Toronto has a lot to offer. City lights, cultural diversity, views of Lake Ontario, Kensington Market, entertainment galore—but what about the stuff that isn’t so obvious?
Yes, we’re talking about the city’s best hidden gems. The spots you might have heard about but haven’t checked out (yet). We’re talking about the brilliant restaurants, karaoke rooms, cafés, bookstores, and lookout points flying under the radar.
The cat’s out of the bag now. In this blog, we’re going to highlight five of the city’s best-kept secrets so you can explore Toronto with a purpose!
1. DASHA's Karaoke Room
We love karaoke, and have a feeling you probably do, too.
DASHA is the best place to experience premium karaoke rooms. They have five, each uniquely designed with lavish decor and wrapped in 5-star service. You’re in for a full sensory experience that is unrivalled by any other karaoke bar in the city.
The second cherry on top is the delectable culinary masterpieces on their menu. Pass around the dim sum and pour cocktails as you pass the mic—you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a night in downtown Toronto.
Call up your friends (like 10 or 12 of them) and get ready to sing!
2. The Monkey's Paw
If you’re looking to connect with your paperback roots, you should definitely follow the library smell to our next Toronto hidden gem: The Monkey's Paw.
The Monkey's Paw is an antiquarian paradise that specializes in uncommon books and paper fossils from the wonderful era of print. We’re talking about the kind of things you’d want to curl up with in a vintage reading room with wooden floors and high ceilings.
You’ve also got to try the Biblio-Mat. This vending machine doesn't give you sodas and snacks that get stuck on their way down. Rather, it gives you vintage books selected at random—we’re taking that over some stale chips every day of the week.
3. Balzac's Coffee
We bet we had you at "coffee." C’mon, you know we did!
Whether you're running low on energy or just craving a cup of coffee, Balzac's has something just for you that isn’t Starbucks. Seriously, you won’t find the word ‘venti’ anywhere in here and you find it a nice change of pace.
Each of their cafés is an ode to local history while being drenched in traditional French design and splendour, minus the plush Victorian sofa. This is the kind of coffee shop where you can easily lose a few hours, so keep an eye on the time!
4. Chester Hill Lookout
Next on our list of hidden gems in Toronto is Chester Hill Lookout.
Visiting this stunning location won’t cost you a cent. It’s a magical semi-circular observation deck that offers a sweeping view of the city and the Don Valley.
Find it at the end of Chester Hill Road, close to Broadview and Danforth. There’s a large astrology wheel painted nearby that marks the spot. Bonus tip: this is a great place to take someone special on a late-night date!
5. Judy's Speakeasy
Did you know that the word "speakeasy" was born during the Prohibition era?
The concept of a speakeasy was a secret bar or nightclub, which means Judy's Speakeasy absolutely belongs on a list of hidden gems in Toronto.
Judy's Speakeasy is a private cocktail lounge in the heart of DASHA. With the capacity to accommodate up to 75 standing guests, this cocktail paradise is the perfect venue for your networking events, holiday parties, or birthdays. Of course, sipping on cocktails can work up an appetite—good thing they serve phenomenal Pan-Asian cuisine.
Revealing Toronto's Hidden Gems
What we’ve listed is just the beginning. You should probably also check out the Campbell House Museum on Queen Street, some local art installations, and more—but swing by DASHA for a night of karaoke before you do anything else!
Whether you’re coming for the food or the karaoke, you’re in for an unforgettable night when you visit our establishment. Sure, you can take our word for it, but the best way to learn about this hidden gem is to experience it for yourself!