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st jacobs ontario

The Mennonite village at St. Jacobs in Ontario is a charming holiday destination

Steeped in Mennonite history, the quaint village of St. Jacobs and its pastoral country life is quite the contrast from the bustling tech capital of Kitchener-Waterloo just 20 minutes away.

The village's horse-drawn buggies, historical buildings, charming shops and restaurants have year-round charm, but something about visiting St. Jacobs during the holidays feels like you've stepped back in time right onto the set of a Christmas movie.

Here are some of the best things to do in St. Jacobs this holiday season.

Visit the St. Jacobs Market

The St. Jacobs Market is the country's largest year-round farmer's market, and is the perfect place to visit during the holidays.

Decorated with Christmas trees, fire pits, and twinkling string lights, the market has over 300 vendors to browse, grab delicious treats, or do some Christmas shopping at.

Stroll through St. Jacobs Village

St. Jacobs Village is a unique blend of past and present, with local shops ranging from antique stores to modern boutiques and cafes.

In the winter, the village hosts seasonal events and the storefronts are decorated with garlands and Christmas lights. The village also has plenty of incredible restaurants to try, including woodfired pizza at Those Pizza Guys or The Charcuterie Bar with outdoor fire pits.

Learn about its rich history

There's so much to learn about the village's preserved history and Mennonite influence. The St. Jacobs Walking Tour led by locals takes you on an outdoor walk around the village and dives into its fascinating past while getting your steps in.

Dine in a glowing heated dome

At the Village Biergarten in the heart of St. Jacobs, you can have a delicious meal in one of the cozy heated domes on their patio. The domes are especially welcoming in the winter, which feel like a snow globe when the snow is falling outside around you. 

Take a vintage Christmas train ride

The Waterloo Central Train Station offers two magical rides in vintage Christmas trains, which is a pretty epic experience for kids and adults alike.

You can choose between a daytime or nighttime ride. The one-hour round trip will bring you to the "North Pole" where Santa and his elves await to greet you. Onboard, the train has festive characters, toys, carollers, and Christmas stories to keep you plenty entertained.

Drive through a holiday light show

Head over to Bingeman's in Kitchener to check out Gift of Lights, the region's longest drive through light show, which runs until December 31st.

The experience includes two tunnels and over 300 animated and static light displays, which you can tune into their radio to listen to festive music throughout your journey. 

Experience a Christmas wonderland

Another amazing attraction at Bingeman's is their annual Jingle Bell Rock.

You can walk through dazzling outdoor light displays, see their spectacular 40 foot dancing tree illumination, roast marshmallows for s'mores over open fire pits, decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen or listen to live entertainment on select nights.

Lead photo by

Explore Waterloo Region


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