5 Exceptional Nights Out at Toronto’s Top Cultural Institutions

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Toronto’s cultural institutions have achieved global status – and you don’t have to be a tourist to be drawn to them as cutting-edge programming and fresh events appeal to locals as well as visitors. If you’re spending the night in the city with someone you want to impress, these eclectic nights out will win you points.

AGO First Thursdays

On the first Thursday of every month, the most popular art party in the city gets started after the Art Gallery of Ontario closes. This action-packed, late-night event brings together art lovers for some sneak-peek exhibit viewing, hands-on art-making, live music, pop-up talks and food and drinks in one of Toronto’s most stylish spaces.

Location: 317 Dundas Street West

ROM Friday Night Live

Eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, live music and unexpected experiences define this series. Running in the spring, fall and winter, be sure to check the Friday Night Live schedule for what’s on next.

You can’t miss the Lee-Chin Crystal, the striking prismatic structure added in 2007 that transformed the ROM experience both inside and out.

Location: 100 Queen’s Park

Salon 21 at the Gardiner Museum

In partnership with Soundtreams, this series of musical evenings takes place every third Friday. Salon 21 is a free performance and discussion series to engage with music and artists in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying some food and drinks.

Location: 111 Queens Park

Music Nights at Casa Loma

Whether it’s for Soul in the City, or Symphony in the Gardens, Casa Loma is a magical spot. Step back in time in the historic castle, wander the beautiful grounds and let the serenade begin.

Casa Loma is home to unique experiences throughout the year, including the haunting Legends of Horror throughout October, Winter Wonderland with festive light sculptures in the gardens and the stylish 10 Decades of Christmas Trees Display.

Location: 1 Austin Terrace

Friday Night Jazz at Ripley’s Aquarium

The second Friday of every month, Ripley’s Aquarium opens for after-hours, self-guided tours and live jazz. Immerse yourself in a world of 16,000 aquatic animals from sharks to sea cucumbers in a beautifully mood-lit venue. Snack on canapés and cocktails as you wander.

This is one of the largest aquariums in Canada, which contains a tropical rainbow reef tank, an underwater tunnel home to many types of sharks and a glowing habitat of mesmerizing jellyfish. Come to Ripley’s Aquarium for an atmospheric adventure on your Friday night.

Location: 288 Bremner Boulevard

Date Night

If your romantic night out in Toronto has left you wanting more, Toronto has many exciting options. Check out 6 Fun Date Ideas, for more on fun outings in Toronto for every budget.