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30 Hidden Secrets in Toronto

30 Hidden Secrets in Toronto

on Dec. 11, 2017 by

These are my carefully selected 30 hidden secrets & best places in Toronto where I have been living for the past decade and includes gems like the Badlands, Little Tokyo, Dollhouse, Rec Room, Kukum Kitchen and Toronto nightlife tips.

incredible views from the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadataking a stroll through Kensington Market in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaattending a rooftop pool party in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaincredible dishes at Branca Argentinian, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sadly, there are too many boring travel guides for Toronto, that's why I dug deep into this city to find the best hidden spots in the largest city of Canada.

Places

  • 1. UP Express

    Upon arrival at Union Station by UPX, jump on a rental bike from Bike Share Toronto. (map)

  • 2. Sunnyside Pavilion

    Stop by for brunch and a typical Canadian Caesar while enjoying the beach. (map)

  • 3. Hunters Landing

    Serves the most insane Canadian Caeser named the Absolut Cure. (map)

  • 4. Distillery District

    Visit Balzacs Coffee, the most gorgeous coffee shop in Toronto. (map)

  • 5. Dollhouse

    Bizarre doll house garden which took 20 years to collect located at 37 Bertmount Ave. (map)

  • 6. Little Tokyo

    New district in Toronto, try Gyugyuya for epic Japanese curry and Uncle Tetsu for the best cheese cakes. (map)

  • 7. Toronto Heli Tours

    Marvel at the city from above in this helicopter and costs $100 per person. (map)

  • 8. Foot Long Hot Dog

    The longest hot dog in Canada during a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre. (map)

  • 9. Edge Walk

    Face your fears at the insane Edge Walk, 356 meters without a fence and costs $225. (map)

  • 10. The Rec Room

    The coolest attractions in Toronto, lots of arcades, VR room, bar, nightclub, food court, basically the best place to spend the evening. (map)

  • 11. Kensington Market

    Hippy district of Toronto with lots of unique shops, people and incredible vegan dishes. (map)

  • 12. Blue Banana

    Absolutely the coolest gift shop in Toronto with the wackiest souvenirs and products. (map)

  • 13. Moonbean Cafe

    My favorite coffee shop in Toronto with a super friendly staff. (map)

  • 14. Graffiti Alley

    Get inspired at this 500 meters long alley way and great for selfies. (map)

  • 15. Scarborough Bluffs

    Magnificent waterfront and cliff side on the east end of Toronto. (map)

  • 16. Bluffers Beach

    Not none by many locals, the most gorgeous beach in the Toronto region, a hidden secret. (map)

  • 17. Badlands

    Unique natural formation located near Caledon, 1 hour drive west of Toronto.

  • 18. Half House

    Bizarre looking house literally sliced in half on St. Patrick street.

  • 19. Casa Loma Tunnel

    Creepy long tunnel which connects the castle to the stables for the horses.

  • 20. Rage Room

    Loose yourself and destroy any item you may desire with any weapon.

  • 21. BATL Axe

    Throw axes with your friends at giant dart boards, you are allowed to drink!

  • 22. Fort York

    Attend the Indigenous Art Festival in June to watch Canadian heritage performances.

  • 23. Kukum Kitchen

    Most unique restaurant in Toronto, try their raw seal and braised elk.

  • 24. The Burger Priest

    Most epic burgers in Toronto, try the California classic; a patty between 2 buttered buns.

  • 25. Figures

    Unique comic book themed restaurant, watch out for Darth Vader invading your dinner party.

  • 26. The Dime

    All dishes are $5 dollars at this restaurant/bar and has a great young atmosphere, good on a budget.

  • 27. Cabana Pool Bar

    Outdoor summer pool bar with stunning city views but make sure you come with a good group of friends.

  • 28. Lavelle

    Upscale rooftop lounge with a bar, restaurant and stunning city views.

  • 29. Thompson Rooftop

    The super upscale Thompson Hotel has a large rooftop pool and is a great hangout spot at night.

  • 30. Toronto Nightlife

    Watch my next episode which covers the best bars & nightclubs in Toronto like Rebel, Coda, Tilt, RecRoom, Uniun, Drake Hotel and the Ossington district.

  • 31. Medieval Times

    BONUS: unique medieval dinner themed venue with sword fights and horses.

  • 32. Steam Whistle Brewery

    BONUS: stop by for FREE beer at their brewery across the CN tower. (map)

  • 33. Target Sports

    BONUS: ever wanted to unload some real weapons? Try the shotgun, handgun and assault rifle. (map)

busy weekend at the RecRoom in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaday dreaming of the Toronto skyline in Toronto, Ontario, Canadahistoric tour at the famous Casa Loma in Toronto, Ontario, Canadathe absolut cure, most bizarre Canadian caeser in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The places featured in the detailed video above are primarily located within the downtown core, making sure you do not waste too much time navigating your way around.

bizarre dollhouse in Leslieville, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadabizarre dollhouse in Leslieville, Toronto

My favorite districts are easily located in close proximity; Chinatown, Kensington Market, the Waterfront and the new Little Tokyo district for its delicious Japanese dishes, treats and first Uniqlo store.

balzac's coffee shop in the Distillery District, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadapork cutlet on rice in Chinatown, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadagorgeous night view of the financial district in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadagorgeous views on Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario, Canadasunnyside pavilion cafe, another hidden secret in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadatrying out the notorious EdgeWalk at the CN Tower in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaready for the Edge Walk in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadelicious vegan meals at Urban Herbivore in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto can be expensive if you don't know what you are doing but luckily there are some FREE things to do as well, like hanging out at the RecRoom, Graffiti alley, Sunnyside Pavilion and FREE beer from the Steam Whistle Brewery or drive out of town for the FREE sites at Cheltenham Badlands and Scarborough Bluffs.

magical breakfast at Eggspectation near Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadamagical breakfast at Eggspectation near Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

I personally recommend going all out because there are so many awesome things to do, do not cheap out, saving up a few extra months will be worth every penny in the end. A rough budget for 5 awesome days in Toronto for 1-person would be around $400 airbnb/hotel and $600 for transit, shopping, food, events, museums & parties = around $1000.

a true honour meeting a Canadian war veteran who liberated the Netherlands in Toronto, Ontario, Canadathe strange half-house on St. Patrick street in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadamesmerizing lookout over Scarborough Bluffs Park in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadathe insane cliff formations at Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadelicious rare lamb cuts at Branca Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadinner with my friends at Branca Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadathe ever growing Toronto skyline with King Street taking from Lavelle in Toronto, Ontario, CanadaNathan Philips Square with the Toronto sign in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The first thing you have to remember about Toronto is that distances are a lot further than what you may be used to in Europe or Asia, streets and blocks are very large. Everything is very spread out in this massive metropolitan city so try to at least visit a few new districts every day.

attending a rooftop pool party in Toronto, Canada in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaattending a rooftop pool party in Toronto, Canada

My recommendations for a daily itinerary include Annex, Koreatown, Queen Street, Chinatown, Kensington Market and Entertainment district on day 1. Waterfront, Toronto Islands, Yonge Street & Leslieville on day 2 and the outskirts Caledon (Badlands) & Scarborough (Beach) on day 3.

make sure to stop by the Scarborough Bluffs beach on the east end of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadataking down this Foot Long Home Run hotdog at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canadafine turkey burger at Hunter's Landing in Toronto, Ontario, Canadagiant yellow bridge at cityplay Toronto, great for selfies in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaearly morning at the Port Credit Marina with Toronto in the far distance in Toronto, Ontario, Canadawelcome to the Canadian heritage festival at Fort York Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadelicious Japanese karaage chicken curry on rice at the Little Tokyo district in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadabusy queue at the Cabana Poolbar in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

My favorite way to explore Toronto is by jogging, you'll be surprised as to what you may find. Many of these photos were taken at places I randomly ran into, places you will never see on a guided tour.

bizarre location called the Cheltenham Badlands on the west end of Toronto, looks like mars on earth in Toronto, Ontario, Canadabizarre location called the Cheltenham Badlands on the west end of Toronto, looks like mars on earth

After dinner at The Dime (where dishes are $5 each) you'll be energized to explore the massive Toronto nightlife. I recommend nightclubs Rebel, Coda or Uniun for some fist pumping and RecRoom, Belfast Love and Tilt for a few drinks but remember the nightlife in Toronto ends very early, the bar closes at 2:00am thus making the nightlife often feel very rushed since most people party extremely hard between 12am and 2am, definitely a down side of the city.

cheltenham badlans in the Caledon region near Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadelicious Chinese dim sum at Dim Sum King in Chinatown, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadim sum brunch with my friends in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadacolorful restaurants in Kensington Market, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadathe famous garden car in Kensington Market, Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadaattending a birthday party with friends in Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canadacelebrating my own birthday party at RecRoom for drinks, eats and arcades in Toronto, Ontario, Canadadrinks with my friends during my birthday party in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I would love to know if my article was helpful and if so, please leave a comment below and let me know which place seems most interesting to you? Or let me know if you want more information about a specific place I mentioned.

going hardcore at The Void at the RecRoom, world's craziest VR experience in Toronto, Ontario, Canadagoing hardcore at The Void at the RecRoom, world's craziest VR experience

Do you want more travel tips for Toronto?

  1. Visit Tobermory, the most gorgeous place in Ontario but a 4 hour drive north of Toronto.
  2. Anime North, the largest Anime festival in Canada for the true nerds among us and takes place end of May.
  3. Discover hidden gems like the Webster Falls and Tew's Falls in Hamilton, 1 hour drive west of Toronto.
  4. Attend a giant outdoor Pillow Fight at Toronto's city hall.
  5. In September people flock to the streets in the middle of the night for the famous Nuit Blanche street art festival.
  6. Cheer on Toronto FC at the newly renovated soccer stadium downtown Toronto.
  7. Go salmon fishing on Lake Ontario during the Canadian summer months.
  8. During the Toronto winter head out to Blue Mountain in Collingwood for epic snowboarding and skiing activities.
  9. Visit the peaceful Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario for a relaxing day.
  10. On a rainy day go visit the massive ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).

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