Valentine’s Day is not just for lovebirds. Toronto, a bustling city that’s teeming with food, culture, and activities, is one of best places to be on the 14th of February. Are you looking to dance the night away with the girls? Or maybe grab a drink away from Cupid’s arrows? From delicious food to stargazing and ice skating on frozen lakes, this Valentine’s Day guide is full of things you can check out with family, friends, or significant others!
Go for a lunch date
If you want to go out for a meal on Valentine’s Day but also want to avoid the crowds, cheesy menus, and the undesirable price tags, go for a lunch date! It’s a great way to get together with your loved one(s), making the day a little more special, and it will be a lovely surprise for your family member, friends or partner. Pizzeria Libretto has a great prix-fixe lunchtime menu available until 5 pm. Choose from their Caprese salad or arugula salad for starters; for your main course, try their amazing pizza Margherita or marinara. You also get dessert. Their extensive wine list is always worth a look as well.
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This activity is an excellent option for couples, groups, and families, especially because there are some unique places for ice skating in Toronto right now. Nathan Phillips Square is always buzzing, and Harbourfront Centre’s spacious rink is practically on the lake. However, if you want something a little more special for Valentine’s Day, you have other options.
Grenadier Pond in High Park is one of the city’s most picturesque places to skate, but do bear in mind that it gets pretty cold there. Check the skating conditions online before you go. Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail, an ice skating oasis surrounded by trees and tall grass, is just 15 minutes from the downtown core. The Bentway Skating Trail is a one-kilometer stretch that lies below the Gardiner Expressway, and when you need a break from ice skating, you can cozy up with some food and drinks.
Dance the night away
Toronto has many fun dance classes! If you’ve been meaning to try out ballroom, salsa, tango, jazz, house, and so on, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity. City Dance Corps and Dance Teq offer lots of different styles, but the Underground Dance Centre comes highly recommended. They have everything from dancehall to heels, hip-hop, popping, ballet, street jazz, and much more.
Go for a cooking class
If you love to eat and love to cook, then why not combine both activities with a cooking class on Valentine’s Day? Le Dolci has courses on truffles, macarons and sugar cookies, while President’s Choice Cooking School is serving up heartfelt dinners and chocolate-themed goodies. Also, Dish Cooking Studio is offering date night-themed classes.
Go to a dessert café
The best thing about any holiday? Dessert! Toronto has some amazing dessert cafés where you can dive into sweet delicacies. For all things chocolate, head to Cacao 70. Although this cocoa-powered sweet shop has two locations in Toronto, their Distillery District edition has the bonus of charming cobbled streets to wander. If you can’t decide between sweet or savory, the city’s European-style crêperie, Café Crêpe, has a great selection of food and dessert choices as well as drinks. Light Cafe, a Taiwanese-inspired spot in the heart of Baldwin Village, has a beautiful variety of desserts as well as hot and cold beverages. Think slow-drip coffees, an insane selection of waffles, and stunning tea infusions!
Grab a drink in one of Toronto’s secret bars
Do you imagine being able to slip away into one of Toronto’s speakeasies on Valentine’s Day? They aren’t exactly the city’s best-kept secrets, but they do offer cozy corners, ambient lighting, and are too cool for Cupid. Hidden away in Little Portugal’s most hipster part is Unlovable. Here you can sip on signature cocktails and local brews with your friends. The Cloak on Wellington Street has an old-time charm that will appeal to your inner Gatsby. It’s often locked, but a quick text to the number on the door will get you in. If you’re trying to impress a date, Mahjong Bar’s small bites, awesome drinks, and checkered floor will do the trick.
Take them to the stars
Believe it or not, there’s a spot just an hour away from Toronto where you can do some stargazing. Binbrook Conservation Area near Hamilton has a clear view of the southern horizon, which is dark enough because of Lake Erie. You might even catch a glimpse of a bright red star known as the Betelgeuse, and aptly referred to as the Valentine’s Star. It’s located off one of the shoulders of Orion and glows red, and this stargazing season is one of the best viewing opportunities for it because Orion is easily visible from most locations on Earth in mid-February.
Binbrook Conservation Area, 5050 Harrison Rd, Binbrook, ON, Canada, +1 905 692 3228
The Gladstone Hotel is a happening place under any circumstance, but they definitely put on the hippest Valentine’s Day celebration. You can catch a host of events without the cringe factor! You won’t find any heart-shaped chocolates, red roses, or sappy greeting cards here. Gladstone Hotel likes to celebrate love differently. This year, you can look for thoughtful gifts at the Love Market or sexy ones at the Erotic Arts Market, enjoy an evening of comedic love stories at Cupidity from Tinder Tales, and sing your heart out at their lovesick-themed karaoke night or heartbreak music bingo event!
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 531-4635