Confession: I consider myself a well-traveled chick. I've been to Europe upwards of 10 times, checked out a fair amount of states, and have hit up the Caribbean. But, the farthest north I've ever ventured in good old North America is Albany. So, I was pumped when I learned I had to fly out to Toronto for a new job – and may I just say that Toronto is no joke!
In the last few years its population has surpassed Chicago's, making it the 4th largest in the continent (told, you: no joke). And its youthful, laid-back, food-centric vibes with a sprinkle of European quirk are the kind any 20-something could get behind. For a 1.5 hour plane ride from NYC, it's the perfect near-but-far long weekend destination.
The city is super cold come winter, so Torontonians fully embrace the warmer months by flocking to outdoor spaces. Wander around any of these neighborhoods for the strong possibility of badass vintage shopping and some dining al fresco:
- Queen St West: dubbed one of "the hippest" neighborhoods in the world. Be sure to check out Graffitti Alley.
- Ossington: the young urban professionals' 'hood for going out.
- Distillery District: ditto^
- Toronto Islands: if you're around in the summer and feeling yourself, check out Toronto Islands for some serious eye candy (of the nature and hot people kinds).
- High Park: a sure thing if you're jonesing for a chill Saturday of low-key drinking.
There isn't a particular cuisine that Toronto is known for. But the cultural diversity of the city provides a serious blend of eating options. Here are some favs:
- Il Gusto 101: Wine. On. Tizz-ap. Ya feel me?
- Pizzeria Libretto: I'm a native New Yorker, so trust me on this.
- The County General: bomb food, all around. You must try their Caesar.
- Pho Linh: never not down for some solid pho.
- The Black Hoof: bomb cocktails and finger foods in that sexy-rustic gastropub environment.
- These gorg downtown digs for $78/night
- This Airbnb for $71/night
- This beautiful studio if you're looking to skimp on cost, but not on location (at $50/night)
Have a reliable recommendation or sweet spot to share? Go crazy in the comments section.