Jan 8, 2022
4 min read
A City Guide to Toronto
Turns out, Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America (we had to double check that fact, too). Now that that’s established, you can only imagine the breadth of things to do in Canada’s business capital. Though most will be passing through Toronto for work, it’s worth planning in some time to explore, too.
The best thing about Toronto is its diversity, which is what makes the culture here so special. It celebrates everyone and anyone who calls the town home, and the rewards of this attitude are abundant, from the art to the food and the people themselves.
Our recommendation? If you’re here for business, add a day or two onto the trip, and find out what Toronto is really about.
Where to stay in Toronto
The Drake Hotel
Hands down, this is the coolest hotel in Toronto. The eclectic design is a visual representation of how the hotel fosters the local creative community. With great programming (they have DJs and performers every week), vibrant mid-century modern design, and a brilliant rooftop bar – we’d be happy to move in.
Boasting artist-designed rooms, this certified B-Corp hotel feels good to stay in. They use locally made products within the space, and pride themselves on socially conscious hospitality. Housed in an old Victorian building, the original floor plan remains, now converted into 37 unique bedrooms and three dedicated art galleries.
Where to eat in Toronto
If you like Indian food, you’ve found your spot. This is a refined take on the cuisine, but the vibe is entirely low-key. Definitely get the beef short-rib.
A French-Cantonese restaurant with a generous $65 tasting menu. Think braised lamb with sweetbreads and pumpkin dumplings. We love how exciting the menu is here, and definitely recommend dipping into the cocktail list.
Housed in an old automobile body shop, this Italian restaurant is famous for its wood-fired grill, and the dishes that come out of it. The space is cozy and we definitely don’t hate their $1 house wine deal.
Where to drink
Offering a very well-curated selection of beer and wine, Paradise Grapevine holds a special place in our heart. As much as we love the drinks, we also come here for their charming patio.
Known for it’s inventive cocktails and the wonderful mixologists who make them, this is the cocktail bar you come to when you want to impress. Everyone who drinks here will be a guaranteed Toronto convert.
Seoul Shakers Club
If you’re looking for ambiance, Seoul Shaker Club has it. It’s on theme – think neon signs, plants hanging from the ceiling, and Korean-inspired cocktails, including soju.
Where to workout in Toronto
With hot, restorative and beginner classes, plus meditation and various workshops, Kula Yoga does a lot for us. We love the general vibe and think that they have some of the best teachers in the city.
Similar to a SoulCycle or FlyWheel, Spokehaüs is a chic spin studio that makes you want to work out. Get ready to sweat to bass- and beat-heavy music, and then wash it all away with Malin + Goetz products in the changing rooms.
Where to get coffee in Toronto
St Lawrence Market
Once named the worlds best food market by National Geographic, this major public hall features everything from produce to food stands. For a coffee break, we recommend hitting upCarousel Bakery
, but there are tons of options. They also offer cooking classes and frequently have events – so make sure to check their schedule.
If you are into the Scandi-design thing, you’ll enjoy Odin. A Corktown coffee shop designed by a local architecture studio, it prides itself on beautiful modernism and minimalism – and great coffee.
This industrial-chic space is made to be Instagrammed. Though it’s a bit of a magnet for influencers, we love the espresso and Vietnamese drinks, made with custom beans from North Toronto’sDe Mello Palheta
Where to work
With great coffee and a patio for the warmer months, Boxcar Social is popular with Toronto-based freelancers. If you’re still here in the afternoon, they have snacks and beer to keep you motivated.
Fix Coffee + Bikes
In West Queen West, this is our pick for a low-key space with power outlets, good lighting, great coffee, and bike repair if you need it. They have bleacher-style seating, for that communal workspace vibe.
The Gallery at Gladstone House
Take in local art as you set up shop in The Gallery at Gladstone House. It has comfy couches and wifi, and is a refreshing alternative to the usual freelancer coffee shop environment.
Where to get your hit of culture
The Royal Ontario Museum
ROM combines art, culture and natural history all under one roof. It’s the most visited museum in Canada and though there is a ton to see, we love to nerd out on their Art Deco interior collection.
We know, we know, this isn’t anything new. That said, it used to be the world’s tallest tower and you can still go up to the look-out level (at over 1,000 feet, you can’t beat the views).
Trinity Bellwoods Park
If you are visiting Toronto during the warmer months and want to take in the local scene, head to Trinity Bellwoods Park. Pack a picnic and watch how happy Canadians are to see the sun.
Where to shop in Toronto
This exceptionally curated boutique is a perfect mixture of vintage finds and consciously sourced accessories and clothing. Think California chic, with products suited for city life.
A unisex basics line we love. Their bricks-and-mortar location on Queen Street sells hoodies, T-shirts, and more, all made with high-quality Egyptian cotton.
Oak + Fort
You may have heard of Oak + Fort because of their digital presence and subscription model, but their store location in Toronto is where it’s at. These simple but classically chic cuts are everything we need.
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