You’re ready for an adventure in the heart of Toronto, so get ready to eat, drink and play like a local in the Entertainment District. This downtown neighborhood is packed with options for an epic night (or day) out. Whether you’re looking to catch a show at one of the many music venues, bar hop along King West, or dine at some of the city’s hottest restaurants, the Entertainment District delivers. By day, grab brunch on a sunny patio and shop the boutiques along Queen Street West. As night falls, the area comes alive with people flowing from bar to bar, live music pouring out of clubs, and the smell of gourmet eats wafting through the streets. Get ready to dive in – your guide to navigating the Entertainment District like a pro starts now. The fun is about to begin!
- What Is Toronto's Entertainment District?
- Top Restaurants in the Entertainment District
- Best Bars for Drinks in the Entertainment District
- Live Music Venues You Can't Miss
- Theatres Showcasing Broadway Hits
- Comedy Clubs for Laughs All Night
- Sports Bars to Catch the Game
- Shopping in the Entertainment District
- Getting Around: Transportation Tips for the Entertainment District
What Is Toronto’s Entertainment District?
The Entertainment District is the heart of downtown Toronto’s nightlife and culture. Centered around King Street West between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue, this area is packed with theatres, live music venues, nightclubs, lounges, and some of the best restaurants in the city.
Food and Drink
For upscale dining, check out Alo, Aloette, or Scaramouche. If you’re feeling casual, grab gourmet burgers at The Carbon Bar or a wood-fired pizza at Terroni. Can’t miss spots for drinks include Bar Raval, Civil Liberties, and Baro. Whether you’re craving craft cocktails, local craft beer, or a classic Canadian Caesar, the Entertainment District has you covered.
Take in a show at the historic Massey Hall, Mirvish Theatre or Ed Mirvish Theatre. Catch live music at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Adelaide Hall or Velvet Underground. Or check out one of the many comedy clubs like Yuk Yuk’s, The Second City, or Absolute Comedy.
Dance the night away at clubs like EFS, Nest, or UNIUN. Or kick back in style at upscale lounges like Patria, Baro or Arcane. Most spots stay open until 2 am, some pushing through until 4 am on weekends, so you can bar and club hop to your heart’s content.
With so many options for dining, drinks, live shows and nightlife packed into just a few city blocks, Toronto’s Entertainment District has established itself as the place to eat, drink and play. Day or night, weekdays or weekends, there’s always something going on. Check it out – you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable time.
Top Restaurants in the Entertainment District
The Entertainment District is a foodie’s paradise. From upscale dining to casual fare, there’s something for every taste and budget.
This acclaimed fine dining restaurant on the 54th floor of the TD Tower offers stunning views and elevated Canadian cuisine. With a menu focused on local, sustainable ingredients, Canoe is perfect for a special occasion.
- Start with the duck confit or arctic char crudo before moving on to venison, bison or fresh seafood mains.
- An award-winning wine list and cocktails complete the experience. Definitely dress to impress for this culinary highlight.
For a more casual vibe, head to Bar Raval. This hip tapas bar inspired by Barcelona is ideal for sharing plates with friends over sangria or Spanish wines.
- Standouts include patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, ham croquettes, and Manchego cheese.
- Grab a spot on the patio or inside the stylish space. Either way, the lively atmosphere and flavorful food make Bar Raval a Entertainment District go-to.
If fish and chips or a classic burger sound good, The Chase is your spot. This British-inspired pub offers high-quality takes on traditional fare in an upscale tavern setting.
With a range of draught beers and whiskeys, The Chase is also ideal for catching the big game or just unwinding with friends. For a taste of Britain without the airfare, you can’t beat The Chase.
Best Bars for Drinks in the Entertainment District
Once the sun sets, the Entertainment District comes alive. This vibrant neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best bars and nightlife. If you’re looking to grab drinks, here are a few of the top spots:
This popular bar has 25 beers on tap, craft cocktails, and bar snacks. It’s a great place to start your night, with a huge patio open late into the evening. The drink menu at Bar Hop changes seasonally but always features local Ontario brews as well as imports.
For a swanky night out, head to Cube. This stylish lounge features artisanal cocktails, bottle service, and DJs spinning beats into the early morning. The upscale decor and dress code make it perfect for a special occasion or date night. Their signature cocktails are innovative and beautifully garnished.
If drinking and playing ping pong sounds like a fun night, check out SPiN. They have 20 ping pong tables where you can battle it out, as well as great bar snacks, cocktails, and over 75 beers available. It’s a popular spot for casual hangs with friends or corporate team building events.
For whiskey lovers, The Ballroom is a must-visit. They have one of the largest whiskey selections in the city with over 200 varieties from around the world. Their cocktail menu also features whiskey-based drinks and other classic cocktails. The vintage 1920s ballroom space has a classy, speakeasy vibe.
Another popular cocktail bar is Everleigh. They are known for their expansive cocktail list using unique ingredients and garnishes. The mixologists create innovative takes on classic cocktails as well as original recipes. The intimate space has beautiful art deco details that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s an ideal date spot for cocktail connoisseurs.
Between the variety of bars, lounges, and nightclubs, you’ll never run out of places to grab drinks in Toronto’s Entertainment District. Try bar hopping to get a taste of the variety this neighborhood has to offer. Cheers!
Live Music Venues You Can’t Miss
Toronto’s Entertainment District is filled with live music venues that showcase up-and-coming local artists as well as major touring acts. Here are four you can’t miss:
The Horseshoe Tavern
An iconic Toronto institution, “The Shoe” opened in 1947 and has hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, and The Tragically Hip. The Horseshoe Tavern is an intimate venue and with standing room only fits up to 400 people. They have live music almost every night of the week featuring rock, indie rock, punk, and alternative acts.
This popular nightclub venue in a historic building has been hosting live music since 1985. They feature a variety of genres including electronic, hip hop, punk, and rock. Two levels provide space for over 500 guests. Notable past performers at Lee’s Palace include Radiohead, Sum 41, and deadmau5.
The Mod Club
A stylish concert space located in a historic building, The Mod Club features state-of-the-art sound and lighting. They host over 200 shows a year spanning genres like electronic, indie, pop, hip hop, and rock. Past performers include Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, and MGMT. The Mod Club has a capacity of 550 with an upper level mezzanine and ground floor general admission.
The Phoenix Concert Theatre
Since the 1980s, The Phoenix has presented a variety of musical acts and DJs. This all-ages venue has hosted major names across many genres including David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Deadmau5. With a capacity of 1,500, they feature two levels -a theatre-style seated balcony and a spacious main floor. The Phoenix is known for its amazing acoustics, making any show there a memorable experience.
The Entertainment District is filled with opportunities to experience live music. At any of these historic venues, you’re sure to discover your new favorite artist and make memories that will last long after the final encore.
Theatres Showcasing Broadway Hits
Toronto’s Entertainment District is home to world-class theatre. If you love Broadway shows, you’ll want to catch some of the hit musicals and plays at these prestigious venues.
This historic theatre on King Street West showcases major musicals and plays straight from Broadway and the West End. Past shows have included The Book of Mormon, Matilda, and Dear Evan Hansen. With over 2,000 seats, lavish decor, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting, Mirvish Theatre is an unforgettable experience.
Ed Mirvish Theatre
Located next door, the Ed Mirvish Theatre is Toronto’s premier venue for Broadway musicals. Some of the most popular shows in recent years were The Lion King, Wicked, and Hamilton. Even if you’ve seen a show before, the talent and production quality will blow you away. These world-class musicals are very popular, so buy your tickets in advance.
Royal Alexandra Theatre
Just up the street, the Royal Alex is one of North America’s most historic theatres. Opened in 1907, its stage has been graced by legends like Fred Astaire. Today, it hosts major musicals, plays and comedies straight from Broadway and London’s West End. Recent shows include Chicago, Mean Girls, and Come From Away. The Royal Alexandra Theatre’s stunning Edwardian architecture alone is worth the price of admission.
With several world-class venues located within just a few blocks, Toronto’s Entertainment District is a paradise for theatre fans. Whether you prefer lavish musicals, compelling dramas or side-splitting comedies, this area of downtown has a show for every taste. Catching a Broadway-caliber performance at one of these historic theatres is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Comedy Clubs for Laughs All Night
Toronto’s Entertainment District is home to some of the best comedy clubs in the city. Whether you’re looking for stand-up acts, improv shows or sketch comedy, you’ll find plenty of options to tickle your funny bone.
This legendary improv comedy club, Second City, has been making audiences laugh since 1959. It’s known for fostering comedic talent like Mike Myers, John Candy and Catherine O’Hara. Catch their hilarious improv and sketch shows Wednesday through Sunday nights. They also offer comedy workshops if you want to try your hand at improv.
Located on Front Street, Absolute Comedy features local and international stand-up comedians Thursday through Saturday. They have early and late shows, as well as “Best of the Fest” shows highlighting comedians from the Toronto Comedy Festival. With affordable tickets and a full menu, it’s a great spot for a fun, low-key night out.
For over 40 years, Yuk Yuk’s has been providing gut-busting stand-up shows. They feature local comedic talents as well as big names on tour. Shows run Tuesday through Sunday, with additional shows on weekends. Yuk Yuk’s has a casual, no-frills vibe and a full bar to keep your laughing juice flowing.
Comedy Bar blends stand-up comedy, improv and sketch shows with a hip, speakeasy vibe. They have shows and programming 7 nights a week featuring up-and-coming local comedians. For improv fans, check out “The Superstars” on Saturdays, where comedians create comedy scenes on the fly based on audience suggestions. With affordable tickets, a buzzing atmosphere and craft cocktails, Comedy Bar is a stand-out spot for comedy in Toronto.
There’s clearly no shortage of laughs to be had in Toronto’s Entertainment District. Head to one (or all!) of these comedy clubs for an evening filled with chuckles, giggles and guffaws. The talented comedians and lively shows are sure to tickle your funny bone and leave you smiling for days.
Sports Bars to Catch the Game
Toronto has no shortage of sports bars to catch your favorite team in action. Whether you bleed blue and white for the Maple Leafs, scream for the Raptors, or follow football, here are some of the best spots in the Entertainment District to cheer on the game.
Real Sports Bar & Grill
This massive bar on York Street is a sports fan’s paradise. With 199 HD TVs including a 39-foot HD screen, you’ll never miss a second of the action. They show all major sports and have interactive games like bubble hockey to keep you entertained between plays. Real Sports Bar & Grill menu features classic bar snacks like nachos, burgers, and hot dogs along with a solid craft beer list to wash it all down.
For a more upscale sports bar experience, head to The Ballroom. Their leather lounge seating, exposed brick walls and historic ambiance provide a stylish backdrop for tuning into the big match. They have over 60 TVs with sports packages to catch any game that’s on. Their menu focuses on elevated pub fare like lobster rolls, truffle fries and charcuterie boards to pair with cocktails or a wide selection of whiskeys. It’s a great option if you want to impress a date while still catching the score.
For basketball fans, Hoops is a slam dunk. With a retro basketball court theme and TVs dedicated solely to NBA and NCAA games, this is the ultimate spot to watch LeBron or catch March Madness. They offer bar snacks, shareables and a fun cocktail list with drinks named after basketball legends. Even if there’s no major basketball on, they frequently host viewing parties, trivia nights and other events centered around the sport.
As the name suggests, Football Factory is all about soccer. They open early to show live matches from the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga. The atmosphere is lively, with die-hard fans singing team anthems and chants. Grab a pint, some classic English fare like bangers and mash or fish and chips, and join in the excitement. This is the closest you’ll get to experiencing a European football match without crossing the pond.
Shopping in the Entertainment District
The Entertainment District has no shortage of places to shop for everything from high-end fashion to Canadian souvenirs. Whether you want to browse boutiques or pick up last-minute essentials, these spots have you covered.
CF Toronto Eaton Center
This massive downtown mall spans two city blocks and features over 250 stores, making it a prime spot for retail therapy. You’ll find popular brands like H&M, Zara, Coach, Kate Spade, and Victoria’s Secret, plus a large food court and movie theatre. The bright, airy interior capped by a glass domed ceiling creates an enjoyable shopping environment.
Queen Street West
Head west from the Eaton Center and you’ll hit Queen Street West, a hip stretch lined with independent shops, art galleries, and vintage clothing stores. Check out Black Market for statement vintage pieces from the 1920s through 1980s or Kind Exchange to score pre-loved designer goods on the cheap. This eclectic area is a paradise for finding unique items that reflect the city’s creative spirit.
For luxury brands, the upscale Yorkville Village is a must-visit. This open-air mall in one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods boasts high-end retailers like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Canada Goose. Even if the price tags are out of your budget, it’s still an ideal spot for window shopping and people watching. Refuel at one of the mall’s upscale eateries like Alo or Café Boulud when your feet need a break.
The Entertainment District’s varied shopping scene has something for all tastes and budgets. Whether you want to splurge on designer goods, hunt for bargains, or just soak in the lively atmosphere, this downtown hub promises a rewarding retail experience during your trip to Toronto. Keep your wallet handy—you never know what treasures you might discover!
Getting Around: Transportation Tips for the Entertainment District
Getting around Toronto’s Entertainment District is easier than you might expect given how much there is to do and see. The area is highly walkable, with many attractions within a 10 to 15 minute stroll of each other. For anything further afield, the transit and bike share options have you covered.
The Entertainment District spans just one square mile, so walking between dinner, drinks, a show, and nightlife is totally doable. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also stumble upon little gems you might otherwise miss. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
The TTC, Toronto’s transit system, makes it easy to get to the Entertainment District and navigate within it. Subway lines 1 and 2 have stops at Osgoode and St. Andrew, dropping you in the heart of the action. Streetcars also run along King and Queen Streets, traversing the entire district. Fares range from $3.25 to $12.50 CAD depending on how far you’re traveling.
If you want to get some fresh air while getting around, the Bike Share Toronto system has docking stations throughout the Entertainment District. You can rent bikes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from April through November. Fees are $7 CAD for a single ride up to 30 minutes or $15 for an unlimited 24-hour pass. The bright red bikes are easy to spot, so when you’re done just return them to any docking station.
Rideshare & Taxi
For late nights when transit service slows down or if you have limited mobility, ridesharing with services like Uber and Lyft or hailing a taxi are good options for getting to and from the Entertainment District. Fares will vary depending on the time of day and traffic conditions.
With its compact size and abundance of transportation choices, you can easily eat, drink and play your way through a fun-filled trip to Toronto’s Entertainment District. So go ahead – get out and explore all this exciting neighborhood has to offer!
So there you have it, a taste of what the Entertainment District has to offer. With world-class dining, nightlife, culture, and sports, you’ll never run out of ways to eat, drink, and play in this buzzing neighborhood. The Entertainment District has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fancy meal, catching a show, bar hopping with friends, or cheering on your favorite team. Experience all the excitement and energy the Entertainment District has to offer – you’ll quickly see why the locals love living and playing right in the heart of the action.
Featured image photo by Shaun Merritt
Girls at a bar photo by Helena Lopes