What about entertainment...
SLC (Student Life Centre)
The SLC is home to a variety of associations (such as Imprint and most dance clubs) and acts as the go-to place for student-related events. In this poorly-lit building filled with the poorest furniture choices you’ll ever encounter, you will often be greeted to such treats as club days, in which representatives of all the various on-campus clubs will encourage you to seek out an extracurricular activity; poster days, where both original artwork and cinematic posters are displayed for purchase (perfect if your dorm room is looking pretty bare); market days, when students set up stands and sell homemade products (accessories, cool inventions, etc.) and so much more. Stop in and check to see if anything’s going on!
CIF (Columbia Icefield)
If you live in fear of the freshman fifteen, are interested in varsity sports, or just want to play some intramural dodgeball with some buddies from residence, CIF is a well-rounded sports complex that can meet your needs. With several courts, an ice rink (both for hockey and free skate), a gym with good-quality equipment, and a studio that houses clubs like yoga and kendo, I encourage you to dust off those old running shoes and get over here for some good physical activity. Your membership is included in your fees, after all, and all those late-night slices of cake from Mudie’s won’t sweat themselves away.
PAC (Physical Activities Complex)
The PAC certainly isn’t as new or nice-looking as CIF, and its gym equipment is sorely out of date (not to mention lacking), but it does hold some gems. With two gyms, eight squash courts, a rock-climbing room, a swimming pool (free swim is available to all — hours can be found on the PAC webpage), a golf simulator room, two volleyball courts, and cycling and activity studios, anyone looking for a workout should be able to find something that suits them.
Museum and Observatory
Did you know that EIT (Centre for Environmental Information and Technology) has an earth sciences museum you can wander through?
Also, do you have an interest in astronomy? UW has a pretty spiffy telescope located at the top of PHY (Physics), and it’s open for public viewing the first Wednesday of every month.
On campus plays, clubs, events
While UW may not be known for Drama, we certainly have a lot of very talented actors. In fall and winter the UW Drama Department puts on top-notch plays, which I recommend seeing. These plays take place in the ML (Modern Languages Theatre) and are usually about $10 per ticket.
Join a club or organization, seriously. Most clubs meet weekly or bi-weekly, so it’s a good way to keep yourself busy, but not too busy.
The wonderful thing about the UW campus is that there are always things going on. These events may be hosted by one of the faculties, an organization, or a club, and usually they’re accessible whether or not you belong to that group.
Uptown Waterloo basically looks like someone removed Westboro from Ottawa and plopped it back down in southern Ontario. For those who have no idea what Ottawa’s Westboro region is all about, Uptown is essentially a collection of little shops, restaurants, and pubs — some belonging to chains, others privately owned and operated — that collectively make for a great day of shopping, a night out on the town, or just a couple of hours spent wandering aimlessly. You’re certain to find something that tickles your fancy, since Uptown features everything from American Apparel to Different Strokes, a pot paraphernalia store.
At 300 King St. E in downtown Kitchener, the Kitchener market is a fantastic source of fresh fruit and veggies, international cuisine, and specialty items. Those interested may also choose to partake in cooking class series offered by professional instructors. While the lessons are a tad pricey, they’re worth it for first-year students who want to learn how to cook healthy, balanced meals for themselves. A selection of fantastic special events and children’s programs are also run out of the market, which makes a great option for mature students who are raising a family.
St. Jacob’s is a quaint little village populated primarily by Mennonites. Most of the establishments here are family owned; as you walk along the main street, you will be greeted by glassblowing shops, bookstores, furniture, clothing, and accessory stores, vintage shops, a restaurant or two (Stone Crock has delicious weekend brunch buffets for a decent price), and a bakery with pastries that are to die for. The only unfortunate thing is that it’s not easily accessible if you don’t have a car. The 21 line to Elmira will take you straight there from Conestoga Mall, but it doesn’t run very often and can pose an inconvenience.
This establishment, open Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., has been voted #29 out of the one hundred best dance clubs in the world. I don’t doubt it, either. Beta features a very simple layout: with high ceilings, a bar, bathrooms at the back, a raised DJ set at the front and an enormous dance floor, this club has been optimized for wild dancing and free movement. Prices for alcohol are absurd, but that’s nothing a little pre-drinking can’t solve; as far as I know, it’s kept pretty clean (which is more than I can say for Revolution), and experience has told me that the creeper population is low. And can anyone say free ladies’ night on Fridays?
Shopping! Just like anywhere else, the mall can be a good time waster. Conestoga has the usual assortment of stores for clothes, health and beauty, food, entertainment, and more.
Conestoga has a movie theatre right beside it — which is very convienent if you don’t have a car, as Conestoga also has a bus terminal.
Another neat thing the Conestoga mall offers is a museum. The museum has antiques and artifacts from the local area on display.
And if you need a little cute in your day, just walk down King to the pet store and visit some of the animals.
Speaking of visiting the animals, right past UWP (University of Waterloo Place) is Waterloo Park, which includes a petting zoo. It’s a great spot for kids and students alike.
Head to the University Plaza, grab a bubble tea, and head out for a walk in the park with someone you like. It’s definitely a nice date location, which affords plenty of opportunity to talk — or distractions if things get a little awkward.