If you still have not been to one of the North America’s fastest-growing cities, then correct this mistake ASAP and visit Toronto. It is a highly energetic place with positive vibes, extremely friendly and polite people, great food, and huge perspectives. There are so many fun things to do, see and explore there, that you will need at least a week to immerse yourself into the city’s atmosphere. Toronto is full of cultural and artistic places and events going on all year round. Here is a brief list of must-see places:
1) There are three ways to see the city from the top (and it is worth it). The first one – and the most expensive one – is to go on a helicopter tour around downtown. The second is – as banal as it may seem – go to the CN Tower. It has a great view on everything in downtown, as it is all located so closely. To avoid crowd and lines – book a table at the restaurant upstairs. The food is not the best but at least you get access to both top floors and can have alcohol. Or, in case you are more of an adventurous type, try the Edge-walk. The last, and probably the to have a glance at the city is to go to the rooftop bars. 2) So which rooftop bars are really worth visiting? The answer is: Thompson Hotel rooftop bar (the majority of fancy Instagram photos of the city were taken right there AND it has an outdoor pool as well), Canoe restaurant (not the cheapest one but have a drink at least), The Porch (located not that high but the view is still nice and the atmosphere is pretty casual), The Chase (elegant and fancy way to see the financial district)
3) In case you are tired of skyscrapers, you can always have a stroll in Yorkville – the area west from the intersection of Bloor and Yonge St is more cosy and European style. Deservedly considering it the most expensive part of downtown Toronto, it is full of fancy restaurants and luxury hotels, as well as high-end stores.
4) Starting from Thursday evening, King Street West comes to life. Seems like everyone in town is out and about. If you are not a big fan of nightclubs, you have a variety of options of bars on this street. For those over 25 who do not really appreciate seeing kids with fake IDs around, Weslodge, Cibo, Blowfish, Shangri-La Hotel Lobby Bar (though Shangri-La is on a paralleled Adelaide St), would be the places to go to. Just avoid following guys with flyers talking about free drinks – you do not want that type of crowd around you.
5) The chances of you meeting Drake or The Weeknd are extremely high if you go to EFS on a Friday or Saturday night. Candyland is good for unusual and sometimes freaky performances. The Addisons Residence is fun if you like a good mix of 80s and 90s hits. Thompson Hotel Rooftop Bar is amazing during the summer when you can actually sit outside and enjoy the view with a glass of prosecco. The Citizen is a typical nightclub filled with young professionals trying to ‘network’ after 5 drinks.
6) If you are lucky enough (most likely know someone) then you can get access to private clubs, which are Soho House, The Spoke club, and the hardest one to get into – The National club. The first two are mostly aimed at entertainment, fashion, cinema people, while the third one consists more of politicians, lawyers, and Bay street (local Wall street) people. But the best patio award definitely goes to the Spoke club.
7) If you are all about good food (not just good, but Great), then try oysters at Rodney’s Oyster House, sushi at Ki or Kasa Moto, steak at The Keg, kale salad at Gusto 101, risotto at Canoe, pizza and pasta at Sotto Sotto, some French cuisine at Cluny Bistro, seafood at The Chase, and this list can continue forever…One of the best Ceasars (Canadian version of Bloody Mary – a much better and elaborated version) you can get at Cactus Club Cafe.
8) Tired of Starbucks? Try those cute tiny coffee shops and you will never go back to commonness again. As a few examples: Neo Coffee Bar, Dark Horse, Dineen Coffee.
9) Watch musical at Princess of Wales Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Ed Mirvish Theatre. All upcoming shows are posted online but you will probably see lots of posters of musicals around the city.
10) It is definitely recommended to visit Toronto during the summer or beginning of fall. While enjoying the perfect weather, take a ferry to the Central Island or go to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is definitely one thing you cannot miss when you are so close to it (about 2 hour drive). You can go gamble at the casinos, take a ferry to the falls (advice: take that waterproof coat they give you, do not think you will be fine, cause you won’t), visit those tourist attractions, some of them are pretty cool, and if you have time, take the wine tour there – it is so worth it! (personal favourite: Niagara Ice Wine).
11) Stay a night at one of the best hotels in Toronto (or at least go to spa there, it is pretty amazing). These are Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons, Trump International, The Hazelton, Fairmont, Shangri-La, The Ritz-Carlton.
12) All year round – but mostly during the summer – there are lots of different cultural and music festivals going on. Without any doubt, the best and most exciting one is Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which takes place in the beginning of September. During this time, you can easily encounter with any Hollywood and local celebrity on the street or at their favourite restaurants and bars. The most popular, I guess, would be the Soho House, since it is the only private place where people are not allowed to take photos, so celebrities can quietly have their dinner.
Before we finish the list, there are some other places that need to be mentioned and, of course, visited by any tourist, coming to Toronto. These are: Distillery District, Air Canada and Rogers Centre (for sports fans), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Casa Loma, St Lawrence Market, Eaton Centre, Toronto Waterfront, University of Toronto campus, Kensington Market.