Guelph has a wealth of experiences and amenities to delight residents looking for a staycation and visitors wanting a day trip or a weekend getaway.
That includes arts and cultural offerings, global dining at independent restaurants, a thriving and historic downtown, and a long list of outdoor and recreational attractions.
The downtown features unique shops and entertainment venues, beautifully restored historic buildings, murals and public art and walking tours, including those geared to the arts, cuisine, heritage and ghost stories.
More than 32 patios are found downtown and through 2020, the City closed a main intersection on weekends to create a pedestrianized patio district. That proved extremely popular and will return in 2021, says Dana Keller, tourism destination development coordinator with the City of Guelph.
Guelph offers four-season recreation, including lakes and rivers, trails, and parks, conservation areas, golf courses, and plenty of cycling amenities. City parks include Riverside and Royal City, the latter of which is a gateway to the downtown and connects to Guelph’s beloved covered pedestrian bridge. It is one of only two lattice-covered bridges in Ontario and features an ever-changing LED light display.
Exploring the 400 acres of the Arboretum at the University of Guelph is a gorgeous experience any time of year, says Keller. The lovely university campus is also stroll-worthy and contains the Art Gallery of Guelph and its outdoor sculpture garden, Canada’s largest.
“Guelph really is a choose-your-own adventure experience for visitors and residents alike.”
When you work up a thirst and appetite, the food and beverage scene is vibrant, too.
Behind visiting friends and relatives, the another popular reason people come to Guelph is for festivals and special events. They include the Hillside Festival, Guelph Dance Fest, Jazz Fest, the Guelph Film Festival, Royal City Uke Fest and the Guelph and District Multicultural Festival.
Attractions include the Guelph Civic Museum, which tells the story of the city through more than 30,000 artifacts housed in a former convent and the East End Pollinator Park that turned a decommissioned landfill into one of Canada’s largest pollination areas.
You can see a movie at a drive-in, visit an antique carousel, stroll through an Old Growth Forest at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre or watch a Guelph Royals baseball game at Exhibition Park.
“There is so much to see and do even if Guelph is your hometown,” said Keller. “I work in tourism and I grew up here and there are places I’ve yet to visit. You can have fun while supporting a local recovery.”
Note: Some attractions and amenities may be closed or operating in a restricted capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions and public health directives.