Guelph is a city that packs a punch. It is a vibrant place filled with a sense of community. Music lovers, book worms, art aficionados, farmers, entrepreneurs, foodies and families fill the streets and neighborhoods in an unassuming and welcoming way.
Not far from Toronto and nestled in the beauty of Southern Ontario, Guelph is a cultural haven for those who enjoy the tastier things in life with less of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Wonderful restaurants, a family run cinema and bookstore, four micro-breweries, pastry shops, a local butcher, a thriving farmers market, food trucks and much more are all encompassed in the heart of Guelph.
If you are spending a weekend in Guelph, what better way to enjoy all it has to offer then from following our guide of many locals’ favourite spots. Guelph has a plethora of wonderful stops but these are some of our current favourites. Follow our guide for “How To Spend A Weekend In Guelph” and don’t forget to tag us in your #guelphie!
Get a haircut or a beverage at Matthew’s Barbershop
24 b Macdonell, Guelph
Hours Noon- 9pm and walk in’s are welcome
Matthew’s Barbershop has recently opened its doors along with a new liquor licence and has quickly become a place in town for people to stop in, grab a hair cut or a beverage including local beer and scotch, or just sit in the window and strum a guitar. Although it is a traditional barbershop in its decor, as you can even buy the vintage styled hats on the wall, it’s politics are modern. Matthew’s services are mostly tailored towards short cuts and facial hair but he is totally open to do dry cuts on people of all orientations, shapes and sizes in the most welcoming way. Stop in and say hello on your way into town and start your weekend in Guelph off looking fresh!
Dinner at Crafty Ramen
17 Macdonell St, Guelph, ON N1H 2Z4
Open 11am – 9:30 pm on Weekends
One of Guelph’s newest editions to the downtown food scene, Crafty Ramen sold out to lineups of locals in the first week of opening its doors. Since then it’s gained steady praise for being an exciting new piece of the Guelph food puzzle. Creative and colourful options for the ramen lover, including amazing fresh ramen noodles made in house, broths made with meat from the local butcher shop across the road (Trotter’s) and fun add on’s like marinated soft boiled eggs or a pint of local beer, make Crafty Ramen a stop your taste buds will thank you for.
Stand Up Comedy at The Making Box
43 Cork St E, Guelph, ON
A new comedy scene has hit the streets of Guelph by force. The Making Box has become a hub for live-comedy and improv thanks to the hard work of co-founders Hayley Kellet and Jay Reid. A recent kickstarter campaign helped the business find a new home on Cork St, and now features weekly Friday night live stand up comedy as well as many other events like open mics, improv classes (weekly or drop in) and first-timer stand up nights. The bar features local breweries and the welcoming atmosphere can’t be topped. It truly is a new gem in Guelph so don’t miss it. Check out the website for upcoming events and tickets!
Morning coffee and Croissant at The Common
36 Wilson St, Guelph, ON
Hours 8am – 3pm
Start your morning off with a stroll to The Common in downtown Guelph to check two things off your list: a insanely delicious “common” coffee (basically a flat white or small latte) made with creamy organic milk (dairy-free options available) as well as a freshly delivered warm croissant from “Eric The Baker”, Guelph’s own traditionally influenced French bakery owner. The space is open and warm and a great place to sit in the window and enjoy the morning sun. Just remember, it is cash only!
Wander through the Guelph Farmers’ Market
4 Gordon St, Guelph
Hours 7am – Noon
The Guelph Farmers’ Market is unlike any other. The building is situated in the heart of Guelph and is more than just a grocery stop. Generations flock here as a Saturday morning meeting place, where you can get your weekly groceries but also stop and enjoy fresh food and coffee and run into old and new friends. The list of goodies is never ending but some included are fresh baked bread, local artisan cheese, local meats, organic and chemical free produce, salsa and dips, wine, cider, fruits and vegetables galore, doughnuts, baked goods, flowers and so much more. Pottery, candles and cards are also found here if you are looking for a souvenir or gift to take home!
Walk down the Eramosa River Trail
The trail starts at the Covered Bridge on Gordon St and runs down along the Eramosa River ending at Victoria Rd (where our next stop is). It’s a beautiful trail about 3KM long, so stroll your way past some of Guelph’s most beautiful spots.
Taste local beer at Royal City Brewing Company
199 Victoria Rd S, Guelph
Sat Hours 11am-9:30pm
Royal City Brewing Company celebrated its third anniversary this summer and its successful open has not slowed down. Frequented by locals, it’s a watering hole for regulars and a friendly stop for new customers. The staff is well trained in beer knowledge and always ready to lead you through a tasting board of fresh beer brewed on site. Check out their wild growler collection, the amazing artwork all done by local artist Cai Sepulis, or try on some t-shirts and hats to take home a souvenir. Beer is very decently priced (avg. $5 for a tasting board or $4 for a glass), and although they do have a small selection of snacks you are welcome to bring in your own food as well, hence the Al’s Sandwich. They are also pretty dog friendly in case you have a furry family member along for the trip!
Dinner at 39 Carden Street Bistro
39 Carden St, Guelph
Dinner Service 5-10pm
A beautiful and cozy spot overlooking Market Square in downtown Guelph. Full of minimalist charm and dimly lit, 39 Carden is a perfect date spot or meeting place for a bunch of close friends. The menu is hung on a rotating chalkboard featuring “snacks” or “entrees” and you can’t go wrong with any of it. Order a round of snacks to share with the table tapas style and feast on all the delights the kitchen has to offer. The oysters are the best in town, paired with a simple but perfect mignonette and the cocktail list is superb. Reserve a table to make sure you get a spot as its often full on weekend nights. If it is warm out sit on the french decor inspired patio.
Catch a movie at The Bookshelf Cinema
41 Quebec Street, Guelph
Find the schedule here: http://www.bookshelf.ca/Cinema
The Bookshelf is the cutest little family run establishment. A bookstore, cinema and bar are all encompassed in one building in the heart of Guelph. The glow from the wonderfully curated shelves of books draw you in off the street to take a wander through the aisles and upstairs brings you to the one room cinema. A wide selection of independent and popular movies light the screen up with a schedule changing weekly so you can often find something everyone will like. The popcorn and snacks are tasty but well priced and the cinema is now licensed so you can even enjoy and glass of wine while watching the show.
First coffee at Galt Juice Company
122 Wyndham St N, Guelph
Saturday Hours: 10am -2pm
The perfect way to start your last day in Guelph is a delicious coffee at Galt Juice Company. Although the name is deceiving, they do sell amazing fresh juices, they also serve Detour Coffee, which comes in roasted from near by Burlington. The beans are superb and the atmosphere is quiet and bright.
Brunch on the back patio at Royal Electric
52 Macdonell St, Guelph
Opens at 10am on Sunday
Royal Electric has not only a pretty awesome brunch menu but a killer back patio for those warmer days. The mimosas and ceasars are on special and the menu includes a small enough list of options to not get overwhelmed but just enough to match any Sunday morning craving. A favourite is the egg’s benny which comes served with avocado and tatter tots. Hello Sunday!
Stroll the shops of downtown Guelph
We’ve got so much to offer in such a small proximity of downtown Guelph so don’t be afraid to wander and discover! Some favourites include On the Verge (quirky gifts and home decor), Kennedy Park (beautiful and small batch women’s clothing, often Canadian made), The Bookshelf (books, games and cards), Outpost (men and women’s vintage fashion and local art), Royal Cat Records (vinyl galore) and Sweet (candy for your sweet tooth).
Good luck with your adventures through Guelph! There are many more wonderful spots to check out as these were just a few examples of what we are currently excited about! Tags us in your #guelphie if you go to any of these spots, we would love to hear what you think.
Before or after a visit to the market don’t forget to visit Renann Isaacs Contemporary art (R.I.CA. ) at it’s new digs at 5 Gordon Street … right across the street from the Farmer’s Market. On now is “Chroma” until September 23 and next up Stu Oxley … a wonderful contemporary art gallery which shouldn’t be missed !
Hey, there’s lots of great places to worship in Guelph too. Many of the services are Sunday morning in the downtown. Dublin Street United meets at 10:30 and you are still out in time for lunch.