Hi all, I'm Petal, and I'm new here.
I'm a single female, 31 years old and planning a solo trip next April / May flying into Toronto for 2 days, visiting Niagara Falls, then bussing it to Ottawa for 2 days, Montreal for 2 days, down to Boston for 2 days and finishing up in NYC for 2 days before flying back from JFK.
As a woman travelling alone, I am keen to make sure I get out and about and see as much of each place as I possibly can without feeling lonely or threatened! I am going to pack stuff in and would love you guys to share your expert knowledge with me!
I would really appreciate any suggestions for the above cities, especially Ottawa as I know the least about it. I have visited Boston (loved it so going back) and NYC before, but haven't been to NYC since before 911. Particularly, I'd love to know funky bars, great restuarants where I won't mind eating alone , possibly live music venues or comedy clubs and all the must-see attractions that each city has to offer!
That's kind of a rushed trip. Only 2 days in each city?
Ok, well, in Toronto, you'll want to see the CN Tower (as I'm sure Redpaddy will tell you) And just take a walk up Yonge Street from the waterfront, then west on Bloor Street, to see the best of downtown Toronto. The area around Bloor and Bathurst, known as "The Annex", is my favourite bit of Toronto, especially in the warmer months, with sidewalk cafes, lots of small stores and "Future Bakery", which has about 50 kinds of decadent cakes and pies. In the evening, head down to Queen St. West, for the clubs and bars.
Ottawa, in April, could still be a bit chilly- better take a winter coat. Parliament buildings are a must-see, of course, as well as the Museum of Civilization. There is also whitewater rafting on the Ottawa river.
But really, it's a shame that so many travellers to Canada only go to the cities: the best part of Canada (and what makes it special; different from other countries) is the wilderness. Go up to northern Ontario- or at least one of the provincial parks, like Algonquin- for a true appreciation of Canada.
Hi madpoet, thanks for the reply and the advice! Unfortunately yes, due to finances and time off work, 2 days is my maximum in each city but I am determined to make the most of my time in each place!
It has long been a dream of mine to go the west coast and take in the Rockies, but part of me wants to save that ultimate trip for something like a honeymoon (if I ever find someone mad enough to marry me!). So for now, east coast and the cities will be my trip of a lifetime...
I would agree with the Toronto suggestion already made. Toronto has a lot of little inetresting communities and you can't really see them all in 2 days. You would probably enjoy exploring the city more than you would enjoy spending time in Museums. Here is an idea of how you can fill your days, see lots and not waste time backtracking.
Chinatown & Kensington Market (they are attached) - Kensignton Market is really interesting outdated Bohemian-style market community. It is hard to describe but it is a really one-of-a-kind type of place with shops extending out into the streets and small congested laneways. It is a real market serving the people in the community but in a chaotic unroganized way.
The Annex - Hop of the subway a few stops and checkout the Annex. Stroll down some of the streets around it and see how the people live. The Annex is a very safe place to be in the evening as well so you might want to end your day there. It is right on the subway line.
Other stops on the subway between Chinatown are Queen's Park (Ontario Parliament Buildings), the grounds of the University of Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum and the trendy Yorkville. The Art Gallery is also close to Chinatown. There is a really good hostel right below Chinatown at Spadina/King.
Downtown & Yonge Street - Check out the new and old city hall and stroll up & down Yonge St. Head down Yonge St through the financial district to Front St and go left on Front to the St Lawrence Market.
St Lawrence Market & Distillery District - This is a super trendy, bustling yet quaint neighbourhood. It is downtown living at it's best. The St Lawrence Market is amazing to see. The Distillery District is a trendy (but expensive) little community. A lot of filming happens here.
The Beaches - The take the street car along Queen St East to the Beaches. This is my favourite area of the city. It is very, very safe. There is a really neat street full of shops and pubs. You can stroll down the residential streets or through the parks to the lake and the boardwalk. This area doesn't even feel like you are right in the city.
You can take the VIA train from Toronto to Ottawa but it takes a while. You see the lake and farmland but after a while it is the same thing over and over. Porter Airlines is an airline that flies out of the Toronto Island Airport right downtown Toronto. It is quick and hassle free. It is as cheap as the train and gets you to Ottawa in an hour.
In Ottawa there is a really neat hostel right in the core of the fun. It is called St Nicholas Jail Hostel. This hostel will take you on a tour of the old jail and I am pretty sure they get the people mingling with each other. All the shops and pubs are right out the door. You should definately check out the Parliament Buildings and stroll down Sparks St. There are all sorts of parks, statues and Memorials around Parliament. The National Art Gallery is nice and it has amazing views over Ottawa. The museum of Civilization is also good but it could take up most of your day.
If you do get to Montreal try some of these places http://www.independenttraveler.com/community/topten.cfm?ID=13
the underground city goes on for miles,Old Montreal is also a must see.,if you like hiking the park on top of the mountain gives you breathtaking views.
[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2009, at 11:35 by jambo101 ]
vickim - wow! Thank you so much for all that information! That's really helpful and should get me off to a great start on my trip
jambo - thanks for that link, I have book marked