5 Things To Do in Toronto During The Holiday Season


Days have become shorter, nights longer, and the weather… colder. While it is very tempting to stay warm indoors and lay in bed to watch Netflix all night, there are some fun activities one can do to enjoy the holiday season and all it has to offer!

Personally I love the holiday season and everything about it.  I love how all the stores are beautifully decorated with attracting window displays, like Saks and Hudson’s Bay, to name a few. I love getting together with friends and family, decorating, shopping for others, and watching all the fun and somewhat tacky Christmas movies/shows.

With that in mind, there are many events to attend if you’re looking for a fun night out to change your usual Winter day. I’ve curated a list of my Top 5 Things To Do in Toronto During The Holiday Season that I guarantee will push your boredom away!

Keep reading to see where to go!

1. Attend a show

Attending a show is almost like watching Netflix.. it just requires a tad bit more effort. With the right mindset you too can drag yourself off the couch, change out of those PJs, and look presentable, even if it’s just for one night.

The Nutcracker: This is an annual theatrical production hosted by The National Ballet of Canada. If you’re familiar with The Nutcracker story and love theatre then this is the event for you! While it will be my first time this year attending The Nutcracker, there have been countless reviews raving about the magical ballet performance and great-storytelling from start to finish. I can’t wait to see the story come to life next month!

The show is only running for three weeks Dec 10-31st, with many of the cheaper tier of tickets already sold out. So if this interests you be sure to learn more and buy tickets here!

iHeartRadio Jingle Ball: It’s crunch time if you haven’t already scored tickets to this holiday concert happening this Friday, November 25, at the ACC. Tickets are sold out BUT there’s still hope… You can still find resale tickets on Ticketmaster or through buy & resell sites like Stubhub. There has been serious hype surrounding this concert considering it is Canada’s FIRST iHeartRadio Jingle Ball. It will be a night filled with lots of musical talent with performances by The Weeknd, Hedley, Alessia Cara, and The Chainsmokers to name a few.

Cavalcade of Lights: This Saturday, Nov 26, the 50th annual Cavalcade of Lights is happening at Nathan Phillips Square! I haven’t attended this event in many years but it sure is a fun night filled with lights, fireworks, music, and performances. Plus you also get a chance to see the illumination of Toronto’s Official Christmas Tree. If this doesn’t lift your holiday spirit I’m not sure what will!

cavalcade-of-lights-720(Credit: Toronto.com)

2. See a Movie

If scoring tickets to a show or concert isn’t quite your thing or in the budget, think about movie tickets. They cost less and you often don’t have to plan in advance which makes going out that much easier! Sidenote: Tuesdays = cheaper tickets. Check out the trailers for Bad Santa 2, Office Christmas Party, and Collateral Beauty.

3. Vist a Market

In all seriousness, markets are the best way to avoid going to shopping malls. Plus, they have cuter stuff to buy for gifts (or yourself) and save on the cliche holiday sets at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Toronto Christmas Market: The Toronto Christmas Market has become an annual holiday tradition for many at The Distillery Historic District. Plan to bundle up and spend a few hours attending this market as there is lots to see and do for everyone! They have several Winter Lounges spread out across the Distillery where you can warm up around a fire-pit and enjoy some mulled wine (or other drink of choice). And did I mention they have Pink Trees and a ferris wheel to take in the beauty of it all? Talk about Instagram-worthy.. It really is the market to visit this holiday season in Toronto!

If I haven’t sold you yet, check out their site for more information and plan your visit asap! The Toronto Christmas Market is open Tuesday through Sunday until Dec 22 (keep in mind there is a $6 admission free Fri-Sun). If you’re looking to go on the weekend check out the advance tickets you can purchase here to avoid waiting in line!

tcm2016-06(Credit: Toronto Christmas Market)

Nathan Phillips Square Holiday Fair: A first for Nathan Phillips Square, this holiday market is organized by Epilepsy Toronto and is going to run from Dec 8 to Dec 23 free of charge. This market is said to feature “artisanal products, small crafts, gifts and food. There will be a small midway area with rides, and a licensed bar area on the premises”(The Star). This is a great way to kickstart your holiday shopping with local vendors and buy unique gifts for those special people on your list!

Union Station: If you’re making your way in and out of the city, this pop-up market works perfectly (aka no excuses not to visit). From Dec 5 to 16, Union Station will transform into a holiday hub featuring artisan and food vendors. Check out hours of operations and what vendors will be attending here.

Toronto Botanical Garden Holiday Market & Open House: On Thursday, Dec 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. the Toronto Botanical Garden is hosting their own holiday market, alongside their weekly Farmer’s Market. There will be lots of handcrafted and nature-inspired gifts, and yummy treats for those looking to take a peek!

TBG_holidayopenhouse_webheader.jpg(Credit: Toronto Botanical Garden)

4. Indulge

If it wasn’t for the holiday season then we’d have no excuse as to where those extra pounds came from.. am I right?!

Winterlicious: Toronto’s favourite culinary event is coming back… but not until the new year! From Jan 27 to Feb 9 prepare to indulge in prix fixe lunch and dinner menus offered by over 100 restaurants. This is the time to check out those two (or three) restaurants that have caught your eye! Don’t forget to plan early and reserve your spot once they open here.

Chimney Stax: Catch this amazing company at the Toronto Christmas Market and enjoy one of their sweet or savoury snacks! Trust me they are worth the visit. Get excited and check out all the flavours they have to offer before you go.

(Credit: Instagram)

5. Stay Active

Last but certainly not least.. You’d be surprised how good it feels to be outdoors doing something physical after weeks of binge-watching that favourite show of yours. Alas, here is the multitude of skating rinks for you to go to.

Natrel Rink: Located on Queens Quay West by the Harbourfront Centre, this rink features lakefront skating that screams date night. Now this doesn’t mean you can’t get together with a bunch of your friends for some ice action, but if there is that special someone… this is the place to take them!

Nathan Phillips Square: Yet another couple-ridden gathering spot but it sure makes for some nice photos! Call, text, whoever it is you want to go skating with and get together for a night of skating under the twinkly lights at Nathan Phillips Square. If that isn’t convincing, there is music and hot chocolate.

(Credit: Mariam Khalil)

Ski & Snowboard: Until we wake up having to spend an extra ten minutes putting our snow boots and parkas on (and dusting the snow off our cars + 20 mins), why not engage with some artificial snow on the slopes? There are several ski resorts around the GTA for you to try out a new sport. Here is a list of Ski Hills in Toronto and the GTA (sorry Blue Mountain is not included).

(Credit: Tripadvisor)

There you have it my 5 Things To Do in Toronto During The Holiday Season! I hope this motivates you to do something holiday-inspired and get out of the house to enjoy the Winter season. Thanks for reading!

If I’ve missed anything on this list that you feel is worthy of mentioning let me know 🙂 What are you looking forward to doing the most this holiday season?!

– Kim


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