Top 5 Things To Do in the Distillery District
Published: May 18, 2023
One of the greatest – and, ironically, newest – historic destinations in Toronto can be found just a short walk from Union Station. Up until only a few years ago, the Distillery District was a derelict collection of industrial Victorian-era buildings, each slowly falling into unloved decay. Now, they sit proudly at the heart of one of the most important cultural destinations in the city.
It began with a rejuvenation of the 47 buildings known as the Gooderham & Worts Distillery, but it grew to be home for artisans, craftspeople, creatives and assorted quirky characters – an internationally-acclaimed village of one-of-a-kind stores, shops, galleries, studios, restaurants, cafes, theatres and more. In fact, it’s now one of the country’s premier arts, culture and entertainment destinations, not to mention the countless Instagram-worthy photo spots.
So, let’s take a look at some fun things to in The Distillery District.
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The Toronto Christmas Market
It truly captures the spirit of Old World, European markets. The Toronto Christmas Market is an annual outdoor tradition that runs within the Distillery District – it’s a celebration of the season, with music, crafts, art, food and so much more. Stroll the cobblestone streets, sip some mulled wine and listen to the carolers. Take in a holiday concert or shop for some one-of-a-kind gifts. Cap it off with a visit to the huge holiday tree and capture the obligatory social media moment. There’s a ton of things to do at the Distillery District Christmas Market!
Shop some great specialty stores!
Shopping? Check. You can definitely do that here. The Distillery District features more than 40 quirky boutiques and one-of-a-kind shops – not to mention plenty of “best of class” creative businesses. Expect to find the unexpected – everything from stylish fashions and trendy products, to unique gifts and tasty take-home treats. A few of our favourites? Yummi Candles, Vom Fass, Gentil Uomo and GW General– but, really, there’s a bit of everything here. From vintage to artisanal, chocolatiers to shoemakers, there are so many wonderful shops to visit, you can easily lose a day wandering here.
Visit the Restaurants, Pubs, Breweries & Distilleries
Easily one of the most popular things to do in the distillery district because there are so… many… great places to eat and drink. If you’re looking for a coffee and a snack, think Balzac’s, or one of the artisanal specialty stores. Follow it up with a great meal at Pure Spirits Oyster House, Boku Noodle Hall, Cluny Bistro, or one of the other great options. Stay for dinner at Archeo, El Catrin, Madrina Bar y Tapas, or others. Indulge yourself at the Brick Street Bakery, The Sweet Escape or Wildly Delicious. Wrap the night with drinks at the Mill St. Pub, Spirit of York or Stirling Room. It’s kind of crazy how many great options you have in this one neighbourhood.
Immerse yourself in Art, Performance & Galleries
The Distillery District overflows with art and cultural offerings. Consider Tapestry Opera, Soulpepper stage or The Young Centre for the Performing Arts. There are six galleries to linger in, and dozens of artist studios to haunt. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll definitely find it here.
Take home the memories with some social-worthy pictures!
There are so many amazing spots to stop for a quick pic in the Distillery District. After all, it’s a location steeped in iconic history – from the red brick buildings and stone pathways to the vintage signs and store fronts. Then, there’s the LOVE sign, the huge Christmas tree, the Gooderham & Worts sign, the beautiful four-sided clock… Your Instagram feed will overfloweth.