Have a great time without spending a dime! Here are some of the best free things to do in Waterloo. And remember, keep an eye out for posters: there are always new and exciting things happening around campus.
Clubs Day takes place Sept. 17 and 18 in the Student Life Centre (SLC), and gives you a chance to discover almost 200 clubs and societies. Joining clubs is a great way to make new friends who share your interests. For a listing of clubs, check out feds.ca/clubs-section/clubs-listing/.
The Waterloo Public Library has a huge selection of books, and a better selection of contemporary fiction than the university libraries. Be sure to get your free library card! Visit the uptown branch at 35 Albert St., or visit wpl.ca.
Waterloo Park is a great place to picnic with friends, play frisbee, and walk by the picturesque lake and flower gardens. Llama llovers, be sure to visit the farm animals in the miniature zoo!
Physical Activities Complex (PAC) — PAC has a swimming pool free for students. You can also play badminton, basketball, and volleyball. Check out varsity.uwaterloo.ca, and head to Recreation > Open Recreation. There’s more to explore if you’re interested in playing on a sports team or taking fitness classes. Or, cheer on our warriors at a sports game — UW students even get free admission.
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics does a great job of reaching out to the public with accessible, fascinating lectures and events. Make the most of sharing Waterloo with the world’s leading theoretical physicists. For more information, visit perimeterinstitute.ca.
Uptown Waterloo is Waterloo’s downtown, except classier. Here are the best places to spot hipsters (or be one): Death Valley’s Little Brother (café), Luster & Oak (vintage clothes), Words Worth Books (local bookstore), and Princess Cinemas (indie art cinema). There’s lots to explore in Uptown.
The UW Art Gallery exhibits work by our own talented fine arts students. Free admission makes it doubly worth checking out! Visit the gallery at East Campus Hall (across from Engineering 6) or visit uwag.uwaterloo.ca for more information. Want to try your own hand at making art? The fine arts department also hosts free life drawing sessions.
The Earth Sciences Museum has an awesome collection of dinosaur bones, rocks and minerals, and other cool geological exhibits. Be sure to check out the Mining Tunnel, a recreation of a 1960s silver mine! There’s also a huge Gem and Mineral Show with vendors on October 23-24. Visit the museum in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT).
The Observatory offers free stargazing on the first Wednesday of every month. Come enjoy a 30-minute astronomy lecture and a tour of the university’s telescope on the roof of the Physics building! See the schedule at uwaterloo.ca/astrophysics-and-gravitation/gustav-bakos-observatory.
The Ecology Lab offers super cool (and free) workshops on everything ranging from winter survival, to growing your own mushrooms, to soap-making, and wild edibles. Visit the lab at Environment 1, room 135, or visit uwaterloo.ca/ecology-lab/.
Humans vs. Zombies is a huge weeklong role-playing game across campus. Will you outwit the zombies and stay alive until the end of the week? Keep an eye out for sign up booths closer to the date!
Board games are free to borrow at many locations around campus. Some places that lend them out are the Turnkey desk in the Student Life Centre (SLC) and the Tim Hortons in South Campus Hall (SCH).
Food Not Bombs is a volunteer-run soup kitchen that cooks and serves meals every Saturday. New volunteers are always welcome, and you get a free, delicious meal too. Find out more at wpirg.org
Noon Hour Concert series are free weekly concerts hosted by Conrad Grebel University College. Pick up a brochure about these and other performances at room 1104 in Conrad Grebel, or visit uwaterloo.ca/grebel/events/concerts-0
Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists guide free nature hikes, workshops, and lectures around Waterloo region. Check out their schedule at www.kwfn.ca/outings.html