Toronto in an Afternoon

 Hilton Toronto Hotel

Hilton Toronto Hotel

My husband and I were in Toronto last weekend for a friend's wedding and found ourselves with an afternoon to kill in the city before our flight Monday evening. I hadn't been in Toronto since I was a kid, so we tried to take in as much of the city as possible in just a few hours. Our hotel, the Hilton Toronto, was centrally located downtown, and we lucked out with perfect sightseeing weather to hit the town on foot...

I started off my day at Bulldog Coffee at Assembly Chef's Hall. This food hall has some great options for a quick bite (they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and I'm pretty sure it's fairly new. It has a hipster vibe, and for those of you in Chicago, it reminded me a lot of Revival Food Hall. Inside you'll find a variety of menus from 17 of the city's top chefs, and outside you can enjoy a great patio space.

If you're looking for other brunch options, we ate at Drake One Fifty the day prior and loved it. It's right around the corner from both the Hilton and Assembly Chef's Hall. We split the cinnamon beignets with coffee butter (amazing!), and I really enjoyed the omelette with Bulgarian feta and grilled shiitake mushrooms. Check out their website for fun events. They had live music playing while we were there!

 Bulldog Coffee at Assembly Chef's Hall

Bulldog Coffee at Assembly Chef's Hall

 Assembly Chef's Hall

Assembly Chef's Hall

Next up, we walked through Chinatown. I wish we had given ourselves enough time to eat two meals before our flight because there were just too many options! Ultimately, we only had time for one (we really like to sleep-in), and we had our hearts set on eating in Kensington Market. It was still fun to walk around the neighborhood and peruse the Chinese grocery stores.

 Chinatown, Toronto

Chinatown, Toronto

 Chinatown, Toronto

Chinatown, Toronto

Just past Chinatown, you'll reach Kensington Market with a very bohemian, artsy vibe. It's not actually a market like you might imagine under one roof. Instead, it's a neighborhood of eclectic artisans and restaurants. If you're into good food or finding unique, vintage pieces, you'll want to check it out. The neighborhood goes car-free on Sundays, so keep that in mind for travel.

We were a bit overwhelmed with all the food options and stoped to do a little research before deciding to eat lunch at Fresco's Fish & Chips. We split the cod po' boy and the halibut & chips, and it was delicious! We both agreed that our favorite was the po' boy.

 Kensington Market, Toronto

Kensington Market, Toronto

 Kensington Market, Toronto

Kensington Market, Toronto

 Cod po' boy at Fresco's Fish & Chips in Kensington Market, Toronto 

Cod po' boy at Fresco's Fish & Chips in Kensington Market, Toronto 

After lunch, we worked our way to the waterfront. I kept mentioning how much the area reminded me of Chicago, right down to the fact that the major roadway running along the lake is called Lake Shore. If we had given ourselves just a tiny bit more time, we would have taken a quick boat ride to the Toronto Islands. It looked like there were a lot of activities going on over there (bike rentals, gardens, theater, etc...), but I was getting nervous about running late for our flight.

Instead, we made our way back towards our hotel, with a short detour past the CN Tower. We didn't go up the tower, and I don't feel like we missed much given we've had our share of skyscrapers in Chicago, but they do have this insane attraction where you can actually strap into a harness and hang off the side of the building...if that's your thing.

Then, it was off to the airport and back to Chicago. If you're flying from a city with flights into Billy Bishop Airport, I recommend it over Toronto Pearson. The airport is small and right downtown. It was only a $10 USD ride from our hotel to get back to the airport for our flight home.

So that was our fun afternoon in Toronto! Have you been? Let me know if you think there's anything we missed in the comments below. St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District are two things that didn't make it in this trip...next time!

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