Alternative KW spots


Sometimes the most enjoyable places aren’t the spots that everyone goes to, but the places that you feel a personal connection to, or that cater to whatever weird thing you kids are into now. With that said, here are a few spots that might fill whatever kind of niche you’re looking for.

Board game cafés

Want to have a night out with your friends while still doing something kinda chill? Consider a visit to one of KW’s board game cafés! There are two big options when it comes to board game cafés: Games on Tap and The Adventurer’s Guild. Games on Tap is very close to campus (right off of University Avenue) and boasts a classier-looking establishment, with a larger focus on alcohol. The Adventurer’s Guild is a bit out of the way, located in downtown Kitchener, but it has a more niche feel for those seeking a nerdy, role-playing kind of feel. Both cafés have a massive selection of board games that can make for many entertaining nights with friends.

Hobby shops

For those of you with tastes unsated by such casual nerd fare, rest assured that Waterloo is willing to accommodate. Carry-on Comics can be found on King Street and has an excellent selection of comics, and Just by Chance games can accommodate those into board games or trading cards. Of course, for the broadest range of interests, your best bet is J&J Cards and Collectibles, which covers comics, cards, collectibles, board games, Warhammer, Dungeons & Dragons, and everything in-between.

Local bookstores

Are your textbooks just not giving you that literary thrill you crave? Luckily for you, KW has a fair number of bookstores to sate your hunger. One of the most notable stores, conveniently located in uptown Waterloo, is Words Worth Books, a bookstore that’s as noteworthy for its book selection as it is for the community events it’s part of throughout the year. For example, Words Worth Books helps put on the Wild Writers Literary Festival, and has numerous book clubs and meet-and-greets with authors. Of course, WWB is only one of many local bookstores, accompanied by locations such as Old Goat Books, Second Look Books, and the KW Bookstore. For readers who are looking for something a bit more basic and Starbucks-affiliated, there’s also a Chapters on King Street North. And of course, if you’re looking to get some free reading in, you can always drop by the Waterloo Public Library on Albert Street.

Thrift stores

There’s no better way to show that you’re fashionable yet individual than going thrift shopping, so here’s the deal on some of the thrift stores in KW. First off is Thrift on Kent, a somewhat broad thrift store that offers antiques, furniture, and toys in addition to clothing. Its profits also go toward the Mennonite Central Committee, which helps with disaster relief and peacebuilding. For those looking for a clothes-specific experience, check out Plato’s Closet at 700 Strasburg Road. If you’ve got particularly stylish clothes you’re not using, you can even sell them there for money to put towards new threads.