Windsor is a criminally underrated tourist destination in Ontario, Canada. The fun city sits just across the Detroit River from the sprawling metropolis of Detroit itself – with the river marking the US-Canada border. We have visited Windsor countless times as we live only an hour away and usually use it for our land crossing to the USA. The gorgeous view of the Detroit skyline is not the only cool thing about this city, in fact, Windsor will surprise you with all the activities it has to offer.
In our opinion, Windsor is a great place to visit. It’s full of novelty and home to a trendy community culture thanks to its popular university. You can take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront, hit up the bars and tattoo shops in Downtown Windsor, or learn about indigenous history and the 1812 American invasion of Canada. It even has fascinating stories of the Underground Railroad, when alcohol was smuggled during prohibition.
The Windsor area is one of the most iconic places to visit in Ontario. It has some of the best stories, culture, and plain old fun.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best things to do in Windsor, Canada. The city has enough to justify staying for at least a weekend. And if you fancy some day trips, plan to visit for at least 2-3 days. Are you ready to get to know Windsor on a better level?
Windsor has a glitzy downtown area full of bars and trendy restaurants. It also has the iconic Sandwich Towne district, once its own town before being incorporated into Windsor. Sandwich Towne still has historic architecture, with beautiful old buildings like old windmills. It looks a bit like a model town. Windsor has so much diversity in its neighborhoods; plan a few days to explore the different areas.
Most importantly, Windsor has a lot of things to do. Before heading to the main list, take a quick look at our summary.
Best of Windsor, Canada: A Quick Guide
Must See: Windsor Sculpture Park, Windsor University Campus, Willistead Manor, and Pelee Island. Where to Stay: Bestway Motel (£), A Hidden Bed and Breakfast (££), and Sandwich Boutique Hotel (£££) Fun To Do: Visit Adventure Bay Family Water Park, take a tasting tour at the Walkerville Brewery, and cruise down the river. Day Trips: Detroit, Southwold Earthworks National Historic Site, Pelee Island, and Fort Malden National Historic Site. Must-try Foods: Chicken Delight, shawarma, whisky, honey balls, and paczki.
Best Things to Do in Windsor Canada
There are so many things to do in Windsor, Canada. During your stay, you could embrace American invasion history or discover a deep love for eating paczki. There are stories of the Underground Railroad smuggling and outdoor attractions like Windsor Sculpture Park and Jackson Park.
So, let’s introduce you to the top contenders. These are our 20 top recommendations for the best things to do in Windsor, Canada.
1. Windsor Sculpture Park
You can’t visit Windsor and not visit the Windsor Sculpture Park. This outdoor art gallery is one of the city’s most famous attractions. Scenically located next to the Detroit River, Windsor Sculpture Park features dozens of colossal sculptures – including an elephant and a hand holding an apple.
There are so many things to do in Windsor, Canada, but an outdoor art gallery has got to top the rest. If you stop by between spring and fall, you can have a warm but blustery walk through the greenery, admiring the impressive sculptures.
The Windsor Sculpture Park is a more exciting alternative to the standard indoor art gallery options you see in major cities. Our advice? Grab a hot drink or picnic and head there for sunset, as it stays open 24 hours a day.
Insider Tip: Head there in the evening to watch the sunset over Detroit.
Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free to enter.
2. Ambassador Bridge
Ambassador Bridge is a stunning landmark. The 2,300-meter suspension bridge stretches from Windsor to Detroit, connecting Canada with the US across the river. At night, it’s lit up with tiny dotted lights, which is beautiful to see, especially with Detroit’s skyline backdrop.
Ambassador Bridge might have regular traffic passing between the cities, but there is strictly no pedestrian access. If you want to get up close to this bridge on foot, the best places to visit are Assumption Park (which we’ll cover later) or McKee Park. McKee Park is quieter and more peaceful, with geese and ducks relaxing on its shallow waterfront.
Sunrise and sunset are good times to stop by these parks, where you get softer skies over the bridge. It is one of those landmarks that you just have to see. Head there early to avoid the crowds and pick up a takeout coffee en route. Alternatively, head there in the evening for a soft sunset over Detroit.
Insider Tip: Admire the bridge from McKee Park for a quieter atmosphere.
Practical Information: Ambassador Bridge isn’t accessible, but its surrounding parks are open 24/7 and free to enter, with great bridge views.
3. Jackson Park
With more than 10,000 plants, it’s easy to see why Jackson Park is one of the best things to do in Windsor, Canada. The park’s flora rotates seasonally, from tulips in May to summer perennials. The park is manicured and formal; it’s the sort of place you can explore with kids or visit as a solo adult and have equal amounts of fun.
The park is located out of the riverfront area of Windsor, more inland. You can jump on a quick 15-minute bus ride from central Windsor or walk approximately 40 minutes.
Aside from its flowers, the park is also a renowned sporting grounds. Visitors can enjoy the onsite basketball court, baseball field, and tennis club. If you want a day of sports in Windsor, this park is the perfect addition to an itinerary.
Insider Tip: Jackson Park is wonderful at Christmas, famously displaying hundreds of festive lights.
Practical Information: Open 24 hours and free to enter.
4. Take a Boat Tour on the Detroit River
When you have two countries separated by a single river, it makes sense to take to the water to find the best views. A boat tour on the river gives you gorgeous views of Windsor’s riverfront parks and dramatic views of Detroit’s skyscrapers. You’ll learn about two cities and two countries in one experience – what’s not to love?
A boat tour in Windsor is easily one of the most adventurous things to do. By experiencing the river border from the water, you’ll be able to embrace the novelty of the city’s location even more. Similarly, you can book luxe experiences like evening dinner cruises on the water.
Windsor River Cruises Limited is the most popular boat tour company, and they run seasonally from April until October. Windsor Premium Cruises is also a popular year-round company choice.
Insider Tip: Wrap up warm to maximize your time outside, snapping the best photos.
Practical Information: Prices start at around $50.
5. Chimczuk Museum
If museums are more your thing, pencil in a visit to the Chimczuk Museum. While small, this museum contains a treasure trove of regional history and heritage artifacts. It specifically dedicates much exhibition space to the First Nations community in and around Windsor.
Chimczuk Museum is interactive enough to entertain kids yet stimulating enough to challenge adults. It earned a place in this guide for its widespread network of cultural and historical exhibits. You could look at anything from the story of Hiram Walker and Canadian Club Whisky to hockey art exhibits or First Nation history.
We suggest keeping the Chimczuk Museum as a rainy day activity or visiting on your first day. If you visit at the beginning of your stay, you’ll leave with a much better understanding of Windsor for the rest of your stay.
Insider Tip: Visit Chimczuk Museum early in your trip to help you put Windsor into perspective.
Practical Information: Open 10 am until 5 pm from Tuesday until Saturday, and 11 am until 5 pm on Sundays. Tickets cost $5.50 per adult.
6. Willistead Manor
Willistead Manor is gorgeous, as in seriously gorgeous. This stone-built manor house is one of the most traditional buildings in the city. Walking around the grounds is one of the top things to do in Windsor, Canada. It’s a brilliant way to add a bit of history and architecture to your trip.
So, why exactly is Willistead Manor so famous? And what made us add it to this guide? Well, Willistead Manor was built by the son of Hiram Walker – the renowned founder of the Canadian Club whisky brand. The manor house was created in 1906 and is a beautiful piece of architecture. There’s lots of Scottish influence on the building, which is only natural given the property’s whisky lineage. Edward Chandler Walker even hired Scottish stonemasons to carve its gray limestone.
Aside from its architecture, Willistead Manor also holds plenty of whisky stories. You can tour the inside and learn about the family of whisky distillers and the property itself. Hiram Walker and his son were fascinating characters.
Insider Tip: Sample some Canadian Club whisky beforehand and research Hiram Walker.
Practical Information: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Tickets cost $6.25 per adult.
7. Dieppe Gardens
You know that Windsor has a stunning riverfront area. Dieppe Gardens is one of the most beautiful green spaces on the riverfront. This park has a large pond and a waterfall, and visitors can walk the grounds at leisure on easy-to-navigate pavemented footpaths. Regarding parks in Windsor, Dieppe Gardens are a top contender.
The gardens have impressive views across the river to Detroit. They are the perfect place for a romantic stroll or a picnic amongst friends. The gardens remain open 24 hours a day, too. You can stop by after dark to admire Detroit’s skyscrapers and see the scenery lit up.
These gardens are free to enter and easily one of the most budget-friendly things to do in Windsor, Canada. You can bike or walk through this park, and there are always plenty of people around for solo travelers to feel safe in daylight hours.
Insider Tip: Head here after dark to see Detroit’s skyline lit up from across the river.
Practical Information: Open 24 hours a day and free to enter.
8. Coventry Gardens
Coventry Gardens are another beautiful addition to Windsor’s waterfront parks. So, what makes this one stand out? What’s the difference? The gardens have equally stunning views over Detroit and the river. However, its real standout quality is the seasonal floating fountain with its daily light show.
You walk through tiny tarmacked footpaths amongst hydrangeas and manicured hedges. If you visit Windsor during the May holiday weekend, walk through the park and towards the Charlie Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain. This fountain is the world’s only international floating fountain. At night, it propels water as high as 70 feet and performs a beautiful light display.
Even if you don’t head to Windsor in May, you can enjoy year-round pop-up events, including concerts in summer and seasonal flower displays. We love that the gardens are free but have many diverse activities throughout the year.
Insider Tip: Visit Coventry Gardens in May to see its fountain displays.
Practical Information: Open 24 hours a day and free to enter.
9. Take a Ford City Walking Tour
Windsor has gained an interesting nickname over the years: ‘Ford City’. This nickname actually refers to a neighborhood in Windsor called Dame du Lac. The neighborhood underwent a renaissance due to its close links to the Ford Motor Company. The company’s Canadian headquarters settled there around 1904 and eventually became its own town before being adopted into Windsor’s city limits decades later.
While the Ford head office eventually moved to Toronto, the motor company’s heritage lingers in this Windsor neighborhood. You can take walking tours to learn more about the neighborhood’s rise, fall, and current preservation.
This is a fascinating story for any car enthusiast. Equally, anyone interested in Windsor’s culture and community development will find these tours insightful. It is a massively important part of the city’s story that caught our attention and should definitely catch yours.
Insider Tip: Book a walking tour to better understand Windsor’s Ford City area.
Practical Information: Under $20, although it varies depending on what tours you book.
10. Walkerville Brewery
Windsor might be best known for its Canadian Club whisky, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook its brewery scene. This brewery is one of the most historic breweries you can squeeze onto an itinerary. The microbrewery and craft cidery offers both tasting sessions and tours.
The Walkerville neighborhood is one of the most scenic in the city, and an absolute joy to walk around. Walkerville Brewery is located right in the middle of it.
When you enter the brewery, you are greeted by the perfect mix of exhibits and tasting experiences. Historical artifacts are on display, and informative guides, tasty beers, and ciders are ready for you to try on flights.
Insider Tip: Leave time to sightsee around Walkerville’s historic neighborhood before or after.
Practical Information: Open 11 am until 6 pm from Sundays until Thursdays, 11 am until 10 pm on Fridays, and 11 am until 7 pm on Saturdays. Tours and tastings start at $7.
11. Dine at The Twisted Apron
One of the favorite local spots for a delicious meal is The Twisted Apron. The Twisted Apron offers ‘comfort food with a twist’ – think brunch takes fine dining. When you visit Windsor, one of the best ways to experience its fun atmosphere is through high-quality casual dining.
You can try steaming bowls of fresh mac ‘n’ cheese or towering burgers and sparkly mimosas. There’s no better way to introduce yourself to a place than through its food.
While Windsor isn’t quite a food tour city, you should definitely plan at least one culinary experience. This restaurant is the ideal choice, and it is also conveniently located in the Walkerville District.
Insider Tip: Try the seasonal cocktail menu – a firm local favorite.
Practical Information: Open 9 am until 4 pm every day and roughly $20-30 per person.
12. Pelee Island
To get adventurous in Windsor, you can carve a day out to head to Pelee Island – a beautiful island on Lake Erie.
You’ll have to get creative to get there, driving 40 minutes to nearby Kingsville or Leamington before hopping on a 1.5-hour ferry to the island. Once there, you can embrace the slower pace of life and gorgeous 360-degree lake views.
Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve is the most scenic place to hike on the island, with footpaths stretching through forests and onto a giant sandbar. For some more traditional museum sightseeing, there’s also the Pelee Island Heritage Center. And, of course, there’s Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve, with its colossal stone namesake lighthouse.
Insider Tip: Allow time to walk to the lighthouse and explore nearby marshlands.
Practical Information: The ferry costs around $10 for a return ticket. Schedules vary, but the ferry usually leaves at 7 or 8 am from the mainland and the last ferry returns at 4 pm.
13. Sandpoint Beach
Who doesn’t want to squeeze a beach day in during the summer months? Windsor’s summers can get fairly hot, and Sandpoint Beach is one of the most popular places to head on a sunny day. The beach is just ‘out of town’, roughly a 20-minute drive or 50-minute bus ride. With shallow waters and lots of shade from trees, though, it justifies the journey.
Sandpoint Beach is an excellent option to save money and experience one of the free things to do in Windsor, Canada. The water is also great for younger kids, as it is so calm and shallow.
This beach park is one of the city’s hidden gems. But it is just too beautiful in summer to keep to ourselves; we don’t mind sharing it with you.
Insider Tip: Stop by mid-week and out-of-school holidays for the quietest experience.
Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free to enjoy.
14. Adventure Bay Family Water Park
On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a little money, Adventure Bay Water Park is a great way to spend time with your kids. Nothing beats a water park if you want a fun city experience in Windsor.
The water park has its own wave pool, tons of slides, and a lazy river, not to mention the activity pool with all its floats and inflatables.
It is the perfect way to escape the bad weather on a rainy day. Equally, it’s a great idea for families visiting Windsor.
Insider Tip: This attraction is one of the best indoor things to do in Windsor, Canada, so keep it up your sleeve for a bad weather day.
Practical Information: Open 12 pm until 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. $16.50 per person and free under 3.
15. Windsor Riverfront
Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the leading things to do in Windsor, Canada, is to explore the city’s riverfront. The trail stretches nearly six miles, with beautiful water views the entire way. If you want to hike the full length, allow roughly 2 hours.
We’d suggest starting your hike walking towards Ambassador Bridge roughly two hours before sunset. This way, you can enjoy the sunset over Detroit’s skyline and Windsor’s most iconic landmark.
There are many parks along the riverfront, but the best way to explore it in its full grandeur is on a one-way hike. The views made it a must-add to this guide.
Insider Tip: Bring a hot drink and warm layers, as it can get breezy next to the water.
Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free to enjoy.
16. Sunset Point
Technically, Sunset Point is one of Detroit’s things to do. But equally, we will include it as one of the most beautiful things to do in Windsor, Canada. It’s located on the river on the island of Belle Isle, and to get there, you’ll need to enter the US side and cross MacArthur Bridge to enter the island.
Once you are on Belle Isle, it is a leisurely 15-minute stroll to Sunset Point. From here, you can watch the sun sink over one of the most iconic city scenes, including both Detroit’s skyline and Windsor’s.
It might require extra effort to get there, but if you can organize a US border crossing, Sunset Point is one of the most beautiful sunset spots nearby. It is also one of the leading free things to do in Windsor, Canada.
Insider Tip: Organize a US border crossing and enjoy the island at sunset.
Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free to enjoy.
17. Duff-Baby House
Duff-Baby House is full of local heritage. It is also one of the most tricking things to do in Windsor, Canada, as the museum has some of the strangest opening times.
You can admire the 18th-century home’s exterior at any time. However, if you want to take a tour inside, you’ll have to snag access on an open day. These only occur once a month, so check the official website and see if one aligns with your trip.
Duff-Baby House tells you all about the Sandwich District’s history, as well as the story of the house itself. It’s a great way to get ‘under Windsor’s skin.’
Insider Tip: Check ahead to see if tours are available and book in advance.
Practical Information: Check the official website for set open days, which typically fall once a month. Open times are around 12 pm until 4 pm.
18. Canadian Aviation Museum
This museum is a real treat for anyone with a passion for aviation. You can get up close to some spectacular vintage aircraft, and there are tons of military aviation artifacts.
On brand, the Canadian Aviation Museum is next to Windsor International Airport. This means that after you stop by, you can stay for a while and enjoy watching the commercial planes take off and land.
This specialist museum is engaging and exciting. The number of planes on show makes the museum that extra bit more special, which won us over.
Insider Tip: Remember to watch the commercial planes after.
Practical Information: It changes seasonally, but it opens from Tuesday to Saturday in spring and summer from 10 am until 4 pm. Tickets cost $11 per adult.
19. Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve
If you love nature and natural wildlife sightings, Ojibway is one of the most exciting things to do in Windsor, Canada. The deers are so friendly that they stroll right up to you. And you can spot anything from turtles to migratory and endangered birds.
We’d suggest heading to the Nature Center before heading out on some of the reserve’s hiking trails. Bring binoculars for bird watching, and families might want to bring magnifying glasses to encourage kids to look at bugs and plants up close.
Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve is totally free to enjoy, which is incredible. You can get so much out of it, and it’s just a 13-minute drive from the city center.
Insider Tip: Bring binoculars and a magnifying glass for a better experience.
Practical Information: Open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 pm until 5 pm, and free to enjoy.
20. Go Fishing at Queens Dock
Queens Dock is nothing short of iconic. To reach this little fishing spot, pass the famed Sandwich Windmill and walk down Mill Street to the water’s edge. The dock usually has a small crowd of families and adults putting fishing skills to the test.
You can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and mindfulness of being beside the water. You can also rent fishing gear and try your luck with a catch.
Fishing at Queens Dock is one of the most relaxing things to do in Windsor, Canada. It’s our top recommendation for starting your day relaxed.
Insider Tip: If you’re visiting in the fall, stop by and admire the foliage.
Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free.
FAQs for Windsor, Canada
As you can tell, there are many things to do in Windsor, Canada. We love the mix of historic neighborhoods and culture and bet you will.
FAQs are some of the most helpful things when planning a trip. Trust us, if you’re asking questions about something, you can bet other people are too. These are some of the most essential questions to ask and get answered before your holiday.
Is it worth visiting Windsor, Canada?
Windsor, Canada, is a beautiful place to visit. It has a unique border location and plenty of history and culture. It is easy to reach from both Toronto and Detroit. It is also stunningly located near Lake Erie, a destination for national parks and small waterfront town day trips.
What is Windsor best known for?
It’s best known for being a border city – separated from Detroit by just the river. Because of its location, Windsor has plenty of stories to tell about alcohol smuggling, Indigenous history, and the American invasions of Canada.
Why go to Windsor, Canada?
Windsor is an ideal getaway if you want to experience border history and culture. It sits along the shores of the Detroit River, which marks the divide between Canada and the US. It’s a fascinating city that is easy to reach from Detroit and Toronto.
What is unique about Windsor?
Windsor’s border location is what makes it unique. The city feels like it should be joined with Detroit, the major US city on the opposite bank of the Detroit River. You can walk along Windsor’s Riverfront and stare at a famous US skyline.
Tips and Information For Visiting Windsor
Once you’ve established which of the top things to do in Windsor, Canada, you want to tick off, take a look at some of this essential guidance. Little things like knowing when to visit can greatly impact your trip. Similarly, understanding where you can take a leisurely stroll versus where you’ll need to get a taxi makes a huge difference. Here’s what you need to know.
Best Time To Visit
The two most recommended seasons to visit Windsor are late spring and early fall. These shoulder seasons sit on either side of the chaotic summer period but still have warm enough weather to enjoy all the outdoor activities.
We’d most recommend early fall if you love fall foliage. By mid-September, it’s bursting with orange and reds. This makes areas like the riverfront even more beautiful – you can walk along the Detroit River surrounded by orange leaves with distant views of the Detroit cityscape. Similarly, in mid-September, parks like Dieppe Gardens come into their own.
The easiest way to reach Windsor, Ontario, is to fly into YQG Airport. The airport has some domestic and international charters and is less than 8km from the city center. But truthfully you would be better off flying into one of the more popular international airports.
Another option is to fly into Detroit and cross the border into Windsor. If you aren’t a citizen, you’ll need a US visa for this one, but it’s a brilliant way to use Detroit’s cheaper, more regular long-haul flights. Plus, you’ll be combining two countries in one visit. You can fly into Toronto and catch a 4-hour train to Windsor for around $100. This is ideal for those on a budget and flying internationally since Toronto is an easy hub for cheap flights.
Finally, if you want to travel to Windsor overland, you could use Greyhound and Megabus coaches from all over the US and Canada. Reliable Amtrak rail services to Detroit are also available, from which you can head to the Dearborn Transit Center and cross the border. If you have longer to reach Windsor, take the scenic, more sustainable route.
Getting around Windsor is easy. Most neighborhoods are centrally located enough to allow you to walk to major attractions. Similarly, many hotels offer bike rental services – so you can easily cycle or walk your way around the city center.
Each neighborhood feels a bit like an individual town, which is what they were initially. Therefore, if you choose your accommodation’s location wisely, you’ll find it relatively walkable.
If you need to go further afield, plenty of Ubers and taxis exist. There’s also Transit Windsor; this bus system has 16 different routes, connecting the city easily for tourists and commuters. Plus, you can get day passes as cheap as $9.60.
How Much Time Do You Need
Ideally, you should spend two to three days in Windsor, Canada. It is ideally located to treat yourself to at least one day trip, and with at least three days, you have time for one excursion.
Many people opt for weekend breaks. You could explore Windsor on a weekend – seeing the main things to do. However, for a more memorable experience, stay around four days. You can then add on day trips to beautiful places like Point Pelee National Park and sightseeing around Lake Erie and its small-town destinations.
Where to Stay in Windsor, Canada
Finding the perfect hotel is an important task when staying in Windsor. While it doesn’t have many hostels, it does have a decent range of budget-friendly motels and B&Bs. Similarly, its more historic areas are ideal for upscale, boutique hotel stays.
South Walkerville, Forest Glade, and the Riverside neighborhoods are where to head for scenic residential streets and the most historic architecture. For more budget accommodation, you’ll find a row of competitively priced motels on Huron Church Road and its parallel avenues. Let’s take a quick look at the best spots to stay in Windsor, though.
Here are some of the best hotels in Windsor for all budgets:
Luxury: Sandwich Boutique Hotel is a beautiful 4-star red-brick hotel, once a post office in the historic neighborhood of Sandwich. Guests get access to a shared lounge, terrace, and kitchen. Mid-Range: A Hidden Bed and Breakfast is a homely choice for a sustainable hotel in central Windsor. Guests get comfortable boutique-style rooms and a communal garden area. Bicycle rentals are also available onsite. Budget: Bestway Motel is modest and pet-friendly, all for an absolute steal of a price. Each room has a microwave and a fridge, which is handy for storing food to save money.
As you can see, Windsor most definitely packs a punch. For tourists, not much beats Windsor’s mixture of culture and fun-loving atmosphere. The water scenery and the novelty views of Detroit’s skyline are just the cherries on top. It is tantalizingly close to the US. You have some amazing day trips on your doorstep, too.
Once you’ve checked out all the top things to do in Windsor, Canada, remember to drive some of the best Canadian road trips. Once you have tasted all the history and inner-city tourist spots, get out of the downtown area and explore more. You can use it as the perfect launchpad for a broader exploration of Canada and the US. It is a border city, after all, right?