Queen West: the ultimate guide

If doomsaying BlogTO is to be believed, Queen West is past it. True, it’s no longer the hidden gem it once was, meaning a move to the mainstream and pricier rent. But, it’s globally recognised for a reason – it’s fucking cool. Vogue even declared it one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world.

I was lucky enough to work just off it, so made it a personal mission to explore as many parts as possible of Toronto’s trendiest road.

Queen West,

The explorations have culminated in these suggestions; you’ll be totally entertained from dawn to dusk.

For caffeine fixes: Early Bird Espresso


Trendy coffee shops are a staple of Queen West life. At Early Bird Espresso, you pay just $1.75 for a small but gorgeous quality brew coffee. The laptop-wielding yuppies in abundance are as cool as the cafe’s minimalist decor. You can’t go wrong.

Other recommendations to kick-start your day include: R Squared, White Squirrel and Dark Horse (more deets on them here).

For an arty stroll: Graffiti Alley


Graffiti Alley runs from Spadina Avenue to Portland Street, and functions as a space to showcase talented, ever-changing works of art, whilst providing attractive photo backdrops for tourists and locals alike.IMG_5128

For more graffiti hotspots in TO, check out this post.

For a sushi stopover: Tone Sushi


For a quick, tasty and relatively low calorie lunch, Tone Sushi is a great go-to. It’s been named one of the best cheap sushi restos in Toronto, and for good reason.

It’s not particularly glam but the fish is fabulously fresh.

For outdoor relaxation: Trinity Bellwoods park


Home to sun worshippers in the summer, and cherry blossom worshippers in the spring, Trinity Bellwoods is a lovely green space in the heart of the city.

For sandwich snacking: Banh Mi Boys

IMG_5304 IMG_5302

This lively joint is a staple of Toronto’s Vietnamese food scene.

The braised beef sandwich is tender and tasty, though rest assured everything else on the efficiently delivered menu is too.

For sweet treats: Clafouti/Dlish


The street has no shortage of destinations for dessert, but among the best have to be French bakery Clafouti and award-winning cupcake shop Dlish.

For a cultural quickie: MOCCA

Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is the least intimidating cultural entity ever: there’s only two exhibition spaces and it’s free, so there’s no pressure to spend hours contemplating abstract bizarrities i.e modern art.

Jenny Holzer: store/ fronts

The artists and themes are always very current and interesting, and it doesn’t hurt that the museum is bang slap in the middle of the dynamic art and design district.

For shopaholic heaven: all over


The entire street is those revelling in retail heaven.

Between the Eaton Centre and Spadina is a few too many global chains, so head west of Spadina for the cutest cutting-edge boutiques.

For burger brilliance: The Burger’s Priest

IMG_5807 IMG_5806

This 8 chain-strong burger is both ridiculously busy and ridiculously yum. The chilli cheese fries, pictured above, are well worth a try.

If not too full from the above then continue any Queen West-based night in style by heading to glitzy club CUBE, or cool cocktail-filled Barchef.

Queen West, we love you!
Queen West, we love you!

4 thoughts on “Queen West: the ultimate guide

  1. This is a great guide! I think you covered a Queen W very well. I would only add Fresh…for when you’re feeling like a healthy meal. :-). Oh and maybe Chippys…and Nadege. I guess this list could go on forever lol


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