First, it’s pronounced Turrono. Or something like that.
Things you have to do while in Toronto
Go shopping for vinyl, VHS tapes, and cassettes
Toronto really is ten years behind.
Eat poutine and be super judgemental
Is it better than Montreal? Which local place is best? It’s one topic Canadians will argue about.
Go to Dundas Square
Compare it to Times Square. Check in at the Hard Rock. Instagram yourself at the glowing wall of H&M.
Photograph yourself with the Toronto sign
Enjoy the space age ambiance of Nathan Phillips Square.
Walk from Queen to Queen West to West Queen West
It’s a nice mashup of the Financial District to Soho to Williamsburg to Bushwick.
Toronto has competing axe throwing leagues.
The best bar for a quiet drink
York Station Bar
Like drinking with your grandparents, if your grandparents were understated railroad barons.
The best spot for when you miss Brooklyn Bars
Home of the Brave
They have a great view over Queen West from their second floor perch. Plus, booze slushies. I assume those Bluejays signs are for their personal safety.
The best dinner spot for a big group
This place manages to offer a huge space while still having the attention to detail of a tiny gastropub. Oh, and the beer is good.
The best not over the top sweet donuts
I spend a lot of time thinking about this bakery, but their hours keep me in check.
The best made right then donuts
The donuts aren’t the obvious thing to recommend here, but just go with it.
The best spot to grab a quick lunch
Banh Mi Boys
Hungry and don’t want to hate yourself afterward? Done.
The best brunch spot that doesn’t involve a line
Little Schmitty’s Hot Meat House
It is teeny-tiny and a lot nicer than you’d expect from a Hot Meat House. They take reservations if you want to play it safe.
The best legit dive bar downtown
Mountie’s Dining Lounge
Go now before all those new condos change the crowd. They’ve already been managing the people passed out on the sidewalk since the Pace opened.
The best spot for after work bonding
Track & Field
Bocce, darts, mystery menu items.
The best spot to watch a documentary
Bloor Hot Docs
As if this even needed to be said. They have coffee, beer, and cocktails.
The best spot to get some greenery downtown
Allan Gardens Conservatory
A charming little greenhouse tucked behind Ryerson.
The best spot for people watching
There are neighborhoods with more colorful characters, but the patios here are better.
The best hotel bar for people watching
Thirty at the Holiday Inn
You need to ask for a key card to use the washrooms in the hotel lobby, but the eclectic crowd and the bartenders make up for it.
The best spot for souvenir shopping
The basement of the Hudson Bay at Eaton Center
They’ve got a collection of little shops, including a Drake outpost. And, of course, the Bay.
The best spot for cards and posters
Neat and unique things you want. They ship abroad, but Canada Post doesn’t make it easy.
The best view of the Toronto skyline
Yes, you could just go out to the Islands. Go to T&T, eat a bunch of delicious stuff, take some pictures.
The best way to get to Toronto
Have you ever walked to an airport? Here’s your chance. There’s rarely a security line, the lounge is nice, and they serve free drinks on your super short flight. They make flying feel civilized.
Neighborhoods you have to check out
Or read our our guide to all the Toronto neighborhoods, translated into New York.
The Annex has all the artsy, culinary, bohemian flair of Queen West, only it’s on the subway. It’s also a little less gentrified, despite it’s location so close to Yorkville.
Soon Honest Ed’s will be gone, but Hot Docs will still be there. If you like documentaries and drinking while you watch them, Hot Docs is a must.
The gay village is cleaner (and skews older) than its counterparts in New York and San Francisco. You’ll find a hipper crowd at the Junction, but the bars on Church are still packed every night.
Distillery District & Corktown
The Distillery is one of Toronto’s top tourist neighborhoods because it’s so perfectly charming. Until recently it was only tourists, since it was floating in a sea of parking lots and abandoned warehouses. Thanks to the new Canary District development and the spread of Corktown, this area is becoming more fun and more authentic with an influx of residents.
Right around where Queen West becomes West Queen West is Trinity Bellwoods Park. It’s an excellent spot for people watching (and subtle day drinking). There are lots of bars, cafes, and boutiques along Queen and Dundas, although Ossington is the main strip.
Best neighborhoods to stay in
Bay Street may be sleepy at night, but it couldn’t be more centrally located. Plus, the Drake One Fifty is way less crowded. Stay here and everything is within walking distance, a few minutes on the subway, or a quick cab ride. Billy Bishop Airport and Union Station are at your doorstep.
If you’re here for Toronto’s cultural offerings, this is the perfect spot. You’re walking distance to the Annex and Church Wellesley when you get tired of the designer offerings and high brow culture.