The wider Waterloo area offers a range of outdoor fun and cultural activities for local residents, and there are plenty of shopping malls, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment facilities for expats to choose from.
Those with a yearning for the hustle and bustle of a big city will appreciate that Toronto, North America’s fourth-largest metropolis, is just a one-hour drive away. Expats will therefore never be short of entertainment options.
Shopping in Waterloo
Expats will find strip malls at just about every major intersection in Waterloo. Shoppers can find branches of high-street stores as well as a number of chain eateries and coffee shops at the city’s largest shopping mall, Conestoga Mall, located on King Street North in the city centre.
For a less generic shopping experience, expats should head to Uptown Waterloo where they can find artisan goods at the Atrium and upscale designer boutiques at Waterloo Town Square.
Nightlife and entertainment in Waterloo
Considering that it is a fairly small city, Waterloo boasts some excellent nightlife. Regardless of whether an individual is interested in live music, watching an arts performance or simply grabbing a few drinks with friends at a local bar, there is something for everyone.
The range of nightlife venues includes authentic Irish pubs, piano bars and jazz clubs. The city also has a handful of nightclubs.
If expats exhaust all their options in Waterloo, they can easily find more variety in nearby Toronto.
Eating out in Waterloo
Waterloo is home to a range of dining options. Whether one is looking for a critically acclaimed restaurant at which to celebrate a special occasion or a down-to-earth steakhouse, Waterloo is likely to have something for every diner’s tastes and budget.
Expats will find restaurants serving cuisines from across the world, including Thai, Indian, Chinese, French and Italian.
Sports and outdoor activities in Waterloo
Those that wish to pursue an active lifestyle in Waterloo will find that there is no shortage of activities available. As a low-rise suburban city, there are lots of open green spaces. Waterloo Park in the city centre offers 110 acres of parkland, lakes, sports fields and playgrounds.
The Laurel Creek Conservation Area is adjacent to Waterloo Park and provides locals with a quiet place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Swimming, windsurfing, hiking and bird watching are popular activities, and cross-country skiing is an option in winter.
RIM Park sits on the Grand River to the north of the city and offers various sporting and outdoor activities. These include the Grey Silo, an 18-hole championship golf course.
A favourite winter pastime in Waterloo is outdoor skating and expats can find more than 20 outdoor ice rinks in the city. The Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort offers activities throughout the year. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available in winter, while summer camps offer tennis, biking, beach volleyball and much more.
Are you an expat living in Waterloo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Waterloo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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