Toronto City Guide: My Spots

Being from Toronto, I always get messages and e-mails asking about the best places to hit up for a quick trip (I even created a hashtag a long time ago #sslovestoronto when I first started blogging). Usually visitors do a weekend here and I keep meaning to write a blogpost so I can send a link of all of my faves in one spot, but I feel like I’d always be adding or editing since so much always changes in the city. I finally decided to just make one and I can always do different volumes of this as I discover new loves. I’m definitely not the Toronto expert (I’m a homebody who stays home a lot, lol) — but I am in the city for work and lunches so I have my tried and true spots. There’s always a new restaurant opening and I find a lot of current events happening from this site you can also check out (as I’m not always in the loop), but here are my faves (there’s so much more to this city than what I’ve even included)…

View of The 6ix

The (416) as Drake likes to call it, “the six” is a city that feels similar to that of New York City or Chicago. It’s culturally diverse and some of the best restaurants. If you’re looking for a great view of Toronto I highly recommend these spots: Kost Restaurant (Bisha Hotel) pictured above, probably the closest spot to the CN Tower, The One Eighty Restaurant on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre,  Lavelle and  Polson Pier/Cabana Pool Bar are all my favourite spots to have a drink or bite with a view of the city.

Kost Restaurant (attached to Bisha Hotel – if you’re staying here you can use their roof top pool with the closest view of the CN Tower too).

Poison Pier views at sunset in the spring-time.

Shopping + IG Worthy Snap Spots

If you’re visiting Toronto there are many great large malls (which is great especially when it’s winter). Yorkdale Shopping Centre is my personal favourite (they even have a gorgeous Restoration Hardware you can have lunch at, I always snap photos in). Toronto Eaton Centre is also another great tourist mall. Bloor Street is kind of like our version of “Fifth Avenue” in New York and Dundas Square (is like a Times Square, billboard screens and all) but if you’re looking for boutiques I highly recommend these streets/neighbourhoods to explore: Queen West, Yorkville (seen below) and Ossington. A few Canadian-based shops and boutiques I love: Mejuri (beautiful jewelry), Want Apothecary, Aritizia (great clothes), Peace Collective, Courage My Love (vintage) and so many more!

My mama walking through Yorkville – we love the restaurants, nearby hotels, cafes and shopping!

This pink little piece of heaven has coffee & doughnuts. I naturally gravitate to the wall colour but hey, the doughnuts are awesome too.

Sorelle & Co. is a gorgeous cafe (great for pics) but it’s also completely vegan (free of nuts, soy, gluten, sesame and preservatives). Also delish!

Lavelle has a beautiful view of Toronto from their rooftop (this was taken in the spring).

High Park is a great spot to take in the fall foliage if you’re visiting during that season! Consider it our “central park” 😉 I told you, it’s very much like NYC!

Majesty’s Pleasure – this is one of my favourite spots for a sip, blow dry and especially getting my nails done (mani and pedi). It’s a gorgeous space and now they’re opening another location next to the Chanel in Yorkville! It’s a must-see (they’ve designed it beautifully) to relax and get a few great snaps.

Nail art at Majesty’s Pleasure (more inspo on their Instagram page).

This photo was taken outside of Calii Love on King Street West! So many cute walls like this as you’re walking through, keep your eyes peeled!

Where to Stay

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing so many hotels in the city from luxury to boutique! These have a good rating in my books: The Fairmont Royal York, The St. Regis Hotel, Four Seasons Toronto (by Yorkville, my favourite neighbourhood), The Hazleton Hotel (also in Yorkville – a lot of stars stay here during the Toronto International Film Festival every fall), Bisha Hotel, The Drake Hotel and The Annex Hotel. I find these are all great places to stay as well, as they are close to many of the restaurants, shopping and entertainment areas I like to frequent to.

We did a staycation at The St.Regis during Christmas (and they’re dog-friendly). It was lovely!

The Fairmont Royal York totally stepped up their game with this new beautiful renovation (above and below) and the location is perfectly central to all of the things, so you can walk around and explore the city.

Reign Restaurant inside the Fairmont Royal York was fabulous (we did our anniversary dinner here).

Eat & Drink

The great thing about Toronto is that there are tons of options for food, thank to our multicultural diversity! There’s always a new restaurant popping up as well. I’ve broken down some of my faves from all over the spectrum, as well as spots that have a great vibe/atmosphere along with great food.

Italian: Neal and I are obsessed with Dimmi in Yorkville (we love the rigatoni all vodka) // Japanese: Kasa Moto // Greek: Volos (or anything on The Danforth), Indian: Ambiyan (just outside Toronto), Vegan: Planta or byChloe (opening soon) // Cuban: La Cubana // Mexican: Wilbur Mexicana (casual) or El Catrin (such a cool vibe) // Thai: PAI // A good mix for everyone: Joeys, Cactus Club & a splurge but so delicious for breakfast: ONE Restaurant (Hazleton Hotel) and there are so many more just yelp it…!

Lavelle: This is my little vacation in the city because they have a pool, great views, amazing drinks and food! We’ve celebrated Neal’s birthday and our anniversary here and had the best time. Whenever I need some sunshine and a pool, I escape here. They have a restaurant that’s both indoor and offers outdoor patio seating.

Coffee Spots

Dineen Coffee: They have two locations and I love both! They’re designed beautifully and it’s the perfect spot to sip on a latte and people watch through the window.

More coffee places that are fantastic (aesthetically too): Sorry Coffee, Boxcar Social, Portland Variety, Nadege, FIKA and School Bakery & Cafe (great breakfast spot).

Kasa Moto: My favourite sushi in the city! Their rooftop patio in Yorkville has such a great vibe in the summer and the food is just delicious. I always get the yam tempura sushi!

Sud Forno: I love this cafe/bakery/lunch spot! They have two locations (one closer to the Eaton Centre mall) and the other on Queen West. Get their nutella bombolone!!

Fun Things To Do

This blog updates things to do in Toronto weekly which is so great depending on the season you come to visit. I love checking this out, even before the weekend to see if there’s something fun going on! Always a hit: Ripley’s Aquarium (especially if you have kids or if it’s freezing outside), Casa Loma (a real castle! Neal and I got married here and you can take a museum tour with fun snaps), Toronto Harbour Front Cruise (see the city from the water), Explore the Distillery District (always something fun happening, great restaurants and photo opps), Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario and of course, the C.N. Tower! The tower has a crazy Edgewalk (if you’re in to that kind of thing) – I have never done it and NEVER will, lol. There’s also a great restaurant that rotates (slowly, you won’t feel dizzy eating your food) called 360, I celebrated my 16th birthday there!

Looking for more? Comment below if you need a suggestion that wasn’t listed in this post and I’d be happy to help you out! xo

3 Comments

Mary-Katherine Minnis

This roundup is fantastic!!! Always love a local’s perspective!

I know it is so daunting to write a guide on your own city (Matt always jokes with me about how I’ve written so many travel guides and yet still haven’t written them for the three places we have lived and thus, actually know best haha!) but I know myself and so many others will greatly appreciate this when the time comes to visit!

xo Mary-Katherine
http://www.goldhattedlover.com

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