02.12.24 | Peterborough

5 Fun Things To Do In The City Of Peterborough Right Now

Updated for 2024.

Peterborough residents experience an incredible quality of life throughout each season of the year. Summer, winter, fall or spring, the potential for residents to enjoy the city hasn’t changed. You and your family will discover no shortage of things to do as you get out to explore your neighbourhood. 

Here are five fun ways to spend a day in the City of Peterborough right now…

1) Check out the lift lock

Peterborough’s lift lock is a national historic site. Built in 1904, it’s a must-visit for anyone who’s interested in learning about the city’s past or even to just enjoy the breathtaking view of the water.

Put simply, a lock is a contraption that makes navigating waterways more manageable. A watercraft enters one gate, which then closes. The lock raises (or lowers) the water level that the boat floats in, then a second gate opens to let it pass seamlessly through. To understand the mechanics, you have to see this ingenious concrete and steel device in person!

A visitor’s centre located right beside the lock offers simulations of what it would be like to go across the lock in a boat. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in this technological wonder! 

Interesting fact: The Peterborough lift lock was once the largest in the entire world at an incredible 65 ft high. Today, it’s one of Peterborough’s most fascinating tourist destinations and provides fun-packed adventures all year long. 

  • On warm days, you can explore the vibrant downtown core, where a host of unique shops, cafes, and restaurants awaits you. 
  • When the mercury drops, you might get a chance to visit the lock up close and personal – on skates! Just watch out for the green flag that indicates the ice is safe. 

The list of fun things to do in Peterborough and the Kawarthas is endless! Here are a few more ideas to try one day:

2) Walk the Great Trail

The Great Trail (also called the Trans Canada Trail) is the perfect place for a jog, stroll, or bike ride. The scenery is stunning, for one. And at 27,000 kilometres (connecting three different oceans), it’s also the longest recreational trail in the world. Luckily, the section that runs through Peterborough doesn’t disappoint.

The local 10-kilometre stretch of the Great Trail cuts through downtown. It also passes the lake, offering some beautiful waterfront views along the way. You can start planning your route here.

If the Great Trail seems a little too ambitious, Peterborough also offers tons of smaller parks and green spaces where you can escape for a few hours. Grab a book or your headphones and get ready to relax while you bask in the glory of nature for an hour or two. Here are just a few more beautiful places just waiting to be explored:

  • King Edward Park: Located on George Street, King Edward Park features a splash pad for the summer and an ice rink in the winter. It’s also a peaceful place to ride a bike or enjoy a relaxing picnic.
  • Ashburnham Memorial Park: A covered picnic pavilion, stunning bridge, and creekside path make Ashburnham Memorial worth a visit any time of year. Fall is especially spectacular with the explosion of colour all around!
  • Farmcrest Park: Don’t forget about your four-legged friend as you’re planning your fun afternoon in Peterborough! Farmcrest Park features not one – but three – leash-free zones to accommodate dogs of various sizes and energy levels. The beautiful shores and amenities of Beavermead Park are also nearby, which means there is lots of fun to be had for your whole family.

Want to know even more about Peterborough’s incredible parks? Check out All About Peterborough’s Stunning Green Spaces.

3) Spend a day downtown

Downtown Peterborough is charming, lively, and—for all you cycling enthusiasts— bike-friendly. It’s also a great place to explore an eclectic mix of businesses and services that make it easy to shop local! 

And did you know that for every $100 you spend within city limits, approximately $48 goes right back into your community? That fun fact alone makes it worth it to get out and start exploring the city right now. Below are just a few options to get you started:


  • Avant Garden Shop: Whether or not spring is in the air, it’s a good day to see what Avant Garden Shop has to help turn your yard into an outdoor paradise! From bird feeders proven to keep those cute-but-pesky squirrels out to beautiful decor items and even happy socks, you just never know what you might find. The shop also features the creations of more than 75 Canadian artists, which means it’s also a great place to start searching for that perfect gift item.
  • Couture Candy PTBO: If you’re craving something sweet, Couture Candy has just the thing! The long list of confectionary treats includes freeze-dried candy, cotton candy, a wide assortment of chocolates, and so much more. You can also grab a mystery treat box if you can’t bring yourself to decide.
  • Knock on Wood: Does your house need a makeover? Some brand new furniture from Knock on Wood might do the trick. There are always lots of new arrivals in store, from accent pieces and bedding to custom furniture and upholstery. 

Want to know about even more great places to visit? Check out Our Favourite Small Businesses in Peterborough


When you’re ready for a bite to eat, you’ll find a wide variety of options that will suit even the fussy eaters in your family. If all that shopping has caused you to work up an appetite, here are a few great places to refuel:

  • Dr. J’s: An award-winning barbeque joint that will get your mouth watering, Dr. J’s serves up succulent smoked brisket, side ribs, pulled pork and more.  
  • Gerti’s: When you’re looking for a little comfort food, Gerti’s has your order. Crispy chicken BLT, sweet potato fries, and classic nachos are just a few items on the menu. 
  • Revelstoke Cafe: For those seeking inventive plant-based dishes, Revelstoke Cafe provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Even meat lovers will appreciate dishes like Buffalo “Chickn” Wrap and Mushroom Sammie! 

4) Take in some art

Are you looking for a little culture? The Art Gallery of Peterborough hosts truly engaging exhibits of all kinds. It’s also home to a wonderful permanent collection, which features some of the finest Canadian and European works you’ll find anywhere.

The venue also hosts several fascinating exhibitions and events throughout the year such as “Artists in Conversation” and “Curator Talk & Tour.” Finish up with a visit to the gift shop, and you’ve got yourself a day to remember.

The gallery is well worth a visit, both for the artworks and the splendid Georgian house where they reside.

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, you and your family can also head out to the Kawartha Arts Festival. This exciting event began in 1989 and is now one of Southern Ontario’s largest art festivals, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

Thinking about buying your next home in Peterborough? You may enjoy the related posts below:

5) Enjoy a night out

If you’re looking to unwind with a drink or delicious meal at the end of the day, you will be right at home in Peterborough! For starters, some of the county’s best beers and spirits are crafted right here in the city. Take a look for yourself:

Haven Brewing Company is a local favourite that specializes in traditional, European-style beers. The brewery also offers delivery and pickup options, which are ideal for those who prefer to stay home right now. If you’re more of a vodka, rye, or gin drinker, check out Black’s Distillery!

Whatever types of activities you enjoy, there’s plenty of fun to be had here in the city! Once you step outside to see what Peterborough has to offer, you will never get tired of exploring.

Do you want to know more about living in Peterborough? That’s a subject we are happy to discuss at great length! Reach out today to team@jeffandkatie.ca or call 705-243-9797 to start the conversation.