I went to Toronto for work and didn’t think I’d be able to explore enough of the city to write about it. However, I loved it so much — and learned so much — I thought I’d offer a few tips.
First, where to stay. It’s all about location, location, location. We researched until we couldn’t research anymore to find an Airbnb that would suit us. Best neighborhood in Toronto, IMO: Yorkville
Where to stay in Toronto: Yorkville
This neighborhood is idyllic. High-rise condos, clean sidewalks, just minutes from cute shops and restaurants, and every street light has a flower bed. Atlanta, take some notes.
Every restaurant I had starred was walking distance from our Airbnb in Yorkville, and the same with the shops. It’s also a 10-minute walk to the downtown area, which was where our conference was held.
Shopping in Toronto: Yorkville
Yorkville is the home of luxury and designer brands. But you’ll also find more affordable shops peppered in, like H&M and Zara. Which is why I loved it so much.
The American dollar is stronger than Canadian currency right now, so take advantage of the exchange rate. We went to Aritzia — a Canadian clothing store that’s mid-range (think around CAD 100 for a top). I found a dress on sale for CAD 70, which was about $50USD. And I love it so much.
Since we were staying in Yorkville, and only there for work, I didn’t get to venture out to the other neighborhoods. Honestly, there was no need with all Yorkville had to offer. But BlogTO breaks down shopping by neighborhood if you want to know more.
Restaurants in Toronto
Dimmi: A local recommended this Italian restaurant, and we trusted his opinion. I got the pesto pasta and couldn’t put my fork down. It’s not rated as highly on Yelp as I’d expect, but I’ll vouch for it. We sat on the patio on a wonderful 65-degree evening and had no complaints.
The Pilot Tavern: We’re flip-flopping, here. Yelp has this place highly reviewed, while I thought it was just okay. There’s live jazz on the second floor (we went straight for the rooftop), and a heated rooftop bar, called The Flight Deck.
Airport-themed ambiance, just-okay food, and solid drinks. I didn’t complain, it’s a cool concept and a local favorite, but don’t yell at me if you’re expecting fine dining and find nachos on the menu.
Tim Hortons: Why is this on the list? Don’t @ me, I ate conference food for almost every meal. But seriously, you have to stop by Tim Hortons while you’re in Canada. If you’re not feeling a crappy cup of coffee, go for the strawberry banana smoothie, it was delicious. And really looks nice in portrait mode. Ta-da.
Airbnb in Toronto: Yorkville High-Rise Condo (only $79/night)
Our Airbnb was amazing. Think doorman, gym and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame skyline views of the city. Plus, you’re very own balcony. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, iron, full kitchen, and a full-length mirror (ladies, you get it the mirror situation).
And it’s only $79/night right now. I believe our stay was in the low $100s, so it fluctuates with the seasons. Here are some pictures and the link to book:
It also has good lighting:
Toronto Weather: Magical
I watch my language when I write, but after Atlanta humidity and 90-degree weather, I’ll say it: Toronto was a f*cking daydream.
We went in August, which is the worst of the worst weather in the southern United States. I welcomed the escape. August in Toronto is high 60s/low 70s, no humidity. It feels like mother nature with air conditioning.