21 Best Things to Do in London, Ontario in 2023 (We’re Locals!)
Are you looking for the best things to do in London, Ontario? We’re local Londoners and we’re here to help you out!
As locals for the past 15 years, we’ve spent countless weekends searching out what to do in London, Ontario. We aren’t the kind of people who like to hide away binging on Netflix or spending an afternoon walking around a mall. Instead, we love to get out and explore new and fun activities to energize and excite us.
From snowboarding at Boler Mountain in the winter, to letting our toddler run wild at Storybook Gardens in the summer to picking apples at Appleland Station in the fall, we have always found something fun to do in our home city.
We’re here to share our top list of fun activities and attractions in London, Ontario so that you can enjoy this city as much as we do.
21 Best Activities & Fun Things to Do in London, Ontario
From performing arts to fine dining to peaceful walks through the forest, let us take you along as we – local Londoners for the last 15 years – explore the top activities and places to visit in London, Ontario.
We’ll cover what to do in winter and summer, both indoors and outdoors, so that you have plenty of options to keep you busy and entertained.
1. 100 Kellogg Lane
What used to be the behemoth Kellogg’s Factory (easily identified by its sweet smelling aroma around the east end of the city) is now London’s biggest entertainment attraction: 100 Kellogg Lane.
A site for various independent businesses to take root, the primary attraction of the old factory is, in fact, “The Factory,” a gigantic playground for the energetic soul. In fact, it’s officially Canada’s largest indoor adventure park.
100 Kellogg Lane will also soon be home to the Hard Rock Hotel, an exciting addition that will transform the complex into an ultimate weekend getaway destination in Ontario.
As the complex develops, more and more businesses are moving in, bringing with them something unique in all of London and adding to feeling that this place is something truly special.
Filled with two high ropes courses on either side of the building (the largest in Canada, might we add), ziplines taking you across the building, and a ginormous ground floor filled with all kinds of trampolines and obstacles, The Factory is literally like no other indoor entertainment centre else we’ve ever seen.
If jumping and soaring through the air isn’t for you, then you might want to check out the arcade or virtual reality pods.
The Factory is one of the top tourist attractions in London, Ontario, and is the perfect place for birthday parties, date night or even team building retreats.
The Club House
Meander your way through the massive building a bit further and you’ll find yourself at the entrance to the cozy, Canadiana-themed Club House.
The Club House is the ultimate place to unwind after work or to hang out on a Friday night with your friends. Try out their multi-sports simulators that let you compare swings, slapshots, and soccer kicks in a way you just can’t when you’re watching the game.
You can also book mini-golf and Bocce Ball, or enjoy the complimentary games to pass the time while you wait for your food.
In addition to The Factory and The Clubhouse, 100 Kellogg Lane is also home to Powerhouse Brewery, Paradigm Spirits distillery, The London’s Children Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, a marketplace for local vendors, and tons of event space.
100 Kellogg Lane is home to some of the best activities in Southwestern Ontario and is only going to get bigger and better from here as this incredible entertainment complex grows.
2. Take a ‘Guess Where Trips’ Road Trip
Guess Where Trips offers an exciting new way to explore road trip-worthy destinations close to London. Their unique, one-day itineraries blend mystery and exploration, providing you with a thrilling, surprise-filled day out.
this local company offers carefully curated journeys to hidden gems all around North America, with a heavy focus on Ontario destinations. And as a Londoner, you can easily filter to trips within a comfortable driving distance of the city.
From charming towns to picturesque natural spots, Guess Where Trips promises an unforgettable experience, with every detail meticulously planned.
This activity is perfect for those seeking spontaneity and adventure, offering a break from routine while showcasing the hidden treasures that surround Southwestern Ontario. It’s an ideal option for anyone looking to embark on an adventurous day trip without having to do any of the planning.
It’s also an ideal gift for someone who has it all, and the perfect activity for your next date, friend outing, or office retreat.
3. Get an Adrenaline Rush at Boler Mountain
Boler Mountain is easily the best outdoor attraction in London, with so many fun ways to spend the day out in every season.
While it’s most well-known for its snowboard and ski hills, Boler Mountain is also home to an exciting Treetop Adventure Park, mountain bike trails and camps, beach volleyball league, fitness classes, a restaurant, and more.
Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing at Boler
Boler Mountain is most well known as London’s ski and snowboard hill during the winter season. While it’s true that the landscape is pretty flat in Southwestern Ontario, Boler does a great job of keeping skiers and snowboarders active without having to leave the city.
Another great option during the winter months is the Boler Tube Park, with three awesome tube runs. If you’ve never tried tubing at Boler then this will be a fun new way for you to experience winter in London. I still remember tubing at Boler for a high school-aged youth event – it was that fun!
Treetop Adventure Park at Boler
During the green season (May-October) Boler Mountain’s lush Carolinian forest transforms into an exhilarating Treetop Adventure Park, with rope swings, ziplines, swinging bridges, and challenging ropes course.
There are courses of varying difficulty levels, catering to both adults and kids. If you’re looking for fun outdoor activities in London, Ontario then you’ve got to check this one out. You’ll be spending quality time in nature, staying active and supporting a great local business in the city.
Tip: The highlight of Boler’s Treetop Adventure Park is their 1100 foot long tandem zipline, which is included in all passes to the Adventure Park.
Hiking & Mountain Biking Trails at Boler
If you’re looking for great trails to explore a little off the beaten path in the city, then you’ll want to check out the extensive trail system at Boler Mountain.
The trails are designated as follows:
– Fitness Walking Trail
– Beginner Mountain Biking Trail
– Intermediate Mountain Biking Trail
– Expert Mountain Biking Trail (x2)
Boler has even hosted various nationwide mountain biking competitions and events, so if this is your sport you know you’re in for a great ride.
4. Apple Land Station
When the crisp air of apple season rolls around each year, there’s no better way to be entertained than to visit Apple Land Station in Thames Centre. Whether you’re a family with kids, a couple looking for a casual date idea, or a group of friends looking to have fun outdoors, this place is an absolute gem for outdoor fun.
Apple Land’s main attraction is, of course, their pick-your-own apple orchard. But beyond this, they also have tons of entertaining activities.
Enjoy wagon rides, a corn maze and a huge outdoor playground including a massive sand mountain with tunnels throughout. There’s also a tempting indoor market to stock up on produce, freshly baked goods and local artisan items.
We recently spent the afternoon at Apple Land and had a blast picking multiple varieties of apples and our toddler loved the wagon rides and playground. As locals of London we can’t believe it took us this long to find this hidden gem of the city! It’s affordable (with weekday discounts), tons of fun and an awesome way to make the most of the summer and fall months.
5. Relax at Idlewyld Inn & Spa
Tucked away in the city’s Old South neighborhood is the quaint Idlewyld Inn & Spa. With a full menu of treatments to choose from, Idlewyld is arguably London’s best place to truly let your body unwind in luxury.
The Idlewyld Inn also has a gourmet dining room with patio seating in its hidden courtyard or covered front porch.
And of course, it wouldn’t be an inn without a beautiful selection of tastefully-decorated rooms, ranging from comfortable and cozy to lavish and luxurious.
Being locals of the Old South neighbourhood ourselves, we’ve witnessed over and over just how popular the Idlewyld Inn and Spa really is, and how much of an attraction this beautiful old building is – both for those visiting the city and locals looking for a romantic retreat.
In fact, the Idlewyld Inn has a “Superb” 9.1/10 rating on Booking.com, with tons of testimonies to back it up.
6. Fanshawe Conservation Area & Pioneer Village
Fanshawe Conservation Area is London’s largest nature area that’s still considered within the city. With a huge reservoir and gushing dam, lush Carolinian forest and various hiking and mountain biking trails, there’s a lot to see and do.
There are also seasonal and nightly campsites in the conservation area, making it a great place to plan a weekend family getaway without having to leave town.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
The Pioneer Village is located within Fanshawe Conservation Area and is a unique, interactive display of what life was like in London and Middlesex Counties between 1820-1920.
You will walk through old buildings, see live character reenactments, and participate in demonstrations of different aspects of daily life during the time period.
Spending the day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village is a great family thing to do in London, and is educational and fun at the same time.
Oh, and if you want to check out the Pioneer Village in the off-season of winter, the pathways through the village apparently turn into cross-country ski and snowshoe trails for the public! (We haven’t actually tried this but have heard it’s a thing!)
7. Take the Kids to Storybook Gardens
For a fun family day out in London, consider taking your little ones to Storybook Gardens in Springbank Park, where tales come alive and kids can jump into the settings of their favourite stories.
Climb through the Old Woman’s Shoe, get a photo with Humpty Dumpty, play in the splashpad, take a ride down the magic carpet slide, and do so much more for an active day out.
Storybook Gardens also runs day camps and special events. It’s a great place for family outings, fieldtrips, birthday parties and playdates. It’s age appropriate for children up to around 9 years old.
8. Watch a Game at Budweiser Gardens
Budweiser Gardens is the place to be for hockey and basketball fans looking to catch a live game. Home of the OHL London Knights team and the NBLC London Lightning team, this venue is packed on regular games nights.
The Gardens can seat 9,100 visitors, and doesn’t mess around when it comes to bringing in big name musicians, comedians and performers to the stage. Snagging a ticket to one of these events is a clear win for an awesome night out.
9. Watch a Live Show at the Grand Theatre
When it comes to live theatre and concerts in a more intimate setting, the Grand Theatre on Richmond Street is London’s finest venue. With two beautiful stages and two classy lounges, the Grand Theatre features local and international talent and stories in exceptional theatre.
Making a visit to the Grand Theatre is likely something you will want to plan well in advance, but if you can manage to plan ahead of your visit to London, we think you’ll be rewarded with an excellent show.
10. Visit the London Children’s Museum
The London Children’s Museum should be on your radar if you’re looking for what to do in London, Ontario with kids that’s super cheap (or even free), educational, and open in all weather.
Filled with educational rooms geared towards kids of all ages, this museum does an excellent job combining science, history and the arts with active fun.
Explore the dinosaur room, learn about indigenous culture of the Arctic, understand what goes on in your own neighborhood and backyard and more. Bring your class for a field trip, or simply stop in with the kids on a rainy day. There’s even family free nights each Thursday from 5-8pm, where admission is waived.
The Children’s Museum is currently located on Wharncliffe Road, but will soon be moving to 100 Kellogg Lane.
11. Bring the Kids to an Indoor Playground
If you’re looking for indoor activities for kids in London, Ontario perfect for a rainy day or snowy afternoon, then you’ll love the indoor playgrounds the city has to offer.
We’ll be honest: this activity wasn’t on our list originally, but once our son got into the toddler stage, our entire perspective on what to do with kids changed. We’ve spent a number of rainy days burning off energy with this awesome activity.
The indoor playgrounds in London are currently as follows:
- Play Away Indoor Park
- Adventures on Wonderland
- Off the Wall Kids
- Fleetway Kids’ Play Centre
- The Factory
- Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park
- Aerosports Trampoline Park
- ActivtiyPlex London
We have personally played in Play Away, Adventures on Wonderland, Off the Wall Kids, and Fleetway, and can vouch for just how entertaining these indoor parks are.
Our personal favourite is Play Away Indoor Park, for its open-concept set-up, quiet play area and nursing room, and awesome climbing gym.
12. Boutique Shop Richmond Row
London’s Richmond Row is one of the city’s more unique spots for shopping. With one-of-a-kind boutiques, delicious cafes and restaurants and budding local businesses, shopping on Richmond Street (between Oxford St and York St) is an enjoyable way to spend the day on the town regardless of your budget.
Some noteworthy stops along Richmond Row include Victoria Park, St Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, Hangar9 clothing store, Toboggan Brewing Company, Black Walnut Bakery Café, BoxCar Donuts and Commonwealth Coffee Co.
Simply walking up and down this stretch of the city and browsing the shops will give you a great taste of what London has to offer in its downtown core.
13. Relive Local History at the Museum
London’s most known museum is Museum London, located downtown along the Thames River. Featuring renowned art, cultural and historical exhibits and hosting events for kids, teens and adults, Museum London is definitely one of the city’s cultural highlights.
London’s Museum of Archaeology is another spectacular historical attraction in the city. With permanent exhibits featuring life in Southwestern Ontario 13,000 years ago, First Nations peoples, cultures and languages, and the Lawson Archaeological Site, there’s a lot to do and learn in this interactive setting.
London Children’s Museum, Banting House National Historic Site, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Jet Aircraft Museum, Eldon House, and Longwoods Road Conservation Area / Ska-Nah-Doht Village are some of London’s other amazing museums and historical sites worth the visit.
Best Free Things to Do in London, Ontario
Who doesn’t like to know the best free things to do when they’re travelling to a new city? If you’re on a budget and still want to keep things interesting, this list of top free things to do in London is for you.
14. Shop Local at the Farmers Markets
One of the best things to do in London on the weekend is to head to the farmers market. We especially love walking around the markets during the summer season when many of the indoor markets expand outdoors.
London’s two largest markets are Covent Garden Market and the Western Fair Farmers Market. Covent Garden Market is London’s busy downtown market, and is open throughout the week. Western Fair Market is located in the Western Fair District on the city’s east end, and is a thriving weekend farmers and artisan market.
👉 Check out our guide to the London Ontario Farmers Markets.
15. Hit the Trails
Known as “The Forest City,” London has the spectacular Thames Valley Parkway system, running for over 40 km throughout the city.
In all corners of the city you will find well-maintained paved pathways as well as off the beaten path trails in some of Southwestern Ontario’s most unique ecosystems (such as Sifton Bog in the west end).
As active, nature-loving locals, we adore London for its dedication towards maintaining these trails that connect so many parts of the city.
👉 Check out our guide to the Best Trails in London, Ontario.
16. Spend the Day in the Park
Going hand in hand with London’s extensive trail network is the city’s abundance of well-kept parks and green spaces.
Some of the most popular parks include Victoria Park in the downtown core, Gibbons Park in Old North, Springbank Park in the west end, and Kiwanis Park in the east end. That said, there are literally dozens of others to choose from.
Consider packing up your tennis gear, swim suits, walking shoes, snowshoes, or even a picnic lunch and finding a park with tennis courts, splash pad, multi-use path, or BBQ pits and pavilions to make a simple, memorable and totally free day out.
17. Stroll Through ‘Wortley Village’
Wortley Village is the heart and soul of London’s Old South neighborhood. This quaint part of town is rich with architectural gems from the 1800s and early 1900s as well as home to many thriving independent businesses.
If you’re planning an outing to Wortley Village, we recommend parking along Wortley Road between Craig Street/Askin Street and Elmwood Ave, as this is where most of the businesses have their storefronts.
Pick up a drink from one of the independent coffee shops, do some window shopping, and meander your way around the picturesque streets. The Green just outside of the beautiful Wortley YMCA is a great spot to rest or eat ice cream from Karpos.
Wortley Village is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants, like Plant Matter Kitchen, Sagi and The Sweet Onion Bistro, as well as the beloved Quarter Master Natural Foods store.
Hidden Gems in London, Ontario
These next things to do are a bit off the beaten path but are rich in culture, experience and enjoyment. As local Londoners, we think each of these hidden gems are worth checking out for something unique to do.
18. Explore the Eclectic ‘Old East Village’
Old East Village is London’s most unique and diverse midtown neighborhood. Along Dundas Street and its intersecting side streets between Adelaide Street and Highbury Ave you will find an eclectic mix of fresh local eateries, artisan shops, cultural centres and independent retailers.
What makes Old East Village one of London’s hidden gems is its identity as a hub for local creativity and entrepreneurship, in one of the city’s poorest parts of town. In Old East Village, the ‘new and exciting’ are right beside the ‘old and run down’. Artsy restaurants are interspersed with soup kitchens and shelters.
It’s this diverse setting that makes the people and residents of Old East Village down to earth and passionate about seeing London thrive.
Old East Village is best explored by foot, since you’ll want to be able to easily check out some of these one-of-a-kind stores. Heading east on Dundas, consider starting at Adelaide Street and walking until you reach the Western Fair Farmers Market (Ontario Street).
Some of Old East Villages’ gems you won’t want to miss are the Artisan Bakery, 10Eighteen Coffee House, Palace Theatre, and Illbury + Goose Clothing Store. This neighborhood is also home to some of London’s biggest attractions: The Western Fair, and 100 Kellogg Lane.
19. Watch Airplanes at Katana Kafe & Grill
One of the most unique restaurant settings in all of London is Katana Kafe & Grill, located right beside the London International Airport. In fact, it’s so close that its main attraction is a front and centre view of the runway.
Located way off the beaten path, most Londoners may never come across Katana Kafe & Grill, let alone know that such a unique fine dining restaurant exists. But if airplanes are your thing or you’re looking for a way to wow your date, Katana should be high on your list.
20. Stargaze at the Cronyn Observatory
One of London’s best kept secrets is Western University’s Cronyn Observatory. Any space-enthusiast will agree that one look of the sky on a starry night, or one gaze through a telescope will have you hooked in fascination of the vast universe beyond earth.
Cronyn Observatory hosts public nights every Saturday evening between May-August, and then monthly between October-April. At these public nights, you can get the chance to see stars up close through the university’s telescopes and pose your questions to resident astronomers.
One of the best parts of these public nights is that they are completely free, making it also one of the best free things to do in London! Just drop in and leave as you please and truly enjoy all that the universe has to offer.
21. Indulge at Asmara Coffee House
One of London’s finest coffee shops is Asmara Coffee House, featuring fair trade organic coffee straight from Ethiopia and roasted right in house.
Tucked away in an unassuming part of town, Asmara attracts coffee connoisseurs from across the city, who aren’t afraid to boldly declare Asmara the home of the best coffee in London.
What makes Asmara double distinct is its intentional lack of wifi. Instead of encouraging people to work on their phones or laptops over coffee, Asmara purposefully facilitates face-to-face connection.
We can vouch for the fantastic quality of coffee they roast and serve, as well as the welcoming atmosphere of the café. The owner himself frequently works, greeting his loyal customers by name and making sure you feel right at home.
It’s clear that Londoners love Asmara Coffee House for its high quality coffee, tasty treats, and its value of community connection, all of which draw many loyal customers to this hidden gem.
Best Places to Eat in London, Ontario
London has a vibrant culinary scene, with a lot of great restaurant options for people of various cultures, budgets and tastes. We have selected some of the most highly rated restaurants to highlight here, all of which we have personally tried, at our own expense.
Best Fine Dining: Garlic’s of London
With Garlic’s of London, the name says it all. If you are a lover of all things garlic (like us), then you’re already hooked. If you could take it or leave it, then keep reading – not everything at Garlics contains garlic!
What we love about Garlic’s is its intentional featuring of garlic in unique ways, such as slow roasted garlic bulb and crostini, black garlic fettuccini, and even garlic flavored ice cream – made in house and in sample sizes for the sceptics!
The restaurant’s atmosphere is posh yet friendly, and its location on Richmond Row is ideal for a night on the town. While there are numerous fine dining restaurants to choose from, Garlic’s has won us over and has earned repeatedly excellent ratings from the public.
Best Breakfast & Brunch: The Early Bird
The Early Bird gets the worm at this fine diner. With totally eclectic punk rock décor and a unique menu match its style, The Early Bird has earned quite the reputation in London.
We love The Early Bird for its focus on quality, locally sourced ingredients and its in-house preparation of all of its meats – including its ever popular smoked brisket. Breakfast and brunch are simply next level awesome.
Despite its popularity and packed seating area, The Early Bird does not take reservations and will place you on a first come first serve basis. For this reason, you should be prepared to have a bit of a wait as well as be okay with sitting in a busy, noisy setting.
Londoners agree that The Early Bird is in a completely different league than your average breakfast diner, and if you’ve got the time, taste buds and sense of adventure for something new you’ve got to check this place out.
It’s also worth noting that The Early Bird turns into Holy Diver, punk rock bar, in the evenings from Thursday-Sunday each week.
Best Ethnic Restaurant: Addis Ababa Restaurant
If you’re looking to try a cuisine that’s rich in flavour, a bit on the spicy side, and offers a truly authentic ethnic experience, then we highly recommend TG’s Addis Ababa Restaurant.
Not only does the owner, TG, make fabulous dishes, you will also get an authentic cultural experience as you break the injera (bread) to eat by hand. On top of that, the beautiful African décor in the restaurant makes you feel as though you are in dining right there in Ethiopia.
Between the exceptional flavours of TG’s dishes, the unique feeling you get eating in the true Ethiopian way, and the beautifully African atmosphere of the restaurant, TG’s gets rave reviews all across London (including from us) and is a clear winner in our books.
Best Vegan Restaurant: Plant Matter Kitchen
Plant Matter Kitchen (or simply PMK) is London’s favourite all-vegan restaurant. Everything is made fresh using real food: no additives, no processed ingredients, just locally organic, plant-based dishes.
PMK’s flavours are bang on, with delicious, classy entrées, apps, sides, and even specialty drinks. From British style banners and mash, to buffalo caesar wraps, to red or green smoothies, you won’t be disappointed at the creativity of this menu.
Located in the friendly neighborhood of Wortley Village, Plant Matter Kitchen is all the rage and for really good reason. It offers London something completely unique and is definitely worth checking out, even in our (meat-loving) eyes.
What is London, Ontario Known For?
London, Ontario is known as the Forest City, and rightfully so with its large number of parks and extensive network of multi-use paths that connect all corners of the city.
London is also known for being a university town, as it is home to one of Ontario’s largest universities, Western University and its three affiliated university colleges, Huron, Brescia and Kings University Colleges. London is also home to the well-known Fanshawe College, which also draws in over 20,000 students to the city.
London is a hub for business between Windsor and Toronto, and is particularly well known for its hospitals and medical research.
As one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, its infrastructure, institutions and increasingly diverse population draw in thousands of immigrants from around the country and world.
Are There Any Festivals in London, Ontario?
London is home to many annual festivals, the busiest season for which is summer.
Some of the festivals that the city is known for include:
✔️ London Children’s Festival (June)
✔️ London International Food and Drink Festival (June)
✔️ Home Country Music and Art Festival (July)
✔️ Sunfest (July), London Ribfest (July-August)
✔️ Rock the Park (July)
✔️ London Airshow (September)
London also hosts events for lots of cultural holidays, like the Indian holiday of Holi. This image was captured by our friend and photographer, Parth Barot.
How Many Days Do I Need In London, Ontario?
As a mid-sized city with a fair amount to do both in the city as well as some awesome day trips a short drive away, we recommend spending 2-3 days in London.
This will give you sufficient time to see some of London’s top things to do and just enough time to get a good taste of the city without feeling like there’s nothing left to explore for your next visit.
Where To Stay in London, Ontario
A city the size and caliber of London has a great variety of accommodations to offer. You’ll find multiple well-known chain hotels (both high-end and budget-friendly), as well as various independent hotels.
If you want to be sure to experience the best hotels in the city, be sure to check out our complete guide on where to stay in London, Ontario.
To help you save time, here’s our recommendations on the top hotels for your stay in the city:
Conclusion: Best Things to Do in London, Ontario
As one of Canada’s fastest growing cities and one of Southwestern Ontario’s hub for culture, business and entertainment, London has a lot to offer locals eager to explore their own backyard.
As locals of London for over 15 years, let us leave you with a short list of a few of our favourite must-do activities:
- Looking for weekend attractions in the winter? Definitely check out Boler Mountain’s ski and snowboard hill.
- Visiting with kids in the summer? Make sure you spend time in Springbank Park’s amazing playground and wading pool.
- Looking for the best indoor activities for kids or adults? Spend the day at The Factory or The Clubhouse at 100 Kellogg Lane.
From markets to ski slopes, ziplines to fine dining, we hope this list gives you lots of fun days ahead as you explore London, Ontario!
Erie is the owner and author of Everywhere Ontario. She’s lived and traveled around Ontario for over 30 years, visiting small towns and big cities from the shores of Lake Erie to the crisp northern air of Hearst along the Trans-Canada Highway. She is passionate about maximizing fun and supporting local tourist businesses and is always looking to provide the best recommendations to her fellow Ontario travelers. Read more about Erie here.