Things to Do in Aurora: Fun Activities This Weekend in Aurora Ontario
The community of Aurora, Ontario, a bustling town of around 55,000 people, is a vibrant place to visit or call home. It's located just north of Richmond Hill and is known for its historic downtown core at Wellington Street and Yonge Street. The community is stunning, with older architecture and lots of green space.
For those thinking about moving to Aurora to one of the luxury homes or perhaps a townhome in Aurora, it's important to know what there is to do in the region. Each neighbourhood that makes up Aurora is different, but a few adventures are to be had throughout the area. From outdoor experiences to arts, culture, and nightlife options, there are plenty of fun things to do in Aurora.
Aurora Outdoor Adventures
Aurora is in the heart of a beautiful natural area. It's home to plenty of beautiful, wide-open areas in which to appreciate nature. Filled with outdoor spaces, hiking and biking opportunities, parks, and more, there's never a shortage of outdoor fun.
The Parks Division for the city manages 62 parks that make up 800 acres of land throughout Aurora. Many parks link to a trail system that offers about 62 kilometres of running, hiking, walking, and dog-walking paths. Here are some of the local favourites:
Town Park Aurora: This is the central city park in town and is the location of many outdoor events during the warmer months—it's also one of the best things to do with kids in Aurora. There are concerts here every Wednesday in the summer and events and activities throughout the year. It has a splash pad, food vendors, a summer farmer's market, lots of playground equipment for kids, and a baseball field.
Ada Johnson Park: There's a large parking lot on the west end of this popular Aurora outdoor venue. A large part of the park is converted into an ice skating rink during the winter. It has numerous sporting, recreational, and family events throughout the rest of the year. Kids can play on the jungle gym or the splash pad. Tennis and badminton courts are free for the public to use. Restrooms and picnic areas are available for use.
Lambert Willson Park: This park is located within the Aurora Family Leisure Complex. It has multiple baseball fields, playground equipment, a skateboard park, and jogging trails. In the wintertime, there's a posted hill for tobogganing and sledding. The Aurora Community Arboretum is located within the park's grounds.
While the summer months are too cold for many outdoor water activities, Aurora boasts a few fabulous experiences for those who love the water. Kayaking and canoeing are popular in the Aurora area, although some of the best spots are outside town. Lake Wilcox is directly south of Aurora in Richmond and is home to Richmond Hill Canoe Club. Lake Simcoe, another favourite spot to get out on the water, is located to the north of Aurora near the luxury homes for sale in Georgina.
The Black River, which runs through Durham and Georgina, is a slow and wide three-kilometre place to paddle past luxurious waterfront homes in a peaceful setting. The East Holland River, north of Aurora near homes in Queensville, is a faster-moving body of water. There are some motorboats here, so use caution when canoeing or kayaking.
Those who want to cool off during the summer months can enjoy splash pads in five city parks:
- Ada Johnson Park
- Edward Coltham Park
- Stewart Burnett Park
- Town Park
- Trent Park
For some exercise or enjoy a family swim, there are indoor pools at the Aurora Family Leisure Complex and the Stronach Aurora Leisure Complex. Both offer lane swimming, aquafit programs, and leisure swimming. The Stronach complex has three pools: a standard pool for lap and family swimming, a teaching pool for learners, and a therapy pool for aquatic exercise and recovery.
Hiking & Biking Trails
Aurora's parks, town facilities, and green spaces are connected by more than 62 kilometres of well-maintained trails. These multi-use trails are open year-round for walking, hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing. Most trails are covered with compact gravel, although some paved asphalt sections exist.
Here are some of the most beautiful outdoor spots for hiking and biking. Note that leashed dogs are welcome on every trail.
Thornton Bales Conservation Area: This area is just northwest of Aurora. It has a steep, woody, 1.1-kilometre loop trail through a lovely conservation area.
Sheppard's Bush & Oak Ridges Trail: Sheppard's Bush is a wooded area with trails that branch out in several directions from the middle of Aurora. The 6.5-kilometre trail is rated as an easy hike and takes about an hour and 20 minutes to complete on foot.
Nokiidaa Trail: This 20-kilometre trail connects Aurora, Newmarket, and Gwillimbury. It wanders through wetlands and numerous city parks and has connection points to several other trails in the area.
Tom Taylor Trail: The Tom Taylor Trail has less shade and more sunshine than some other trails in Aurora. It's 8.5 kilometres long and takes about two and a half hours to hike.
Aurora Community Arboretum Loop: The Arboretum in Aurora is one of the most beautiful spots in the city to visit. The 2.4-kilometre loop trail circles around the Arboretum and offers the chance to see many local birds, plant life, wetlands, and occasionally some wildlife.
Willow Farm Trail: The Willow Farm Trail is an easy 6.75-kilometre trail that runs between Orchard Heights Boulevard and Younge Street.
Others include the Tim Jones Trail, the longest option in the area running from Vandorf Woodlot to Vandorf Sideroad. The Klaus Wehrenberg Trail is a nicely wooded, off-pavement trail that runs from Tim Jones Trail to Sheppard's Bush.
Aurora is a golfer's paradise with three private and two semi-private courses within the city limits. Here's a quick snapshot of the great golf courses in Aurora.
Beacon Hall Golf Club: Private 18-hole, par 72 championship course. This is the only US Open qualifier course located outside of the US.
Lebovic Golf Club: Private 18-hole, par 70 course and clubhouse completed in 2015. Lebovic is less challenging than Beacon Hall and about 1,000 yards shorter overall.
Magna Golf Club: Private 18-hole, par 72 course built in 2001 and designed by architects Doug Carrick and Cam Tylers. Magna Golf Club presents a challenging course with a clubhouse and pro shop, cart rentals, and a teaching pro.
The semi-private courses in Aurora are St. Andrew's Valley Golf Club and the Westview Golf Club:
St. Andrew's Valley Golf Club: Located in the north part of Aurora, St. Andrew's is considered one of Canada's top-rated courses. It's an 18-hole, par 72 course. Each hole has its own unique character with sand and water hazards and fun slopes to deal with. Tee-It Forward tee decks offer an excellent opportunity for golfers who are just learning the sport—they also help seniors to keep playing the game they love.
Westview Golf Club: Westview is one of the oldest and most well-established courses in the area. It was built in the early 1960s and has 27 holes available for play at a reasonable price. Greg Martin, a PGA of Canada pro, teaches private and group lessons on-site. Tee times can be booked up to two weeks in advance.
Other Outdoor Activities
Ice skating and hockey are extremely popular in Aurora, and three public indoor rinks are open year-round for families to enjoy. They're located at the Aurora Family Leisure Complex, the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex, and the Aurora Community Centre.
Several outdoor skating rinks, accessible from any of Aurora's neighbourhoods, are provided during the winter months, usually from January to mid-March. All of the rinks are open daily from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. Here are the parks where outdoor skating is available in Aurora:
- Town Park
- Ada Johnson Park
- Machell Park
- Confederation Park
- Stewart Burnett Park
One important thing to note about skating in Aurora is that the many ponds within the city limits are not safe for skating. They are all stormwater ponds, which means there is running water beneath the surface of the ice pack. The ice is not thick enough for safe skating, so stick to the public rinks!
Aside from skating, there are dozens of sports fields maintained throughout Aurora that are available for public use, so long as there is no school or local league game. Locals can always find a spot to go out and kick a soccer ball around, toss the frisbee, or otherwise get in some outdoor exercise between May 1 and October 15. There are 18 baseball diamonds and 69 soccer fields scattered throughout the town.
There's much to do when it comes to adventures outdoors. It's also important not to forget the Aurora Wildlife Park, a natural preserve that began construction in 2022. It is sure to add to the beauty of the natural spaces here.
Aurora has several shopping areas. The largest is SmartCentres Aurora, which contains numerous restaurants and shops, including Walmart Supercentre, Reno Depot, Best Buy, and Golf Town. This large shopping center on Wellington and 404 is a hub for most shopping needs and large box retailers. A total of 25 shops are located here, including service providers and restaurants. It's the go-to for most needs.
For those seeking other shopping options, the city has a few strip malls and standalone shops throughout it. St. Andrews Shopping Centre is located close by on Orchard Heights Blvd. It has a grocer and other smaller retailers.
Most Aurora residents are within only a short drive of most of these shops and others nearby. For smaller artisan shops, consider the downtown area of the city. This walkable area offers a few locally owned establishments worth exploring.
As a moderately large city, there's plenty to enjoy when it comes to restaurants in Aurora. The community offers many large international chains and a handful of the very best local eateries hard to overlook. Aqua Grill is a solid option for those looking for a romantic evening out, offering seafood, pasta, and meats with locally sourced produce. Keg Steakhouse & Bar is another fantastic location for a higher-end meal, a classic steak and seafood place noted for its upbeat atmosphere. Fishbone Kitchen & Bar is another local favourite. The food here is more eclectic and decadent, but it is truly a special place to dine.
Check out Locale Aurora, recognized for its burgers, lamb, steaks, and salads for a dine-in meal. For those seeking an upbeat and more contemporary vibe with Italian food, check out Casa Carbone Ristorante. One of Aurora's best options for Asian cuisine is Minami Sushi Japanese Steakhouse.
Arts & Culture in Aurora
Aurora is a vibrant place to live, and a part of that is its local culture. It's a place where people come to life to support each other, share stories, and have a few good laughs. There is a lot of history in this area, too. Here are some cultural and arts experiences to enjoy in the city.
Museums are a mainstay in getting to know an area, and Aurora has a few. The Aurora Historical Society & Hillary House is one of the best. The Aurora Historical Society manages this beautiful home with stunning architecture.
It can also be fun to visit the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame located on Wellington St. It celebrates local and national sports figures from years gone by and more recent times. Also notable is the Elman W. Campbell Museum in the nearby city of Newmarket. It tells the story of the first Quakers who settled in the area in the 1800s.
The Patrick House Art Studio and Gallery is a treasure offering local art on display and touring exhibits. Take in something new each time by visiting often. The Aurora Cultural Centre is a unique combination of an art gallery and an event hall. The gallery section is stunning, with vibrant artworks by both national and international artists. Exhibitions change here often. The Wellington Gallery, established in 2004, provides one-of-a-kind works from numerous notable artists, mostly from Canadian artists.
Experiencing dance and the arts in a more immersive environment is possible at the Canadian Children's Theatre Co. It's a fabulous way for kids to get into the fine arts, including dance, plays, and musicals of all types. There are fun nights, camps, and many programs to try out.
Another option is Marquee Theatrical Productions offering youth education and adult productions and a full dance academy. It's one of the most vibrant of all experiences in the city.
The Theatre Aurora puts on numerous productions, ranging from musicals to plays, often with incredible performances by touring artists. It is also a local production company.
In addition to these cultural experiences, locals may also wish to look into the performances available through local high schools and community centres. There are many performances and festivals in the area during the summer months.
Having fun in the evening is easy to do in Aurora as many restaurants, nightclubs, and bars offer lots of into-the-evening fun. One of the options to check out is Lava Bar & Lounge, a hookah bar that's like no other. There are always people having fun and getting to know each other here. Additionally, DNA Bar & Lounge is a fantastic place to visit. There may be a comedy show or live music happening here.
The Marlowe Restaurant and Bar has a lounge that's open late. While this is a restaurant known for its exceptional quality food, it's also a special place to visit for dining and dancing, something it offers regularly. There is also room here for private events. Filly & Co is more laid back than others, but it still provides a lively place to grab some food and drinks. It's a popular hang-out spot during big games. Live music also happens here at various times of the week. Filly & Co aims to be the neighbourhood pub everyone wants to visit.
St. Louis Bar and Grill is another solid location to visit for some fun. It's open late into the evening and the perfect place to have a few drinks with friends, dance, or hang out at the bar.
Explore All That Aurora Offers
There is a strong vibrancy and energy in Aurora, Ontario, evident in the city's numerous activities, attractions, and amenities throughout Aurora's best neighbourhoods. For those looking for a lot of fun and a place to get outdoors and get in some exercise, Aurora may be the ideal choice. For those thinking about buying a home here, or perhaps one of the condos for sale in Aurora, get to know the area by checking out these attractions first.