72 Hours of Food and Nonstop Fun in Toronto

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Photo credit: Michael Gil
Photo credit: Michael Gil

Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to start planning weekend escapes to the Queen City. Warmer temperatures and longer days allow for more time spent wandering Toronto’s outdoor spaces, sipping drinks on rooftops, dining on patios, and hopping from museum to museum. This guide to spending 72 hours in Hogtown will ensure you make the most of three full days in the city.

Day One

12 p.m.

Early spring in Toronto means the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Start your first day in the city with the Japanese tradition of cherry blossom flower watching, known as Sakura Hanami. Wander High Park in search of cherry blossoms, or simply enjoy the beauty of the lakefront, gardens, and hiking trails.

3 p.m.

An enjoyable walk in the park is best followed by a cold pint of beer from a a local Toronto brewery. Walk or catch a cab just a few blocks north to the Indie Alehouse on Dundas Street West. Here, you’ll find a wide selection of craft beers made in house, and mouthwatering bar bites to appease your appetite until dinner.

Photo credit: Benson Kua
Photo credit: Benson Kua

6 p.m.

Dinner is one of the most exciting times of day in Toronto. However, the huge selection of award-winning restaurants can make choosing the perfect one seem impossible. We recommend a visit to ALO Restaurant, where you can enjoy meticulously prepared French food in an unpretentious atmosphere. You won’t be disappointed.

End your evening at the ultra-hip Gladstone hotel, a boutique hotel that’s historic in nature (built in 1889) but contemporary in style, with 37 unique artist-designed rooms, locally-sourced food, and regular cultural events. As the city’s oldest continually operating hotel, there’s no better place to soak in the city’s rich cultural history without even having to venture outside. Don’t miss the hotel’s four floors of art, and the Melody Bar, which is almost always offering specials and entertainment.

Day Two

7 a.m.

You’ll want to rise and shine early on your 72-hour visit to Toronto, because there’s more to see than can be crammed into just a few days. Start your morning at Eggspectation at 20 Albert St., where you can dine on Lobster Benny or a Breakfast Poutine with homemade breakfast gravy, a sunny side egg, cheese curds, bacon, sausage, and ham. Sit on the patio to enjoy an especially warm spring day with a fresh-pressed juice or hot cup of coffee.

There’s no better place to work off a hearty Toronto breakfast than at Evergreen Brick Works. The Farmers’ Market moves back outside in May, and active programs change with the seasons. Stop by Evergreen’s website to see which community-friendly activities will be taking place during your visit.

12 p.m.

Toronto locals love their sports, and there’s no better way to mingle with the locals and enjoy an unforgettable day outdoors than at a Toronto Blue Jays game. While spring training begins in March, the regular season kicks off at the start of April, and you can join crowds of screaming Blue Jay fans at Rogers Centre. Located just southwest of the CN Tower, the stadium makes sightseeing convenient before and after the big game.

The stadium is home to some of the best daily-smoked meats and poutines in the city, offering ample opportunities to snack on authentic Canadian and distinctly Hogtown eats.

Photo credit: Keith Allison
Photo credit: Keith Allison

3 p.m.

Depending on the game time, you’ll want to do some sightseeing before or after. The Casa Loma castle and its stunning estate gardens is a must-visit Toronto attraction that’s ideal for travelers of all ages and interests. The castle’s Summer Series of events will feature Symphony in the Gardens on Tuesday evenings and the Soul in the City jazz showcase on Mondays. Casa Loma offers countless opportunities to discover Toronto’s unique history and culture while enjoying the outdoors.

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And if you’re traveling with a crew of die-hard hockey fans, the world-famous Hockey Hall of Fame is one of the best places to discover Canada’s favourite pastime in north America. The Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment destination, and you won’t want to miss the recently launched Centennial Exhibit, commemorating 100 years of NHL hockey with some of the sport’s most sought-after artifacts (like Gordie Howe’s 700th goal puck and Bobby Orr’s infamous knee brace). There’s something for everyone at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

6 p.m.

It’s decision time again, and it’s nearly impossible to choose just three dinner restaurants for a 72-hour stay in the city. However, no visit to Toronto is complete without tasting some award-winning Chinese food in Chinatown. Head to the Dumpling House Restaurant on Spadina Avenue a cozy, authentic Chinese atmosphere with pan fried or steam dumplings that you’ll dream about long after you’ve left the city.

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Head east of Spadina Avenue along Dundas, and you’ll find the famed Art Gallery of Ontario. Open until 9 p.m., on Wednesdays and Fridays, this gallery is the ideal place to wander after a Chinatown meal. The museum will be running a must-see Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition from April 22 to July 30, this year.

Those who simply don’t want the day to end should head down to the lakeshore for live jazz, swing, and blues music five nights a week at the Reservoir Lounge. Opt for a stay at the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel for a luxuriously modern room in the heart of the city’s thriving Entertainment District.

InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel

Day Three

7 a.m.

A long night out warrants a hearty Toronto breakfast on your third morning in Hogtown. And the Senator Restaurant on Victoria Street is the perfect place to fill your belly with comfort food. Choose from everything from loaded scrambles and open-faced omelettes to salmon eggs benedict or huevos rancheros. You’ll never go hungry on your weekend escape to Toronto.

12 p.m.

Continue the excitement of your 7w-hour visit to Toronto at one of the city’s favourite family-friendly attractions, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. From morning yoga in front of an exotic aquarium to the new up-close-and-personal Stingray Experience, Ripley offers some of the world’s most exciting aquarium experiences, and they’re right here in Hogtown.

Or, for those seeking the city’s more cultural side, the Textile Museum of Canada is one of the best places in the country to admire the works of local, national, and international contemporary artists. It presents rotating exhibitions, changed throughout the year. Exhibitions draw from TMC’s collection of 13,000 objects, spanning roughly 200 world regions and 2,000 years of history, and present the work of local, national and international contemporary artists. The TMC also hosts touring exhibitions and guest curators through various partnerships and collaborations.

3 p.m.

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Just across the street from the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is Roundhouse Park and iconic Steam Whistle Brewing. Sip a world-famous Steam Whistle pilsner take a brewery tour (operating seven days a week), or if you time your visit right, catch one of the brewery’s many special events, including concerts, festivals, yoga, and more.

6 p.m.

Ivy Exterior

Toronto’s theatre scene is highly underrated, and catching a live performance at one of the city’s many theatres will surely make your trip feel complete. The Princess of Wales Theatre will be presenting Strictly Ballroom The Musical through June, and the Elgin Theatre is now showing Sousatzka, an emotional, humorous, and hopeful take on the novel Madame Sousatzka by Bernice Rubens.

Finish your final night in Toronto with a stay at The Ivy at Verity luxury boutique hotel. The Ivy at Verity is a part of Verity, a members-only women’s club, but the hotel is open to both men and women. The Club is housed in an elegantly-restored historic chocolate factory and includes a fitness centre, ozonated pool, the top-rated restaurant GEORGE, and sweetgrass spa, which has been named one of the top 25 spas in Canada. There’s no better place to pamper yourself before heading home.

The Ivy Room 1

Day Four

7 a.m.

There’s still time to squeeze in some sightseeing on your final day in the city. Stop by the George Street Diner for some of the city’s most esteemed diner fare in an authentic old-fashioned atmosphere.

Fueled with coffee and eggs, you’re ready for a morning at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The museum recently opened their highly anticipated Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibition. As the cornerstone of ROM’s Canada 150 programing, the exhibit is turning a tragic event into a heartwarming and uniquely Canadian story. Visitors also won’t want to miss the Gallery of Modern Design, T.Rex Alive!, The Franklin Exploration and the long list of other must-see exhibits on display right now.

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Seventy-two hours is never enough time to spend in Toronto, but Hogtown, and it’s unending list of must-visit shops, eateries, hotels, and attractions, is always here waiting for your next weekend escape.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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