How to Plan the Toronto Staycation You Need Right Now

There’s never been a better time to explore your own backyard.

A couple looks out at the Toronto skyline from Hotel X
Hotel X Toronto

Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. There’s so much to see, do, eat and take advantage of right at your fingertips—which equals endless opportunities for staycations! One weekend you could be doing the classics, the next splurging on a romantic getaway, or an arts-filled weekend. Here’s how to map out an ideal staycation in the city, whether you want to feel like you’re in another part of the world, or just to de-stress a bit.

Pick your staycation theme

A staycation in Toronto can literally be anything you want it to be. That’s the beauty of being in a large world-class metropolis. Before you start booking, think about what you want your staycation to look like and follow this formula.

  1. Pick a theme and a great hotel as your base
  2. Add in sights, restaurants, attractions and neighbourhoods that all support your theme
  3. Then, repeat on a different weekend with a different theme

Here are some fun ideas to take on the city.

See the classics around the Fairmont Royal York

Hands up if you know Toronto’s major tourist attractions but haven’t actually seen or done those activities yourself. Consider exploring them now!

Picking a centrally located hotel like the Fairmont Royal York means you’ll be steps from major attractions. Must-see attractions like the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Union Station, Ripley’s Aquarium and the Steamwhistle Brewery are just steps away from the hotel.

Grab the street car, take the subway or walk to nearby neighbourhoods. Head to the infamous Queen Street West neighbourhood to shop, check out some street art in Graffiti Alley, visit Chinatown, dine in Little Italy and visit the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square. There are tons of Toronto attractions that are great for families, Instagram-friendly, easy to get to and totally worth a visit.

Check your wellness at Hotel X

Toronto is one active city! If you’re looking to do a staycation that will get you totally Zen, feeling healthy, relaxed and chilled out, book a room at Hotel X. Known for its incredible views of the Toronto skyline (don’t forget your rooftop Instagram pic!), Hotel X also has a Guerlain spa to get your wellness in check. Massages, facials, and just pure relaxation can be found behind the spa doors, plus they have indoor tennis courts at the 10XTO gym and offer fitness and yoga classes.

Rooftop pool at Toronto's Hotel X
Hotel X’s rooftop pool offers sweeping views of Lake Ontario and is open all year-round

Aside from the spa, Hotel X is right along the Lakeshore… perfect for jogging along Lake Ontario, walking, cycling or just relaxing. And if it happens to be an #ActiveTO weekend with part of the Lakeshore closed to traffic, you’ll have even more space to get moving.

Escape at the Shangri-La Hotel

One of the most notable things about Toronto is just how diverse and multicultural its neighbourhoods are. Which means it’s pretty easy to feel like you’re not actually just in Toronto. Hotels don’t disappoint on that front either.

The Shangri-La Hotel is known for its Oriental-inspired decor, plush rooms, afternoon tea, incredible restaurants and their Turkish-inspired Miraj Hammam Spa. A stay here can feel like a trip overseas in itself.

It’s also in a great location next to Osgoode Station so you can explore more of Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods. Want to get a taste of Italy? Hit up Little Italy for some of the yummiest gelato and pasta in town. Need a little dose of Greek island sunshine? The Danforth is your spot to soak up some Greek culture.

Plan your staycation around a destination and add activities inspired by those places, from food to galleries showing exhibits around your chosen destination or even try taking in a film.

Never Have I Ever at the Sheraton

Book a centrally located hotel like the Sheraton Centre Toronto. This makes it easier to tackle more on your never-have-I-ever list. Then, you can finish off the day back at the hotel with a relaxing swim year round in the indoor/outdoor heated pool, or workout in our 24-hour fitness centre.

Thrill-seekers don’t have to go far to do the CN Tower EdgeWalk (and conquer that fear of heights!). If you’re more adventurous with your stomach, the Sheraton is also close to the culinary wonders from Assembly Chef’s Hall. There are plenty of options and the menu changes daily. Try something you probably haven’t had before like Tachi, Canada’s first traditional stand-up omakase restaurant, which serves sushi lovers just like the stand-up sushi shops in Japan.

Splurge at the St. Regis Hotel

If you had set money aside for a special trip that didn’t pan out for 2020, you’re in luck. Toronto is home to some of the most luxurious hotels, incredible food and stellar shopping in the country.

The St. Regis Hotel is one of Canada’s top luxury properties with its swanky rooms (if you haven’t seen the Instagram pics of the bathtub with a view, look it up!), recently renovated spa and beautiful Louix Louis restaurant (where you can get a 13 layer chocolate King cake).

Outside of the hotel, keep the splurge going with a helicopter or private plane ride over Toronto’s skyline. You can even book a chance to drive a lamborghini! Treat yourself (or a loved one) and make it an extra special occasion right here in Toronto.

Cozy up at the Windsor Arms

Let’s face it… it’s going to get cooler in Toronto soon! But that shouldn’t cancel out a staycation during fall and winter. Especially when you book a cozy room at the classic Windsor Arms Hotel. Comfy rooms, a cozy spa and an elegant afternoon tea room means you don’t really have to step out of the hotel if you don’t want to. But their location puts you close to Toronto’s underground path system if you venture outside, but still want to be warm.

Spa day! Enjoy fully-serviced treatment rooms, a swimming pool and exercise facilities at Windsor Arms Hotel

Toronto is known for its outdoor festivals though, even in the winter. Bundle up for Bloor-Yorkville Icefest to see the winter ice sculptures in nearby Yorkville, the outdoor light show Toronto Light Festival in the Distillery, or ice skating on the rink at Nathan Phillips Square and more. Hit up the city’s best hot chocolate spots, before snuggling back in at your hotel.

Explore the arts at the Bisha Hotel

A Toronto staycation was made for art lovers and you can tell from the striking and artsy main door that the Bisha Hotel is your perfect canvas to an arts staycation. The Bisha, with rooms decked out in celebrity photographs (one floor is even designed by Lenny Kravitz), is in the heart of the Entertainment District, so you’re a hop, skip and jump from Toronto’s best museums, galleries and shopping.

Book your weekend in with visits to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), the Bata Shoe Museum, and cool galleries to expand your art horizons.

For something that is totally socially distant-approved, check out Toronto’s thriving and incredible street art scene. It’s all outside, it’s all free and you’ll find yourself in so many different parts of the city. A lot of iconic street art in the city happens to be along Queen Street West, a short walk from the Bisha, which means you can poke into all the shops filled with local and vintage finds.

Friends getaway at the Broadview Hotel

The recipe for a great friends’ getaway, no matter the destination? Good food, good drinks and a few fun activities in a really cool neighbourhood. Oh, and a hotel that ticks all those boxes too, like the Broadview Hotel in Toronto’s east end.

Map out a couple of days digging into gourmet food shops, restaurants and stylish boutiques in Leslieville—one of Toronto’s hippest and most storied neighbourhoods. Landing back at the boutique Broadview as your base means plenty of IG-worthy moments from the unique rooms to picture-perfect nooks.

Your options for dining at the Broadview Hotel include ordering room service from the Broadview Bistro + Bar for breakfast in bed, sipping on cocktails on the Rooftop (seriously some of the best views of the city) or digging into the best in grill and BBQ fare at the hotel’s Beer Garden + Grill on its 2nd floor terrace. 

Foodies feast at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

This could be one of the easiest staycations you could ever plan out thanks to Toronto having EVERY kind of food you can imagine in all price ranges, vegetarian, desserts, breakfasts, dinners and snacks. Start off by booking a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, not just for the great rooms and views, but also the never-disappointing Café Boulud by famed chef Daniel Boulud (weekend brunch here is magical).

Staying in Yorkville gives you easy access to public transportation for wherever your taste buds take you. Toronto is well-known for its Italian, Chinese, Greek and East Indian foods as well. But think of expanding outside of that too… Egyptian brunch at Maha’s, a taste of France at Cluny in the Distillery District, Turkish breakfasts at Simit and so much more is waiting for you to try.

***Double check all restaurants, hotels, spas, galleries, museums and shops for COVID-19 restrictions and precautions as situations and bylaws change.

About the Author

Jennifer Weather Harrington has been jetting around the world for the past 12 years, finding hidden gems, idyllic luxury hotels and off-the-beaten-path destinations. In Toronto, she calls the Bloor West/High Park area home sweet home. Her byline has appeared in The Globe & Mail, ELLE Canada, HELLO!, FLARE, FASHION, Metro News and more. She runs her own travel website, TravelandStyle.ca – a stylish online destination focused on finding beauty and style in travel.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

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