Toronto

St. Lawrence Market | Royal Ontario Museum | The Distillery District | Casa Loma | Kensington Market

St. Lawrence Market

IMG_7365First Stop.. St. Lawrence Market! If you are visiting Toronto on a budget, I recommend you make this your first destination (& you might want to swing by more than once). In addition to gift shops, local jewelers, & restaurants, the St. Lawrence Market is an active market serving fresh bread, cheese, deli meats, & produce (perfect to store away in your hotel room for a light lunch or some late night munchies) from over 120 vendors!

On Sundays, over 80 antique dealers fill the Market & the surrounding plaza, displaying their goods from sunrise to 5 pm. Admission is free.


Royal Ontario Museum

IMG_0136The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)  is about a 45 minute walk from the Market, but worth the distance. I personally believe wandering through the strange, unfamiliar streets of a city, taking in the atmosphere & culture, is the best way to experience it.

Highlights of our trip to the museum include:

  • A One Million dollar gold coin
  • Dinosaur fossil exhibit
  • Rock exhibit (my personal favorite as you can see in the picture to the right- I was a childhood collector)

The Distillery Historic District

IMG_0164There is no need to travel to Paris to “lock down” your love with your sweetheart when you can “lock in your love” in the Distillery District. This area of Toronto was my absolute favorite. Victorian Era buildings encompass this pedestrian only village filled with brick streets, unique cafes, hot designer boutiques, plenty of “night life” (bar scene), & great coffee.


Casa Loma

IMG_0225If you thought there weren’t any castles in North America, think again. Casa Loma is the former home of Canadian financier, Sir Henry Pellatt. Today this unique piece of Canadian history is open daily as a tourist attraction and hospitality venue. Can you imagine getting married in a Castle? (It’s like your very own Cinderella story)

We took the audio guided tour, wandered through the gardens, and overlooked the Toronto City skyline from the top of the castles turret. If you aren’t afraid of heights (or even if you are, like me) you HAVE to do this. Unbelievable experience.


Kensington Market

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Settled in the heart of Toronto, Kensington Market is the city’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhood. Lots of bright colors, food from every culture, & great people watching! (the general consensus – although Toronto is known as a “melting pot” – is that Canadians are reallllyyyyy tall. haha.)

German Village Coffee Shop

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetGerman Village Coffee Shop (aka Das Kaffe Haus for the German blooded folks like myself) is definitely a local favorite. This little diner started out in 1981. If you want cheap, delicious food & you’re not in a hurry, go hit GVCS. The pancakes are bigger than your head & the famous Western Omelette is to-die-for. This tiny little place is a true “dive” coffee shop: as I prefer. In fact, the place is so small that you watch the employees create your meal right in front of you. Literally.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSooo what about the coffee? Unlimited. Free. Refills. Served in a cozy cup on the cutest place mats that change frequently. My boyfriend & I have become regulars here & during our last visit we were belly laughing over a self-invented game with these mats. All 50 US states are listed with their state flower & bird. Can you guess which state has the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher as their state bird? Didn’t think so.

Killer breakfast, strong coffee, & quaint little details make German Village Coffee Shop seem like your grandmothers kitchen. Go! Go! Go!

Boston Stoker

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetSimply put — one of Columbus’s hidden treasures. This exceptional coffee shop was hiding right across the street from my freshman dorm for four years before I was able to recognize it. How? The setting! The atmosphere is a bit unusual because it shares a space with a credit union. Strange, I know. But don’t worry, this doesn’t detract from the flavorful drink selection & always smiling baristas. It’s difficult to imagine sipping a macchiato while borrowing money from a lender, so this “space-sharing” concept is still a mystery to me.

FullSizeRenderBUT THE POUROVERS. Wonderful, delicious coffee. I love that they rotate their roast selection, providing many different options each visit. The Honduras Jose Isidro is one of my personal favorites! Did I mention locally roasted coffee? Yes, craft coffee can be expensive, but it seems to ease the pain when you are supporting your community with every cup. Boston Stoker has spoiled me. Check it out!

Upper Cup Coffee Co.

image1Old Towne East is an often forgotten, historical neighborhood on the East Side of Columbus. You can find Upper Cup tucked in between buildings on Parson’s Ave. Seriously, go find it.

Brick wall interior, dread lock baristas, and The Fray on repeat. Oh, and board games galore. I highly recommend the Nicaragua pour-over, and my fellow checkers competitor would recommend the Ethiopian.

$2.00 for a hand poured coffee? Now that’s a steal in Columbus. And if you’re looking for something with more substance, try the food too!

XOXO

IMG_6371I love to travel. I also love coffee & nature & girly things like raindrops and flowers and crafts.

When I travel, I find myself wanting to share my experiences, itineraries, and hidden gems with my friends and family.

& naturally I always want to chat about cute coffee shops.

So here we go. CHEERS.     (all photos are my own)