NXNE is Toronto’s premiere downtown festival and a great way to kick off summer. With music, comedy, film, and visual art, all scattered across dozens of venues, NXNE is truly an urban festival. Below, we’ve listed our must-see NXNE events and the must-ride bike routes in between.
Wednesday, June 17
Start your adventure at the NXNE Hub (170 Spadina Ave.) to pick up up your badge or wristband and say “hi” to the festival team. From there, make use of Spadina’s “sharrows,” take one of our new cruiser bikes cycle south, and turn right on the low-key Wellington St. W. You’ll soon find yourself at the posh Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington St. W.), site of Iconography: An Exploration of Culture through Music Videos (6-8 p.m.), a screening event, Q and A panel, and cocktail party rich with industry insiders.
Thursday, June 18
Wake up (sort of) early for the Print and Comics Fair (12-7 p.m.) at the Garrison (1197 Dundas St. W), with live music from Telephone Explosion and Panache, and, best of all, free pizza! Ride east along Dundas St. W., past Trinity Bellwoods Park and Chinatown, back to the Hub to see comedian Nick Thune (9 p.m.) headline a bill that includes hometown funny lady Julia Hladkowicz (8:15 p.m.).
Friday, June 19
Friday is the ultimate day for live music. Begin at M pour Montréal’s showcase M for 159 Manning (159 Manning Ave.; 1p.m.-12 a.m.), a house party gone wild featuring 16 acts performing on three stages, with free pizza and veggie burgers abound. If you need a change of pace, bike north on Manning Ave., turn east College St., and follow the bike lane to Augusta Ave. Post up at Coalition (282 Augusta Ave.), and watch homegrown hip hop hero Saukrates (11 p.m.) followed by Dex Kwasi (12 a.m.), and Kids (1 a.m.).
Saturday, June 20
If you’re not hungover, cleanse yourself with some outdoor yoga (9:30 a.m.) at Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas St. E.). Cycle south on Yonge St. and turn west on Queen St. W. Take in Old City Hall, New City Hall, and the vibrancy of the Queen West neighbourhood. Back at the Hub, take in Made In Texas (2 p.m.), a collection of six short films about 1980s Austin, curated by Jonathan Demme. Then rewind along back to Yonge-Dundas Square for an evening of music headlined by the New Pornographers (9 p.m.).
Sunday, June 21
Still standing? Head to the legendary Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W.) for some rock and roll with Sun K (2 p.m.) and the Sadies (3 p.m.). Leave your bike locked up and walk a couple of doors down to the Rivoli (334 Queen St. W.)—the night begins with Laura Cole Band (8:30 p.m.) and ends with Fine Times (1 a.m.). If you still have energy, and want to end NXNE with a bang, ride back to Yonge-Dundas Square and celebrate a week well done with Shad (9 p.m.).