Toronto has quickly made its way into my list of top 10 cities to visit. In fact, I liked it so much, I went twice in 2017, and had to stop myself from going a third time. It’s beautiful, clean, the people are friendly, the food is amazing, and the drinks are abundant. It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway, which is exactly what I decided to do with my new significant other.
We were only a few weeks into our relationship when I decided to bribe him with Rangers vs. Maple Leafs hockey tickets. It was kind of an impromptu trip, so we drove up from NYC for a long weekend in Toronto, and it ended up being a life-altering vacation.
The weather was cold and foggy, perfect for snuggling up to each other as we strolled the city streets. It was fun to experience a city together for the first time, which tends to be difficult for me to do since I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world solo for years. Toronto was special because neither of us had ever been. It was actually my first trip to Canada, and I absolutely fell in love…. With the city, the Great White North, and even my boyfriend.
Here are my top 5 things for couples to do in Toronto:
1) ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO (AGO)
I’m lucky enough to have a man who appreciates art almost as much as he loves sports. You can learn a lot about your partner by how they react to art, or anything outside of their wheelhouse. I’m no artist myself, or art historian for that matter, but I love visiting museums and galleries and was pleasantly surprised by how much he enjoyed our time at AGO. There was an impressionist exhibit on display and we took a few hours walking through, discussing what we loved about the paintings. We even discovered a new artist who we’ve absolutely fallen for, Eugene Jansson. Make sure to check out his Stockholm cityscapes.
2) ANTLER BAR+KITCHEN
Antler is easily one of my favorite restaurants not only in Toronto, but in the world. We just so happened to stumble upon it after having drinks at another bar in the neighborhood, and were later told by our waitress how lucky we were to get in without a reservation. When you call to make a reservation for your romantic dinner, be sure to request the table in the front window. It’s an intimate little nook looking out on to the street. You and your special someone will sit side by side with your backs to the hustle and bustle of the dining room as you bond over the incredible flavors and ambiance.
The menu is Canadian and incorporates a lot of wild game, but nothing we ate tasted too gamey. In fact, everything we’ve had here is incredible! It’s great to order a few different items to share; Ricotta Cavatelli with Wild Boar Ragu was life changing (I don’t say that about many dishes, when I say it, I mean it), and the Venison Tartare and Foie Gras are both delicious. They are known for the chef’s award winning Spiced Ash Rack of Deer, and it’s delectable. The staff here are top notch, they were so friendly and attentive, and on more than one occasion brought us amuse-bouches that were not on the menu. Six months later when we went back, they even remembered our names and orders!
3) TORONTO’S DISTILLERY DISTRICT
The Distillery District is to Toronto what Brooklyn is to NYC, but still right downtown. It’s a cool hip area with shops, art galleries, restaurants, and you guessed it, lots of places to drink! Depending on where you enter the district, you may pass a large piece of art in the shape of a heart. Grab your honey and snap a photo under the heart. So cute, we’ve done it both times we visited! Keep walking through to the main area and you will also pass a fence with locks on it, spelling ‘LOVE’. Take a lock with you, write your names on it and attach it to the fence, just like Pont des Arts in Paris. Next time you go back, try to find it!
Our first trip here was in the winter so the patio of El Catrin was empty, but inside was standing room only. It’s a really cool Mexican spot with great margs and fire pits outside. Since it was so packed inside we grabbed a couple spicy margaritas and sat by the fire pit out front. It was still cold, but romantic to be out there by ourselves.
Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill is another great place to dine. It’s an intimate space, and nothing says romance like a dozen oysters & a glass of wine. This was my first introduction to the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
4) QUEEN WEST SHOPPING
We discovered this area after having brunch at Beast, which was recommended by multiple locals we chatted up. The food is delicious so I definitely suggest going there first and then walking your way back downtown via Queen Street West. It’s a hip area full of trendy shops, restaurants, and antique stores. I’m not big on antiquing, but I found it fun to do as a couple. Since this was our first trip together (of many), we decided an antique globe would be a great souvenir, to mark all of the places we travel together.
Also off Queen Street is Graffiti Alley. Take a stroll hand in hand and look at the creations on the backs of the buildings. If you’re lucky like we were, you might even get to see an artist in action. Maybe you’ll inspire their next piece!
5) ROGERS CENTRE / AIR CANADA CENTRE
Being The Sporty Sommelier, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend a sporting event. Depending on the season you visit, catch a game at Rogers Centre or Air Canada Centre. During our visits, we’ve seen the New York Rangers at Air Canada Centre, and the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre.
If you go on a beautiful summer day, cross your fingers and hope that the dome of Rogers Centre is open. As you watch the Blue Jays take on their opponent, you can look up and see the daredevils walking off the side of the CN Tower. Just down the street from Rogers Centre on the water is a restaurant called Amsterdam Brewhouse. Get there early before a game and have a drink or 3 in the Adirondack chairs looking out over pristine Lake Ontario. Watch as the boats pull up to offload passengers looking for a bite, kayakers coast over the water, and planes take off and land at Billy Bishop Airport across the lake.
If you’re here on a cold winter day, bundle up inside the Air Canada Centre. They have a club section with a special dining room looking over the ice for an elevated experience, but you have to get there really early if you want to find a table. Or you can get into the mix with the real fans, try a few local brews and enjoy some poutine or pierogi nachos. True love is whoever gives up the last bite!
When you think of romantic cities around the world, you probably think Paris, Barcelona, Venice, and the list goes on. Add Toronto to that list… it worked for me!
Have you visited Toronto? Please share you own tips and ask any questions in the comments below! Read Next > 8 Things You Can’t Miss In Toronto