With two universities and a college, Waterloo is a city for students. Between shops, restaurants, parks, and activities, there’s so much to do and see outside of your studies at the University of Waterloo.

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!

The cities of Waterloo and Kitchener blend into each other and are really 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 and events each year. There's always something to do!

One extremely popular event that attracts people from all over 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 bands, blues music, maple syrup, and buskers (street performers).

Eating out

In Waterloo, there are many restaurants, pubs, cafés, and bars for you to enjoy a nice meal and hang out with friends. There are many options 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 Grandson's Place, Molly Bloom's, and Morty's Pub. Many places also host live bands or other entertainment.

Student looking at phone at bus stop

Travelling around the city is simple. With your Waterloo student card, you have access to the Grand River Transit buses and LRT so that you can easily explore Waterloo region.


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! 

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

A city with a focus on education

Waterloo is home to 2 universities, a college, and 2 leading research centres which offer public lectures.

  • The Centre for International Governance Innovation 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.
  • The Perimeter Institute is one of the world's leading centres for scientific research, training and educational outreach in theoretical physics.

Stephen Hawking surrounded by students at the University of Waterloo

Stephen Hawking, a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute, visited Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing.