Winter in Waterloo: affordable activities for students


Winter. My least favourite time of year is just about here. As a student, it can be difficult to find fun things to do in any season, as many of us do not have access to a car or a large budget. Throw in the subzero temperatures, slushy sidewalks, and early sunsets, and getting off the couch becomes a whole lot harder. Fortunately, for those looking to avoid cabin fever, we’ve rounded up a list of budget-friendly places to check out now that classes have ended.

Huether Hotel

59 King St. N

The Huether is many things: a restaurant, coffee shop, pub, and live jazz venue — all within a historic former hotel. My favourite venue is the Billiards Room. Playing a game here is one of the best ways to spend a study break.

Princess Cinemas

46 King St. N (Princess Twin) and 6 Princess St. W (Princess Original)

With two locations just a short block apart, the Princess Cinemas are independently owned and operated movie theatres in the heart of Uptown Waterloo. The Princess Original often features Hollywood classics, documentaries, mini-festivals, and the best of independent cinema. The Princess Twin typically features more mainstream releases, as well as the hottest films from the festival circuit. If you’d like to step it up a notch and have dinner before your show, the Princess Café is located in the same building as the Princess Twin (I always grab a London fog to sip on while watching a movie).

Explore the “Wonders of Winter”

Waterloo Park

You can’t graduate from UW without walking through Waterloo Park’s “Wonders of Winter” at least once. The “Wonders of Winter” is a festival of lights featuring a series of colourful displays that trace the winding paths within the park. The lights are on from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. every night from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1. This wintery display is best enjoyed with a group of friends and a cup of hot chocolate.

The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery

25 Caroline St. N

The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary ceramic, glass, enamelled and stained glass works of art by Canadian artists. You may even be able to get some holiday shopping done at the gift stop. Bonus: admission is free!

Pottery at Crock A Doodle

245 The Boardwalk

If merely looking at pottery isn’t enough for you, why not try painting your own! From mugs and bowls to garden gnomes, Crock A Doodle has something for everyone on its giant pottery shelf. Pick what you’d like, paint away, and pick it up once it’s been fired in the kiln. This is a great way to de-stress during the exam season or to spend a Sunday with your friends.

Break out at KW Escape

505 Conestogo Rd. Unit 12

While being stuck in a room together (with seemingly no way out) might feel a little too close to the student living experience for some roomies, many find that there’s no better way to escape the winter blues than by attempting an escape room adventure. This activity is a little pricier than the others, but is well worth the experience.