If you are looking for places to visit in Toronto, we got your back!
Toronto is all about art, culture, multicultural experiences, food, green urban spaces, museums, sports, and friendly locals (like us, eh). So what’s not to love?
As you know, Road Trip Ontario is based in Toronto and locals (one of us born and bred), we’ve put together the top places to visit in Toronto + hidden gems. A whopping 35+ of the best Toronto attractions to familiarize you with the city we call home.
Usually, we plan day trips and weekend getaways from Toronto –– but whether you’re a Canadian, a local Torontonian, here for a game, a concert, a show or a tourist passing through, you’ll find that there’s so much to discover in this city. Oh, and once you’ve explored everything on this list, why not consider an epic day trip from Toronto?
- Toronto, the most densely populated city in Canada and the capital of Ontario, has gained a reputation for being the nation’s most renowned city. This may be why many of us Torontonians believe that Toronto is Canada.
- Despite its immense size, acclaim, and the sentiment of its residents, Toronto is not the capital of Canada – that honour is reserved for Ottawa, where the country’s federal government is based.
- The name Toronto has a long history, dating back to 1675 when it appeared on maps as a water channel between Lake Simcoe and Couchiching. Over time, the name made its way south to a fort on the banks of the Humber River known as Fort Toronto. This was the first settlement in the area and ultimately lent its name to the modern city of Toronto.
- The Mohawk people referred to the channel connecting Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching as “Tkaronto,” meaning “where there are trees standing in the water”. This channel, now known as “The Narrows,” has been documented since 1615, when Samuel de Champlain recorded it.
- If you want to sound like a local, don’t pronounce the second “T” like “Turonno”
Getting To Toronto
Toronto has two international airports: Toronto Pearson International and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Toronto Pearson is Canada’s busiest airport and offers connections to each continent.
The quickest and most budget-friendly way of travelling from the airport to Toronto is with the UP Express (Union-Pearson Express), which departs from Terminal 1. Alternatively, you could take a taxi, Uber, or public transportation.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is minutes from Toronto’s downtown core and located on the Toronto Islands. Travellers can take a brief ferry or walk through the underground tunnel under Lake Ontario. Both Porter Airlines and Air Canada offer flights from this airport.
You can get to Toronto by train from other parts of Ontario and neighbouring provinces using GO Transit, VIA Rail, and AMTRAK + VIA Rail if coming from the USA.
Driving to Toronto from nearby areas is easy, with Highways 2, 401, 407, and the Queen Elizabeth Way + Gardner Expressway. Additionally, if you wish to cross the border, Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, and Windsor are the closest points of entry.
Situated between two Toronto Subway Stations and accessible through the underground PATH, the Gray Coach Terminal, now known as the Toronto Coach Terminal, is the city’s central hub for Coach Canada, Greyhound Canada, and Ontario Northland bus lines.
Getting Around Toronto
Full disclosure, it takes an hour to get from Toronto to Toronto by car in any direction. Our 5th season is construction. Driving is a nightmare as great and necessary as construction is for a continuously growing city. The best way to get around Toronto is by walking, biking, or using the streetcar (tram) and subway (train).
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) which operates the city’s trains, buses and streetcars, offers Day Passes – available at all subway stations. This allows unlimited rides on all TTC transit within 24 hours. This pass is especially affordable for those who plan to make a few trips during their stay.
For those who want to explore the city in style, Bike Share has several bike stations scattered around the city so visitors can explore the city quickly and effectively.
An efficient and popular way to see many of the city’s attractions is on one of the many sightseeing tours like the hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which provides tourists with an inexpensive and convenient way of visiting Toronto’s most popular attractions.
Many tour operators offer narrated tours in languages other than English, including Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Japanese, to mention a few.
Top Things to See in Toronto (Day 1)
Before we get started, Toronto is the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. It is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Like most of our itineraries, we use the CN Tower as our starting point. Since Toronto is a big city, we’ll logistically divide destinations based on their proximity to each other, from the CN Tower, and what you can fit within a day.
1. CN Tower (The most popular of all places to visit in Toronto)
Wanting to get a birds-eye view of Toronto? Then head on over to the famous CN Tower. Standing at 553.3 meters high, it’s the tallest free-standing building in the Western Hemisphere and the ninth tallest in the world.
While this Toronto tourist attraction can be seen from almost anywhere in the downtown area, the best view is definitely from the Sky Pod. At 447 meters high, you’ll be able to see as far as Niagara Falls on a clear day. If you’re looking for a more death-defying experience, stroll along the 365-meter-high “Edge Walk.”
After the sightseeing, why not grab a bite to eat at the 360-degree revolving restaurant?
2. Rogers Centre
Rogers Centre (aka SkyDome, its former name that most of us still call it) is a multi-purpose stadium home to the Toronto Blue Jays. Opened in 1989, this iconic stadium is the world’s first fully retractable roof stadium and is a symbol of Toronto’s sporty side.
The Rogers Centre has hosted numerous major events, including the 1993 World Series and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Many cultural and musical events occur annually if a game isn’t on.
3. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
In downtown Toronto, near the CN Tower, sits the underwater world that is Ripley’s Aquarium. With over 20 000 marine and freshwater specimens, there is no shortage of mesmerizing water animals to spot.
The underwater tunnel is the perfect place to observe these creatures – you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to an entirely different world. There are also interactive displays, touch tanks and many other educational opportunities, making the Ripley Aquarium one of the must-see places in Toronto for families.
4. Toronto Railway Museum
Toronto Railway Museum is a great place to discover the history of Toronto’s railroads and railway industry. The museum has two permanent exhibitions – one is dedicated to the Railways of Toronto, and the other is to the Working Railway.
It also features many interesting displays, including a 1940s Pullman Station, a railway post office, and collections of artifacts from the days of steam.
5. Steam Whistle Biergärten
Steam Whistle Biergärten, located in the historic Roundhouse Park, offers a wide selection of Steam Whistle’s craft beer, local spirits and delicious eats. The 20,000-square-foot courtyard with a giant fireplace and plenty of seating is open daily from May to October and hosts various events throughout the summer months.
The beer selection includes house-made lagers, IPAs, ciders and more. It also has a full bar offering wine and cocktails. In addition, there is a selection of food items such as wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads and more.
6. Amsterdam Brewhouse
Amsterdam BrewHouse is a great and popular beer-inspired place to visit in Toronto that’s located by the lake and offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. Amsterdam Brewhouse has a wide selection of craft beers, wines, and spirits and an array of delicious food options to pair it with.
With up to 15 different beers on tap, including some hard-to-find seasonal specialties. Amsterdam Brewhouse has a great atmosphere and, during the summer, can have long lineups of people trying to get in, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Toronto.
7. Harbourfront Centre
Harbourfront Centre is a non-profit cultural organization and landmark on Toronto’s waterfront founded in 1972. The Centre presents over 4,000 events year-round with access to leading Canadian and international artists in music, theatre, dance, literature, visual arts, family programming and more.
With four galleries, a craft & design store, a public promenade, an outdoor stage and several outdoor sites for festivals and special events, there is a good chance that something will be happening during your visit.
Things To See In Toronto | East Of The CN Tower
8. Scotiabank Arena
Scotiabank Arena, formerly known as the Air Canada Centre, is an indoor arena home to the Toronto Raptors (2019 world champions! “WE THE NORTH!”) and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The arena is owned and operated by the Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment business division, which also owns both teams.
9. Fairmont Royal York
The Fairmont Royal York is a historic, AAA/CAA four-diamond luxury hotel and is one of the city’s iconic landmarks. The hotel has over 1,000 rooms and suites and offers various services and amenities, including upscale dining, meeting and banquet facilities, a fitness centre and spa, salon services, and event spaces.
10. Hockey Hall of Fame
Speaking of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Canadians love their sport – especially ice hockey! If you are a fan of this sport or want to learn more about it, you must head to the Hockey Hall of Fame. This museum holds all types of memorabilia – from players’ jerseys and kits to the famous Stanley Cup.
Coming to this museum is one of the best things to do in Toronto with kids. Besides browsing the exhibitions, you can test your ice hockey skills. This hall of fame offers interactive games where you can shoot pucks at a digital goalie – or try and be the goalie if you’re up for it. And yes, you can try these games out even if you’re an adult.
11. Gooderham Building (Flatiron Building) + Berczy Park
The Gooderham Building and Berczy Park are two awesome downtown landmarks en route to St. Lawrence Market and The Distillery District. The Gooderham Building, commonly known as the Flatiron Building, is a notable Victorian Era building in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood that has existed since 1892.
Behind the Flatiron Building is Berczy Park, which is on this list simply because it has the coolest 2-tiered fountain with dog and cat sculptures.
12. The Cathedral Church of St. James
The Cathedral Church of St. James is the oldest Anglican church in Toronto. Established in 1797, it was the first Anglican church in Upper Canada and served as the original seat of the diocese of Toronto.
The building is an example of Gothic Revival architecture, built from local stone in the 1830s and features a 137-foot-high tower and spire, making it a prominent landmark in the city.
13. St. Lawrence Market
This public market on the southwest corner of Front and Lower Jarvis Street is filled with vendors. The sights, smell, and grand interior contribute to a charming atmosphere. If you find yourself in St Lawrence Market, sample some delicious foods or treat yourself (or a friend) to a gift or two.
This spot is a Toronto must-do, even if you’re just visiting Toronto for the weekend.
14. Distillery District
Whether you love a craft beer, a glass of wine or good old G&T, you’ll find it in this industrial Toronto neighbourhood. Taking a segway tour is a great way to explore the area. But if you’re planning on sampling some (boozy) goods, then a walking tour might be the smarter option.
Distillery District is known for its hip, broody atmosphere, which makes it the perfect place for a host of events. During the warmer months, there’s the Music City Summer series and a weekly Sunday market. Otherwise, there’s a host of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes waiting to be discovered.
Toronto Places To Visit | North Of The CN Tower (Day 2)
From the CN Tower, we head North to King Street. Within the downtown core, King Street is a major cultural and entertainment hub (Entertainment District). It contains many shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, live theatres, movie theatres, concert halls, the Toronto International Film Festival and other businesses.
15. Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall is home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and hosts many other performances and special events throughout the year. The acoustics and architecture of the hall have made it a popular venue for both classical and popular music acts, as well as comedy and stage performances.
Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed the building, which can seat 2 630 and was completed in 1982.
16. Princess of Wales Theatre
The historic Princess of Wales Theatre is a 1,000-seat theatre built in 1893 and is the oldest in Canada. Canadian impresario George William Ross originally owned the building, but Mirvish Productions owns it.
Although the theatre was originally built as a vaudeville house –– This type of light entertainment was popular from the mid-1890s to the early 1930s and comprised a range of performers, including magicians, acrobats, comedians, trained animals, jugglers, singers, and dancers, each act lasting for approximately 10-15 minutes)
It has since hosted numerous theatrical productions, concerts and events and is one of the most renowned theatres in the city.
17. TIFF Bell Lightbox
TIFF Bell Lightbox is an entertainment venue, the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, and a multi-screen cinema complex with five screens. It opened on September 12, 2010, as the permanent home of the Toronto International Film Festival.
When the TIFF isn’t taking over Toronto in September, The TIFF Bell Lightbox also features regular film screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, and year-round installations.
The complex includes two restaurants, a lounge, galleries, a gift shop, and learning and rental spaces.
As we continue north, we hit Queen Street at the centre of the Fashion District. It is one of the busiest streets in the downtown area, lined with an eclectic mix of stores, from high-end fashion boutiques, thrift shops, bars and restaurants.
18. Campbell House Museum
Campbell House Museum houses various artifacts relating to Sir William Campbell’s and his family’s lives. The museum is not only a beautiful historical landmark with a grandiose Georgian-style home; it was built in 1822 by William Campbell, one of Toronto’s foremost architects and builders.
The museum offers a variety of tours, where you can explore the house and learn about its history. In addition, many events and programs are held throughout the year that offers educational and interactive activities.
It is also rumoured that the house may also be haunted.
19. Osgoode Hall
Osgoode Hall is an iconic building in the heart of Toronto built in 1829. The first Law Society of Upper Canada initially occupied it, but today it serves as a historic landmark and museum.
The building is Neo-Classical architecture, with two large towers on either side of the main entrance. The building’s facade is adorned with several sculptural details, such as the figure of Lady Justice above the entrance and the grand pillars that flank the entranceway.
Visitors are welcomed with a majestic grand staircase leading up to the main entrance.
20. Toronto City Hall + Toronto Sign + Nathan Phillips Square
If you ever wondered where to find that multi-coloured ‘Toronto’ sign you’ve seen on social media? Well, Nathan Phillips Square is where you’ll find it! But that’s not the only reason to visit Toronto’s urban plaza.
This square hosts several events throughout the year, such as a New Year’s Eve party and the Cavalcade of Lights Festival. Located in the center, you’ll find a sizable, man-made pond (in the summer) that doubles as an ice skating rink in the winter months.
21. Toronto Old City Hall
Toronto Old City Hall is an architectural landmark built from 1889 to 1899 and was once the home of the city’s municipal government for nearly a century. The building is one of Canada’s most prominent examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and is a National Historic.
22. Eaton Centre
The Eaton Centre is the city’s only mega shopping destination. With 230 national and international retailers, it offers shoppers an abundance of shopping opportunities and entertainment options. In addition, the Eaton Centre caters to its visitors with various dining selections.
23. Yonge-Dundas Square
Yonge-Dundas Square is an iconic landmark in Toronto, comparable to the iconic Times Square in New York City –– but on a smaller scale. The area is always bustling with tourists and locals, enjoying the open space and eclectic atmosphere. The vivid LCDs illuminate the square and capture the electrifying energy of downtown Toronto.
24. Little Canada
Don’t let the miniature size of the Little Canada exhibits discourage you from visiting – the amount of detail and work they have included in each little location is incredible! From the parliament buildings in Little Ottawa to the Little Bay of Fundy with its own tide schedule, much attention has been paid to each element they have included.
Except for the CN Tower, the exhibits are built on a standard train model scale of 1:87. Its impressive size in real life is mirrored in the Little Canada world, where they had to adopt a 1:160 scale to fit in the building.
If you fall in love with the display, you can even leave yourself in the Little Canada world! Using the Littlization Station, a 360-degree photo is taken to create a Little Me replica reflecting every aspect of you and your appearance on the day of your visit. This includes your hairstyle, the clothing you’re wearing, and even your pose. The final ¾” Little Me can be placed in the exhibit of your choice or have a miniature version of yourself made to display at home.
25. Art Gallery of Ontario
Calling all art lovers. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO for short) and its 95 000 art piece collections are calling your name! From contemporary art to Renaissance masterpieces, you’ll get to admire various artworks from across the globe.
When you’re not ambling through the galleries, you can partake in one of the interesting workshops and grab a bite to eat at the AGO Bistro.
26. Graffiti Alley
This is a Toronto must-see for tourists and locals alike. Running parallel to Queens Street West and Richmond Street West lies an alleyway with a kaleidoscope of colours. This is the place to go if you want to see a more alternative side of the art scene!
27. Kensington Market
Mixed in with Chinatown, Kensington Market is a historic, bustling, eclectic and diverse community home to immigrants and locals for more than 100 years. The area is full of colourful shops, cafes, restaurants, and markets of all kinds, making it one of the city’s most vibrant and interesting places to explore.
This is one of our favourite spots in the city and a great place to find unique original items, whether new or used and grab a bite or a beer at Kensington Brewery.
Toronto Attractions | Further North Of The CN Tower (Day 3)
28. University of Toronto Campus
If you want a Harry Potter-type experience, start the day at the University of Toronto Campus.
In 1827, King’s College was established, making it the first university of higher learning in Upper Canada. The University of Toronto is home to twelve distinct colleges, with two satellite campuses in Scarborough and Mississauga.
29. Royal Ontario Museum
At first glance, the Royal Ontario Museum presents a contradictory sight. Jutting out from the building’s midsection is the museum’s most recent addition – an architectural masterpiece resembling a crystalline structure made of glass and aluminum. On either side stands the original museum’s walls which were done in Italianate and Neo-Romanesque architecture.
Once you step through the front doors, you’ll be transported into a natural history, art and culture world. Ever seen an Egyptian sarcophagus or a real-life meteorite collection? You can see that and so much more at this must-see attraction in Toronto.
Recently named one of the hippest and most vibrant neighbourhoods in Toronto, Yorkville is known as a quiet, posh residential area which has evolved into one of Toronto’s trendiest hotspots. From high-end boutiques to outdoor art and trendy cafes and eateries.
One of the most popular and iconic spots in Yorkville is the Mink Mile. This stretch of Bloor Street is lined with some of the most luxurious stores in Toronto, such as Coach, Burberry, and Harry Rosen.
31. Bata Shoe Museum
At the Bata Shoe Museum, you can explore their unique collection of more than 13,000 shoes and footwear-related artifacts. The museum is home to some of the world’s oldest and most unusual footwear.
From ancient Egyptian sandals to modern high-heeled stilettos, you can learn about the history of shoe making and its social importance. With interactive displays to guided tours with experienced curators, this is a great stop for shoe and fashion enthusiasts.
32. Casa Loma (One of the top Toronto Attractions)
Ever dreamed of building your own ostentatious, medieval-style castle? Perhaps you won’t get to do it in this lifetime, but you can certainly imagine what it would be like during a tour of Casa Loma.
This 98-bedroom castle was built in the early 1900s for Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian multi-millionaire. When you’re not exploring the secret passageways, towers and decorated suites, you can stroll about the sprawling 5-acre garden.
Places To Go In Toronto | East Of The CN Tower
33. Fort York National Historic Site
Fort York National Historic Site is home to the nation’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. It was established as long ago as 1793 to protect the harbour from an American invasion.
The fort is open to the public seven days a week and offers a variety of activities, including guided tours, educational programs and interactive exhibits. During the summer months, regular re-enactments of battles take place in and around the fort, allowing visitors to experience a piece of history first-hand.
34. BMO Field
BMO Field, located at Exhibition Place in Toronto, is home to the Toronto Football Club (Toronto FC) and the Toronto Argonauts (CFL). With 30,000 people, the field can host other large-scale events, such as outdoor concerts.
35. The Exhibition Place, aka The Ex
The Ex is an age-old summertime attraction in Toronto and is the largest fair in all of Canada. it covers 200 acres of land with over 800 exhibitions and games, including bowling, bumper cars, carnival rides, video arcades, and so much more
They also have classic fair food like cotton candy, candied apples, popcorn, and extreme food items such as fried crickets or hotdog-flavoured ice cream.
Where To Go In Toronto | South Of The CN Tower
36. Toronto Islands
Where to go in Toronto? Well, all you have to do is look out at the small cluster of islands off the shore of downtown Toronto. This small archipelago is one of North America’s largest urban car-free communities (well, besides the handful of service vehicles).
There are plenty of things to do while visiting the Toronto Islands, such as rowing, sailing, cycling and walking. During the summer, the Toronto Islands host many outdoor events like music festivals. There’s also the Centreville Amusement Park if you’re looking for some exhilarating fun.
While you can easily tour the islands on your own, taking a guided bike or boat tour of the Toronto harbour and several islands is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. When you’re on any islands, look back at the mainland – on clear days, you’ll enjoy a stunning view of the Toronto skyline.
More Time In Toronto, More Toronto Attractions (Day 4 and Beyond)
37. Allan Gardens – Toronto Botanical Garden
With almost four acres of land and 17 gardens the size of cities, there’s plenty to be seen. There are also numerous trails to meander along – you could easily spend an entire day amongst the flowers.
The Toronto Botanical Garden is run by a non-profit organization that aims to educate and inspire visitors through its wonderfully designed garden spaces. You should pop into the seasonal cafe for a sweet treat when you’re not admiring the flowers.
38. Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre is one of the must-do Toronto activities – it’s bubbling with curiosity, inspiration and creativity. Be prepared; a lot is going on at this Toronto attraction.
You’ll be able to interact with exhibits, get hands-on with science experiments or observe a live presentation. If your kid wants to become an astronaut or scientist one day, send them on over to the impressive KidSpark – a place of fun and learning.
39. Rouge National Urban Park
This is a great place to go in Toronto if you want to escape the city bustle. With no entrance fees and only an hour’s drive sitting between you and this Toronto must-see, what’s stopping you from enjoying this tranquil spot?
This urban national park boasts an array of animal species and terrains. You can sunbathe on the beaches of Lake Ontario, paddle along the river, or explore the dense forests. Other activities include camping, hiking along the trails, fishing in the marshland and learning about some of Canada’s oldest known indigenous sites.
Where To Stay In Toronto + Map
Final Thoughts: Top Toronto Places to Visit
When it comes to top places to visit, you can see why Toronto should be top of the list. This city is truly fantastic and has something for everyone – whether you’re a foodie, sports enthusiast or art lover. We might be a tad biased, but we truly want you to love our city as much as we do.
If you know of any other hidden gems in Toronto and think they should be included in this list, drop a comment below – We’d love to hear from you!