A Local’s Guide to Downtown Kitchener Art Walk Tour

The Downtown Kitchener Art Walk tour features 90 outdoor art installations dotted throughout the streets of the city’s downtown core. And the best part is- it’s free!

Seeing Kitchener-Waterloo as my hometown, I frequently pass by some of this street art as I visit some of my favourite places in downtown Kitchener. But, a lot of it is tucked away and unless you are searching for it you’re likely to miss it! So, I decided to intentionally seek out all 90.

Plan your next road trip to Kitchener Ontario to check out this thriving arts community. And, let this be your best guide and art walk map where I will share the best of the best all within proximity to each other with a suggested restaurant or activity to do.

Downtown Kitchener Art Walk: How it Got Started

laneway with street art in downtown kitchener art walk
Goudies Lane

When the pandemic hit us the hardest, the city of Kitchener decided to create an outdoor art gallery with 90 amazing art installations and murals in the downtown core. You can find them on the side of brick walls, storefront windows and in parks and public squares. It is now referred to simply as DTK Art Walk.

Because they were outside, there was no fear of social distancing or masks required. It was a way for locals to get outside during the pandemic and find a little joy in their community. It was also a way to profile some of the local talented artists.

Now that the pandemic is over, these art murals and installations add a little character to the city. It’s a bit of a cool factor, that makes Kitchener a bit unique compared to other cities in Ontario.

Best of Downtown Kitchener Art Walk

Take 5

Let’s start with a short loop, maybe 10-15 minutes of walking time, bringing you to 5 art installations. A couple of these will feature a walk back in time where you will learn about Kitchener’s historical roots. 

  1. Indoors Out (LCBO Courtyard on King St W)
  2. Taking Care / Care-Taking (30 Water St N)
  3. Horsepower (200 King Street W – at Duke St entrance)
  4. Anvil (200 King St W – at Duke St entrance)
  5. Downtown Kitchener Outdoor Mural (across from City Hall on King Street)

Local’s Tip: Finish your tour of these 5 and support locally-run, and my personal favourite, Cafe Pyrus. The entire menu is all plant-based and even those that are not vegan won’t know the difference – it’s that good! This healthy restaurant caters to the breakfast and lunch crowd. In fair weather, enjoy the outdoor patio.

An even dozen

Enjoy discovering this group of 12 art murals near each other. It might require you to look up, way up, as a few of these are featured on the back of buildings.

Local’s Tip: If you are looking for a coffee fix, be sure to stop at Show & Tell Coffee.

  1. Welcome / We are All the Same / Grandchildren’s Joy (102 King St W)
  2. Celestial Mechanics (102 King St W)
  3. Ontario Alley (30 Ontario St)
  4. You Go First (48 Ontario St N)
  5. The Electrohome (Side of Duke St parking lot on Ontario St N)
  6. Great Horned Owl (8 Queen St – back facing Ontario St)

Then follow your way to Kitchener’s best-kept secret – Goudies Lane. The once docking area has been turned into a cool hangout spot – complete with lights dangling between buildings and picnic tables to sit at while you admire the art murals.

  1. The Goudie Mural (entrance through Queen St N)
  2. Goudies Lane No. 5 (entrance through Queen St N)
  3. Goudies Lane No. 4 (entrance through Queen St N)
  4. Goudies Lane No. 3 (entrance through Queen St N)
  5. Goudies Lane No. 2 (entrance through Queen St N)
  6. Goudies Lane No. 1 (entrance through Queen St N)

The 11 on Halls Lane Kitchener

Head to Halls Lane, a hidden laneway, that runs parallel to King Street in Kitchener. The part running between Ontario and Queen Streets is where you will find this grouping of 11. Close by, there is no shortage of locally run, ethnic fast-food eateries. Everything from sushi to African to Caribbean. 

  1. Halls Lane No. 4
  2. Kinship
  3. Left to Right: House Fire; Alight; Remember To; We are the Same Beings
  4. Halls Lane No. 1
  5. Halls Lane No. 2
  6. Halls Lane No. 3
  7. The Condor and the Eagle
  8. We’Wha
  9. Grizzly Bear
  10. Who you are…
  11. Cultured Pallets: Saib

Local’s tip: End your tour at my favourite, AOK Craft Beer + Arcade, where you can sip on a local brew while playing some retro gaming. The entrance and patio doesn’t get any cooler than their very own art mural.

art mural of deer in downtown kitchener art walk

A 6-pack

Let these 6 art installations lead you to Kitchener’s largest park – Victoria Park. End your tour here with a stroll around the lake.

  1. Zhashagi (60 Charles St – Halls Lane)
  2. Recognize Everyone (60 Charles St parking lot)
  3. Shy Shayeste (44 Gaukel Creative Workspace)
  4. In the Keep of Change (44 Gaukel Creative Workspace)
  5. City Owayseug (Gaukel St)
  6. The Luggage Project (Victoria Park at Gaukel St)

About Kitchener

Kitchener is an hour west of Toronto. Kitchener and Waterloo (or K-W as we locals like to call it) are two cities, often referred to as one. Kitchener-Waterloo is known for its tech employment, with one of the highest concentrations of start-up entrepreneurs in the country.

With two universities and one community college, these two cities have a youth vibe, as well as being family-friendly.

With the backdrop of the Grand River, there is a network of nature trails that take you from St Jacobs to Cambridge. Not to mention the countless number of craft breweries, locally-owned restaurants, and of course, this up-and-coming arts community. 

Nearby Places to Visit in Kitchener

If you do plan to come to Kitchener, here are some other things to do to add to your day:

  • Aberfoyle Antique Market: Located just a short drive from Kitchener, the Aberfoyle Antique Market is one of Canada’s largest outdoor antique markets, featuring over 100 vendors selling a wide range of antique and vintage items. Note: this is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Elora: The charming small town of Elora is just a 30-minute drive from Kitchener and is known for its historic downtown, Elora Gorge, and nearby Elora Quarry Conservation Area.
  • St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market: Just a 15-minute drive from Kitchener is the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, which is one of the largest farmers’ markets in Canada (open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). Afterwards, visit the charming village with a historic downtown full of cute shops. St Jacobs is one of the best small towns in Ontario to visit.

FAQ About DTK Art Walk

Where is the art walk Kitchener?

The art walk in Kitchener can be found in and around the downtown core of the city. Streets between Victoria, Weber, Benton and Joseph with the main street being King Street.

Is the Kitchener art walk free?

Yes, the Kitchener art walk is free, and the art walk hours are 24/7. For a full list of all 90 art installations with details of the artist and location, you can download the digital version to your phone.

Is there a guided tour of the Kitchener art walk?

Yes, there is a guided tour of the Kitchener art walk through the local tour company, STROLL Walking Tours.

How many artists participated in the Kitchener art walk?

There are over 43 local talented artists who had the opportunity to contribute to the 90 art installations.

As a Holidaymaker

This free outdoor art gallery builds a sense of community. Not only does it showcase some amazing talent telling an important story, but it also brings locals and visitors to the downtown core. It adds a little edge to its character.  

For more Ontario inspiration for weekend getaways or day trips visit my Canada Travel page which features all of my articles.

From small towns like Bayfield and Goderich in the west to Picton, Bloomfield, and Wellington in Prince Edward County in the east. I try and cover the province focusing on small towns and hidden gems.