Dear culture seekers, Stratford has an announcement for you. You can still get your fill of arts and culture this summer. And guess what the best part is? It’s all in Stratford, where we’re safely welcoming people who just can’t help but celebrate summer, no matter the challenge.
Culture in Stratford is a serious vibe: we’re talking about live music, outdoor theatre, savoury food, and so much more! Look--the truth is, culture is part of who we are in Stratford. So we’ll do whatever we can to enjoy it while still staying safe. For those that feel the same way, we’re sharing 7 ways you can still enjoy arts and culture this summer. Choose something new from this list to enjoy, and get ready to get all the cultural hype you need!
1. Enjoy live floating barge music every weekend
Pack up your lawn chairs and head down to the Avon River. We know you’re missing concerts and live shows, but music doesn’t have to be cancelled this summer. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday you can listen to live music from local artists on the barge. That means they’ll be playing while floating on the river, and you can soak up the sun and enjoy the sweet sounds of Stratford talent (which by the way, there’s some serious talent here).
On Saturday August 1st, Hannah Thomas will be playing from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Following Hannah will be Rachelle Shubert and Paul Shilton, who will be performing from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Other artists you can catch on the barge this summer include Terry Mckenna, Phillip Addis & Emily Hamper, Mark McIntosh and Early Filsinger, and many others. These musicians are all insanely talented, covering a variety of genres including pop, jazz, classical, folk and more.
2. Rave over Stratford’s mouth-watering food with Al Fresco
Have you heard about Stratford’s new Al Fresco dining experience yet? You’re going to love it! Al Fresco features several outdoor dining spaces that fit over 200 people to safely dine outdoors with delicious takeout from Stratford restaurants. Every area features umbrellas, hand sanitizer stations, and waste and recycle bins. You can find Al Fresco dining areas at Market Square, Memorial Gardens and on Tom Patterson Island. This gives everyone a safe way to enjoy the culinary art of Stratford with their bubble.
We don’t mean to flex, but Stratford’s got some really amazing chefs and restaurants. These mouthwater dishes will satisfy any foodie’s craving. And if your timing is just right, you can dine and enjoy a live concert at the same time. Bet you can’t find this kind of experience outside of Stratford this summer!
3. Experience a drive in show—Stratford style
Not only does Stratford have it’s very own drive-in theatre, but we’ve also introduced LIVE drive-in theatre. Only in Stratford can you enjoy live theatre from the comfort of your own car. Every Thursday night at 6 p.m., you can watch a live theatrical performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Bruce Hotel. However, here’s the tea: this show contains a twist. It’s a fast and furious 80-minute performance of the production featuring just four actors that will play all the parts. That’s an impressive amount of lines to remember!
Extended until the end of August, grab a show for just $30 per ticket and add-on some serious eats from The Bruce Restaurant. Really though--what’s Stratford without a bit of Shakespeare?
4. Watch live theatre in the park, downtown, and other beautiful outdoor spaces
In Stratford, we’re a bit extra when it comes to theatre, which is why we’re bringing it safely to you outdoors. You can watch six different shows by the Here For Now Theatre Company, also at the Bruce Hotel. These shows will be on the backyard lawn, and they include a Hundred Words for Snow, Infinite Possibilities, The Dark Lady, Whack!, Instant Theatre, and I See the Crimson Wave.
And if you’re wondering whether or not there’s a story you’ll enjoy, know that these plays include stories involving history, improv, poetry, murder, coming-of-age and so much more! All you need is to purchase your tickets, grab a cozy blanket, and enjoy these live productions from some of Stratford’s amazing actors and writers. You can catch these shows on Sundays, Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.
5. Cuddle up under the stars for outdoor movies
Don’t be salty about not being able to go to the movie theatre. Stratford is presenting movies under the stars! For just $30 for two adults or $5 for children, you can watch movies at the Grand Trunk Railway Shops Parking Lot. Don’t forget to pack snacks and cozy up with your bae or bud for these movie spectaculars. These shows are hosted by Queen of Square Cinema, and they allow for spacious seating across the lot so you can enjoy the shows safely. Catch Despicable Me 3 on Saturday August 1 or Pretty Woman on Sunday August 2. You bring the bug spray, we’ll bring the entertainment! What a mood. Don’t miss the Stratford Festival lineup offered each Tuesday at no cost. These performances on film will fill up so grab your tickets in advance!
6. Breathe in the fresh air at our parks and outdoor trails
There are a ton of walking trails, gardens, and parks all around Stratford where you can get outside, breathe some fresh air, and get moving your body! We’ve all been indoors for long enough. Now is the time to catch as much sun as possible, and there’s no better place to do that than on scenic trails.
Walk along with Avon River in Stratford to see swan, duck and geese natural habitats, and maybe catch a live show or two while you’re there! Hit up Shakespeare Gardens for a beautiful botanical getaway and picturesque views. Bring your bike and go to Wildwood Conservation Area for a fun bike trail that’s perfect for a solo ride or with the whole fam. Pack a picnic and visit St. Marys’ Milt Dunnel Field for a view of the waterfalls; roll up your pant legs and walk in the water under the falls too! The options are endless for those who just need to get outside for the most natural kind of art--nature itself.
7. Shop local and discover Canadian-made treasures and artistry
Whether you’re a fashionista, a knick-knack collector, a self-proclaimed chef, a home decorator extraordinaire, an enthusiastic gardener, or simply just looking for a take-home gift, Stratford has got you covered with many amazing shops, vendors and artists. Not only will you meet the most friendly shop owners and staff all over Stratford, but the treasures here are truly like no other. We’re not basic about shopping here!
Stratford also has some amazing art galleries and antique shops where you can bring home something really unique. From woodworking, paintings, to quilts, you can find something new from local artists and crafters that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Stratford shopping is lit, and your face will light up when you visit and find a new treasure!
Discover art and culture in Stratford this summer!
We know how much you’ve missed music and live shows just as much as we have. Turn your cultural dreams into real life. You need a full-on cultural experience to remember for your lifetime, and you can get that here safely in Stratford.
We’re ready to see you when you’re ready to come. Visit our website to find out more about everything you can do in Stratford and where you can stay while visiting us! We’ll see you soon.