As the capital of Ontario, Toronto really is an epic place to be.
It’s packed full of all that Canadian charm we all know and love.
Coupled with a truly multicultural vibe, some fantastic sites, and about a thousand Tim Hortons.
Seriously, what more could you want, eh?
The only problem we found when road tripping Canada, was that, with so much going on, planning a trip to Toronto can almost be overwhelming!
But don’t worry, we have you covered.
Below is a run down of the absolute BEST things to do in Toronto.
Coupled with useful tips and tricks on how to make the most of your stay!
Let’s get stuck in...
Whether you rent a car or take your own, Toronto is easily accessible from many cities in Canada and across the border in the United States.
For example, Toronto is only a four-hour drive away from Detroit and an eight-hour drive away from New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.
If you're planning on doing a cross-country trip around Canada then many people choose to hire a motorhome in Ontario or Toronto, and then carry on their trip through the country.
This is one of the best ways to get around but if you've already hired your RV then just make sure you book accommodation in Toronto that offers private parking.
The main international airport in Toronto is the Toronto Pearson International Airport. This airport is also the principal airport in Canada for international connections and is likely the airport you'll land at if you fly into the city.
Many Canadian and US cities have daily non-stop flights to Toronto.
If you're traveling from another city in Ontario or from a nearby province or state, you might find a non-stop flight with a smaller airline and land at Toronto's other major airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Check available flights and deals on Skyscanner!
If you're traveling from another area of Canada, Via Rail offers rail services from some provinces with stops in Toronto.
Amtrak offers rail service from New York to Toronto.
The two major long-distance bus companies that offer service from other destinations in Canada and the United States are Greyhound and MegaBus.
If you fly to Toronto and land at Pearson International, you'll discover that the airport isn't all that close to the downtown area so you'll need to find a way to get there.
The Union-Pearson Express is an express train that connects Pearson with Union Station. It departs the airport every 15 minutes and the journey takes about 25 minutes.
Go Transit has buses that travel between Pearson International and many of the city's suburban areas and TTC has express buses that operate between the airport and downtown.
If you want the freedom to be able to travel at your own pace without the hassle of buying bus and train tickets and waiting around at bus and train stations, renting a car is a good option.
Just be aware that it's also the most expensive way to get around, traffic can be hectic in Toronto and finding a place to park can be a challenge at times.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has buses, streetcars and trains that operate on many routes throughout the city.
Buses and trains are integrated so if you need to transfer from a bus to a train to get to your destination, that transfer is free.
There's certainly no shortage of great places to stay in Toronto.
Whether you want to stay downtown right in the middle of it all or you prefer to be on the outskirts, there's a wide variety of accommodations to suit every budget and taste.
Here are just a few of the places you can book for your stay in the city.
This guesthouse is located in the city's East end and is one of the best budget-friendly options you'll find in Toronto. There are several double rooms available and some even offer a private bathroom.
Guests will also have access to a communal kitchen if you're looking to cook your own food and cut costs.
The rooms at this hotel have been recently renovated, and each one offers a modern and spacious interior.
You'll get plenty of amenities too including free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, a fridge, and a work desk.
Toronto has plenty of luxurious hotels but this is one of the most popular! Hotel Fairmont Royal York Hotel has fantastic facilities for starters including a sky lit indoor pool, a fitness center, a bar, and a business center.
Pets are also allowed at this hotel!
There's no question about it, the most well-known and most noticeable of all Toronto's attractions is the CN Tower and visiting this attraction is one of the best things to do in the city.
It's currently one of the tallest free-standing structures in the world at 1,815 feet and is the most prominent feature of the city's skyline.
Inside the tower, you'll see several observation decks and an entertainment complex.
360 is a rotating restaurant that serves a variety of delicious, seasonal Canadian-inspired dishes with a side of spectacular views of the city below.
If it's high-flying thrills you seek, the EdgeWalk is for you. Walk along an edge 116 stories above Toronto with only a harness preventing you from falling.
The Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is one big Aquarium! It has over one million gallons of habitats containing over 20,000 marine and freshwater creatures.
As you explore this fascinating place, you'll see a wide variety of exhibits including Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Planet Jellies, Ray Bay and Dangerous Lagoon, which features sharks.
At the Discovery Center, you'll even have the opportunity to touch some of the species and the Life Support System is where you'll learn about what goes on behind the scenes at the aquarium.
The city of Vancouver on the opposite end of the country also has a fantastic aquarium but it's nowhere near as big as this one!
Believe it or not, Casa Loma was once a private home and a massive one too. That's because it's a castle and it's one of the only real castles in North America.
This stunning gothic-style structure, which was built in the early 1900s, sits atop a hill in the middle of the city.
Today, Casa Loma is a museum dedicated to this historic landmark.
During a visit, you'll learn all about the castle and the historic figures associated with it.
You'll also be able to explore the interior where you'll see secret passageways and beautiful rooms that are now exhibits, including the Oak Room and The Girl Guide Room.
The outside grounds feature five acres of lovely gardens and a tunnel that leads to the Hunting Lodge where you'll find the stables. Also on site is a vintage car exhibit.
You can book your Casa Loma entry ticket in advance on Get Your Guide if you wish to secure your spot.
The Distillery District is named after the historic buildings that were once the site of a large whiskey distillery.
Today, the district is a popular pedestrian area that's home to many restaurants, cafes, boutique shops, galleries and entertainment venues.
As you wander the cobblestone streets of this National Historic Site, you'll find dozens of unique shops selling everything from hard-to-find gift items to high-end fashions.
The Wild Photo Gallery is where you can view some amazing wildlife photography by the artist Jason Leo Bantle.
Amidst the excitement of the Distillery District, a great place to take a break from exploring is Balzac's Coffee, where you'll enjoy a variety of caffeinated beverages and sweet treats.
Some say this is the best coffee shop in Toronto, others say it just might be the best coffee shop in Canada.
For the best experience, you can book a Distillery District walking tour where you'll get to learn all about the area's history.
It's an island so you'll have to take a ferry to get there but once you reach Toronto Island Park, you'll find a wide array of attractions and things to do.
Four of the city's top beaches are found on this island including Hanlan's Point Park Beach which also features splash pads and picnic areas.
Centreville Amusement Park has more than 30 thrilling rides and a wide variety of eateries and at Far Enough Farm, you have the opportunity to meet some friendly domesticated animals including ponies and sheep.
As you explore the island, you'll also find the William Meany Hedge Maze.
However, the highlight of visiting the park has to be the superb views you'll get of Toronto's skyline.
With boat and bicycle rentals, you'll have no issues getting around!
If Canada is a hockey country, Toronto is its hockey city. As the home of one of the original six NHL teams - The Toronto Maple Leafs, the city is steeped in hockey lore, legend, history and culture.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is where you can learn about everything about this crazy sport. Of course, this attraction's shining star is the Stanley Cup but you'll also find the most incredible collection of hockey artifacts anywhere on earth!
Inside, you'll see 60,000 square feet of exhibits dedicated to legendary hockey players, sports memorabilia, trophies, old photos and replicas.
The NHL Zone highlights the teams and players of the present too!
The Beaches is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods to live in Toronto and it's not hard to see why!
The area is fairly quiet despite being within the city limits, the ambiance is laid-back, the scenery is pretty and, of course, there are the beaches themselves.
Woodbine Beach - which is the longest of the four beaches in this district, is a beautiful urban stretch of sand surrounded by parklands.
The beach itself is a popular destination for swimming and sunbathing, but on-site, you'll also find a lovely boardwalk, walking trail, picnic areas and a public swimming pool.
You'll enjoy amazing views of one of Toronto's waterfronts as well, so make sure you leave some free time to visit.
Nathan Phillips Square is a plaza where you'll find the biggest indoor shopping mall in the city. Besides a wide variety of shops, the plaza is also home to several cinemas, nightclubs and eateries.
Many concerts, art exhibitions, markets and festivals take place in Nathan Phillips Square throughout the year so you never know what you'll see during your visit.
If you're lucky, you might get to time your trip to Toronto and enjoy one of these events.
Nathans Phillips Square is also a great place to visit during the winter as part of it turns into a large outdoor ice skating rink!
The activities available here will change depending on the season so just keep that in mind.
Situated right downtown, The Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium that first opened in the late 1980s.
It's currently home to Major League Baseball Team the Toronto Blue Jays. Previously, it was home to other professional sports teams including the Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Raptors.
The Roger's Center is the only MLB stadium in the country and its most notable feature is the retractable roof.
If you're interested in learning about the history and workings of the stadium, guided tours are available.
During one of these tours, you'll get behind the scenes and see how everything flows before, during and after major events. Perhaps you'd even like to attend a live game and get in on the excitement.
Situated in the downtown area, the Entertainment District is the place to be if you want to be in the middle of Toronto's exciting arts scene and lively nightlife.
This is where you'll find the best nightclubs, restaurants, attractions and many of the venues that host the city's top events.
Trust me, hanging out in the Entertainment District is one of the best things to do downtown.
Take in a live performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre or sample craft beer at The Roundhouse. Dine on exquisite French cuisine at Le Select Bistro and dance the night away at Century Room; the possibilities are endless.
Or maybe you prefer something a little more subdued? How about cocktails at SpiritHouse or live jazz music at The Rex.
Toronto is vibrant and exciting but sometimes the noise and crowds can be a bit much.
Fortunately, there are many smaller cities and towns nearby where you can escape for a day and Niagara Falls is probably the most famous place to go on a day tour.
The town of Niagara Falls is home to many world-class attractions but its most famous attraction is the spectacular waterfalls that the city is named after.
There are many ways to see and experience the waterfalls. You can see them from the water on a boat tour, from the top of the Skylon Tower, from Niagara Falls State Park, or from the Niagara SkyWheel. There are also plenty of awesome hotels that offer views of Niagara falls if you were thinking of doing an overnight trip!
Journey Behind the Falls takes you to the subterranean caverns behind the falls and The Cave of the Winds is where you can walk on a walkway alongside the Falls.
You can read our complete guide on the best things to do in Niagara Falls right here but as a top recommendation, we suggest taking a helicopter tour with National Helicopters (you won't regret it!)
One of the best ways to get familiar with Toronto's diverse foodie scene is to take a guided tour of Kensington Market where you'll find many of the city's ethnic restaurants.
While it's possible to explore this market on your own, going with a knowledgeable guide means you'll get insider information and skip the long line-ups that are common at many of the eateries.
During this tour, you'll get to sample half a dozen different world cuisines from all over the world including Tibet, Mexico, Jamaica, China, Vietnam, Germany and Japan.
If you've got the time this isn't a place you want to miss - especially on an empty stomach!
It doesn't seem long, but seven minutes is more than enough time to see the city if it's from a helicopter and this high-flying adventure is one of the best things to do in Toronto.
During this 7-minute Helicopter Tour over Toronto, you'll not only see the downtown area from the sky, but you'll also see the surrounding region which includes the shores of Lake Ontario.
The CN Tower looks smaller from up here but it certainly rises high above everything else!
The best thing about this tour is you can choose to go either in the afternoon or at night. I personally think the night flight would be incredible but each to their own of course!
Whichever flight you choose, you'll get a souvenir picture of your adventure.
One of the best ways to see any city is by bicycle and the City and Brick Works Bicycle Tour is a great way to explore several districts of Toronto.
This tour is a fantastic mesh of urban and natural landscapes, and is 3.5 hours long.
During that time, you'll ride along scenic bike trails and see many of the city's highlights including the Distillery District, the University of Toronto, Canary District, Cabbagetown, and Mud Creek.
You'll also ride through some beautiful parks!
Another great thing about this tour is that it's limited to three people so you won't be riding around in a crowd.
If you love exotic animals, you'll love exploring the Toronto Zoo because it's the biggest zoo in the country with more than 5,000 animals across 500 species.
The zoo is a combination of outdoor and indoor exhibits and as you make your way through the immense complex, you'll see animals from all over the world including Africa, the Americas, Australia and Europe.
On-site, you'll also find the Waterside Theatre, where you'll be able to enjoy the interactive Wonders of Wildlife Show, and Splash Island, which is a waterpark with water slides and other fun water attractions.
As Toronto Zoo is HUGE you'll need at least a couple of hours to explore as this isn't a place you want to rush.
Everything is big in Toronto including the Royal Ontario Museum which is the biggest museum in the country. Inside, you'll find a large number of exhibits dedicated to art, world cultures, and natural history.
Among the over 6,000,000 items and 40 galleries, you'll see an incredible collection of items from all over the world.
Whether you're interested in dinosaurs, space, fossils, minerals, ancient artifacts, or world art, you'll find it in this museum! This is another attraction in Toronto that requires more than a flying visit so take your time to wander around.
You can purchase your admission ticket online if you want to book your tickets in advance, which I definitely recommend.
Another "big" attraction in Toronto is the Art Gallery of Ontario. It's not the biggest in Toronto, but it's a close second.
This expansive art museum features a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits housing more than 120,000 artworks from the first century to today.
As you explore the galleries, you'll see art from Europe, Australia, and Africa. A collection of Canadian Art is also showcased and features artworks by First Nations artists.
There are also more than 2,000 donated works from the personal collection of Kenneth Thomas. The museum is home to a gift shop, library, theater and dining area too.
If you're looking to skip the queue then book your admission tickets in advance!
Situated on Toronto's vibrant waterfront, the Harbourfront Centre is a collection of top art venues with over 4,000 cultural events taking place there every year.
With that many things going on, there's bound to be something happening when you're in town!
Some of the venues on-site include the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Stage, Toronto Music Garden and Studio Theatre.
Whether you're interested in film, theatre, music, literature, or dance, there's something for everyone.
Also on-site are the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Lakeview Market, and Harbourfront Centre Shop.
However, simply walking around this area is an adventure in itself!
Even if science is not something you're usually interested in, you'll be enthralled by the fascinating exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre.
This science museum is home to many exhibits showcasing a wide variety of science-related topics including The Science of Rock "N" Roll. If that didn't get your attention, there are plenty more fascinating exhibits to check out!
Some of the other exhibits include A Question of Truth, Cohon Family Nature Escape, Forest Lane, Living Earth, Science Arcade, Space Hall, and the Planetarium.
Whether you're interested in learning about geology, the human body, astrology, technology, or communication, it's all here. This museum is one of the best places to visit in Toronto for all ages.
At the Aga Khan Museum, you'll find exhibits dedicated to Islamic art and Muslim culture.
Housed in the many exhibits are more than 1,000 artifacts and artworks, including very rare items that were collected by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan.
As you browse the collection, you'll see historic Qur'an manuscripts and ceramics dating back to the 1600s.
If you're fan of culture or history then this is one of the best places to visit in Toronto. However, you'll have to plan your visit as it's closed on Mondays!
Also, if you visit on a Wednesday between 4-8pm entrance is free!
Toronto literally has everything including an interesting military history that you can learn all about at Fork York.
This military fortification from the early 1800s once housed members of both the British and Canadian militaries and it served as protection for the city's harbor.
Within this 41-acre site, you'll find a handful of historical buildings including barracks, blockhouses and ramparts.
Also on site are military cemeteries and a visitor center with exhibits including one about the Battle of York.
Fort York is one of Canada's National Historic Sites and it's a great place to visit if you're looking to learn about Canada's history!
In the past, graffiti was a nuisance around Toronto!
However, someone came up with the idea to create a colorful space where graffiti could be proudly displayed for all to admire. Today, Graffiti Alley is quite an amazing sight to see!
Talented graffiti masters have come together to create a mesh of murals that people from all over flock to for a one-of-kind selfie.
This unique outdoor gallery is located in the fashion district in the downtown area. Along three city blocks, you'll see the incredible artworks of top talents in the field including Duro the Third and Uber5000.
Here's some more information on the best graffiti spots in Toronto!
If you thought it would be impossible to escape into nature in a city as big as Toronto, think again.
As the city's biggest public park, High Park is the perfect place to escape the concrete jungle of downtown and slip into a peaceful natural place that feels like it's a world away from the city.
Within the park's 500 acres, you'll find hiking trails, a scenic lakefront area, playgrounds, cafes, greenhouses, a zoo, picnic facilities, gardens, and sporting facilities.
As you explore the park, you'll find some popular attractions including Colborne Lodge, the sculptures at High Park Forest School, and the High Park Nature Centre.
If you happen to be in the area in late April or early May, you'll see the beautiful cherry trees that bloom in the park every spring too.
As if there wasn't enough to explore above ground in Toronto, you come to find out that there's also an underground city under the city!
This network of underground tunnels and walkways known as The Toronto Underground City, stretches for an astounding 19 miles and features 1,200 shops and many restaurants and entertainment venues.
There are also tunnels that connect some of the city's office buildings and hotels, so thousands of commuters use this underground city everyday.
This is one of the biggest underground shopping areas in the world covering an impressive 3.7 million sq feet so there's a lot to see!
The Riverdale Farm is another great place to go to escape the city for a few hours and you don't even have to leave the city.
This 7.5-acre urban working farm is situated in the downtown Cabbagetown district. It's a rural-like escape right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.
When you visit Riverdale Farm, you get a hands-on lesson on how a farm operates from raising livestock to all the hard work that goes into keeping everything running.
As you wander the grounds, you'll find a variety of gardens, some ponds, and a nearby park area with picnic facilities and a wading pool.
If you’re wondering what to do in Toronto with children - Canada's Wonderland is one of the country's top amusement parks and it features an abundance of fun for all ages.
The biggest draw to this 330-acre park is the 17 roller coasters that dominate the park's attractions.
You'll also find a water park and International Street which features a selection of restaurants and shops.
Whether you're traveling with children or you're a thrill seeker, Canada's Wonderland is a fantastic option if you're looking for fun things to do in Toronto!
Just make sure you check the website for opening hours as they change depending on the season.
Situated in the North York area of Toronto, The Black Creek Pioneer Village is an outdoor heritage museum.
On-site, you'll find a recreated village from the 1800s where you can step back in time and learn about what life was like in rural Ontario during that period.
There are more than 40 buildings to explore and inside some of them, you'll see decor and furnishings from the 19th century.
Also among the buildings are a grist mill, general store, blacksmith shop, hotel, church, and schoolhouse.
This is one of the other attractions in Toronto that you'll need to plan in advance as it's only open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
While exploring a collection of government buildings might not sound like much fun, Ontario's Parliament Building and its surrounding grounds is quite a fascinating place.
During a tour of the grounds, you'll see the beautiful architecture of the Legislative Building and learn about its history.
This iconic building has been around since 1893 and the surrounding area of Queen's Park was a gathering place for First Nations communities.
Inside, you'll find a collection of exhibits highlighting various aspects of the community and its history, and you'll have a chance to visit the Chamber area.
This place doesn't usually make it onto many Toronto itineraries which is a real shame as it has so much to offer!
And just when you thought there couldn't possibly be anywhere else to retreat to when the noise and crowds of the big city get to you, you discover Rouge Park.
The most unique thing about this park is it's home to the city's only campground. If you really want to escape, you can spend the night surrounded by nature without having to travel outside the city limits!
As you explore this beautiful park, you'll see marshlands and other unique ecosystems, and you'll be able to participate in a range of outdoor activities in Toronto including hiking, birdwatching, fishing, biking and swimming.
Guided nature walks are also available during certain times.
Who knew that there were people who collected enough pairs of shoes to create an entire museum dedicated to them?
Well, it's true!
At the Bata Shoe Museum, you can see the giant shoe collection that once belonged to Sonja Bata.
The collection, which she started back in the 1940s, features more than 13,000 shoes and related items, some of which are more than 4,000 years old! It's the largest collection of this type in the world.
Currently, there's only one permanent exhibit at the museum called All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages.
In this exhibit, you'll find items related to shoe-making techniques throughout history and learn about how the shoe evolved into a fashion accessory in the 1900s.
Entrance tickets for this unique museum can be booked in advance too!
When it comes to the best time to travel to Toronto, two windows are best. The first one is in the spring in April and May when the weather is starting to warm up, the snow has melted and seasonal attractions are starting to open up again.
The other window is during September and October when the temperatures are still fairly warm and the summer crowds have thinned out.
Anytime outside of these months is either too cold or too hot and many seasonal attractions are closed during the winter months.
The minimum amount of time you should plan to spend in Toronto is two days, but this would be rushed.
Three days is better, four days is ideal especially if you want to do some tours or see some attractions outside of the city.
Based on travel trends, the average budget per day in Toronto is $174.
Of course, you can spend much less by staying in hotels away from the downtown area, buying and making your own food, taking buses and trains when you need to get somewhere far, and walking as much as possible.
Yes, there are a variety of tours available that showcase different areas and attractions including the ones below:
Yes, Toronto is safe, but like anywhere you'd travel in the world, always be aware of your surroundings and practice the same level of caution as you would anywhere.
Petty crimes happen and some areas are best avoided. That being said, Toronto is ranked as one of the safest cities in the world.
The Toronto CityPass is a pass that allows visitors to save 35% on several of the city's top attractions. The pass is good for nine days so you can visit the attractions any time during that period.
Whenever you're visiting a large city it's always best to check if they've got a city pass. It's one of our top travel tips if you're trying to save some cash along the way!
As you can see, Toronto has something for everyone! There certainly are many things to see and do so, no doubt, there are many things we've missed.
Feel free to comment on any amazing attractions you’re familiar with in the city!
For the best experience here, I recommend taking advantage of this Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour as it makes getting around so much easier!
If you want to continue with your travels beyond Toronto, you're already in the perfect place from which to launch an extension of your trip.
Whether you want to head further north to places like Hudson Bay which is bordered by Ontario, or you want to head to the Atlantic Coast; the possibilities are endless.
You could even road trip over to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, or cross the border into the United States!
If you're planning to continue your trip in Canada then here are some other guides that you may find helpful:
Leave a comment
Let us know what you think!