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There’s a lot of talk about Toronto these days. This city of roughly 2.8 million is a melting pot, with more than 140 languages and dialects are spoken—more than half its residents were born outside of Canada. Such diversity is reflected everywhere, from the cuisine and colorful neighborhoods, to the overall flavor of a city that feels open and welcoming to all. If culture is your thing, Toronto is your town. It offers more than 100 museums, 500 music venues, 50 ballet and dance companies, two symphony orchestras and six opera companies. Here’s how to spend three terrific days in Toronto.

RELATED: Canada’s coolest towns in every province and territory

Day 1

Start your morning off downtown with a stop at SOCO Kitchen + Bar inside Delta Hotels Toronto for a hearty breakfast to fuel your day. Order the Peameal Benny with peameal bacon (this beloved cut of pork loin is lean, cured in a wet brine, and rolled in cornmeal), two poached eggs, citrus Hollandaise, atop English muffin with fresh cut fruit or breakfast potatoes. Another popular option is Torta Ala SOCO with tomato, artichoke, merguez, basil, manchego, arugula salad, toast and preserves.

Next, join the 3 ½-hour Heart of Downtown Toronto tour at Toronto Bicycle Tours. Founder Terrence is a native and spews history, facts, humor and tales throughout the engaging trip that offers a window into about a dozen neighborhoods and as many landmarks, including Kensington Market, Chinatown, the Financial District, St. James Cathedral and Square, the CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, the Entertainment District, the Harbourfront and Lake, Sugar Beach and more. This is a fantastic way to start your trip, because you’ll get an idea of where the spots are and it will help you decide where you want to explore further during your time in town.

Take a load off and have lunch in Chinatown. Locals furiously debate who has the best dumplings, Rol San or the Dumpling House. Try both and decide for yourself. From Chinatown, it’s a short walk over to the Art Gallery of Ontario. There’s much buzz  over Guillermo Del Toro: At Home With Monsters (through Jan 7, 2018),  an exhibition showcasing the filmmaker’s fascination with the dark side.

Make a pit stop at the 1,815-foot CN Tower, an icon of the city’s skyline. Ride to the top for a spectacular view and treat yourself to a cocktail or wine from the extensive cellar of 360, the revolving restaurant.

Consider dinner at Harbour Sixty Steakhouse, which is known for its steak and seafood. Call it a day and retire to Delta Toronto, the 46-story chic hotel on the downtown waterfront offering spectacular city views.

ALSO: Isn’t it “uh-bawt” time you joined Orbitz Rewards?

Day 2

You could spend an entire trip shopping in Toronto. Set boundaries and knock yourself out at the Eaton Centre. You won’t have to drive miles to the suburbs either. Right downtown, you’ll find more than 250 stores and restaurants.

Distillery District | Flickr CC: Kevin Cabral

When that fix is met, time for a visit to the Distillery District. You’ll love the historic buildings and cobblestone streets, art galleries, restaurants, and the Mill Street Beer Hall. The vibe is festive; you’ll likely see a bride and groom taking photos in this idyllic spot.

Kensington Market | Flickr CC: Andrew Wrotek

For more people watching fun, wander into Kensington Market. It’s not a market per se, but rather a funky neighborhood with an eclectic mix of hipsters, Rastas, punk rockers, college kids, professionals and tourists soaking up the quirky scene. Expect vintage shops, food to satisfy an array of tastes and vendors selling everything from jewelry to costumes. There’s music, shops and hole-in-the-wall places offering legendary grub.

Wind down your day a bit at Sugar Beach (yes, this lakefront city has beaches) named for its white sand. Sit quietly and collect your thoughts before heading off for dinner. If it’s Friday night, you’ll want to end your night at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Friday evening, not only can you enjoy all the sea life, but there’s live jazz and booze.

Day 3

Hockey fans won’t want to leave town without a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. History buffs will want to hit sites like Mackenzie House, Fort York National Historic Site, Scarborough Museum and Montgomery Inn, among others. Of course, a must-see is the St. Lawrence Market. National Geographic ranks it the #1 market in the world. Pick up lunch at one of the stalls–we especially like the fish & chips from Buster’s Sea Cove and the Peameal Bacon on a Bun from Carousel Bakery—or just load up on goodies to bring home.

St. Lawrence Market | Flickr CC: Payton Chung

If you’re in the mood for upscale, go to the Bloor-Yorkville district. Here you’ll find Vera Wang, Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, antiques, galleries, restaurants and much else. While there, see what’s doing at The Royal Conservatory. The 2017-18 Koerner Hall Concert Season is featuring The Roots of Jazz. Take your pick of great places to eat in the area for a pre-concert meal.  The Museum Tavern is ever popular with its varied menu: Think elk sliders, duck buns, truffled mushroom pierogi, wild boar ragout and more.

Truth is, three days is hardly enough to see all that Toronto has to offer. It’s just enough of a tease to make you decide that you’re coming back.

Tagged: Canada, Toronto

Sheryl Nance-Nash

Sheryl Nance-Nash

Sheryl is a writer and editor, specializing in travel, personal finance, business and career topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Money, DailyFinance.com, Forbes.com, ABCNews.com, Upscale Magazine, Essence, Black Enterprise and others.
Sheryl Nance-Nash

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