Toronto is the New York of Canada and when you live in one of the smaller provinces like I do every once in a while you need to getaway to the big city. Whether you are traveling with friends or taking a solo weekend trip to Toronto there are so many great things to see, do and eat. Recently Destination Toronto invited me on a solo weekend in Toronto and the itinerary was my ideal trip to the city. Especially if it is your first time traveling solo to Toronto this should be a great guide to planning your visit.
Things to do Alone in Toronto
What things can you do alone or solo in Toronto? Pretty much everything! You just need to be comfortable with it, make smart decisions and have the confidence to do it. Everyone can travel solo and have the best time. Many people hate the idea of dining alone. I get that. But it can be quite enjoyable. Also actually many things are much more enjoyable by yourself than with others. Traveling solo you can follow your own schedule, do only the things that interest you without compromise and you can take a nap whenever you want! It might sound a little selfish but solo travel can be so much fun and Toronto is one of the best cities to do it in.
Toronto was even just voted one of the top 33 destinations in the world for a solo vacation.
The view of downtown Toronto and the CN Tower from the Billy Bishop Airport.
Fly into the Billy Bishop Airport
I am based in Nova Scotia and Toronto is just a quick two and a half hour flight away. You can fly there on the main airlines Air Canada and WestJet. Or you can try to go for cheaper on the budget airlines Lynx, Swoop or Flair. They all take you to the Toronto Pearson airport where you can then hop on the UP Express train that will take you right into the city to Union Station.
Or even better you can take Porter Airlines like I did. They either have non-stop or direct flights (with a touch down in a connecting city but you don’t get off the plane) options. The best thing about Porter Airlines though is that they fly right into the Billy Bishop Toronto City airport. Located on the Toronto Islands right in downtown Toronto, no train required. Jump off the plane and just grab an Uber or walk to your accommodations.
The Kimpton Saint George Hotel.
Best Hotels for Solo Travellers in Toronto
On this weekend in Toronto I stayed at the Kimpton St. George Hotel. This beautifully decorated hotel, has sneaky squirrels hiding in the closets, a restaurant with some of the BEST pizza, offers a happy hour in the lobby daily, and also has a great bar with music at night. Located in the Bloor – Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto it was also an ideal location with so many things that I wanted to see and do being very walkable and nearby. The Bata Shoe Museum is just across the street, down the block is the ROM and Eataly and the metro is only a block away as well.
Inside the Kimpton Saint George Hotel.
There are unlimited great hotel options to stay in in Toronto. It really depends on your tastes, interests and which neighbourhoods you might be interested in exploring. Previously I’ve stayed in the Broadview Hotel in Toronto and it was great as a solo traveler as well as on site there were a couple great places to eat and it has it’s own bar on the rooftop. That is particularly ideal because you can still go out for a few drinks and safely walk to the elevator back to your hotel room afterwards. No worrying about walking in the dark or finding taxi / Uber.
Another great hotel option to stay in in Toronto while traveling solo is the Chelsea Hotel, Toronto. This hotel is particularly ideal because it is so close to the Eaton Centre for shopping, it’s close to Younge and Dundas Square, the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre, lots of great restaurants and more.
Afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel.
Pamper Yourself with an Afternoon Tea in Toronto
Enjoying afternoon tea with friends is the best, but they can also be insanely fun solo. You also don’t have to share anything when you enjoy afternoon tea by yourself. Bonus! Toronto is one of the best cities in Canada to enjoy afternoon tea as there are so many options. From traditional afternoon tea to super high class and fancy or more modern offerings you can find it all in Toronto. Previously I had enjoyed afternoon tea at the Fairmont Royal York, the Omni King Edward Hotel Toronto, and the Shangri-la Toronto.
On my more recent trip I was beyond thrilled to enjoy afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel, and at Joni in the Park Hyatt. Afternoon tea has been served at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto since 1927. Served daily it consists of traditional afternoon tea offerings of scones, finger sandwiches, savouries and sweets. There are a variety of teas to choose from and it is quite a lovely traditional experience. For an additional cost you can add on a prosecco or other cocktails. You can even order an afternoon tea to go to enjoy at home or as a picnic.
Afternoon tea at the Joni restaurant in the Park Hyatt Hotel.
Afternoon tea at the Joni in the Park Hyatt is quite the experience and different from a traditional afternoon tea. Served as a 13 course tasting menu with the most unique and delicate yet delicious bites of savouries and sweets along with a great selection of teas curated by a sommelier, and cocktails. From a foie gras mousse cone to blood orange geleé, a cucumber rosette, smoked salmon tart and more. All masterfully created by Chef Jonathan Williams. Note, the menu changes seasonally.
Afternoon tea at the Joni restaurant in the Park Hyatt Hotel.
Also if you are looking for high tea in Toronto the only destination that currently serves it is the Omni King Edward Hotel and only on special occasions. High tea is hearty food like meats and cheeses, no finger sandwiches or tiny desserts involved. People like to say high tea because it sounds fancy but in actual fact is very different from afternoon tea.
Taking a candle making class at Kandl.
Take a Fun Class
Toronto has an endless amount of cool classes to take. From cooking classes to knitting classes, sushi making, painting, pottery glazing and more. While visiting on this trip I took a candle making class at Kandl Artistique. It was such a fun experience to learn about how scents work and how to combine top, middle and base notes. I also got to meet other people who were local or visiting from out of town as well. Then at the end of the day I was able to take home my very own 10oz candle with the smell perfectly curated by me!
Going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Take in a Show at the Theatre
Toronto always has amazing shows and productions taking place. While visiting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was being performed at the CAA Ed Mirvish theatre and I had just been dying to see it. When traveling solo and wanting to see a show such as this it’s often easier to get a ticket when you are only looking for one. Even though I was going to the show by myself, I still wore my HufflePuff scarf and Harry Potter sweater with pride. I was far from being the only one dressed up for the show and I got many compliments too. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was by far one of the best theatre shows I have ever seen. The special effects and magic were out of this world. The show is continuing on until at least June 2023, grab your tickets now!
Dessert at Richmond Station.
Enjoy some of the BEST Food
Just like with the theatre getting a seat at a fancy restaurant last minute is a lot easier to do as a solo traveler then not. Especially on a weekend in Toronto it’s always easier to fit in one person then a group. If need be you can always grab a spot at the bar as well. On this visit by far my favourite spot might have been Richmond Station. Co-owned by a Top Chef Canada winner Richmond Station (located not far from the theatre district) has a small unassuming entrance from the street but inside is a well lit modern restaurant with a chefs table and all. Offering up some of the most interesting and artfully plated dishes, it was insanely delicious. Be sure not to skip on the dessert!
All things strawberry at Ration: Beverly.
Another great dining experience I enjoyed was at Ration: Beverly where they go by the premise of using every last bit of food. High class dining with almost zero waste. It was interesting how they used different parts of food and ingredients in such unique ways. It’s crazy how typically leftover things could be made so delicious. Recently Michelin® Guide recommended you have to visit as it is quite the experience. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Think dishes likeWild Blueberry Vinegar Granita w/ dehydrated tomato skin sugar. Or Spent Bread Ice Cream with green strawberry kosho powder, Green Cardamom Aquafaba Meringue with lime & shiso sugar. It sounds out of this world and incredibly delicious.
Delicious fresh pasta at Eataly in Toronto.
I also just HAD to go to Eataly. Being a huge Italy fan in general I was beyond thrilled to visit. Even though I was cramming in my visit in between afternoon teas and fantastic dinners I still had a chance to enjoy some Lambrusco wine with a plate of fresh shaved prosciutto. Noms.
Croissant Croque Madame for brunch at Ricarda’s.
Toronto LOVES to brunch!! There are a zillion websites and blogs with endless lists of the best places to brunch in Toronto. From greasy diners to fancy restaurants with mimosa flights and more. Enjoying brunch is also of course the perfect weekend activity. If you can fit it in amongst your afternoon teas and restaurant visits then definitely enjoy a brunch in Toronto. On my visit I got to enjoy a brunch at Ricarda’s featuring delicious French dishes. I enjoyed a mimosa, granola parfait and croissant croque madame. Yum!
Outside of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
Learn Some History
A weekend in Toronto is always a great time to visit the ROM or Bata Museum and learn interesting history. At the time I visited the ROM there was a Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature show going on that paired well with my theatre outing so of course I enjoyed that exhibit. However I was also thrilled to enjoy the permanent Age of Dinosaur exhibit. They also have the gorgeous Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples Art & Culture. We just don’t have museums of this scale on the east coast so they were really enjoyable to explore.
Moccasins by a Cree artist at the Bata Shoe Museum.
I’m not a huge shoe person so I wasn’t sure what I would think of the Bata Shoe museum but it was actually really cool. They had some of the first shoes ever known to man all the way up until crocs and even digital AI shoes. It was a really neat “walk” through history.
Enjoying the sun at the STACKT container park in downtown Toronto.
More to do in Toronto
Other things you could enjoy on a weekend trip to Toronto could be exploring the Kensington Market area, enjoy shopping on Queen street, check out the art at the AGO, taking a stroll through the STACKT container park or along the waterfront. You could also enjoy an immersive digital experience at the Lighthouse Artspace, like the Van Gogh Experience, King Tut, Disney Animation and more. Depending on the time of year you could catch a professional basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer game. Whatever you decide to do I am sure it will be the perfect solo weekend in Toronto.
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Special thanks to Toronto Tourism for hosting me on this trip. All opinions and views expressed are my own.