Things to see/do in London, Ontario?
October 21, 2019 12:57 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I will be in London, Ontario, for a few days. MeFites in the know: what sights/experiences should we definitely not miss while we're there?
posted by ClaireBear to Travel & Transportation around London, ON (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Downtown London is (or was, a few weeks ago) very hacked up by construction, so getting around parts of it by vehicle can be sweary. The museum downtown is rather good. If you're wildlife aligned, I have friends who have very fine things to say about Sifton Bog.

I mostly go for the food. London has some quite glorious Portuguese restaurants. It's also home of Garlic's of London for higher-end nosh. And yes, it's fairly heavy on its namesake. Its garlic ice cream can safely be described as amazeballs.
posted by scruss at 1:21 PM on October 21, 2019

I had a lovely brunch at The Bag Lady when I visited in November last year.

Also, if you happen to be ice skating fans, take a twenty-minute drive out to neighboring Ilderton. You can see the skating rink where GOAT ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir started training, as well as the four Olympic rings that mark the entrances to town. It was a fun little excursion, and the countryside there is pretty.
posted by timestep at 2:27 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Food: Los Lobos is great for Mexican, Plant Matter Kitchen great for vegan.

We went to the archeological museum, and while it wasn’t the most exciting local museum I’ve ever been to it had quite a few events on and would kill a couple of hours.
posted by tinkletown at 2:43 PM on October 21, 2019

If you like antiques and collectibles we have a quite nice antiques mall in the north west end called Memory Lane. A wide mix including some vintage clothing and lots of mid mod.
Congee Chan is a tasty Chinese restaurant which usually has a high proportion of Asian guests, hopefully a good sign. Go hungry, huge portions!
posted by antiquated at 3:10 PM on October 21, 2019

If you happen to be there on the 30th, you should go to the Rock the Rink ice show, which is Virtue & Moir's retirement tour. Seeing it in the place that's his hometown and where they trained for years would be pretty awesome.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:40 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

London is a reasonably nice ON city. It doesn't flaunt any particular tourist traps/destinations that I can think of, nor any awe inspiring nature vistas (but some pretty nice walking paths around the parks all along the Thames river). If you like architecture, there are some cool Victorian & Edwardian residences in neighbourhoods around the downtown. There is a statue of Jumbo the elephant in nearby St. Thomas ON. London itself has an interesting arts & culture history, not really reflected in an obvious manner.
posted by ovvl at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe go have a coffee at the Black Walnut in Wortley Village? Little Bird just opened in that neighbourhood, too--it's owned / run by the same owners of Los Lobos mentioned above, and it's a great breakfast spot. Craft Farmacy is another good restaurant; it's not downtown, but the food is very good.

There's also Covent Market downtown, which has some food vendors.

As ovvl says, it's not really a touristy town.
posted by synecdoche at 3:44 PM on October 21, 2019

Just wanted to second the recommendation to catch Rock the Rink, in London or elsewhere. (Last year’s Thank You Canada tour was what brought me to London, in fact.) I saw RTR in Vancouver—it’s a great show. /fangirl
posted by timestep at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yep, not a very touristy city. Like being in the belly of the beast. The most boring place on Earth. Kinda love it, still.

I'd hit Museum London, but just to sit with Tom Brenner's "As the Crow Flies" installation at the back. And the Rhino at the front. Don't know what's inside at the moment.

Hit King Street for local fare. Waldo’s. La Casa. Abruzzi. Around the corner there is the original Early Bird. Or go a bit North, find Milos', Chaucer's. And down a nasty alley, find Spagheddie Eddies.

Now that you are full (could be wrong) take a walk down Dundas. Where you can find Dundas & Sons, my favourite hole in the wall microbrewery/bar.

Or, just stay downtown and give me a call.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 8:26 PM on October 21, 2019

We don't go as often to London anymore but we always liked to hit up the Portuguese places on Hamilton Rd. We usually ended up Rei Dos Leitoes, if only for the name (King of Pigs). We also usually do Prince Albert's Diner or Campus Hi Fi for lunch or breakfast. There's the Abandoned Veterans Village which has an interesting history.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:31 AM on October 22, 2019

Also, depending what is on at the Grand Theatre might be worth a look. The theatre artists mainly come from Toronto, but also the rest of the country.
posted by miles1972 at 9:19 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed Beerlab!
posted by grouse at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2019

You are half an hour from Stratford, which is definitely a tourist town, and about 45 minutes from Bayfield, on Lake Huron. If you want day out, either town would be a great choice. Stratford has a chef's school, and lots of great restaurants. Most of the Theatre productions are over, but you might find something still on, if that's your thing.
posted by Enid Lareg at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2019

There's also the Secrets of Radar Museum (its fairly small). I think the archaeological museum can be quite charming in a old fashioned kind of way but if you're ever out that way in September I recommend their Pow Wow.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:15 PM on October 22, 2019

This suggestion would apply more if you had little kids: London has a wonky ancient kids theme park in the middle of Springbank Park: Storybook Gardens. Try to imagine a tiny, low-tech, low-budget, slightly gritty version of Disneyland set in an alternate universe kinda like London. If you are a jaded hipster like me, it would evoke warm memories. They have those funny tiny train tracks. They have an otter pool: the otters are very cute. In the middle of winter, they ice some of the curving paths for a unique skating course, which is pretty cool if you enjoy public skating.
posted by ovvl at 4:24 PM on October 22, 2019

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