Wikipedia says that the Toronto Entertainment District is “…an area in downtown Toronto…home to theatres and performing arts centres, Toronto’s four major-league sports teams, an array of cultural and family attractions, and home to most of the nightclubs in Toronto.”
In other words, whether you’re a resident or a tourist, young or old, single or with family in tow, the Entertainment District probably has everything you need for a great evening.
And that’s one of the best things about the neighbourhood: While in some cities, all the ‘attractions’ are concentrated in a sort of tourist area where the restaurants are expensive and second-rate and you’ll never encounter an actual resident, Toronto’s Entertainment District is different. Because of all the new condo buildings in the area, as well as large office buildings nearby, residents, business types and tourists alike spend their evenings (and not just weekends!) in the bars, restaurants, theatres and concert halls.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in the area:
The Royal Alexandra Theatre
If you’ve heard about a big Broadway-type show coming to Toronto, this is where you’ll find it: The Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette – those are just some of the shows on at the Royal Alex this fall. It’s also a great place to take a young person for their first visit to the theatre. Check it out here.
Fred’s Not Here
This may not be the best restaurant in town (although it recently won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Exellence), but a dinner at Fred’s is definitely a rite of passage for anyone who works in the neighbourhood or comes to town for a show. It’s cozy, it’s busy, and it’s been in the same place for almost 30 years – it’s worth a visit. More info here.
Second City Toronto
If you’re at all interested in comedy, you know that Second City is legendary – and that Second City Toronto was the birthplace of the cult-classic show SCTV, as well as the place where many famous comedians like Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short got their start. Check out their current shows here.
Roy Thompson Hall
Home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Roy Thompson Hall is a mostly-music venue that offers a wide variety of concerts and shows, from Portuguese singer Mariza to Indigo Girls to a variety show by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Its large-but-not-too-large size, easy accessibility and fantastic acoustics make it a great experience no matter what show you see. More info here.
A little south of what purists may deem the ‘official’ Entertainment District, Ripley’s Aquarium makes our list because it’s a must-see for anyone – especially kids. With 16,000 aquatic animals and ‘walk through’ tanks, everyone’s response always seems to be a sort of breathless “Wow!” More info here.
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO STAY IN THE ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT?
We have several options:
Entertainment District Lofts: 1-, 1+den and 2-bedroom suites. More info here.
Element: 3-bedroom suite on Blue Jays Way, perfect for sports fans. More info here.
Festival Tower: 1br+den on John Street, great for people who love nightlife. More info here.
Shangri-La: Just a bit north and close to the financial district, these high-end 2- and 3-br suites are designed for savvy C-suite types. More info here.