When January rolls around, it’s hard for Torontonians to face the truth — we’re in for three more long months of winter. But with so much to do and see in the winter in Toronto, we suggest you postpone your hibernation for now. Here are 19 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 upcoming Lumière: The Art of Light exhibition at Ontario Place starting March 10 to the multimedia journey, Illumi in Mississauga to Terra Lumina at the Toronto Zoo, there are plenty of places to get your fix of 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 rooftop bars with a view in the city. Try Evangeline at the Ace Hotel for a Michelin-worthy experience or the Writers Room on top of the Park Hyatt for a bit of literary inspiration.
Go thrifting for a bit of sustainable retail therapy
Winter blues getting you down? Retail therapy might be the trick — and when you’re thrifting, it’s cheaper than real therapy (though we recommend you get that too). Stop by a few of Toronto’s top thrift shops for the thrill of the find: visit Black Market Vintage for great prices, Ninety Six Tears for a more curated selection, or your nearest Value Village . 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 winter season and make for the perfect road trip.
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).
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
It may be past the holidays now, but no matter — put a holiday classic on TV, pull out the flour and sugar and enjoy the quintessential Christmas experience of baking holiday cookies to cheer you up. Go for a classic like gingerbread cookies, or snickerdoodles for a cinnamon treat or a chocolate peppermint concoction.
Catch a candlelight concert
Since the Candlelight Concerts first came to Toronto, they’ve been incredible popular, and for good reason — hearing your favourite music in a beautiful venue lit up by hundreds of candles is really hard to beat. This winter, you can grab tickets to a tribute to Coldplay, Beyoncé, ABBA, a jazzy Valentine’s Day special and more.
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.