Photo Credit: paul bica on Flickr

The other day I was stalking people skimming though my Facebook feed and noticed the always present red notification badge on our Facebook page.  Thinking it was the Pages app trying to tell me to pay to promote a post I clicked over to our Facebook page to check.  To my pleasant surprise someone, a fan of the page, asked for some travel advice on things to do in Toronto, Canada for a weekend! My heart sang, one of my favorite things about travel is giving people advice. (Spoiler alert, that Facebook fan happened to be my sister).

 

Normally providing advice to others goes something like this:

Friend: Hey Daina, guess what?! I’m heading to Hawaii.  Have you been?

Me: Yes, I have! Do you need any advice or are you pretty set with plans or ideas?

Friend:  I haven’t even started to think about what I am going to do, I would love some advice.

Me: What kinds of things do you enjoy doing on vacations? Outdoors stuff, museums?

Friend: I really like to slather myself in butter and honey, then roll around in some feathers and let stray dogs chase me. It’s exhilarating.

Me: -_-

Just kidding, they usually tell me their interests and I proceed to have verbal diarrhea about all the wonderful things they can do.  Then they ask me to just email it to them.

The challenge here, though, is I haven’t been to Toronto, so I approached this as if I was planning a trip for myself and my husband.  This isn’t an exhaustive list of things to do and see in Toronto. However, these are places I would start with if I was headed there. For an easy overview of where all these things are in relation to each other check out my Toronto Pinterest Board.

Where to Stay

Staying in or near downtown Toronto and near public transportation seems like the best bet for maximizing time in the city. For under $140/night there are a handful of really cute AirBnB rentals available.  For example this great little spot in the heart of Toronto. If AirBnB isn’t your thing and you have a higher budget check out Hotel Ocho, located in Chinatown starting around $187/night.

Getting around

Toronto has an under ground subway system, street car system, and busses run byToronto Transit Commission (TTC).  You can also opt to walk everywhere and check out all the parks and probably stumble on some cool stuff. If weather isn’t cooperating try out the underground walkway called Path, but from my understanding it can be a little confusing at times.

Things to See

Not everything can make the list so be ruthless in your must-see list. TripAdvisor and Google search to the rescue.

  • High Park for a morning walk, bike or sail. Referred to as ‘The Jewel’ of Toronto’s park system, the park has plenty of trails and activities to keep you busy for a few hours, at least.
  • University of Toronto for some architecture and collegiate watching.
  • Hockey Hall of Fame because I would be a negligent hockey fan if I did not recommend scoping it out.
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a beautiful Hindi complex so if you have a car and want to venture outside of the Downtown area, head that way.
  • Kensington Market and nearby Spadina Avenue for a variety of food options, unique stores, and a bohemian feel. No visit to any city is complete without a trip to at least one market.
  • Chinatown is, of course, always a fun place to check out.
  • Distillery District to take in the preserved Victorian Architecture and grab a brew.
  • St. Lawrence Market, rated as the best food market by National Geographic in 2012.
  • Art Gallery of Ontario for an art fix.
  • CN Tower for breathtaking views of the city or walking on the wild side.
  • Steam Whistle Brewery to tour their green operation.

Where to Eat & Drink

You can’t spend your day exploring without filling up the tank. All suggestions Yelp investigated.

Breakfast

  • Our Spot is perfect before taking in St. Lawrence Market.
  • Crepe It Up before heading onto University of Toronto’s campus.
  • Karine’s for those that enjoy Vegetarian and Vegan food.

Lunch

Afternoon Coffee/Tea

  • Fuel+ for coffee protein shakes (whaaaaa?) and fair-trade, organic tea.
  • Sense Appeal‘s coffee experimentation gets an extra star in my book.
  • Moon Beam offers a selection of teas and microroasted coffee.

Dinner

  • The Stockyards’ picture of their chicken and waffles made my mouth water.  Mouth watering = place on the list.
  • Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu’s pictures looks like a legit Korean restaurant and brings back memories of our trip to South Korea. Apparently pictures are really persuasive for my dinner choices.
  • For sustainable, local, healthy, and delicious fare check out appropriately named Eat Fresh. Be Healthy.

Drinks

Final Words of Advice

Tap the locals! We love getting suggestions from locals when traveling because they can steer you to places not many tourists go.  I always aim to find lesser known things to do when on vacation to get a better sense of the location.

If you take any of my advice on things to do in Toronto, comment below. I would love to hear how your trip turned out!

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