Summer exploration


Summer staples in Burlington Downtown? Say no more!

We love a good guest blogger at Burlington Downtown! We are thrilled to welcome our friend Amber Rohal from Active Parents to walk us through those summer staples you won’t want to miss!

Downtown Burlington is a hub of activity and entertainment no matter the season, but during the summertime, it really comes alive! As often as we can, we love spending a day downtown because there’s always something different to check out.

We’ve pulled together a dozen of our favourite things to do in downtown Burlington to inspire you to visit this summer.

12 Things To Do in Downtown Burlington This Summer

1. Dofasco Waterjet Plaza is an essential stop when you have kids. This splash pad, located at Spencer Smith Park, is popular for locals and out-of-towners to visit. With high-shooting water jets, gentle misters, and lots of spots to spread out a beach towel, be prepared to spend hours here with your water babies. Washrooms are right next door, as is the 3 Bills snack bar when you need some cold drinks.

2. Treat Yourself when you choose to get ice cream at one of the various parlours and cafes that are scooping all summer. RC’S Boardwalk Fries & Ice Cream Parlour has been serving up ice cream longer than I’ve lived in Burlington and has an awesome retro vibe you’re going to love. La Crème de la Crème Creamery Inc just celebrated its 5th anniversary downtown and if you crave quality soft-serve ice cream and real Belgian chocolate this is the place for you. If you’re a gelato fan, the foodies we love rave about Crema Di Gelato and Alia’s Gelato & Café. The lineups on a summer night vouch for their yumminess!

3. Movies by The Lake is one of our summer must-dos. Where else will you see the whole community from Downtown and beyond gathered together on the lawn at Spencer Smith Park to catch a retro flick, a family favourite, or a new release? There’s not a bad seat in the house because the inflatable screen is over 15 feet tall!

4. Dine Al Fresco on one of the many patios dotted through downtown Burlington. Nothing beats soaking up some sun and fresh air while people-watching on the patio. Our favourites to visit with kids in tow are Joe Dog’s Gasbar Grill for its size and downstairs arcade. If you like the 90s and 2000s tunes and top-tier fried chicken, you will love Coop Wicked Chicken Burlington. Ask to play some Nintendo Switch while you’re waiting. Both restaurants accept the Downtown Burlington gift card, too!

5. Introduce the kids to Quality Jazz music with Jazz on the Plaza at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre. On August 12th & 13th the performers take to the plaza and serenade the downtown with beautiful music. Plus, little ones always add in a free dance performance when the music moves them!

6. Get to the Gallery. No matter the time of year, spending a day strolling through the Art Gallery of Burlington is time well spent. Not only will families love the usual draws, like unique travelling exhibits and interesting permanent galleries, but they’ll also love the new Living Library. Everyone’s creative juices will flow as you enjoy reading books and hands-on creative stations, both free to use and creative for all ages to enjoy.

7. Playgrounds never disappoint and the ones in Downtown Burlington are extra special. Families with young kids will love climbing and swinging at Apeldoorn Park. It’s got a great story connecting it to The Netherlands and its equipment is perfectly sized for the younger crew.

8. Spencer Smith Park has more to offer than most parks in Burlington and it’s always a top recommendation we share. You can plan to spend an entire day here without running out of things to do with the kids. We see families playing soccer, flying kites, enjoying picnic lunches, and racing remote control boats in the little pond. If it’s a hot day, cool off at the spray pads when you’re done at the newly renovated playground.

9. Shop the Shops of Downtown Burlington. Brant Street and the surrounding streets are home to some one-of-a-kind shops that are perfect for browsing and buying. You never know what you’ll find at ODDSPOT. They’ve got everything from sports jerseys to music swag, retro toys, and collectibles to eclectic creations from local makers. Summer isn’t complete without a new book or two and I love getting mine at A Different Drummer Books. This independent bookstore, located in a renovated house, has all the new releases you’re looking for, plus a ton of local authors as well. Send the kids upstairs to find a new novel or picture book in the adorable children’s section. We cashed out quickly and easily at both locations, thanks to the Downtown Burlington gift card.

10. Burlington Loves Bikes! Bring your wheels to the lakefront and enjoy the Waterfront Trail bike and walking paths. They’re paved and very wide, and families love them. You can start at Spencer Smith Park and go all the way to the Lift Bridge – and beyond!

11. Keep rolling! One spot we like to think of as a hidden gem is an extension to the Waterfront Trail that rolls through the residential section of Downtown Burlington. The winding path is paved and very shaded (which we appreciate) and can take you from downtown to the other end of Burlington. You can ride as much or as little as you want, any day, for free!

12. Make It A Beach Day! Burlington Beach is another family favourite destination that can keep you entertained for a full day. This popular sandy beach will be a fast favourite after your first visit. Pack your sand toys and beach chairs, and if you forget anything the team at Burlington Beach Rentals is there to help. They rent everything from beach toys to watercraft. We usually bring a picnic down, but if you prefer, enjoy the beachy eats at Dunky’s snack shack. I hear their poutine is delish!

No matter which way you choose to play in Downtown Burlington, you’re sure to make it a great day. I’ll keep my eye out for you!

Amber Rohal, owner,