Exploring the Stratford Chocolate Trail and so many more Things to do in Straford with Kids

If you are looking for Things to do in Stratford, Ontario, you are in luck. Stratford has a vibrant and diverse array of experiences waiting to be explored including the Stratford Chocolate Trail.

Whether you’re a culture connoisseur, outdoor adventurer, food enthusiast, or shopaholic, Stratford offers an inviting canvas for memorable day trips or brief getaways. There are lots of Things to do in Stratford with Kids, especially during the warm summer months.

Nestled along the picturesque banks of the Avon River in southwestern Ontario, you’ll find the charming city of Stratford, just a short two-hour drive from Toronto.

Once a bustling railway hub back in the 19th century, Stratford still wears the grandeur of its past, and you can embark on a delightful walking tour through the central heritage district to admire the historic buildings that harken back to those prosperous times.

The real magic happened with the birth of the Stratford Festival, which ignited a theatrical spark that turned this city into a cultural gem.

It’s safe to say that tourism blossomed into a significant industry, and before you knew it, Stratford had transformed into one of North America’s most captivating arts towns.

Why Stratford?

Stratford, Ontario, is a delightful and family-friendly destination, steeped in cultural and artistic heritage, with its crown jewel being the internationally acclaimed Stratford Festival.

Nestled in the heart of southwestern Ontario, this picturesque city has earned a well-deserved reputation as a cultural haven and a popular place for families to explore.

There are several things for people of all ages to enjoy in this beautiful town. Whether you are looking for things to do in Stratford as an adult or simply looking for fun things to do in Stratford with kids, you are sure to find something everyone will love. 

Top Things to do in Stratford with Kids

With plenty of things to do in Stratford, you are surely going to want to visit this great place. Check out some of the best things to do in this gorgeous town. It’s the perfect place to enjoy river cruises, public art galleries, the best restaurants, and so much more. 

Stratford also has some of the best free things to do, so keep an eye out for free activities around town. No matter what you choose, some of the most popular things to do can be found in small towns like Stratford. 

Chocolate Trail

 Embark on a self-guided chocolate tour with the Chocolate Trail through Stratford, savoring exquisite creations from talented artisans and bakers. This flexible and indulgent adventure lets you explore a variety of sweet delights, from truffles to cocoa-infused pastries, at your own pace. It’s a delicious way to experience the city’s culinary culture and appreciate the artistry of its chocolate makers.

What is the Chocolate Trail?

The chocolate trail allows you to recieve six vouchers that can be used at one of 25 participating businesses in Stratford to experience the multiple varities and items of chocolate. Each person can use one voucher per stop so you can share the six vouchers with your family.

Stratford is a walkable city so if you are enjoying the Chocolate Trail or the Beer and Bacon Trail then you can eaisly stroll downtown Stratford and visit quite a few locations.

Find the full details and lists of locations on the Chocolate Trail. We stopped at the following places in 2023:

Rocky Mountain – We got a milk chocolate mask, and bought some chocolate covered sour keys

Rheo Thompson Chocolates – A single voucher for the Stratford Chocolate Trail entitles you to select four artisanal chocolate pieces from their extensive a la carte display, featuring a variety of options such as creams, caramels, barks, and specialty chocolates.

Poppin Kettle Corn – The hand-popped kettle corn they offer is incredibly delicious, prompting us to return for more! We had a choice of the enticing flavors of Decadent Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Banana.

Small Mart – This store carries all sorts of retro items from the 90s including the two retro chocolate samples

Blowes – This family owned store had been in Stratford since 1949 and is a great place to get gifts and cards. I choose some hot chocolate samples using my vouchers.

Kandy Cakes – We choose their stuffed cookie and it might be my favourite cookie to date!

Photo credit: Stratford Festival

Stratford Festival

If you venture to Stratford and miss out on a Stratford Festival performance, well, you’re missing a quintessential experience! Seriously, it’s a must-do. What makes it even more enticing for families is that they offer special kids’ ticket prices for every show.

While it’s true that some of the plays might not be suitable for the littlest ones, the festival goes all out to provide a variety of family-friendly productions and events. Just peruse their schedule to find the perfect shows for the kids.

And here’s a tip: Why stop at just one show? Seeing multiple performances is a great way to make the most of your weekend in Stratford and gain a deeper understanding of the incredible acting company.

But, and this is crucial, don’t wait until you arrive in Stratford to snag your tickets. You don’t want to be disappointed. Tickets can go fast, so it’s a smart move to plan ahead.

Avon River

Exploring Stratford’s essence doesn’t have to cost a dime, and one of the most delightful ways to connect with the city’s character is by taking a leisurely stroll along the Avon River. 

This picturesque waterway shares its name with the iconic River Avon in England and offers a tranquil setting for visitors. Begin your walk at the Thomas Orr Dam, then head northeast along the well-maintained pathway. You can even choose to have a picnic or rent a paddle boat. 

As you amble along, keep an eye out for the charming families of ducks, geese, and the majestic white swans that call this river home. The walkway is adorned with lush trees, providing some welcome shade during your journey, and offers splendid views of the historic riverfront homes. 

Stratford Perth Museum

The Stratford Perth Museum is like a treasure chest filled with over 20,000 fascinating artifacts that spill the beans on the tales of folks and communities in Stratford and Perth County from way back in the early 1800s right up to today. These historical gems, once scattered across various buildings, found their cozy home in the museum’s current location in 2008. 

Here you can explore not just the artifacts but also a Victorian home, woodlots, and scenic trails. Exciting, right? For the latest scoop on their exhibitions, just hop onto the museum’s website. There’s always something intriguing to discover!


Exploring Stratford with kids means not only experiencing the city’s cultural and historical attractions but also enjoying the great outdoors. Local playgrounds like Anne Hathaway Park and Upper Queen’s Park offer fantastic opportunities for family fun. Upper Queen’s Park is up the hill from the Avon River and is a playground that can be enjoyed by all ages.

These charming spots are equipped with play structures, swings, and open spaces, perfect for picnics and playtime. Let your kids run, climb, and make new friends while you soak in the beautiful natural surroundings. These parks are not just places for play; they’re places to create lasting family memories.

Ride the Miniature Railway

The Stratford-Perth Museum‘s summer weekend miniature railway offers an engaging adventure for kids and families. This fun ride introduces children to the region’s history and natural beauty in an engaging way while fostering shared family memories.

Photo Credit: City of Stratford


Depending on the season, add some aquatic fun to your Stratford adventure. In the summer, a visit to the beautiful Lions Pool is a must. Situated along the river, it offers not only a refreshing swim but also scenic views, making it an great spot to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Some great features about Lions Pool include:

  • Heated to 28 degrees celsius
  • 25-meter, 6 lane deep pool
  • Zero-depth beach entry into 25-meter leisure pool
  • Spray water features includes geysers, water umbrella, dumping buckets and rain showers.
  • Accessible change and washroom facilities

For a more spontaneous water experience, especially if you have kids, consider the local outdoor splash pads like the one at Anne Hathaway Park. These cheerful and interactive water features promise hours of entertainment, with children running through sprays, engaging in water games, and having a blast. It’s a convenient and perfect way to cool off and create memorable moments in the heart of Stratford.

Bicycle Rentals

Exploring Stratford on two wheels is a breeze with bicycle rentals readily available from the welcoming local bike shop, Totally Spoke’d. They not only offer a variety of regular bicycles but also have a selection of e-bikes for those seeking an extra boost. Additionally, if you’re looking to double your adventure, you’ll find bike rentals and more at the Avon Rentals kiosk right by the river.

Biking around Stratford is not just convenient but also an incredibly enjoyable way to soak in the city’s charm. With a rental from Totally Spoke’d or Avon Rentals, you can effortlessly navigate the city’s scenic pathways and explore at your own pace. The availability of e-bikes adds an extra layer of excitement, allowing you to effortlessly glide through the streets and explore farther afield. 

Indoor Play Space

One of the best things to do on a rainy day in Stratford is to check out an indoor play space. Your Way to Play Play Centre and Retail Store offers so many exciting options. This fun indoor play space offers an immersive learning space centered on play for children aged 0 to 12 years. Within this environment, children can engage in sensory exploration, foster their creativity, and interact through various forms of artistic and playful expression. Every activity is thoughtfully crafted to support their developmental progress.

Paddleboats, Canoes, and Kayaks Rentals

The Boathouse is a family-operated establishment, that invites guests to relish the scenic charm of the Avon River through paddle boat rides, canoe excursions, leisurely tours, or bike adventures. Notably, they take pride in providing an exclusive riverfront patio in Stratford, where patrons can savor delectable BBQ-cooked lunches. 

You can also enjoy a River Tour aboard the Juliet III. You will enjoy a scenic 30-minute-long tour along the Avon River. 

​Savour Stratford Farmers’ Market

The Stratford & District Agricultural Society takes pride in hosting one of Ontario’s most enduring year-round Farmer’s Markets. Featuring a diverse assembly of approximately 40 vendors, both full-time and part-time, this market offers an abundance of fresh produce, including meats, cheeses, eggs, fruits, vegetables, baked delights, canned goods, and artisan crafts. 

For those lucky enough to visit on a Saturday morning, the local farmers’ market provides a vibrant setting to grab freshly harvested, regional produce while immersing themselves in the lively ambiance. 

Art Galleries

Situated within Stratford’s historical pump house, a recognized city heritage site, Gallery Stratford is a petite yet vibrant public art gallery dedicated to visual art. The gallery offers a compelling blend of contemporary art exhibitions, including both indoor and outdoor displays. Notably, it boasts a recently established community studio that serves a dual purpose, accommodating both educational events and additional exhibition space.

Local Eateries

Explore family-friendly restaurants and cafes in Stratford, offering a chance to introduce your kids to local cuisine. These establishments provide kids’ menus and a warm atmosphere, making dining out a memorable and authentic experience for the whole family.

Shakespearean Gardens

Follow the Avon River path southwest, and as you navigate around or above the dam, you’ll come upon the Shakespearean Gardens, a delightful and free-to-explore gem. Here, you’ll discover a 65-foot chimney remnant, marking the historical site of the Dufton Woolen Mill that met its fiery fate in 1919. 

A charming but slightly steep bridge leads to a cozy picnic spot on a small island, surrounded by rows of vibrant, blooming flowers. Keep an eye out for the William Shakespeare quote about roses, nestled near a fragrant rosebush, it’s a poetic touch that adds to the allure of the beautiful gardens.

Breweries for Parents

Stratford, Ontario, boasts a burgeoning craft beverage scene, and you can embark on a delightful journey exploring several local breweries and a distillery that contribute to the city’s rich tapestry of libations.

Black Swan Brewing offers a unique and cozy taproom experience. They’re known for their wide range of craft beers, including seasonal specialties. The ambiance and attention to detail make it a must-visit spot for beer enthusiasts.

Heritage Hops Brew Co. stands out with its commitment to sustainability and sourcing local ingredients. Their eco-friendly approach to brewing is evident in the taste of their beers, making them an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious drinkers.

Jobsite Brewing Co. is an inviting brewery that often features live music events and a jovial atmosphere. Their eclectic beer selection caters to a variety of tastes, and the live entertainment adds a special touch to your visit.

Shakespeare Brewing takes its name from the city’s theatrical heritage. With a unique fusion of art and beer, they produce a range of craft brews, including some inspired by Shakespearean classics. The brewery’s connection to the city’s cultural heritage adds an extra layer of charm to the experience.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit Junction Distillery, a local distillery specializing in craft spirits. Their small-batch production methods and attention to detail create premium liquors. The distillery’s commitment to quality is evident in every sip, making it a standout choice for those who appreciate the art of spirit-making.

Sip and Savour or Bacon and Ale Trail for Parents

Stratford offers a delightful culinary and craft beer experience through the combined Sip and Savour Trail and Bacon and Ale Trail. From May to October, you can embark on a self-guided gastronomic journey, savoring the diverse flavors of the region. Purchase 6 Savour & Sip Trail vouchers to exchange at participating eateries. This culinary exploration takes you on a delightful adventure, with an array of local sweet and savory delights at your fingertips, perfect for creating your own unique picnic experience.

You can also immerse yourself in the world of craft brewing, where agricultural roots run deep. The Bacon and Ale Trail is a fantastic opportunity to discover the area’s passion for fine craft beer. Sample dishes that incorporate a variety of pork offerings, complemented by signature brews from local breweries. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a beer connoisseur, these trails offer a taste of the region’s culinary and brewing expertise, creating a memorable and flavorful experience in Stratford.

Skate Park

The downtown Stratford Skate Park, located at 270 Downie Street, is a vibrant multi-use hub for skateboarders, in-line skaters, scooter riders, and BMX bikers. With versatile features for tricks and stunts, it’s a great place to go to get some exercise and show off your tricks. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, this skatepark is the place to be for adrenaline-pumping action and a warm, inclusive atmosphere.

Alley Cat Cafe

The Alley Cat Cafe takes pride in being the exclusive cat cafe in Stratford, Ontario, and one of the limited few across the province. The cafe offers a serene and cozy environment for visitors to relax and enjoy some “purr-therapy” with adorable cats. 

For a modest admission fee to their kitty lounge, guests can savor a cup of tea or coffee along with homemade treats, all while indulging in quality time with playful kittens. The cafe’s lovable feline companions all come from local rescue organizations, serving as a foster home for Axel’s Imprint Rescue and Sanctuary (AIR), Purrfect Haven and  Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue.

This partnership underscores their commitment to cat welfare and their dedication to finding loving homes for these furry friends.

Photo Credit: Little Prince Cine

Little Prince Cine Lounge

The Little Prince Cine Lounge is a unique “cinema” and event space with a focus on community connections. It features a twelve-seat theatre also known as a micro-cinema, a welcoming Lobby Lounge and concession, and a nostalgic charm in the digital age.

It boasts a 12-seat cinema and proudly holds the Guinness World Record as the smallest operational movie theatre globally! You have the option to reserve a private screening for your family or group or arrange a cozy movie night for two. Don’t forget to indulge in fresh movie theatre popcorn, various flavors of cotton candy, and nostalgic snacks and treats!

They specialize in private and public film screenings and operate as a “Social Enterprise” with a community-first approach. Their décor blends elements from different eras, creating a distinctive yet timeless atmosphere. It’s a place to watch, listen, engage, or simply relax, leaving the worries of the world behind.

How to Get Around Stratford

Stratford’s compact layout allows for easy exploration on foot. Most of the city’s attractions, restaurants, and theaters are a short walk from one another. As you walk, you’ll discover its rich history, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, local boutiques, and inviting cafes.

If you want to venture farther, cycling is also an option. Stratford’s pedestrian-friendly design ensures convenient access to all its charms.

Explore the town of Stratford in Southern Ontario on a family day trip or longer. This charming destination is filled with outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and family-friendly attractions.

Whether you are visiting in the warmer months, or anything in between, there is something here for everyone. Perfect for family days, there is no better way to enjoy unique places like Stratford than to get exploring. 

Want to stay in the know with all things local?  Don’t forget to join our locally focus Facebook group:  Parents Resource – Open to any parents in Greater Toronto Area

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