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 two universities and a college, more than 50,000 students, and one of the youngest populations in Canada, Waterloo Region 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 (also known as KW) flow into one another and 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 and events 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 hop on the bus for a short trip to Toronto, Canada's entertainment epicentre.

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.


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, fresh-baked goods, and more, you'll also want to check out the weekly St. Jacob's Farmers' Market and Kitchener Farmers' 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 the largest celebration of its kind outside of Germany, the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. This event includes a Thanksgiving Day parade and over 40 cultural events. Enjoy food and beverages, and dance the night away!

There are also year-round events and festivals celebrating everything from food to music to culture. Check out the annual Multicultural Festival, Buskers Festival, Movies in the Park, Kultrun World Music Festival, Winterloo, Kitchener Bluesfest, and Christkindl Market, to name a few.

Three students walking around Uptown Waterloo

Shop 'til you drop

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

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 buses (Grand River Transit (GRT)) and light rail transit (ION). With frequent service and free WiFi on board the ION, getting from place to place is quick and comfortable.

Need to see family, visit friends, or catch a flight at Toronto's Person International Airport? The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and surrounding cities are a quick bus or train ride away. You can purchase inter-city bus tickets and board at stops right on campus. The VIA Rail train station in downtown Kitchener also connect to nearby cities and is accessible by public transportation.


A city with a focus on education

Waterloo is home to two universities, a college, and two 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

Famed theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking attended the official opening of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing.