Things to do in KW

A few nights ago, a friend asked me what there was to do in Kitchener-Waterloo, and how I found out about them. This isn’t the first time someone has asked for ideas, so I figured a compiled list of what I follow may be helpful to my other self and for future reference – and even though I don’t necessarily have time do venture out to many events offered around time, I still try sometimes! So what piques my interest? Generally, I like to know about free/low-cost activities that don’t need too much commitment.
Here are some of my sources:
  • Meetup groups – a few that I subscribe to, include:
    • Badminton Fun in KW – John sends out a reminder of places that offer drop-in badminton around town (mostly at community centres)
    • Tri-Cities Food Lovers – I tend to follow this group for restaurant ideas (haven’t been to a meetup yet)
    • It’s On – Events for 20s and 30s – a central place for all the events that Kitchener Public Library offers for a specific crowd, though open to all. Note that registration actually happens on the KPL site itself, and that most of it is just a repeat of what’s listed on the KPL Events Calendar (but easier to find here).
    • Hiking for Beginners – while the group says Cambridge, Ontario, I find that a bunch of the hikes are actually in the Kitchener area. I tend to follow them to discover trails around me as the timing for the meetups hasn’t been right for me yet.
    • I also follow the Chinese-English Social Cultural Exchange meetup group to keep a tabs on Chinese eating places around town
  • Public Library events
    • I tend to find out about interesting events from the library posters, TV screens, and their newsletters; e.g. Etc., Music Notes, KPL News. Popular events that have limited seats tend to fill quickly, and if you end up registering late, you’ll be added to a waitlist. A few that I’ve attended include one on coffee, making your own terrarium during #diyfestival,  interior design, and an upcoming ones that seem interesting is an art class, an escape room adventure featured for international games day, and a DIY string art piece.
    • You can also filter events in the calendar to browse for ones that interest you (hint: set filters by Date: today’s date, leave end date open; Event type: Adult, Arts & Culture, Business; Age Group: Adults – List view). Notably, KPL Central branch offers a weekly free movie screening in their theatre space.
  • Community Centres / Community Associations tend to offer many classes at a reasonable cost, but they usually require registration and a 8-10 weeks of commitment. I find that I have to browse through the leisure guides physically because the online versions aren’t very browseable (ref. Waterloo / Kitchener). I’ve noticed that similar classes tend to vary in price depending on where it’s offered, perhaps because of each community centre’s surrounding demographics (e.g. Downtown Kitchener seems to have lower drop-in prices than say RIM Park in Waterloo)
    • Cooking classes
    • Art classes (e.g. $5 a class for drawing)
    • Language classes (e.g. ASL – $5+ /class, Spanish, Conversational Chinese – $5 a class on Saturday mornings)
    • Social Dance / Ballroom dancing classes, even more affordable than the ones taught at University of Waterloo (outside of the clubs)
    • Drop-in sport activities – organized and self-organized, such as badminton (from $3 a session)
  • City of Kitchener and City of Waterloo newsletters, which include a Kitchener Market sub-newsletter
    • By extension, the Downtown Kitchener BIA also offers a e-newsletter that highlights events such as NightShift and Art Market, and the annual Art Walk (local artisans featuring their works for sale)
  • Free community skating / swimming / aqua-fit sessions
  • Theatre:
  • Free academic / public lectures, for the geek-nerds in us, such as:
    • PI Institute – I have attended a couple in the past, one on music and physics
    • University of Waterloo Public Lectures (and any of its affiliated colleges)
  • Miscellaneous:
    • I really enjoyed the events that Clipped Outdoors offered for women, but they haven’t been active in a while so I wonder what happened…
    • Community events offered by local churches (e.g. canning, community gardening) – I find out about them usually from their signs as a passerby

Have any more suggestions or ideas? Leave a comment below.

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