The Stratford Festival Visitors Guide

The Stratford Festival Visitors Guide

Are you planning to visit the Stratford Festival this season? We want your visit to Stratford to be as enjoyable as possible, so we’ve done the work of curating a fulsome list of the need-to-knows when planning to visit Stratford to ensure you love every minute of your time in our amazing town.

Stratford is conveniently located near Toronto, Kitchener and London, so it makes for the perfect getaway destination for those guests hoping to indulge in some of Ontario’s best dining and cultural experiences. Plus, where else can you find yourself surrounded by beautifully spotless swans?

When is the Stratford Festival?

The 2019 Stratford Festival officially kicked off on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, and will run all the way through to December 31. So, you have plenty of time to see multiple performances of some of the world’s best-loved productions.

See the complete list of 2019 Stratford Festival performances and the schedule of events.

How can I get to Stratford from Toronto?

There are a number of ways you can get to the Stratford Festival, including:

Bus Tours

For only $29, you can hop on the Stratford Direct Bus in Toronto at 225 Front Street West. The coaches run every day that performances take place from May 28 through to October 12. They leave Toronto at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – except on Sundays when there is only a 10 a.m. bus. They return directly following the evening performances. You must book in advance.

Driving Directions

  • From Toronto: The drive from Toronto to Stratford takes approximately two hours and there are multiple route options that you may choose from.
  • From Kitchener: Kitchener is less than a one-hour drive to/from Stratford. Choose whichever route best suits your driving style and leave a bit of buffer time if you’re attending a show, in case there is traffic.
  • From London: Like Kitchener, London Ontario is also less than an hour away and many of our visitors come from the city to experience the simpler side of Southwestern Ontario.

Where Should I Park When Attending the Stratford festival?

If you’ve booked your overnight stay at The Parlour Inn, you can park at our hotel and walk to both the Festival and Avon theatres in just a few minutes. However, if you’re only visiting Stratford for the day and need alternative parking, we suggest you take advantage of the following parking options:

  • The town of Stratford has made multiple parking spots available throughout the downtown core, so if you’re lucky and timely, you may be able to snatch up one of these spots before the show.
  • If you’re attending a performance at the Avon Theatre, you can access paid parking in the lot at 175 Waterloo Street South for $10.
  • For performances at the Festival Theatre, you can use the paid parking available in the lower Queen Street Lot (below the Festival Theatre, at Lakeside Drive). Please note, the lot opens two hours before performances, and the cost is $12 reserved in advance or $15 day of show.
  • When you see a performance at the Studio Theatre, you can pay for parking within the lot at 175 Waterloo Street South for $10 (same as the Avon)

What to Wear to the Stratford Festival?

While there is not technically a dress code for the Stratford Festival, most theatre patrons tend to want to look the part when they take in one of Stratford’s internationally-renowned performances. This can range from business casual through to formal evening attire. Dependent on where you spend your time before the performance, you can dress however will make you feel most comfortable.

Is the Stratford Festival Family/Child-Friendly?

The Stratford Festival loves to cultivate the passion for performance in people of all ages, and many of the shows cater to younger audience members (recommended ages 10 and up). However, unfortunately, babies who require being held throughout the performance and children under the age of two are not allowed in the auditorium.

Please don’t hesitate to call the Box Office and they will happily provide you with further information to determine whether or not the show of your choice is appropriate for your little loved ones.

How Do I Get the Best Tickets at The Stratford Festival?

Dependent on your age and status (aka whether you’re a student, senior or you’re bringing a little one with you), Stratford offers a wide array of discounted and specially priced tickets. The key is to start hunting early, so you can get the best-possible deal on your tickets. The Stratford Festival also offers package deals, season’s tickets and group/corporate discounts, so be sure to investigate regarding which deals you can take advantage of.

Where Is the Stratford Festival Box Office and When Is It Open?

If you purchase your tickets online, please print them off prior to visiting or have an electronic version sent to your email or phone, as they will not be available at the Box Office. Alternatively, if you call to order your tickets or purchase them through another means, you may pick them up at the Box Office two hours before the performance you have bought them for. Please arrive at the Festival, Avon or Studio theatre well in advance of the showing to ensure you are able to claim your tickets before the curtain rises.

Stratford Festival Theatre Etiquette

The hosts of the Stratford Festival want to ensure that every guest gets to fully enjoy their visit to the theatre. Therefore, they ask that while you may bring your cellular device into the theatre that you please ensure to turn it off, silence the device or put it on airplane mode.

Similarly, when it comes to food, respect is the name of the game. So, please do not bring any food or drink – over and above bottled water – into the theatre. During intermission, you can enjoy a lovely glass of wine and bite to eat or, better still, enjoy an elegant dining experience before or after the show at one of Stratford’s renowned restaurants including The Parlour Steakhouse where gastropub dining is elevated by high-quality ingredients and exceptional service.

When Can I Purchase Stratford Festival Souvenirs?

Each of the souvenir stores are only open when the corresponding theatre has a show, which means when there is a matinee-only event, the souvenir store may be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. while when there is an evening-only show, the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Within the shops, which are located within each theatre, you can purchase wonderful and, oftentimes, lighthearted or truly meaningful keepsakes that will make for great memories – even for the guests who miss the show.

Come to Play, Stay and Indulge in Stratford, Ontario

Make your getaway in Stratford as enjoyable as possible by booking accommodations at The Parlour Inn, which is just steps from each of the theatres where you may be attending your Stratford Festival performance. We’d love to host you in our uniquely-appointed rooms and treat you to an unparalleled gastropub experience, so choose your show and raise the curtain on a perfect getaway in Stratford.