When Danforth Avenue was built in the 1850s, it was a sleepy country byway. Though close to the downtown core, it was blocked off from the big city by the Don Valley. Today this beloved neighborhood is intimately connected to Toronto and Toronto culture, but there’s something that remains of its rustic roots, which you can feel in the air when you’re strolling down this eclectic avenue. People walk a little slower here, the food tastes a little bit better, and there’s a kind of quiet elegance in the air.
So it’s no wonder why so many Torontonians like to spend their weekends here. The Danforth has something unique that you can’t find anywhere else in this city. From the excellent food to pole dancing, this neighborhood has something for everyone.
Chill out with an escape room
There’s no better way to shake off the stress of your work week than with an escape room. Give your brain a bit of a buzz by trying to break out with your best pals. Check out the Danforth’s very own escape room, Looking Glass Adventures.
Well known as one of the best escape rooms in the city, Looking Glass Adventures is run by a real escape room fanatic. It’s unique in that there is only one theme to choose from here—but one theme is all this escape house needs to impress. This room is also totally child-friendly, so it’s great for families. There are no scary props here and no stories that will give the kids creeps.
Take in dinner and a show
The fun doesn’t need to stop when the sun goes down. Check out what’s on at the Danforth Music Hall if you’re in the mood to end the night with a show. There’s a good chance the tickets are sold out if the artist is well-known, but there’s also a strong possibility you’ll discover something new here. While you’re waiting for the show, grab dinner at Allen’s next door. If you’ve never had the burgers at this place, you are missing out.
For a change a pace, just across the street check out the Mambo Lounge near Broadview Station. This colorful restaurant is the home great Cuban music, cocktails, and mouthwatering food. Live music starts at 8:30pm on Saturdays and if you stay for the show, mojitos are only $5. The menu’s top notch, boasting traditional Cuban dishes mixed with contemporary cuisine.
Cruise the Danforth on a food tour
The ultimate joy of the Danforth is its food, and the best way to enjoy food is with friends and partners. Take the guessing game out of trying something new and check out the Culinary Adventure Company’s Danforth Food Tour. It takes place every Sunday at 11am. The tour lasts for three and half hours and takes you all over the Danforth and to some of the best restaurants and street food vendors in the city. You’ll get to taste of Greek food, try some Turkish specialties, indulge in Italian pizza and espresso, even go on a little gourmet shopping spree.
Unwind with wine (and painting)
Before you rush headlong back into the crush on Monday morning, end the week with a little bit of peace. South of the Danforth on Gerrard you’ll find Paint Cabin, a unique artist studio for social painting. Get out for the night with your friends and enjoy wine while you learn how to make a masterpiece from scratch. Paint Cabin has open drop-in sessions in acrylic, watercolor, and woodcut art. They’re also one of the few painting studios in the city that also has a bar on site. So get extra creative by ordering yourself a glass of wine.
There’s no doubt that the Danforth has been growing and changing over the years. Long gone are the days when it was a dusty country lane. Locals are truly spoiled to live in one the best-loved neighborhoods in this city. From weekend strolls in Withrow Park, to artisanal espresso at independent coffee shops and authenic cuisine at family-run restaurants, there’s so much to get up to in this part of town. Switch it up by trying something new. From paint night to pole dancing, food tours to escape rooms, the Danforth’s got something for you.
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Feature image by Jason Baker via Flickr