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Things to Do in Markham

Top Things to Do in Markham

Nestled in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Markham is a hidden gem filled with an array of exciting activities and hidden gems.

Whether you’re a foodie, nature enthusiast, or history buff, there’s a little something for everyone in the delightful list of things to do in Markham. So, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s dive into the magic this city has to offer!

1. Visit the Varley Art Gallery

Address: 216 Main St Unionville, Unionville, ON L3R 2H1

Website: http://www.varleyartgallery.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-477-7000 ext. 3261, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 12–4 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Named after the Group of Seven artist Frederick Varley, the Varley Art Gallery is a creative haven in the heart of the city. The space is deceptively spacious, housing captivating exhibitions and a permanent collection.

This gallery is a cultural hub that echoes the spirit of Markham, welcoming artists and enthusiasts alike. With workshops, educational programs, and a commitment to community engagement, it’s a testament to the vibrant arts scene in this historic village.

Pro tip:
Don’t shy away from interactive exhibits. Engaging with the art in a hands-on way can offer a deeper connection and a unique perspective on the artist’s intent.

2. Experience an escape room at Trapped

Address: 3130 Hwy 7, Markham, ON L3R 5A1

Website: https://trapped.com/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-940-6500

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday: 2:30–10:30 PM, Friday: 2:30–11:30 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 11:30 AM–11:45 PM

With various themed rooms, including an anime-inspired Death Note challenge, Trapped offers a thrilling challenge for groups of 2 to 10 people. Whether you’re an anime enthusiast or enjoy a spooky atmosphere, it caters to diverse preferences.

Here, you’ll navigate through a spine-chilling room featuring mannequin bodies which adds an eerie twist. For puzzle enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike, this exciting adventure is a must-try in Markham.

Pro tip:
If you’re stuck on a particular puzzle, don’t hesitate to ask for clues. Trapped offers hints to nudge you in the right direction without giving away the entire solution.

3. Dive into history at Markham Museum

Address: 9350 Markham Rd, Markham, ON L3P 3J3

Website: http://www.markhammuseum.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-305-5970

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 12–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Markham Museum offers a mix of modern exhibits and historic treasures sprawled across 25 acres. Some of the exhibits here include the ‘From the Ground Up’, featuring artifacts unearthed on-site, and ‘What is Markham?’ which delves into the region’s past.

Behind the main building, you’ll discover over 30 historic structures, including homes, a church, and a blacksmith shop. From the 1824 Locust Hill train station to snowshoeing adventures in winter, every visit unveils a chapter of Markham’s fascinating history.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss out on the guided tours. They provide fascinating insights into the historical buildings and artifacts, adding depth to your experience.

4. Shop at Pacific Mall

Address: 4300 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 0Y5

Website: https://www.pacificmalltoronto.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-470-8785, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11 AM–8 PM

Shopping at the Pacific Mall is like stepping into a vibrant tapestry of Asian culture right in the heart of Markham. With over 400 stores, it holds the title of the largest indoor Asian shopping mall in North America.

Within the mall, you’ll be greeted with the lively atmosphere of glass-cubed shops offering Chinese clothing, electronics, jewelry, and more. You can also dive into the diverse culinary landscape with Asian food shops and a bustling food court.

Pro tip:
For a unique experience, venture into the Heritage Town section which resembles a Chinese town located inside the mall. It’s not just about shopping; there’s a cultural charm to discover.

5. Have a nature retreat at Toogood Pond Park

Address: 280 Main Street, Unionville, ON L3R 2H2

Website: https://www.enjoyontario.ca/toogood-pond/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-477-5530

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8:30 AM–4:30 PM

Toogood Pond Park is a tranquil oasis with roots dating back to the mid-1800s when a grist mill and its accompanying pond were established. Just a 5-minute stroll from Main Street Unionville, it covers 30 hectares and boasts a picturesque 1.6 km loop trail.

This park features an enchanting route, fall foliage, a magical boardwalk, and the sensory Forest Therapy Trail. On the other hand, its west-side lookout provides panoramic views of the reflective pond and surrounding forest.

Pro tip: You can take advantage of the free parking south of Toogood Pond Park on Carlton Road. It’s a convenient and budget-friendly way to start your outdoor adventure hassle-free.

6. Pamper yourself at Go Place Spa

Address: 3275 Hwy 7 Unit 2, Markham, ON L3R 3P9

Website: https://www.goplace.com/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-261-7777, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

  • Pricing:
    Adult (16 years old and up) – $68.95
  • Child (aged 12-15 years old) – $45

Boasting diverse themed rooms like the volcanic rock, ice, and jade chambers, Go Place offers a unique spa experience. Beyond the themed rooms, there are also massages and skincare treatments available for an extra pampering session.

It’s nestled in First Markham Place, formerly the Cineplex, which spans an impressive 68,000 square feet. This spa offers a holistic retreat and features a bathhouse, gym, and even a Japanese restaurant on-site.

Pro tip: If you plan on using the bathhouse, bring a swimsuit and flip-flops. It’s a comfortable and practical choice for enjoying the facility.

7. Uncover Japanese wonders at J-Town

Address: 3160 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 4G9

Website: https://jtown.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-305-0108

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 AM–7 PM, Sunday: 11 AM–6 PM

Located in the heart of the city, J-Town is a haven of Japanese delights, offering everything from delectable Japanese cuisine to unique manga finds. During the summer, it has vibrant weekend sidewalk sales where vendors showcase their best.

At J-Town, you can enjoy a Japanese-inspired brunch at Tanuki, savor treats at Yuzu No Ki Cafe & Patisserie, and find the finest mochi at Sasaki Fine Pastry. A visit to Heisei Mart is a must to stock up on Japanese groceries or discover new snacks.

Pro tip: J-Town occasionally hosts themed events or festivals celebrating Japanese culture. So, keep an eye on their event calendar as it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the experience and maybe catch a live performance or workshop.

8. Enjoy board games at Omescape

Address: 7501 Woodbine Ave #7, Markham, ON L3R 2W1

Website: https://www.omventure.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-695-9556, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday: 3–11 PM, Friday: 3 PM–12 AM, Saturday & Sunday: 12 PM–12 AM

Entry Fee: $13.50 per person

Omescape is a playground for all things fun whether you’re into thrilling escape rooms, an energetic game of chase tag, or engaging board games. For a casual day of board games, their pass includes nearly 300 options, including both board and video games.

As an added bonus, the pass includes a refreshing drink at OmMyCup, their in-house bubble tea shop, where unique flavors like the Black Royal Flush and Hello Kitty await. And if you’re in the mood for some fresh oysters, Diana’s Seafood is right next door.

Pro tip: Be mindful of your noise level, especially in crowded areas. Everyone is there to have a good time, so keeping the atmosphere friendly and focused enhances the experience for everyone.

9. Visit the Cathedral of the Transfiguration

Address: 10350 Victoria Square Blvd, Markham, ON L6C 1H9

Website: https://www.cathedralofthetransfiguration.com/ 

Contact Details: +1 416-971-3330

The remarkable blend of history, art, and architectural splendor makes a visit to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration a truly unforgettable experience. This cathedral boasts three majestic golden towers, with the tallest soaring over 200 feet.

Its claim to fame includes the world’s largest peal of three bells, cast in Annecy, France, and collectively weighing a staggering 32,000 pounds. Inside, it features an intricate mosaic that blankets the entire dome of the Cathedral, spanning 82 feet.

Pro tip: If you’re a fan of history, delve into the background of Stephen B. Roman, the generous donor of the land on which the Cathedral stands.

10. Take a hike at the Rouge Valley Trail

Length: 11.7 km

Elevation gain: 58 m

The Rouge Valley Trail is a part of Markham City’s extensive network of over 20 km of trails. Starting at Toogood Pond Park to Austin Drive Park, it passes through picturesque locations like Milne Dam Conservation Area.

This trail is designed for multi-use, where both hikers and cyclists can enjoy the scenic journey through green spaces, with opportunities to spot deer, various bird species, and charming bridges along the way.

Pro tip: The trail conditions can vary, so wear comfortable and sturdy footwear. Whether it’s a gravel path or a dirt trail, proper shoes will make your hike more enjoyable.

11. Attend the Markham Fair

Address: 10801 McCowan Rd, Markham, ON L3P 3J3

Website: https://www.markhamfair.ca/ 

Contact Details: 905-642-3247 ex. 221, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Thursday-Saturday: 9 AM to 10 PM, Sunday: 9 AM to 6 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $25
  • Children (12 years old and under) – $15

For over 170 years, the Markham Fair is a beloved fall festival in Ontario and draws people to the Markham Fairgrounds. Held over the Thanksgiving weekend, it transforms over 100 acres of former farmland into a bustling celebration of agricultural heritage.

Beyond the crowd favorites like the demolition derby, giant midway, and tractor pull, the fair offers a diverse range of family-friendly activities, including a kid’s zone, circus performances, freestyle motocross, and captivating cooking shows.

Pro tip: For a handy map and schedule of events, you can pick up a program guide at the entrance. This ensures that you don’t miss your favorite shows.

12. Go for a bike ride at Joyride 150

Address: 150 Bullock Dr #1, Markham, ON L3P 1W2

Website: https://www.joyride150.com/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-294-1313, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday: 3–10 PM, Friday & Saturday: 10 AM–10 PM, Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Pricing:

  • Day Pass:
    • 7 & Over – $30.97
    • 6 & Under – $17.70
  • After 7 PM Pass:
    • 7 & Over – $22.12
    • 6 & Under – $12.39

Joyride 150 is an indoor bike park that welcomes riders of all levels to experience year-round cycling fun, regardless of the weather. With ramps, skinnies, lines, and an 800m mountain bike trail, this park caters to both beginners and advanced riders.

The facility also boasts features like a half pipe, street-inspired rails and steps, and a BMX-style area for added variety. After an exhilarating ride, you can unwind in the lounge with a warm drink or a slice of pizza.

Pro tip:
Before hitting the tracks, take a moment to review the park’s safety guidelines. It’s a quick refresher that ensures a smooth and secure biking experience for everyone.

13. Explore Milne Dam Conservation Park

Address: 8251 McCowan Rd, Markham, ON L3P 3J3

Website: https://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/home/recreation/parks-trails/Milne-Dam-Conservation-Park/06-milne-park 

Contact Details: +1 905-477-5530

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:       6:30 AM–8 PM
  • Tuesday:      7 AM–8 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:30 AM–8 PM
  • Thursday:     7 AM–8 PM
  • Friday:          6:30 AM–8 PM
  • Saturday:      9 AM–8 PM
  • Sunday:        9 AM–8 PM

Milne Dam Conservation Park is an urban oasis that often feels worlds away from the city’s hustle. Spanning an expansive 300 acres, it’s the largest park in the area, boasting a diverse landscape that includes lush forests, wetlands, and a beach.

Despite its proximity to busy roads, the park offers a serene escape, especially along its walking trails, leading to picturesque lookout points by the large pond. For bird enthusiasts, Milne Dam is a haven for migratory species, providing a safe haven.

Pro tip: You can bring a picnic basket and enjoy a meal amidst nature in this park. There are plenty of picnic spots along the trails, especially near the large pond and lookout points.

14. Conquer heights at Hub Climbing

Address: 165 McIntosh Dr, Markham, ON L3R 0N6

Website: https://hubclimbing.com/markham/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-604-4588

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:        12–6 PM
  • Tuesday:  10 AM–10 PM
  • Wednesday: 12–11 PM
  • Thursday: 12–11 PM
  • Friday:    12–11 PM
  • Saturday: 10 AM–10 PM
  • Sunday:   10 AM–6 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Day Pass – $27.00
  • Family Child Day Pass – $18.25

In Markham, you can unleash your inner adventurer at Hub Climbing which is a sprawling 20,000 square foot indoor climbing and bouldering gym. From archways to a 23-foot-tall free bouldering challenge, this facility caters to climbers of all skill levels.

With 22 roped climbing routes designed for both kids and adults, you can conquer diverse challenges and elevate your climbing experience. It’s not just a gym; it’s a vertical playground to scale new heights and embrace the thrill of rock climbing.

Pro tip: If you’re new to rock climbing, it’s highly recommended to focus on fundamental climbing techniques first. These include proper foot placement and weight distribution.

15. Enjoy a variety of sports at PanAm Centre

Address: 16 Main St Unionville, Unionville, ON L3R 2E4

Website: http://www.markhampanamcentre.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 905-475-4730, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday & Tuesday: 8 AM–10 PM, Wednesday: 8 AM–5 PM, Thursday-Sunday: 8 AM–10 PM

Markham Pan Am Centre is an arena for a dynamic world of sports, where the thrill of competitions unfolds. Here, you’ll dive into the excitement of swimming, water polo, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, and rhythmic gymnastics, among others.

While onsite, make a pit stop at Press Cafe for refreshments while snack options are also available from vending machines on the main floor. You’ll also stay connected with public Wi-Fi throughout the facility for a seamless and sport-filled experience.

Pro tip: Before planning your visit, check the event schedule. You might catch a game or competition that aligns with your interests, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your experience.

16. Catch a show at Flato Markham Theatre

Address: 171 Town Centre Blvd, Markham, ON L3R 8G5

Website: https://flatomarkhamtheatre.ca/Online/default.asp 

Contact Details: +1 905-305-7469, [email protected]

Flato Markham Theatre is one of Ontario’s premier cultural gems, offering a captivating blend of live theatre, concerts, and performing arts. This venue boasts not only an easily visible stage but also some of the comfiest seats in Canada.

The theatre provides a communal space where the local community can immerse themselves in a carefully curated selection of high-caliber shows, representing the rich diversity of Markham, from international headliners to homegrown talent.

Pro tip: After the show, linger around the lobby. Sometimes, artists come out to meet the audience and it’s a unique chance to connect.

17. Unleash your creativity at Crafty Pots

Address: 126 Main Street Markham N, Markham, ON L3P 1Y1

Website: https://craftypots.studio/ 

Contact Details: 1 905-477-0002, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 2–9 PM, Saturday: 11 AM–9 PM, Sunday: 11 AM–7 PM

Whether you’re into painting pottery, glass fusing, board painting, or glowing in the dark, Crafty Pots has it all. Originally a Color Me Mine studio in 2008, it proudly transformed into an independent, fully local studio in 2018.

With a myriad of creative activities, you can easily spend an entire day crafting without a dull moment. The studio welcomes all ages, making it a perfect spot for both kids and adults to explore their artistic side.

Pro tip: If you’re thinking of hosting a celebration, Crafty Pots is the perfect spot. You can check out their party packages and consider organizing a group event for birthdays, team-building, or just a creative get-together.

18. Savor artistic brunch delights at Starving Artist

Address: 5762 Hwy 7 Unit 3, Markham, ON L3P 1A7

Website: https://order.online/store/StarvingArtist-886836/en-US/?hideModal=true&pickup=true 

Contact Details: +1 905-554-6388, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM–4 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 9 AM–6 PM

Starving Artist is a brunch haven that takes your breakfast experience to new heights by serving everything on delightful, crispy waffles. It also doubles as an espresso bar, ensuring your brunch experience is complemented by the best coffee.

It provides not just delicious food but also a vibrant and artistic atmosphere. Starving Artist supports local artists by showcasing their works throughout the café, all available for purchase, and ensuring that artists keep all their profits without any additional fees.

Pro tip:
If you’re on the go, consider getting your waffle delights as takeout. It’s a fantastic option for a delicious brunch on the move, especially if you’re exploring other attractions in Markham.

19. Dine at Stacy’s Island Flavor Restaurant

Address: 10 Fincham Ave Unit 105, Markham, ON L3P 4C8

Website: https://islandflavorcaterers.ca/ 

Contact Details: +1 416-519-0707

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 AM–8 PM, Friday & Saturday: 10 AM–8:30 PM

Stacy’s Island Flavor Restaurant lets you embark on a culinary journey infused with the vibrant tastes of Jamaican cuisine. Here, you’ll experience authentic flavors, with dishes like delectable chicken curry, flavorful oxtail, and refreshing coleslaw.

The restaurant’s commitment to affordability and a charming atmosphere enhances your dining experience. Beyond the restaurant, it also offers catering services, ensuring the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica becomes a highlight at your special events.

Pro tip: If you enjoy a bit of heat, ask for their house-made hot sauce. It’s the perfect complement to many dishes, adding an extra layer of spice to your meal.

20. Discover the buzz of Lucky Lion Night Market

Address: Markville Mall, 5000 Hwy 7, Markham, ON L3R 4M9

Website: https://luckylionnightmarket.ca/ 

Contact Details: [email protected]

Operating Hours: 2 PM–8 PM on selected dates

The Lucky Lion Night Market is a 4-day extravaganza hosted at CF Markville. This annual event showcases a diverse array of 40 food vendors and trucks, crafting innovative and exclusive on-site delicacies.

From grilled oysters and lamb/squid skewers to Korean corn dogs and stinky tofu, there’s an exciting range of over 100 food items and unique merchants. The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by showstopping lion dancers that continue well into the night.

Pro tip: Strategically plan your route through the market. You can check out the food offerings first, then explore the entertainment and activities so that you won’t miss out on any culinary gems.