Spending a day strolling down New York City's Fifth Avenue is any retail enthusiast's dream dome true. The iconic street is known for its luxury shopping scene, attractions and eateries.
You don't need to cross the border if you want to spend a day like Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf. Toronto has its own version of this famous street and it will whisk you away to the Big Apple.
Bloor-Yorkville is known as "Toronto’s Fifth Avenue" due to its many designer shops and upscale experiences. While it may not be as large or glamorous as the real Fifth Avenue, it still offers a similar vibe.
If you're thinking of spending a day exploring "Toronto's Fifth Avenue," here are some places you'll want to check out, from stores to attractions and restaurants.
Where to shop
Fifth Avenue is all about the shopping scene, so a day in Bloor-Yorkville wouldn't be complete without hitting up some stores. The area is full of designer shops, local boutiques and more to check out.
Like Fifth Ave, Bloor Street has its fair share of luxury stores. This stretch of the street is known as "Mink Mile" and you'll find a variety of high-end labels.
"Bloor-Yorkville is a sought after destination for brands of all kinds looking for prime retail space in Toronto, and we’re thrilled to see this continued demand from both national and international retailers," Briar de Lange, Executive Director of the Bloor-Yorkville BIA told Narcity.
"We’re home to a number of flagship stores that appeal to a luxury demographic, such as Christian Louboutin, CHANEL, Brunello Cucinelli and the upcoming Saint Laurent, and also have many businesses that appeal to demographics who are looking for more accessible options."
You'll definitely want to take a trip to the Holt Renfrew Centre where you'll find luxury department store Holt Renfrew’s flagship location. The store boasts four floors of designer brands including Giorgio Armani, D&G, Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton. If you need a little break from browsing, the department store has a salon, spa, restaurant and café where you can relax.
According to Destination Toronto, "Yorkville’s Holt Renfrew can be compared to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York or Harrods in London" so you can have an upscale shopping experience without crossing any borders. Even if you're not purchasing anything, it's a fun spot to browse and live that Gossip Girl dream.
Kith has recently made its mark in Bloor-Yorkville with the opening of its flagship store, and it's also introduced New York's popular Sadelle's restaurant to the neighbourhood.
Other major stores in the area include Aritzia, Alo, Sephora and Winners & Homesense.
What to do
Aside from shopping, Yorkville offers a number of fun activities, events and things to do.
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the neighbourhood's biggest attractions, featuring 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. Whether you want to explore the dinosaur bones, visit a bat cave or gaze at glistening gemstones, this museum has something for everyone.
The Gardiner Museum is another spot worth checking out. The ceramics museum has a number of exhibits as well as classes and original programming.
There are many events that take place in Yorkville throughout the year. Annual events include Fleurs de Villes, a showcase of themed flower arrangements scattered throughout the neighbourhood.
There is also Yorkville Murals, an immersive summer art festival complete with "captivating murals, inflatables, art installations, live painting, art talks, music, dance battles, pop-up shops and an evening block party."
Come Christmas time, Yorkville transforms into a twinkling wonderland filled with lights and festive storefronts for the Holiday Magic event.
You'll find displays, tree-lined streets and Urban Campfire Benches that light up when in use. The Holiday Magic concert is taking place on November 25 this year and will be headlined by Matt Dusk.
Other annual events to check out in the neighbourhood include the Yorkville Exotic Car Show, TD Toronto Jazz festival and Summer Music in the Park.
According to the Bloor-Yorkville BIA, the Village of Yorkville Park is an "iconic destination within the city." The area features bistro-style tables beneath lush trees where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or bite to eat.
It's also home to a 650 ton "rock" that’s one billion years old.
Where to eat
Yorkville, like Fifth Avenue, is brimming with delicious restaurants and places to eat.
"Bloor-Yorkville is home to some of the best food and dining experiences in Canada, from Michelin-starred restaurants to long-standing neighbourhood favourites," de Lange said.
She suggests visiting some staples in the community like Trattoria Nervosa, Hemingway’s and The Pilot.
Trattoria Nervosa is an Italian restaurant with a rooftop patio and authentic fare. The menu features dishes like pizza, pasta, and Italian desserts including tiramisu and gelato.
Hemingway's is a popular hangout spot known for its rooftop patio. The restaurant and bar serves up burgers, salads, steak and more as well as brunch and a late night menu.
The Pilot is also known for its heated rooftop patio. Established in 1944, the venue has jazz music every Saturday and offers brunch, drinks and a range of dishes like burgers and wings.
Following the recent launch of the Michelin Guide in Toronto, a handful of dining establishments in Yorkville have been awarded Michelin stars or received recognition in the guide.
These places include Aburi Hana, Alobar, Enigma Fine Dining, Amal and 156 Cumberland so if you're looking for a fine dining experience, these are some spots to keep in mind.
The area is also home to Sotto Sotto, an Italian restaurant which Drake has said is the "best in Toronto." The eatery has a range of Italian dishes that will whisk you away to Rome.
A day spent on "Toronto's Fifth Avenue" isn't complete without a coffee stop and there are several good cafes scattered around the neighbourhood. Zaza Espresso Bar is a must-visit for coffee enthusiasts as well as Coco Espresso Bar and the A-OK cafe located in Aritzia.
If you're a foodie you won't want to miss out on a dining experience at Eataly. The multi-level Italian food complex is home to several restaurants as well as a cafe and counters serving up desserts and more. From cheesy pasta to gelato and Italian-inspired cocktails you'll be in foodie heaven.
So, whether you're browsing the designer shops, indulging in a gourmet meal, or sipping coffee at chic cafes, this little slice of New York City in Toronto will make you feel like you're in a whole other world.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.