In The City With Kids

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Hidden Gems in Toronto: South End

Pink, yellow, white, green, red and brown ice creams in cups from a hidden gem in Toronto, Beaches n' Cream.

A picturesque mini golf course, a retro ice cream shop and a Toronto breakfast institution: these hidden gems in Toronto await you in the city’s south end.

  1. Mini Putt at Centennial Park Golf Centre

Sure, glow-in-the-dark mini putt is fun, but there’s nothing better than working your way through a great outdoor mini golf course on a beautiful summer’s day. Centennial Park Golf Centre has an awesome 18-hole mini putt section that’s appropriate for all ages. It’s beautifully landscaped with trees, greenery and waterfalls, allowing you to feel like you’ve escaped the city for a mini vacation.

550 Centennial Park Blvd, Etobicoke

  1. The Sidekick Comic Books

This independent comic bookstore on Queen Street East is fun, vibrant and super welcoming. Grab a coffee while you browse their amazing selection, and be sure to ask the staff for recommendations-they know their stuff! Bonus tip: If your kids love spooky stories, head over to Little Ghost Books on Dundas West. Known as Sidekick’s sister shop (they share an owner), Little Ghosts has a small but mighty kids section (plus a back patio with a giant skeleton).

1374 Queen St E

  1. Beaches n’ Cream

There are countless ice cream and gelato shops in Toronto, and many of them are excellent––but sometimes, a bit of nostalgia is what you really want. Beaches n’ Cream is a great summer destination because it has a bit of everything: delicious ice cream, burgers and fries, a great patio and easy beach access. Set slightly outside of the downtown core, this spot feels like it could be in any beachfront town.

2075 Queen St E

  1. Young People’s Theatre

A longtime gem in the Distillery Historic District, the Young People’s Theatre offers kid-friendly programming that’s entertaining, educational and inspiring. Take in a show, then head over to SOMA for one of the best hot chocolates in the city! Plus, because their programming changes regularly, there’s always something new to discover.

165 Front St E

  1. Royal Ontario Museum

If there’s one thing you need to do in the city, it’s to check out the ROM. And if you have dinosaur-obsessed kids, you should basically move in. This shouldn’t really count as a “hidden gem,” given that it is a famous Toronto landmark, but it’s 100 percent worth including in this list. You can spend hours in WonderWorks, the museum’s play-based learning space for families.

100 Queens Park

  1. Fran’s Restaurant (College Street)

If you spent any time in Toronto in your teens and 20s, you probably paid a few visits to Fran’s. But don’t forget what a great spot it is for families. Between the fun, retro decor, kid-friendly menu, affordable prices and classic milkshakes, there’s no better spot to grab dinner with your kids (especially if they only want to eat chicken tenders, anyway).

Order some pancakes and relive your youth!

20 College St

A hand holding syrupy pancakes with a pad of butter on top, from a hidden gem in toronto, fran's restaurant.

Photos: Beaches n’ Cream, Fran’s Restaurant

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