Making a trip to the Toronto Christmas Market has become a bit of a tradition for us. We’ve been going since before we had kids and now that we have two little ones, we want them to share this experience with us. But like any outing with two-under-two, you kind of need to plan ahead. Luckily this wasn’t our first trip to the market with a little one and we were a bit more prepared this time. After a fairly successful trip, when I say successful I mean minimal toddler meltdowns or newborn tears, I’ve decided to share this year’s survival guide for the Christmas Market with a double stroller; Aka a trip to the Market with two-under-two.
Go During the Week!
Ok so this first tip has an exclamation point for a reason. For one, the market is FREE during the week, but also weekends at the market are super busy; like very, very large crowds, walking with the crowd, waiting in line to get into shops kind of busy. So if you can go during the week (the market doesn’t run on Mondays) but it runs Tuesday –Sunday, you will notice a huge difference in terms of having the space to walk around with your stroller or just with little ones in general.
Try to go Early in the Day
We arrived just before the market was opening, and again, this made a huge difference in terms of avoiding the crowds. In the past we’ve noticed that the market tends to be busier in the evening. The vendors and booths at the market don’t open until noon, but there are stores and coffee shops in the Distillery District that are open before then, so It was nice to start our day in a coffee shop before walking around and visiting the vendors.
Bundle Up and Bring Cash
There are many indoor shops throughout the Distillery District, but the vendors are all outside, so dressing warmly is key. You will be spending the majority of the day outside, so snowsuits for the little ones, hats, mittens; the whole bit is absolutely necessary. Also, some of the vendors do take credit cards and debit, but some of them don’t so I would suggest bringing cash to avoid the ATM lines (which by the way can be very long).
Snack at the Vendors, but Plan to Eat Inside
This year we had lunch at El Catrin, an authentic and modern Mexican restaurant and I can’t say enough about how amazing this experience was! El Catrin is a restaurant that is open all year round in the heart of the Distillery District. The food there is fresh, the staff was very welcoming and the restaurant was super kid friendly (colouring, kids menus and a fun atmosphere). We are often worried about taking our toddler to restaurants, but he was so happy there that we actually relaxed a bit. In addition to loving our experience at El Catrin, I recommend eating lunch inside for a few reasons; you can warm up, get the kids organized in terms of diaper changes and bottles and everyone gets to rest for a little while.
Enjoy the Experience & Get Photos Taken
Years past I would bring long Christmas lists with me to the market hoping to check some of the gifts off of my lists. Doing this added a lot of unnecessary stress. Instead, I would suggest going with some ideas in mind, but mainly focusing on the experiences itself instead of making it an intense Christmas Shopping excursion. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find when you’re not looking. The Christmas Market is a beautiful place to get your Christmas family photos taken, we were luck enough to have ReenaRay take photos of us while we were at the market and they are going to make the perfect family photos. This is a great way to have your Christmas cards made, or just to capture the memories of a family outing.
We absolutely love our trips to the Toronto Christmas Market each year and want to keep this tradition going as our family grows. Hopefully this guide helps you to do the same.
Let me know if you make a trip and how it goes.
Extras: If you are looking to have family photos done, Reena Ray is doing a $250 winter session special right now for anyone who books for a date in December-February. For families this is a good time to get a cozy in home family shoot, newborn pictures, or just some sweet snowy pictures. Check out more of Reena’s work here.
*Disclosure: Companies featured often sponsor my posts. If I love the company I am more than happy to share them with you!