Stratford is a magnet for travellers, and for good reason. Walkable streets beckon, with fashion, art, and chocolate shops you won't find anywhere else.
The path along the Avon River fills with theatre-goers enjoying picnics in the afternoon sun. From the Swan Parade that is a harbinger of spring to the temptations of the bustling Savour festival, there are memorable events year round.
However, there's even more to explore just beyond the town limits. There's nearby St. Mary's, with its majestic stone architecture and unique quarry swimming. And there's the village of Shakespeare, which nearly has more antique shops than residents. Perth County is known for its excellent farm produce – particularly pork and organic veggies – available for sale from farm gates or one of the region's farmers markets.
And these farms directly serve the many casual and fine dining establishments found in Stratford, from a famous burger and poutine joint to an award-wining cheesemaker's café. And many restaurants make their good name using the talents of the Stratford Chef School.
Of course, no visit to Stratford from April through October is complete without taking in at least one performance at the Stratford Festival. And while you're there, try the highly worthwhile backstage or garden tours. Each trip to Stratford is different. Each will have you ready for an encore.
Avon River Park
Arthur Meighon Gardens
Stratford Garden Festival
Top 5 Family Fun
Play while you shop at Family & Co. toy store
Take in a family-friendly matinee at Stratford Festival
Grab a burger and poutine at Boomer's Fries
Take part in a Summer Day Camp for Kids at McCully Hill Farms in nearby St. Marys
Create a masterpiece at a family art class at Gallery Stratford
Top 5 Ways to Impress Your Date
Picnic from Festival Theatre Café
Take a boat tour of the Avon River
A chocolate box from the Chocolate Barr's Candies
Take a gourmet cooking class at Rundles restaurant
Get a cozy room at the charming Parlour Inn
Top 5 Group Getaways
Get the party started on the Stratford Direct Bus from Toronto
Get the group discount on tickets for the Stratford Festival
Stop by the Best Little Pork Shop and Shakespeare Pies for some good food to take home
Take a group foraging with Puck's Plenty
Rent out The Parlour Steakhouse for a group event (and rooms for the rest of the night)
Top 5 Day Trips
One of southwestern Ontario's biggest tourist draws, the St. Jacobs Farmers Market hosts stall after stall of local produce, meats, and cheeses. The village of St. Jacobs is equally charming, with a main street bustling with shoppers looking for that perfect quilt or antique.
The source of St. Mary's alias, Stonetown, is not hard to surmise. Thanks to being a little off the beaten track, it has been protected from the ravages of commercialization and maintains one of the largest concentrations of historic stone buildings of any town in the province. Just 20 minutes south of Stratford, St. Marys boasts the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and a great quarry for public swimming.
This tiny town is home to the famous Apple Butter Festival. Pick up a few jars of the festival's namesake product and indulge in all your favourite country fair activities and grub.
One of Ontario's most popular beaches, Grand Bend is full of fun, sand, and loud good times down on the shores of Lake Huron.
Bayfield is a tiny village with enough attractions to completely fill a day of exploring. A lovely, peaceful main street holds plenty of art and fashion shops as well as fantastic dining options. The beach is a quiet place to enjoy the area's famous sunsets.