Burlington is a beautiful green city nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario. It lies sandwiched between two of Canada’s most recognized physical features: the Niagara Escarpment and the Northwest Shores of the lake.
Spring, summer, fall, or winter, Burlington is a city for all seasons. So if you’re wondering what to do in Burlington Ontario the answer is simple. There’s plenty to see and do, from music festivals and beer tasting to leisurely strolling in beautiful urban green spaces. With a prime waterfront location, stunning outdoors, and a plethora of incredible gastronomic delights, the Canadian city is packed with exciting activities.
With so many attractions, choosing things to do in Burlington, Ontario, this weekend may be difficult. But, fret not. I’ve gone ahead and created a two-day, weekend getaway packed with Burlington attractions and must-see places for trips from Toronto.
Psst…If you’re looking for Burlington, Ontario, things to do for a day trip, take a look at this guide to fun things to do in Burlington, Ontario.
Table Of Contents
- History of Burlington, Ontario
- Getting To Burlington (from Toronto)
- Burlington, Ontario, Things to Do The Afternoon Before
- Activities in Burlington: Day 1
- Burlington Activities: Day 2
- A Footnote: Things to do in Burlington, Ontario – A Weekend Getaway
History of Burlington, Ontario
Burlington city is a regional municipality of Halton in southeastern Ontario. It began as a village in 1873, encompassing earlier settlements of Port Nelson and Wellington Square. In 1914, it became a town, and in 1958, Nelson township and the Aldershot area were incorporated to form Burlington.
Later, Burlington became a city in 1974. And today, the city is home to the world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens and is a popular lakeside residential metropolitan.
Getting To Burlington (from Toronto)
Burlington is located near major highways that link to the Greater Toronto Region, the Niagara Region, and the Kitcher/Waterloo area. Moreover, it’s within 45 minutes of four major international airports: Toronto Pearson, Hamilton, Kitchener/Waterloo, and Buffalo.
If you’re not keen on driving, and flying seems a bit extravagant, you can use Go Transit and Via Rail. In the city, you can use local services such as the Burlington transit and taxi companies.
Burlington, Ontario, Things to Do The Afternoon Before
Before you spend the next few days exploring and uncovering some Burlington, Canada, points of interest, there are some exciting stops to see before the fun weekend.
Cottage Country Candies Outlet (Scholtens Inc)
Firstly, once you’ve arrived in Burlington, you should head to Cottage Country Candies Outlet. On a trip, there’s nothing better than nibbling on a few sugar (free) candies, vegan-friendly jellies, chocolates, nuts, trail mixes, etc.
Royal Botanical Gardens
I hope you got your snacks with you as these gardens are the perfect place to relax, sit back and enjoy a picnic in the urban oasis. The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada and is a designated National Historic Site.
The beautiful gardens spread across 900 hectares of land, featuring various outdoor gardens, restaurants, and gift shops. It also holds one of the world’s largest lilac collections and has thousands of plant and flower species. It’s the perfect place to explore the blooms and take a leisurely stroll, enjoying the beautiful green space.
Now that you’re all settled in, it’s time for a mouth-watering, delicious meal at the Pepperwood Bistro. Choose from an array of menu options, from mussel pots and red Thai curries to gnocchi or pepperwood burgers.
Holiday Inn Burlington
The key to any successful weekend getaway is where you rest your head. The Holiday Inn is a great place to head back to and relax after a busy day. It features wifi, on-site dining options, an indoor pool, and it’s in close proximity to all popular shops, restaurants, and attractions in Burlington.
Activities in Burlington: Day 1
Once you’ve had a bite to eat at the hotel, it’s time to start your first day uncovering some fun Burlington things to do.
Nothing can quite start a day than a donut that’s handmade with plenty of rainbows and love, like at Sunshine Doughnuts. Here you’ll get to sample the freshest balls of baked dough that are tastefully coated with sugary goodness and filled with ooey-gooey sweet stuff.
Art Gallery of Burlington
Now that your belly is full and you’re about to hit a sugar rush, head to the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB), a mere 2-minute drive from Sunshine Doughnuts. Spanning across 4,100-square-meters, it’s an award-winning public gallery that hosts a number of exhibitions and activities in Burlington.
It hosts a collection of contemporary Canadian ceramics, art education programs, dedicated studios, and more.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe
Located behind the Art Gallery of Burlington, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is one of Ontario’s favourite sweet shops, offering cupcakes, cookies, cakes, muffins, and much more. Sample the snickerdoodle cookie, matcha shortbread, or one of their award-winning mile-high brownies.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe caters to all types of diets, from vegan and vegetarian to gluten-free and dairy options.
Village Square is a great destination to tickle your culinary delights, shop around for gifts, enjoy personal treats and professional services. Stroll around the cobblestone square and enjoy some modern establishments surrounded by historic architecture.
Village Cigar Company & Barbershop
The Village Cigar Company is certainly a place to pop into. Whether you’re looking to get traditional barbering services with a straight razor or sample some of the finest cigars in Ontario. Browse through hundreds of products, from cigars and apparel to ashtrays hygrometers – they’ll have it all.
The North Coal
North Coal is a mere hop, skip, and a jump away from the cigar and barbershop and is the perfect place to enjoy some delicious cuisine. Browse through their menu options, from dockside charcuterie to smoked maple short ribs and everything in between. Apart from the incredible dining experience, you’ll come to find some cool apparel in their store.
The Odd Spot
The Odd Spot is a few blocks away from The North Coal, near the lakefront and other attractions. Here you’ll find some interesting, quirky, and odd things such as records, antiques, and unique trinkets.
Nickel Brook Brewing
Head to Nickel Brook Brewing Co. and sample some craft beers brewed in their Funk Lab and uncover new heights of flavour.
They also boast a large-scale barreling program for ageing beer in over 400 whisky, gin, tequila, and wine barrels. It’s also a great place to buy their apparel, glassware, beer, and tasting kits (great for gifts too).
Spencer Smith Park
Take a lazy stroll through Spencer Smith Park and be spoiled with sweeping views of the lake, beach, and Skyway bridge.
It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic if you have time. And if you’re bringing kids along, there’s a playground for them to burn energy. The park holds an array of Burlington’s signature festivals and events including one of Canada’s largest music festivals the Sound of Music.
The Sound Of Music Festival
As mentioned above, the Sound of Music Festival is one of Canada’s largest music festivals with approximately a hundred thousand attendees over a 10 day period. It’s a definite must-see if you’re visiting and love free outdoor concerts.
The musical smorgasbord has been held every June since the 1980s, boasting incredible performances and music. Dance to a mix of tunes, from EDM, rock, and hip hop to classical, reggae, and more.
Joseph Brant Museum
After you’ve caught a breath of fresh air from the park, walk a little further along the waterfront until you reach the Joseph Brant Museum. Wander around and learn about the fascinating history and development of Burlington and its surrounding areas.
Industria Pizzeria & Bar
After an incredible day of exploring and uncovering some fun things to do in Burlington, it’s time to fill your belly with some lip-smacking food pleasures. Industria Pizzeria & Bar is a trendy pizzeria offering a fusion of modern and authentic Italian cuisine. Moreover, they provide
Brant Street Pier
Make your way to the Brant Street Pier, and take a leisurely stroll along the wharf that extends in an s-shape for 137 meters over Lake Ontario.
Located at the waterfront, the Burlington pier boasts stunning views sweeping across the lake and shoreline. It’s a fabulous spot to take a walk, snap some photos, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
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Burlington Activities: Day 2
On your second day in Burlington, Ontario, you’ll want to rise and shine early to discover some hidden gems, mouth-watering spots, and things to do around Burlington, Ontario.
Crawford Lake Conservation
Why not kick start your day and head to the rare meromictic Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Here you’ll come to see pristine waters and lush forests hugging along the top of the Niagara Escarpment.
Stroll along the boardwalk and explore the 15th-century Iroquoian Village that was reconstructed in the original site to showcase the life of Ontario’s First Peoples.
Once you’ve roamed around exploring the lake, I’m sure you’ve worked up an appetite. So, head for breakfast or a snack at the Lowville Bistro, a mere 8-minute drive away in the north of Burlington’s beautiful countryside.
Choose from an array of menu options from mushroom toast and truffle fries to bistro salads, chicken fettuccine.
Backed by Bees
One place you certainly won’t want to miss is Backed by Bees. Here you’ll get to sample some delicious products from bees, including fermented brew.
You’ll find plenty of other mouth-watering, locally-made products, including different kitchen staples, dairy products, flowers, fresh bread, and much more.
I sure hope you didn’t wolf down too many delights from our bee friends, as there’s another incredible place to sample and browse around.
Drive to Springridge Farm, where you’ll find a quaint Barn Market, Loft Boutique, and Bakery. It’s another great spot to enjoy varieties of honey, oodles of produce, and freshly baked goods.
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC) is the city’s artsy hub that features a range of entertainment options, from large-scale theatrical performances to single-person shows.
Burton Cummings, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and many famous performers have graced the 720 seaters Main stage, while the 165-seater Community Studio Theater has enthralled thousands for entertainment.
Spencer’s at the Waterfront
Spencer’s at the Waterfront hosts a stunning glass-walled dining area overlooking the patio and waters. Sample a scrumptious craft-cut steak or select a crisp avocado salad; you’ll be spoiled with an array of options from the menu.
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A Footnote: Things to do in Burlington, Ontario – A Weekend Getaway
Burlington, Ontario, is a city packed with incredible attractions and places to explore. Whether you’re looking to stroll along the s-shaped promenade, sink your teeth into some lip-smacking donuts, or sample some craft brew, there’s something for everyone.
So, now that we’ve uncovered what to do in Burlington this weekend, it’s time to grab your walking shoes and cameras and get packing for an exciting time in this lakeside city.