Toronto Travel like a Local The Untourist Guide to the Big City

Toronto, like many international business centers, offers a huge selection of hotels. Most are large, comfortable, and utterly devoid of charm. Enjoy a more authentic experience by staying at a small and stylish boutique hotel. The SoHo Metropolitan is well regarded as Toronto’s finest boutique hotel. Indulgent yet subdued, the SoHo Met is a vibrant scene unto itself and a luxury experience not to be missed. The Gladstone is a historic 100-year old hotel in the lively heart of the Toronto arts scene, and offers a choice of 37 Toronto artist-designed guest rooms. Sleek, trendy, funky, and modern – these suites will be as memorable as your daily sightseeing.

Toronto is a steaming, thriving metropolis, but in this chaotic concrete jungle remain a few places where one can sit back, put their feet up, and relax. The Distillery District is a historic part of Toronto, around since 1832, but since its restoration in 2003 it has become an integral part of Toronto’s jazz scene. Grab a seat, order a beer, and listen to some jazz in the sun. The St. Lawrence Market, while not screaming relaxation, is a fun and friendly way to spend a Saturday morning surrounded by fresh produce, great eats, and entertaining buskers. Make a picnic and bring it to the 400 acres of urban green space at Hyde Park for a relaxing afternoon.

When making the all-important dining choice in Toronto, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by options. Casual trendsters looking for a bite should consider Peter Pan, an eatery on trendy Queen Street that features a menu with staying power, having recently celebrated its 31st year. The Swan appeals to lovers of kitsch, offering a 50’s diner d├ęcor with a thankfully updated menu. Toronto’s Little Italy has the highest concentration of Italians outside Italy, so you know where to go for a spaghetti or gelato.

Culture-hounds looking for something different can consider a visit to Toronto’s off-beat shrine to shoes, the Bata Shoe Museum, while a visit to the CN Tower never disappoints, but to truly appreciate Toronto one just has to wander its streets, poking into boutiques, sampling a particularly tasty shwarma, catching a show, and stopping for a sunset drink.