Experience Toronto like a Local

If you’re planning a Toronto getaway this summer, you’ve probably already googled the city’s best attractions. You can sight see from the top of the CN Tower, explore the St. Lawrence Market, or swim with the fishies at Ripley’s Aquarium (metaphorically speaking, of course). Every tourist has to check out the city’s most talked-about staples, but if you want a more unique experience in ‘the 6’, why not ask a local?   

Don’t worry, we’ve got this. After a few conversations with some true Torontonians, we’ve detailed five of the best ways to experience Toronto:

  1. If you’re craving a breath of fresh air…

Image: tripsavvy.com

Visit the Toronto Islands! After a day spent in the sun, cool down at one of our breezy island beaches. More specifically, head to the Islands’ best kept secret: Gibraltar Point Beach. Between Center Island and Hanlan’s Point lies a hidden gem with crystal clear water and soft, tropical-like sand. Because it’s less known, Gibraltar Point Beach faces fewer crowds than the other beaches. Relax while working on your tan or plunge headfirst into the refreshing waters of Lake Ontario. Get there by taking either the Center Island Ferry or Hanlan’s Point Ferry from the Toronto Island Marina.

  1. If you’re here for the night life…

Image: thereviewsarein.com

Grab some drinks or late-night snacks at the Horseshoe Tavern! There are hundreds of bars and nightclubs, but if you’re interested in visiting a Toronto icon, the Horseshoe Tavern is the place to be. Since its opening in 1947, it’s been a go-to for local bands, surprise concerts (from the Rolling Stones to Blue Rodeo), and group hangouts. In fact, they say most real Torontonians have at least one story from a night out at the Horseshoe.

  1. If you’re hungry

Image: mashedthoughts.com

Make your way to Richmond Station for some delicious seasonal cuisine. After fighting crowds at the world-famous Yonge-Dundas Square, you might be tempted to grab a bite to eat at a quick and easy fast food chain — but you won’t regret sitting down at this “neighborhood” restaurant instead. It’s a place where locals can get their favorite Canadian dishes whenever they want because they never leave the menu. Co-owned by a “Top Chef Canada” winner, this spot offers the perfect balance between flavor and price.

  1. If you’re ready to get your shop on…

Image: urbanretailtoronto.com

Skip the busy, overcrowded mall and check out Queen Street West, hailed by Vogue magazine as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. Stroll along the street from Bathurst to Gladstone, exploring the eclectic boutique shops, chain retailers and so much more. Check out the work of some of Canada’s most established designers in the city’s hot-spot for local shopping. Art galleries, hip bars and cafes, you name it. While you’re there, step into Graffiti Alley — admire the art and capture the memory with a photo!

  1. If you’re here to learn…

Image: thestar.com

Step into the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), one of Toronto’s top destinations for tourists and locals. While it’s standard practice to walk through the exhibitions during the day, the museum offers a jazzed up version of the experience too. If you’re lucky, your trip to the city will line up with one of the ROM’s Friday Night Live events. Each has its own theme and is packed full of food vendors, tasty drinks, live music and dancing. Take in special exhibitions from around the world, while enjoying a fun night out!

Tips & tricks:

Make the most of your time in the city using BagsAway! If you have some time to kill before check-in, drop off your bag and kick-start your trip. Discover Toronto, hands (and worry) free.

If you want to explore the diversity of Toronto, book a suite with QuickStay. Specializing in luxury short-term rentals, QuickStay offers accommodations in the city’s best neighborhoods. Experience the city like a local! Feeling the hustle and bustle? Stay in the heart of downtown. Otherwise, there are lots of trendy neighborhoods with easy transit access to must-see attractions.