I took my first trip to Canada a few weeks ago for work and stayed an extra few nights to explore the city. I realized that although I lived in DC & Philly and battled through the snow at times, I am now used to the warmth of California. I spent a week in Toronto and it snowed every day I was there. It was beautiful to see snow again and throw a few snowballs but after a week of snow, I was happy for the warmth of California.
What we did:
As there was snow, it was a cozy, relaxing holiday with a lots of eating and brunching. See a good restaurant list below!
We had dinner in the CN tower and enjoyed the rotating views as we ate. This meant we didn’t have to line up to go to the top of the tower and our entry fee was also complementary as we ate in the restaurant. I would recommend this as one of the touristy things to tick off your list.
We explored Yorkdale, an affluent area in Toronto which has a street called Mink Mile and is lined with luxury designers. We window shopped here as the snow fell. We also went to brunch at La Societe which is a French bistro overlooking Mink Mile and enjoyed the views as we ate.
We went to the Toronto Lights Festival which was held in the Distillery District. A series of light installations were spread across the district with some interactive installations. The festival is run every year to light up the city throughout the colder months of Jan to March. Throughout the year, there are different events held in the Distillery District so this is an area I would recommend a visit to.
Other fun things to do in the Winter in Toronto are:
- Attend a Raptors or a Maple Leafs game
- Catch Winterlicious – a food week where top restaurants offer prix fixe menus to sample their dishes
- There are lots of great galleries throughout the city to explore
- Ice-skating at Toronto City Hall and the Toronto sign is also here
- Concerts – there were a lot of great concerts on the weekend that I was there (including the Coronas!)
- Shopping – the Eaton Center was my favorite – large Zara and Sephora stores :) Mink Mile for window shopping.
- A day trip to Niagara falls if you have time and don’t mind being too cold!
Where to eat:
- Oretta – Italian (Instagram goals interiors)
- Café Cancan – cute brunch place (pink interior)
- North of Brooklyn – amazing pizza
- Khao San Road – Thai food (they don’t take reservations, so have to go when they open to avoid long wait times)
- Miku – Sushi (also have really good dessert)
- Kasa Moto – Japanese place in Yorkville
- Planta – Vegan restaurant
- Bar Raval – Spanish bar with tapas style food
- Momofuku Daisho – Fusion Asian (if you like ramen, you can try Momofuku noodle bar)
- Early Bird Espresso & Café – also have a brunch menu on weekends, but no reservations
- Portland Variety (get the chocolate chip cookie)
- Dineen Coffee Co
- Sud Forno – Italian café & Bakery
- Sorry Coffee Co – Coffee shop inside the Kit & Ace store
- Where to stay
For the first portion of the week, I stayed in Le Germain hotel which was absolutely beautiful. The breakfast in the mornings had a great selection and was plentiful. The dinner in the evening was gorgeous and the décor in the restaurant was beautiful. Staff were so friendly and attentive. Molton Brown toiletries featured in all guest rooms which is always a win. There is a gym onsite which I didn’t quite make it to along with a great lounge area behind reception.
For the weekend, I stayed in the 5 star Adelaide hotel which was stunning. We had a large suite which had great views of the city. The bedroom was a great size. There was a large sitting room off the bedroom with a sitting area as well as an area to work. There was a lovely fire place under the TV which made the room so cozy especially during the snow storm. The bathroom was one of my favorites from this hotel suite. His and hers sinks, bathrobes, a large shower, bathtub and heated floors all featured. The bathroom also had music and a TV and fancy toiletries which added to the luxury. The suite also had a second bathroom and lots of snacks and drinks to keep us full. Each night a turndown service was offered – I love when people bring me chocolates in the evenings :)
The hotel has a fabulous restaurant and bar on one of the top floors with a varied menu and lots of great cocktails to choose from while enjoying the city lights. The hotel also has a spa and a swimming pool which has just been renovated and is highly rated. The marketing team were so kind to deliver surprises and treats to the room for us. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time in a hotel room - it was too nice to leave!
I flew into Toronto Pearson International Airport from SFO and took a taxi to the city (about 60 CAD). Uber was more expensive from the airport to the city. There is also a train that runs to the city on a regular basis.
Overall, an enjoyable trip for my first time in the home of maple syrup!