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1 City/4 Experiences: Toronto, Canada

toronto travel

Whether you are looking for a fancy getaway or something low-key, Toronto has everything you need. I recently visited Toronto for the first time, and I was completely blown away. Before the trip, I thought to myself, “It’s going to be okay, but nothing too exciting”. You know, the typical New Yorker way of thinking, nothing can be better than New York City (partially true). Well, I’ll go on the record to say that I was dead wrong! This metropolitan city has great food, world-class art, amazing attractions and endless high-end shopping stores. Also, being the most culturally diverse city in the world is definitely something to brag about. From the hipster Queen West Street to touristy Downtown to the posh Yorkville, you can experience a different feel all in one city.

Thrill & Chill

Neighborhood: Downtown

SoHo Met Penthouse Third Floor

Sleep: SoHo Metropolitan – This modern 4-star hotel is ideally situated between downtown and the trendy Queen Street West neighborhood. With access to many of the major attractions, it is a no-brainer for the adventure-seeking traveler. The SoHo Metropolitan features a three story, loft-style penthouse suite and 92 oversized, stylishly appointed guestrooms and suites. Recommended Room:  Executive Suite http://www.metropolitan.com/soho/

Edgewal;k CN Tower

Mid-Morning: CN Tower EdgeWalk – Take a walk on the wild side, literally! The EdgeWalk is for thrill seekers who yearn for a great view of Toronto. 1,168 feet above the ground is where your adventure starts as you walk around and lean off of the CN Tower (tallest building in Toronto). Once you complete your walk around, you are added to the list of others who experienced a world record feat. http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca/

Wahlburgers Toronto

Noon: Wahlburgers – We all know Mark Wahlberg right, but have you tried his burgers? The Wahlberg brothers joined to create one of the best burger joints I’ve ever visited. With the fun and exotic mixtures for burgers, this place is perfect for a quick bite or a full lunch with drinks. https://www.wahlburgersrestaurant.com/

Steam Whistle Brewery

Early Afternoon: Steam Whistle Brewery Tour – I mean, the title should be enough! A brewery tour equals lots of beer. Besides it being a good place to down a cold beer, it is also a pretty neat tour. The Steam Whistle Brewery is a fully functional green brewery in every aspect. Fun Fact: TFG is on every bottle, and it means “Three Fired Guys”. http://steamwhistle.ca/

Alternative: Toronto Blue Jays game

Toronto

Evening: Luckee by Susur Lee – Located on the main floor of the SoHo Metropolitan, this Chinese restaurant features classic dishes and dim sum from the culinary traditions of Guangzhou, Hunan, Shanghai and Szechuan regions by Chef Lee. The decor is the perfect blend of traditional and modern Chinese style. If you are with a large party, I recommend getting the private room with the swivel door panels. http://luckeerestaurant.com/

maison mercer - toronto

Nightcap: Maison Mercer Club – This multi-level club is one of the premier clubs in Toronto. If you want an all-night dance party experience, this is the place for you to end your adventure. www.maisonmercer.com/

Art Aficionado

Neighborhoods: Yorkville and Downtown

Hazelton Hotel - Executive Suite

Sleep: The Hazelton – Hotel to the stars, The Hazelton is the crown jewel of the Yorkville neighborhood. This 77 room 5-star hotel is designed with a very dramatic and luxurious style. With its unique mix of stunning rooms, sensational art collection, private screening room, and world-class cuisine at ‘ONE’ by Mark McEwan, this is our number one go to hotel in Toronto for all things luxury. Recommended Room: Executive Suite http://thehazeltonhotel.com

Urban Expeditions Toronto

Mid-Morning: Short Tour of Yorkville by Urban Expeditions. The great thing about this tour is that the staff is very knowledgeable and pretty cool to be around. It is not one of those stuffy tours where the guide yells over a megaphone while waving a brightly colored flag. It is basically like exploring the town with a friend, a very connected friend.  http://www.urbanexpeditions.com/

ROM Dino Toronto

Early Afternoon: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) – The ROM is notably one of the largest museums in North America that draws millions of visitors each year. The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs are our favorite, next to the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art.  http://www.rom.on.ca/en

Art Gallery of ontario Basquiat

Late Afternoon: Art Gallery of Ontario – 80,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present day. http://www.ago.net/

one restaurant - toronto

Evening: One Restaurant – The famed Mark McEwan restaurant is a local favorite for residents of Yorkville. The restaurant serves up unique North American dishes in a beautifully designed modern setting. Come early as the place can fill up pretty quickly during the evening. I recommend sitting on the patio on a beautiful summer night. Fun Fact: Darby Piquette, the Chef de Cuisine, is one of the youngest in North America at the age of 25 years old. Try: (secret menu item) Day Boat Scallop – crispy pork belly with seared scallop, Korean bbq sauce, avocado, sesame aioli and coriander. http://one.mcewangroup.ca/

Czehoski Bar toronto

Nightcap: Czehoski Bar – After a day filled with fantastic art, it is always good to bring it down a notch and have a nice cold cocktail or beer. Czehoski Bar has the perfect blend of a relaxing atmosphere, but yet still fun and lively. To continue the outdoor theme, visit the amazing rooftop deck. http://czehoski.com/

Alternative: Milagro Cantinas http://milagrorestaurant.com/

Trendy

Neighborhoods: Downtown and West Queen West

Sleep: SoHo Metropolitan (see above)

Morning: Take a dip in the SoHo Metropolitan’s lap pool or get some cardio in before you start your full day all of the things trendy.

Make sure to stop by Senses Cafe in the lobby of the SoHo Metropolitan to grab some food from their delicious assortment of breakfast dishes.

Black Bull Toronto

Noon: Nothing like sitting on a patio drinking a cold brew. Black Bull Tavern, located on the popular Queen Street West, is not only the perfect place for drinks and food, but also a great place to people watch. http://www.blackbulltavern.ca/

Alternative: Rock Lobster http://www.rocklobsterfood.com/

toronto graffitti alley

Early Afternoon: Take a stroll down Queen Street West for some shopping, then venture off to Graffiti Alley.

Mid-Afternoon: Hang out in Trinity Bellwoods Park for some art installations and live music.

Weslodge Toronto

Evening: Weslodge – This well designed, saloon-esque restaurant looks like it is straight out of something you would find in Ocean’s Eleven. With its dark wood, leather, and dim lights, it makes for an excellent setting for a romantic dinner or even just kicking it with your friends. The cocktails are stellar. Try: Orange Cider Braised Short Ribs and the Gentleman’s Quarterly http://weslodge.com/

BarChef

Photo Credit: Leanne Neufeld

Nightcap: Barchef – Now did you think I was going to leave the night off without a mixologist experience? Barchef is known for creating crafty experimental cocktails that are not only exceptionally good, but the presentation is out of this world. It is truly an experience for the senses. Try: The Mad Man http://www.barcheftoronto.com/

LGBT Pride

In honor of LGBT Pride month, we have some of the local’s favorite bars.

Neighborhoods: Yorkville and Gay Village

Hazelton Hotel Exterior

Sleep: The Hazelton (see above)

Morning: Gym and room service for breakfast.

Mid-Morning: Tour of Yorkville by Urban Expeditions. (see above)

cafe california

Mid Afternoon: Cafe California – Voted one of the best eateries in Gay Village. The restaurant’s Mediterranean decor and light entree makes it the perfect spot for a quick bite. http://www.cafecalifornia.ca/

bloortrees

Evening: Shopping on Bloor Street aka Mink Mile (the 5th ave of Toronto).

Alternative: Toronto Blue Jays game

Woodys Toronto

Photo Credit: Peach Plum Orange

Night: Visit Woody’s (oldest gay bar in Toronto, strip contests and overall good time), Church on Church (great hip hop music) and Black Eagle (leather bar)

For more exciting things to do in Toronto, visit: http://www.seetorontonow.com

Flying from the New York City area, try Porter Airlines!

Have you visited Toronto, or a local? Let us know in the comment section what you think of the city and interesting places we should visit when we return!

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