41 things to do this fall in Toronto
Fall events, parties, parades and activities in Toronto are, in many ways, more exciting than those in summer because there's a fun mix of indoor and outdoor happenings. There are major shows and conferences in the city, and epic hikes to be made through colourful ravines and valleys both in and just outside of the city.
Here are 41 things to do this fall in Toronto.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Eat and drink at Oktoberfest
We created a handy guide to the best Oktoberfest events in the city to make planning/drinking/eating/dancing/prosting easy. Most major breweries take part and even create custom pint glasses and brews for the occasion. Toronto is so awesome, we even have a vegan Oktoberfest party.
Party in a gallery
We all know that the First Thursday parties at the AGO and Friday Night Live at the ROM are the best ways to tour the institutions. Friday Night Live is every Friday starting September 30 with entertainment always freshly announced. On October 6 Kardi will spin at the AGO along with some sort of drag musical pop-up.
Stay up super late at an all night art celebration
Exhibits, installations, performance pieces, projections... there's so much weird and wonderful stuff going on across the city during Nuit Blanche, the now non-Scotiabank sponsored all-night art fest. The best way to navigate is to leave your place, and get lost from sunset to sunrise.
See some art in the park
This one's always a fave, not only because the Queen West Art Crawl doesn't seem as contrived and expensive as others, but because it happens in Bellwoods and you have no choice but to walk really slowly and enjoy all the local pieces and projects. On October 1-2 get a coffee and walk around isles of paintings, photographs, sculptures and arts and crafts to fill your shelves or improve your walls.
Beat your face at the makeup world's biggest gathering
Join world leaders in makeup at the most important gathering of makeup artists on the planet. It's IMAT, and it runs from October 1-2 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. From Oscar and Emmy winners to global editorial artists, meet a network of experts and watch the pros. See the latest products and see some impressive demos.
See the world's best photos
The traveling exhibition of prize-winning entries assembled by World Press Photo is on display at Brookfield Place from October 4-25 and will make your jaw drop. Admission is free and the building is open from 9a.m. - 9p.m. It's the world's largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest and features everything from the beautiful to the disturbing.
Check out an international performance festival
Rutas runs from October 5-16 at Daniels Spectrum and includes performances from artists from Colombia, Bolivia, New York, New Zealand, Venezuela, Argentina, and Switzerland. The Pan-American festival features performances, master classes, cabarets, concerts, film, art exhibits and a "multi-day conference on issues arising from the artistic programming." Tickets are $25.
Gather 'round and listen to a story
There are storytelling events almost every night somewhere in the city. Some are dramatic, some are heartwarming, some are sexy and some are scary. The Moth, a very well known travelling series arrives in Toronto at Massey Hall October 6, but if you can't make it out to that big one, keep an eye on The Raconteurs and Tinder Tales.
Catch a fantastic fall concert
Drake, Adele, Sia, Miguel, The Arkells, Tegan and Sara, that's just a few of the exciting names coming to Toronto this fall. From big stadium events to smaller club shows, take a look at this list and don't miss out.
Hear some new tunes at a fall music festival
Venues all across Toronto will be blaring music from November 15-20 for Indie Music Week, which boasts concerts, a film fest, conference and awards show. For more new sounds head to the X Avant XI fest for some advanced electronic sound shows in an acoustically breathtaking space (October 14-16).
Learn how to dance in heels at the View dance convention
From beginners all the way to music video level pro's, the Views Dance Convention is the behemoth of dance conventions. Yanis Marshall will be teaching classes - you might remember him dancing in heels all over the place - and though it costs $100 per dancer, this is the kind of conference that changes a dance lover life. It all goes down October 15.
Browse and dream at Art Toronto
Take a stroll and fantasize about filling your walls and shelves with beautiful pieces at Canada's largest international fair for modern and contemporary art. Lots of Toronto galleries are showing at Art Toronto, and it's a chance to see what's what in the world of art right now. It runs October 28-31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. A regular ticket starts at $20.
Check out a big geek culture festival
The Unplugged Expo on October 15-16 at the Westin Harbour Castle delivers the latest in geek culture. There will be everything from a Just Dance competition, to a masters of cosplay competition, a Harry Potter room of requirement and a Japanese video arcade. See their website for the full nerdy schedule. It'll make you feel like a kid again just reading about it.
Curl up with a good author
The International Festival of Authors is October 20-30 at the Harbourfront Centre with 11 days of readings, interviews, artist talks, roundtable discussions, public book signings and a bunch of special events. This year they welcome 200 Canadian and international participants and they'll highlight graphic novelists. The website has the full lineup of people appearing and events.
Drink something one of a kind at Cask Days
From October 21-23 find your way down to the Evergreen Brick Works for the 12th annual Cask Beer festival. Cask ale is unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally carbonated beer that is served direct from a barrel. There will be 400 varieties to try over the three days.
Get educated and happy at the Everything About Sex Show
The 17th Everything About Sex conference of sexy panels, classes, vendors and entertainment happens October 21-23 at the Direct Energy Centre. Fashion shows, seminars on proper spanking techniques, an erotic circus, and oral sex tips will help everyone in the relationship, or those who are single and ready to mingle like a pro. It's a $20 day pass or $25 weekend pass.
Get inspired at TEDxToronto talk
TEDX is happening October 27 at Koerner Hall and you can check out the impressive list of speakers on their official site. Symbols and Signs is this year's theme, and is the country's largest event features talks and discussions that push for actual change. In addition to the one-day main conference of panels and performances, there's a mountain of content online.
Get scared stiff at some major Halloween events
October is one creepy month. There's Boo at the Wychwood Barns, the Canada's Wonderland Halloween Haunt,Halloween on Church Street on the 31st, Screemers down at the CNE, the Night of Dread and a host of post-Halloween pumpkin parades.
Get into a fall film festival
It might seem like TIFF is the only major game in town, but our city boasts some spectacular alternative film fests that give us the chance to see some amazing films of all genres from around the globe. After Dark, ImagineNative, Planet in Focus, and Blood in the Snow are some of our faves
Support Toronto zines and underground culture
Canzine is a festival of zine culture and underground art takes over the AGO on October 29. From 1-7p.m. Admission is free and you'll see workshops, a vendors marketplace, and a live zine race. Spend the afternoon with some of the city's most creative and daring artists and authors while supporting the art of print.happening this season.
Don't get your brains eaten at a Zombie walk
Live your barnyard fantasy a the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Nothing says fall like an afternoon surrounded by baby pigs and goats and award winning cows and horses at the Royal Winter Fair. There's also the Craft Beer Awards, chef competitions, an art battle and a rodeo. It all goes round and round like a lasso from November 4-13 at Exhibition Place.
Listen to your fave podcast live
Our first podcast festival is happening November 18-20 at the Hot Docs cinema. It'll feature live episodes of your favourite audio shows like Gimlet's Science Vs., Criminal and CBC's Sleepover with host Sook-Yin Lee. The full lineup is announced here on September 26.
Shop 'till you drop at the One of a Kind Show
Save yourself the trouble of traditional retail and get to the One of a Kind Show. This enormous clothing, crafts, and art show with endless rows of unique, local, handmade items. From November 24 to December 4 grab a $13 ticket and shop like it's nobody's business or watch a talk or workshop on the main stage.
Get jolly at the massive Xmas market coming to Nathan Philips Square
Everyone knows about the Distillery District Christmas Market. It's like a Christmas movie set, it's so lovely and festive. Well they're about to get some competition with this huge holiday market dropping at Nathan Philips Square from December 8-23. There aren't many details about this one yet, but the buzz around it is electric, so you can bet it's going to be huge and proper with that cute skating rink nearby.
THINGS TO DO THROUGHOUT THE FALL
Party at the new Sound Academy
Toronto has a couple new music venues worth checking out this fall. First there's the new Sound Academy, which is now called Rebel. It's been revamped and will include four different spaces. There's also your new favourite grungy rock club, Baby G. The guys behind The Garrison and Sneaky Dee's bring you this new space with a capacity of 170.
Go indoor rock climbing
Fight the urge to plant yourself on the couch! Put on something stretchy and get climbing! This climbing gym has massive, colourful walls for all skill sets - from beginner to advanced - and auto belays that allow you to climb without a partner. Prices are comparable to other gyms - student/youth day passes are $19 and adult day passes are $23.
Take in a much-anticipated art show
There are 10 art shows this fall that are very much worth checking out. So throw on your favourite sweater, comfy shoes, grab a coffee and head to these galleries to see some thought provoking works. They're happening at both big institutions and small galleries.
Learn some new tricks at Toronto's indoor bike park
It's in Markham, but this massive indoor bike park will make you feel like summer never left. Ramps, tracks, tricks, it's a place to feel like a kid again and goof around on two wheels. You can watch a pro fly around the place. There's a women's only night, and and old guys night if you're feeling stiff these days. It's the perfect place to learn some new tricks before summer '17.
Practice your paddle skills at Toronto's newest ping pong bar
Spin is no longer the only ping pong party spot in town. Smash Ping Pong Lounge has super high ceilings and endless elbow room. They have tons of tables and lots to eat and drink.
Scope out the new shops at Toronto Malls
Our city's malls have all pretty much decided to turn up this season. The Eaton Centre recently welcomed Uniqlo, Sak's and Nordstrom's, Yorkdale is expanding with a second Muji and even Hazelton Lanes has a new look and name.
Get creative at one of Toronto's new woodworking studios
There are many, many easy to access creative workshops in the city these days. But I gotta say, the Junction Workshop and the Unplugged Woodshop on Carlaw are personal faves. Learn from the masters, meet like-minded builders and make something cool that you could never do in the garage at home.
Go skiing indoors
Winter is coming, so you might as well get ready early so you can hit the slopes like you never left. The Axis Freestyle Academy is an indoor skiing facility gives you opportunity with a 20,000 square-foot facility located near the Vaughan Mills shopping centre. There's a dry slope, and a 4,000 square-foot trampoline area, which will naturally include foam pits.
Eat at the poop cafe
This is perhaps the most anticipated cafe opening of 2016. Cushioned toilets? Poop-themed treats served in tiny toilet dishes? What more could you want? There's no official open date for the Poop Cafe yet but judging from the photos on their Facebook page, they're ready to let it all out soon.
Visit the world's oldest LGBT bookstore, now with a cafe and bar
Glad Day bookshop is the city's oldest bookstore, and it's also the world's oldest LGBT bookshop. It's now about to become even more with a brand new space on Church Street that will include a cafe and a bar. They'll still be selling books and magazines and offering readings and author talks. They'll just also be hosting big gay parties on weekends as a bonus.
Check out Toronto's new crop of gaming bars
Sports and gaming bars Good Game, Raiders and Power Up Game Bar are giving us more ways to hang out and enjoy drinks with friends. But you're the type that enjoys your video games a little more retro, there's a whole host of arcade-style video game bars in the city too.
OUT OF TOWN
Visit a stunning provincial park
Ontario provincial parks beckon during the fall with their stunning foliage and magical sunsets. There five essential parks you've got to see to believe. And check out this handy fall colour report to visit at peak times!
Visit a small town
There are five small towns you should really see this time of year. They're so adorable it hurts, and they're so close it's strange most of us haven't ventured out to them. Places like Gravenhurst, Aberfoyle - a vintage-lover's dream - and the gorgeous scenery of Wellington will capture your heart and calm you down.
Take an epic hike
There's no better way to breathe in that crisp fall air, small all autumn goodness and get a little dirty than by taking a hike. While some might consider walking through the Eaton Centre a trek, I highly recommend skipping out of town just a short distance to get to these five epic spots. You'll see the GTA in a whole, beautiful new way.
See the fall colours in some severely underrated spots
There are 10 spots in the city, beyond the traditional fall colour watching zones, that you've got to see to believe. Why not go even further off the beaten trail and see them in some non-traditional hangouts? These low key places will have you taking in the beauty of autumn without the crowds.
Visit a cidery near Toronto
While downtown does have it's own dedicated cider bar, and there are plenty of places with the tart drink on tap, you'll find the real good stuff just a short drive outside of Toronto. Some of my faves include Applewood Farm, Beaver Valley and Tawse. A fun way to get your fave cider directly from the source.
Did I miss your favourite fall activity? Let us know in the comments.
Top photo by Scott Wilson in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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