Top Things to Do in Guelph, Ontario

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Perched along the banks of the Speed River, Guelph is a small, yet effervescent city situated at a distance of less than one hour from Toronto in Canada on the west side. Known amongst the locals as the Royal City, Guelph is encompassed by rolling hills, verdant valleys, woods, and lush farmlands. It has carved an identity of its own. Its glistening rivers and charming landscapes blend suavely against the historic landmarks, buildings, and iconic cultural spots dotted throughout the city. These include great conservation areas and nature's preserves.

Guelph is not only acclaimed for its history. Still, it has also manifested a kinetic art scene by hosting exhibits showcased at the Art Gallery of Guelph. It's a city hailed for its magnificent limestone architecture, vibrant culture, and high quality of living. It is deemed amongst the best cities to live in.

Top Guelph tourist attractions

Visit the Rockwood Conservation Area

A small cave at the side of a lake in Rockwood Conservation Area near Guelph, Ontario

Positioned in the Rockwood community, Rockwood Conservation Area is deemed to attract more than 70,000 tourists annually. The beautiful hiking trails, the magnificent geology, and the availability of a suitable campground inside the Park grant an adventurous opportunity for all avid hikers to set up a camp and relish the rare encounter. In addition, adventure-seekers can also partake in activities like fishing and swimming on the Park's beach.
The Park also features a unique network of caves and innumerable potholes, distinguished by the water seeping from between the cavities in the rocks.


Sightsee the Arboretum at the University of Guelph

Bench and trail surrounded by trees at The Arboretum, University of Guelph, Canada

Suppose you want to spend a tranquil afternoon lazing around unwinding with nature. In that case, Guelph Arboretum is the perfect picnic spot. Owned by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, the Arboretum is a fine reproduction of the Arboretum located at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has become one of the best places to visit in Guelph.

Gardens at The Arboretum, University of Guelph, Canada

Encompassing around 400 acres, the Arboretum contains an enthralling assortment of specialized gardens and plant species. The Ontario tree varieties, a natural wooded section, and meadows are notable aspects. The Arboretum also features about nine kilometers of walking and hiking trails and a chain of boardwalks perched over a wetland area.
The Arboretum has been devoted to extensive research, and hosting educational programs and events.

Guelph Civic Museum

Guelph Civic Museum on Catholic Hill in Downtown Guelph

The Guelph Civic Museum was inaugurated in 1967 to raise awareness as to how to preserve the natural and cultural history of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. The museum was relocated in 2012 in the building of Loretto Convent and featured an impressive assortment of 30,000 artifacts and relics. These depict the history and culture of Guelph, amongst which furniture, tapestries, artwork, and historical photos narrate the story of the founding of the city.

Admire the Remarkable Architecture of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and parish church in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Erected in 1875-1883, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the premier church in Guelph in Ontario, Canada. The stately church is created in Norman-Gothic architectural style and is an imposing and grand spectacle. The church is exemplified by its embellished carvings and splendid stained glass. The church has been renovated numerous times over the past decade. The grand church was proclaimed a National Historic Site of Ontario, Canada, in 1990. Constructed from quarried limestone, the striking church is built on the city's highest point and is definitely worth the visit.

Guelph Lake Conservation Area

The Guelph Lake Conservation Area is a camping location located on the Conservation Road in Ontario, Canada. You can marvel at Guelph Lake's panoramic vistas and admire its impeccable beauty and unsullied exquisiteness. The picnic benches provide a perfect opportunity to enjoy an alfresco meal. The Conservation Area also features a hiking trail and two beaches, allocated for the day beach and one for the camp beach. There are canoe rentals available for the day beach. A camp beach is a superb place where visitors can do fun things in Guelph like BBQing, swimming, and fishing adventures.

Visit the McCrae House

Birthplace of Colonel John McCrae, the author of the war poem In Flanders Field, located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

The McCrae House is an acclaimed historical museum in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. It has been declared to be a National Heritage Site of Canada. The house was owned by John McCrae, a doctor, a soldier, and a poet. His World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" was dedicated to his friend who died in the war. This poignant poem gained enormous distinction and captured the entire world's interest.

The tour of this beautiful limestone cottage-style house lets you travel back in time to witness the medals, documents, letters, and photos of John McCrae and relics that shed light on the war. It is one of the most important Guelph tourist destinations that shouldn't be missed at any cost.

Saunter through the Art Gallery of Guelph

If you want to do some fun things in Guelph, Ontario, then the Art Gallery of Guelph AGG is the perfect place to be. Founded in 1978, the gallery has enabled the arts community and the general public to enjoy cultural events. The public gallery features a great assortment of more than 9000 pieces of art. It is the podium that serves as the host to showcase the art exhibitions annually all over the year. The building was a schoolhouse which has been renovated into a museum. Visitors can also stroll around in the sculpture park, which is deemed the largest outdoor sculpture park in all of Canada and exhibits work submitted by 40 different artists.

Day trips from Guelph

Explore the Exhibition Park's Neighborhood

Suppose you want to escape the hustle and the kinetic energy of the city. In that case, Exhibition Park's green trails, tennis court, natural playground, baseball field, and a wading pool provide you with excellent opportunities to reap the fun from outdoor activities. Visitors can catch a baseball game played at the Hasting Stadium by the Intercounty Baseball League team in the summer months. In the winter months, stuff to do in Guelph includes visitors partaking in the rink facility available in the Exhibition Park Arena. The Park is encompassed by café and groceries and a medieval, neoclassical house called The Greenbrier House, which dates back to 1865.

Day trips across Douglas Street

In Ontario, Canada, Guelph's downtown is dotted with soaring limestone buildings perched at every corner. Still, Douglas Street takes you back time-traveling into the past. This famous street was featured in the hit series Murdoch Mysteries. Marvel at the architectural gems like St. George's Anglican Church and Gummer Building towers. Enjoy a lunch break at Red Brick Café or relish a delicious cupcake from the Wellington Cakes boutique cake shop.

Indulge your tastebuds at the Guelph Farmers' Market

One hundred ninety years old and featuring more than 120 vendors, Guelph's Market is the ultimate place to grab some great foodstuff and do some fun stuff in Guelph. The market is inundated with fruits and vegetable vendors and others selling cheese, eggs, and meat. The food merchandises range between options from coffee, preserves, juices, donuts, and everything in between.

This oldest market in Guelph is well-acclaimed for its freshness and the premium quality of the products. Explore other eateries and shops in the vicinity of the market to know about more stuff to do near Guelph to make the most out of your day trip.

Partake in extreme adventures

Suppose you are an adventure-seeker who loves to encounter the thrill of the ride and feel the adrenaline jetting up your bloodstream. In that case, there are innumerable places in Guelph in Ontario, Canada, that you can visit to level up your adventure game. Some of which are:

Visit Air U Guelph Trampoline Park to take leaps on the trampoline and jump higher and faster than everyone else.

Take a trip to Guelph Grotto to test your strength, agility, and capability to try out the climbing mazes.

Experience the electrifying excitement which comes when you tube around the white-water rapids of the Grand River.

Try out Zipline Extreme and kick off the adventure with ziplining and rappelling off the cliffs of Elora Gorge.

Immerse Yourself in the Fall Colours

Fall colours on University of Guelph campus

Guelph is a city encompassed by acres of agricultural plots, trails, and parks. In autumn, one can behold the red and gold highlighting the natural landscape of Guelph. If you are visiting Guelph in autumn, visit these places to soak in the genuine fall beauty of Guelph.

Aberfoyle Antique Market in Guelph, Ontario

Visit the family-friendly Aberfoyle Antique Market to find some antique relics, products, or souvenirs to take back home.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful fall display at Guelph Lake. Drive around the city to behold the magnificent fall colors decking the roads. Admire the lush fields and the towering trees morphing the colors of fall.

Plan a Trip to Guelph Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge near Guelph, Ontario perspective from the river with Canadian geese swimming

Situated at the beginning of the Eramosa Trail and converging with the Speed River, the covered bridge in Guelph, Ontario, is one of the iconic landmarks and best things to do near Guelph. It is worth visiting after sunset because the bridge glows with a colorful light display from dusk till 11 pm. The LED lights inside the bridge launch stationary and moving vignettes on the bridge's wall and ceiling, which enriches the structure and exquisiteness of the bridge.
Experience the glowing lights sauntering inside the bridge. Visit the Boat House restaurant to grab some scones and tea then walk through the park and garden near the bridge.

Visit the Heffernan Footbridge

Heffernan Street footbridge in Guelph

Sightsee the oldest and most distinctive landmarks of Guelph, Ontario, the iconic Heffernan Street Footbridge. Constructed from reinforced concrete in 1914, the bridge became the exemplary icon of an open, spandrel arch bridge. The bride is one of Guelph's top tourist attractions and famous markers, visible from other bridges located in the Guelph City Center. The bridge joins the pedestrians from the bustling activity of the downtown to the quiet side of the river.

Sightsee the University of Guelph

Johnston Hall of University of Guelph

Steeped in rich history and boasting of being home to ultramodern athletics facilities, the University of Guelph is one of the most significant places to visit in Guelph, Ontario. You can take a tour of Johnston Hall, the university's most acclaimed and well-known building. Johnston Green is also popular amongst the students.

University of Guelph sign

The university campus abounds with unique statues amongst which the legendary Gryphon Statue, the student-graffitied cannon, and the Begging Art are considered prominent ones.

The Arboretum, University of Guelph, Canada

You can sightsee famous research facilities of the university after taking permission from the main department, which includes visiting the famous Honeybee research center, the Arboretum, and the Physics Department Observatory are definitely worth the visit.

After exploring the university's different departments, you can grab something to eat at Brass Taps, a famous and popular pub for those visiting, students, and alumni. You can even take a tour of Creelman Hall, a dynamic marketplace known for its hubbub and constant activity.

Best places to eat in Guelph

Here is a list of some of the best places to eat in Guelph. Don't forget to make a stop at each one of these:

Lucky Belly

Located on 763 Woolwich Street, with rustic and peaceful décor and decked with booth setting, the small friendly restaurant is all smiles and joys for its visitors. The staff is super friendly with fast and flavorful service, serving the most scrumptious and mouth-watering Canadian food. The sandwiches are just heavenly, and you have got to bite into their rich and savory seafood that is a must-have for all locals and tourists around. Since the prices are nominal and plenty of meal and combo options, Lucky Belly is one of the finest dine-in restaurants.

Piatto Pizzeria

Piatto Pizzeria is the perfect pizza getaway for pizza lovers or tourists wishing to grab a fun and casual lunch on a romantic vacation. Offering a delectable menu of pasta, soups, and salads and their unbeatable pizza flavors, the restaurant is known for its supreme quality and fine pizza crusts. The staff is also very welcoming and friendly. As you enter their vicinity, you suddenly feel the serene coziness of your own home. Cooked with love and creativity, Piatto Pizzeria is a must-eat stop if you are looking for traditional perfection.

Aberfoyle Mill

If you are looking for a charming countryside experience with the best mix of traditional and casual dishes, you could ask for. Known for its ancestral history, the restaurant is located in a gristmill constructed in 1859. The restaurant was renovated into a cozy and homely décor. Still, the rustic and historic vibes echo in its surroundings and interior. It is well known for its Ontario strip loin and lemongrass beurre blanc, flavorful salmon, and Caesar salad with double-smoked bacon. The aromatic atmosphere, the peaceful warmth, and the welcoming smiles of the staff are an outstanding experience. The dine-in is also available under the tents beside the pond for unforgettable memories. The ambiance is just perfect and boosts the holiday spirit. An additional advantage is that their menu also offers gluten-free options for their customers. Aberfoyle Mill is one of the best places to eat in Guelph.

The Joint Café

Summers and holidays are all about fun and freedom. Suppose you are looking for a perfect place to drown out your worries and return refreshed and relieved. In that case, The Joint Café is a perfect one-stop place for food, drink, and casual adventure. The home-cooked meals and welcome ambiance are just what you need on a rushed-up day. This small café, famed for its brunch and located in the heart of downtown Guelph is decorated with original artwork from local artists and inspires creativity and invokes the funky side.

The café staff is warm, polite, and very inviting, and always on the run to tend to your orders. The menu offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to the customer's advantage. Enjoy near the warm fireplace with a book and magazine and transport into your private world. There are many breakfast and lunch options for diners. The food is extremely delicious and fresh, and the ambiance soft and inviting. You have to try the charcuterie board and vegetarian chili. The restaurant is indeed one of the best places to eat in Guelph.

Na Ha Thai's Kitchen

No feeling can compensate for that of homely feelings and the cozy comfort of your own culture. But if you are roaming down the streets of Guelph and wishing to grab a taste of your local Thai food, then this restaurant is just for you. For tourists and locals, Na Ha Thai's Kitchen holds special magic and charm. Known for its eclectic taste and mouth-watering Thai dishes, the chefs ensure that the taste holds the same original Thai flavor as in any other local Thai restaurant. Each dish is layered with spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors and cooked with love and compassion. The menu is sizzling with delicious flavor, prepared with less oil and more fresh vegetables and herbs. But since all the dishes are slightly towards the spicier side, customers with a sensitive tongue can order a sweeter and less spicy dish. Don't forget to try out its special Wonton Soup, Curry Rice croquettes, and mixed mushroom salad. The interior is warm and inviting and reminds you of a calm countryside restaurant. Na Ha Thai's Kitchen is one of the finest places to eat in Guelph.

The Vienna

One of the oldest working restaurants in Guelph, Vienna, holds ancestral history. Running as a family business, the restaurant was formerly a coffee bar and bakery. You will find delectable schnitzels, egg benedict, pancakes, bacon, and waffles featuring breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Offering a warm and delicious atmosphere, the staff ensures that each customer is handled with love and respect.

The dishes also hold a delicious attraction that savors your taste buds. Enjoy a stress-free ride down the restaurant with plenty of two-hour parking. Get the best breakfast and lunch deals at the most affordable prices. If you happen to stop by, don't forget to try their specialties, Schnitzel Kaiser, and Vienna-made burger. It is one of the best places to eat in Guelph.

Whether you stop at a lounge, café, restaurant, or bar, Guelph's dining experience is one of the finest in Canada. It has unbeatable taste bud delights for all age groups.

Concluding Note

Macdonell street in Downtown Guelph Ontario Canada

Home to the hustle and bustle and lively chatter and friendly faces, residing just outside Toronto is the heartbeat of Canada, Guelph. Suppose you are a foodie and love to explore cultural as well as casual menus. In that case, there is no better place than the streets of Guelph to treat your appetite to some of the most delicious and savory dishes that you have come across. Whether you are a tourist looking for something new or homesick and looking out for a traditional taste, your search is over.

The effervescent downtown of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, which is distinguished with its limestone buildings and a strong cultural background, is a land of innumerable opportunities for shoppers and adventure-seekers. This growing Ontario town is a land where visitors can immediately connect with nature and culture. It is a city that continues to charm and allure with its genial and buoyant identity.

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