Whether you waited too long to make a reservation, forgot about planning something until it was (almost) too late or you’re just feeling pretty low key about the whole Valentine’s Day thing, there’s still time to make something happen. Here are a few simple last-minute ideas for what to do on February 14 in Toronto.
See What’s Still Available
OK, so you’re definitely not getting into your first (or maybe even third) choice of restaurant, but rest assured that not every good seat in the city is taken and you may be pleasantly surprised by the options you have. Head over to OpenTable and do a search for Toronto on the 14th and see what comes up. You might need to take an early or later seating than you’re used to or would prefer, but you can make it work by planning something else (drinks, a movie) either before or after dinner.
Skip or Postpone It
Why not skip the lines and planning stress and postpone Valentine's Day dinner for a day that isn’t one of the busiest nights for restaurants? It can often be a lot easier to do “Valentine’s Day” dinner at your restaurant of choice the week after and save yourself the stress of finding something to do at the last minute.
Go Somewhere With a no-Reservations Policy
There are many amazing restaurants in Toronto that don’t take reservations meaning eating at these places is anyone's game. As long as you don’t mind showing up early (as in, when they first open) or waiting in a line for a bit, you’re likely to get a table. Bar Buca, Grand Electric, The Black Hoof, Pizza Libretto, Foxley Bistro, Bar Raval and Bar Begonia are just a handful of good options in the city.
Book a Last-Minute Hotel Room
Believe it or not, there are still hotel rooms available for a Valentine’s getaway or staycation in Toronto (depending on whether you’re visiting or a local). Doing a quick search on Booking.com and Agoda for February 14 - 15 yields more than a few results at nice downtown Toronto hotels. This is a great option if you feel like doing something extra-special or if Valentine's Day also falls around a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday.
Wander Through Kensington Market
Whether you live in Toronto or you’re just visiting, exploring Kensington Market no matter the season is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. When you’re finished browsing the vintage stores, spice markets and other funky spots, grab some goodies to take home for a Valentine’s Day dinner at home. Hit up Global Cheese or Cheese Magic for some delicious cheeses, meats and olives and visit Blackbird Baking Co. for some truly unforgettable breads – and you have yourself a romantic at-home picnic.
There’s no rule that says Valentine’s Day can only be celebrated in a restaurant. Whether you go the simple DIY cheese board approach with finds from Kensington Market or elsewhere, or you cook up a gourmet meal and open a nice bottle of wine, dining at home can be just as romantic (if not more so) than eating out. Light some candles and dress up for the occasion to make it seem even more special.
Cozy up on a winter patio
Patios can often be very romantic and Toronto is blessed with more than few winterized patios that make it easy to drink outdoors (or at least feel like you’re drinking outdoors). Depending on what else you have planned for Valentine's Day, stop by one of the city’s best winter patios and cuddle up while having a drink. Some of these include Sky Yard at the Drake Hotel, El Catrin (complete with massive fire pits), Big Crow, Gusto 101 and Mill Street Beer Hall.
Plan a DIY spa night
There’s no need to book a potentially pricey couple’s spa treatment when you can create your own spa environment right in your own home. Pick up an all-natural body oil from Toronto’s Pure + Simple Spa that can double as a massage oil, or Lover’s Oil from Province Apothecary (another all-natural massage oil) and treat each other to soothing back rubs. Cap off the night with some bubbly or your festive beverage of choice and you have everything you need for romance.