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ROM After Dark: An Exciting Adults-Only Toronto Experience

March 24, 2023 By CityPASS

Do you love to party in a classy atmosphere? Do you fill your evenings with creative, art-driven activities?

Maybe you've already been to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and you'd be totally up for seeing it from a new angle. Maybe you and your partner prefer to escape the hectic family crowds.

ROM After Dark returned in 2022 and it might just be the event you've dreamed of. We'll give you the lowdown on ROM After Dark, plus a few highlights of what you can expect to find there.

What Is ROM After Dark?

ROM After Dark calls itself "an art experience unlike anything else in the city." Frankly, it's hard to disagree. This unique evening takes place at the Royal Ontario Museum, near Queen's Park in Toronto. It's a social event like no other as each after-hours party has a unique cultural or art-centric theme.

A ROM After Dark event allows you to experience the museum on Friday night in an entirely new light — under the cover of darkness, of course. ROM After Dark is a recurring monthly evening experience, usually held after 7 pm and lasting for several hours.

ROM After Dark admits guests strictly 19+ only, and you'll need to present a valid, government-issued photo ID at the door (digital copies will not be permitted). Tickets are reasonably priced, but they must be purchased in advance — they will not be available at the door.

What Can You Expect?

While the historic building of the ROM creates a beautiful backdrop, each After Dark event is filled with visual arts, curated music, hands-on activities, light projections, and live pop-up performances. Food and drinks are served, all based on the evening's theme.

And the ROM After Dark themes don't disappoint. The museum has previously hosted evenings like DesignTO, which celebrated the launch of Canadian Modern. This original exhibition showcased over 80 years of Canadian fashion, furniture, jewelry, and electronics. Another past event was K-Culture — an exciting immersion into Korean arts and culture through animation, fashion, calligraphy, dance, music, and tea tasting.

Distinctive Food and Drinks

ROM After Dark doesn't do things halfway. Each monthly ROM Friday night is decked out with pop-up stalls serving delicious theme-inspired food and drinks. The museum encourages innovation from its vendors as they believe food is a large part of what makes each After Dark experience unique. They're keen on representing diversity and showcasing the best eats of the city and province.

As one example of what you can expect to find, February 2023's Love Struck theme included dishes from a Detroit-style pizza place, a Filipino street food caterer, a Caribbean-inspired caterer, a seafood truck, a sushi caterer, and a Korean-style hot dog joint.

Food and drinks aren't included in the ticket price, so expect to fork out a little extra cash.

A Fantastic DJ With Curated Music

This isn't your average party DJ soundtrack — After Dark events pull together traditional and modern sounds from around the world. You'll see mind-blowing, genre-bending musical acts playing live at the ROM, taking the special atmosphere to new cultural heights.

September 2022's K-Culture event featured a mixture of K-Pop, Korean contemporary jazz, and traditional instrumental meditation sounds. Being Legendary in November 2022 was skillfully led by Indigenous performers. The event included a blend of traditional music, AC-DC-inspired pop-rock, and a house DJ, plus drumming, hoop dancing, and singing.

Love Struck in February 2023 invited attendees to bop to club anthems with a Latin twist, contemporary opera, cosmic psychedelia, and an expansive mix of global sounds. Music was accompanied by wondrous stilts walkers and immersive interactive performances.

An Inviting Dance Floor

When ROM After Dark held a legendary NYE party for their December 2022 event, they invited the sounds of Arabic fusion, electro-R&B, beatboxing, electric violin, and so much more. But every month’s event has a party atmosphere and a lively dance floor to match.

DesignTO in January 2023 had its guests grooving to Latin songs, golden-era jazz, Bronx-style 70s salsa, acoustic instruments played by machines, afrobeat, and more. September 2022's K-Culture invited guests to show off their moves with Dance like a K-pop Star. The evening featured a dance crew, K-pop band, and more DJs to dance along to.

When you need a break from all that movement, you can chat with friends and enjoy lush furnishings. January 2023's DesignTO Lounge included fantastic projections and glow-in-the-dark furniture.

Gallery Access

The Royal Ontario Museum is widely considered a must-visit museum during a weekend (or longer) trip to Toronto. It's both a history museum and an art gallery, showcasing art, culture, and nature from around the world. Canada's largest museum is also home to a breathtaking collection of more than six million objects and specimens.

Tickets to a ROM After Dark event usually include admission to other sections of the gallery. You may also gain exclusive access to the latest temporary exhibition, often related to the theme of the evening.

Not only will you be able to party with your friends, but you can steal them away to look at a fantastic exhibition or two. The museum is likely to be quieter at this time as it's closed to the general public, and you'll feel like a true VIP.

A Monthly Event Series

Our favorite part about ROM After Dark is it's not just a one-off event. Every month they kick off another exclusive and intriguing party. If you keep an eye on ROM’s social media channels you'll see next month's theme coming up. Tickets usually sell out in advance, so snap them up quickly.

Here's the lineup of RAD themes in addition to the ones mentioned above:

  • October 2022 — Fantastic World: A reflective look at our planet and innovative climate solutions
  • November 2022 — Being Legendary: An exploration of Indigenous presence and knowledge
  • March 2023 — Humanity: Peace, love, understanding, and the celebration of several pivotal yearly events

Start and Finish Your Day at the ROM

When you visit the ROM with an After Dark party ticket, you can see the exhibitions and galleries by day and party by night. Each ROM After Dark is the perfect mash-up of arts, culture, and nightlife.

But Toronto is sprawling — it's larger than every US city except NYC and LA. The Royal Ontario Museum is just one of the locations to see in this bustling Canadian hub. Toronto CityPASS® tickets include admission to five major Toronto attractions including the ROM, so you can keep saving for your weekend away.

Header Image ©Sam Javanrouh/Royal Ontario Museum

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