After over a decade of going out in NYC, I didn’t think any other city in North America could compare. 

Toronto has proved me wrong. 

The only thing I found lacking was a variety of theatrical shows—but let’s be honest, very few cities can compete with NYC’s theater scene. 

Even if you’re not a big theater nerd (like me) you’ll still find that Toronto always has at least a few shows playing. The city also has a ton of other nighttime activities on offer to occupy you in place of theater.

Over the past six months, my boyfriend Dean and I have gone out a lot and found that these are the best things to do in Toronto at night.


1. Spend the Night Laughing


We spent a lot of date nights checking out shows at The Second City comedy club. If you haven’t heard of Second City, all you need to know is that legendary performers like Gilda Radner and Martin Short got their start there. 

Every show that we went to had original material, great acting, and unexpected moments. 

Hitting up Second City is one of my favorite activities in Toronto—it’s a spot we can’t get enough of.



2. Channel Your Inner Katniss Everdeen


After the Hunger Games came out all I wanted to do was learn how to shoot a bow and arrow like Katniss. 

At Extreme Combat Archery, you’ll get to channel your inner Katniss during your own personal Hunger Games. 

Okay, so it’s not as intense as the actual Hunger Games—you’ll spend an hour laughing, running around dodging arrows—don’t worry, the arrows are soft. 

Don’t stress if you’re not knowledgeable on shooting a bow and arrow—the staff teaches you the basics of archery and given time to practice a bit before the game begins. 

Wear light athletic clothing when you go—it gets hot fast when you’re running around dodging arrows.



3. Belt Out Some Karaoke


I can’t count the number of times my friends and I have ended our nights out in NYC drunkenly belting out Spice Girls classics like Wannabe.

Karaoke is pretty much guaranteed to be a rowdy late-night activity in any city—Toronto is no exception. These are the spots to check out should you crave a late-night vocal session:

Gladstone Hotel: The hotel hosts Friday Night Karaoke nights in their bar—it’s never a dull Friday night when you stop by Melody’s Bar. The crowd is enthusiastic and supportive, which is always nice if you’re nervous to sing in front of strangers. 

Freezone Karaoke: They have an extensive selection of ’90s and ‘00s music, so naturally, Spice Girls dominated the playlist. The spot is always clean, and the staff is all sweet. 

Echo Karaoke: This spot is cash only so come prepared. They also have a well-stocked bar and plenty of songs to choose from in their catalog. They even have cool disco lighting that’s synced with the music, so you’ll feel like a superstar.



4. Catch an IMAX Film


If you’re in the mood for a classic film in IMAX, head to the Cinesphere Theatre. The theatre only plays non-current films, which is a great way to catch classic on the big screen.

It gets packed, so arrive early to ensure you get prime seats that are together.

Fun Fact: This was the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre.



5. Listen to Some Jazz


There are few things better than live jazz. If you agree with that statement, then you must hit up one of these jazz joints:

The Reservoir Lounge: This spot has a sexy vibe, complete with dark corners and candlelight. It’s the perfect spot to take a date or have a chill night out. Order the cheeseboard—it’s delicious!

The Rex: The atmosphere at The Rex is more of a downtown grungy vibe. There’s plenty of seating, cool art everywhere, and an affordable menu.



6. Hit Up Nerd Nite


Nerd Nite is a semi-monthly pub lecture series that discusses some of the most interesting and random topics imaginable.

Past lectures have included roller derby, climate solutions, forensic pathology, and time travel. 

It’s the perfect place to nerd out over a pint (or two)—and you’ll feel proud of yourself leaving the pub having broadened your mind.



7. Get Your Gaming On


Looking for a little friendly competition?

Look no further than The Rec Room—they have an entire floor dedicated to games (and another dedicated to watching sports).

They have old school arcade games, modern ticket redemption games, ping pong, basketball, and racing. 

Arrive early on weekends, as they get crowded early.



8. Experience Haunted Toronto


It doesn’t have to be Halloween to hear the ghost tales of Toronto’s past—just sign up for The Haunted Walk of Toronto Tour

You’ll hear a mix of historical stories and contemporary accounts of strange shared experiences. There’s even one about a ghost cat. 

I found it an interesting way to learn about Toronto’s local history while getting some exercise. It also added to our experience that our tour guide was so theatrical and fun to be around. 



9. Head to Music Bingo


If you’re looking for something to do on a Wednesday night, head to Music Bingo at The Gladstone Hotel

You’ll enjoy dinner and drinks while you try to fill up your Bingo card. The catch is, you have to identify the name of the song that the host is playing to put a stamp on your card. 

The best part is that it’s free to take part in Bingo while enjoying your dinner and drinks.

Make dinner reservations ahead of time to guarantee a table—you must arrive before the first game begins at 7 pm.



10. Play Some Beach Volleyball


You can play indoor beach volleyball until 1 am at North Beach Indoor Volleyball Academy. It’s a happening scene on the weekends.

They have a few courts available, with a mix of teams and pairs playing. The sand is fresh and they have some space heaters keeping the space feeling beachy all year round.

If you feel like taking a break, there’s a bar you can sit at to have a beer or snack. Just plan ahead, the bar closes earlier at 11:30 pm.

They also have ping pong, ax throwing, and pool available in case you find you’re not a talented volleyball player—Dean and I defaulted to the pool table pretty quickly.



11. Check Out the View at the Top of CN Tower


This 1815ft landmark is the highlight of the Toronto skyline—so naturally, it has the best view of the city.

Take the tower’s famous glass elevator up to the 33rd-floor observation deck to see the city sparkling below you. Bonus points if you time it to see the sun setting and the city lights flickering to life.

While you’re up there, grab a bit at their revolving restaurant 360 (obviously named for the 360-degree view). 

Fun Fact: CN stands for Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower in 1976.



12. Escape Casa Loma


After visiting hours, Casa Loma becomes a giant escape game. For those of you not in the know, Casa Loma is a beautiful manor that’s basically a castle. 

They have 5 different escape games to choose from. You can save dragon eggs, find the coordinates of enemy U-Boats, search for bootleggers, find a missing detective, or find out the secret of the tunnels of Casa Loma.

Full disclosure, Dean and I skipped out on this one after seeing the cheesy tunnel projections during our daytime tour.

That said, I think this would be a great time after hitting up a happy hour—so maybe next time we’re in town.



13. Catch a Concert


Toronto gets some talented artists and bands coming through. Look ahead to see who will be in town when you are.

I recommend checking out the schedules at The Roger’s Centre and The Scotiabank Arena



14. See a Show at the Ed Mirvish Theatre


The Ed Mirvish Theatre has been bringing Broadway shows to Toronto for over 50 years. In fact, it’s the theatre that I saw my first musical in. 

Trust me, this is a wonderful theatre to have your first show experience in. The theatre is such a magical experience, and something I believe everyone should experience—especially if you’ve never been before. 

Unfortunately, Dean and I didn’t get to the theatre before COVID-19 shut everything down. We did try the Hamilton lottery quite a few times before that, before settling to watch it on Disney+.



15. Hit the Ice


If you’re in town during the colder months, then ice skating is a must.

In fact, I think it’s a wintertime requirement in Canada. Some rinks are so hip that they have DJ’ed skate nights.

Head to the Bentway Skate Trail for Friday night fun, and Harbourfront Centre for Saturday night DJ skates.



16. Take in Some Storytelling


At Dare! Storytelling you will hear and tell one of a kind stories to total strangers. 

You must have perfect timing to attend this event. They only take place on the third Wednesday of every month.  

If you know you’ll be attending and want to tell your story, you must e-mail them ahead of time with your pitch.



17. Go to Museum After Hours


It’s become a trend for museums to host after-hours events and parties in order for more adults to enjoy exhibits without having to deal with screaming children running around (at least I assume this is part of the reason). 

These are the museums that offer after-hours nights:

Royal Ontario Museum: ROM hosts a Friday Night live series that includes DJs, drinks, dancing, and live music. 

Art Gallery of Ontario: On the first Thursday of every month AGO hosts its own parties that typically include lectures, hands-on art-making, live music, first access to new exhibits, and food and drink.



18. Go to a Hockey Game


Hockey is Canada’s National past-time. Maybe not officially, but let’s be honest, Canadians love their hockey.

If you’re in town during hockey season and feel like spending the night yelling as a bunch of men as they throw themselves around the ice in pursuit of a little disc—head to the Scotiabank Arena

Local’s Tip: Wear the Toronto Maple Leafs’ team colors, which are blue and white to fit in with the locals.



19. Head Into Battle


Art Battle is the ultimate artists’ showdown. Don’t worry, you won’t have to paint. All you have to do is walk around and watch as the artists work. 

They have 20 minutes to create their masterpieces, then at the end the crowd votes on who wins. It’ll be the easiest battle you’ve ever attended.



20. Hang Underwater


On the second Friday of every month, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada hosts Jazz Nights—this is something I seriously wish we would have known about pre-COVID. 

Local’s Tip: The event has a cash-only bar, so bring cash with you. 



21. Hit Up A Rooftop Bar


Rooftop bars are always a good idea for an evening out in a new city.Especially ones with epic views. Toronto has plenty to choose from, these are some more popular spots:

Lavelle: This rooftop has one of the best views of the CN Tower in the city. There’s typically a line of people trying to get the perfect Instagram photo with the tower from this vantage point.

Pauper’s Pub: Just because you can’t see the tower from this rooftop doesn’t mean that the view is awful. In fact, this little rooftop is delightful. While you’re there, try the Mint Cucumber Mojito. It’s delicious!

The Broadview Hotel: This is the rooftop for an incredible view of Lake Ontario and the city. The music is always fantastic and the drinks selection is great.



22. Go to a Garden Symphony


If you’re in town between June and August, then you must check out the garden symphony series at Casa Loma. Locals tell me it’s magical. 

This is another event I’m very annoyed to have missed this summer (thanks to COVID-19). It’s at the top of my list for the next time I’m in town.

Seriously, if you’re here when it’s going on, please go—it sounds especially romantic!


Conclusion

You can tell so much about a city it comes alive (or doesn’t) after the sun goes down. 

If you’re going out at night with friends, solo, or on a date, Toronto has something for everyone. 

I hope my list of the best things to do in Toronto at night has helped you decide what kind of adventure you’ll be going on during your time in Toronto. 

Have you discovered a cool nighttime activity during your time in Toronto that’s not on the list? Let me know in the comments below!


Check out some of these cool Toronto night tours!

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