Skyline view of Wellington Rd. in downtown London, Ontario Canada.
  • Overhead view of inside the Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario

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    What to See On Your First Visit to London, Ontario

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    • Author Tourism London
    • Date October 16, 2023
    • Category Things To Do
    • Categories
      Arts & Culture, Music & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Things To Do, Shopping & Retail, London Music Office
  • Welcome to London, Ontario, Canada! Let us give you a few ideas about what to see on your first visit to our wonderful city.

    Skyline view of Wellington Rd. in downtown London, Ontario Canada during sunrise

    From markets, restaurants, theatres, museums, nature and local stores and goodies!

    Be sure to include Tourism London in the conversation by tagging your pictures with #ExploreLdnOnt!

    MARKET fun

    Covent Garden Markets rotary square filled with tent vendors and people.
    Covent Garden Market, London, Ontario - Instagram

    Spending the day in London for the first time would not be complete without a self-guided exploration walk! Park your car in the underground parking garage at the iconic Covent Garden Market to start your journey.

    Since 1845, this market has been a local favourite featuring a year round indoor market as well as a seasonal outdoor market. Enjoy sips of premium loose-leaf tea from The Tea Haus, or delight in some delicious baked goods from Hot Oven

    Various vendors selling fresh produce at Covent Garden Market located in London, Ontario
    Covent Garden Market • London, Ontario



    A Chefs dream

    A women preparing food on a counter in Jill's Table.
    Jill's Table - @jillstable Instagram

    If you are looking to "level up" your home cooking or are a professional chef, be sure to check out Jill’s Table, located right by the Covent Garden Market. The store is an active community hub showcasing local food artisans, cooking classes or in-store demonstrations. Shop the specialty food items, cookware, bakeware, cookbooks and more! Jill also features fantastic recipes on the website that are updated regularly to provide that sometimes much needed inspiration. 

    Traveling with someone who doesn't want to watch you shop? No problem! Wandering around King and Talbot Streets for a variety of restaurants, bars and cafés. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee from Saga Board Games & Coffee and pick out a board game to play. 

    Discover Sidetrack: A King Street Café in downtown London, a tranquil escape for relaxation, reading, coding, or writing. Then, explore You Made It Café, part of Youth Opportunities Unlimited, offering a diverse menu, catering, and 'Mushed by YOU' products crafted by youth, supporting positive social change through proceeds.

    A family enjoying a card game and drinking coffee atSaga Board Games & Coffee located in London, Ontario
    Saga Board Games & Coffee • London, Ontario


    event driven

    Budweiser Gardens building and sign lit up by a sunset.
    Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario - @brianfawthrop Instagram

    From concerts to sport games, you could plan your first visit to London around an entertaining event! Budweiser Gardens is home to the London Knights and the London Lightning. Check out their website for family shows or a variety of other events that you can attend and experience while in London, Ontario.

    A large crowd of people watching a hockey game from the London Knights live at Budweiser Gardens located in London, Ontario
    The London Knights at Budweiser Gardens • London, Ontario

    For the perfect spot for pre-show/game dinner or drinks, visit The Squire Pub & Grill. Be sure to try a delicious plate of nachos or their 7 oz. house-made all beef burger! Or try London’s upmarket eatery, Abruzzi Ristorante for house-cured charcuterie, risotto or a plate of amazing handmade pasta - yum!

    delicious delight

    A delicious meal of eggs, bacon, and hash browns from the The Early Bird.
    The Early Bird, London, Ontario - @simplycolombian.4you Instagram

    Okay, hear us out...Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese! It is mouth watering, delicious and so worth the visit to The Early Bird. Find other trademark diner fare including the king-sized turducken club with turkey and sweet tea-brined crispy chicken and waffles. This legendary eatery features a unique atmosphere with record covered walls, art, posters and other interesting artifacts that will spark interesting conservations during your meal. They do not take reservations as they operate on a first come first serve basis, so make sure to leave yourself some time to indulge!

    Indulge at Frank and Furter's, your go-to for delicious American comfort cuisine with daily drink specials and a relaxed atmosphere. Open every day, they also offer catering and party options. For an elevated dining experience in London's entertainment district, head to Vice Supper Club for local food, craft cocktails, and live music. Private event space and group bookings are available.

    Historical site

    Middlesex County Court House at night.
    Middlesex County Court House, London, Ontario - @mreleganza Instagram

    While in the downtown core towards the river, you'll see the Middlesex County Court House, built to resemble the Castle of Malahide, located near Dublin, IrelandConstructed in 1827 to 1829 as the first court house in London, the space was also used as a public gathering spot, a market and a hanging spot for those punished to death. Now the home of Middlesex County Offices, the grounds make a great photo opportunity! 

    Want to learn more about historical sites in London? Read A Brief History of London, Ontario blog here.

    Arts and Culture

    Ariel view of Labatt Park.
    Labatt Park, London, Ontario - @bri_adventures16 Instagram

    Take a walk around The Forks of the Thames which is the centerpiece of the Thames River redevelopment. You will see the Walter J. Blackburn memorial fountain, the newly re-finished Blackfriars Bridge and the new upper pathway that goes from the bridge to Labatt Park.

    Afterwards, you can pop into Museum London to view the museum’s art collection or walk north to the historic Eldon House to tour the stately residence and its striking heritage gardens.

    Two females observing several works of art on display at Museum London located in London, Ontario
    Museum London • London, Ontario



    Dundas Place

    A women holding a polaroid photograph of the owners of Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery in front of their storefront.
    Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery, London, Ontario - @downtownlondon Instagram

    Dundas Place is a destination for shopping, dining, art and celebration. From Wellington to Ridout Streets, Dundas Place is a flexible street shared by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. With extra wide sidewalks and no curbs, parking spaces can easily transform into patios, be used for sidewalk sales or by street performers. Dundas Place can be closed to vehicles for special events and programming click here to see upcoming events.

    Be sure to stop at the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery. A place for ceramic art lovers and collectors, featuring Canada’s largest collection of modern museum quality ceramics. Browse in the neighbourhood and check out the amazing vinyl collection at Grooves.

    Explore Über Cool Stuff for unique gifts and designer toys. While you're still on Dundas Place why not visit The TAP Centre for Creativity, a hub of creative experiences? For authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine, try Udupi Krishna, and don't miss Billy's Deli for memorable meals since 1983.


    Two males observing several ceramic works of art on display at Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery located in London, Ontario
    Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery • London, Ontario


    London's downtown skyline.
    London, Ontario - @leoquija_nights Instagram 

    Shop 'til you drop at upscale local shops like David E. White and Hangar 9 along with other chic boutiques. Richmond Row is also home to some of the most diverse restaurants in the city. Rest your feet and take a seat! Bring your appetite to some of London's most treasured eateries such as Garlic's of London, The Church Key Bistro-Pub, Toboggan Brewing Co. and Joe Kool's. End your dining experience with a latte or dessert at Black Walnut Bakery Cafe.

    Commonwealth Coffee serves exceptional local craft coffee while fostering community connections. Find comforting beverages, delightful treats, and a warm local welcome at this cozy spot.

    Interested in a patio? Check out the The City's Most Popular PatiosHidden Gems and Top Nightlife Spots blogs to find the perfect place for you. 

    Interior view of Toboggan Brewing Co., located in London, Ontario
    Toboggan Brewing Co. • London, Ontario



    The downtown THEATRE Scene

    The Grand Theatre from the outside during the day.
    The Grand Theatre, London, Ontario - @thegrandlondon Instagram

    Within the downtown core, take in a play at the Grand Theatre, one of Ontario’s most venerated venues. For dinner before the show, indulge in some locally-sourced fare from “swear by” spots like David’s Bistro or Milos Craft Beer Emporium, one of Ontario’s premier craft beer destinations also known for its farm-to-table food.

    If you are with a younger entourage the Original Kids Theatre Company is for you! This theatre is exclusively dedicated to enriching and celebrating young talent through positive values and the arts, in a safe and stimulating environment.

    Learn more about London's Theatre Scene here.


    A male and female observing the interior of Grand Theatre located in London, Ontario
    Grand Theatre • London, Ontario


    neighbourhoods & Hiking 

    Trees in the Kilally Meadows Environmentally Significant Area.
    Kilally Meadows Environmentally Significant Area - ESA, London, Ontario - @londonenvironet Instagram

    London is home to a number of unique neighbourhoods that all feature something different about them! Experience A Day in Wortley Village or take in all that Old East Village has to offer.

    Two males walking on a wooden planked path surrounded by trees in Sifton Bog located in London, Ontario
    Sifton Bog • London, Ontario

    Enjoy nature at your own pace! London has a number of Unique Natural Areas with different spaces where you can stretch your legs, find peace and solitude and go forest bathing! The City of London is home to over 490 parks, green spaces, sports fields, trails and natural areas. Don't miss a stroll  or bike ride on the Thames Valley Parkway, situated on scenic park lands along the Thames River, the TVP is the City’s primary multi-use recreational trail. 

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