Good Toronto neighborhoods for tourist accomodations.
January 24, 2013 11:16 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I will be spending a week in Toronto in late July. Airbnb has lots of housing options, but we have no idea where a good location would be. We like to stroll around and like the usual stuff - museums, cafes, bookstores all a plus; nightlife not so much. We figure there will be plenty to see and do, but if you have some 'don't miss' suggestion, that would be appreciated also. Thanks.
posted by Jackson to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would say look for places near these neighborhoods: Annex (Bloor/Bathurst/Spadina), Little Italy (Bathurst/College/Ossington), Danforth (danforth, broadview/Pape). These have lots of restaurants walking distance nearby. Start there!
posted by typewriter at 11:22 AM on January 24, 2013

I would look at a map of the Toronto Subway as well, so you have a sense of how well connected the places are. Anywhere near the center of the subway system will be good for getting around and also probably is a denser neighbourhood with cafes and bookstores.

Generally, I would look for a place east of Dufferin, West of Donlands or Greenwood, and south of Dupont. As typewriter mentioned, there are specific neighbourhoods within this square that are better, but this gives you somewhere to start on a map. You can walk downtown from Dufferin and Bloor in about 45 minutes; I don't know the east end as well, but I believe that you can cycle downtown from Donlands and Danforth in about 30 minutes. Most neighbourhoods within this square will fit these criteria, though some more than others.
posted by jb at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2013

I forgot - Dupont doesn't go into the east end. Basically, I wouldn't go more than 10-15 minutes walk north of Bloor/Danforth, as the neighbourhoods can get more suburban. The exception is the area we call "uptown": Young and Eglinton and St Clair between Yonge and Bathurst isn't a bad corridor. But they are farther from most of the attractions in the city, which are downtown.
posted by jb at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2013

You might want to avoid the area around Dundas and Parliament.

Actually, maybe avoid everything between Sherbourne and Parliament south of Bloor.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:48 AM on January 24, 2013

The Annex is a good bet. Lots of interesting little stores and highly accessible to everywhere you would want to go.

The other option would be Queen West (Queen between ossington and spadina), but you'd be streetcar dependant.

As for off the grid touristy stuff, I would suggest the Evergreen Brickworks Market on a Saturday morning,
posted by cacofonie at 12:16 PM on January 24, 2013

Here's a guide to some Toronto neighborhoods.
posted by Kabanos at 12:53 PM on January 24, 2013

I highly recommend getting a TTC pass (a weekly or some dailies) and using the subway as a hop-on hop-off way to explore the city. If the place you're staying is near a subway station, it opens up a large chunk of the city for easy walking.

As far as destinations, I'll add Kensington Market to the list. It's a very walkable collection of quirky stores and restaurants.
posted by Kowh at 4:28 PM on January 24, 2013

For an actual place to stay, I would go with the Annex. You're close to both subway lines, and using those you can get to all of the good places to go.

Good Places to Go: Annex, Little Italy, Ossington & Dundas, All of Queen Street from Roncesvalles to Victoria Park, Yorkville, Leslieville, the Danforth, Kensington, U of T, The Villiage

Also, in late july you should be able to ride a bike everywhere. Look into Bixi.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 5:39 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and the Beaches are worth a visit in July too!
posted by cacofonie at 6:15 PM on January 24, 2013

Annex! for accommodation and a great starting point. Yes, I live in the area, very centrally located, charming streets, lots of people at all hours of the day. Food! From sushi to Middle Eastern (Ghazal, next to the Bloor cinema)

Starting from Avenue Rd& Bloor is the Royal Ontario Museum. Air conditioned, July will be hot. Walking west along Bloor, there are plenty bookstores, cafes, restos, pubs, clothing stores. Walk all the way to Bathurst st. Go and get lost at Honest Eds (a junketeria-a very cheap and cheerful department store, a classic)

Walking east from the Museum along Bloor are the expensive retailers... Holt Renfrew...but also Yorkville (2 blocks north) with lots of cafes, restos and more fancy retail stores and art galleries. Do visit the Canadian Guild Shop (Canadian crafts, art, jewelery) I love that place, it's on Cumberland, across from the park with the big granite rock.

Do visit Kensington Market. Super hippie area with amazing little food restos and vintage type clothing stores and groceries. Walking up Augusta to College st., turn west to hit Little Italy. More restos, cafes and shops.

Queen West is cool, tons of interesting stores from Spadina (Bahn Mi Boys for wicked Vietnamese sammys to Smoke's Poutinerie, Damn!) waaay west to Trinity Bellwoods Park. Cool hair salons, uni barber shops...

The Junction, the latest cool..galleries, cafes (Crema has espresso to die for!), pubs who brew their own beers...start at Keele, go west along Dundas. Still a bit rough around the edges, but changing fast as hell.

Tired of all that? Go to Centre Island. At the foot of the financial district at the lake (bay st.) Take a ferry across, pack a picnic basket or pop into the one resto by the lake (great view of the lake, sail boats and the downtown skyline. Hear birds singing!)

Regarding farmers markets, I prefer the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday. Waaay cheaper and less hype than Evergreen, Ouch. It is lovely, love the art exhibits and location, but those prices on organics?! Gettouttaheah. At St. Lawrence...check out Carousel's back bacon sammys! Yum. It's in the south building, along the west wall, you'l spot it by the large Emeril photo and sig (ugh). You're close to the Distillery District, the old whiskey distillery...cobble stone, quaint (not cheap) shops, cafes etc.

Definitely rent a car and go to McMichael Canadian Art Gallery (Group of 7 art) in Kleinburg. A 30 minute drive north west of Toronto, just fantastic.

For more stuff going on in the city daily, check out blogto
They have plenty resto reviews etc.
A free weekly of stuff going on, every Thursday, is Now Magazine a very comprehensive list of concerts, theater listings etc.

Bike rental, Bixi is ok for travel, but point to point. Don't rent them for all day, I hear it's expensive. 20-30 min. at a time. Check out where their bike racks are when planning a walkabout.

Enjoy your stay!
posted by alicesshoe at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

The links are

(baby android messing up my html)
posted by alicesshoe at 12:11 PM on January 25, 2013

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