Set in the Victorian-era, cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, Toronto’s Christmas Market creates a remarkable experience for locals and tourists alike. The market is filled with romantic glowing lights and tons of craftspeople, musicians and artisanal food-makers bringing you a truly festive, romantic, and cozy atmosphere. If you’re planning on bringing your family, a partner or some friends—here’s what you can expect.

Of course, the market wouldn’t be a market without the giant Christmas tree in the centre. The tree is decorated with beautiful blue and white glowing lights and matching Christmas balls as well as ribbons. In my opinion, the best view of the tree was at the top of the Ferris wheel—yes, Ferris wheel! If you’re at the top of the wheel, to your left you would have a clear view of the entire market and the hundreds of twinkling lights hanging overhead, and ahead of you would be the Toronto skyline along with the iconic CN Tower.

The market offers a large selection of hospitality for you to enjoy, consisting of foods such as Canadian poutine, turkey legs, potato tornadoes, grilled cheese and much more. Not only are there vendors, but many restaurants fill the district as well. The one I dined in was named El Catrin, a trendy Mexican restaurant that contained indoor and outdoor seating. And let’s not forget about our sweet tooth. Be sure to make room for desert afterwards as you can find maple fudge, Belgian-style waffles, pastries and lots of candy. At the market, you can also find a variety of drinks such as hot chocolate, specialty coffees, festive European-style Christmas cocktails, and of course—mulled wine.

Other than stuffing your face in delicious artisanal foods and holiday inspired drinks, there are several activities you can participate in at the market. The Distillery District is filled with shops and European-style wooden cabins housing vendors for you to browse and find beautiful Christmas gifts for family, friends and even yourself. You can shop for items such as clothing, handcrafted ornaments, handcrafted pottery, paintings, vintage cutlery and plates, jewelry and much more. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll find adorable dogs roaming inside the shops. Expect to be entertained by carolers and Santa’s amusing elves as well, who do an excellent job of spreading that holiday cheer.

The annual Toronto Christmas market is a beautiful place to be in the wintertime. If you’re planning on attending, here are some tips to remember in order to enhance your experience. Be sure to dress warmly for the weather as the market, for the most part, takes place outdoors. Keep in mind many of the vendors this year only use debit and Interac and do not accept cash. Book a reservation in advance if you wish to dine in any restaurants as the wait can be very long and tedious. Try to travel using public transit as nearby parking spots are almost impossible to find, but don’t make the same mistake as I did and travel west rather than east. Lastly, be safe and have a lot of fun.

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