2 Day Solo Getaway to St. Jacobs

Have you every felt the urge for a quick getaway? You lack the time and/or money to travel abroad? Your family and friends are busy and you have nobody to travel with? I get it. We’ve all been there. That’s when a quick solo weekend away is in order.

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Ontario has so many amazing staycation destinations, which makes it difficult to determine where to go. When in doubt, I usually choose a quick weekend trip to St. Jacobs. The shops, food, vibe, and old-fashioned, laid-back style of living never disappoints. Afterall, this is what St. Jacobs such a popular tourist destination. For the first time solo traveller, St. Jacobs is the perfect destination to get your feet wet in the world of solo travel. It’s a completely safe small town with little to no crime. This should give you a bit of comfort as you wander the streets alone. This little gem is even safe after dark (although there isn’t much open past 8:00 p.m.).



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In this post, I will provide my recommended two day itinerary for a solo visit to St. Jacobs. I acknowledge that we all don’t enjoy the same activities, food, hotels, etc., hence, at the end of the post you will find other hotels, restaurants, and activities which I have also personally enjoyed.

Before we get into the itinerary, let me tell you a little bit about this gem of a town.

History of St. Jacobs, Ontario

St. Jacobs is a small village which sits along the banks of the Conestogo River in southwestern Ontario. It was originally established as a Police Village in 1904, and became part of the Region of Waterloo in 1972.

The land was originally Crown land and was granted to the Six Nations people. In an effort to raise money to put towards an annuity for the Six Nations people, their leader, Mohawk war chief, Joseph Brant began selling off blocks of land. Mennonites from Pensylvania purchased and began farming the land.

The Mennonite culture and way of life has remained prevelant throughout St. Jacobs and surrounding area.

When visiting St. Jacobs, a small town in southwestern Ontario, you will notice that the original roots of the Old Order Mennonites remain visible.

Getting to St. Jacobs

St. Jacobs is located in the Township of Woolwich, which is a Township within the Region of Waterloo in southwestern Ontario. It is several miles from the City of Waterloo, and 121 km (75 miles) from Toronto.

St. Jacobs is a small town, approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto.  It's the perfect spot for a quick Ontario getaway

2 Day Itinerary for a Solo Getaway to St. Jacobs

This two day itinerary is one that I’ve personally done on one of my many visits to St. Jacobs. This two day itinerary will provide a bit of insight into the town’s history and culture, great food, retail therapy at the one-of-a-kind boutiques, and entertaining live theatre. St. Jacobs is the perfect Ontario small town to take yourself on a date…..so let’s get started!

A full 2 day itinerary in St. Jacobs, perfect for any solo traveller all year round.

Charcuterie Bar

Address: 1396 King St N, St. Jacobs, ON

The Charcuterie Bar is a newly welcomed addition to the St. Jacobs food scene. If offers various tastings, including cheese and wine, as well as charcuterie boards boasting a variety of cheese and other goodies.

If you prefer a full service menu, I recommend reserving a spot at Jacob’s Grill (see later in post).

For newbies to solo travel check out these tips to help you feel more comfortable eating alone.

Reservations in advance of your arrival to St. Jacobs are highly recommended.

Holiday Inn Express

Address: 14 Benjamin Road, Waterloo, Ontario

The Holiday Inn Express is conveniently located directly across from the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and within walking distance to the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre and St. Jacobs Country Playhouse. It’s a short five minute drive to downtown St. Jacobs.

The Holiday Inn Express provides all of the conveniences of home, including coffee makers, pool, hot tub, and the best gym facility that you will find in a hotel.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites in St. Jacobs is ideally situated directly across from the St. Jacobs Market and within walking distance to live theatre.

Before heading out to explore St. Jacobs, indulge in a plentiful breakfast which is included in your stay. You will need the energy for all of the walking in the day ahead.

St. Jacobs Market

Location: 878 Weber Street North, Woolwich, Ontario

The St. Jacobs Market is open on Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. year round.

St. Jacobs Market originates back to 1952 when it was known as the Stockyard’s Farmers Market. It was located adjacent to a stockyard, hence the original name. In 1975 the Stockyard Farmers Market and St. Jacobs Market merged and moved to it’s current location.

Over time, the market has expanded. In 1987 construction began to expand the market into a two story building. The market has continued to grow and now is home to over 250 vendors. The St. Jacobs Market has been dubbed the largest market in Canada.

Over 1 million patrons each year visit the St. Jacobs Market in search of meat, cheese, farm fresh produce, baked goods, international foods, art, quilts, and home furnishings.

Just One Tip: I recommend picking up a little something to snack on in the evening while visiting the St. Jacobs Market.

St. Jacob's Farmers Market is the largest market in Canada, housing over 250 vendors


Location: 1441 King St N, St. Jacobs, Ontario

The EcoCafe is ideally located in the downtown core of St. Jacobs in the historic cilo building.

If you didn’t get your coffee fill at the Market, stop at EcoCafe for a coffee, tea, or latte before joining the guided walking tour. I recommend grabbing a pastry to nibble on as you take in the sights and learn the history of St. Jacobs. Once you visit EcoCafe, you will see why it’s among my top favourite cafes in the Waterloo Region.

EcoCafe is eco friendly and serves up fantastic coffee, pastries, and pretzel buns. It's one of my favourite cafes in the Waterloo Region.

Walking Tour of Historic St. Jacobs

Location: Parkette between The Mennonite Store and Scotiabank

There’s no better way to explore and learn the history of St. Jacobs than through the locals. A walking tour with Stroll Walking Tours will connect you with the places and people of the past. Their stories will be brought to life as you wander the quaint, tree-lined streets of St. Jacobs.

Things to know

  • walking tours are available
  • cost is $25.00 per person
  • tickets must be purchased in advance
  • maximum 20 people in a group
  • walk lasts approximately 75 minutes
  • walk is wheelchair accessible
  • tours offered during Spring and Summer
  • meet at parkette between The Mennonite Store and Scotiabank
  • rain, shine, or snow….the walk is on!

Block 3 Brewing Company

Location: 1430 Unit#2, King St N, St. Jacobs, ON N0B 2N0

After you finish an informative walk with Stroll Walking Tours, duck into Block 3 Brewery for a cold one (or two). With more than 18 different flavours of craft beer to choose from, it will be difficult to stop with just one drink. Therefore, for this reason, I recommend purchasing a tasting flight. You will have plenty of time to walk of the effects of the beer while browsing the shops of St. Jacobs.

Browse the Shops of St. Jacobs

It’s impossible to visit St. Jacobs without indulging in a little retail therapy. Discover locally produced food, home decor, arts and crafts created by the Mennonite Community, as well as other local artists, and of course, the one of a kind clothing boutiques.

Village Biergarten

Location: 1381 King Street North, St. Jacobs, Ontario

Village Biergarten is located right in the heart of St. Jacobs, making it the perfect spot to stop at for a bite to eat or beverage. From traditional pub fare to food representing the Region’s heritage, there is something for every palette.

If you are planning on visiting the Village Biergarten, and especially if you want to reserve one of the cute little igloos, I would highly recommend reserving a spot.

Make a reservation to dine in the dome tents at the Village Biergarten in St. Jacobs, Ontario

West Montrose Covered Bridge

Location: 1 Covered Bridge Drive, West Montrose, Ontario

A visit to one of Canada’s oldest covered bridges is a must when you’re visiting St. Jacobs. West Montrose Covered Bridge, also known as the Kissing Bridge, is hands down one of the most instagrammable spots in Ontario. It is well worth the short 12 minute drive from St. Jacobs to get the perfect shots.

West Montrose Covered Bridge, is one of Ontario's oldest covered bridges

Lunch at Jacobs Grill, St. Jacobs, Ontario

Location: 1398 King St N, St. Jacobs, Ontario

Jacobs Grill is centrally located on the main street of St. Jacobs. Whether lunch or dinner, Jacobs Grill will never disappoint. There is a small patio fronting onto the main street, for those of you who don’t want to miss out on any of the action. If you choose Jacobs Grill, I highly recommend the fish and chips.

Live Theatre in St. Jacobs

St. Jacobs is the perfect destination for anyone who loves live theatre. There are two theatre houses, each with its own unique atmosphere. Both theatres are only a 5 minute walk from the Holiday Inn & Suites.

Both the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse Theatre and St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre are part of the not-for-profit Drayton Group, which also has theatres in Cambridge, Hamilton, and Grand Bend.

St. Jacobs has 2 theatres, making it the perfect weekend destination for live theatre lovers.

St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre

Location: 11 Albert Street West, St. Jacobs, Ontario

Due to popular demand, Drayton began expanding its theatres. Because of the ample demand in this popular tourist town, the Drayton Group opened its second theatre, St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre, in St. Jacobs.

The 1867 renovated schoolhouse offers avid theatre goers an intimate, cabaret-style atmosphere. If you are running late, or like me, have made a last minute decision to spend the afternoon at the theatre, there is the option of pre-paying for any tickets and refreshments which will be waiting for you when you arrive. Click here for more information about the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse facility.

St. Jacobs Country Playhouse Theatre

Location: 40 Benjamin Road, St. Jacobs, Ontario

St. Jacobs Country Playhouse Theatre was the fifth theatre of the Drayton Group. Opening in 2005, this theatre exuding Mennonite architecture quickly became the pride of St. Jacobs. It remains open year round for enjoyment by theatre lovers. Download this theatres information package here.

More Activities in St. Jacobs, Ontario

Hot Air Balloon Adventure in Waterloo Region

This 2 day interinary for your getaway to St. Jacobs alone can be done throughout the year, rain, snow, or shine. If you plan a visit to St. Jacobs throughout the Summer months, I highly recommend that get out of your comfort zone and soar high with Sundance Balloons.

When visiting the Region of Waterloo, booking a hot air balloon ride with Sundance Balloons is just one of the many things to do in Waterloo

This hot air balloon ride is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Once in the air, you will be blown away by how beautiful the Region of Waterloo really is. Taking a hot air balloon journey is the perfect way to spend your time in St. Jacobs, as well as checking off an item from your bucket list. If you’re wondering if this adventure is okay for solo travellers, the answer is absolutely! I did it by myself, and you can too.

St. Jacobs Sparkles

Don’t let a little snow keep you away from visiting St. Jacobs during the Winter. The magic of the Christmas season comes alive during St. Jacobs Sparkles, boasting twinkly lights, outdoor fire pits, great shopping bargains, and yes, even outdoor dining, consequently, putting St. Jacobs at the top of my list of the best Winter destinations for the solo traveller.

Visiting St. Jacobs during St. Jacobs Sparkles is the best time for the solo traveller to visit.

Hiking in St. Jacobs and the Waterloo Region

If you haven’t had enough walking or are more of the adventurous type, hit the trails in the Waterloo Region. I’ve compiled a list a what I feel are the best hikes for beginner hikers in the Region of Waterloo. In addition to the trails listed in this guide, the Health Trail is easily accessible from St. Jacobs. This trail is relatively easy out and back trail, however, it’s 11 km round trip. This hike will take close to 2 hours, making it important that you have enough time so that you don’t get caught on the trail after dark.

Say Good-Bye to Your 2 Day Solo Getaway

I hope you enjoyed your 2 day solo getaway to the Village of St. Jacobs. It is difficult not to fall in love with this beautiful little town, just like I did. I suspect that you won’t be able to help yourself and you’ll be back to visit and explore more of the Waterloo Region.

Safe Travels 🙂

Kelly xoxo

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37 thoughts on “2 Day Solo Getaway to St. Jacobs

  1. Pingback: Best Trails In The Waterloo Region For Beginner Hikers – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  2. Mitch

    I really enjoyed this post. As a foodie I was particularly interested in St. Jacobs Market and the Block 3 Brewing Company – a tasting flight there would be essential. It was nice to learn about the history of the area and a walking tour sounds like fun. And we’d definitely make a detour to see the delightful The West Montrose Kissing Bridge. Thank you for introducing me to an area I hadn’t come across before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      The St. Jacobs Market is massive and you could very easily spend the entire day there. The Kissing Bridge is quite pretty and unique as well. It’s not uncommon to see the horse and buggies in that area still


  3. Barry

    This town holds such an interesting – Police village then First nations and then Mennonites property, all of which have long past themselves.
    It looks a pretty village and I am always fascinated by covered bridges as we don’t have them in the UK, so are a wonder to me.
    Lots of great info on where to stay and eat and that balloon ride would be top of my list for adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      That’s interesting to learn that you don’t have covered bridges in the UK. Canada doesn’t have many, not like the US. I did the balloon ride a couple of years ago and it was amazing. A check off the bucket list 🙂


  4. Luke

    Great post, Kelly. I love reading about the smaller parts from all corners of the world which isn’t written about so much. Small villages/towns always captivate me where you can instantly make friends for life who you keep in contact with. It’s always where the best food is as well!

    How cool that holiday inn in Canada provides those amenities such as a pool, spa, gym etc. You don’t get those luxuries in budgetish hotels here anymore! Love that. Especially the coffee.

    The EcoCafe coffee also just had me slightly wet! Sheesh. Great pick me up before going exploring the brewing company.

    Incredible shot of the West Montrose covered bridge. They’re the things I love to discover on my travels—simple, beautiful and old-school.

    I would also love to do the hot air balloon – what an experience!

    Thanks for your sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      thank you for you lovely comments. The covered bridge is quite something to see and its situated in a very “old school” area which still has a lot of horse and buggies. The hot air balloon ride was quite something. I did it a couple of years ago and it was so much fun. I was taken aback by the amount of beauty


  5. Carly | FearlessFemaleTravels.com

    I visited this region when I was a kid and it was so interesting to see the Mennonite culture! I’d love to go back now as an adult!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I still get excited when I see the Mennonite’s in their style of dress and transportation. Like you, there is no way that I could live that lifestyle, although there are days that I yearn for “simple” things in life.


  6. Agnes

    I’m a big fan of old covered bridges, so if West Montrose Covered Bridge is one of Canada’s oldest covered bridges, I have to visit St. Jacobs, wish I hadn’t heard of it before. But your article convinced me that the town is worth seeing, mainly because it has many beautiful attractions. I will try to go there on my next visit to Toronto. I like the Holiday Inn Express chain, so it’s an excellent idea for an overnight stay. I would like to see St. Jacobs Market and take a Walking Tour of Historic St. Jacobs to learn more about the town. It’s great to know that there are two theatre houses, each with its unique atmosphere. I also love taking Hot Air Balloon Adventure in the Waterloo Region.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I highly recommend visiting this area next time you’re in Toronto. I would plan on 2 – 3 days so that you can visit St. Jacobs and Elora both at the same time. They’re both great small towns,, with great food and shopping and so many adventures!


    1. Just One Passport

      The balloon ride was fantastic. I always thought I would experience a balloon ride in an exotic destination. But honestly I’m glad I did it here at home. I was taken aback by the beauty from the air. It looks completely different.


  7. Emma

    I love St Jacobs. I try to visit whenever I’m in Ontario – mostly for the market. I can’t get enough of the uniquely flavored homemade jams. I really need to take a walking tour next time I’m there, that sounds like a great way to learn more about the town. You just made me want to go back to St Jacobs asap – I’m sure my boyfriend will be thrilled we’re heading to the market again

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: How to be a Tourist in Your Hometown – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  9. Pingback: Best Coffee Shops in Waterloo Region – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  10. thedctraveler9b7e4f7d4d

    This looks like a quaint town to just walk around downtown! The EcoCafe and farmers market sound right up my alley. I love a good walking tour – I feel like I really get to know a place with a walking tour. A hot air balloon would be beautiful there!


  11. Melanie

    It looks like a cute little place! I am very ignorant of its history, despite growing up in southern Ontario. The market would definitely be a highlight, though I would also love to browse the local shops. I just googled to see if Mennonites can drink (many do), so I’d feel good going to the brewery, too! haha


  12. James

    St Jacobs looks like an interesting place! It reminds me a little of my home country with all the green. I would definitely look at doing the hot air balloon over Waterloo. Nice post!


  13. awakenedvoyages

    Another charming town in Canada I didn’t know about but I am now keen to visit. St Jacobs looks so quaint and atmospheric and there’s a lot to do for a weekend. I would be keen on the hot air balloon to appreciate the beauty of the region from above. The kissing bridge looks photogenic and I can already frame some compositions in my mind so would certainly do the detour to visit and take some photos. My list of towns and villages to see in Canada is growing every week!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I was really surprised how beautiful the hot air balloon ride was. I had always envisioned doing it in some romantic setting, but I’m glad that I did it here at home. It gave me an entirely new perspective.


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