As many of you know, I grew up out in the country, a 20 minute drive east of Peterborough, which we always referred to as “town”. Then when I started teaching, I lived right in the heart of the city (Charlotte Towers to be exact) for three years, before building a house out in the country in the other direction, 30 minutes west of Peterborough.
Whether hanging out in this city is a staycation for you, as it is for us, or whether you’re planning on visiting from afar (it’s worth the trip!), today I’m sharing tons of ideas for things to do in the beautiful city of Peterborough. Some are from my own personal experience, while others come from a social media roundup where locals and frequent visitors shared their suggestions with me for this post.
Where To Eat
My personal faves:
- Berc’s Steakhouse (we recently took my parents there for their 40th anniversary)
- The Olde Stone Brewing Company (a downtown pub)
- Gerti’s (another great downtown pub, one of many on Hunter Street – most have patios and many have kids’ menus)
- Rare Grill House (for special occasions)
Recommended by others:
- The Night Kitchen (made-from-scratch pizza, and they deliver)*
- Planet Bakery* (this one had several nominations)
- The Food Forest*
- Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream
- Brick House Craft Burger – just down the street from the movie theatre, burger and movie deals available
- St. Veronus
- Hot Belly Mama’s (a few recos, and one said “Best authentic Cajun good around. Excellent quality. Superb staff. Great ambiance. Best value.”)
- Ashburnham Ale House
- Silver Bean Café (open from May to October, this one’s on the water downtown in Millennium Park)
- Riley’s (with kids’ menu)
- Ariyana Middle Eastern Food
Peterborough also offers a huge variety of the chain restaurants and fast-food joints that you know and love (heavily concentrated on Lansdowne Street and Chemong Road), and what may very well be the highest ratio of Tim Hortons per capita in the country.
Where To Shop
Growing up, we would often head out of town to shop for holidays or special occasions. With Peterborough’s growth, it’s now rarely necessary to venture elsewhere. (I’m not a Costco gal myself, but this addition to the city was monumental for many shoppers!)
When it comes to “the mall”, Lansdowne Place offers a large array of stores and services, with enough to please most discerning teenagers (which is the real test).
Downtown shopping is a different story entirely, and you can find many independent and unique shops while strolling the city streets.
Several locals on Twitter recommended farmers’ markets like the Peterborough Farmers’ Market, which is open year round and offers local, fresh produce, meats, dairy, cooking and crafts. This is a must-see for an authentic Peterborough experience.
What To Do With Kids:
There is no shortage of family fun in Peterborough, and much of it is free!
- Riverview Park and Zoo: A favourite destination for families (and class trips), this zoo is FREE to visit (though you really should spring for the $2 miniature train ride). It’s not just about animals: kids can spend hours on the splashpad and huge playground as well.
- Canadian Canoe Museum (reasonable admission, children under 5 are free and there’s no charge on Thursday nights)
- Peterborough Museum and Archives
Play Street Indoor Playground (there’s a fee, but may be worth it on a rainy day. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed the birthday party she attended here)(Now closed)
- Galaxy Cinemas (we’re a real movie-loving household and we visit this Cineplex theatre often, with kids and without. For those who enjoy the big-screen experience – even for an old movie – they offer “Family Favourites” presentations on Saturday mornings for $2.50)
- Peterborough Musicfest (free outdoor concerts in a range of genres on Wednesday and Saturday nights all summer at Del Crary Park)
- Wild Water and Wheels (go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, etc. Every time we drive by the girls ask when they can go. “Someday!”)
- Jackson Park (walks, bike rides, popular wedding photo spot)
- Beavermead Park (with beach and camping available)
- For winter fun: Skating at the Lift Locks or tobogganing on Armour Hill. (In high school, the purpose of driving up Armour Hill with your sweetheart was not for tobogganing. Or so I was told.)
- Rogers Cove in the East City area of Peterborough (one local remarks “beautiful with playground, lake and splashpad all in one spot!”
Since I live in the area, I don’t have much expertise when it comes to accommodations, though I know the Holiday Inn downtown is in a very central spot, and backs right onto the lake. On our wedding night, we had a beautiful suite at the Best Western Otonabee Inn, but I really have no relevant details from that stay that I wish to share with you here today.
So…for all of those familiar with Peterborough, what have I missed that you would recommend? Leave a comment below to share your expertise!
If you’re planning a visit, please feel free to contact me with any questions, and be sure to check out the Peterborough and Kawarthas tourism site for more info!