Burlington Ontario

How to spend a day in Burlington Ontario

Burlington is a small Ontario city often overlooked as a day trip destination, but the once-sleepy suburb is blossoming into a vibrant community, with its buzzy waterfront, beautiful parks and gardens, shops and entertainment.

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Burlington is about a 45 minute drive from Toronto. With its striking natural scenery along the Niagara Escarpment to explore coupled with its urban vibes, Burlington makes for an incredible day-trip or staycation.

Here's how to spend a day in Burlington.

9 a.m. - Grab a delicious breakfast

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the city's best offerings. Saving Thyme Patisserie & Bistro is a modern French restaurant with mouth-watering breakfast sandwiches and eggs benedicts.

If you've craving a classic greasy-spoon spot, Russell Williams Family Restaurant has been a Burlington institution since 1932, serving all day breakfast plates, breakfast burgers, and even breakfast poutine.

10 a.m. - Take a hike

After breakfast, head to Mount Nemo Conservation Area for a winter hike with stunning views of the Niagara Escarpment and the surrounding countryside. The park has several trails to choose from., but definitely stop at the Brock Harris Lookout for the best views, where you can even spy the CN Tower in the distance.

12 p.m. - Head downtown for lunch

Once you've worked up an appetite, head downtown Burlington to refuel. The area has several restaurants to choose from, including Downtown Bistro & Grill which serves an eclectic mix from crepes to gourmet salads.

For veggie-lovers, Lettuce Love Cafe has tasty plant-based options in a cute Instagrammable setting.

1 p.m. - Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington is the largest botanical garden in Canada, and is a designated National Historic Site. You can explore over 2,400 acres of gardens, nature sanctuaries, and walking trails.

Don't miss the Mediterannean Garden Greenhouse, a lush tropical garden with sky-high plants to admire.

3 p.m. - Warm up with a hot beverage

Grab a hot cup of coffee or tea at Tamp Coffee Co. located in the Village Square, a local coffee shop known for their high-quality coffee and treats.

Lola Choco Bar and Sweet House is another good option, especially if you have a sweet tooth and are in the mood for a great hot chocolate.

4 p.m. - Stroll through Village Square

Village Square downtown is quaint bustling area with European flair, from its cobblestone streets to red telephone booth for photo opps. The square has unique shops, restaurants, and services to explore.

WAVES in the Village carries a curated collection of women's clothing and accessories to shop at, or pop into Son of a Peach Pizzeria for a slice or to browse their pantry selections.

You can also head to Into The Blu for a one-of-a-kind wellness experience, in which light and sound frequency relax and rebalance your mood.

5 p.m. - Lace up for a skate

If it's cold enough, you can head to Spencer Smith Park's outdoor rink to skate with the lake as your backdrop. The rink is free and open to the public, and there are several skate rental locations nearby.

6 p.m. - Walk along the water

After your skake, take a stroll through Spencer Smith Park located on the waterfront. The park has picnic areas and a pier to walk along, and if you might be able to catch a stunning sunset from it.

7 p.m. - Head to dinner

End your day with a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants in Downtown Burlington. For Mediterannean, check out Paradiso Restaurant with Italian and Greek fare. The Martini House is great for dates, with a menu of small plates and, of course, martinis, in an intimate setting.

Spencer's At The Waterfront offers fine dining with a gorgeous views from their glass-walled dining room, and you can see the skaters below at the outdoor rink.

9 p.m. - Grab a night cap at a local pub

After dinner, take a walk down Brant Street and stop at one of the local bars or pubs for a nightcap. The Poacher Pub and The Dickens are great to grab a pint at for a relaxed vibe.

Alternatively, head to The Judge & Jury gastropub on Walker's Line for British pub staples.

Lead photo by

Burlington Downtown

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