9 Festive Toronto Winter Date Ideas That'll Turn Your Life Into A Hallmark Movie
Treat your S.O. (or BFF!) to a night of holiday magic. ✨
Listen up, winter naysayers: as tempting as it may be to shut yourself away from the first snowfall until spring, Toronto has surprisingly a lot to offer in the winter. From festive Christmas activities to sports and museums, there are so many ways to make the most of — or completely hide from — the cold.
Whether you're planning a winter date or just looking for fun things to do in Toronto with your friends or family over the holidays, here are nine winter activities you can do in and around the city.
Skate through a winter garden at Evergreen Brick Works
Skating trail at Evergreen Brick Works.
Price: Free (skate and helmet rentals available for a fee)
When: December 17, 2022, to March 5, 2023
Address: 550 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: You can skate through a snow-covered garden under twinkling lights at this old brick factory. Evergreen Brick Works' unique outdoor skating rink opens on Saturday, December 17 and is free to the public. If you time your visit right, you can also check out their annual Winter Market!
Accessibility: Venue is wheelchair accessible; skate assists available
Pretend you're in Europe at a local Christmas market
Price: Varies, but many are free
When: Select days in December
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for some festive holiday charm and a fun place to shop local this holiday season, there are tons of Christmas markets near Toronto you can check out. From right downtown in the Distillery District to small towns that look straight out of a European fairytale, there are so many to choose from — we won't blame you if you hit up a new one every weekend in December.
Have a cozy meal on a heated patio
Why You Need To Go: Whoever said patios were reserved for warm weather and the pandemic lockdown era clearly hasn't been to any of Toronto's best winter patios. From fireside brunch spots to après-ski lounges and snowglobe-like domes, there are tons of heated winter patios that'll convince you that patio season is a state of mind, not a time of year.
Sip festive drinks at a Christmas pop-up
The Thirsty Elf Christmas Cocktail Pop Up is Back in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York until December 17! 🎄🥂 #thingstodointoronto #torontobars #toronto #torontotiktok
Price: Around $14-22 per drink
Address: Multiple locations
Why You Need To Go: Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like holiday spirits. Toronto is home to a few Christmas pop-up bars that serve up holiday-themed cocktails in a super-festive atmosphere for a limited time over the holidays.
Unleash your inner Canadian at a Leafs game
Price: $80+ per person
When: Various dates
Address: 40 Bay St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: You're not making the most of the Canadian winter unless you've gone to watch Canada's national winter sport at least once. Sure, it's expensive — but what wouldn't you pay to drink a bunch of beer and watch 20,000 hockey fans boo the ref and make up mean songs about the opposing team's star? Just try not to think about how many of the players are younger than you and making more money this year than you'll make over the course of your entire life.
Accessibility: Wheelchair-accessible seats available
Book a romantic getaway to a cozy cabin
Why You Need To Go: Nothing says "cozy" quite like bundling up under a blanket by a fire, a hot cocoa in one hand and a good book in another, while the snow piles up outside your window. If you're having trouble finding that tranquility at home, there are tons of Airbnbs you can rent that will sweep you away to a cozy, private oasis (preferably with a hot tub).
Brave the crowds at Ripley's Aquarium
Price: $44 per adult
When: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Address: 288 Bremner Blvd., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for an indoor activity for a chilly day, Toronto has no shortage of indoor attractions like museums, art galleries and, of course, Ripley's Aquarium. The massive aquarium is home to hundreds of aquatic species and North America's longest underwater viewing tunnel. To avoid crowds, Ripley's suggests you book your timeslot in advance online and visit later in the day — after 2 p.m. on weekdays or after 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Accessibility: Wheelchair & stroller accessible, and more
Make your own wreath with Wild North Flowers
Price: $149 per person
When: December 3 & 10, 2-4 p.m.
Address: 135 Tecumseth St., Unit 2, Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: You don't have to be good at arts and crafts to be able to make beautiful handmade holiday decorations and gifts — you just might need some guidance. There are tons of workshops across the city that provide just that — plus all the materials, music, good vibes and (if you're lucky) festive drinks you need for a fun date that ends with you taking home something beautiful!
Wild North Flowers, for example, is hosting Winter Wreath Workshops on the first two Saturdays in December, and you can make your own 20-inch wreath using an assortment of fresh winter greens and dried florals that will be provided.
Immerse yourself in twinkly lights at a holiday trail
When: Most are open through December
Why You Need To Go: You can stroll or drive through elaborate festive light displays at one of the many holiday trails near Toronto. From lit-up villages and forest walking trails to classic drive-thrus where you don't even need to get out of your car, there are so many options in and around Toronto.
Accessibility: Many trails are wheelchair accessible and have regular snow maintenance, and some are even drive-thrus. Be sure to check their website or call to confirm.
This article has been updated since it was originally published on January 5, 2017.