Only a few more hours and we’re in the month of December! So, so excited for the holiday season. It’s my absolute favourite time of the year, from the twinkle lights everywhere, the coziness that comes with those first snowy days, the excitement of picking out the perfect christmas gift for everyone on your list, and of course the focus on friends and family as we all celebrate this magical time together.
One of my favourite things to do in the lead-up to Christmas is visit the Christmas market in Toronto’s Distillery District. Christmas markets are so near and dear to my heart, with our whole family being German and having spent several years of my adult life living in Munich and Stuttgart and developing this huge love for German Christmas markets. And I think the Distillery District does such a fabulous job of creating that traditional European atmosphere in the heart of Old Toronto. This year, Chris and I decided to kick off the holiday season with a date night to the Christmas market last week. No kids, no stress, just a wonderful evening spent eating way too much good food, listening to carollers singing Christmas classics, and just enjoying some much-needed couple time.
Speaking of no stress, whilst I love visiting the Christmas market, what I don’t love is trying to find parking downtown. Almost anywhere in the city is a nightmare when it comes to parking – it’s either super expensive or just not available – and the Distillery District is no exception. Which is why we’ve been relying more and more on UberX to get us around the city over the past year, especially for date nights. If you’ve never heard of Uber, it’s a ride request app that is available in over 600 cities around the world. It’s a fast, affordable and safe way of getting around without the hassle.
I looooove the convenience of Uber. Zero stress, zero logistics. With just the push of a button everything is taken care of. You can schedule a ride up to 30 days in advance or even just minutes before you need the ride. For our date night, we scheduled a car to pick me up, bring me to Chris’ work and then head onwards to the Distillery District together. I love that the app features can give us peace of mind by letting us keep track of each others’ rides and whereabouts as well as license plate recognition. And, for our date night, I was able to share me ETA and trip status with Chris so that we could coordinate pickup perfectly.
If you’ve never been to the Toronto Christmas market or are wanting some new experiences for this year’s visit, here are my top 10 must-dos:
[ 1 ] Get a picture by the giant Christmas tree . It’s pretty much a requirement of every trip. Go earlier in the day to get a shot without the throngs of people.
[ 2 ] Eat some poutine . Because you’re in Canada and there’s nothing more Canadian than poutine.
[ 3 ] Try a chimney stax . What are chimney stax, you ask? They’re fresh-made, rotisserie-baking breads served sweet or savoury, and are derived from a popular Eastern European street food known as Chimney Cakes. My favourite is the maple flavour. Just make sure to go early! Once it’s dark out, you’ll be waiting a good half an hour for your stax.
[ 4 ] Pick up some handmade stocking stuffers . There are always a great selection of local artisan shops that display their goods at the Christmas market. Pretty ornaments, handmade candles, knitted socks – whatever suits your fancy.
[ 5 ] Buy some edible treats to take home . Maple Leaf Fudge (based in Niagara-on-the-Lake) has a stand every year and their fudge is to die for. Sticklings Bakery (from Peterborough) has authentic German Christmas treats. And the Nutty Bavarian has traditional Munich roasted and glazed nuts (sooo good).
[ 6 ] Warm up with a cup of drinking chocolate . Somo Chocolatemaker has a shop in the Distillery District that is open year-round but they also open up a stand for their Christmas market. Their drinking chocolate is super rich but super delicious!
[ 7 ] Ride the carousel . If you’re bringing kids, there’s no avoiding the rides. My kids are obsessed with carousels and this one doesn’t disappoint.
[ 8 ] Grab a coffee at Arvo . I only discovered this amazing coffee shop in the heart of the Distillery this past summer. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before! Delicious speciality coffee in the prettiest interior space.
[ 9 ] Go on a shopping spree at Mini Mioche . If you’ve got young kids and have never been to Mini Mioche, you are seriously missing out! The offer the most perfect organic basics in the prettiest neutral colours and all of their clothing is made right here in Canada.
[ 10 ] Drool over the shoes at John Fluevog . If you’re looking for fun, unique footwear, this is definitely your go-to shop. They opened up their flagship store in Vancouver in 1970 and have since opened up 10 more stores, including two in Toronto.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Uber. All thoughts and opinions are my own.