5 Quick Getaways: Toronto Is a Short Jump from these Cool Places

Looking for a quick getaway? Toronto is your hub to jump to these five destinations that are big on thrills and just a short flight away. Get packing!

Getaways from Toronto: Columbus, Ohio

Considering Columbus’ large student population, subsisting mostly on cheap eats and even cheaper drinks, this is one trip that isn’t going to break the bank. Hungry? Take your pick from any of the estimated 450 fast-food restaurants in the city’s urban area (Is it any wonder the New York Times dubbed Columbus “The Fast Food Capital of the World?”) After you’ve filled up on fries and shakes, stop by the world-famous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — formerly directed by wildlife superstar Jack Hanna — to visit more than 700 different species of animals. Or shop like you’ve never shopped before at the Easton Town Centre. This one-of-a-kind outdoor mall includes a water-play area and a free bus that takes you from store to store. And while Columbus might not exactly be the world’s hockey hub, but on this getaway, Toronto Maple Leafs fans are in for a surprise when they discover what their $100 can buy them at a Columbus Blue Jackets game. Hint: it’s not the worst seats in the house.

Getaways from Toronto: Ottawa, Ontario

Though it’s beautiful all-year-round, Ottawa is one of the few places in the world that actually gets better in the winter. Skate the length of the 7.8 kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway, stopping along the way for a hot chocolate and Beavertail — a sugary, fried-dough pastry. Afterwards, with skates slung over your shoulder, go for a magical walk through Parliament Hill at sunset. If snow and seriously chilly winds aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to visit in the spring, summer or fall instead. Simply trade your skates for a bike and ride along the canal or take a stroll through the Byward Market, the city’s historic farmer’s market and shopping district bustling with street performers and outdoor vendors. This capital city has a small town feeling making it a great getaway Toronto residents love to enjoy.

Budget Getaways from Toronto: Detroit, Michigan

We know what you’re thinking: Detroit ? For a vacation? Didn’t they just declare bankruptcy? Yes, yes and unfortunately, yes. Sure, the city is in a bit of a slump, but for the budget traveller, there’s no better time to travel to the Motor City as a cheap getaway for Toronto-area travellers. Stop by the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Motown Historical Museum to learn about the city’s rich culture of arts. Even if you’re not much of an art fan, you’re bound to enjoy the bizarre Heidelberg Project – several blocks of a derelict Detroit neighbourhood used as an artist’s canvas. Sports fans can catch a game by one of the city’s four historic teams: The Red Wings (NHL), The Tigers (MLB), The Pistons (NBA) and the Lions (NFL). And who could forget the food? Detroiters love to eat. Make sure to try Detroit’s take on hotdogs, which they call “coneys”, served with a ground beef sauce, chopped onions and mustard.

Quick Getaways near Toronto: Cleveland, Ohio

Jack Donaghy, Alec Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock said it best, “We’d all like to flee to ‘The Cleve.’” It’s true. This Rust Belt city is carving out a new identity as an art hub, making it a cool choice for a getaway not far from Toronto. Check out the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Animal-lovers can hand-feed giraffes at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. And, of course, no visit to Cleveland would be complete without cheering on The Tribe at The Jake — for the unacquainted, that means cheering on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Hey, it’s a baseball thing.

Wild Getaways near Toronto: Sudbury, Ontario

How long have you lived in Ontario? One year? Five years? Your whole life? How is it that you’ve never been to Sudbury? It’s a differnt choice for a getaway near Toronto that has both nature and science attractions. The northeastern city, once considered the world leader in nickel mining, is, surprising to anyone who hasn’t already been there, one of the most beautiful and unique in the province. Paddle through any of Sudbury’s 300 lakes or climb hills, blackened by old nickel mines. If even the thought of exercise has you out of breath, why not just take a selfie in front of the Big Nickel, a nine-metre replica of a 1951 Canadian five-cent coin, and then visit Science North, an interactive science museum with an underground rock tunnel that passes through a billion-year-old geologic fault.

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