Perhaps you’ve been contemplating taking a vacation to Toronto. You’ll find lots to love about Canada’s largest city. This clean, friendly, multicultural metropolis of three million people has unlimited entertainment options, but one thing that really makes Toronto stand out from other large North American cities are its cool neighborhoods. Yes, each Toronto neighborhood has a unique feeling and character all its own. In fact, Toronto has recently been given the title ‘the city of neighborhoods’ as a tribute to these vibrant communities. Because there are 140 in all, we had to narrow them down to the three coolest neighborhoods, which you should consider making part of your next vacation.
Old Town and the Distillery Historic District
As the name implies, this is where Toronto’s roots as a busy port on Lake Ontario can be traced. Old Town is actually an amalgamation of six neighborhoods. Walk the streets of this exciting district and you’ll see plenty of Victorian-era buildings that have since been revitalized and made into trendy shops, bistros, and hotels. If you’re looking for accommodations that are in synch with the retro feel of the neighborhood, you can’t go wrong with One King West Hotel & Residence.
While you’re in Old Town, why not check out the great food selections? St. Lawrence Market has been a fixture of the neighborhood since 1803. The Distillery District owes its namesake to the fine beers, wine and spirits that continue to be made here to this day. 19th Century architecture fused with modern art galleries, shops, and nightlife. Every cool thing you want all in one place.
The Entertainment District
If you’ve got a hankering to absorb the best culture and entertainment Toronto has to offer, then there’s no better place in the city to be. Performing arts, major festivals as well as games of the city’s five professional sports leagues all happen here.
The annual Toronto International Film Festival is one of the city’s major tourist attractions, drawing thousands of people each year. If you’re a sports fanatic, there’s nothing quite like joining 40,000 loud, energetic fans at Rogers Centre to cheer on the Toronto Blue Jays. While you’re in the Entertainment District, it’s worth checking out iconic Toronto landmarks such as the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
With all the fanfare going on in this district, you’re bound to run into a Hollywood celebrity. After all, many movies are filmed in Toronto. There are plenty of cool hotels to be found in the Entertainment District, including Robert De Niro Nobu Toronto, a hotel/condominium named after the legendary actor. As far as neighborhoods go, they just don’t get much cooler than this.
Chinatown and Kensington Market
These back-to-back neighborhoods were traditionally home to large numbers of the city’s Asian and Jewish immigrants. Walk around Kensington Market these days and you’ll still see remnants of the area’s Jewish heritage, including stores and synagogues that have been there for generations. But the neighborhood has become more multicultural over the past 50 years and is home to scores of Hispanics, Vietnamese and recent arrivals from the Middle East.
Toronto’s Chinatown is a little slice of China right in the heart of Canada’ largest city. Browse the numerous shops and eat authentic Chinese and Cantonese cuisine. There are many options for accommodation in the neighborhood ranging from basic such as Chinatown Inn, Toronto to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Did you know that Toronto’s Chinatown is the third-largest in North America? While you’re there immersing yourself in Asian culture, why not check out the Art Gallery of Ontario, which has 90,000 works, including ones by Picasso and Rembrandt.