Affordable lodging in Toronto for long weekend vacation
May 29, 2014 8:54 AM   Subscribe

We're in the beginning stages of planning a vacation to Toronto later this year. So far, all the hotels I have looked at online have been surprisingly expensive. Does anyone have suggestions for clean, safe, private (not hostels) hotels or B&Bs located either conveniently to interesting parts of the city (for tourists), or close (safe 5-10 min. walk) to public transportation to attractions? While I am at it, while we've done some research on our own, ideas for not-to-be-missed sights, museums, bookstores, or other attractions (for a middle aged, bookish, art-museum frequenting, ethnic food loving, but only moderately-fit couple) appreciated. Thanks!
posted by aught to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Airbnb?

When is "later this year?" The Holiday Inn Downtown Centre is one of the cheaper hotels in the area and I notice that their cheapest room rate goes from $325 about a month from now (for a Holiday Inn!) to $160 in September. Major festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival will make prices much higher.

Sounds like you should visit the Art Gallery of Ontario for sure. Also the Royal Ontario Museum, and maybe the Gardiner or Bata Shoe Museum if they interest you. Type Bookstore is pretty awesome.

I would spend some time in Chinatown (my faves: Taste of China for entrees, Rol San for dim sum, Mother's Dumplings for dumplings), Little Italy (Pizzeria Libretto and Dolce Gelato), and Little Portugal (Churrasqueira do Sardinha). Banu has great Persian food. Guu Izakaya is fun if you don't mind being somewhere that is VERY LOUD. There is a Momofuku outpost that is worth visiting. BarVolo is a good place for fancy beers. The Amsterdam Brewery has good beer and food and is by the waterfront.
posted by grouse at 9:20 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

When is "later this year?"

Sorry to be vague -- we were hoping for July, since that's the 15th anniversary of our moving in together and we wanted to do a short trip to celebrate, but it looks like hotels peak in price right about then -- so we might hold off a couple months.
posted by aught at 9:25 AM on May 29, 2014

Cabbagetown has some cute B&Bs (including this one which my husband and I stayed at a couple of years back), and is a very short tram ride to downtown.

Seconding the ROM; if there's a concert at the Music Garden, definitely go.
posted by damayanti at 9:27 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just rented a 1 bdrm condo in the Pantages tower for $110 a night on Airbnb, so.... Airbnb.

Eat West Indian, specifically Trinidadian. Best on the continent for that. Pizzeria Libretto was a massive disappointment last time I tried it.

Toronto's coffee scene has improved by leaps and bounds lately- it's still years behind Calgary and there is almost no decent coffee in the downtown proper, but east and west of DT there are many new places that take the bean seriously, finally.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:47 AM on May 29, 2014

A friend of mine recommends the Baldwin Village Inn. It's centrally located (close to U of T). I haven't stayed there personally, though. is a blog devoted to excellent hole in the wall ethnic food.
posted by quaking fajita at 10:45 AM on May 29, 2014

A different question to ask might be "what the heck is going on in Toronto during the week I'm trying to find a hotel"? Is there some city-wide big deal? If so, that might be why everything is expensive.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:05 AM on May 29, 2014

What about the U of T housing services? They often have rooms available over the summer and they are usually under 100$ a night. Sometimes it includes breakfast!

Centrally located as well.

posted by csmithrim at 1:39 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had excellent luck using Priceline in the past for Toronto long weekends myself. The price tends to drop the closer you are to your travel date.
posted by Lay Off The Books at 4:43 PM on May 29, 2014

Priceline has been good to my family as well! Pick the downtown area near the ROM or AGO and you'll be set. It sounds like you would enjoy places like the AGO and the ROM as well as Kensington Market (if there's a pedestrian Sunday while you are here - try to go then!) which is right next to Chinatown from which you can wander to the big shopping areas (Eaton Centre) and trendy shops (Queen St). There's also up-and-coming Parkdale where you can shop eclectic vintage goods at the Public Butter, eat great doughnuts at Gloryhole, drink coffee at Capital Espresso, and marvel at gentrification in process.
posted by hepta at 6:30 PM on May 29, 2014

The Annex Quest House is affordable and in a quiet area in walking distance to nice spots
posted by jjs6791 at 6:49 PM on May 29, 2014

Careful because staying the area just east of the Eaton Centre often seems like a great deal, but is actually a bit sketchy. I would say avoid staying around there (sherbourne/jarvis and shuter/queen) area.

My night at the Bond Hotel is not an experience I would recommend.
posted by cacofonie at 12:25 PM on June 3, 2014

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