Here is your ACN-Approved Healthy City Guide to the best vibrant living Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario has to offer!
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario is vibrant small Canadian city with a young community full of students and a growing tech scene. I like to say that the city is made up of one part high profile tech companies, one part picturesque landscapes and one part granola culture, making it a pretty perfect place to visit in Canada.
Kitchener-Waterloo is located in the Grand River Valley and the city has an extensive community trail system running through parks and along the shores of the Grand River. Visitors flock to the trails for hiking, biking and exploring nature.
The city is home to two large markets, St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market and the Kitchener Market, and many healthy restaurant options.
Where to Eat
Thrive Energy Lab. Vegan dine in, take out or grab and go! Thrive offers some of the best salads and bowls in town (try the pad thai or the falafel bowl… mega yum). They offer a wide variety of salads, bowls, sandwiches, smoothies and juices which are all vegan, but packed with flavour. Closed Sundays – which is typical Kitchener-Waterloo behaviour.
Pure Juice Bar + Kitchen. A go-to downtown Kitchener healthy lunch spot. Breakfast options like acai bowls and smoothies and lots of different grain bowls for lunch. They also have a selection of delicious treats that are mostly refined sugar and gluten-free. The protein balls at Pure are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Goodvibes Juice Co. This place is mostly fresh pressed juices and nut milks, but Goodvibes also offers a few food items like salads and yogurt parfaits.
Arabesque. One word: hummus. This is the kind of place you can get addicted to, and believe me I am. Arabesque has a takeout counter where their full menu of shawarma, falafel plates/wraps and more is available to go. They also have a sit down restaurant. A few months ago, my sister was on a strict no-sugar, no dairy diet and Arabesque was one of the only sit down restaurants we were able to go to without too much hassle. Being middle eastern, most of the flavour bases are in spices and lemon juice as opposed to being loaded with sugar. A nice perk to a delicious spot! Tip: make sure to try their homemade hot sauce – it’s awesome.
Cafe Pyrus. Pyrus self-describes as the “rockin’est vegan cafe in Kitchener with an organical, botanical, sideways view on food.” Some of my favourites there are the angry vegan sandwich and the chai shake. They also have some more indulgent vegan items like veggie burgers and burritos.
Jane Bond. This unique vegan restaurant and live music venue serves up delicious vegan options like cauliflower coconut curry and lentil cashew burgers.
Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters. Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters is one of the newest, and the best, coffee shop in town. It is the sister location of another top spot – Death Valley’s Little Brother – but this location offers more healthy eating options. Find fresh salads, cold pressed juices and chia puddings to complement your perfect cup of coffee or loose leaf tea. If you go, ask for Joel and tell him “a Brodie Sister sent you.”
The Kitchener Market. Only open on Saturdays, The Kitchener Market offers a wide variety of products including prepared foods, meat and produce. The market is open year round, but features an extended outdoor market in the summer months. Tip: visit near market closing (2:00 pm) for some great discounts!
Legacy Greens. Legacy Greens specializes in produce and local foods including prepared foods such as hummus, fresh cut fruit & veg, salads and more. They also have small scale farm operations in Atwood, Ontario.
St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. The St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market and is open Saturdays and Thursdays (plus Tuesdays in the summer). The multiple buildings feature a wide range of offerings including locally prepared foods, meat, produce and tons of food vendors.
Full Circle Foods. A small local health food store. Full Circle Foods has a really good selection of products for its size. Everything from locally made kimchi to a great bulk foods section featuring natural nut butters.
Eating Well Organically. This is a health food store in uptown Waterloo with a good organic bulk section and large selection of organic produce.
Farm Boy. Mostly a regular grocery store, but the Farm Boy salad bar and the quality of their produce is a cut above. Also, there is just something magical about their avocados…those things are always perfectly ripe!
Goodness Me! Goodness Me! is a large health food/grocery store in Waterloo. The store offers a wide range of organic and natural groceries, supplements, bulk foods and healthy lifestyle products. Plus, they ship free across Canada!
David’s Gourmet. This grocery store meets grab and go lunch counter is the perfect place to bang out groceries and lunch in one stop. Their salad bar is one of the best (and best priced) in town and they have a wide array of hot pre-made lunch options. Fiddleheads smoothies is located in the store so you can also get a shake to go with your lunch.
Yoga and Fitness
Midtown Yoga. The only Bikram yoga studio in Kitchener-Waterloo. I wish I could get to this studio more often, but it always seems like a trek, as it’s located in Belmont Village. It really isn’t actually that far from downtown though, so maybe making it out more often should be my goal…care to join me?
Moksha Yoga Waterloo. I love this yoga studio! The classes are great, the staff is nice and there is a good variety of class times. Sometimes you just can’t drag yourself out of bed at 6:00 am for yoga and this studio makes that okay – and much easier to do.
Queen Street Yoga Kitchener. This lovely studio is in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Queen Street Yoga has a good variety of class levels (no hot yoga) and also hosts a variety of multi-week or day long workshops (inversions, hip opening, mindfulness, the list goes on…).
Grand River Rocks. A great rock climbing gym near downtown Kitchener. They have a wide array of climbs including different levels of bouldering problems and an auto-belay wall.
Canoeing The Grand. Take in the Grand River in a canoe, kayak or tube with routes ranging from 1 to over 10 hours. They offer rentals as well as shuttle services from your end point.
Victoria Park. Lovingly called the “jewel of the city”, Victoria Park is a beautiful outdoor space nestled in downtown Kitchener. In the summer the park offers open spaces for soccer/football and there are rinks in the winter.
Walter Bean Trail. The Walter Bean Trail spans almost 80kms across the Grand Valley River region.
Where To Stay
The Walper Hotel. The Walper Hotel has been downtown Kitchener’s premier hotel since it was opened in 1980. In Fall 2016 it re-opened after extensive renovations and is now an upscale urban oasis.
Are you from Kitchener-Waterloo? Taken your own healthy adventures here? What did we miss? What are your favourite health spots?