Stratford is one of Ontario's finest arts towns with live theatre, lush gardens and Victorian streets dotted with cafés, bistros, galleries and unique shops.
Every year, theatre lovers flock to Stratford for the annual Stratford Festival, but there is always something to see and do here year-round. Explore Stratford’s historical landmarks, artisan markets, outdoor spaces, art galleries, performing arts centres and shops. Its dining scene also stands out with locally sourced restaurants preparing cuisine representing different backgrounds and cultures. Sweet treats await along the self-guided chocolate trail.
And (of course) Justin Bieber fans can see where this Stratford native once hung out.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Stratford, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.
Where is Stratford?
Stratford is located in southwest Ontario along the Avon River. It’s around a two-hour drive from Toronto.
Things to Do in Stratford
The Stratford Festival is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company that celebrates classic and modern takes on works by William Shakespeare, along with contemporary performances.
Stratford has fine art galleries presenting exhibits throughout the year. For example, Gallery Stratford is housed inside a former pump house, and its focus is on regional and Canadian art.
Music also is noteworthy in Stratford, with the concert band, symphony orchestra and concert choir regularly putting on performances, and the Stratford Summer Music attracts international artists and music lovers to this destination.
Diehard Beliebers will delight in seeing where Justin Bieber spent his time before being an international star. A Bieber-iffic map of Stratford can be downloaded from Visit Stratford’s website or pick up a copy from Destination Stratford on Downie Street.
The Stratford Perth Museum has a phenomenal collection regarding Stratford’s history.
Finding nature in Stratford is easy. Near the Stratford Festival, the Arthur Meighen Gardens contain rose arbours and water pools. Millennium Park provides a moment of Zen amid outdoor sculptures and water and ornamental plantings. Take a stroll in Upper Queen’s Park as it follows along the Avon River and see if you can spot the ducks and swans.
The Shakespearean Gardens holds many varieties of herbs, flowers and shrubs that are all mentioned in the Bard’s plays. Under the Huron Street bridge, you’ll find a double-arch stone wall with the Avon River flowing through the middle.
From trendy to traditional menu options, Stratford has a plethora of dining options. Whether you crave Canadian comfort food, something tasty and international, or a simple café meal, you’re sure to be impressed. And if you’re more into dessert, Stanford’s self-guided Stratford Chocolate Trail includes many locations for seeing and tasting sweet treats made by local confectioneries and bakers. Other shopping experiences in Stratford range from gift shops with fun knick knacks to homeware stores and fashion boutiques.
Stratford’s Neighbourhoods & Districts
Stratford has some fun neighborhoods to check out.
A passageway on Wellington Street, Allen’s Alley once led to livery stables but now pays tribute to musicians from Stratford via
Feels like you’ve stepped back in time with Victorian lamp posts and older architecture.
Located behind City Hall, Market Square is the gathering
place for weekly farmers markets, food festivals and other events.
Full of multicolored brick buildings, a ton of greenery and fun
Things to Know About Visiting Stratford
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Stratford, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend.
Where to snap a great Instagram pic
Where to see the holiday lights
Where to take a romantic stroll
Take a long, leisurely walk on the greens along Lakeside Drive that hugs the shoreline of Victoria Lake and the Avon River.
Great place to see the fall colours
Upper Queens Park in Startford attracts holidaymakers to the picnic areas in the summer, and families to the toboggan hill in winter, but in fall the park is a magnet for everyone with the stunning autumn colours.