Ah, the holidays. The special time of year filled with great company, gifts, and food that always seems to end too soon. Thankfully, with so many wonderfully festive things to do around the city this week, you can soak up every moment of the holiday season well before Christmas Day. Hit up a holiday market (or three!), skate under a canopy of twinkling lights, and sip festive cocktails with a tropical twist.
Here are 10 of the best things to do this week in Toronto to keep the holiday vibes going strong right up until Christmas Eve.
Editor’s note: Some of these events may be modified or cancelled in light of COVID-19. You can reach out to the event directly or check their social media for the latest updates.
SWEATERS N’ SNOWFLAKES
A beloved patio spot in the downtown core is transforming for the holiday season! Sweaters n’ Snowflakes is pulling out all the stops for an extra special season this year, including festive photo ops, delicious eats, and, most importantly, boozy bevvies galore. No reservations are required to check out this free pop-up unless you’re doing a wine tasting or painting festive cookies. Just show up and prepare to have a good time!
Where: 621 Richmond St
When: December 3rd — 26th & 31st
CAVALCADE OF LIGHTS
Soak up the magic of the holidays with the city’s beloved annual event, the Cavalcade of Lights. This year, the free event will run until January 2 at Nathan Phillips Square. The “reimagined festivities” will transform City Hall and its surroundings into a dazzling wonderland, with skating, ice sculptures and dreamy tunnels to explore. Plus, get ready to lace up your skates and glide on the iconic twinkling rink at the square.
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
When: Nightly from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. until January 2, 2022
SEE OVER-THE-TOP CHRISTMAS HOMES
One of the best things to do during the holiday season is to throw on a festive playlist and go on a cruise to see holiday lights. There are a few exceptional homes in this city that are worth driving out of your neighbourhood for. In fact, these houses are locally famous for bringing their A-game every year and this holiday season is no different! The best part is that they’re totally free to visit, and several of them accept donations for specific charities too.
Where: Various locations
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DISTILLERY WINTER VILLAGE
Toronto’s iconic Christmas Market in the Distillery District is now open with a new name, look, and feel. Enjoy decorations like 7’ tall snow people, 11’ tall LED stars, a holly wall, Santa’s sleigh, the iconic LOVE Locks wall, and Big Heart lit up for the holiday season. You can shop from 75+ local merchants as well as new seasonal vendor cabins. You can also grab a bite at the food cabins serving raclette, schnitzel, doughnuts, jerk chicken, and much more.
Where: The Distillery District
When: Until December 31st, 2021
Price: $8 for people 6+. (Tickets needed only for Fridays after 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday)
KENSINGTON MARKET WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL
This annual event in Kensington Market is free to attend and this year, the stores will be open late and the streets filled with performers, music, and good vibes. Dress warmly for this winter night celebration and get ready to eat, shop, and enjoy the season in this beloved Toronto neighbourhood.
When: December 21st, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Kensington Market
THE NUTCRACKER BALLET
Toronto is known for having “one of the finest versions” of this magnificent two-act ballet, which premiered in Russia in 1892. The set design, costumes, and orchestra give the whole experience such a magical feel. The show will be taking place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as it does every year. There’s no better way to make the holiday season feel complete in Toronto than this enchanting show.
Where: 145 Queen St W
When: December 10th — December 31st, 2021
Surfs up for Santa Claus! Toronto’s holiday bar is infused with the tropics this festive season and it’s Old Saint Nick like we’ve never seen him before. Sippin’ Santa is the companion pop-up to Miracle, and you can expect the festive signature flair of the Miracle experience with a tropical twist. Rock your best Hawaiian shirt or your ugliest Christmas sweater, or incorporate both into one confusing festive look.
When: Until December 26th
Where: 866 Bloor St W
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HOLIDAY STREET MARKET
It’s a wildly exciting holiday season here in Toronto, and joining the festive fun this year is the Holiday Street Market at Scarborough Town Centre. Between unlimited rides, incredible food and unique attractions, you’ll be feeling as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. New to the event this year is the walk-in Christmas tree, plus returning favourites like the food market, Lover’s Lane, and fire pit lounge.
Where: Scarborough Town Centre
When: December 21 – December 24
Something magical has arrived at Ontario Place and it’s like a snow globe come to life! Snow Magic is inviting you to “explore a wonder-filled adventure inspired by fire, ice, and light.” Drive your way through 1.7 km of magical sights, including 18 art installations, crystalline caverns, awe-inspiring creatures and “mysterious sights that only dreams are made of.”
Where: 955 Lake Shore Blvd W
When: Until January 16, 2022
POLAR WINTER FESTIVAL
Toronto’s biggest walkthrough holiday market and festival has opened its doors for the holidays. Not only is it a vendor market with all kinds of treats and gifts to shop for, but it’s also an immersive walkthrough experience with larger-than-life displays, an amusement park with rides, an outdoor cocktail lounge, and a destination for all things festive.
Where: Bandshell Park, 210 Princes’ Blvd
When: Until December 26th
Have a merry week, Toronto!
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