19 Best things to do in Toronto (Canada) (incl Zoo, Aquariums, Museums, Niagara) and must see places
If we’re honest with you, the amount of amazing things to do in Toronto is insane. That’s because this vibrant city is full of surprises. Outdoor graffiti galleries, multicultural neighborhoods, wonderful nature (see Niagara Falls), gothic fairytale buildings, a shoe (oh, yes) museum, and the list goes on and on!
Sounds amazing, right?
To discover the coolest things to do in Toronto (along with some amazing day-trips), read on!
The best things to do in Toronto in a nutshell
Discover the cutest animals from all over the world & have fun with the family at Toronto Zoo
Savor the most breathtaking vistas of Toronto and dine with a view the CN Tower
Meet the most fascinating marine animals and learn how to take care of them at Ripley’s Aquarium
Immerse yourself in history at the biggest museum in Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum
Go for a day-trip to the Niagara Falls to see one of the most popular natural attractions in the world
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The best fun things to do in Toronto
Shoe lovers rejoice -Toronto has its very own shoe museum, Bata Shoe Museum. Located in Yorkville, Toronto’s shopping heaven, this museum holds the largest shoe collection in the world with over 13,500 items. Except for shoes from every age and culture you could imagine, at Bata Shoe Museum you’ll also find some super-popular pieces of footwear, like Marilyn Monroe’s red heels, Elton John’s platform boots, Queen Victoria’s slippers, and John Lennon’s boots. Bata Shoe Museum is one of the coolest places to visit in Toronto!
To see what Toronto is really about, you have to try the local cuisine. Besides, it’s not a secret that Toronto is a heaven for foodies! If you want to discover Toronto’s culinary scene, a guided food tour is your best bet. From Chinatown to Little India and everything in between, you’re going to eat your way through the most delicious neighbourhoods in Toronto. You’ll also get to enjoy local delicacies, explore the city’s international culinary scene, discover the hippest restaurants, and visit the city’s top food markets.
Eaton Centre is not only one of the most famous attractions in Toronto but also a super-popular shopping destination! Entertainment options at Eaton Centre are unlimited, as it houses 330 shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering an all-day shopping experience. Except for shopping, there’s also a lot to see in Eaton Centre, like the Flight Stop, an iconic collection of fiberglass geese hanging from the ceiling, and the impressive glass galleria. It’s more than worth your time!
The best things to do in Toronto for free
If you’re searching for the most colorful and artsy corner in the city, the Graffiti Alley is a go-to! Located south of Queen West, the Graffiti Alley is the ultimate street art heaven with graffiti-covered walls stretching for half a mile.
The graffiti artworks at the Graffiti Alley change regularly, as artists paint over old graffiti, so the scenery might be different every time you visit. The Graffiti Alley is one of the most photo-worthy spots in Toronto, so you’re going to see many people capturing the street-art. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you!
High Park, the largest Park in Toronto, offers a variety of beautiful spaces to explore, like trails, playgrounds, gardens, ponds, picnic spots, and a zoo. High Park becomes particularly popular in spring and summer when everything is in full bloom and many theatrical performances take place. One of the park’s highlights is the cherry blossom groves, which bloom in April/May, creating a magical setting!
Tip: If you’re visiting High Park with kids, don’t forget to check out the High Park Zoo!
Kensington Market is a multicultural neighborhood known for its boho vibe and artistic character. Located in the heart of Toronto city center, this National Historic Site is an ideal destination for a Sunday stroll, as cars are prohibited on Sundays. In the bustling Kensington Market, you’ll find an open-air market, trendy fashion boutiques, vintage shops, and hip cafes.
Even if you don’t spend money, just a stroll around the neighborhood is the best way to introduce yourself to the urban culture!
The best things to do in Toronto with family and friends
Strolling around the Distillery District you’ll feel transported to another era! This historic neighborhood is full of 19th-century brick buildings that were once whiskey distilleries -one of them was the biggest whiskey distillery in the world. With more than 40 boutique shops and many restaurants and cafes housed in the heritage buildings, Distillery District is a top commercial and cultural hub in Toronto.
This district is also fully pedestrianized, so you don’t have to worry about the cars (especially if you’re a parent). If on the other side, you’re visiting with friends, don’t forget to visit the district’s amazing bars, which ooze Victorian industrial charm in abundance.
Tip: If you happen to be in Toronto at Christmas time, don’t miss the fabulous Christmas Market that takes place in the Distillery District!
One of the coolest neighborhoods in Toronto, West Queen West is the place to go for authentic urban vibes. It is full of indie boutiques, galleries, hip bars, trendy restaurants, and vintage shops, thus it is a popular destination for hipsters, artists, and fashionistas.
Wandering the streets of West Queen West, you’ll spot everything from artistic tattoos and funky outfits to stylish pets and colorful buildings. No wonder Vogue magazine has named it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world!
Evergreen Brick Works is a LEED-certified environmental center located in Don Valley, outside Toronto city. It’s an absolute natural paradise with eco-friendly and sustainable character! Inside the park, you’ll find public markets, exhibitions, trails, an ice rink, and Children’s Garden, an area dedicated to hands-on activities for the kids.
Evergreen Brick Works also hosts several workshops, conferences, yoga classes, and eco festivals most of which are free, so don’t forget to check the event calendar before your visit.
The Ripley’s Aquarium is a go-to for a fun family outing in Toronto! The biggest indoor aquarium in Canada, Ripley’s is home to over 20,000 aquatic animals. In this fascinating aquarium, you’ll have the chance to watch a spectacular jellyfish light show, walk through the largest underwater viewing tunnel in North America, visit the colorful fish of the rainbow reef, dive into the water with an interactive submarine, and even touch a stingray. The Ripley’s Aquarium offers over 100 different interactive experiences for both kids and adults!
Tip: If you want to have a hands-on experience behind the scenes, you can sign in to become an aquarist for a day and work alongside Ripley’s team!
No family trip to Toronto is complete without a visit to the zoo! Toronto Zoo, which has been operating since 1974, is home to over 5,000 animals and plants from all over the world. For the visitors’ easier navigation, the zoo is divided into seven regions based on the animals’ natural environments: Africa, Americas, Australasia, Canadian Domain, Eurasia, Indo-Malaya, and Tundra Trek. All the regions host many adorable animals, both indoors and outdoors. Some of the zoo’s most popular (and cutest) inhabitants are the sloth, the flamingos, the river otter, the tree kangaroo, the polar bear, and the red panda. Both kids and adults will be fascinated!
Fact: Toronto Zoo offers many amenities, like restaurants, food trucks, and gift shops. They are a big plus for families that are planning to spend the whole day at the zoo!
The best places for sightseeing in Toronto (Top attractions and monuments)
If you could visit just one museum in Toronto, this should definitely be the Royal Ontario Museum. The Royal Ontario Museum (also known as ROM) is the biggest museum in Canada and one of the most popular attractions in Toronto. It hosts a huge collection of over 6,000,000 exhibits related with natural history, art, and culture, including dinosaur bones, Ancient Greek jewelry, indigenous sculptures, murals, and stones. In the museum, you’ll also find the CIBC Discovery Gallery, a kid learning zone with fun and educational activities for the little ones!
Tip: Given that the Royal Ontario Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Toronto, waiting lines are usually long. So, it’s better to pre-book your tickets to skip the crowds, especially if you’re visiting with family.
No trip to Toronto is complete without a dose of fairytale and the best place to find it is Casa Loma. Built back in the 1900s by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, this Gothic Revival castle is a world unto itself. This architectural gem consists of towers, hallways, secret passages, and suites -it has 98 (!) rooms in total. Thanks to its authentic charm and nostalgic feel, Casa Loma has served as a filming location for several movies, like X-Men, Harry Potter, and Chicago.
Tip: Since the castle is quite big and there’s a lot to see, we highly recommend joining a guided tour!
It’s not a secret that hockey is Canada’s national sport, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Toronto has a museum dedicated to it! At the Hockey Hall, you’ll find a big collection of everything hockey-related (including the original Stanley Cup), as well as a souvenir shop.
As its name indicates, the Hockey Hall is also a hall of fame, which inducts every year the top hockey professionals, from hockey players to coaches. If you are a hockey fan or just want to know more about Canada’s national winter sport, you’re bound to love the Hockey Hall of Fame!
If you’re searching for the most breathtaking city views, the CN Tower is a go-to. Boasting the astonishing height of nearly 554 meters, this signature Torontonian tower has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern world and has been multiple times awarded. Everything in the CN Tower is designed to offer a mind-blowing experience and boost your adrenaline. Glass floors with a view of the ground, window walls with panoramic city views, an award-winning restaurant on the top of the tower, and EdgeWalk, the highest hands-free outdoors walk in the world are just some of the reasons why the CN Tower is so worth a visit!
Tip: If you decide to dine at the 360 Restaurant, opt for a table next to the window. The floor is revolving (very slowly), so you’ll have the chance to see the whole city during your dinner!
Best day trips from Toronto
Niagara Falls are one of the most impressive attractions in Canada and has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty. The Niagara Falls are divided into three separate waterfalls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. The first two lie on the U.S. side, while the last lies on the Canada side. At Niagara Falls in Canada, you’ll find many facilities, like luxurious hotels, luxury spas, theme parks, and boutique shops.
Tip: The falls are located 120 km away from Toronto, right on the Canada-U.S borders, so an organized day trip is the best way to visit them.
Whether you opt for a day trip or a cruise, a visit to the Toronto Islands is a must! Toronto Islands is a group of 15 small islands scattered across Lake Ontario, just off downtown Toronto. There aren’t many permanent residents on the islands and cars are banned, so the Toronto Islands keep their serene charm.
You can reach the islands by ferry or a water taxi from Toronto city, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can opt for canoe or kayak! On the islands, there’s a lot to enjoy: beaches, parks, restaurants, gardens, as well as several activities, like cycling, yoga, and paddleboarding.
The top places to eat & drink in Toronto
Located on College Street in the Little Italy district, DaiLo restaurant is one of the town’s most popular eateries and a meeting point for the hip Torontonian youth. DaiLo specializes in French-Cantonese cuisine, offering a variety of mouthwatering specialties that deliciously combine flavors from two different continents. Our favorite dishes include the Hakka Brown Wontons, the Crispy Octopus Taco, the Singapore Chili Crab, and the Fried Watermelon. Oh, and don’t miss DaiLo’s yummy cocktails!
Info: 503 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1A5, Canada Tel: 16473418882
This Spanish-style bar is the place to go for tapas and wine in downtown Toronto! Bar Raval boasts an impressive Gaudi-inspired curvy interior with wooden panels and an elabοrate ceiling that will instantly transfer you to Spain. Bar Raval’s menu includes a variety of small Spanish dishes and hand-picked drinks that pair perfectly with each other. Don’t miss the Trident, Under the Bridge, and Rob Roy cocktails, as well as the excellent selection of Spanish and Portuguese wines.
Info: 505 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1A5, Canada Tel: 16473448001
How can you get to Toronto?
You can get to Toronto by air, by train, or by car. The fastest way to get to Toronto, especially if you’re traveling from another country, is by air. There are two airports in Toronto: Toronto Pearson International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The first serves mainly international flights, while the second mostly regional flights. If you’re planning to travel to Toronto from the U.S., you can opt for the car or the train.
Where to stay in Toronto?
The best areas to stay in Toronto are the Entertainment District (for entertainment and sightseeing), Yorkville (for shopping), Downtown Toronto (for first-time visitors), and Downtown West (for families).
Explore more: Check all the hotels in Toronto
What is the best season to visit Toronto?
Canada usually has harsh winters and milder summers, so tourism peaks during the summer. Summer is indeed the best season to visit Toronto, but if you want to skip the crowds, opt for your visit to fall between April and May and between September and October.
What are the most popular attractions in Toronto?
The most famous attractions in Toronto are Kensington Market, Evergreen Brickworks, CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Rogers Centre, Casa Loma, and St. Lawrence Market.
What are the must-try foods in Toronto?
The best foods to eat in Toronto are peameal bacon sandwich, ice cream sandwich, bagels, pizza Margherita, smash bag, and churros.
Now we ‘d like to hear from you
Toronto is one of those cities that have a unique urban atmosphere. Full of attractions, activities, and interesting places to visit, it will never let you get bored -there’s always something new to discover!
So, what are the experiences you can’t wait to have in Toronto? Tell us in the comments and share this article with your fellow travel enthusiasts on Social Media!