Top 16 Best things to do in
Top 16 Best Things to do in Toronto
Planning a trip to Toronto? Well, this guide is the perfect place to get started. Find all the best things to do and awesome places to discover in this amazing city.
Toronto is a city with something for everyone. An endless food scene, multicultural population, daily live sports and entertainment and an incredibly fun nightlife. These are just a few of the reasons travellers from around the world keep coming back year after year.
If you visit in the summer, Toronto is an absolute playground. Bars and restaurants take dining and nightlife outdoors; parks and islands are full of sunseekers, and the events calendar is consistently busy with festivals of all sorts on a weekly basis.
Although the winters can be harsh, don’t let that stop you. With a little planning and of course warm clothing, you’ll discover another side of the city that you’re sure to love.
What to do in Toronto
1. Visit the CN Tower
Standing at 553.33m, the CN tower is the dominant feature of the Toronto skyline. Built by Canadian National railway over the course of 40 months, the doors opened to the public in 1976. The CN tower is a major attraction that invites visitors to ride the elevator to the top where they can enjoy panoramic views of the city. Even more exciting is the glass floor that allows you to take in the views, tiny people, cars and the Rogers Centre stadium below. The CN tower also offers a fantastic restaurant called 360. For the adrenaline junkies, the Edgewalk offers people the opportunity to strap in and walk around the external perimeter of the tower adding to an already epic experience.
2. Toronto Islands
Hop on a 13 minute ferry ride to the Toronto Islands Park. A series of 15 interconnected islands linked by paths and bridges. The entire area is 5km wide and can easily be walked from end to end, Ward’s Island to Hanlan’s Point. If you’re tight on time, consider renting a bicycle which will allow you to see much more of the islands while also taking it all in at a leisurely pace. Spend the day on a beach or in a beautiful park with amazing skyline views across Lake Ontario. Among the highlights, is a 200 year old lighthouse that’s definitely worth checking out. You can also enjoy something to eat or drink at a restaurant or cafe.
3. Raptors Basketball
Kick off your weekend with a Friday night watching a Toronto Raptors home game. The 2019 NBA World Champions have one of the liveliest atmospheres in sports. DJ’s, fun halftime shows and of course a competitive team that works hard to entertain the fans. It’s no wonder Drake is a courtside fixture at Raptors games. Going to a Raptors game is also a great way to get a taste for the diversity of the city. Fans from all walks of life come together to support their favourite team.
4. Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) is the largest museum in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Founded in 1914, the ROM showcases art, culture and natural history from around the world. The building is home to over 13 million artworks to discover. The museum itself is eye catching with a unique architectural design by Darling & Pearson. There is something for everyone with exhibits about dinosaurs, meteorites, fine art and art deco. It’s easy to see why the ROM is Canada’s most visited museum.
5. Discover AGO
Check out the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) that boasts a collection of close to 95,000 pieces of art including from the most famous collective of artist in Canada, the Group of Seven. The gallery is also hosts several exhibitions by Canadian indigenous artists. Each year, the gallery welcomes nearly 1,000,000 visitors, after just a few minutes exploring the breath taking building and exhibits, it is easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Toronto.
6. Queen West
Widely recognized as Canada’s coolest street, Queen West offers miles of trendy fashion, hip eateries and niche shops to check out. Venture down queen window shopping, then kick back and rest your legs at Trinity Bellwoods Park. The park is the prime hangout for the areas local residents. Bring some beers, a blanket, frisbee or football and chill in the sunshine. When you’re ready to resume, head south one block and explore graffiti alley, block after block of murals and art pieces that showcase Toronto’s best street artists and cultural icons like the late great Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.
7. St. Lawrence Market
Hang out in Old Toronto. Historical buildings, Office skyscrapers and enough bars and restaurants to keep you entertained during your stay. St.Lawrence is home to two of Toronto’s most iconic buildings. The St.Lawrence Market is a delicious escape. Snack on cheeses, fine pastries and Canadian bacon sandwiches and much more. On your way to the market you’ll undoubtedly be struck by the Godderham Building, Situated on the corner of Wellington Street at Front. The building is the focus of many photographers that set up to capture the iconic architecture reminiscent of the Flatiron building in New York City.
8. Nightlife: Dinner & Drinks
Toronto has one of the world’s truly great food scenes. A truly international city with an equally diverse array of restaurants to suit any taste. From Cuban to Filipino and everything in between, toronto boasts incredible restaurants to begin the perfect night out. We highly suggest making your way outside the entertainment district to Ossington, Queen West, Dundas and College to discover the local favourites. Trendy cocktail bars are readily available in the area as well and you will not be disappointed with the taste or the prices. Some of our favourites include: Terroni, Rhum Corner, Bar Raval, Byblos & Chantecler.
9. Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey is Canada’s game. Learn about the storied history of the game at the Hockey Hall of Fame located just minutes from Union station. It is widely believed that the game was invented in Montreal in the 19th century. As the game grew, a league emerged called the NHL with six original teams (Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers) Today there are 31 teams playing across Canada and the United States. The Hockey Hall of Fame pays tribute to the game in an interactive way that allows fans to learn about the game and come closer to the best players and memorable moments that built the sport.
10. Toronto Blue Jays
There is no better way to spend a sunny summer day in Toronto than outside in the bleachers with a beer in hand. The Toronto Blue Jays play at the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the Skydome) right next door to the CN Tower. The team consistently has a decent roster, and often welcomes the biggest teams in the sport. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are frequent visitors and offer a glimpse at some of the very best players in the sport. The stadium also has few bad seats, so whether you’re willing to spend $100+ for up close, lower bowl seats; or under $20 in the nosebleeds, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to take in the action and the vibe no matter where you’re seated.
11. Distillery District
Toronto’s historic distillery district is a must for any first time visitor to the city. Reclaimed from years of decay, the district was renovated and brought back to life with boutique shops, fine restaurants and bars and nightlife. Open only to pedestrians, the area was designed to be reminiscent of european walking and patio districts blended with the trendy areas of SoHo or Chelsea in New York city to create an atmosphere that is inviting, fun, relaxed and dynamic. Every season, the district welcomes new art installations that keep the area interesting and a point of attraction for Torontonians and tourists alike.
12. Kensington Market
Kensington Market is the perfect place to spend a lazy day in the sunshine. The market is open for pedestrian traffic all day on Saturdays where tourists and locals wander from unique boutique shops to delicious restaurants with an international flare. Soak up a few hour of people watching from the comfort of a suntrap patio with an icy cold drink in hand.
13. Casa Loma
Casa Loma is the Castle on the hill in midtown Toronto. Originally built in 1914, the castle is now a listed heritage building owned by the city of Toronto. Spend the day exploring the beautiful grounds and getting a glimpse into the past of the city. Casa Loma hosts over 250 events a year including parties, weddings and even a popular site for filming television and movies. The castle is also home to fine dining establishments like Blueblood Steakhouse and Don Alfonso 1890 where Michelin star chefs ply their craft.
14. Nathan Phillips Square
The seat of Toronto’s City Hall, Nathan Philipps Square is a large public square that hosts many of the biggest events in the city. From fireworks displays, to food festivals, there’s always something going on. It’s also home to the iconic TORONTO sign that reminds you are in Canada’s cultural capital. In the winter, you can go ice skating with the backdrop of the 70s era building as a backdrop. You also cannot miss it. Located at Bay st & Queen St. you’re sure to walk past during your stay.
15. Bata Shoe Museum
Regardless of whether you’re into shoes or not, the Bata Museum is a fascinating collection of shoes from around the world that you simply have to check out. Housed in an impressive, award winning architectural marvel designed by Raymond Moriyama. Founded by Sonia Bata in 1979, the personal collection turned exhibition covers over 4500 years of shoes and 1000 pairs permanently displayed.
16. High Park
Every great city has a great park for locals to unwind, enjoy and escape the concrete jungle. Toronto is no different. High Park is located in the west side of Toronto between Bloor St. and Lakeshore Boulevard. The park boasts more than one third of its total area dedicated to original natural growth. The rest of the park is shared with gardens, spots fields and walking trails for all to enjoy. High Park is also the best place in the city to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in the spring. Cross country skiing in the winter and the free zoo that is home to domestic and exotic animals like llamas, sheep, deer, bison, peacocks and more.
Day Trip to Niagara Falls
Perhaps no place captures the imagination of visitors to Canada like Niagara Falls. For over 200 years people have flocked to this immense wonder of he world to stand in amazement watching mother nature in all her glory. The 12.000 year old falls are made of of three distinct waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Tourists can join a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist which is as exhilerating an experience as it is wet. From Toronto, you can get ot Niagara falls within 2 hours, and should you wish can spend the night, there are several hotels available. Niagara Falls also has a bit of a carnival atmosphere with games, rides and even haunted houses, making for a great day out for couples and families.
Best Events in Toronto
Spring & Summer
Global food festival at the historic Evergreen Brick Works building in the heart of the city kicks off the annual food calendar.
One of the largest Pride Festivals in the world, the week long celebration includes epic parties and a parade that is not to be missed.
The worlds top jazz musicians come together and perform at various venues across the city from intimate to grand halls.
200 participating restaurants create a stunning array of three course dishes for all to enjoy.
Top tennis players compete in a world-class tournament for one of the most prized trophies in tennis.
Toronto Caribbean Carnival
A cultural explosion of colours, tastes and music. The caribbean culture is celebrated at one of the largest festivals worldwide.
A showcase of Greek food and culture in the east side Greektown neighbourhood. Hugely popular, this is the place to dine in the summertime.
Autumn & Winter
The world’s largest public Film Festival, over 300 films are screened for the first time while 100’s of Hollywood stars flock to the city for their premieres.
Just For Laughs
A hilarious comedy festival featuring the biggest names in comedy and some up and comers perform sets that will have your rolling in the aisles.
An all night artistic affair, subways run all night taking people from one fascinating art exhibit to the next throughout the city.
Cavalcade of Lights
Kick off the Christmas holiday season with live music, fireworks and performances at Nathan Phillips Square.
An old world tradition, vendors and food stalls set up selling holiday favourites in a warm and joyous atmosphere.
New Year’s Eve
Ring in the new year with thousands of merry souls at Nathan Phillips Square with fireworks overhead.
200 participating restaurants and top chefs prepare set menus of incredible three course meals. A fantastic celebration of international cuisine.
The Westin Harbour Castle
Discover the epitome of elegance and luxury at The Westin Harbour Castle in downtown Toronto. Nestled in the heart of the city’s financial district, this exceptional hotel offers a central location that puts you within easy reach of Toronto’s renowned attractions, theatres, shopping, and vibrant nightlife. With a range of well-appointed rooms and suites, exquisite dining options, breathtaking views of Lake Ontario, and top-notch amenities, the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel provides an unparalleled stay experience in the bustling metropolis of Toronto.