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10 Toronto musts for a first timer

Posted by Alice Prendergast / January 23, 2016

kensington marketToronto musts for a first timer go beyond a trip to the CN tower, Casa Loma and the Hockey Hall of Fame. While these landmark attractions might be worth a visit, this itinerary will keep you doing what the locals do.

Here are 10 Toronto musts for a first timer.

Explore the ins and outs of Kensington Market
Grab lunch at Otto's Berlin Doner, The Dirty Bird or Seven Lives while navigating the streets of Toronto's most unique neighbourhood. Where else are you going to find this eclectic an assortment of indie cafes, pint-sized eateries, watering holes and vintage shops all within a few blocks.

Go for a walk in a ravine
If you feel the need to commune with nature while out and about in the concrete jungle, head to one of the city's beloved green spaces. They're scattered across the city, so they're never too far from reach. The best part? You won't have to drop any cash to enjoy 'em.

Line-up for brunch
Line-ups may not be fun, but they happen for a reason - because the restaurants are worth it. If you want to hit up the cities well-loved bruncheries you're gonna have to queue up with the rest of Toronto's breakfast-obsessed patrons. Where should you go? Lady Marmalade, Saving Grace, Maha's and Aunties and Uncles are all tried and true options.

Eat a peameal sandwich
The peameal sandwich was born in Toronto, so if you're going to have one anywhere it should probably be here. If you're on the hunt for the perfect one, Carousel Bakery in St. Lawrence Market serves up the best in the city, but Rashers, Lisa Marie and TLP have managed to craft some pretty stellar renditions, as well.

Explore Toronto's big and small galleries
Art-loving visitors to Toronto tend to make a beeline for the big guys when it comes to galleries. While the AGO is most definitely worth checking out, there's more than a few smaller galleries worth hitting up. The Junction Triangle has a thriving gallery scene so head there to check out gems like Clint Roenisch, Arsenal Toronto and Daniel Faria.

Discover the world's second coolest neighbourhood
Toronto's ego was bolstered when Vogue magazine named West Queen West the second coolest street style neighbourhood in the world in 2014. Head there if you want to see the city's most stylish citizens strutting their stuff on the street. While you're in the neighbourhood, you can also pick up some new threads of your own from fashion-forward boutiques like Park & Province, Convey and Sugar & Scruff.

Go for a bar crawl
Get to know a city through its nightlife. Luck for you, Toronto has plenty of good watering holes. Bloor, College and Dundas West are filled with bars, so make an evening of it and hit all the ones you can. Need inspiration? Our list of the best new bars in Toronto is a good start.

Soak up the city's vibrant live music scene
Toronto's music scene is nothing short of awesome. The streets are filled with iconic music venues (Horseshoe Tavern, Massey Hall, etc.) that host concerts on an almost nightly basis. There's also a few new kids on the block that cater mainly to indie lovers and may just introduce you to an up-and-coming Toronto artist.

Grab a drink at one of Toronto's microbreweries
Beer lovers, rejoice! Toronto is home to a roster of microbreweries, all of which serve up house made beverages more interesting than your average Bud Light. If you want to try something new, crowd favourites include Bellwoods Brewery, Burdock, Left Field Brewery and Indie Ale House.

Take a ferry to the Toronto Islands
If the hustle and bustle of the mainland gets to be too much, head to the Toronto Islands for a bit of R&R. You can post up in a B&B for a few days, or, if you feel like embracing your inner exhibitionist, the nude beach at Hanlan's Point is always a hit.

What did I miss? Add your musts for a Toronto first timer to the comments.

Photo by Jae Yang in the blogTO Flickr pool.

Other Cities: Montreal