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TIFF Tips: A Guide to the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival

Every September, Hollywood heads north for the Toronto International Film Festival, where movies from around the globe compete for prizes and buzz. Here's a checklist of where to eat, sleep and see the stars during the annual film fest.

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Toronto skyline at nightPhoto: Shutterstock

1. TIFF Tips: Where to Stay

Though festival screenings occur throughout downtown Toronto, many festival-affiliated theatres are concentrated in the city’s Entertainment District, around the TIFF Bell Lightbox headquarters on King Street West. A short walk from there, the boutique SoHo Metropolitan Hotel features suites equipped with Italian linens and marble bathrooms with soaker rubs, while star chef Susur Lee’s modern Chinese restaurant Luckee is on the ground floor. A couple of blocks away, near the edge of the Entertainment District, the Hilton Garden combines amenities such as an indoor pool and room service with in-room fridges, on-site laundry and other comforts of home.

Here are the Toronto attractions every Canadian should visit.

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Restaurant in TorontoPhoto: Shutterstock

2. TIFF Tips: Where to Eat

The most convenient place to enjoy a pre-film bite or post-premiere glass of wine is Canteen, located inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox cinema complex. This market-style restaurant features sandwiches, salads and oven-fresh pizzas, and its wraparound sidewalk patio is one of the city’s top spots for people-watching.

Nearby Milagro is a lively Mexican cantina that specializes in seafood, chili-braised pulled pork and, of course, tacos. Tequila aficionados can take advantage of the establishment’s bar, which boasts countless varieties of the country’s signature spirit.

Meat-and-potatoes fans will appreciate Tom Jones Steak House, which has been serving top-notch cuts since 1966. Indulge in old-school service, complete with Caesar salads prepared tableside by tuxedoed waiters. After dinner, migrate upstairs to the piano bar for a nightcap.

Don’t miss the best places to eat brunch in Canada.

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TIFF Tips: Visit the Royal Ontario MuseumPhoto: mikecphoto/Shutterstock

3. TIFF Tips: What to Do

If you’re looking to kill time in between movies, Toronto’s thriving arts and culture scene includes independent galleries, major museums and world-class theatre. Two of the city’s biggest institutions host fascinating exhibitions this September: the Art Gallery of Ontario is showcasing Anishinaabekwe artist Rebecca Belmore (until Oct. 21), while the Royal Ontario Museum is displaying the extraordinary designs of Dutch couturier, Iris van Herpen (until Oct. 8).

Read the books behind this year’s film festival.

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Jake GyllenhaalPhoto: Canadapanda/Shutterstock

4. TIFF Tips: Where to See the Stars

In 2014, Ghostbusters director (and erstwhile Toronto resident) Ivan Reitman opened Montecito, a restaurant decorated with Hollywood paraphernalia and inspired by both Canadian and California cuisine, in a space just around the corner from the Lightbox. George Clooney, Bill Murray and Jennifer Garner are among the actors who’ve dined at the swank spot.

A little further north, Yorkville’s posh boutiques and bistros are a draw for tourists and celebs alike. Stake out the rock garden on Cumberland Street, where you can keep your eyes peeled for stars lunching on the patio at Sassafraz, which has hosted the likes of Matt Damon and Beyoncé.

You can drink like the stars at the Hazelton Hotel, a favourite haunt of A-listers, including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Bono. Try a Pom Fizz-vodka, sparkling wine, zippy pomegranate juice and a dash of lime-at the on-site One restaurant.

Next, here are five things you need to know about TIFF premiere parties!

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada