On a sunny Sunday afternoon in the city of Toronto, my sister and I decided to have a girls’ day out and enjoy the weather (before autumn quickly turns into winter…yes, I said it – sorry not sorry).
Here’s an itinerary of exactly what we did:
1. Bubble Tea at Coco
371 Spadina Ave
Hours: 12 PM – 11 PM
Our adventure started in Chinatown by Spadina Avenue and College Street with grabbing some bubble tea from Coco. If you haven’t yet been to Coco, I’m really not sure what you’re waiting for! They’ve got an excellent selection of green teas, black teas, milk teas, slushies and more; not to mention their extensive menu with the perfect blend of flavours. They also let you customize your drink by determining how much ice or sugar you want added (for all of us trying to make bubble tea a “healthy” treat). My go-to is a taro milk tea with half the sugar and regular ice – plus tapioca of course! With drinks in hand, we ventured into the small shops and side streets in the area.
2. The Dumpling House
328 Spadina Ave
Hours: 11 AM – 11 PM
After building up an appetite, we headed back out on to Spadina Avenue for some food. Ironically, almost right across the street from Coco, we found this cozy place that we had completely looked over earlier; the reason is that before our walk, it wasn’t noticeably busy, but afterward, the line was almost out the door! We walked up to the display window and watched the cooks inside make fresh dumplings by hand. Our. Mouths. Were. Watering. Thankfully the wait for a table was not too long (what you’d expect at your typical restaurant), and soon enough we were seated and skimming the menu.
Steamed dumplings (left) and pan-fried dumplings (right)
The Dumpling House menu is divided into four sections: steamed dumplings, pan-fried dumplings, noodles, and side dishes. They have fourteen different fillings to choose from! This place is not messin’ around. Not to mention, it’s affordable (a word scarcely used by Torontonians). You can get fifteen steamed dumplings with a filling of your choice for only $7.59. If you’re looking for a great option for sharing or even sampling new flavours, for $8.59 you can choose 3 of the fourteen fillings, getting 5 dumplings per flavour. Similarly, you can select from 9 flavours of pan-fried dumplings for $7.99, or go the sampling/sharing route where you get 4 of each flavour for $8.99. Their noodle dishes are all priced at $6.99 and their side dishes range in price from $3.99 to $6.99. I decided to order the steamed dumplings and went with the $8.59 three-flavour option – not for sharing, but just for myself (no shame here). If you’re looking for an authentically delicious experience, you need to look no further than Dumpling House.
An important note: this place accepts cash only, so make sure you come prepared.
3. Explore Kensington Market Street Art
With our bellies full, we continued our sunny Sunday adventure nearby, walking 5 minutes to Kensington Market. Walking along Agusta Avenue, we found a stunning graffiti wall with a garden car accent. What’s neat about this car – other than the fact that it’s a garden – is that artists in the community are always updating and changing it’s look!
This is a place you can revisit that will be unique each time. After making sure that we each got our own ‘gram-able pictures, we were curious about what other art was nearby.
4. Snap Pics at Graffiti Alley
Using Kibii, we found places all over the city that are famous for their graffiti. The closest location to us (about a 15-minute walk) was Graffiti Alley.
Graffiti Alley is always breath-taking. Depending on when you go, you’ll see different art. One of the coolest things about it is the fact that you can actually be ‘in’ the art. Artists have painted every window pane, frame, and door so that no matter where you stand, you are part of the art! A popular spot to sit is inside the wall so you can look like you’re riding a hammerhead shark. We were a bit more daring with our photos here by climbing up on to windowsills – definitely ‘gram-able. We decided to save our visit to the other graffiti hot spots for our next adventure. You can read about the top spots for graffiti in Toronto here.
5. Indulge in Sweet Treats From Krispy Kreme
After finishing our impromptu photo shoot in Graffiti Alley, we walked back up Spadina Avenue toward Coco and Dumpling House. We wrapped up our day of sisterhood bonding with some treats from Krispy Kreme. I don’t know when, why, or how Krispy Kreme came back to Toronto, but I am definitely not complaining. You can’t go wrong with their glazed donut – a Krispy Kreme classic! They also offer “minis” in Original Glazed, Chocolate Iced Glazed, and Chocolate Iced Sprinkles. These are great for sharing and sampling, or if you’re like me, eating all of them for yourself. I’m not sure how they get the donuts to melt in your mouth; I ate my mini’s there and took an Original Glazed to go.
Another beautiful thing about our day is that every location was just steps from the other. Even better, transit was nearby, so there was no need to stress about driving down and looking for parking. However, if you do happen to drive, there is plenty of street parking and Green-P parking lots to choose from.