Equal parts cultural center and natural paradise, this Ontario capital is as diverse as they come. If you’re looking for Toronto’s most cosmopolitan side, here are six experiences you can’t do without.
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1. A night (or three) at the Gladstone Hotel
This uber-artsy Queen West property wears several hats — hipster destination, Toronto landmark and unbeatable spot to see and be seen to name just a few — but the vibe here is simply irresistible. Indie musicians play in the ballroom, cabaret nights are regular events, and the on-site Melody and Art Bars host art classes and karaoke parties. Talk about chic.
2. The post-midnight parties at Ultra Supper Club
A cross between of-the-moment restaurant and late-night lounge, this stylish joint is intensely luxurious. The interior is decked out in plush textiles and architectural details, and bottle service is a de rigueur affair. Visit on a summer night to chill out with Toronto’s trendsetters on the rooftop terrace.
3. Barcelona-worthy tapas at Patria
It’s tough to find an authentic tapas experience beyond Spain’s borders, but Patria more than hits the mark. Indulge in small plates of artisanal cheeses, iberico hams and rich croquettes while sipping some of the best Spanish wines you’ll find this side of San Sebastian. Plus, the interior is incredibly reminiscent of the late-night Barcelona bars so many travelers adore. Book your trip with American Express Travel Canada to experience the next best thing to Spain itself.
4. Sweet little somethings at Bobbette and Belle
Who doesn’t love a French-inspired pastry? Bobbette and Belle has the art of baking down to science, and its patisserie treats routinely delight Toronto residents. Sample house specialties like dressed-up cupcakes and pastel-hued macaroons, try an array of chocolate-flecked cookies, or simply marvel at the picture-perfect tarts perched behind the counter. If you nurse a bit of a sweet tooth, this ultra-chic bakery belongs at the top of your itinerary.
5. The ultimate tranquility at Miraj Hammam Spa
Toronto features its fair share of spas, but no place beats Miraj Hammam. Situated in the so-luxe Shangri-La Hotel, this urban oasis offers some of the city’s most tranquil treatments. Unwind with a clay body mask, let go of stress with a hot-stone massage, or spend a little time in the serene steam room. The spa even offers thematic packages designed to recreate the atmospheres of destinations like Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca.
6. A few hours on the Mink Mile
When you’re ready to give your credit card a workout, head to Bloor Street’s Mink Mile to browse the city’s most upscale boutiques and brands. Prada and Gucci have popular outposts here, but you’ll find several local shops with a well-curated selection of the season’s hottest wares. Make sure to peek into Holt Renfrew; this sprawling Canadian department store is a definite must see.