15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mississauga
For years Mississauga was relegated in people's minds to just a bedroom community to Toronto. Well, those days are long gone. Today's Mississauga has a vibe all its own, driven by a multicultural population, thoughtful urban planning, and an extensive selection of things to do. Be sure to look up when you visit – the city has an impressive skyline of architecturally stunning buildings, including the Absolute World Towers and City Hall.
If you love shopping, hit Square One Mall. Is nature more your thing? Head to Rattray Marsh. Want to jump on your bike and explore? Follow the Waterfront Trail past Mississauga's best parks and beaches. Fancy a bit of patio action by the lake? Head down to Port Credit and secure a table and get ready for a session of people watching.
The city is large and spread out, but many of the main tourist attractions are located near one another, so hitting more than one is easy. Get started with our list of the best things to do in Mississauga.
1. Visit Port Credit
Port Credit occupies an enviable position on Lake Ontario in the southern end of Mississauga. This bustling area, once a small city of its own before amalgamation, is the place to go if you want to be by the water.
Numerous walking trails line the waterfront, and Port Credit has some of Mississauga's best parks located right in town. Stroll down the main street, and you'll find it offers a variety of unique retail shops and restaurants, some even with rooftop patios. Walk over the bridge from downtown and check out the lighthouse and perhaps grab a coffee at Starbucks. With coffee in hand, stroll back over the bridge and walk to the end of the long breakwater to soak up expansive lake views, with the Toronto skyline visible on clear days.
For dining on the water, head to the marina area and grab a table at Snug Harbour. This Port Credit landmark has been operating here for over 25 years and serves up fresh seafood and other dishes both indoors and outdoors on one of Mississauga's best patios.
2. Shop at Square One Mall
One of Canada's first large-scale malls, Square One has been open for nearly 50 years. It is also one of the largest malls in Canada. Over the decades, the mall has evolved and grown, and today it is the premier destination in Mississauga for shopping. Inside, 330 shops across the retail spectrum vie for your hard-earned dollars. Retailers include an Apple Store, Hudson's Bay, and one of only two Ontario locations of fashion retailer Simons.
Square One has undertaken significant renovations over the past few years to enhance the shopping experience. These improvements include high ceilings with skylights; wider walkways; improved parking options; and a new dining area called the Food District, which showcases the latest in dining innovation.
3. Enjoy Beaches and Picnics at Jack Darling Memorial Park
Mississauga has over 500 parks, and Jack Darling Memorial Park is right near the top of the list when it comes to favorites. Located on Lake Ontario, this large park has a bit of everything for everyone. Home to one of Mississauga's best beaches, tennis courts, a splash pad, playgrounds, and group picnic sites, it's the perfect place for an in-town family get-together. In the winter, the toboggan hill is one of the highest in the city.
The park is also popular with dog owners, the massive dog run in the park is one of the best in Ontario, complete with sandy areas, shrubs, and wide-open spaces, where Fido can chase all his or her new best friends.
4. Celebration Square
One of Mississauga's most popular urban gathering spots is Celebration Square. Located at City Hall, this modern area is the place to visit in the city for outdoor fun. Regular performances take place on the large stage at the southern end. Don't worry if you can't see the performer over the crowds; two large screens mounted high on either side of the stage broadcast the performance in real time.
Down one side of the square are a wide variety food trucks selling everything from your standard burgers and fries to ethnic foods of all kinds. Throughout the summer, the Lion's Farmers' Market takes place each Wednesday from 9am to 5pm. Swing by for the freshest produce from local producers along with baked goods and preserves. Other events take place here on a regular basis as well, just check out the website for the schedule.
Parking is easy. Just park in the main lot right under Celebration Square accessed off Duke of York Drive.
5. Downtown Streetsville
Located in the northern echelons of Mississauga, the delightful town of Streetsville, like Port Credit, was once a stand-alone city. Over the years Mississauga has encroached on the town but being surrounded by suburbia, the core of Streetsville retains its small-town charms.
Old brick buildings line the main street through town and nearby streets. Inside these wonderfully restored structures, you'll find an interesting assortment of over 300 shops, restaurants and services. Try and time your visit for a Saturday morning, it's at this time that the Summer Market takes place, featuring foods and crafts from local artisans.
6. Rattray Marsh
One of Mississauga's hidden natural areas is a place well worth seeking out. Found in the southwestern part of the city along Lake Ontario, this wonderful wetland is a hot spot for wildlife spotting.
Stroll the extensive boardwalks and pause at the elevated viewing platforms to try and catch a glimpse of a green heron, a wood warbler, or just turtles sunning themselves on a partially submerged log. The park is especially fun to visit in the early spring, when the chorus of spring peeper frogs is almost deafening.
Be sure to wander down to the waterfront and check out the unique beach made up of rounded rocks in various colours. Access is easy by walking in from nearby Jack Darling Park, where you'll find extensive parking spots and washrooms.
7. Kariya Park
Kariya Park is one of the most peaceful and serene parks in Mississauga. Framed by tall wooden fences, the park is an oasis of calm and quiet in the center of a busy city. The park, named after Mississauga's sister city in Japan features gardens with curving pathways around water features spanned by arched wooden bridges. Planted around the ponds and on the rolling hills are a wide variety of flowering trees and shrubs. Each spring, the garden bursts into a riot of pink blossoms when the cherry trees come into bloom.
In addition to the natural features, the park has a giant "Friendship Bell" housed in a large wooden gazebo. Nearby is a Zen Garden for those looking for quiet contemplation.
Both Square One and Celebration Square are walkable from Kariya Gardens. The park is free to enter, but you will need to pay for street parking while visiting.
8. Walk or Bike along the Waterfront Trail
Mississauga has an extensive waterfront that is a mix of parks and private property. One of the easiest ways to sightsee is by walking or biking along the Waterfront Trail. Mississauga is only a small part of the wider trail that extends for 3,600 kilometers along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
The Mississauga section connects the city's best parks, either along designated trails or residential streets. The trail is also an excellent way to gain access to Lake Ontario.
9. Erindale Park
Erindale Park has wide open spaces, wonderful walking and biking trails and five group picnic sites. However, the real star of the show is the access to Credit River the park provides. Almost cutting the park in two, the river flows merrily down towards Lake Ontario.
Throughout the summer, the banks are popular fishing spots with anglers testing their luck. Come fall, the river erupts in a frenzy of silver and red as the salmon make their way upstream to spawn.
The Culham Trail passes through the park and continues north along the riverbank until it meets up with Riverwood Park.
10. Art Gallery of Mississauga
The Art Gallery of Mississauga is one of the top cultural hot spots in the city. In this well-thought-out space, a stellar showcase of regularly changing exhibits are curated from the gallery's permanent collection. In addition to these shows, temporary exhibits rotate through on a regular basis.
The Art Gallery of Mississauga is located on the ground floor of the Civic Center building. Admission to the Mississauga Art Gallery is free, although donations of any amount you feel is appropriate are greatly appreciated.
11. Lakefront Promenade Park
Lakefront Promenade Park draws the residents of Mississauga to the shores of Lake Ontario by the thousands on warm summer days. The park is an ideal place to get into or out onto the waters of the lake with one of the city's best beaches. Shallow water with sandy beaches and four volleyball courts draw sunseekers of all ages.
Water sports aside, the Lakefront Promenade Park is also a fantastic place for a family picnic along the shoreline. The views from your picnic site will stretch to the horizon to the south, and the Toronto skyline will be visible to the East.
If you have young children, head to the northeastern corner of the park, where you'll find a great playground and splashpad sure to elicit shrieks of joy.
12. Bradley Museum
If you are looking to do something in town on a rainy day or are interested in learning more about the history of the early settlers in the Mississauga area, swing by the Bradley Museum Complex. The two-acre park has four buildings; three are of historical note.
The Bradley House was saved from the wrecking ball in 1959. The saltbox-style farmhouse dates from 1830. The interior of the home has been meticulously restored to its original appearance, with wonderful old hardwood floors and period furniture.
Nearby is the Anchorage, a Regency-styled cottage dating from 1820. Today the home is a museum. One of the notable items to see is the Skynner Cup, a silver urn presented to the owner from the residents of Malta.
The grounds of the house are a nice place to walk, with trails threading through massive old maple trees. As you stroll along, check out several additional buildings spread around the property, including a log cabin and a few outbuildings.
A visit here is easily combined with a visit to the Rattray Marsh located nearby.
13. Benares Historic House
Located in the middle of what would be an average area of pleasant homes is a jewel of a residence dating from 1853. Somehow over the years, the home survived the onslaught of development in the Clarkson neighborhood of Mississauga to become the city's best repository for historical artifacts.
The house has been restored to its former glory, and a visitor center is located in the home and provides insight into the former owners, the Harris family, along with an area for changing exhibits.
14. Adamson Estate
Combine a visit to Lakefront Promenade Park with a stop in at the Adamson Estate. This 13.2-acre waterfront park is a quiet place offering nice views out over Lake Ontario. The historic home, dating from 1920, is an excellent example of Colonial Revival and Flemish architecture.
The wooded property is a pleasant place to stroll around under mature white pine trees, the official tree of Ontario. Interesting things to see on the property include a large historic barn and a pet cemetery. The Waterfront Trail passes through the property and continues onwards to Hiawatha Park and then to Port Credit to the west.
15. Fo Guang Shan Temple
The Fo Guang Shan Temple in Mississauga is located near Streetsville in northwestern Mississauga. The building houses a large prayer hall with five Buddhas surrounded by lanterns. The hall is open to visitors of all religions, except on Mondays when regular services are taking place. While visiting, be sure to see the large bell and drum located in front of the building.
The temple has a very highly regarded restaurant on the premises. Although a membership is required to dine here, the yearly cost is a very reasonable investment to be able to enjoy the spectacular food, which is priced well below what you'd pay in a restaurant.