The top 10 places in Toronto to take out-of-towners
Why take out-of-towners to the usual tourist hot spots when you can give them a chance to see the city through the eyes of a local. Sure, the CN Tower might offer the best views, Kensington the most unique vibes and West Queen West the best shopping, but Toronto's much more than what your read about in the guide books so head to these locations instead.
Here are some alternative places in Toronto to take out-of-towners.
While the St. Lawrence Market might be traditional place to go on a Saturday morning why not head to Evergreen Brick Works instead for its weekly farmers' market (when is season), coffee, pastries or brunch at Cafe Belong and excellent hiking opportunities in the Don Valley.
The Toronto Islands are great but why not avoid the ferry rides and take a stroll through the Leslie Street Spit. The stunning Tommy Thompson Park is an excellent place to escape to and it even has a lighthouse for you to visit.
If you're giving out-of-towners a tour of the city, you might think to take them through Kensington Market and Chinatown. But why not venture a short transit ride north to Koreatown. This area west of the Annex features many affordable restaurants, shops, karaoke bars as well as easy access to Christie Pits.
After Vogue named West Queen West the second coolest street in the world, it transformed into a bona fide tourist destination. Take your guests a little bit north and explore Dundas West's bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries instead.
The AGO and ROM may be top of mind when you're thinking about museums and galleries, but why not explore this refurbished factory near Richmond and Spadina filled with galleries, two cafes and unique stores like Spacing, Musideum and Swipe.
Both the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale are super busy, so instead of visiting the usual big box stores, head to Markham and visit the so-called largest Chinese indoor mall in North America.
Mirvish puts up some extremely high quality productions, but if you don't want to shell out over $100 for decent seats, check out what's playing at places like Theatre Passe Murraille, Tarragon, Buddies in Bad Times or the Young Centre for the Performing Arts to discover some of the best talent in the city.
If it's gross out and your guests are hankering to see a movie, skip Cineplex at Yonge-Dundas Square and visit the Annex's Hot Docs Theatre, the home of North America's largest documentary festival. Tickets are super affordable and their concession stand serves booze.
Don't spend all of your time in the west side of the city. Take a trip east and visit Wagstaff Drive. It's home to Left Field Brewery, which is a great alternative if you're looking to sample Toronto's craft beer scene at a scale smaller than say, Steamwhistle. Need a caffeine fix? Pilot Coffee Roasters will hook you up at their tasting bar using beans fresh out of their on-site roaster.
Harbourfront might be closer to the hotels, but why not avoid fellow tourists by heading west along the lake to Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch? Take a peek inside the cheese cave at the Cheese Boutique, and show them who makes a real donut at SanRemo before hitting the paths, beaches and parks along the water.
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