Toronto: What To See And Do In Under 24 Hours
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Our overnight getaway across the border was a success for Kari's Bachelorette! Don't worry, we didn't get too crazy, but who knew there would be so much to successfully tackle in a less-than twenty-four hours to another country?
To no surprise, we never ended up getting a group photo together. This always happens. I literally had one job: get a group photo. However, I hope that lack of luxurious, high-quality photo evidence proves that we took in each moment of our quick stay and also proves that I didn't live this overnighter completely behind a screen!
If you happen to be from the Northeast and are looking for an overnight getaway, look no further. Below is the full itinerary for what to see and do in Toronto in under twenty-four hours.
12:30 pm: We officially hit the road to Toronto from Rochester, New York - approximately a three-hour trip, give or take traffic. We passed the time with a playlist curated by Alex! While en route, we drove by the L.L. Bean Bootmobile! The driver waved at us. We posted it all over social media. They wished us a safe trip. It was magical.
3:30 pm: We arrived and checked in to our hotel room. We stayed at the beautiful Courtyard Marriott in Downtown. To save a few dollars, we opt'd for parking in the garage across the street. Once we parked Megan's car, we got settled into our hotel room and began Kari's celebration with a bubbly toast!
4:00 pm: Explore the City by foot
In lieu of spotting a coffee shop or hitting up the outskirts of University of Toronto's campus as originally intended, we walked over to what became an incredible find: Red's Wine Bar! We sadly took no pictures. We were too entranced by the ambiance of the entire space. From the outside, it just looks like a corner dive, but if you click here, you'll see why we didn't want to leave. We could have stayed there all night, but there was so much more to explore!
BEEN THERE / DONE THAT?
CHECK OUT THESE OTHER SHOPS & STOPS CLOSE BY
(courtesy of Megan Colombo's organizational expertise)
FREE: Taking a stroll around University of Toronto's beautiful campus!
6:30 pm: After our exploration around Downtown, we went back to the hotel to get ready to face the night! Before heading back to the hotel, we stumbled upon an H&M. This was a big deal, considering we don't have an H&M storefront anywhere close by. Megan and Kari found tops to change into, and I surprisingly found nothing (a rare sight: Elissa walks into a store and buys nothing).
7:30pm: Uber to dinner at El Caballito Tequila Bar
The stars in our schedules coincidentally aligned around the weekend of Cinco De Mayo. Needless to say, at least one stop at a location with the word 'tequila' in its title. I had a seemingly endless amount of chips & guac. Kari and Megan got tacos and we all shared a sangria pitcher that tasted like juice but was not just juice (sorry Mom). Our waiter was originally from Montreal but had recently moved to Toronto, is a comedian, and blessed our dinner with a curated American late-90s-early-2000s top 100 chart playlist. We were the only ones dancing in our seats. But who cares?! We. Were. In. To. Ronto. From there, we literally walked down the street to our final stop of the evening before hitting the hay: A comedy show.
10:00pm: Second City Comedy Show
As mentioned earlier, Megan is the mastermind within our friend group and came up with a plethora of options for us to explore around Downtown. She recommended Second City, as she witnessed a Second City comedy show firsthand during a solo trip to Chicago. Never having heard of this place before myself, topped with never having been to a live comedy show before, I was so stoked!
But alas, because reality can be a total dweeb sometimes, I began feeling nauseous. This is not abnormal, as my autoimmune comes with the territory of having great days and God-awful days. Though I missed out on the introduction of the comedy show to get some air, we all believed our time at Second City Toronto to be okay. I think we all went in with more anticipation of improv happening, versus scripted scenes and transitions. There was some neat content, though! Regardless, I'm grateful to have at least experienced it once in my life, and I'm sure Kari and Megan feel the same way.
After our final round of nightlife, we went back to the hotel to re-hydrate and recoup for an eventful morning ahead!
9:00 am(ish): We woke up and got ready to face the end of our stay in Toronto. 24 hours certainly flies by! The bed could not have been more cozy and I personally couldn't have felt more rested, something my body (and all of ours, for that matter) certainly needed!
We checked out of the hotel, packed up Megan's car with our belongings and walked over to Fran's, a cute little breakfast dive. According to the description on the menu, the owners grew up in Buffalo and took their restaurant business over to Canada (a while back ago). We sported the cutest coffees and ate a hearty breakfast (clearly not pictured because we were in the french toast zone).
10:30am: With great weather in our favor, we basked in the glorious sunshine from Fran's to the Royal Ontario Museum to view all four floors of exhibits they had to offer us. Megan and I thought this would be particularly fitting for Kari, as she was both a Music and Art History major during her days at UConn!
First up on the list of exhibits: dinosaurs. Each figurine featured plaques that visually showcased which bones were faux and which had been discovered per type of dino, which deemed incredibly helpful as we walked along.
We made our way to the Biodiversity exhibit, then quickly segued to The Weston Family Wing to explore a plethora of historical events from different countries throughout different time periods. From a visual time map of home decor by era, to an exhibit displaying pre-plotted architectural designs of the Auschwitz camps.
Though we took no photographs of it, I had never imagined an art exhibit that would resonate with me for so long; especially considering that not only do I live under a rock, but I have no ties to such a travesty such as the Holocaust. If you get the opportunity, I sincerely recommend seeing it for yourself! At just $20.00 per ticket for the entire ROM experience, you can't go wrong!
From ROM, we were a close walk back to the parking garage. We made our way back to Megan's car and were on the road back to the 585 in what seemed like a flash. We had arrived safely back in Rochester around 4:30pm: a grand total of 28 hours including travel time and sleep.
What did we miss out on after Toronto Round 1? When will we ever go back?
Subscribe to Les Décideurs so you're the first to know the answers to these heavily-important questions and comment on where we should explore next (more of Toronto? Or elsewhere?). Be sure to click the 'heart' along the bottom right-hand corner of this post if you enjoy posts like this.