Toronto is Canada’s largest and most recognizable city. The CN Tower, the Rogers Centre, and the numerous buildings that make up the skyline make it identifiable to travelers around the world — 13.6 million tourists annually to be exact.
Due to Toronto’s multiculturalism, there are culinary experiences, hotels, and attractions to suit almost everyone. It is a city that can be visited as a vacation destination or as a weekend getaway. So, for your traveling wants and needs, we have compiled a list of the city’s must-sees, and have linked many of them to our reviews so that you can research further and make plans.
⦿ To watch our 48 Hours in Toronto video, including many of the places mentioned here, visit our YouTube video HERE and be sure you are using the highest quality playback settings. Or, keep reading for more information and links.
We recommend starting your weekend with a thrill at Toronto’s most identifiable landmark — The CN Tower. This is where tourists can get a birdseye view of the city and thrill-seekers can participate in the Edgewalk and hang off the edge of an observation platform. For a tamer experience, guests can access the SkyPod level to look through the glass floor or dine at 360 Restaurant. Afterward, visit Ripley’s Aquarium at the base of the tower, or hop next door to the Rogers Centre to take in a concert or a baseball game featuring the Toronto Blue Jays.
Consider taking a stroll through the historical Distillery District for unique tours and dining experiences. Or, visit St. Lawrence Market, which is a mid-19th century city hall and jailhouse turned food lover’s paradise. The building features 120 food vendors plus the city’s oldest Sunday farmer’s market, flea markets, and exhibitions.
Visitors can slow down the pace and take a breath of fresh air at High Park which contains many hiking trails, gardens, and picnic areas. For more living beauty, check out Toronto Botanical Gardens. Or kick it up a notch and shop ’til you drop in eclectic boutiques on Queen Street East in the Beaches District, or at the Toronto Eaton Centre mall. For a totally different vibe, head to the bohemian west-end neighborhood of Kensington Market for vintage shops and organic markets. For an upscale shopping experience, visit Yorkville which is chock full of designer boutiques. Then kick back again and relax on the waterfront. Just find your way to Queen’s Quay and the Harbourfront to catch art displays, live entertainment, and a gorgeous scenic view. Or, board one of many boats for a sunset dinner cruise around the Toronto Islands.
If museums are your thing, you’re in luck because Toronto has several. Visitor favorites include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Gardiner Museum, Aga Khan Museum, and The Royal Ontario Museum. There’s also the Bata Shoe Museum which displays shoes and related artifacts from several different cultures and different periods in history. Check out a sports-based museum in the form of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Or visit Casa Loma to tour the interior or stroll the gorgeous gardens. The iconic Toronto castle has been overlooking the city since 1914 and most of the original furniture is still inside. Self-guided tours are available at the castle, plus it hosts several events and music performances. The castle’s beauty is beyond words and is a must-see.
If amusement parks tickle your fancy, consider a short jaunt north of Toronto to spend the day at Canada’s Wonderland. Or, take the ferry across to Toronto Island and spend some time at Centreville, with a selection of rides and attractions.
Toronto has no shortage of live entertainment with first-class theatres at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Ed Mirvish Theatre, and the Royal Alexander Theatre, plus plenty of live music can be found at various nightclubs and concert halls.
Toronto even has beaches, including Sugar Beach, Cherry Beach, Woodbine Beach, and others. There’s also an extensive Boardwalk that runs along Lake Ontario in a neighborhood known as The Beaches and is great for strolling, jogging, bike rides, sunbathing, BBQs & picnics, boating, paddle boarding, and volleyball tournaments.
Feeling sporty? Visit Woodbine Racetrack for horse racing, or the Ballroom – an upbeat sports bar that specializes in rock n’ roll, tasty bar & grill menu items, and bowling. This particular establishment has been known to attract celebs who want to hit the lanes.
And don’t forget to visit Nathan Phillip’s Square, which sits in front of Toronto City Hall and features a large fountain and reflecting pool that converts to an outdoor skating rink in the winter months. Several events are held in the square throughout the year, including art displays, live entertainment, cultural celebrations, speeches, and public demonstrations, as well as Canada Day and New Year’s Eve festivities. Of course, there’s also the infamous and colorful Toronto sign for selfie shots and Instagram photos.
With all of this and more, it’s easy to see why Toronto is an excellent vacation destination.