Toronto—is a multicultural city, filled with great food, art, and culture. Toronto is my favourite city in the world and the one that I’m fortunate enough to call home. Toronto can be the perfect place for a weekend getaway, so I put together a weekend itinerary for your next visit to Toronto, but remember, there are still so many other things you can do—there is seriously something for everyone in this city, so look at this as a rough guide.
If you fly in after work and want a late-night dinner, you’re in luck, because Toronto is a foodie heaven. You can seriously find everything you could possibly be craving in this city, so it really depends on what you feel like. Some of my personal favourites are:
- Thai: Pai or Khao San Road
- Italian: Terroni, Stelvio, or Sugo
- Mexican: La Bartola, La Carnita, or Campechano
- Sushi: KAKA, or Flame Sushi
- Middle Eastern: Fat Pasha, Fet Zun, Byblos, or Shook
In the mood for something quick and cheap? You can’t come to Canada without trying poutine. Smoke’s Poutinerie is one of the famous poutine chains, and they’re scattered across the city.
Breakfast at St. Lawrence Market:
Drink beer at local breweries:
After the morning at the market, head over to Steam Whistle Brewery at 11:00 am to get yourself signed up to go on a tour of Toronto’s most loved brewery. Roundhouse Park, where the brewery is located, is also one of the most photographed places in the city. In the summer you can ride the train around the park, or enjoy a beer on their patio under the CN Tower.
Note: If you don’t go when the brewery opens to try and get on a tour, you probably won’t be able to get on one but you can still drink at the bar without going on a tour.
If you’re looking for where the locals go, Steam Whistle is not it. Although Steam Whistle is a grand brewery that’s worth a visit, we like the smaller breweries and there are a lot of them in the city. You can easily do your own brewery crawl on the west side, or the east side of the city with lots of breweries within walking distance.
For lunch, many of the restaurants I mentioned above can make great options, but some additional spots I love for lunchtime are:
You can also grab something to go and head to enjoy it in Trinity Bellwoods Park, or High Park, two of the most popular parks in the city. Other park options with great views of the CN Tower are Trillium Park, Grange Park, and Riverdale Park.
Cheer on the local sports teams:
In the summer, get some tickets to see a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game or a Toronto Football Club soccer game. The Jays play at the Rogers Centre across from Steam Whistle Brewery which is known for its retractable roof that will open up for games when the weather is nice. Not in town during the summer? Check out Hockey Hall of Fame, dedicated to the history of ice hockey and home to the Stanley Cup.
Not into sports? Another option of what to do with your afternoon is the CN Tower Edgewalk, the world’s highest external walk-on building. The Edgewalk is open from spring to fall and costs around $200 CDN to do.
Read about my experience doing the Edgewalk here.
For dinner, head to one of the restaurants I mentioned above for the first night, or try out one of these awesome spots in the city:
- Mamakas (Greek)
- Gusto 101 (Try the Mafaldine pasta. It’s seriously a city fav)
- Tav’s Gnocchi Bar (a menu loaded with so many kinds of authentic gnocchi)
- Sara (share-plate style)
- Favorites Thai BBQ (share-plate style)
Head out for a drink:
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a drink, Toronto is loaded with every type of bar you can imagine. Here are some based on what you may be looking for:
Club: It’s been a while since I’ve been into clubs but if you head to King Street West, you’ll have a choice of places to go. This is the mecca for going out. Some popular choices are Isabelle’s, Early Mercy, and Lavelle.
Cocktail Bar: I LOVE cocktail bars, these are my jam and where you’ll usually find me vs. a bar or club. Some cool ones to visit: Cry Baby Gallery(hidden behind an art gallery), After Seven(behind a yogurt shop), Melrose on Adelaide(do great happy hour deals), Coffee Oysters Champagne (they have a hidden speakeasy as well), Mother, BarChef(higher end but sensational cocktail experiences), Prequel & Co. (sister bar to Bar Chef).
Dance Spots: Okay if you’re looking for somewhere that you want to dance but don’t want a full-blown club, some options are Locals Only, Petty Cash, Two Cats (older crowd), Vatican Gift Shop (not as central and on the East side of the city), and Dog and Bear.
Other: A popular drag bar is Crews & Tangos and always makes for a fun night out
Picture Opportunity: This photo spot was built for the Pan-Am Games in Nathan Phillips Square and remained long after because of its popularity—the Toronto sign. The sign lights up at night, and if you’re in town in the winter, you can skate on the rink in front of it. Skate rentals are available until 9:00pm each day.
Brunch like a local:
Wake up early and head to the west end of the city to Liberty Village for breakfast at School—my favourite breakfast spot in all of Toronto. But don’t go to School with expectations of just getting traditional bacon and eggs, School serves up gourmet spins on your breakfast favs and it’s worth the extra little bit of money!
Looking for other brunch spots? Check out my brunch guide here
Explore Chinatown & Kensington Market:
After breakfast, head over to Chinatown and Kensington Market, two cultural hubs that sit right next to each other. Chinatown will make you seriously feel like you’re in Asia. You’ll see the city transform as you start to walk into the cultural neighbourhood and it can be a great spot to explore. Kensington Market is one of the most well-known neighbourhoods in the city. The neighbourhood features many Victorian homes and quirky stores, restaurants, and food stores/markets.
There are a lot of options for lunch in Kensington Market, but some of the city favourites are:
- Seven Lives Tacos (Mexican)
- Rasta Pasta (Jamaican)
- Hibiscus (Vegan)
- Sanagan’s Meat Locker (Sandwiches)
Check out my full guide on Kensington Market here
Choose your own adventure:
Spend the rest of your afternoon at Toronto Island or Distillery District. Toronto Island is great in the summer for a break from the city chaos. In a short ferry ride, you’ll be on the island where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, or just sit back and relax. This is one of the best places to see the city skyline as well!
Check out my full guide for Toronto Islands here
The Distillery District is a historical neighbourhood in the city that is filled with well-preserved historical buildings that have now been converted into great restaurants, and shops. Drink some beer at Mill Street Brewery, or margaritas and Mexican food at El Catrin, which has an awesome patio in the summer. If you’re visiting the city in November-December you may be in town for the city’s best Christmas market too which happens seven days a week from the end of November to mid-December.
…and just like that—the weekend is done! I hope you enjoy exploring my city.