My oh my, what a hectic trip!
My husband was in Toronto a week for work, and I hopped up for the weekend to join him. I didn’t want to take any time off work, so I left on a redeye Friday night to get there Saturday morning, and then we were coming back Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon together.
WELLLL. Due to mechanical issues on the plane, I ended up being stuck on the runway in Los Angeles for 4+ hours. By the time I finally touched down in Toronto, we were frantically adapting our plans and trying to get refunds (we bought train tickets to Niagara Falls for Saturday morning, but ended up not being able to go) I realized I only had about 24 hours in the city. Let the craziness begin!
Be warned: I am no expert on Toronto. I will tell you what I managed to accomplish in 24 hours, but there’s still so much I don’t know and wish we had time to do!
We switched hotels from the one my hubby was in for work and stayed at the Thompson Toronto, which was a really great decision for how little time we had in the city. The Thompson is walking distance from a good many restaurants and iconic sites, and also boasts a GORGEOUS rooftop pool with a fabulous view of the city. We stopped at our hotel to drop off bags and for me quickly change out of my sweats-and-sweater plane clothes and look somewhat presentable.
After dropping off our things, we walked to Versus Coffee to get rainbow lattes (and because I was dead tired). The fun colors did not disappoint, and I perked up immediately.
We then walked past a lovely garden and over to St. Lawrence Market to peruse the farmers’ market. While we didn’t buy anything, it’s a really lovely and vibrant space full of fruit vendors, meat stands, bakeries, seafood, flowers—you name it!
After this, we walked by the Gooderham Building (also known as the Flatiron building) and through Brookfield Place.
We finally walked up to Nathan Phillips Square (named after the mayor between 1955-1962) to get a shot of the iconic TORONTO sign. During the winter, this space apparently transforms into an ice skating rink!
After all this we were very hungry and walked over to PAI for a late lunch. Let me just say that this favorite Thai spot was SO. FREAKING. GOOD. We really enjoyed our experience here, and loved the cute décor inside the restaurant as well. We shared a Gaeng Kiaw Wan (green curry in a coconut) and a Thai Iced Tea. Both were unbelievably delicious and flavorful, and they had no problem accommodating my gluten allergy.
After our late lunch, we stopped by Kekou Gelato House for dessert. This place is known for unique (and Asian-inspired) flavors. We sampled many things, but ended up getting two flavors each: Whiskey Green Tea / Pistachio Rosewater (for me), and Rum Condensed Milk / Jasmine (for him). Such refreshing, icy treats on a hot summer’s day!
We also stopped by Butter Avenue to try a few macarons. These were good, but I may have been a little underwhelmed.)
After all our touring and eating, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the reason why we booked it: the rooftop pool!!!
It really is a view to behold—especially if you don’t have time to go searching for rooftops in the city to see the skyline. Once upstairs we took in the amazing view and spent a relaxing 45 minutes or there.
We also got a couple drinks with food/beverage credit from booking with Expedia as +silver members—thanks, Expedia! 😀
We then headed out again to grab dinner with one of my best friends from college and her boyfriend! We walked to an Italian placed called Il Fornello—everyone got a set meal and it was a great place that accommodated my gluten allergy well, but overall, was a little bit forgettable.
After this, we wandered down King Street and enjoyed the pseudo-Canadian Walk of Fame. Then, we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the view from the rooftop once again, but this time, the city was all lit up for the night. It was a wonderful time catching up with amazing company!
This is the day I honestly wish we could do-over and think through a little differently. But no matter what, the adventures we went on were still great fun!
We started our day with breakfast at Simit & Chai Co., because I was craving shakshuka. It’s such a cute little café and we so badly wanted to like it, but this was another forgettable meal for me. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more if I could’ve eaten the simit (what they’re know for, hence the name), though!
We then walked over to Quantum Coffee to grab a pick-me-up and also eat some MORE delicious AG Macarons that my beloved friend gifted to us.
This was honestly the highlight of the day for me—they were so adorable and pretty and there was also a UNICORN MACARON. My darling friend knows me so well!! 😀
We then walked from coffee to AGO and enjoyed the architecture and artistry of the area. We didn’t pay for entrance into the museum, but loved what we saw from the surrounding area.
After this, we went down to the waterfront and rented city bicycles to bike to High Park. While this is a really great idea if you are prepared and have downloaded the Cyclefinder app, we were not prepared—check here if you want to get all the info on Bike Sharing.
We did the 6 km/3.5 mile bike ride to High Park, took a brief look at it, and then wanted to find a place to return the bikes and then Uber to find lunch. Foolish us—we didn’t download the Cyclefinder app, and didn’t want to waste our phone data to pay to download it while we were out. We thought we’d stumble upon a bike station to return the bicycles easily, but most we encountered were already completely full. It wasn’t until another 6 km later that we finally found a station we could return the bikes at! Utterly exhausted and short on time, we called an Uber just to go back to the hotel and pick up our bags before rushing to the airport. Oh, a caterpillar also stowed away on the inside of my dress somehow and I didn’t find it until we got to the hotel. It was giant and fuzzy.
And there you have it! Our whirlwind trip. If I could do it over, I would probably do Day 1 very similarly, but pick a different dinner location (e.g. Lavelle, Khao San Road or Buca).
If I could do-over the second day, I would probably choose to check out Kensington Market/Casa Loma or try to squeeze in a half-day trip to Niagara Falls instead of walking around AGO and biking along the waterfront—that said, the bike ride is beautiful, and if it’s a warm (but not miserably hot) day during the Toronto summer, I would recommend trying it out!
TORONTO TRAVEL TIPS
Currency: CAD – Canadian Dollars
Transportation: Town Cars, Taxis, Uber, Train, Street Car, Bike Rental—there are many options!
Food: Thai food is excellent here! Toronto is also well-known for French food (didn’t try), dimsum (which I sadly couldn’t eat due to my allergy) and poutine