The Getaway
15 Things to do in Peterborough, ON

Nestled along the Otonabee River in the heart of Ontario, Peterborough is a vibrant city that offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and outdoor adventure. Known as the gateway to the Kawarthas, 'The Electric City' shines with its friendly atmosphere and an array of activities that cater to all interests. Whether you're a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply in search of a charming Canadian cityscape, Peterborough promises an unforgettable experience.


01 Explore the vibrant downtown

 Peterborough downtown

Stroll through the bustling streets of Downtown Peterborough to discover a blend of unique shops, delightful eateries, and local art galleries. The area hub for entertainment with its array of live music venues and theaters, downtown provides a taste of the city's cultural scene, with its historic architecture and seasonal festivities ensuring a lively visit, day or night. Use this area as a starting point when you want to immerse yourself in the local vibe.


02 Visit the Canadian Canoe Museum

Canadian Canoe Museum

Delve into Canada's rich canoeing history at the Canadian Canoe Museum if you're interested in the country's outdoor heritage. This unique institution houses an extensive collection of canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft, sharing the stories of indigenous peoples, early explorers, and fur traders. The interactive exhibits provide a hands-on experience for all ages, while workshops and events here celebrate the enduring legacy of canoe culture in Canada.


03 Take a cruise on the Lift Lock

Peterborough Lift Lock

Experience the engineering marvel of the Peterborough Lift Lock, the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world, when you want a unique perspective of the region's waterways. Visitors can enjoy a scenic cruise on the Trent-Severn Waterway, marveling at the lock's ingenious design as if lifts and lowers boats with ease. This National Historic Site of Canada serves as both functional infrastructure and a testament to early 20th-century innovation.


04 Enjoy the beauty of Jackson Park

Jackson Park

An oasis of greenery in the heart of Peterborough, Jackson Park draws in locals and visitors alike with it picturesque walking trails, charming bridges, and a serene creek. Take a leisurely walk here, enjoy a family picnic, or simply relax in the tranquility of nature without leaving the city limits. The park's extensive network of paths connects to the Trans Canada Trail, simplifying further exploration into the scenic beauty of Ontario's countryside.


05 Experience the Art Gallery of Peterborough

Art Gallery of Peterborough

The Art Gallery of Peterborough showcases contemporary visual arts with a focus on local and regional artists, drawing in art enthusiasts in the process. The gallery's rotating exhibitions and educational programs make it a dynamic space for exploring the creative pulse of the community. With its location on the shores of Little Lake, this gallery also offers a picturesque setting for art lovers to enjoy both indoor and outdoor art installations.


06 Attend a performance at Showplace Performance Centre

The Showplace Performance Centre serves as a cornerstone of Peterborough's performing arts scene, offering a diverse lineup of theater productions, concerts, and dance performances. This state-of-the-art venue displays the city's commitment to the arts and provides top-notch entertainment for visitors. The rich programming schedule ensures you can always find captivating events to attend, no matter the season.


07 Discover the Riverview Park and Zoo

Riverview Park and Zoo

Encounter a variety of animals and enjoy recreational activities at Riverview Park and Zoo. This family-friendly zoo houses over 25 animal species, and the park here features a splash pad, playground, and scenic train ride for a perfect destination for a day of fun. The zoo's commitment to conservation and education offers an informative experience that resonates with visitors of all ages.


08 Wander through the Peterborough Farmers' Market

Peterborough Farmers' Market

The bustling hub of Peterborough Farmer's Market lets locals and visitors alike sample fresh produce and artisanal foods, and shop for handcrafted goods. Held weekly, the market celebrates the region's agricultural heritage and makes a great place to connect with the community. The vibrant atmosphere and the opportunity to meet local farmers and artisans truly reflects Peterborough's spirit.


09 Relax at Little Lake

Little Lake

Little Lake, a gem in the heart of Peterborough, offers a peaceful retreat for boating, fishing, or simply soaking in the views. The lake's Musicfest brings the community together with free concerts throughout the summer, making it a lively spot for entertainment and relaxation. The surrounding parkland and marina provide additional recreational options that let visitors enjoy a full day of activities by the water.


10 Explore the Trent University Campus

Trent University Campus

The stunning campus of Trent University is worth a visit for its architectural beauty and natural setting along the Otonabee River. Take a guided tour, attend public lectures, or enjoy the campus's open spaces and modernist buildings designed by renowned architect Ron Thom. The university's integration with the environment makes it a prime example of sustainable design and a peaceful place for reflection.


11 Play a round of golf at Kawartha Golf & Country Club

Male practicing golf on sunny day Morsa Images / Getty Images

Tee off at the Kawartha Golf and Country Club when you want to play a round at a challenging, beautifully maintained course. With its rolling fairways and strategic hazards, the club provides an enjoyable round for golfers of all skill levels amid the picturesque landscape of Peterborough. The club's history dates back to 1932, adding a sense of tradition to your golfing experience.


12 Take a historical walking tour

peterborough downtown

Explore Peterborough's rich history through guided walking tours that highlight the city's architectural landmarks and historical sites. These tours offer insights into the stories and events that shaped the city, making them a fascinating activity for history buffs. The knowledgeable guides bring the past to life for a deeper understanding of Peterborough's development and heritage.


13 Visit the Peterborough Museum & Archives

Peterborough Museum

The Peterborough Museum and Archives presents a window into the past, with exhibits covering the natural and cultural history of the area. The museum's interactive displays and educational programs make it an engaging destination for visitors interested in learning about the region's heritage. Located atop Armour Hill, the museum also provides panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.


14 Enjoy outdoor activities at Beavermead Park

Beavermead Park

A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Beavermead Park features a sandy beach, volleyball courts, and ample green space for sports and recreation. The park is also a gateway to the Rotary Greenway Trail, a scenic path for hiking and cycling that stretches across the city. With its location on Little Lake, this popular spot for water sports lets you kayak and ride a stand-up paddleboard.


15 Sample local brews at a Craft Brewery

Peterborough's craft beer scene thrives, with several local breweries offering tours and tastings. Sample a range of innovative brews, meet the passionate brewers, and learn about the craft beer-making process while enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the city's taprooms. The breweries often feature seasonal and experimental beers, reflecting the creativity and community spirit of Peterborough's local businesses.


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