Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.
Canada

The Best Guide to Downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk Tour

Kitchener-Waterloo, the place I call home for the last 4 years, is in a bit of a transition. The two cities, often referred to as one, are finding ways to protect its history while undergoing a massive revitalization. It’s most famous for its tech employment, with one of the highest concentration of start up entrepreneurs in the country. Not to mention the countless number of craft breweries and locally-owned restaurants. What binds the two cities together – is the thriving arts community.     

Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.

When the pandemic hit us the hardest, the city decided to create an outdoor museum full of amazing art installations and murals. There are a total of 90 spread throughout the core of downtown Kitchener

Since I’m a local, seeing all 90 art installations is not a big deal. But I get it, for those day trippers it might be hard to see them all. So, I’ve pulled together the best ones. Let this be your guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour. I’ve grouped them together based on location, along with a suggested eatery or activity.

take 5

Let’s start with a short loop, of 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. 

Finish your tour of these 5 and support locally-run, and my personal favourite, Cafe Pyrus. The entire menu is 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.

an even dozen

Enjoy discovering this group of 12 art murals in close proximity to each other. It might require you to look up, way up, as a few of these are featured on the back of buildings. If you are looking for a coffee fix, be sure to stop at Show & Tell Coffee. 

the first 6
Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.
5. The Electrohome (Side of Duke St parking lot on Ontario St N)
Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.
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.

the last 6

the 11 on halls lane

Head to Halls Lane, a hidden laneway, running parallel to King Street. 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. 

Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. Head to Halls Lane, a hidden laneway, running parallel to King Street.
End your tour at my recommended 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.

a 6-pack

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

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, it also brings locals and visitors to the downtown core. It adds a little edge to its character. As quoted, “Kitchener has a heart of grit that everywhere doesn’t”, it’s what makes this city stand out from the rest. Now, you’ll just have to come and see for yourself. 

If you want to do a deeper dive into the history and interesting tidbits, why not join a private group with Stroll Walking Tours. They are the ultimate storytellers. 

Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.
Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.
Guide to downtown Kitchener’s Art Walk tour, about 60 minutes from Toronto. There are 90 art installations spread across the downtown core.

49 Comments

  • Alma

    What a great idea! I’m sure it helped lift one’s spirits somewhat during the worst stages of the pandemic.

  • Josy A

    Oooh fabulous! I love street art aaaand walking, so this is a perfect way for me to spend time in Kitchener! It looks like you found yourself living in a gorgeous area! <3

  • Hannah

    Oh I love impressive street art trails! These pieces look incredible! I especially love The Electrohome! Thanks for sharing this great walking trail to see them!

  • Krista

    I had no idea there was so much unique street are in Kitchener! I usually don’t walk around the city much when I visit, so I’ll have to make sure I do next time!

  • Raksha

    What a beautiful walk. I usually love going on art walk tours and try to do it at each new place I visit. Kitchener-Waterloo looks amazing with so much of graffiti and street art. I am definitely adding this on to my list and will make sure I do this art walk.

  • Ambica Gulati

    This sounds like a lovely art walk. We have a colony with street art in Delhi, India. And it’s become the most instagrammable location in the capital. The artwork pictures that you have put up are so lovely too.

  • barry

    Love the Take 5 entry. That would be something I’d defo want to do and to have a local’s viewpoint guide me through the dispalys is unique. I often do long city walks so would take this in my stride (lol, no pun intended). These murals sre so creative and well designed. I like the ones that are framed as it gives tham a traditional feel of artwork on a wall (is that the conservative in me though?). Really love the one that has photos (?) of a building in frames on the wall structure of the mural – almost saying the mural is the building and the building pics is the artwork – great justapostion! Those walking tours you mention would be on my list if I ever got to Kitchener-Waterloo.

  • Tami Wilcox

    Ah..I love all the street art and murals! This is one of my favorite things to seek out, wherever I go. I remember finding a lot of art in Montreal, too. Loved your photos-thanks for sharing!

  • Alice Ford

    I so love that more and more cities are putting up art installations. It really brings peopl into neighborhoods and adds some life into places. We are adding more and more of these in both Los Angeles and throughout Colorado as well and I just love it.

  • Natascha

    I always enjoy finding art installations and murals in public spaces. Some of them bring you in a good mood instantly. I can see why the AOK craft beer + Arcade mural is one of your favorites. Great pictures!

  • Paul Healy

    It’s great when places responded to the pandemic in such a positive way. I’d love to visit all this outdoor art in Kitchener. The way you put the guide together is really helpful for first time visitors. I love the one of the Grizzly Bear on the 11 on halls lane tour.

  • Sarah

    Some stunning pieces of art. Loathe graffiti but love street art. Wish they would do more of this where I live, there’s just so many blank, ugly concrete walls here. A splash of colour would make all the difference. Love the pic with the treehouse, so cute!

  • Subhashish Roy

    It will certainly be a pleasure visiting this outdoor art in Kitchener. Grizzly Bear on the 11 on halls lane tour looks so nice. Victoria Park sounds interesting. I love the way you have put together the guide. Thanks.

  • Nina Bosken

    Free outdoor art galleries are the best. I love walking around and finding good street art. I definitely agree that they build a sense of community in a place.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    I must say that I have driven past Kitchener many times but have never stopped. I love the selection of street art you found. So colourful and artistic. What a great outdoor art gallery. Definitely a reason to visit.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      You’ll have to stop in on a Saturday and go to the Farmer’s Market, or attend one of the festivals they are famous for – Oktoberfest or their Christmas markets.

  • Umiko

    I like how you pair the locations of the street art with cafe, restaurant, or brewery nearby to grab something to eat/drink while you enjoy the street art or after you enjoy the street art. I’m not vegan, but you make me want to try something from Cafe Pyrus. Best of all, it’s a smart idea to bring the city back to life with these street arts.

  • Emma

    Finding local street art has to be one of the high points of any trip for me, so I just loved seeing these. I think the owl is my favorite. Vancouver has a lot of good art too and they’re always adding new pieces. I’m glad that over the last year there was an opportunity for creative work in the city where you are. I might have to check these out on my next family Ontario trip

  • Agnes

    The very name of Kitchener-Waterloo is intriguing. And since I like street art, especially murals, I would like to visit this place. Street art and installations stimulate the imagination, usually very inspiring. I want to photograph those murals. It’s great to know that they are close to each other. Great Horned Owl is my favorite!

  • cass

    I love spotting murals or exploring the street art in cities It’s always a unique experience and gives a lot of extra character.

  • JoJo Hall

    This is such a cool concept! I love how the city took it upon themselves to create an area that’s designated for art, that’s awesome!

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