Every major city has a myriad of options in terms of entertainment, but far too often people find themselves getting dragged into the same old usual spots. Even though a popular place can still be a great time, there is something about doing something out of the ordinary that makes a night out more special.
Doing something completely out of your comfort zone will make for a night to remember. The best thing about partaking in events or activities that are unique is enjoying the discovery of a new experience and making memories in the process. Unfortunately finding a fun place can be difficult, which is why we’ve curated a list of cool things to do in Toronto.
1. Antler Kitchen And Bar
The Antler Kitchen and Bar is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Toronto in terms of dining. Antler Kitchen and Bar has one of the most natural menus in the city for meat eaters. Specializing in game meat, this restaurant serves everything from wild boar to bison rib-eye steaks. Everything served on the menu is native to Canada and is prepared in a dignified manner, with owner Michael Hunter being strictly against factory farming.
Antler Kitchen and Bar has gained some attention in the media after Michael Hunter peacefully counter-protested vegan activists outside of his establishment. Regardless of which side of the controversy you stand on, Antler provides an incredible dining experience and truly is one of the few of its kind, definitely making eating here of the most unusual things to do in Toronto.
Antler Kitchen and Bar includes not only dinner but also brunch, dessert, and drinks. One of the most appetizing items on the menu is the eggs benedict house smoked wild salmon that comes with home fries or side greens for the price of $17. Though this does seem steep for brunch, it’s important to remember everything on the menu is natural and homegrown.
Another featured item that was showcased on their Instagram page is the wild boar chop, covered in maple charred onions, sweet potato, pistachio sauce, which excited Toronto tourists prompting them to comment “Can’t wait to get to TO to try your place out”.
When someone thinks of a nice restaurant, they rarely think about eating in complete darkness, but that is what you get at O.Noir. O.Noir is the only restaurant of its kind in Canada with two locations in Toronto and Montreal. The entire purpose of eating in complete darkness is to enhance the other senses and truly appreciate the all the scents and flavors of your meal.
Other than providing an intense dining experience, O.Noir takes on a social responsibility by giving its patrons the experience of what it may be like to be visually impaired. They also employ a complete staff of visually impaired servers. The idea to serve patrons food they cannot see was originated in Zurich by a man named Jorge Spielmann “a blind pastor who would blindfold his dinner guests so they could share his eating experience”.
O.Noir’s menu is affordable and will not break the bank for your night out consisting of a 3-course package for $44 dollars and a 2-course package for $36 or $34. The menu contains both vegetarian options along with meat and fish, making sure all guests needs are accounted for. Although O.Noir is one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto in terms of dining, it is not for everybody as not being able to see the food does not sit well with some patrons, but this is to be expected. Some people have addressed concerns with the comfort of the seating in the establishment and decor of the lobby, but in reality, you go to O.Noir to truly experience your meal not observe the lobby.
3. Assembly Chef’s Hall
Assembly Chef’s Hall was a hit right from the start thanks to DaiLo, Shoushin, Khao San Road, Ramen Isshin, Cherry Street Bar-B-Que, the hot spots that originally established a fun atmosphere among foodies.
Assembly Chef’s Hall is a popular food hall, taking the meaning of food court to a whole new level. With many culinary treats, you’ll be able to try new dishes and drinks. What’s so great about this place?
- Extensive hours
- 18 restaurants
- 3 different halls
- Fully stocked bars
- A guest DJ that frequents the hall
Andreas Antoniou, the restaurateur who spearheaded the project, says Assembly is all about “bringing top-quality food to Toronto– including restaurants otherwise unable to afford downtown rents – into one accessible spot.”
Located at 111 Richmond West, at York, sharing the same building as Google’s Toronto office in the Financial District.
4. Coq of the Walk
Here you’ll meet absinthe enthusiasts, mixologists, beer tasters, and wine connoisseurs. They serve absinthe and a wide variety of other experiences, depending on what you’re feeling for the night.
Enjoy the main gastro-bar where you have access to their wine collection or if you want to travel in time, go upstairs to their parlour to join their absinthe sommelier. You’ll learn the history of absinthe while sipping on their sophisticated collection from around the world.
Tuesday: 5pm – 2am
Wednesday: 5pm – 2am
Thursday: 5pm – 2am
Friday: 5pm – 2am
Saturday: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 2am
Sunday: 11am – 3pm
Located at 488 College Street.
5. Escape Casa Loma
These days escape rooms are all the rage, but one venue is taking things to a whole other level. Casa Loma is featuring a series called Escape Casa Loma where the participants have to partake in different storylines with trained actors.
The first of the three storylines is called “Station M” and it’s about post world war 2 Toronto and the secret cold war experiments that were being conducted in Casa Loma which involved making covert devices for the British Security Coordination which is said to have been an inspiration for the James Bond series. The age limit is 11+ and the times for this storyline are Wednesdays – Sundays 6:00 PM / 8:00 PM / 10:00 PM.
The second narrative is called “King of the Bootleggers”, which as you would imagine, takes place in 1920’s Toronto during the reign of Canadian Mafioso Kingpin Rocco Perri. In this narrative, someone has leaked information to the police and you have to escape before they can come to arrest you.
The age limit for this narrative is 14+ and runs Monday – Friday 5:45 PM / 7:45 PM / 9:45 PM Saturday & Sunday 3:45 PM / 5:45 PM / 7:45 PM / 9:45 PM.
The third storyline is called “Escape from the Tower” and is set in Toronto in 1941. The premise of this escape room involves tracking enemy U-Boats in during World War 2 and communicating this information to the allies.
**TIP: If you choose this course, wear comfortable shoes as it involves climbing many stairs!
There are no age limits for Escape From the Tower and game times for this event are Mondays – Thursdays & Sundays 5:30 PM / 7:30 PM / 9:30 PM Friday – Saturday 5:30 PM / 7:30 PM / 9:30 PM / 11:30 PM.
Ticket prices range from ticket prices $40.00 + HST / general $46.00 + HST / prime time.
Of all the three options, “King of the Bootleggers” definitely makes for one of the most exciting and really dives deep into Toronto’s history of organized crime. People really enjoy getting lost in the story and leaving their problems at the door, with one review from the Toronto Star going as far to say “We’re all young professionals with serious, demanding jobs but this game is bringing out the childlike wonder in us”.
Although escape rooms are popping up everywhere these days, it is highly unlikely you will find one that’s this exciting, making it one of the coolest things to do in Toronto.
6. Battle Axe Throwing League
When people think of Toronto, the last thing that comes to mind is axe throwing. With 5 locations in Ontario, Bad Axe Throwing offers users the thrill of old-time Canadian rural pastimes in an urban environment. Founded by CEO Mario Zelaya in the fall of 2014, Bad Axe Throwing offers walk-ins, leagues, private parties and team building events. If you are tired of the basic date ideas i.e. picnics, dinners, movie nights, and all the other basic dates then Bad Axe Throwing may be what you need to mix it up, this activity is one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto and leaves you with an incredibly different experience.
Some tips if you are going to attend Bad Axe Throwing is to dress comfortably is this is a physically demanding activity. For obvious reasons you are asked to keep a 6 ft distance from the thrower to avoid any accidents, although they ensure blades are not sharp enough to cut you!
The venue does not have wifi which some may find to be a negative aspect, but this really is a great thing as it allows for you to just experience the moment. Even though you can still go on the internet without it, you find yourself being less enticed to do so. A positive part about Bad Axe Throwing is that you can bring your own alcohol (no glass) and food too.
Bad Axe Throwing is open 7 days a week from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The cost of axe throwing varies on what type of event it is, $44.25 per person for group bookings $35 per person for groups +35 $20 per hour for walk-ins.
7. Chill Ice House
With numerous locations around the world Chill Ice House is the first permanent ice lounge in Canada. This lounge covers everything from parties, corporate functions, and special events. With Chill Ice House being the only venue of its kind in the city, it’s literally one of the coolest things to do in Toronto.
The entire establishment is not all ice as the back room is the main attraction. The average stay in the ice lunge is usually about 20 minutes and could be entered and exited at any time if someone isn’t into it. Although insulated capes and gloves are provided at the venue it is still recommended that you dress accordingly to the environment.
**Tip: Bring closed-toe shoes as opposed to heels or sandals, this is a common mistake people make at Chill Ice House.
Admission into this 19+ (after 8:00 pm) establishment is $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children. Like most establishments that serve alcohol Chill Ice House premium liquors, featured cocktails, local brews, and different wines although the main drink in the Ice Lounge is vodka.
Food is not served in the Ice Lounge but they do offer light snacks in the back of the bar. The drinks are not expensive at Chill Ice House and the staff are always very friendly. One of the negative aspects is that the Ice Lounge is quite small and if attending at a busy time could get a little too crowded, taking into account the size of the venue the suggested stay time is generally one hour. If you are a fan of music Chill Ice House has great live musical performances.
8. SPiN Toronto
If you’re looking to break a sweat and partake in a truly unique night out in Toronto, then SPiN is the place for you. SPiN is definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto as it mixes both ping-pong and dinner. SPiN covers all corners allowing you to book events, solo tables for you and a friend, they host tournaments, have a kitchen and even allow membership.
SPiN Toronto is 12,000 sq ft includes 12 ping pong tables and serves alcohol and hosts DJ’s, really adding that nightlife vibe to this hybrid venue.
SPiN’s kitchen offers small snacks and larger meals including Nashville hot cauliflower, Colombian empanada, and even popcorn. For the meals, some of the items they offer are burgers, grill cheese and chicken and waffles.
The walk-in rate at SPiN Toronto is:
Day before 5pm – $15/hour
Night after 5pm – $35/hour
Friday & Saturday (after 8pm) $50/hour.
The rate for the lounge is $125/hour.
Although a great time and unique environment, SPiN can be pricey for a night out which makes getting those discounted member rates much more enticing.
Despite the cost of SPIN, you get for what you pay for with their service. SPiN’s staff is very kind and accommodating, making booking events at this establishment a very efficient process and top notch customer service. One of the best parts people really enjoy about SPiN is the music.
**It is important to note that this venue is in the heart of downtown Toronto and fills up quick, it is in your best interest to book a table or room ahead of time!
Check out Cool Things To Do In Toronto Part 2!
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