We hope you’re hungry, because we’re starting off right at the gorgeous St. Lawrence Market (once voted the world’s best food market by National Geographic)! Once you’ve satiated all cravings at the market’s countless fruit and veg stalls, cheesemongers, delis and bakeries, wander over to the nearby Distillery District, possibly Toronto’s most photogenic neighbourhood. Its elegant Victorian buildings are occupied by art galleries, restaurants and high-end boutiques. If you didn’t stock up on enough food at the market, you can always pop into El Catrin for a Mexican lunch!
Next stop? Canada’s most famous tower! After all, the afternoon sun shines brightest from the top of the CN Tower. Head down to the waterfront after for a stroll or some leisurely lounging on Sugar Beach. Come sundown, make sure you get a seat at the Amsterdam Brewhouse for some harbour views, craft beers and locally sourced food. If the weather doesn’t permit, you could try family faves like The Old Spaghetti Factory or Fran’s instead! Or, you can always treat yourself at one of Canada’s best restaurants: downtown’s Alo.
Pro-tip: Toronto’s waterfront is also home to cutting-edge arts and culture over at the Harbourfront Centre or at the Power Plant. If you’re visiting in summer, a nice hot day might warrant a full afternoon over on Toronto Islands, just a ferry ride away. You can even rent bikes and zip around the islands or take a dip in Lake Ontario!
DAY 2: Get cultural
Toronto prides itself on its multi-culturalism, so why not begin your second day with a classic dim sum breakfast? We love Chinatown’s Rol San or Rosewood Asian Cuisine for a delicious and authentic experience! Walk it off with a wander over to the incomparably colourful Kensington Market, a bohemian neighbourhood bursting with artsy character. Hit the quirky vintage shops and refuel with coffee from FIKA or Moonbeam.
If your dim sum breakie is a distant memory at this point, grab a slice at Pizzeria Via Mercanti before diving into a jam-packed afternoon. In the cards? Well, you’ve got two options and both represent the best in Canadian museums! First, you could head to the nearby Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) for the most exciting art exhibits and events in Canada. Alternately, hop on the subway for a visit to Canada’s biggest museum: the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where you can see actual dinosaurs… well, dinosaur bones, as well as fascinating natural history and cultural exhibits from around the world.
What balances out an artsy afternoon? More food! If you’ve opted for the AGO, you could eat at Baldwin Village’s cozy Bodega or roam the restaurant-lined Dundas Street W. or Queen Street W. to make your own dining discovery. Meanwhile, the ROM is located near Yorkville’s upscale eateries. Go for Italian at Sotto Sotto or Buca or vegetarian at Planta.
Pro-tip: Toronto is the Canadian mecca for sports and entertainment. When in town, check if there’s a Toronto Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs game on. Fall is one of the best times to visit Toronto for film buffs thanks to the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival, but the TIFF Bell Lightbox also hosts film events year-round.
DAY 3: Road trip!
While there’s still more to see and do in Toronto, you can’t turn down one of Canada’s most epic attractions. In fact, Niagara Falls is the perfect day trip from Toronto, located just over an hour away by car! Start early to make the most of it and be one of the firsts on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat tour. You can also admire the falls from the top of the Skylon Tower or from caves behind the gushing water with Journey Behind the Falls.
Save your appetite for a late lunch at the many vineyards of nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake. Try Peller Estates, Ravine Vineyard, Trius Winery or go for the full Canadian experience at Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery. Stroll through the quaint streets of the village of Niagara-on-the-Lake before heading back to the big city.
Pro-tip: Toronto is also a great city for live music! If you’ve still got energy after your day trip, look at what’s on at the Danforth Music Hall, Massey Hall, Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace, The Cameron House, to name just a few.
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