Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and also the most visited. Its sheer size, as well as its many attractions, can quickly overwhelm first-time visitors. If you want to know what it has to offer but you only have a limited amount of time to see the sights, then give your taste buds the chance to try out the flavors of the city. From tasting the food and drinks in the area to checking out the nightlife scene, there’s plenty of things that you can do even with just a small window of time. Use this guide to help you come up with an itinerary if you’re going to spend 36 hours in Toronto, Canada.
Day 1: Afternoon - Explore Toronto's Kensington Market
This destination is not your typical public market. Kensington Market is one of the oldest areas of Toronto, as well as the liveliest. Besides featuring stores that sell anything from fresh produce to different varieties of cheese, there are also a number of cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops that feature vintage items. Fancy trying out some Thai food? How about Persian cuisine? Because Kensington Market is essentially a cultural hotspot, so you can find restaurants that offer cuisines from all over the world.
Address: Kensington Avenue Toronto, ON M5T 2K2 Canada
Website: Kensington Market
Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (daily)
Day 1: Evening - Wander around Chinatown
Continue your multicultural adventure by heading to Chinatown, one of the oldest and largest in North America. Besides giving you the chance to satisfy your craving for Chinese food, it also gives you the opportunity to shop for cheap souvenirs. If you have a few hours to spare, you can join one of the walking tours in the area to learn more about the history of the place. Alternatively, you can go on a food tour and take your taste buds on an adventure.
Address: Spadina and Dundas, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2E9, Canada
Day 1: Night - Swing by one of the bars and clubs around Alexandra Park
If you’ve still got the energy to burn after an afternoon of sightseeing, why not experience the nightlife of Toronto by exploring the bars and clubs around Alexandra Park? You have several establishments to choose from, including Bovine Sex Club, a rooftop tiki bar that offers punk, rock, and alt-country music; The Dime, a laidback establishment that serves cheap eats throughout the day, and Horseshoe Tavern, an institution in its own right.
Address: 275 Bathurst St., Toronto, CA
Day 2: Morning - Slip into one of the hip cafes along Dupont Street for breakfast
Start the morning right by giving your body enough fuel to get you through the day, and grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes along Dupont Street for breakfast or brunch. There are several options for you to choose from, including Lox + Schmear, where you can get fresh bagels (vegan and gluten-free options are available here); Dirty Brunch Eatery, while small, has plenty of tasty options to choose from; Sisters & Co for quirky options such as Earl’s Grey pancakes and mushroom truffle benedict, and Soufi’s, which offers Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Day 2: Afternoon - Do a gallery-hop in the area
If you’re an art aficionado, be sure to explore some of the galleries in the city. While its arts scene may not be well-known, Toronto actually features a number of galleries. Depending on which one you visit, you may find some that exhibit the works of local artists. Hashtag Gallery features the works of young artists, and Project showcases the works of emerging artists and foreigners, similar to works you can find at Coldstream Fine Art. Don’t forget to head to Regent Park to see the local arts community. And of course, MOCA Toronto and Art Gallery of Ontario are not to be missed.
Day 2: Evening - Take a break at one of the breweries in the city's West End
Here’s another thing that many people don’t know about Toronto: it actually features a number of breweries across the city, so much so that there are actually brewery tours offered to tourists so they can sample beers offered by different establishments. Topping the list is Bellwoods Brewery, one of the first breweries that opened in Toronto. Another option is Henderson Brewery, which offers unique brews seasonally. Other must-try establishments include Indie Alehouse, Junction Craft Brewing, Blood Brothers, and Halo Brewery.
Day 2: Night - Swing by The Local for some live music
Cap the night off by catching a musical performance at The Local, an Irish pub that offers several choices for food and drinks. If you haven’t had your fill of beers from earlier, you may also want to check out the craft brews offered here. Each night features a different performer, so be sure to check the website beforehand to know who’s going to be taking the stage during your visit.
Address: 396 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M9, Canada
Website: The Local
Opening hours: 12pm - 2am (daily)
Day 3: Morning - Grab some freshly baked goods from St. Lawrence Market and check out Distillery District
Before leaving Toronto, make sure to grab some bread to enjoy for your breakfast at St. Lawrence Market, a place where you can also buy fresh produce. While in the area, stroll along Distillery District, where you can find a number of historic buildings, as well as some shops, art galleries, restaurants, and pubs.
St. Lawrence Market
Address: 93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
Website: St. Lawrence Market
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 8am - 6pm; Fri: 8am - 7pm; Sat: 5am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Make the most out of your Toronto trip
Given how big the city is, it can be difficult to come up with an itinerary for Toronto, especially if you want to make the most out of your time there. Do use this guide if you want to explore the best-kept secrets in the area that even the locals flock to for a good time.
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