Traveling with a loved one is always a bonding experience. Grab a hop-on hop-off sightseeing open-top bus ticket from City Sightseeing and explore Toronto all weekend. For visitors, this is a fun way to see the city, and locals get to be tourists for the day with their significant other and make new memories at home. Your ticket will also get you other perks, such as a free islands cruise, free downtown pickup, and a souvenir map.
As dusk falls and the weekend arrives, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) turns into one of Toronto’s unique social events. At ROM Friday Night Live, visitors can explore Canada’s largest museum of art, culture, and nature while partying with the dinosaurs. Drink, try food from specially picked vendors, and enjoy live music from bands and DJs. No Friday Night Live is the same, as there are different themes each time (such as techno fashion, Bollywood beats, superheroes). Each season, ROM releases a new schedule.
If your date is a literature lover whose heart melts at the scent of a book, take them to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Inside this stunning building, you’ll find the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The library holds more than 800,000 materials, making it the most extensive collection of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada. The shelves are home to literary treasures such as Margaret Atwood’s original handwritten draft for The Handmaid’s Tale, Shakespeare’s First Folio from 1623 and Leonard Cohen’s notebooks.
Reimagine a quintessential date by taking things outside for one of Toronto’s top summertime activities, watching movies al fresco. There’s a host of programming all the way until September, from movies in the park at Christie Pits, Regent Park and St James to the Sail-In Cinema down on Sugar Beach, Open Roof Festival and the giant screens showing classics at Dundas Square and Harborfront Centre. Most of the movies are free, so all you need to do is bring blankets and snacks.
Traversing new worlds and alternative realities while keeping your feet planted on the floor might be the new way to fall in love! Virtual reality (VR) lounges have been popping up all over Toronto, and it is a neat idea for an immersive date experience. As with everything, there are plenty of choices but VRPlayin, House of VR, and Levelup Virtual Reality Arcade all come highly rated.
Take your favorite somebody downtown to play video games. There are plenty along Dundas West, but Tilt Arcade Bar is one of the best. You can choose from more than 50 vintage arcade games and pinball machines, or cozy up in one of their booths to play video games together. If Tilt is packed, you’ll also find a selection of arcade and video games across the road at Dundas Video, or head to Blnd Tger in Little Italy, where you can get fancy with bottle service. Also on Dundas West is Get Well; their games include favorites such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Centipede, Star Wars and Dig Dug. Further west still, Unlovable has a bunch of ’80s classics such as Donkey Kong and Ms Pac-Man.
Do couples that rage together stay together? There’s only one way to find out. Believe it or not, Toronto has a Rage Room that offers a date night special. For CA$75 (£44), Battle Sports will let you blast the playlist of your choice, pick up a crowbar or baseball bat and smash your way through 28 items and two electronics. They say it’s hotter than hot yoga.
If you love a good face-off, check out Art Battle. Watch as painters use a handful of colors and some essential tools to transform blank canvases into works of art with only 20 minutes on the clock. Then, as audience members, you and your date get to determine the winner by voting for your favorite pieces. Check their website to find their schedule.
Toronto is one of the best places to see street art. Many fantastic creations have been sprayed onto countless buildings throughout the city. There are, however, some well-known graffiti hubs. Graffiti Alley (or Rush Lane) is well worth a visit. The impressive murals and colorful creations by local and international artists are always changing, so it’s worth repeat visits. Also check out Ossington Laneway, a strip between Queen Street and Humbert Street, where local street artists have spray-painted the garage doors. Other places to make a note of are Kensington Market, Keele Wall and the Milky Way in Parkdale.
The Art Gallery of Toronto (AGO) throws the city’s biggest after-hours art party on the first Thursday of every month. AGO First Thursdays are curated events that showcase a headline performer or act, along with multiple DJs in different dance spaces around the gallery. As well as music, visitors can engage with interactive exhibits and enjoy themed food and beverages. First Thursday themes vary between what’s happening in the museum and what’s happening in the rest of world, but each party is a passionate attempt to showcase the best of art and culture.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Dundas Street West, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 979 6648
Discover Toronto’s hidden side by grabbing cocktails at one of the city’s speakeasies or covert bars. Wander hand-in-hand down narrow alleyways and look past inconspicuous storefronts for these irresistible venues. You’ll find innovative concoctions, erratic menus and an ambience that’s tailor-made for intimacy. Choose from one of the city’s unique drinking experiences at Gift Shop, pizza and shots spiced with fernet at SP184, sultry cocktails at Bar Batavia, speakeasy vibes at the Cloakroom or Gatsby’s, cheap eats and Bohemia at the Green Room. Or do a hidden bar crawl along Dundas West, stopping off at Mahjong, the Libertine and the Hole in the Wall.
A lot can happen over bubble tea at Labothéry Inc. For starters, it’s not your average bubble tea joint; it’s more of a lab than a tea shop, and the servers even wear white coats. Visitors make their drinks by choosing from ingredients sold in test tubes, syringes and petri dishes. A date here will be super experimental and creative, with all the different flavored syrups, powders, sugars, kinds of milk and toppings on offer. Why not put your heads together and create your own special drink?
Ditch coffee, dinner and drink dates for something much sweeter. Living in a vibrant city has some serious advantages because there’s always a new dessert to try out, and Torontonians don’t mind standing in line for them. Perfect couple bonding time.
Japanese soufflé pancake shop Hanabusa Café (the jasmine tea pancake sounds incredible) sells gold-plated ice cream, while Eative Film Café Restaurant offers blinged-out ice cream, and Craig’s Cookies sells the stuff dreams are made of: everything from crushed strawberry pop tarts to Mars Bars and butter tarts is baked into chocolate chip cookies. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest exciting offering from the creator of Bang Bang ice creamery on Geary Avenue.
Sand and sea are the perfect settings for a romantic day or evening. While Toronto can’t exactly offer you the sea, it does have plenty of sandy shores along the city’s shimmering lakeside where you can lay out a blanket for picnicking and canoodling. The beaches of Woodbine, Kew and Balmy, Sugar Beach, Cherry Beach and Bluffers Beach are some of the local favorites, but if you really want to spice things up, then head for Toronto’s nude beach at Hanlan’s Point.