37 Hours: Toronto

The Best Things to do in Toronto in 37 Hours Toronto Graffiti and painted car in Kensington Market

Whenever I visit Toronto, the shit always hits the fan. Whether Mayor Ford is sampling crack or a G-20 summit leads to riots on the street, I still always manage to have a great time. I want you to have the best time, too. While the New York Times will give you 36 hours in one place, we at Somewhere Or Bust give you 37. Without further ado, for the best things to do in Toronto over a weekend here’s how to spend those 37 hours. (Since the New York Times’ 36 Hours never adds up to a day and a half, neither will this, if you’re keeping score at home.)

 

Steam Whistle Brewery Toronto Brewery

 

The Best Things to do in Toronto: 37 Hours

 

Friday 11:00 am: Planes to Trains

After arriving in Toronto, get yourself over to the Steam Whistle Brewery and the Old Rail Museum. Whether you like quality beer, have children that want to ride the miniature train out front, or love the history of the steam engine, this doubles as the best location to snap photos of the CN Tower.

 

Friday 2:00 pm: Drunk and High

After a few beers at Steam Whistle, shoot up to the top of the CN Tower for views of the city.

 

Friday 4:00 pm: Distillery District

The historic brick roads contain one of the greatest collections of Victorian-era architecture, some of the trendiest shops, and, after many years, a distillery again. The Mill Street Brewery, which produces a tasty pint, has expanded into the schnapps market.

 

Mill Street Brewery Schnaps

 

Friday 6:00 pm: Food Tour of Chinatown

For a city to be worth its… soy sauce, it needs to have a Chinatown. The Chinatown in Toronto, while small, has one great block on Spadina, which should serve as the origins for any Toronto food tour. Start at King’s Noodles where you can order savory barbecued pork and a noodle-wrapped pastry dubbed the Chinese doughnut. Afterward head next door for dumplings at the Dumpling House, and then, on the same block, grab a $2.00 Vietnamese sandwich.

 

Toronto Chinatown King's Noodle

 

Saturday 8:00 am: Waterfront

Whether you run, cycle, or stroll, this is the best path in the city. Even though it follows the rush hour traffic, the tranquil waterfront will drown out the polite driving of Torontonians.

 

Khao San Road Thai Restaurant

 

Saturday 11:15 am: Lunch at Khao San Road

Doors open at 11:30 at this Adelaide West establishment. And rest assured, if it’s during the week, a line will form. It’s cheap and tasty Thai food in the heart of the city. For an extra buck or two you can add a summer roll and Tum Yum soup to your lunch.

 

Saturday 1:00 pm: Queen Street

After Thai, head over to Queen Street for the shops. If you’re like me, and consider shopping to be an appalling compromise a husband must make with his wife, there’s a great coffee shop called Little Nicky’s that you can hide out in. They serve up tasty brews, but make sure to complement your order with a bowl of miniature sugar doughnuts.

 

Little Nicky's Coffee and Doughnuts

 

Saturday 3:00: Kensington Market

While it’s best to tour Kensington Market on the last Sunday of the month, from May to October, when the street shuts down for festivities, if it’s any other time of year try to visit during daylight hours. The graffiti artwork commissioned by the city is remarkable, the shops are eccentric, and the vibe is like Manhattan’s East Village, though much smaller. If you still have an appetite, grab a lamb patty from the Patty King.

 

Toronto Graffiti and painted car in Kensington Market

 

Saturday 7:30 pm: Second City

Check out the improv nursery for institutions like Saturday Night Live, which helped foster the greats like John Belushi, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert, to name a few. You can also take improv classes during the day.

 

Toronto West Brunch L'Ouvrier

 

Sunday 11:00 am: Brunch Toronto West

The best brunch spots in the city are on the west side of Toronto. Head down Dundas Street and cross over Bathurst, where you’ll find tasty French toast and overstuffed omelets. I loved the sparsely decorated L’Ouvrier, but kept hearing rave reviews about Saving Grace.

 

Sunday 1:00 pm: Bellwoods Brewery

What would Sunday brunch be without excess drinking? If that’s your thinking, cruise past the shops on Dundas, turn left on Ossington, and enjoy a beer on the outdoor patio at Bellwoods Brewery.

 

Sunday 2:00 pm: Trinity-Bellwoods Park

There’s no better way to end your stay in Toronto than with a long sit at Trinity-Bellwoods Park and a slow stroll down the funkier side of Queen Street. When the weather is nice you’ll find tightrope walkers, clothing vendors, and musicians gathered on the grass. And on the walk down Queen Street West, you’ll pass better shops, eateries, and graffiti.

 

Where I Stayed

The best room I had in Toronto was provided by the Pantages Hotel. Though the modern room was small, it came equipped with a full kitchen and a comfortable bed. Plus it was central to everything. Besides Toronto West, everything was within a twenty minute walk. (The link for the hotel is an affiliate link, so if you do happen to book the room, please do so through this link. It will save you money and reward me with a sliver of a percentage. Thanks for your support.)

 

Note: Shout Out to Shawn for introducing me to Khao San Road and Little Nicky’s. Shout out to Zoe for telling me about Saving Grace, but giving me bad directions.

 

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in 37 Hours, Canada & The Caribbean, Somewhere

2 Responses to 37 Hours: Toronto

  1. Michael Lennick

    A wonderful itinerary, though probably best enjoyed during a warmer month. (June is nice.)

    • Noah Lederman

      This is certainly true, Michael, though I never let the cold keep me indoors for too long.

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