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Toronto is big—the city is home to just under three million people—but something about this Canadian metropolis doesn’t make it feel as sprawling as it really is. The city is strung together by pockets of vibrance; each neighborhood offering endless opportunities to shop and eat and experience an abundance of culture. There’s no doubt that you could spend a week in Toronto without scratching the surface, but if you only have one day, here’s what you can’t miss.
Our favorite things to do in Toronto, below.
10:00 a.m.: Start with breakfast on Ossington Avenue at Schmaltz Appetizing, where the mouth-watering menu allows you to Grab ‘n Go—i.e., build your own amazing bagel. Pile on the lemon dill gravlax and scallion cream cheese, or opt for one of the Schmalt creations, like the “Chub Chub” (smoked whitefish salad, gravlax, horseradish cream cheese, dill cucumbers).
11:00 a.m.: Not far from breakfast, you’ll find everything (really, everything—groceries, shopping, pastries, coffee, art, and more) at Kensington Market, so give yourself at least an hour to explore this iconic Toronto landmark. It’s basically a neighborhood in itself, located in the heart of the city, just west of downtown.
12:30 p.m.: Head to the CN Tower, Toronto’s tallest structure, clocking in at just over 1,800 feet. Tickets can be purchased online for hands-down the best view in Toronto, and if you’re feeling gutsy, try the Edge Walk (not the faint of heart).
1:30 p.m.: The CN Tower is located within the Harbourfront neighborhood, so you’ll want to take a little walk around to see the old architecture and cute boutiques lining the lakeside streets. Or, head to Chinatown, where you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to iconic institutions serving up the city’s tastiest dumplings (it is lunchtime, afterall)—we suggest Mother’s Dumplings or Dumpling House.
3:00 p.m.: Located in midtown Toronto, Casa Loma is one of the city’s finest historical spaces. Built in 1914 by financier Sir Henry Pallett, the stone venue looks like something straight out of a Medieval fairytale—it’s all flying turrets, pristine gardens, and opulent interior decor. Tickets for a tour can be purchased online (it’s best to book in advance, especially during peak season).
5:00 p.m.: Grab an aperitif and a small plate at the Barcelona-inspired Bar Raval, one of the city’s coolest haunts (and thus crowded; it’s part of the fun), offering pintxos and a great list of Spanish and Portuguese wines (the craft cocktails are known to be creative and delicious, too).
6:30 p.m.: Get a taste of Italian, Toronto-style, at Buca Osteria & Bar, a sister of the original King Street location. This one sits just through the stunning Four Seasons Hotel Toronto—an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property—courtyard in bustling Yorkville, home to high-end hotels and phenomenal shopping. Chef Robert Gentile helms the restaurant, which serves up fresh and authentic Italian-inspired dishes in a warm setting with an open-concept kitchen.
8:30 p.m.: If you fancy a post-dinner drink, hop over to Library Bar, an atmospheric jazzy bar for a nightcap. You’ll find yourself very close to your final destination, The Hazelton Hotel, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, which offers some of the chicest luxury boutique accommodations in Yorktown. You’ll want to spend some time gazing at the property’s impressive art collection and stunning design elements on your way to bed (we recommend the Hazleton Suite which features panoramic views of the city). And in the morning, be sure to check out the hotel’s most exclusive retreat, Valmont Spa.