While some people feed off the thrill of fighting the crowds in search of some serious deals on Boxing Day, to others, the idea is nothing short of maddening.
If Boxing Day shopping is your idea of hell on earth, here are some alternatives for you:
1. Embrace the Urban Outdoors
If you can’t beat it (even with the most overpriced of winter jackets), you may as well enjoy it. Grab your family, friends or Tinder matches and lace up your skates at one of the city’s ice rinks, like Harbourfront’s Natrel Rink, where the skating is always free and comes with an unmatched view. Now that the snow seems to be sticking around, tobogganing also makes a solid option.
2. Rediscover Your Inner Child at Dave and Busters.
If you aren’t in the mood for Christmas dinner leftovers and want to feel like a kid on Christmas Morning (instead of nursing that hangover, as you likely were), hit the brand new Dave and Busters location in Oakville. Think: a Chuck-E-Cheese type vibe for grown-ups, but with a selection of high-quality food and beverage items, combined with the latest games and attractions, complete with “the game” on in the background.
3. Visit the Animals at the Zoo.
The Toronto Zoo will be open on Boxing Day, offering no shortage of family bonding and photo opportunities alike. If you’re looking for a no-fail activity for the niece and nephew – or even to shake up “date day,” the zoo is solid option – as long as you dress warmly.
4. Hit the Slopes.
Sure, we don’t exactly have the mountains of Whistler in our backyard. But it’s not always about size, right? We have some quality and convenient skiing just a short drive from the city, at hills found at places like Blue Mountain or Mount St. Louis Moonstone, or – an often-overlooked option – upstate New York not too much further.
5. Go Down Under at the Aquarium.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will be open in all of its marine life-filled glory this Boxing Day from 9am to 11pm. Word of advice, if it’s more of a date vibe you’re going for, you may want to go in the evening to avoid the overload of screaming children who are still high on the holidays.
6. Host a Leftovers Party.
Whether your parents sent you home with a handful of leftover turkey and stuffing, or you celebrated with friends over Chinese takeout, call your friends and tell them to come over to your place bearing leftovers. Keep in mind that the LCBO is closed on Boxing Day, so plan your booze offerings in advance.
7. Swap Instagram for the Real Deal at the ROM.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) opens its doors on Boxing Day from 10am-7pm. If you have a soft spot for animals and photography, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, the longest-running and most prestigious nature photography competition in the world, is back at the ROM for its fourth year. Forget about Instagram for the day and check out these real-life images that capture some of the planet’s most striking beauty.
8. Engage in a Friendly Round of Bowling.
Bond with your friends and family over bowling balls at one of Toronto’s bowling spots. You could either take the fancy (and pricey route) at the Ballroom Bowl, where your bowling can come with a side of some seriously solid gourmet grub, or take it down a notch with good, old-fashioned longtime favourites like Bathurst Bowlerama (which, by the way, is also open on Christmas Day).
9. LOL at the Second City.
Laugh off any Christmas Day drama or misfortunes with the always entertaining Second City. Either stop by the downtown studio to take in the Boxing Day performance of current mainstage, “Eat, Buy, Repeat: The Second City’s Guide to the Holidays,” or head up to the Toronto Centre for the Arts to catch “Twist Your Dickens,” a hilarious take on “A Christmas Carol.”