What to do on your first trip to London, Ontario

By: Natalie Wakabayashi, Tourism London

London, Ontario, a city nestled in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, beckons travellers with its unique blend of history, culture and natural beauty. Whether you seek to immerse yourself in its diverse music and arts scene, taste its thriving restaurant fare offerings or simply unwind amidst its picturesque landscapes, London promises an unforgettable journey filled with discovery and delight. Come along as I tell you a few of my favourites stops not to miss on your very first trip to London, Ontario.

100 Kellogg Lane: Where Culture Meets Excitement

The world-class entertainment complex, 100 Kellogg Lane, is the first thing I tell people about when they say they’re thinking about coming to London. It’s everything you could ever want under one roof including Canada’s biggest indoor adventure park, The Factory, which includes a trampoline park, an arcade game centre, virtual reality rooms and a soft indoor kids’ playground – not to mention the world’s largest indoor ropes course! The property is home to The Club House, London’s state-of-the-art indoor sport, dining and lounge experience. And after you’ve worn yourself out with all the excitement, take a break and have a drink at Powerhouse Brewery, Paradigm Spirits, or the recently added The Beer Kitchen, a German-inspired beer garden with delicious eats. This just scratches the surface of everything 100 Kellogg has to offer, keep an eye out for Canada’s first Hard Rock Hotel opening here in 2025!

Canada’s UNESCO City Of Music

Did you know that London is Canada’s first and only UNESCO City of Music? Awarded the designation in 2021, London is now connected to the largest cultural network in the world. If you’re a music lover, this is the place for you! From an incredible selection of vinyl at local record shops to live musicians serenading you on patios and in major venues including Budweiser Gardens, London has it all.

Attending a show at the London Music Hall is always at the top of my list, as they have an incredible roster of local, national and international artists gracing the stage. On site  you’ll also find the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame. This unique, one-of-a-kind museum showcases all of London’s music history in one place. You’ll hear tales of how Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on stage at the London Gardens back in 1968. You can even get your photo taken in front the 3-story mural depicting that iconic moment just down the street on the north side of Budweiser Gardens. Music lovers rejoice!

 Enter A World Of Inspiration

London has a vibrant arts and culture community waiting to be explored. Indulge in museums, art galleries and historical sites devoted to specific collections, heritage, cultures and crafts. Personally, I love taking an afternoon to stroll through Museum London. Located on the forks of the Thames River, it’s home to regional historical artifacts detailing a fascinating record of London’s economic achievements and admission is by donation. There’s also a great coffee shop on site, Rhino Café & Bakery, to grab a bite during your day of exploring.

Raise A Glass to London’s Libations Scene

Enjoy the tastes and subtleties of the local craft beer and distillery phenomenon. Experience our well-known brewers like Labatt, local distilleries like Union Ten Distilling Co. or visit nearby wineries just outside of London. If you’re like me and love a delicious cocktail before a concert or cold brew on a hot day, I happen to like the atmosphere at London Brewing. With options on tap and in a can (to stay or to go), this local, cooperative brewery is a lively joint with backyard games in the summertime, trivia nights and live music throughout the year and so much more! Trust me, one sip and your taste buds will thank you.

Explore The Forest City

Nicknamed the Forest City, London is home to more than 4 million trees, close to 500 parks and over 330kms of walking and biking trails. My favourite is the Thames Valley Parkway. Situated on park lands along the Thames River, the Thames Valley Parkway is the City’s primary multi-use recreational trail. The 45km paved path offers scenic river crossings and beautiful views. Stop in at the Bicycle Café (located right at the forks of the Thames River) for a coffee and treat along the way! Hot tip: while exploring the green space, listen to a playlist from the London Music Office’s Spotify channel that highlights local artists across multiple genres.

With so much to see and do, London is quickly becoming a must-visit destination, and getting there is easy. The VIA Rail station is located in downtown London and many sites are walkable from there.

Check out Tourism London’s website for the best list of attractions, restaurants, upcoming events, hotels, experiences and things to do. Come see what London is all about and plan your visit today.

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