My last trip to Stratford was in 2019 and although, sadly, some of my favourite places are gone there are lots of new places and things to do. Stratford might be a small town, but it is big on Arts, Culture and a vibrant food and drink scene. It doesn’t hurt that the Stratford Chef’s School churns out some of the best in the country. Anyone who knows me also knows that when I say that I could live in Stratford, it’s a big deal
The drive from Toronto is about 2 hours but you can take the train or the bus. For instance, The Toronto Stratford Direct Bus is only $34 return if you have a ticket to a performance. You don’t have to come back to the city on the same day but you will have to show proof of your ticket to a play when you board at the Intercontinental at Simcoe and Front St.
Make sure to check Visit Stratford to see what’s going on during your stay. Not only is festival season a busy time but there is always something going on throughout the year.
Mercer Hotel Downtown and Edison’s Inn are two of my other faves.
Elizabeth – I wanted to try somewhere new to me and this year-old dining spot certainly fit the bill. We started with a lovely bottle of rose and proceeded to share 4 dishes. We both agreed that the Seared Scallops and Corn Succotash were worth ordering even without the scallops. A desert waffle with strawberries and whipped cream was an outstanding end to a great meal. We judge places on whether we would be regulars if we lived nearby. We would be here weekly.
Other faves are Pazzo, Braaibar, The Planet Diner for great vegan, The Hub Rooftop Patio, Real House, Sirkel for great take-out sandwiches, Lovage is a pretty little wine bar with great food
This friendly neighbourhood cocktail bar serves amazing cocktails with a classic feel and Cuban-inspired design. On the weekends it really gets hopping after the restaurants close as the staff all gather here for late night drinks. They often invite a guest bartender to come up with an inventive special. The night we went, they offered a cocktail with smoked whisky and a corn horchata. Check for fun theme nights, live music and more.
Open door policy, no resos. Hours Tue-Thu 4p-12a, Fri/Sat 4p-1a.
The Hub Rooftop, Mercer Kitchen/Beer Hall, Lovage
The OG Balzacs is located on Ontario Street, The Edison, Brch & Wyn is a cafe by day and wine bar at night
See a Play at Stratford Festival. We saw King Lear with Paul Gross starring as “hot Lear”. It’s not all Shakespeare either. For example, you can see Rent, Spamalot or the Italian comedy, Grand Magic. There is truly something for everyone
Buy tickets for one the 3 different Stratford Culinary Trails – We did the new Savour and Sip Trail. With each trail purchase, you get to choose which six stops, out of the participating businesses, to redeem your six vouchers for a different savour and sip delight on your self-guided tour (click here for trail participants, map, trail offerings and hours). The cost for 6 vouchers is $39.55 (including HST) – note that you may use one voucher per stop. The Savour & Sip Trail is available May through October.
Tea Tasting at Tea Leaves
Visit Junction 56 Distillery, Jobsite Brewing Co., Slow Food Sunday Market, Rheo Thompson Candies, Black Swan Brewery
Rent bikes from Totally Spoked . It’s a really walkable town however with a bike, you can really explore the surrounding neighbourhoods and look at all of the gorgeous homes
Wander up and down Ontario St before venturing beyond the main drag to the side streets to discover a plethora of shops and small galleries. Stratford is full of small-town charm peppered with sophisticated flavours and tastes
My favourites are Bradshaws & Kitchen Detail, Small-Mart, Wills and Prior and Distill.
Stratford Tourism provides a concierge service to help you plan the perfect vacation. The will provide you with maps, directions, and can assist you with accommodations for events, restaurants, shopping or other attractions. You can also pop into the Visitors Welcome Centre at Destination Stratford, 47 Downie Street. I would like to thank them for giving me complimentary Trail tickets and some Downtown Dollars to spend during my stay.