A week ago today I was inspired by Soheila Online ‘s IG post of her visit to Beacon Hill, Boston to jot down some interested long weekend getaway destinations out of Toronto. We have a labour day weekend next coming up, even if you have already booked a getaway, hope the following places inspire you for the next ones ahead.
My Hints :
- Book the earliest flight out, or be on the road by 8-9 depending on the length of the road trip.
- Fly back in (if permitted) end of the third day vacation. Make the most out of the visited destination.
- Plan ahead your whole itinerary; what to do, where to go. If necessary plan themed vacation; i-e what you want your trip to focus on. I would personally lean on art sight-seeing on many of the following locations. Of course, to each its own!!
- Whether its a couple’s getaway or one with family or friends, leave everything behind and disconnect from the city.
- I always opt for Airbnb for accommodation. They are pocket friendly when compared to staying in hotels (even through booking.com).
Ok so Now Let’s Roll out of the Six >>>
MONTREAL ; 1h10min flight or 6h bus drive
A very interesting nearby city to visit especially if you are keen on attending museum exhibitions and strolling down the Old Montreal neighborhood. For art lovers (like myself) it is a must to visit Le Musee des Beaux Arts de Montreal and le Musee d’Arts Contemporains. Both museums exhibit unique art pieces from well known international artists. Bare in mind that both venues are not too far away from one another and hoping from one to another by foot is enjoyable as you get caught within the busy streets of downtown Montreal and can squeeze a quick lunch in between.
You can keep the art gallery visits to when strolling down the streets of Old Montreal. Designated as a world heritage site since 1964, Old Montreal boosts many small contemporary art galleries and posh fusion restaurants. If you are lucky you will see horses pulling carriages along the streets. Further down runs the St Lawrence River which attracts a lot of tourists – a sight to see if you are an avid photographer (like myself!).
The Notre Dame Cathedral is an interesting venue to visit on any given day. If you are traveling with kids, I would suggest you take them to an educational visit at the famous Biodome which houses the four different ecosystems of the Americas. You can opt for a visit to the Insectarium, Botanical Gardens or Planetarium. Bare in mind that the locations of all four venues are not the same. Plan ahead and prioritize which you would like to visit.
New York City ; 1h:30min flight or 8h bus drive
Shopping, shopping and shopping & Time Square selfie. That’s what the typical tourist would think of when mentioning NYC. However there are so many places to visit and explore when you are planning on heading down to the Big Apple. I would prioritize my art journey (of course) ahead of time. The city regorges a few of the many important art museums in the world hence it would be a shame to be in town and not visit them.
The MOMA, the MET and the Guggenheim Museum are three of the art venues I definitely would squeeze in during my visit. Sotheby’s and the Gagosian Gallery are two others (typing this and I am already in some sort of art frenzy mood!!). Take the ferry to Ellis Island and visit the Statue of Liberty if you are keen on being on waters and visiting the Ellis Island Immigration Museum (interesting!!).
One cannot leave NYC without having a long walk down at Central Park and have a look at some of the sculptures erected there (Cleopatra’s Needle, Sherman Monument, Eagles and Prey and many more). A mere 25min drive (or subway) away stands the National September 11 Memorial Site and Museum. A site to visit in memory of all those innocent lives stolen by those barbaric terrorists.
There is so much to do and see in NYC, don’t forget your camera. It is a one of a kind experience!!!
CHICAGO ; 1h45min flight
I would recommend visiting Chicago if you have specific landmarks you want to see and make use of your photographical skills. I know that is what my baby cousin did two weekends back when visiting from France.
First stop, the Art Institute of Chicago (insert the heart eyed emoji here!!). Founded in 1879, AIC boosts the famous paintings of Grant Wood (American Gothic), Auguste Renoir (Two sisters), Marc Chagall (America Window) and Vincent Van Gogh (The Bedroom) among others. If you are on an art roll here, plan a special visit to the Stony Island Arts Bank next. A hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center which has become a destination for artists, curators and historians alike.
Apart from art, I find solace in books. The University of Chicago Library boosts an array collection and a sight to see for book lovers. The architecture of the dome is special in it own kind of way.
Furthermore, take some time and go visit the Rookery Building which is a historical landmark as it is considered as the oldest high rise in Chicago. The steel structure within is quite catchy for interior decoration artists and there are tours given for avid art lovers.
What an interesting city to visit, don’t you agree?
BLUE MOUNTAIN ; 2h20min by car drive or book on the special shuttle from Toronto DT City Hall
We all need to get away from the stress the city engulfs us through out any given month. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, you have come to the right place.
Blue Mountain resort offers a range of spas to chose from and very chilled activities to engulf in such as playing golf, going to the beach in summer and skiing in winter.
This region located along the Georgian Bay promotes a healthy and clean environment. Even as I write (so to speak) I immersed myself in a deep stress free mood, in anticipation of a break from my chaotic surrounding. Spa baby here I come… (soon!).
NIAGARA FALLS ; 1h25min by drive and bus option available as well
You can not be living in the city and not have been on a visit or two to Niagara Falls. No you can not have not been! Seriously guys?
When I visited the falls last year, I made sure to have my professional camera ready, full battery and additional lens as well in its bag, for the trip. I don’t remember how many pictures I took from how many angles and, haha, how many times I was left behind by my family, just because I took a minute or two too long for the perfect picture of this natural imposing site. If you ask me to hop on a road trip with you tomorrow, you’d find me first thing in the morning on your front porch waiting, eagerly, my Canon loose on my shoulder and did I mention grinning?
Yeah that is how much I loved Niagara Falls. Furthermore, visiting Niagara on the Lake afterwards was the epitome of the trip. I mean I love everything vintage, especially when it comes to rural villages that have protected their heritage over the years. Niagara on the Lake offers its visitors a wide range of shops and restaurants as well as coffee houses for an afternoon snack before hitting the road back to the city. You might be interested in visiting the art galleries along the main street and take a side trip to the wineries. Now who can say no to some good wine? Not me!!
Add to that a trip to the Butterfly Conservatory where you will discover more than 2000 types of butterflies. Don’t worry a guided tour is available for curious visitors.
Immerse yourself with nature at Niagara Falls and you will be wanting to take all your visitors (from abroad) there.
BUFFALO ; 1h45 by drive
Drive across Niagara Falls and head towards Buffalo. Why not! This city located on the shores of Lake Erie, at the head of the Niagara River attracts avid lovers of art and architecture.
You can start by visiting the 398 ft art deco City Hall, the town’s pride and joy. Further more, I would suggest you visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery which is one the oldest public arts institution in the United States and houses art works from Gauguin, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro & Piet Mondrian. Can we go visit now? Can we? Can we??
Note to self; the museum exhibits 200 or its 6000+ art works.
Further ahead, you can stop by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House Complex and have an insightful interesting visit of this Historic Landmark site. The house, that consists of six interconnected buildings, represents a prominent foundation for architectural aficionados and curious visitors. Forms, figures and lines play an important roles in the erection of this complex.
On another hand, you can continue your visit by dropping by the Buffalo Zoo as well as the Botanical Gardens. There is so much to do whatever you have your heart set on achieving on your weekend get away in Buffalo.
We are blessed and lucky to be living in one of the most beautiful and richest country in the world, Canada and especially residing in one of its most vibrant and growing city, Toronto. And aren’t we lucky to have long weekends each month to detox and relax with family and friends?
Trust me we are.
This blog post, as mentioned, was inspired by my fellow blogger Soheila Hakimi’s lifestyle content (she’s awesome and bubbly and her social media presence unforgettable and interesting – yeah Go follow her NOW! IG = @soheilaonline).
And most importantly, this blogpost is directed to those, like me, who are indecisive on how to fill in those long weekends ahead.
Hopefully I will be traveling more often within the Canadian territory, exploring, visiting and meeting everything/one new. Baring in mind that each and every one of us deserves a break from the every day stress and work routine of the city.
Where are you headed this labour weekend?