guelph ontario

How to spend 48 hours in Guelph

Guelph is a city with a lot to offer. A less than two hour drive from Toronto, it's proximity makes it a quick and accessible weekend trip. Here you'll find the comfort of a quaint city, combined with a lively up and coming social scene.

Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Guelph.

Friday
3 p.m. - Check into the Western Hotel

Built in 1881, this hotel in downtown Guelph has been restored and emits a historical-chic vibe. All the suites have equipped kitchens and the hotel also has a restaurant and bar in case you have cravings and don’t feel like stepping out.

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3:30 p.m. - Lunch at Crafty Ramen

Nothing hits the spot better than a bowl of ramen and this restaurant is just minutes away from the hotel. They make their own noodles and have everything from the Meat Lovers bowl to a vegan ramen, so there’s something for everyone. 

4:30 p.m. - Tour downtown Guelph

After lunch, walk around and discover downtown Guelph: it’s filled with Victorian-inspired buildings and historical sites, such as Basilica of our Lady Immaculate, Old Quebec Street mall and Guelph Market Square.

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5:30 p.m. - Shop local

Guelph is all about supporting local businesses and there’s a variety of boutiques on Wyndham Street, Quebec Street and Carden Street. Some retail favourites include Blush, Pod and Grey Rock Clothing.

6:30 p.m. - Dinner at Miijidaa

The menu at Miijidaa draws influences from First Nations, French and British cuisines. They have a modern take on some classic favourites such as corn bread and Mac & Cheese, as well as unique menu items like elk scotch egg, hay smoked duck breast and seasonally inspired dishes. 

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8:30 p.m. - Drinks and live music at The Albion Hotel

From an affordable, yet extensive, drinks menu to weekly lineups of local bands and performers, this is the perfect place to end a fun evening and unwind. The building’s historical architecture — dating back to 1856 — really makes it stand out. 

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Saturday

9 a.m. - Breakfast at 39 Carden Street Bistro

Get ready for the day at this local favourite decorated with minimalist chandeliers, white brick walls and chalkboard menus that perfectly encompass Guelph’s charm. Their dishes are also made from fresh local ingredients. 

10:30 a.m. - Visit the Guelph Farmers Market

The Guelph Farmers Market is open all year round on Saturdays and features a variety of local vendors. It’s been around for more than 180 years, making it a city favourite. You’ll be able to find everything from fresh produce to baked goods to arts and crafts.

12 p.m. - Indulge your sweet tooth at Killer Cupcakes

This downtown bakery has a rotating menu of cupcake flavours but also does cheesecake and slices of cake. They’re open until all their cupcakes sell out, so make sure to stop by before it’s too late.

1 p.m. - Discover the water at The Boathouse Tea Room

If it's the perfect weather to enjoy the outdoors, what better way to do it than boating? At The Boathouse it's not just about tea, you can rent out canoes and kayaks and go boating down Speed River where you’ll be surrounded by nature and get a chance to appreciate it. 

3 p.m. - Lunch at Earth to Table: Bread Bar

Just minutes away from The Boathouse, this place has the perfect patio for eating outside. Try their bread plate, which comes with lemon ricotta, vadouvan spiced butter and green garlic tapenade.

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4:30 p.m. - Get competitive at The Round Table

This board game café decorated like a medieval tavern pairs snacks and cocktails along with a huge assortment of games. It has a fun and lively atmosphere where you can get super competitive playing Coup.

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6 p.m. - Dinner at Buon Gusto

If you’re a fan of Italian, Buon Gusto is one of the best Guelph has to offer. They’re known for their wood-fired pizza and pasta - make sure to order the Quattro Formaggi.

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8 p.m. - Drinks at Sip Club

Sip Club has an extensive drinks menu, including 15 beers on tap, cocktails and more. They also have a sweet patio, live music and karaoke nights.

Sunday

9 a.m. - Coffee at Cornerstone

Go for a quick coffee run at Cornerstone for an energetic start to your day. This small café offers a cozy environment with wooden furniture and chalkboard menus. For those craving something sweet, they also make an amazing hot chocolate.

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Eggcetra is where to go for huge breakfast platters, perfect for sharing. Try their Spanish omelette or their skillets but prepare to wait in line if you don't get there early.

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11:30 a.m. - Visit the Arboretum

The University of Guelph Arboretum is filled with different varieties of plants and flowers, walking trails and gardens. It’s free, open to the public and also a great place for photography. Check out their trails for an early afternoon walk to fully immerse yourself in nature.

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1 p.m. - Go axe throwing at Riot Axe

Just like BATL and Bad Axe Throwing in Toronto, Riot Axe is where to go for the sport that sounds like a stereotypical Canadian pastime. The best part is they take walk-ins so you don’t have to make a reservation ahead of time.

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2 p.m. - Lunch at Cherry Blossom Sushi Bar

For an AYCE raw fish fix, this sushi joint covers all the basics and is decorated with huge wooden arcs and glowing spherical lighting. Order the Guelph roll made with shrimp tempura, fake crabmeat, BBQ eel, avocado and cream cheese.

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3:30 - Indulge in a sweet ending at Chocolats Favoris

Just like Vaughan, Guelph is also home to this rapidly growing Quebec-based dessert chain. They're known for their soft-serve ice creams dipped in ganache, as well as chocolates, milkshakes and ice cream floats. There’s no better way to end your sweet trip to Guelph than this.

Lead photo by

Guyson Kuruneri. Writing by Maha Syeda.


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