The Financial District is lit up in festive lights, the radio is bustling with holiday tunes, and the Eaton Centre is swarming with eager customers shopping for gifts. The holiday szn is finally here and Santa Claus is on his way to the 6ix. It’s time to deck the halls with boughs of holly and it’s the season to be jolly. It’s the time to show off your pro (or amateur) ice skating skills and drink lots of hot chocolate.
It’s tempting to stay in and just cuddle, Netflix, and chill, but you won’t want to miss out on all the fun things happening this holiday. Whether you’re looking for things to do with your long-term boo or the bae you picked up during cuffing season, here are all the places you should take your significant other to this holiday season.
Photo cred – Benson Kua
1. Watch City Hall light up at the Cavalcade of Lights
Kick off the holiday season right at Nathan Phillips Square with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. On November 28th, enjoy live music and fireworks, go skating while hand-in-hand, and kiss under the stars (because mistletoes aren’t out and about yet). You’ll be the cutest couple in the sea of couples (and families and high schoolers).
Photo cred – George Socka
2. Watch the Beaches get lit in festive lights.
Think Nathan Phillips Square might be a little too crowded for you? Hit up the Beaches instead for a more intimate affair and see Santa illuminate the Beaches boardwalk with 80,000 festive lights. Also, enjoy free hot chocolate and soup.
Photo cred – The Waterfront BIA
3. See the Spectacle of Lights at the Waterfront
Take a romantic stroll along the Waterfront and see it all illuminated and pretty. Enjoy the festive lights being displayed at The Toronto Music Garden, the Tall Ship (at Simcoe Street), The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, and the Fire Hall from November 28th to January 1st. You can even get some holiday shopping done at the Shop the Neighbourhood event here on November 28th.
Photo cred – Marian Dörk
4. Skate under the stars at the Natrel Rink
Stay warm by doing the most classic, wintery winter activity of them all: ice skating. Save yourselves from the torture of bumping around in the crazy Nathan Phillips Square crowds and skate at Harbourfront instead. Afterwards you can walk in the winter wonderland that is Harbourfront and check out the Spectacle of Lights. Maybe if there’s actually snow this holiday you can even make snowmen.
Photo cred – Jessica Lam
5. Go see art at a cozy Toronto gallery
The ROM and AGO are so overrated. Take your S/O to see art in a more intimate gallery such as Coldstream Fine Art, which is currently exhibiting Harrison Taylor’s “Ghosts of Ancient Mountains” photography exhibition. You can even take Insta-worthy photos in front of the art and be different than all your basic friends with their Warhol pics. The exhibition is open until December 1st so check it out ASAP.
Photo cred – Joseph Morris
6. Be all cutesy at the Toronto Christmas Market
Celebrate the joys and traditions of Christmas at the Distillery District for the annual Toronto Christmas Market. Go rockin’ around the ginormous Christmas tree and indulge yourselves in delicious holiday eats. This year it’s free Tuesdays to Fridays and $5 a person on weekends (some of it is going to three different charities).
Photo cred – One of a Kind Show and Sale
7. Get to holiday shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show
Stuck on ideas on what to get for all your friends? Shop for cool gifts such as pretty terrariums, suave fashion finds, and cute dinnerware from over 800 different artisans on location at the Enercare Centre. It’s the largest consumer craft show in North America and you and your S/O can check it out November 26th to December 6th. Don’t forget to join the event page if you’re attending.
Photo cred – Casa Loma
8. Have a Magical Winterland Night at Casa Loma
Take your S/O to a the glorious Casa Loma for a romantic evening. Be dazzled by the gorgeous lighting displays in the gardens, see a holiday-themed illusory magic show, and sing along to “Jingle Bells” with live carollers. It’s happening every Wednesday evening throughout December.
Photo cred – Soulpepper
9. Get into the Christmas spirit with a Christmas play
Instead of taking bae to the movies this holiday, be unconventional and take him or her to see a Christmas play instead. See the Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Story at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts December 3rd to January 3rd.
Photo cred – Black Creek Pioneer Village
10. Celebrate Christmas by Lamplight
Have yourself a merry little traditional Christmas. On December 5th, 12th, and 19th, Black Creek Pioneer Village will be lit only by lamplights (as traditional as it gets, yo). Watch as Pioneer Village comes to life with holiday festivities, live choir music, and a traditional Christmas atmosphere. You can also indulge yourselves with a special holiday-themed dinner.
Photo cred – Andrew Louis
11. Dance the night away at HoHoTO
Get ready to prance the night away at the Mod Club on December 11th. Nathan Lee, DJ Digital, and Nicopop will be entertaining you with 80s music, disco, and a photo booth with props for you and your S/O to take adorable pics together. All ticket proceeds go towards the YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre. The Girls’ Centre itself is a safe space for girls aged 9-18, of all ethnicities and belief systems. Be sure to join the event page if you’re attending.
Photo cred – Gladstone Hotel
12. Drink all the beer you can at 12 Beers of Christmas
All I want for Christmas is all-you-can-drink-beer. Put on your ugliest holiday sweater and have all-you-can-drink craft beer for only $25 tickets at the Gladstone Hotel on December 12th. Fa-la-la along to live performances by local DJs and bands and sing your hearts out during Shameless Karaoke. Join the event page if you’re drinking.
Photo cred – The National Ballet of Canada
13. See a live performance of The Nutcracker
Get all dressed up (and bundled up) and take your S/O to see a classic Christmas tale in the form of ballet. Tickets start at $37 and you can see it from December 12th to January 3rd at the National Ballet of Canada.
Photo cred – Seyemon
14. Enjoy classical music with Handel’s Messiah
Feelin’ like you should try something completely different during this most wonderful time of the year? Take your S/O to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform the famous holiday classic, Messiah. See it for yourselves December 15th to 20th at the Roy Thomson Hall.
Photo cred – c h e e s e roc
15. Go on an Ugly Christmas Sweater Cocktail Cruise
Did you know there was a National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day? Now that you do, you can celebrate it with your S/O on December 18th on the Ugly Christmas Sweater Cocktail Cruise. Get some nice views of the 6ix, taste delicious holiday eats, and compete in the ugly Christmas sweater and Santa costume contest.
Author: Jessica Lam