Tis the Season to be Jolly! Top Holiday things-to-do in Guelph this season.

Dec 1, 2023 | Guelph

As the holiday season ignites Guelph in a festive glow, there’s no shortage of seasonal delights to savour in this charming city. Capture the essence of the season through exploration of a coffee shop or outdoors, there are plenty of seasonal activities that are sure to bring some holiday cheer. Let’s unwrap five seasonal experiences to explore this winter in Guelph:  

Grab a Cup of Cheer 

‘Tis the season to indulge in the warmth and flavours of the holidays, and Guelph is home to many great spots to satisfy your festive cravings! Grab a cup of holiday cheer at Eric the Baker, where their rich and velvety hot chocolate is a true winter delight. The aroma alone will transport you to a world of sweet indulgence. For a tangy twist, check out Red Brick Cafe and savour their delightful apple cider. It’s the perfect blend of sweetness and spice, capturing the essence of the season in every sip. Don’t miss Capistrano‘s Wine and Tapas Nights – a perfect way to unwind and savour the festive spirit. Bring home a unique coffee experience, Lost Aviator offers a Christmas blend, “The Shepard,” that will awaken your taste buds with its rich, aromatic notes. Pair your beverage with a delectable delight from Wellington Cakes – because what’s a holiday drink without a sweet treat? And finally, raise a toast to the season at Wellington Brewery! Raise a pint of their finest brews, crafted with passion and care, and savour the essence of local craftsmanship. 

Guelph has all you need to feast, feast, feast! 

With the weather getting colder outside, satisfy your cravings for cozy comfort at one of Guelph’s Feast On Certified restaurants: The Wooly Pub, where they redefine the meaning of comfort with each mouthwatering bite. Gather with friends at The Fat Duck and experience their genuine hospitality, complimented by an array of pub-inspired comfort food paired with craft beer. Meanwhile, Bar Mason adds its unique flavour to the mix, ensuring that every visit is an exploration of delightful tastes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Guelph’s cozy eateries ensure that every bite is a journey through the heart and soul of our vibrant community, leaving you warm, satisfied, and ready for more holiday delights! Don’t forget to download Guelph’s Great Taste of Ontario Passport – check in to 3 spots and get a $25 Feast On Voucher! 

Jack Frost may be nipping at your nose, but we’ve got the moves to keep you warm.  

Embrace the winter wonderland and lace up your skates or stroll through the Exhibition Park Neighbourhood and see their living advent calendar.  

Embrace the winter wonderland and lace up your skates at Market Square’s outdoor rink! The crisp winter air, the music and lights, and the joyous laughter all come together to create a magical atmosphere for an ice-skating adventure. Glide under the open sky surrounded by the charming architecture of downtown Guelph, making it a picturesque experience for all to enjoy. However, keep in mind that the outdoor rink’s availability might be subject to weather conditions. To ensure a seamless skating experience, it’s advisable to plan ahead and check the current status or live feed. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, the outdoor rink at Market Square is an enchanting and festive way to embrace the beauty of winter in Guelph. When the weather outside gets frightful – find an outdoor community rink around town! Check out the Riverside Park Skating Trail, Exhibition Park, or the Lyon Park! These rinks are dependent on Mother Nature so be sure to check the status before heading out! So, bundle up, find your rink, bring your skates, and let the ice beneath your feet be the stage for your winter joy! 

Stroll through Exhibition Park to see the Winter Window Trail, a Living Advent Calendar! Throughout the Exhibition Park neighbourhood, homes are lighting up decorated windows, with new winter windows being revealed every night between December 1 and 24. Once a window is revealed, it will be lit up every night until December 31. Check out this map to find a window on your twinkly stroll!    

Sparkles in the Park   

Extend your winter adventure by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of Sparkles in the Park, a beloved Guelph tradition that transforms Riverside Park into a dazzling winter wonderland. Running nightly from December 16 to December 31, this magical event is a beacon of holiday spirit, lighting up the night from 5:15 pm to 9:30 pm. The beauty of Sparkles in the Park lies in its versatility – you can either enjoy the vibrant displays from the warmth of your car as you drive through the park or choose to park and walk through for a more immersive and up-close experience. As you stroll through the illuminated pathways, you’ll be captivated by the festive atmosphere that surrounds you. Beyond the glittering lights, Sparkles in the Park is also a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community with the Guelph Rotary Club. So, mark your calendars, gather your loved ones, and join in the joyous festivities of Sparkles in the Park – a radiant display that embodies the true magic of the season. 

Tis the season to gift joy and cheer to all those near and dear.  

Embark on a holiday shopping spree to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones or a gift to yourself. Explore the Guelph Gift Guide, a curated collection of unique and locally sourced treasures that are sure to bring joy to the season. The guide is a treasure trove of ideas to make your holiday shopping experience seamless and filled with thoughtful finds. For those seeking more inspiration, the Hilltop Shop at the Guelph Civic Museum is a hidden gem offering a diverse range of holiday gift ideas that reflect the rich history and culture of the region. The Guelph Farmers Market always has something fresh in store. Check out the local food and handmade goodies offered! Keeping local, the Guelph Artisans Store in Old Quebec Street Mall is a must-visit destination. Here, you can discover handmade creations from talented Guelph artisans, ensuring each gift is a unique expression of craftsmanship. For even more handmade finds, venture into Benjamin’s Bodega, where you’ll uncover a delightful array of artisanal treasures or a seasonal workshop to get you in the holiday spirit. Guelph’s shopping scene is a festive journey, filled with one-of-a-kind gifts that embody the spirit of the season. So, grab your shopping list and explore the city’s vibrant stores and various holiday Markets to find that perfect holiday surprise for everyone on your list! 

There arose such a clatter – at the Parkades in Downtown Guelph. We’ve got a gift for you – Complimentary parking!

Experience hassle-free shopping and festivities in Downtown Guelph this holiday season with complimentary one-hour parking at the West, East, and Market Parkades, as well as the Fountain Street Lot from December 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024. Simply press the entrance gate button, take a ticket, and upon leaving, submit the ticket at the exit gate. If your stay is under one hour, the gate opens automatically. For longer visits, pay for additional time at the regular rate using debit or credit cards at the exit gate or pay station. Make the most of your Downtown experience while taking advantage of this festive parking offer. Check guelph.ca/parking for a complete list of Downtown parking lots and rates. 

Create memories that will last a lifetime this holiday season. From our cozy cafes and outdoor rinks to the artisanal treasures waiting to be discovered, tis the season to experience the holidays in a way that’s both special and uniquely its own. Have you participated in any of these festive activities? Tag @VisitGuelph on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to be featured on our page! 

Happy holidays!

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