Stuck inside with nothing to do? Toronto is jam-packed with fun events for you and your boo, no matter your budget. Here are View The VIBE’s top recommendations for fun winter dates in Toronto.
Snuggling up with your boo inside is fun and all but let’s be honest, it can get old. And as much as you love taking naps or Netflix-and-chilling, you’ve gotta admit, sometimes it’s fun to break out of regular routine and experience something new. So rekindle those flames and explore the city because Toronto always has so many amazing things to offer, even when the weather’s gloomy. Don’t fear the cold. Here are 12 dates that’ll break you out of winter hibernation.
Skating in Nathan Phillips Square
An oldie but a goodie! Not much can compare to tossing your skates in a bag and doing circles under the fairy lights of Nathan Phillips Square for free. Plus, the worse you are at skating, the more of an excuse you have to hold hands. No skates? No problem. Skates are only $10 to rent.
Tour Guide the City, East to West or West to East
Go for a drive, or if you are without a vehicle, take the Queen streetcar from one end of town to the other! Use the car or streetcar as your own little tour bus, and pass through the neighbourhoods like it’s the first time you’re seeing them. Weather permitting; finish the night with packed snacks and some vino al fresco in a destination like High Park or Woodbine Beach.
Volunteer and Spread Cheer
Instead of spending money, how about spending your time and giving back? There are so many worthy causes that can use a helping hand during the winter months, so reach out to an organization that means something to you. If you don’t know where to start, check out Volunteer Toronto to find the perfect project for the two of you!
Visit the Toronto Light Festival in the Distillery District
Bundle up and head over to the Distillery District which has been filled with light art and installations for #TOLightFest. There are a number of Instagram-worthy spots that’ll have you making sweet, sweet memories. And since the festival is completely free, you’ll have some extra dollars to spend on SOMA hot chocolates. The Toronto Light Festival runs until March 12th.
Enjoy the Outdoors and Stuff Your Face at the Evergreen Brick Works Winter Village
So you think you’re Canadian, eh? Prove it by embracing mother nature and going for a hike through the 40-acre Weston Family Quarry Garden or taking a whirl around one of the city’s most picturesque skating rinks at the Evergreen Brick Works. Later on, warm up by cozy campfires steps away from the outdoor rink or fill your tummy at the Street Food Market with flavours by family-run eateries from Mexico to Italy. The winter village is open every weekend until the end of February.
Have a Staycation
In the words of Kanye West, “how you gonna be made on vacation?” Well, same applies for the Staycation aka a mini vacation in your own city. If you can’t get away with your loved one, how about checking in somewhere and forgetting you’re in Toronto? The swankiness of the hotel is up to you, but you’ll definitely enjoy a home-away-from-home experience together. See what deals you can get online and on a website like Hotwire, where they offer unpublicized, heavily discounted rates on hotel rooms. The catch? You only find out what hotel you’re staying in after you have booked.
Dine in (Set Menu) Style
Another classic! Nothing quite beats breaking bread with someone that you’re into. But to make it extra special, try a place with a set menu like at Alo ($105 for six courses), Edulis (five or seven courses for $65/$90) or Ruby Watchco ($54 for four courses). Relax and enjoy not making decisions, while you taste new things together. Navigating the maze of reservations can sometimes be a pretty big headache, so feel free to lean on sites like OpenTable, YPDine, Bookenda and DINR to get that reservation! If you’re on a budget, check out Winterlicious, which runs until February 9th. Just make sure you follow these frugal rules for a successful budget night out.
Get your Seafood Fix by Taking a Cooking Class at Hooked Inc.
If your date loves seafood, treat them to a cooking class at Hooked Inc. While classes are a little bit pricey ($80 per person), you’ll get to learn some new skills and taste some new recipes which includes dinner and snacks. Plus, it’s the perfect way to trick your date into sharpening their cooking skills for your next night in.
Dates that are Guaranteed to Make You Laugh
Karaoke at The Gladstone
Every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm onwards, the Gladstone Hotel hosts an open mic karaoke night. What better way to declare your love, show off some skills or just die of laughter than by serenading your boo on the mic with their favourite tune? Best of all, the night is free for all!
LOL at The Second City
Each month, the famed comedy club hosts a series of shows. This February, they even have a special act for Valentine’s Day dubbed Hooking up with the Second City. If you’re having trouble narrowing down an act you’d like to see, you can’t go wrong with booking tickets to see the mainstage ensemble. Comedy can sometimes be a gamble on a date, so to ensure you don’t get heckled (or embarrassed) by the main act, we suggest sitting near the back.
Oh baby, it’s cold outside! Dates are all about multitasking, so planning one where you can sharpen your drawing skills, inspire charged stolen glances and do something you’ve (perhaps) never done before is a great trifecta. Check out your favourite art institute to see if they offer sessions for life drawing or head over to ARC Toronto (Artist Resource Centre) where a three-hour session with an experienced model is only $15. Maybe it’s time you both explored your inner Jack and Rose a la Titanic.
Play Some Games
Why so serious?! Lighten the mood and make time for a little fun! Luckily, there are plenty of bars that offer gaming and libations. For example, you can bowl at the Ball Room, play ping pong at SPiN, and bocce ball & shuffleboard at Track & Field. Fuel that fire with a little friendly competition!
Which of these winter dates will you take your love interest on? Tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.