Waterloo’s five best hidden gems

DVLB - Photo by Will Huang
DVLB – Photo by Will Huang

Moving to a new city is always a little nerve-racking. I remember when I first moved to Waterloo for school two years ago, I knew very little about what this city had to offer me.
As a student who has lived in Waterloo for a few years, I’ve decided to compile a list of some independently-owned businesses that you definitely need to check out if you’re new to the area.

It’s easy to stay comfortable with chain stores you can find in the mall, but I encourage you all to give your business to the little guys in uptown who can offer you way cooler stuff than the generic Starbucks latte and American Eagle sweater.

The Patch

The Patch is a relatively new store on King Street, located where Skirt used to be.

Now, I must admit, The Patch is a chain; they have other stores in Cambridge, Guelph and Sauble Beach, but nonetheless it is definitely worth checking out.

The Patch will actually buy your old brand named clothes and resell the used items at a cheaper price than if they were new.

So if you’re looking for some cool secondhand clothes or to make a few bucks off the clothes you don’t wear anymore, The Patch is for you.

The Loop

The Loop is a men’s clothing store that sells brand name clothes like Scotch and Soda and Canada Goose, among many others.

It’s fairly small so it’s definitely easy to miss, but because of its size their staff is knowledgeable about the products they’re selling — which is a refreshing change from most generic clothing stores.

So if you’re a dude who appreciates better quality fabrics and unique prints, check out The Loop.

Orange Monkey Music

I recently discovered Orange Monkey, and it’s safe to say it’s my new favourite store.

It’s another easy one to miss since it’s actually on top of the bar Jane Bond. Once you go up the stairs to the second floor of the building however, you wonder how they could have possible shoved so much vinyl into one small space.

They sell both new and used vinyl, so they offer an amazing selection at a variety of price points.
If you’re a music junkie like myself, you can’t live in Waterloo without making a trip here.


Vincenzo’s is an amazing little Italian grocery store located on your way to Kitchener on King Street.

They sell everything from produce, to gelato, to fresh pasta and pastries. In my opinion, the highlight of Vincenzo’s is the fresh sandwiches — this place gives Subway a run for its money.

You can choose from any of the deli meats they offer and pair that with a freshly baked bun and a variety of amazing toppings like bruschetta mix and pesto mayo.


Not only is this unique coffee shop probably one of the nicest coffee shops in the city, but Death Valley’s Little Brother takes their coffee seriously.

The whole atmosphere is rustic and relaxing, and they’re serving up true European coffee and espresso. It can be intimidating for people who are used to a generic Tim Horton’s cup of Joe, but the staff are super knowledgeable and ready to walk you through the process of ordering the perfect cup of coffee.

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