Also known as “The Royal City”, Guelph is a charming and quaint rural city in Southwestern Ontario. This city is not what comes to anyone’s mind when thinking of experiencing the quintessential Canadian culture. However, the town is showing a steady momentum of growth in the tourism scene. It is just an hour’s drive away from Toronto. One of the most liveable cities of Canada, Guelph is perfect for you to experience dynamic Canadian culture, limestone architecture, and a high standard of life. Here are some of the best things to do in Guelph.
Explore Downtown Guelph
The heart of the city, downtown Guelph offers a variety of things and places to explore. The best way to explore downtown Guelph is just by taking a stroll in the area and see everything the place has to offer. You can discover some of the best cafes and restaurants in Guelph here. The area offers amazing nightlife with fine pubs and bars. Downtown Guelph alone has most of the famous and iconic places of the whole Guelph.The Downtown Guelph features some stunning limestone architecture here that will take your breath away. You can spend your day exploring through the history and culture of Guelph in downtown.
Chill at Guelph Lake Conservation Area
Guelph Lake Conservation Area is by the Guelph Lake. This 1608 hectare conservation area offers various recreational activities such as camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, cycling, paddling, sailing, pickining, and many more. The conservation site even has a venue for concerts along with 2 beaches. The Guelph Lake Conservation Area is perfect for you to chill, relax, and enjoy nature with your loved ones.
Walk on Timberframe pedestrian covered bridge
This 1992 project was built by hundreds of volunteers over the Speed River and is a part of the Royal Recreational Trail. This pedestrian-only bridge is about 36 meters long and offers a lovely view of both sides of the famous Speed River and greenery around it. It is perfect for you to enjoy a quiet evening with a lovely and aesthetic scenery.
Attend the service at Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate
Built by architect Joseph Connolly, Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate is a Gothic Revival style building that was built between 1876 and 1888. This recently restored building is a parish church and a Roman Catholic minor basilica. It is a National Historic Site of Canada. The building is made of local limestone and features beautiful stained glass. You can attend a traditional catholic service and mass. The church also offers a stunning view of the city of Guelph. Be sure to visit the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate to experience the traditional catholic values and marvelous architecture.
Get to know the culture at the Art Gallery of Guelph
Formerly known as the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the Art Gallery of Guelph was established in 1978. The gallery showcases a glorious exhibit of local and international artists. It has seven gallery spaces on two floors. The gallery features the art of both permanent and new and upcoming contemporary artists. The outdoors of the gallery showcases a great sculpture garden. To experience and appreciate Canadian art and culture, visit the incredible Art Gallery of Guelph.
Gaze at the beauty of the stunning Guelph Arboretum
The Guelph Arboretum is a part of the University of Guelph. This arboretum is maintained by the agricultural department of the University of Guelph. Take a stroll across this 165-hectare arboretum and gaze at its 1700 different types of trees and shrubs. The Guelph Arboretum is open all year round for you to visit. Visit this arboretum to surround yourself with a tranquil environment and serene nature.
Visit the birthplace of the John McCrae
Built in 1858, McCrae House is a small limestone cottage that was the birthplace of the doctor, soldier, and author of the famous John McCrae. He wrote the famous First World War poem "In Flanders Fields". This National Historic Site of Canada gives an insightful overview of McCrae’s life. This museum hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions and has an award-winning garden. The museum is very near the Guelph Civic Museum and offers free parking. The McCrae House is a must-visit if you love Canada and its history.
Gaze at the historic Locomotive 6167
Locomotive 6167 is a steam locomotive was built in 1940. During World War II, it moved the troops and supplies to the Eastern Ports. It was restored in 2014 and is now housed near Guelph Central Station. It is a famous tourist attraction and the most photographed locomotive of Canada. Gaze at this locomotive to reminisce the old Canada of World War II.
Experience peace and adventure at The Rockwood Conservation Area
Also known as Rockwood Park, The Rockwood Conservation Area is a very popular destination for tourists. It is just a 15 minutes drive away from Guelph. This conservation area is situated on the two sides of the Eramosa River. You can submerge yourself in the breathtaking scenery with nature everywhere. The conservation area has a number of recreational activities for you to enjoy. You can enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, and canoeing. The Rockwood Conservation Area is perfect for you to enjoy the remarkable natural beauty while taking part in the number of recreational activities it has to offer.
Shop at The Guelph Farmers Market
The Guelph Farmers Market is one of the oldest community pillars of Guelph. The farmers market is open on Saturdays from 7 am till 12 pm. It is a very popular place for locals as well as tourists to be on a Saturday. The vendors at the market offer a wide variety of fresh produce and food. You can eat delightful, locally sourced food. You can also buy souvenirs to remember Guelph by. The Guelph Farmers Market is a perfect way for you to spend a Saturday morning while experiencing authentic Canadian culture in the quaint town of Guelph.
Enjoy the Festivals of Guelph
You can surely count on Guelph’s tight-knit community to host a number of great festivals in the city. The city hosts a lot of different festivals throughout the year. There’s always one or the other festival going on in the city. The most famous festivals of Guelph are the Guelph Jazz Festival, Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, Writers Festival, Hillside, Eden Mills, and Guelph Film Festival. Attend these festivals to relish the delightful and vibrant Canadian culture of Guelph.
Feed Donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
The Donkey Sanctuary is a charity dedicated to the well-being of donkeys, hinnies, and mules. The sanctuary is open only on certain days and the entry is free, however, a donation is appreciated. The sanctuary also rescues old and abused donkeys to give them the love they deserve. You can meet the donkeys, feed them, and brush them. You can even choose donkeys to sponsor. Spend your day in a tranquil environment surrounded by these beautiful creatures.
Cool yourself off at Emerald Lake Waterpark
Just a 30 minutes drive away from Guelph, Emerald Lake Waterpark is perfect for you to blow off some steam on a hot day. The waterpark is open from 10 am till 7.30 pm all summer. The waterpark also has a quarry where you can swim along with water trampoline, waterslide, kiddie pool, and splash pad for kids. The waterpark is very well maintained. You can enjoy delightful treats from the snack bar when you get hungry.
Stay and stroll at the University of Guelph campus
Take a stroll along the red clay brick walkways around the campus of the University of Guelph to appreciate the stunning architecture and historic buildings of the campus. The university campus is filled with greenery. The University of Guelph is one of the top Universities in Canada. During the summer months, the University of Guelph offers affordable and short-term accommodations to people visiting Guelph between early May and mid-August. Stay at the University of Guelph to experience your uni days again.
Attend a show at The River Run Centre
This is a performing arts centre located in Downtown Guelph situated by the picturesque Speed River. It was opened in 1997. The only artist-run centre hosts quite a few shows for you to get entertained by. Experience theatre, musical, concerts, and other cultural events at the River Run Centre when you visit Guelph.
Quench your thirst with beer
Guelph is famous for its beer and has some amazing breweries for you. Guelph also offers some of the most amazing Ontario craft beer. You can quench your thirst after exploring Guelph with amazing crafted beer from Wellington Brewery, it is the oldest independently owned microbrewery of Canada. Other famous and amazing breweries include Fixed Gear Brewing, Sleeman Brewery, Brothers Brewing, and Royal City Brewing.
Devour the delightful food
Guelph has an amazing food scene with numerous amazing restaurants located throughout the town, especially downtown Guelph. Guelph caters to everyone and offers a diverse cuisine. The city offers mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine, French cuisine, Thai cuisine, and Indian cuisine, along with vegetarian and vegan eateries. Some of the most famous cafes and restaurants in the city are Crafty Ramen, Cadence, Miijidaa, Artisnale, and Bollywood Bistro. Guelph’s delectable food is surely going to leave you craving for some more.
Attend an event at The Sleeman Centre
The Sleeman Centre is a multi-purpose arena and has 4,715 seats. It hosts a wide variety of events from ice skating to concerts. The centre also offers VIP suites for you to enjoy your shows with a pre-order menu. Be sure to attend an event in this stunning arena when you come to Guelph.
Visit the Guelph Civic Museum
You can visit the Guelph Civic Museum and spend hours gazing at the rich history of Guelph. The Guelph Civic Museum is a museum of natural history and culture that displays the history of the city with changing and permanent exhibitions. The museum also hosts special events and activities for the visitors often. It also has a children’s museum on the first floor and it is specially designed for children to explore and play with Guelph’s history. The admission fee is just $5 per individual and $15 for families. If you are a history buff, the Guelph Civic Museum is certainly going to make an impression on you.
See the one of a kind Petrie Building
The Petrie Building was built in 1882 by Alexander Bain Petrie. The Petrie Building has an elaborate, stamped-metal façade. The building has the last remaining such machine stamped metal clad in Canada. After being on the list of endangered buildings of Canada for four years, it was restored in 2018. You can visit this building to admire its amazing, one of a kind fixture in downtown, Guelph.
Find amazing collectibles at the Aberfoyle Antique Market
Aberfoyle Antique Market is the largest antique market in Canada. The antique market is open every Sunday for the regular market and there is a special Saturday market in June and September. The Sunday market’s entry costs $2 and Saturday special market’s entry costs $8. The market hosts 100+ dealers that sell antique furniture, collectibles, art, jewelry among many things. You can find some amazing items at an even more amazing price. You can enjoy delicious locally sourced wholesome food at the Aberfoyle Mill Restaurant after exploring through the market. You are surely going to enjoy your day gawking at antiques paired with some amazing food.
Guelph is a perfect stop for you to enjoy aesthetic scenery with marvelous architecture. It is a model city for you to experience the quintessential Canadian culture. We can guarantee that this charming and quaint city will not disappoint you. Guelph is surely going to give you a lot of memories to cherish for your lifetime. Do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this beautiful city.