Even though we call it home, Toronto is still one of our favourite cities to explore. We are constantly finding hidden gems and amazing hotspots, world-class food, incredible art and music scenes and something to do together around almost every corner, no matter what time of year.
There is so much to do and see but as is the case with anyone who lives in a major destination, we often forget how much excitement and activity goes on right in our own backyard, especially when the colder months hit and neither of us has the desire to take even a step outside. So, to help thaw you out and get some winter romance flowing, here are 4 of our favourite winter date ideas in Toronto.
Shopping, Hot Chocolate & More in the Distillery District
The Distillery District is an area in Toronto we find ourselves visiting time and time again. It is home to the well-known Toronto Christmas Market and was also the scene of one of our first dates (that’s probably why it stuck with us). There is always something special to be found there, especially in the winter.
We love to walk the cobblestone streets of this historic pedestrian-only area, popping in and out of the local shops (filled with unique gift items), grabbing a bite to eat at restaurants like Cluny Bistro and we almost always stop for the amazing hot chocolate at SOMA to warm up from the inside out. When evening hits, the Toronto Light Festival only adds more warmth to the experience itself.
Spice Up Brunch Together With Some Salsa
If there’s one thing people love to do in Toronto on a weekend, it’s brunch and we’re no exception. The brunch scene is hot in the city, even when it’s cold out, and there’s no shortage of places to choose from. There are many amazing brunch spots in Toronto but we like to switch it up and look for unique experiences like Lula Lounge where you can get a brunch buffet AND Latin dancing lessons. It’s the perfect choice for a fun Sunday together (and you get to burn off the excess buffet calories).
Make Your Own Food Tour in Toronto’s Culinary Playground
If brunch isn’t quite your thing, don’t worry – the food in Toronto is out of this world. We’re all about food – any kind, anywhere. From popular hotspots to hidden gems, we like to do our own food tour around the city (but if you prefer, there are lots of food and beer tours to choose from). Especially in the winter when we’re looking to get out of the house and when long hours on a patio aren’t an option, hitting up a few different restaurants doubles as entertainment.
We’ll return to places we love or have special meaning to us like Kinka Izakaya, which is one of our all-time favourite restaurants. Our moods are always lifted as the staff welcomes us loudly and enthusiastically in Japanese. It was here that we bonded over our love of Japanese cuisine, our passion for travel and finding something truly unique tucked away in the city.
El Furniture Warehouse is a late-night staple for us located in the Annex, which we happened to discover when most places in the area were closed. Considered a dive bar, there’s an exciting atmosphere and our first bite of food blew us away. It doesn’t hurt that everything on the menu is only $4.95(!).
Enjoy Each Other’s Company on an Art Crawl
Sure, pub-crawls are fun but they don’t often offer the intimate setting for quiet conversation and a little romance. While you’re bound to find us restaurant-hopping or pub-crawling with the best of them, we also enjoy planning our own art crawl. Toronto is a literal and metaphorical canvas of opportunity for artists. From streets and alleyways to museums and galleries, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss the sheer talent and beauty spread across the city.
You’ll definitely find winter to be a surprising mix of outdoor and indoor exhibits and installations, which makes it perfect for a crawl. Start outside at an outdoor exhibit, like Ice Breakers on Toronto’s Waterfront, and then work your way through incredible galleries. The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ryerson Image Centre are obvious options but if you’re interested in the lesser-known spots, we recommend the Roberts and Odon Wagner Galleries. You’ll get a chance to appreciate local and national talent that you don’t often get to see and the artwork always ends up weaving its way into new conversation topics while we explore. It’s a great way to learn more about the city and about each other!
About the Authors
Carolann & Macrae are the Toronto-based duo behind One Modern Couple, a travel & lifestyle site focusing on experiences as a couple around the city and the world. Their philosophy is that there are adventures to be had, friends to be made and good food to be eaten no matter where you happen to be. Being together nearly 24/7 since 2014, they also share their unique perspective on relationships.