In the city of Waterloo, you'll find yourself in the company of dreamers, entrepreneurs, and creatives – not to mention cool coffee shops, trendy restaurants, cultural events, and local experiences you can't have anywhere else.

Group of students walking in Uptown Waterloo

Young at heart

From its local scene to its startup culture, Waterloo has a youthful energy that's been shaped by and for students.

With 50,000 students, two universities and a college, and one of the youngest populations in Canada, the area has tons of restaurants, shops, and services geared toward students.

Two students working on a project together

Flourishing founders

Often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the North, Waterloo is a place where big ideas take off.

Some of the most innovative companies in the world are just steps away from campus, along with everything you need to launch a business or kickstart an exciting career.

Downtown Kitchener

More core to explore

The interconnected cities of Kitchener and Waterloo are like one big city. People distinguish between the two by calling one "uptown" (Waterloo) and the other "downtown" (Kitchener).

There are more than 400 restaurants, shops, and boutiques; and Uptown is home to several festivals each year.


Things to do in Waterloo

Nighttime cityscape

Explore the nightlife

With so many students in Waterloo, there's no shortage of entertainment and nightlife to satisfy your sense of fun. Get into the excitement of our vibrant café and restaurant scene or head into Toronto, Canada's entertainment epicentre.

Popular spots in Waterloo include Phil's Grandson's Place, Molly Bloom's, and Morty's Pub. Many places also host live bands or other entertainment.


Two people sitting at a bench and eating the famous St. Jacobs fritters.

Grab a bite to eat

As residents flock from all over the world, the region's growing international culinary scene keeps getting better and better.

Right beside our main campus, the University Shops Plaza is filled with dozens of restaurants that offer a variety of food from different cultures.

For locally grown food and fresh-baked goods, you'll also want to check out the weekly St. Jacobs Farmers' Market and Kitchener Market.


The Museum in Kitchener

Immerse yourself in art and culture

From live performances at Centre in the Square to fine arts at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery to classes at Button Factory Arts, it's easy to get your regular dose of arts and culture. Plus, we're just a 45-minute trip from world-renowned theatre at the Stratford Festival.


Grand River

Get a breath of fresh air

Living in Waterloo Region means easy access to nature, with parks, trails, and natural areas all near campus.

Throw a frisbee at Waterloo Park, hike the trails at Laurel Creek Conservation Area, take a paddle down the Grand River, hit the slopes at Chicopee Ski Hill, or enjoy a couple hours of skating on one of Waterloo's many outdoor rinks.


People performing acrobatics in Uptown Waterloo at night

Attend festivals and events

Waterloo region is home to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, the largest celebration of its kind outside of Germany. Enjoy food and beverages, and dance the night away!

Events throughout the year celebrate everything from food to music to culture. Check out the annual Multicultural Festival, Movies in the Park, Kultrun World Music Festival, Winterloo, Kitchener Bluesfest, and Christkindl Market, to name a few. There's no shortage of activities in Canada's most diverse city!

Three students walking around Uptown Waterloo

Shop 'til you drop

Conestoga Mall is a 15-minute ride away on the ION rapid transit. 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!


Learn more about things to see and do in Waterloo Region

megaphone"I really enjoy Waterloo's mid-sized city feeling. It's not as overwhelming as a big city, but it still offers a great transit system and so many amazing restaurants." Stephanie, Math co-op student
megaphone"From the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market and Conestoga Mall to the many unique restaurants and boutiques of Uptown Waterloo, one of the best things about being a student here is the many attractions the area has!"Adrian, third-year Planning student
megaphone"With Waterloo being such a student-oriented city, there's never a shortage of local restaurants, activities, and events to explore with friends!"Nathania, fourth-year Kinesiology student
megaphone"The best part about being a Warrior is the city of Waterloo itself! From the cozy vibes of uptown and the action of the city to all the nature and city parks just next to campus, we really have a bit of everything!" Julia, fourth-year Biochemistry student
megaphone"Waterloo is a student-friendly city with adventure just a bus stop away. Not to mention, there are great restaurants to try out all around the city!"Cherry, second-year Pharmacy student
megaphone icon"Being in Waterloo is awesome because of the entrepreneur community!"Mathurah, second-year Systems Design Engineering

How to get around Waterloo Region

Living in a mid-sized community makes exploring every corner of Waterloo safe and easy.

Student looking at phone at bus stop

Your student card (WatCard) gives you effortless access to public transportation, including local Grand River Transit buses and light rail transit (ION).

With frequent service and free WiFi on board the ION, getting from place to place is quick and comfortable.

Want to see family, visit friends, or catch a major league sports game? Toronto and surrounding cities are just a bus or train ride away.

You can purchase bus tickets and board at stops right on campus. The VIA Rail train station in downtown Kitchener also connects to nearby cities and is accessible by public transportation.


Learn more