My first time staying in Waterloo through the summer was following the second year of my undergrad. I was really worried that there would be nothing to do, no one to hang out with and that I would be incredibly bored. However, my experience was the complete opposite, as I actually really enjoyed the summer months in this city. Accordingly, it was such a good experience that I am planning on sticking around yet again this upcoming summer.
Whether you are staying in Waterloo to take some courses, working or just can’t be bothered to find a sublet, I think everyone should get the chance to experience “Summerloo” once before they graduate. Although staying in Waterloo for the summer may have some downsides, like being away from hometown family and friends, I personally think summer in Waterloo is a great experience — and has a lot more pros than it does cons!
If you are like me and are staying in KW this summer, here are nine activities and fun things you can do to make the next four months an experience to remember!
- Take advantage of patio season!
While staying in Waterloo this summer, make sure to take advantage of the great weather and the number of outdoor activities that come with it. One of my favourites is patio season! There are a number of patios in Uptown Waterloo that are perfect for when you want to enjoy some food or drinks with a good group of friends.
- Plan a trip to the beach or a conservation area.
Being in KW for the summer is a great excuse to explore parts of the city you don’t get the chance to enjoy in the colder months. Get together with a friend, pack some snacks and drinks into a cooler and take a trip to a local beach or conservation area! My friends and I personally enjoy Grand Bend, Elora Quarry and Laurel Creek Conservation Area.
- Say goodbye to coat check & cold lines!
There is something about Waterloo nightlife in the summer that just hits you differently. You can wear new summer outfits, there’s no need for coat check and no freezing entry lines. If you didn’t get many chances to explore the bars and pubs in KW throughout the school year, the summer is the time to do so!
- Attend an outdoor event.
There are a number of events that occur throughout the summer months that you don’t get to experience in the school year — I suggest trying them out! If you thought keggers were common in the school year, they are even more common throughout the summer. Plus, with the nice weather, everything is so much more enjoyable!
Another outdoor event that is worth checking out is Rib Fest, which is held at Victoria Park from July 19 to 21. You can never go wrong with a stomach full of food, cocktails and live entertainment.
- Bonfires and backyard barbeques!
If you or a friend happen to be living in a house throughout the upcoming term, backyard barbeques, bonfires and good company are a recipe for a perfect summer evening rather than going out!
- Visit Waterloo Park.
Most of us by now are aware of Waterloo Park; however, if you are not, the park located at Young St. W. and Albert St. is a great way to experience Summerloo! The large park has a variety of picnic tables, sports facilities, trails and a petting zoo for those who want to visit the animals! Daytime or nighttime, Waterloo Park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors this summer!
- Get shopping!
Although you can go shopping in almost every city, Uptown Waterloo provides a number of unique stores you wouldn’t find at your average shopping mall! If you are looking for a vintage shop, Luster and Oak, located at King Street S. and Erb Street E., is the perfect place for all of your thrifting needs!
I also recommend visiting Harmony by Earthwinds, a custom jewelry and clothing store located across from Waterloo Public Square. Lastly, if you are interested in good reads for less, Old Goat Books is one of my favourite book stores to visit in the summer months (located at Young Street W. and King Street N.).
- Make use of local deals and steals!
Since Waterloo is a very student filled city, there are numerous deals and steals worth being aware of — especially if you are spending the summer in town!
If you are a fan of tacos, Waterloo has got you set. Deals you can find throughout the city include Tuesdays at Ethel’s Lounge, where you can get four Tacos for $3 with a purchase of a drink (plus, they are really damn good), and Wednesdays at Taco Farm, which gives you all you can eat tacos for $19.99!
If you prefer burgers, there’s deals for those too! Some of the best deals are $5 burgers every Monday at both Ethel’s Lounge and Symposium Cafe.
As for general money saving — The Pub on King offers $5.95 food all day every day and Chainsaw offers $2 burgers, hot dogs, fries, chicken wings, beer and shots every Tuesday!
The deals listed are just the beginning, there are daily deals at almost every place in Uptown — you just have to go exploring to find them!
- Spend Canada Day at Columbia Lake.
Although I did not get the chance to do this last year as I was working, everyone I know that attends this event says Canada Day is best spent at Columbia Lake. The event runs from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Jul. 1, and includes arts and crafts, food trucks, live entertainment and, of course, fireworks! This year the fireworks are at 10 p.m. — so mark your calendars if you plan to attend!
If you are staying in Waterloo this summer, I hope that you try some of these activities and get to enjoy Summerloo just as much as I do!