If you’re looking for a multicultural experience, then you’ve come to the right place. Arts, culture, food, green urban spaces, museums, sports, and friendly locals (like myself, eh) are what Toronto is all about. So what’s not to love?
And as local, I’ve put together the top places to visit in Toronto. Fourteen of the best Toronto attractions will get you acquainted with the city I call home.
Whether you’re a Canadian local or a tourist passing through, you’ll find that there’s so much to discover in this city. Once you’ve explored everything on this list, why not consider an epic day trip from Toronto?
Top Things to See in Toronto
Ready to experience everything Toronto has to offer? Keep scrolling to find out more about this city’s top sights. But, if you want the planning taken care of for you, why not consider a hop-on-hop-off bus tour?
St. Lawrence Market
This public market located on the southwest corner of Front and Lower Jarvis Street is filled with all sorts of vendors. The sights smell and grand interior all contributes 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.
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.
Royal Ontario Museum
At first glance, the Royal Ontario Museum presents a contradictory sight. Jutting out from the building’s mid-section 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 world of natural history, art and culture. Ever seen an Egyptian sarcophagus or a real-life meteorite collection? Well, you can see that and so much more at this must-see attraction in Toronto.
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 a variety of artworks from across the globe.
Casa Loma (One of the top Toronto Attractions)
Ever dreamed of building your own ostentatious, medieval-style castle? Well, 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.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Canadians love their sport – especially ice hockey! If you happen to be a fan of this sport or simply would like to learn more about it, then you need to head on over 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 out your own ice hockey skills if you fancy. 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.
CN Tower (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 type of experience, take a stroll along the 365 meter-high “Edge Walk.”
After the sightseeing, why not grab a bite to eat at the 360-degree revolving restaurant?
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; there’s a lot 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.
Nathan Phillips Square
Have you ever seen someone post a picture of the multi-coloured ‘Toronto’ sign 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.
Rouge National Urban Park
This is a great place to go in Toronto if you’re looking to get away from 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.
This is a Toronto must-see for tourists and locals alike. Running parallel to Queens Street West and Richmond Street West lies an alleyway filled with a kaleidoscope of colours. If you would like to see a more alternative side of the art scene, then this is the place to go!
Allan Gardens – Toronto Botanical Garden
Just an 18-minute drive from downtown Toronto sits an oasis waiting to be discovered. 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 here 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. When you’re not admiring the flowers, you should pop into the seasonal cafe for a sweet treat.
Trying to think of 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 the largest urban car-free communities in North America (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 tour or a boat tour of the Toronto harbour and several of the islands is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. When you’re on any one of the islands, be sure to look back at the mainland – on clear days, you’ll get to enjoy a stunning view of the Toronto skyline.
Whether you love a craft beer, 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 as well as a weekly Sunday market. Otherwise, there’s a host of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes waiting to be discovered.
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.
If you know of any other hidden gems in Toronto and think they should be included in this list, drop a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!