Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Top 10 Places to Chill in Toronto

Toronto is a great city with so much to do and see. It has a hopping cultural scene from music venues to theatres, interesting culinary options with pop-up cafes and food markets, and major tourist attractions that draw people from all over the world. 

And being the active hometown tourist that I am, I'm always on the look out for new things to try, to not be bored, and meet new people. But this means sometimes I need to take a bit of a breather, get back to nature, and just plain chill in the city. Here I've compiled a list of my top 10 places to chill in Toronto.

{Erin Out and About} Top 10 Places to Chill in Toronto

1. Rooftop Bar 
I adore a rooftop bar. A place to get a panorama view of the city. A moment to get high above the hustle and bustle of people going about their daily lives. And if it's a perfectly timed, a opportunity to enjoy a cheeky drink while watching a sunset.  I'm up for any rooftop destination (check BlogTO for a list of 50 best rooftop patios of Toronto

{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: rooftop patio

2. Scarborough Bluffs 
The Bluffs are made up of 11 parks along 15 km of shoreline on Lake Ontario. With options for sports and recreation facilities, trails, beaches, and gardens, it would be hard to not be able to find your ideal place to chill.

3. High Park
Located entirely within the city limits, High Park is a mix of natural state, cultivated gardens, and sporting facilities. There are playgrounds, dog parks, trails, an historic house, education facilities and even a zoo! No matter the season, from skating in the winter, Sakura blossoms in the spring, open-air plays in the summer, and leaf peeping in the fall, I'm continually drawn here. There's never a dull moment to be had at this urban park.

{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: High Park

4. Aga Khan Gardens
I recently visited the Aga Khan Museum and was most struck with the architecture of the building. There's a beautiful use of light, clean lines, and harmony to the Ismaili Centre Toronto across the way. The formal landscaped gardens between the buildings, mirror the airiness and clean lines of the museum with orderly rows of trees and 5 symmetric, granite-lined pools. The gardens provide a peaceful place for tranquil reflection which works well with the museum's dynamic outdoor programming.

5. Toronto Islands
I'm looking forward to the ferries running again (opening forecasted for July 31st)  to do my yearly sojourn to one of my favourite places on earth. Wandering by cottage houses on small lane ways, sticking my toes in sandy beaches, and boat and bike rentals are some of the best ways to get out of the city without having to go all that far. 
{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: Toronto Islands

6. Lakeshore
Lake Ontario is good sized lake, one might even call it...great! Ehhh? Ehhh? I'm here all week folks!
It's one of the longest urban shorelines in the world. Pick a spot anywhere along the Toronto shoreline and you are likely to find a beach, paved walkways, marinas, stores or restaurants. When I was a kid, we used to drive down to Toronto with our bikes in tow and we would ride along the paths for miles. Spending time by water can be restorative, listening to the waves crash against the breakwater or the tide coming in/out, it's good for the soul.

7. Woodbine Beach
Woodbine Beach is part of the Toronto neighbourhood 'The Beaches'. Who doesn't love an urban beach? At work one moment, toes in the sand the next. I've actually only visited Woodbine Beach in the winter months when it hosts the annual Winter Stations exhibition, I imagine it to be much busier in the summer.

{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: The Beaches

8. Leslie Street Spit
Also known as the Tommy Thompson Park or the Outer Harbour East Headland. Catchy, isn't it? This is the nature lovers place to go or anyone wanting to get away from the noise and smog of the city. It's home to over 400 species of plants and wildlife. Crazy to think this amazing biodiversity is on a man-made peninsula, historically the urban dumping ground of sand, bricks, and concrete of torn down buildings, infrastructure and unused infill dirt. 

9. Distillery District
This is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto and also happens to be in the historic district of the city. The area is often host to big events and festivals within the cobbled alleys of the Victorian industrial architecture (read about Heat Fest, the Christmas Market, and Light Fest), and when it's not it's still a great place to find yourself in. With several restaurants, cafes, galleries, a theatre and more everyone can find their kind of chill here and soak up the history.

{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: Distillery District

10. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Located in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood, it was originally set aside as a military reserve for the nearby Fort York. It's now 36 acres of parkland that is surrounded by some great restaurants, personally I'm a fan of the sliders restaurant, Broncos. Who can possibly say no to tiny hamburgers? Every Tuesday in the warmer months there is a farmer's market in the north west end of the park and you can't beat some of the views of the CN Tower from this spot. I've spend a few quiet moments here just enjoying the scenery.

{Erin Out and About} Places to Chill in Toronto: Trinity Bellwoods Park

What did I miss? What would you add to this list? 

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