21 ways to make the most of winter around Toronto

So yeah, it’s not officially winter yet. But we all know that means nothing in Toronto, where snow comes when it wants to and leaves when it wants to! With the city’s first official snowfall underway, you might be preparing for four long months of hibernation. But with so much to do and see in the winter in Toronto, we suggest you postpone that hibernation for now. Here are 21 ways for you to make the most of winter in Toronto.

Enjoy a winter walk in the city

It may be cold, but the city sure is pretty when it snows! Enjoy a winter walk in some of the city’s most beautiful enclaves, including the Glen Stewart Ravine.

Take in a light show


From the pop-up and immersive walk-through light show at Holiday Nights of Lights to the Holiday Lights experience at Casa Loma to Illumi in Mississauga, there are plenty of places to get your fix of holiday lights!

Sip on a hot chocolate


There’s nothing better than braving the cold with a hot drink in hand, and it’s even better when that drink is chocolatey. Grab a hot chocolate this season to warm up – try Soma Chocolatemaker on King Street or in the Distillery District for one that will blow your mind.

Try a less basic winter drink


Sometimes peppermint lattes and hot chocolates can become a bit overdone, but there are plenty of other seasonal options to enjoy. Coffee Lunar always offers up a whole bunch of seasonal drinks, including ones like a minty white mocha, matcha drop, cream drop, black sesame latte and even a cranberry apple cider.

Or, something stronger


Winter weather is getting you down? Get in the spirit while warming up with a drink at one of the many holiday drink pop-ups happening in the city. The very popular Miracle on Bloor is back this month, as is Fairmont Royal York’s The Thirsty Elf and Little Sister’s Java Jingle Holiday Bar.

Go thrifting for an ugly Christmas sweater

Have a holiday party with an ugly holiday sweater dress code? Stop by a few of Toronto’s top thrift shops to find your own without spending an arm and a leg. Black Market Vintage has a few in-store, or try your nearest Value Village to find one for a real steal.

Road trip to a Hallmark-worthy town


Ontario is home to some of the actual Hallmark towns that you’ve spotted on your TV screen masquerading as a wholesome American small town. That includes Almonte, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Huntsville, all of which get appropriately decked out for the holidays and make for the perfect road trip.

Go skating


Toronto’s free outdoor rinks are open and thriving thanks to the colder weather! Rent skates or grab your own and enjoy the feeling of gliding across the ice (and then warming up with a hot drink afterwards).

Go sledding

Once it really starts snowing, the most foolproof way to feel like a kid again is to go tobogganing. There are plenty of great spots to do so in Toronto, including Cedarvale Park and Withrow Park.

Bake a winter cookie recipe

Put a holiday classic on TV, pull out the flour and sugar and enjoy the quintessential Christmas experience of baking holiday cookies. Go for a classic like gingerbread cookies, or snickerdoodles for a cinnamon treat or a chocolate peppermint concoction.

Visit the Distillery Winter Village

This month, take in the joys of arguably Toronto’s most well-known Christmas spectacular – the Distillery Winter Village (formerly the Toronto Christmas Market). Visit on a weekday to avoid paying that pesky entry fee on the weekend.

Shop for something one of a kind


The One of A Kind Show is back on until Dec. 3 and it’s made for all your holiday shopping needs! Shop over 600 local artisans and crafty vendors to find the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.

Enjoy Christmas at Casa Loma

From Dec. 2 to Jan. 6, you can enjoy a holiday experience of Casa Loma like no other. Enjoy performances, festive arts and crafts, a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree and even a visit from Santa himself. Don’t forget to grab your tickets!

Stop by a pub for trivia and drinks

Trivia seriously thrives during the winter, and there are countless themed and un-themed trivia nights to take part in at a pub near you. Tuesday is the most consistent trivia night, but you can pretty much find one every night of the week. Catch Ted Lasso trivia at Hemingway’s on Feb. 7, dog-friendly trivia at Something in the Water Brewing Co. on Tuesdays and plenty more to fit whatever obsession you have.

Visit a winter music festival

The Winterfolk Blues and Roots festival is back from Feb. 24-26, so beat the winter blues by enjoying the blues! Happening all around Kensington Market, you can grab tickets online now for an advance sales discount.

Visit the Winter Stations


The Winter Stations are back this February, just in time to rescue you from the impending winter blues. Featuring some of the most incredible installations from international artists stationed across the east end beaches, make a trip out of visiting each one!

Have a snowball fight

Another foolproof way to feel like a kid again? A snowball fight! The University of Toronto is known for snowball fights, or start your own impromptu ones with a few friends to blow off some steam (literally!).

Oooh and aahh at the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest


From Feb. 18-19, get ready for one of Toronto’s coolest (literally) winter spectacles. Featuring ice sculptures of truly epic proportions all around Yorkville, you’ll be blown away by the artistry!

Learn some pottery skills

There’s no better time to learn a new skill than when you’re holed up inside during the winter. Try drop-in pottery classes at The Gardiner Museum, or commit to really building your skills at Create Art Studio on the Danforth.

Shop at a farmers’ market

Farmers’ markets don’t stop even when the weather gets worse – they just move inside! Visit Evergreen’s Saturday Farmers’ Market or the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market to enjoy fresh produce for less.

Relax at the spa


Winter can be hard on the body, and sometimes a massage is just what you need. You can enjoy one at a spa in Toronto, or make a winter weekend trip out of it and try St. Anne’s Spa, Millcroft Inn and Spa or Elmhurst Inn and Spa for a spa experience filled with relaxation and seasonal fun.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO