques
  4. Lynn River Farm
  5. Stratford Chefs School
  6. Stratford Festival Theatre
  7. Perth County Inn
  8. Stratford City hall
  9. Land Of Youth
  10. Three Craft Breweries
  11. Tom Patterson Island
  12. Stratford Gardens
  13. Tom Patterson theatre
  14. Avon Theatre

Final Words

Visiting Stratford is one of the best things you could do in Canada. Stratford upon Avon is about a 2-hour drive from Toronto. 

Stratford is best known as Canada’s Art Town, with top-class theatres and art galleries. Apart from these, there are numerous things to do in Stratford Ontario, and each experience is refreshing! The Shakespearean gardens are a must-visit to learn about Stratford’s history.

Explore Stratford Ontario, at your own pace and fall in love with this art town.