7 Fun & Festive Things to do in Stratford for Christmas
Want to get in the holiday spirit? Then consider a winter getaway in Ontario that will have you singing along with carolers, browsing an enchanted Christmas Market, and getting in the gift-giving mood with one-of-a-kind treasures. Where is this? Not the North Pole but Stratford Ontario. There are endless reasons to visit Stratford for Christmas, from its Victorian Christmas feel to the warm and inviting people. But in case you needed more, here are 6 festive things to do in Stratford for Christmas.
There are always endless things to do in Stratford and the fun doesn’t stop when Festival Season has come to a close. Every season in Stratford lends to a new mix of incredible experiences, memories to be had, and fun for all ages. But November and December in Stratford sparkles with the hint of magic. While there’s so much going on in Stratford, from tea parties at Revival House to festive concerts, the following are my top picks for things to do in Stratford for Christmas!
7 Best Things to do in Stratford for Christmas
If you’re looking for amazing winter getaways in Ontario then add Stratford Ontario to your list of places to go! This charming city with a small town vibe is full of festive activities. Start planning your holiday getaway with this list of the best things to do in Stratford for Christmas.
Stratford Christmas Market
There’s no better way to get in the festive spirit than with a visit to a Christmas Market. And Stratford’s Christmas Market is a must! Home to dozens of vendors selling everything from unique gifts to tasty homemade treats, it’s a great place to start your visit to Stratford.
Along with incredible desserts, most of which come from local businesses, there are plenty of vendors selling unique items that make for great gifts. Like Wild Violet Pottery, where you’ll find beautiful ceramic mugs, you may recognize them from Revel! And there are also blacksmith demos, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, fire pits to warm your mitts by, and other family-friendly activities.
And for the kids, or child at heart, there’s a magical carousel set up to ride into the Christmas spirit on!
Very Merry Mini Markets
Don’t worry if you either can’t make it to the big Christmas Market or want a little more market fun in your life. On weekends from the end of November through December, you can enjoy Stratford’s Very Merry Mini Markets. This pint-sized Christmas Market is a great stop on your Stratford Christmas itinerary. With over 10 vendors, carolers, the carousel, and Santa himself are just perfect for some holiday shopping or if you’re looking to pick up some festive treats for your holiday party.
One thing I love about Stratford is its desire to encourage visitors to wander its downtown and support local businesses. And a great way to do this is on one of their many trails, there’s the Chocolate Trail and the Bacon & Ale Trail which both run all year long. But for those looking for something festive to do in Stratford, there’s the Christmas Trail which only runs from November through December.
How does it work? You can purchase your Christmas Trail package online or at the Stratford Tourism building downtown. The package comes with 6 vouchers and a trail map and pamphlet with all of the businesses participating. Most are within Stratford’s downtown and a few are located just outside Stratford in neighbouring St. Marys and Shakespeare. Each business participating offers a specific item that you can get in exchange for one of your vouchers.
Some of my favourite finds on the Christmas Trail include a lovely Lucia candle from Bradshaws, a fun and handy foldable tote from Touchmark, and an ornament from the Stratford Festival Shop that is stuffed with fabric from the Festival’s costumes.
Whether you’re looking for a special gift for someone or for yourself, the Christmas Trail is an incredible value. The package costs $30+HST but within two items it pays for itself. And it’s a lovely way to explore downtown Stratford’s shops, especially at this time of year when they’re all dressed in cedar, big bows, and sparkling lights.
TIP: If you are visiting Stratford for the day and planning to do the Christmas Trail try to do it during the week or on a Saturday. Some shops are not open on Sundays.
November 1 – December 20, 2021
Related Post: Things to do in Perth County
Parade of Lights
Nothing says Christmas is coming than a Santa Clause Parade. Stratford’s is called Parade of Lights and shows off over 50 floats parading through town. There’s also carolers singing, free hot chocolate and food in front of City Hall. It’s a great way to end the day as it starts as the Christmas Market wraps up.
Winter Festival of Lights
It isn’t Christmas in Stratford without their latest festival, Lights On Stratford’s Winter Festival of Lights. This innovative festival brings a whole new meaning to enjoying festive lights. Stratford comes alive with incredible and colourful light displays that range from structures, like 2021’s Sky Castle at Market Square, to fun displays lighting up buildings throughout town.
December 17, 2021 – January 28, 2022
Looking for more light displays? Check out these holiday lights in Ontario!
Holidays Art Show & Sale
Another great event in Stratford to help get you in the festive spirit and maybe even find a unique gift or two is at the Holidays Art Show & Sale. Here you’ll find one of a kind, handmade gifts made by local artists in Perth County. There’s everything from jewellery to clothing and paintings to festive décor items. Beyond the shopping, you can enjoy the indoor café with treats from Revel, live music by local musicians, and even indulge in a glass of wine in support of a local charity.
Canceled for 2021
Open Kitchen Class
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, Stratford Chefs School Open Kitchen has an awesome way to try something new with their Holidays Hanukkah Party where you can enjoy cooking decorating, learn to play dreidel, and learn to make and try traditional Hanukkah foods like potato latkes and sfganiyot.
Related Post: Why Visit Stratford in the Fall
Festive Day Trips from Stratford
If you’re staying in Stratford on a winter getaway and looking for more festive things to do near Stratford then you’re in luck! There are a bunch of great small towns near Stratford that host an array of fun things to do for the holidays.
Whether you’re visiting Stratford for the weekend or just a day trip this holiday season consider popping over to St. Marys. Only a 20 minute drive from Stratford, St. Marys has their Holiday Light Display up in Milt Dunnell Field where you can take in their magical winter lights display on foot or by car. And closer to Christmas their offering horse-drawn wagon rides.
November 15 – January 5
If you’re looking for more things to do in Perth County there is a wealth of outdoor activities, small towns to explore, tasty farm gates, and something for everyone – from solo travellers to families!
Another must-visit stop in St Marys for Christmas is the Do You Hear What I Hear Exhibit at St. Marys Museum. The exhibit tells the tale of the origin of popular Christmas carols and more. Warning – you may walk away singing your favourite Christmas carol.
December 2 – 20, 2019
What’s more enchanting than a castle at Christmas? Castle Kilbride may not be your traditional castle but this grand Victorian mansion, which was built in 1877, is a dreamy day trip from Stratford. Only a half hour west of Stratford lies the small town of Baden where you’ll find Castle Kilbride all dressed up in her festive garb, with beautiful Christmas trees, sparkling ornaments, and extravagant décor. There’s also a special addition this year, a charming Dicken’s Village display.
November 19 – January 6
If you’re looking to take in a play you’re in luck! While the Stratford Festival has wrapped for the season but is less than an hour drive away you can take in A Huron County Christmas Carol in Blyth. And this year the star is a blind, young boy playing Tiny Tim from Stratford that will knock your stockings off!
Select dates from November 28 – December 22, 2019
Where to Stay in Stratford in Winter
If you’re looking to spend a weekend in Stratford or a few days you’ll need to find the perfect place to stay. There are so many great bed & breakfasts, inns, and hotels in Stratford as well as other accommodations. Many of these offer reduced rates during the off-season!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Stratford Tourism and was gifted the Christmas Trail packages. But as always, all opinions expressed are my own.
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