This last summer I went to Toronto for about a week just as a little getaway for fun. I’ve been to Toronto before, but never really documented or explored all too much so I figured I’d go and hit all the typical touristy thing to do! (and some delicious food places as well).
Our Airbnb was right off of Yonge-Dundas Square so it was very close to everything! The first thing we did when we got to Toronto was check out one of the many coffee shops that are around, first being Dineen.
The patio is right off the main street, so it’s a little quieter, but still great for people watching. We got two vanilla lattes each and a couple pastries. Not bad! But a bit inconsistent in quality. You can read my full review here.
We went during summer, right as a festival on the waterfront was going on, so we walked towards that direction.
For this festival, they brought out a giant rubber duck. There was a lot of small shops around and some performances. Very lively, but not much to do, so we only spent an hour or so there.
For food, our first dinner was at Dailo. Located a little bit on the outer side of central Toronto, but still walkable. It can get kind of busy so I’d recommend making reservations on Open Table. We decided to do the tasting menu because at 65 a person, it’s very reasonable!
A few of our favourites from that night were the crispy octopus tacos, and the hakka dumplings! Delicious! You can read my full review here. If you only have to try a few places for dinner, this is one of my top choices.
Another one of my favourite things to do whenever I travel anywhere is to check out the local Chinatown. I always find it very lively, with lots to see, and of course, lots to eat. Right in the heart of Chinatown in Toronto is Kensington Market. It’s a very walkable market with many shops. We did get gelato in Kensinton Market, but were too full, since we just went to Banh Mi Boys before that.
Banh Mi Boys have a few locations, but we went to the one right off Chinatown. They serve modern Banh Mi, and Baos, and was one of my favourite meals out of my entire trip. You can read more about them here.
Another place that’s right close to Chinatown is Graffiti Alley. It’s just a short walk alley with a lot of graffiti all over it. It’s a quick walk, and it is google-able, so very easy to find.
A couple of other very fun things to Toronto is to check out Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake. It’s right off the Yonge-Dundas, and we walked by there a few times, but each time, there was a giant line, so I would go if you see the line-up short! It’s a famous cheesecake, orginating in Osaka, Japan, and have a few international locations! You can read a review here, but it’s fluffy, jiggly, and delicious!
Another very tourist-ey thing I did when I was in Toronto was check out the CN tower, and the aquarium. They actually sell combo tickets so you can get admission to both, and it is discounted somewhat. I’d recommend checking the forecast before going, especially if you’re deciding to go to the top. I’ve heard stories of people going up when it was really cloudy and they couldn’t see anything!
One thing I wish I knew was that the restaurants at the top are actually very reasonable. They have a great view, and the drinks are a fair price. We were both too full though so we just looked around the tower and took some photos, but it would have been nice to sit and enjoy the view while we were there
As for the aquarium, it actually is a very big aquarium, with lots of things to see, so I found that it was quite worth it. It’s very spacious and big, and you don’t have to wait around too long to get to the front in case you want to get some cool photos.
One of the foods that I really wanted to eat in Toronto was Ramen. There isn’t a ton of great ramen places in Edmonton, and one of the places we went with was Hokkaido Ramen Santouka since it was so close to our airbnb. The spicy Miso ramen is one of their recommended order, so we went with that and it was delicious. You can read a more in-depth review here.
I’ve never been to Niagara Falls before either, so I figured it’d be a good opportunity to go while I was in Toronto. I factored out a few ways to get there, and found that taking the Via Rail on a Tuesday was actually cheapest after calculating car rental, gas, etc. They do half-priced tickets on Tuesday, and it came to about 45 dollars round-trip for one person. Of course if you were going with a whole family, it’d probably be cheaper just to rent a car, but for two people, it was really easy, and fast (~1 hour to travel).
While in Niagara Falls, there isn’t a ton to do, other than to see the Falls themselves, and they do have this little amusement park with wax museums, rides, etc. We opted to do that while we were there. It was a great little day trip! And worth going for a day or two.
And of course, no trip to Toronto is complete without a trip to Canada’s Wonderland. I didn’t get too many photos while we were there, but it’s a typical amusement park, but it also has a water theme park there as well that you can go to.
There were lots of rides, and we went during the weekday so it wasn’t too busy. One of my highlights from that day was eating at Emma’s Country Kitchen, on the way to Canada’s Wonderland.
As seen on “You Gotta Eat Here”, Emma’s Country Kitchen is a small diner-like place. It’s cozy, and has a really chill vibe inside. We both got the Emma’s Benny, which comes with pea-meal bacon, and it was amazing! More info can be found here.
Also on the way back from Canada’s Wonderland, we stopped at a very instagram-famous place, that serves lobster mountains. And no, that isn’t even just an exaggeration.
You get to choose your own lobster, and they bring it out to show you, and you can have it prepared how you want. Most people got it served “Hong Kong” style which was delicious! You can read more about this place here.
There were a few more places that I went to in Toronto, but notably, was St Lawrence market, and of course, since it was Canada’s 150th birthday, and because we were in Toronto, we went to the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square.
I went to a few other places to eat! But I just wanted to mention the highlights in case you want to plan a trip on your own! You can read some of the other places I went to here.