Toronto, which I consider to be a cleaner, smaller version of New York City, is one of my favorite big cities. There are countless art galleries, affordable fashion stores, and dining options. I went to Toronto on a few different occasions as a child, but just went back this past summer for another visit. Obviously my awareness and appreciation for large cities has expanded since I was younger, and I fell in love with this one.
The Distillery District is a charming area to visit, with cobblestone roads and historical buildings which now host a variety of restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. We walked around the various art galleries and peeked inside some (incredibly overpriced) shops, then sat down for dinner at Mill Street Brewpub. This was one of the more casual dining options in the district, but there were several other upscale Italian and seafood restaurants.
Queen Street West is home to the trendiest, most fashion-forward people and retailers of Toronto. There are also an endless array of art galleries. This area has a very eclectic feel and is definitely geared towards the younger crowd. After shopping around, I discovered a restaurant called Fresh. You MUST try this place if you’re in the city, especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. My carnivorous father even admitted that the food was spectacular. First, I ordered an avocado smoothie which had avocado, bananas, spinach, and coconut water. I’ve been meaning to recreate this at home.
For my meal, I ordered a “Buddha Bowl” which had soba noodles, thai peanut sauce, marinated tofu, cilantro, tomatoes, sprouts, and chopped peanuts. Ahh so good…
To “get away” from the city without really leaving it, you can take a ferry over to Toronto’s islands. The parks, gardens, and beaches are gorgeous, with incredible views of the Toronto skyline.
We spent a day riding bikes throughout the islands, and then had lunch had a place called the Rectory Cafe. I felt like I was attending an English Royalty’s garden tea party (or something of the sort). We had hummus as an appetizer and I ordered a goat cheese salad which was topped with walnuts and pears. I gave it a 10 out of 10. I must say, none of the meals I had while in Toronto were the least bit disappointing.
Other places to shop:
Eaton Center– Toronto’s best and biggest indoor mall
Queen Street– make sure to stop by David’s Tea, and be prepared to be overwhelmed by the hundreds of different choices (get the Forever Nuts, it’s amazing!).
Our last dinner in Toronto was at a seafood restaurant right on the water called Pier 4. Inside the restaurant was decorated like a big boat, but we sat outside on the water. While we were waiting for a table, I enjoyed a good ol’ rum & coke at the bar. My salmon was really good, but the food took a really long time to come out.
I was very sad to leave the city when the time came (a weekend in a city with so much to offer is simply not enough!). It’s only a 3 1/2 hour drive from my hometown of Rochester, NY so hopefully I’ll make it back there sometime soon!