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Life in the city


Choosing a university can also mean choosing a new place to call home, and the city of Waterloo is a great place to live.

With more than 50,000 university and college students and one of the youngest populations in Canada, Waterloo region has many restaurants, shops, and services geared to students!

Uptown Waterloo, festivals, and events

Visit Uptown Waterloo! It is the equivalent of most cities' downtowns. However, since Kitchener-Waterloo is really one big city, residents distinguish between the two by calling one "uptown" (Waterloo) and the other "downtown" (Kitchener).

Uptown Waterloo consists of more than 400 unique businesses such as restaurants, shops, and boutiques, and is home to several festivals and events each year. There's always something to do in Uptown Waterloo!

One extremely popular event that takes place in Kitchener-Waterloo is Oktoberfest, Canada's greatest Bavarian festival. This event includes a Thanksgiving Day parade and over 40 cultural events. Enjoy food and beverages, and dance the night away!

A band on stage at dusk with people sitting in front of it

The UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival is just one of the many festival and events that take place throughout the year. Other festivals feature indie music, blues, maple syrup, and street performers.


In Waterloo, there are many restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars for you to enjoy a nice meal and hang out with friends regardless of where you are. There are many options to choose from that will surely satisfy your cravings!

Right beside our main campus, the University Shops Plaza is filled with dozens of restaurants that offer a variety of food from different cultures. And if you don't have cash on you, fear not. Some shops at UW Plaza will accept Flex Dollars from your WatCard as payment!

Some popular spots in Waterloo include Phil's, Molly Bloom's, Beta, and Morty's Pub. Many places also host live bands or other entertainment.


Travelling around the city is simple. With your WatCard, you have access to the Grand River Transit (GRT) that will allow you to explore endlessly all across Waterloo region which includes Kitchener and Cambridge.


If you're living off campus, groceries are very important! Located close to campus are a number of grocery stores, giving you easy access to make your weekly grocery run.

St. Jacob's Farmer's Market is also a hot spot in Waterloo. Opened all year-round, choose from a wide selection of food products including fresh fruits and vegetables.


Conestoga Mall is a 15-minute bus ride away. With over 130 stores and services, you can get all that you need such as clothing, food, gifts — and your movie fix, too! Discounted movie tickets are available at the Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre (SLC).

For a change of view, visit Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. Shop for popular brand names and other national stores at the biggest mall in Waterloo region!        

Global think tanks

As a city with a focus on education, Waterloo is home to 2 leading research centres which offer public lectures and professors who also teach and conduct research at the University of Waterloo.

  • The Perimeter Institute is one of the world's leading centres for scientific research, training and educational outreach in theoretical physics. Stephen Hawking is a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at the Institute.
  • the Centre for International Governance Innovation. CIGI, which strives to be the world's leading think tank on international governance, believes that better international governance can improve the lives of people everywhere by increasing prosperity, ensuring global sustainability, addressing inequality and safeguarding human rights, and promoting a more secure world

Learn more about things to see and do in Waterloo region.