The capital of Ontario Province and the largest city in Canada, Toronto is a vibrant city with much of interest for visitors. Each neighbourhood offers something unique and the expansive Lake Ontario is scenic with plenty of activities. When you’ve finished with Toronto’s excellent museums, landmarks, cultural sites, lakeside beaches, ethnic enclaves, and other hotspots, there are plentiful day trips to enjoy too.
Toronto is a vast and sprawling city. While public transportation makes it easy to get from place to place, deciding what to add to your Toronto itinerary can be tough. Travel planning might start to seem like a chore!
Worry not! Our expert team of travel writers has thoroughly researched the city to bring you the ultimate list of places to visit in Toronto. There are a few insider tips and hidden gems as well as the more popular and more well-known Toronto vacation ideas.
Spoiler alert: some of these best places to visit in Toronto are sure to blow your mind!
Best places to stay in Toronto
Best Hostel in Toronto: Planet Traveler Hostel
If you’re wondering where to stay in Toronto for a friendly vibe and great budget prices, Planet Traveler Hostel has you covered! There are tons of cool freebies, including breakfast each day (available until 1pm—great for late sleepers!), Wi-Fi, tea and coffee throughout the day, lockers (with charging points inside), local calls, and computers for guests to use. There are mixed and single-gender dorms along with private rooms for two (with shared bathrooms). The awesome hostel has a communal kitchen, which helps you to cut costs further, and a cosy common room with a TV and fireplace. It really is one of the best places to stay in Toronto!
For more awesome hostel options in Toronto, check out our Best Hostels in Toronto guide!
Best Airbnb in Toronto: Modern condominium
When travelling to Toronto for the first time, you’ll want to stay close to the central area as possible. This condominium is in the perfect location, close to everything you’d want to visit. Your apartment is on a higher floor so you can enjoy the great view of the city from your balcony. You have access to the gym, pool, hot tub and sauna which are in the building too.
Best Budget Hotel in Toronto: Grand Motel
Located in Scarborough, one of the most multi-cultural districts of Toronto, Grand Motel is a cheap and cheerful place to stay. There are en suite rooms for two and four, all with a TV, free Wi-Fi, and fridge. Guests can relax in the pretty gardens and take a dip in the outside pool, and the hotel offers free parking. Daily housekeeping services ensure everywhere is clean and tidy.
Best Luxury Hotel in Toronto: Old Mill Toronto
A gorgeous and atmospheric hotel, Old Mill Toronto is one of the best places to stay in Toronto if you’re looking for a luxurious stay with plenty of comfort. It’s located in Etobicoke, one of the top neighbourhoods in Toronto for shopping, entertainment, and pretty parks. There are various rooms to choose between, all with a private bathroom, minibar, kettle, wardrobe, TV, iPod docking station, phone, and other comforts. Especially luxurious are the fireplaces and whirlpool tubs in each room. The onsite restaurant serves a tasty selection of meals accompanied by soulful jazz music. You can treat yourself to a range of therapies in the spa, work out in the fitness centre, and book a range of tours. The hotel offers a range of convenient services too, such as laundry, luggage storage, and meeting rooms.
For more accommodation options take a look at VRBOs in Toronto.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Toronto:
From the historic and cultural to the hip and trendy Downtown Toronto has something for every traveller. Enjoy great outdoor attractions and unique landmarks all just minutes from your doorstep.
- Stop and smell the roses at Allan Gardens Conservatory, an urban oasis at the heart of the city.
- Indulge your senses as Rasa Restaurant.
- Grab a pint at the Bellwoods Brewery.
And now, onto the fun stuff! Here are the best places to visit in Toronto:
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Toronto!
#1 – Canada’s Wonderland
Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Toronto
- Biggest amusement park in Canada
- Many rides and attractions for all ages
- Dedicated areas for kids
- Fun water park to beat the heat
Why it’s awesome: Open since 1981, Canada’s Wonderland is the biggest theme park in Canada. Spread across 330 acres (134 hectares), the large amusement park has plenty for people of all ages. In addition to a wide assortment of rides people can cool down in the warmer temperatures at the water park with slides, pools, a lazy river, wave pool, and cabanas where you can take some time out and chill. There are great shows to enjoy throughout the day and a wide assortment of places to eat and drink. A visit to Toronto’s Canada’s Wonderland promises to be a fun-filled day out, and there’s also an onsite resort if you want the thrills and giggles to last for longer. It’s a popular place for families, couples, and friends visiting Toronto.
What to do there: Brave Leviathan, one of Canada’s fastest and tallest roller coasters, strap into Flight Deck, the country’s first inverted coaster, and ride the long wooden coaster of the Mighty Canadian Minebuster. Feel the rush on rollercoasters like Behemoth, Wilde Beast, The Bat, and Time Warp, with rides like the Drop Tower, Psyclone, Shockwave, and Riptide also sure to get the adrenaline pumping. Kids can enjoy tamer rides like the Ghoster Coaster, Swing Time, Pumpkin Patch, and Frequent Flyers.
Drift around on the Swan Boats, feel nostalgic on the Antique Carousel, and take the splash on Timberwolf Falls. Have watery fun at Lakeside Lagoon and Splash Works, complete with pools (including a wave pool), slides, chutes, a relaxing lazy river, fountains, relaxation areas, and more. Be in awe of the skills as you marvel at Tundra: A Cirque Experience, be dazzled by the fountain show of Starlight Spectacular and gasp as you watch the Victoria Falls High Divers.
#2 – Fort York National Historic Site
One of Toronto’s coolest historical sites!
- Long history
- Built by Canadian troops and British soldiers
- Some of the oldest buildings in Toronto
- Interesting Museum
Why it’s awesome: One of the best places in Toronto for history lovers, Fort York National Historic Site dates back to the early 1800s. The defensive structure was built because of tensions between the British and Americans, and the British wished to protect their territories. The circular battery was built in 1811. In 1812 the USA declared war and Fort York was attacked in 1813. The fort was eventually captured and destroyed.
It was rebuilt in 1814 and the war subsequently ended. Defences were strengthened over later years when trouble seemed imminent. The fortress was restored in the early 1900s as a celebration of the incorporating of the city. It was opened as a museum in the 1930s. Today, some of the structures within the complex are among the oldest buildings in Toronto. Visitors can explore the once mighty fortress and see an array of artefacts and military memorabilia.
What to do there: Discover Ontario’s troubled and turbulent history as you wander around the once-powerful Fort York. Learn more about past battles and relations between Canada, the USA, and Britain and take tours to dig deeper into times gone by. See old barracks, munitions storage areas, storerooms, and gates, and step into reconstructed period rooms to experience the life of yesteryear. You can also see various exhibits, including weapons, pottery, and items recovered from a shipwreck. Relax in the Fort York Community Garden, pick up souvenirs in the museum store, and watch impressive displays (in the summer months) by the Fort York Guard.
#3 – CN Tower
One of the most amazing places in Toronto!
- Iconic Toronto landmark
- Amazing views
- Tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere
- Thrilling activities
Why it’s awesome: One of the most famous places in Toronto, the soaring CN Tower is a major sight on the city’s skyline. Built in the 1970s, it was the world’s tallest free-standing structure for many years. Today, it is still the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere and is often classed as one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World. A major sight on the Toronto skyline, the tower stands at 553 metres (1,815 feet) tall. The high observation deck provides incredible views across the city and beyond. The iconic tower has been featured in several movies and TV shows.
What to do there: Admire the towering structure from afar before riding one of the glass elevators to the observation deck. You can enjoy the terrific views as you ascend and get many great pictures from your high vantage point. If you’re feeling brave you can step out onto the EdgeWalk, a hands-free walkway that encircles the tower at some 356 metres (1,168 feet) above the ground. Don’t worry—you’re securely tethered! Dine on tasty fare in the 360 Restaurant as you soak up the panoramic views.
#4 – Craigleigh Gardens Park
A nice quiet place to see in Toronto
- Off the beaten track
- Impressive entrance
- Walking trails
- Dog-friendly area
Why it’s awesome: Close to the affluent Toronto neighbourhoods of Bayview and Bloor, Craigleigh Gardens Park is a lesser-visited park. Quiet and peaceful, the pretty park is a top place to escape the tourist crowds and spend some time outdoors. There’s an area where visitors can let dogs of the lead too, meaning that all visitors, human and canine, can enjoy the park. The park was once the site of a grand Victorian house. The home was demolished, however, in the 1920s and the gardens were turned into a lovely city park. The park covers 8.4 acres (3.4 hectares) and there’s lots of open space. There are also walking trails close to hand.
What to do there: Pass through the impressive Gothic gates to find yourself in a beautiful and quiet verdant park. Don’t be surprised if you spot very few other souls—it really is a hidden Toronto treasure! Stroll through the green expanse and let children run and play. Take a walk down the narrow Milkman’s Lane next to the park and explore the scenic ravine trail. The nearby area also has lots of elegant homes to admire as you daydream.
#5 – Graffiti Alley
A perfect place to visit in Toronto if you are on a budget!
- Interesting street art
- Great photo opportunities
- No charge to enjoy
- Tucked-away colourful alleyway
Why it’s awesome: Located in the Fashion District, Toronto’s Graffiti Alley (officially called Rush Lane) is tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Stretching for almost three blocks, the alley is one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto. While many of the eye-catching pieces have remained the same for some time, there are often new additions to the vibrant walls along the narrow lane. It’s somewhat like an open-air art gallery full of imagination and expression. Even better, a visit won’t cost you a cent.
What to do there: Don’t forget your camera! You’re sure to want to snap plenty of pictures of the funky street art along Graffiti Alley—you’ll definitely be able to add lots of colour and funk to your Instagram feed! Look at the tags and you’ll notice that many famous local names in the street art scene have made their mark here, including Poser, Spud, Uber5000, and Skam.
#6 – St. Paul’s Basilica
One of the most religious places to see in Toronto
- Striking architecture
- Oldest Catholic church in Toronto
- Modelled on a church in Rome
- Serene and tranquil
Why it’s awesome: Built in 1889 and standing on the site of an earlier church, Toronto’s lovely St. Paul’s Basilica is the city’s oldest Catholic church. There used to be a school near the church too, meeting the educational and religious needs of the Irish immigrant community (who were predominantly Catholic). The Italian-like building was built to resemble Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The insides are beautiful, with lots of religious artwork. Today, it is an active place of worship still as well as one of the most religious attractions in Toronto.
What to do there: Appreciate the Italian-esque building from the outside, complete with its soaring bell tower, religious statues, large roof-top cross, and grand columns. Step through the doorways to stand at the end of the sweeping nave, with colourful stained glass windows and many paintings to catch your eye. The ceilings are especially impressive. Take a few moments for some quiet reflection and, if you’re religious, visit the church for mass.
#7 – Royal Ontario Museum
A fascinating educational place to visit in Toronto
- One of Canada’s most-visited museums
- Links with the University of Toronto
- Large collection of items
- Displays related to history, culture, art, natural history, and anthropology
Why it’s awesome: The Royal Ontario Museum (often abbreviated to ROM) has been open since 1914. It’s Canada’s biggest museum and also one of the biggest museums in North America. With more than 1 million visitors every year, it’s also one of the country’s most-visited museums. The huge collections span diverse themes; the museum has more than six million items spread through some 40 galleries and exhibition areas. From natural history and art to world cultures and interactive learning areas, there are plenty of opportunities to discover new facts about the world. The buildings are also interesting.
What to do there: See the different buildings of the Royal Ontario Museum, with the original Romanesque Revival building (complete with Gothic gargoyles, mosaics, and rounded windows) a striking contrast to the modern, gleaming Crystal. Allow plenty of time to explore the different sections. Younger visitors are often drawn to the exhibitions on dinosaurs and fossils and the wider natural history exhibits, and the hands-on displays and activities in the CIBC Discovery Gallery are sure to inspire curious minds. Other displays include textiles, art, design, architecture, gemstones, old tools, pottery, ceremonial masks, sculptures, jewellery, manuscripts, religious items, and much more.
Quick Note – Staying Safe in Toronto
Toronto is, overall, a very safe city for travellers. It ranks in the top ten safest cities across the world and is generally considered to be among the safest cities in North America. You should definitely remember basic safety tips, however, such as keeping your valuables safe, watching out for pickpockets in crowded areas, being cautious of beggars, guarding your ATM pin code, securing your room, and avoiding certain areas after dark when alone and stick to the safer ones. Some Toronto neighbourhoods are considered less safe than others, and it’s worth keeping this in mind when deciding where to stay in Toronto. Places to avoid, particularly at night, include St. Jamestown, Malvern, Jane and Finch, Regent Park, Moss Park, and Cabbagetown. The Entertainment District can be rowdy at night times. Pack appropriately for the season, remembering that Toronto is very cold in the winter months while during the summer months you will need to take steps to stay adequately hydrated and avoid sunburn. Tap water is safe to drink in Toronto.
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#8 – Toronto Zoo
Awesome place to visit in Toronto with kids!
- Biggest zoo in Canada
- Home to more than 500 species
- Beautiful habitats
- Conservation and education efforts
Why it’s awesome: Open since 1974, Toronto Zoo is Canada’s biggest zoo. Home to some 5,000 creatures from more than 500 species, animals live in areas that have been designed to closely resemble their natural habitats in the wild. There are seven areas throughout the zoo, reflecting different geographical parts of the world. There are viewing points at different heights to really let visitors get great views of an array of awesome creatures. There are educational displays aimed at kids, rides, gardens, gift shops, and places to eat and drink. The zoo is actively involved in successful breeding programs and it also plays a key role in conservation efforts.
What to do there: Explore different parts of the world and the diverse creatures that inhabit planet Earth as you make your way through the different parts of the zoo. The Indo-Malaya zone has creatures from Asia, including orang-utans, rhinos, tigers, and leopards. Travel to Africa in the African Rainforest Pavilion and African Savannah, spotting animals like lions, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, gorillas, and hippos. Watch kangaroos, wallabies, Komodo dragons, and wombats in the Australasia zone, follow the Tundra Trek to see Arctic creatures like polar bears, reindeer, and Arctic wolves, and see even more fascinating creatures in the Eurasia Wilds. There are also sections dedicated to the Americas and native Canadian wildlife. Tackle the Gorilla Climb Ropes Course, ride the Zoomobile and Conservation Carousel, and have fun on the Tundra Air ride.
#9 – Black Creek Pioneer Village
An awesome place to visit in Toronto for half a day!
- Experience Canada was in times gone by
- Many heritage buildings
- Watch artisans at work
- Period costumes and historical re-enactments
Why it’s awesome: The open-air heritage museum of Black Creek Pioneer Village is one of the best places to visit in Toronto for people interested in history. A Toronto must see if you like seeing what life was like in yesteryear, the museum recreates life as it was in the 19th century. Visitors can glimpse into the rural life of times long passed and there are numerous heritage buildings with period furnishings inside. People dress in period costumes to further bring the past to life and there are various demonstrations as well as explanations and activities.
What to do there: Step inside heritage buildings for a peek into the past. From Charles Irwin Weaver, Dickson’s Hill School, and Rose Blacksmith Shop, to Snider Workshop, the Half Way House Inn, and the Dominion Carriage Works, there’s heaps to keep you busy and engaged. You can also visit places like an old shoemaker’s shop, a church, a firehouse, a doctor’s house, a cider mill, former private homes, a cemetery, and barns. See plants used for food (and medicines) in the Herb Garden, Berry Garden, and Kitchen Garden, and call by the beautiful Market Garden to see items grown for trade.
Play with nostalgic toys from years past, see old photographs, and view an array of historic artefacts. Items on display include old storage containers, tools, household implements, books, lamps, period furniture, and clothes. Learn more about farming from yesteryear and see rare-breed animals, including horses, sheep, pigs, and geese. Learn skills that are dying out in today’s modern world, join in with a Victorian sing along, play musical instruments, and enjoy a range of other fun interactive experiences.
#10 – BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
A great place to see in Toronto if you love architecture
- Hindu place of worship
- Unique architecture
- Spiritual atmosphere
- Biggest Hindu mandir in Canada
Why it’s awesome: Located in Etobicoke, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was constructed in the early 2000s and officially opened in 2007. The biggest mandir in Canada, it was built from striking materials from across the globe, including Indian stone, Turkish limestone, and Italian marble. It was created in India and then later shipped to Canada where it was assembled by Indian workers.
Built according to details set out in ancient Hindu scriptures, it is a spiritual place where devotees go to pray and perform religious rituals. Surrounded by well-tended gardens, the complex also has a Heritage Museum and a carved wooden cultural centre referred to as a haveli. Open to visitors, it has some of the most stunning architectural details of the many points of interest in Toronto.
What to do there: Experience India as you explore Toronto, admiring the glorious hand-carved details of the spectacular Hindu complex. See the various shrines within the beautiful building, each with statues of various Hindu deities. Monks and laypeople offer prayers, songs, and material offerings to the statues throughout the day, with lots of ceremonial significance.
Look inside the eye-catching haveli, complete with grand columns engraved with mythological creatures, animals, symbols, gods, and goddesses. Pick up tasty vegetarian snacks from the onsite shop, learn more about the basics of Hinduism in the Heritage Museum, enjoy quiet moments in the meditation area, walk through the ornate gardens, and marvel at the domes, arches, pinnacles, and other stunning details.
#11 – Ripley’s Aquarium
Certainly one of the most exotic places to see in Toronto!
- Home to more than 450 aquatic species
- Contains both freshwater and marine habitats
- Hands-on activities
- Educational experiences
Why it’s awesome: The large Ripley’s Aquarium has a wide selection of aquatic life from across the planet, with both ocean-dwelling and freshwater species calling the aquarium home. Open since 2013, the building is designed to somewhat resemble a shell. Inside, there are ten galleries that showcase fascinating creatures. There are educational activities as well as the chance for old and young alike to get up close and personal with various creatures. Displays and demonstrations add to the interest, and the diverse activities aren’t limited to discovering water life—there are yoga classes, photography, and art workshops too.
What to do there: Gaze upon the many creatures that live in the aquarium as you wander between the different cool sections. Rainbow Reef, which replicates the Indo-Pacific Ocean, is alive with colour, with a teeming coral reef and species like triggerfish, batfish, and harlequin tuskfish. There are daily dive shows in this area too. Planet Jellies has a rich assortment of unusual jellyfish, Ray Bay has different types of rays and sharks, and Curious Creatures houses some of the most obscure-looking water creatures on Earth.
You can discover creatures native to the country at Canadian Waters. Dangerous Lagoon is often popular with kids, with its fascinating fish, eels, turtles, and fearsome sharks. Learn more at the Discovery Centre, take a peek behind the scenes at Life Support Systems, and touch different creatures at the Shoreline Gallery.
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#12 – High Park
A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Toronto
- Green and leafy park
- Diverse leisure and recreational options
- Interesting monuments
- Picturesque setting
Why it’s awesome: One of the major outdoor hotspots in Toronto, the extensive High Park covers around 400 acres (161 hectares) and has natural areas as well as great leisure and recreation facilities. The terrain is hilly with two deep ravines, ponds, and forested areas. Various flora and fauna live in the park, including black oak trees, flowers, herons, ducks, and insects. There are picnic areas and sporting facilities, along with a small zoo, monuments and statues, nature trails, pretty gardens, and a museum. It’s a pleasant place to visit in Toronto with your family or significant other.
What to do there: Relax and stroll alongside the attractive Grenadier Pond, often said to be bottomless because it’s not possible to accurately gauge the depth because of all the mood below the water. Pass a few leisurely hours fishing in the shimmering pond, home to perch, carp, bass, and bluegill. You can either toss back anything you catch or cook up a fish feast. Feed the ducks at Upper Duck Pond, follow the nature trails, keeping your eyes open for wildlife, and wander through the charming cherry tree grove and hillside gardens.
Ride the small train around the park to cover more ground, pop into the historical museum at Colborne Lodge, see various creatures in the zoo, let kids have fun at the play areas, and enjoy sporting facilities such as tennis courts, a pool, and a sports field. See the interesting sculptures and monuments throughout the park, such as the monument in honour of the park’s benefactors (John G. Howard and Jemima Howard), the Portuguese stone cross, November Pyramid, Three Discs, and The Hippie. Feeling peckish? Head to the Grenadier Café if you didn’t pack your own picnic.
#13 – Distillery District
A great place in Toronto if you love to shop!
- Gorgeous Victorian-period heritage architecture
- National Historic Site of Canada
- Diverse shops
- Many eateries
Why it’s awesome: Visiting the Distillery District is a Toronto must do. It features the biggest collection of Victorian buildings in all of North America and is a National Historic Site of Canada. The area has many buildings that were previously part of the huge Gooderham and Worts Distillery, many of which have now been repurposed. The distillery, established in the 1830s, was once the world’s largest distillery. By the time the distillery finally finished operations in 1990, much of the area was derelict. After regeneration projects, today the area has diverse shops, cafes, and restaurants and is a popular place to visit in Toronto. Each year the area hosts the annual Toronto Christmas Market.
What to do there: Wander along the ten pedestrianised (and cycle-friendly) streets that make up the Distillery District, seeing old buildings like the 1873 Pure Spirits Building, the 1886 East Boiler House, the 1863 Malt House, the 1859 Stone Distillery, and the 1889 Tank House. Snap pictures of the towering chimney stack on top of the Boiler House, one of the major landmarks in Toronto.
Don’t worry if you have a feeling of déjà vu as you explore—numerous movies and TV shows have shot scenes in the atmospheric part of the city. Several interesting sculptures add to the ambience too. Shop till you drop in the diverse stores, including cool and quirky vintage boutiques, browse fresh produce and artisan treats in the weekly Sunday Market, peek inside trendy art galleries, and stop for refreshments in a cute café or top-class restaurant.
#14 – The Doll House
Quite the quirky place in Toronto!
- One of Toronto’s most unusual sights
- Constantly changing displays
- Located in a quiet residential neighbourhood
- Born from one lady’s passion
Why it’s awesome: The Doll House, located in Leslieville, is one of the most unusual places to visit in Toronto. The garden of the private home is stuffed with dolls, soft toys, action figures, and other items that would look more at home in a children’s toy chest than on display in someone’s front garden. Whimsical and colourful, the owner often changes the set up and scenes to reflect the changing seasons and special events. The female owner keeps adding to her extensive collection too. It’s a terrific place for photos that are different to the norm and for fans of things that are just that bit weird and wacky.
What to do there: Walk along the peaceful residential streets of Leslieville, with nothing really to note, seeing the nicely tended and neat but nothing-out-of-the-ordinary gardens. Make your way to 37 Bertmount Avenue and your jaw is sure to drop! Certainly, a garden that stands out from the crowd, you can see all manner of dolls and other kids’ items proudly on display. Click plenty of pictures of the unusual abode and enjoy seeing one of Toronto’s most unusual homes.
#15 – Niagara Falls
A must place to visit in Toronto on the weekend!
- Iconic natural landmark
- Picturesque scenery
- Outdoor activities
- Varied leisure options
Why it’s awesome: One of the most famous waterfalls in the world, the gigantic Niagara Falls attracts millions of visitors each and every year. The largest of three falls, the glorious Horseshoe Falls, sits on the border between Canada and the USA (with the other two falls located entirely within the US). Dropping some 57 metres (187 feet) and covering around 790 metres (2,590 feet) in width, it really is a jaw-dropping sight that is easy to get to from Toronto. As well as being one of the world’s most iconic and scenic places, the magnificent Niagara Falls is also a major source of hydroelectric power. There are various activities to enjoy in the area and it’s a terrific place for photography lovers.
What to do there: Gape in amazement at the spectacular waterfalls. Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged as you’re sure to want to take many awesome photographs from various angles. Take a stroll through the pretty Queen Victoria Park for more terrific vistas of both the Horseshoe Falls and the two cascades on the American side of the border. Descend into the underground passageways to experience the feeling of actually being inside the tumbling water and go to the top of the Skylon Tower to peer down on the powerful cascades as well as to enjoy sweeping views of the near and distant area. Pass historic war sites along the scenic Niagara River Recreational Trail, take an exciting ride on the cable car and chance your luck in one of the casinos.
If you’re planning on visiting the mighty Niagara Falls, why not stay at one of these epic lodges in Hamilton? It’s a great base for your adventure, with easy access to the falls and Lake Ontario.
#16 – Chinatown
A must-see for foodies!
- One of the biggest Chinatowns in North America
- Home of Toronto’s first Chinese-run business
- Many places to sample delicious food
- Lively atmosphere
Why it’s awesome: Toronto’s vibrant Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. A buzzing ethnic enclave, it can trace its immigrant roots back to the 1890s. One of the first Chinese-run business (a launderette) had previously opened in the area in the late 1870s and the first-known Chinese café opened in the early 1900s, with many others following. Today, it’s a great place for visitors to immerse themselves in a different culture and see a different side of the large Canadian city. It’s a top place to fully appreciate Toronto’s rich multi-cultural and multi-ethnic facets.
What to do there: Walk around Chinatown, absorbing the many sights and sounds among the bustling crowds. Admire art in Bau-Xi Gallery, with a wide selection of works by both national and international artists on display, stock up on Asian groceries in one of the area’s international stores and supermarkets, and take a peek inside the traditional herbal remedy shops. If you’re feeling weary from all your sightseeing, how about a traditional massage?
You’ll also find acupuncture specialists, karaoke joints, gold shops aplenty, and shops selling religious and cultural memorabilia. One of the top places to eat in Toronto, you’ll have no difficulty finding somewhere great to satisfy your appetite. From charming cafes and tea shops to restaurants to suit all budgets and quick and easy street food stalls, Chinatown has many delights to tempt you. Savour dishes like Peking duck, Hainanese chicken rice, noodle soup, dim sum, dumplings, and much, much more.
#17 – St. Michael’s Cemetery
An unknown (but awesome!) place to see in Toronto!
- Hidden away and off the beaten track
- Large burial ground
- One of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in Toronto
- Atmospheric and peaceful
Why it’s awesome: Nestled behind towering buildings and shops in Toronto’s downtown is a hidden gem—the quiet and atmospheric St. Michael’s Cemetery. Although it could hardly be said to be small (it covers around 10 acres / 4 hectares), many people are unaware of the cemetery’s existence. One of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in Toronto, it was established in the mid-1800s due to the large numbers of Irish immigrants to the city who sadly passed away shortly after their arrival. Trees line the edges and there are neat rows of old graves, some beautifully ornamented and others rather plain.
What to do there: The cemetery is usually closed to the public, it’s entrance blocked by large gates, but you can still peer through the metal gates to get a sense of the size and serenity of the burial ground. Access is possible through gates of private homes, but this isn’t usually a realistic way of entering the grounds for most travellers. You may, however, stroke it lucky and find somebody at the gate who is willing to let you look around and pay your respects to the deceased inside, or you can join a historical walking tour that includes access to the old burial ground. Among the graves there’s a small cluster of cross-shaped markers, marking the spot where a whole group of nuns was laid to rest.
#18 – Rogers Centre
Cool place to see in Toronto with friends!
- Major sports stadium
- The only Major League Baseball stadium in Canada
- Home of the Toronto Blue Jays
- Interesting architecture
Why it’s awesome: Sitting close to the shores of Lake Ontario, the Rogers Centre is a large multi-purpose stadium. It’s home to the Toronto Blue Jays (a Major Basketball League team). Built in the late 1980s, the stadium is noted for its fully retractable motorised roof and for being the first stadium of its kind in the world. During construction, many historic artefacts were discovered in the ground, including pottery and cannon balls. The stadium is used for various sporting events, including baseball, basketball, soccer, football, cricket, and tennis. It also hosts various shows and exhibitions and has seen diverse concerts over the years including Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna.
What to do there: Buy tickets to watch a sporting event and cheer on your favourite team as you revel in the electric atmosphere. There’s no need to worry about missing a second of the action thanks to the gigantic video screen and TVs in the eateries. Several of the restaurants also offer terrific views of events. See stunning pieces of artwork throughout the complex, including the gleaming steel and glass The Art of the Possible, the fabulous Salmon Run fountain, and the joyful and golden The Audience. You can peek behind the scenes, and visit areas that are usually off bounds to visitors, with a stadium tour.
#19 – Iskcon
A nice non-touristy place to visit in Toronto
- Housed in a former church
- Major centre for the Hare Krishna movement
- Varied program of community events
- Top place to experience Hindu culture
Why it’s awesome: Iskcon is a great place to experience Hindu culture when you travel to Toronto. Housed in a former church, the historic building looks like many other Christian places of worship from the outside, with a tall bell tower and Gothic-like windows. Upon further inspection, however, it’s easy to spot flags flying from the top where you may expect to see crosses and a large sign that shows it’s a Hare Krishna place of worship. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness was first established in Toronto in 1969, eventually moving into its present home (after a number of setbacks) in 1975.
What to do there: Admire the beautiful building from the outside and go inside the temple to see colourful statues of various Hindu deities and learn more about the Hare Krishna movement. If you visit on a Tuesday evening you can join in with lively discussions on spirituality and enjoy a vegetarian dinner. The centre also runs classes to study ancient religious texts, yoga classes, cooking lessons, dramatic productions, and more.
#20 – The Toronto Islands
A very cool place in Toronto to go for a day
- Group of small islands in the scenic Lake Ontario
- Easy to access from the city
- Outdoor activities
- Relaxation and leisure
Why it’s awesome: The Toronto Islands is a group of 15 small islands in the huge Lake Ontario, with bridges and walkways linking the islands. Regular ferries connect the city with the pedestrianised islands, and the islands are a popular day-trip destination from Toronto. There are diverse activities to enjoy as well as a variety of attractions to see. From beaches and parks to water sports and family-friendly attractions, the islands offer something for everyone. The islands are home to a small community, and even have facilities such as a school and church.
What to do there: Catch the 15-minute ferry service from Toronto Harbour to reach the Toronto Islands and spend a day walking around and crossing between the islands to explore. You can also rent bicycles to travel around the islands. Bask in the sunshine on several sandy lakeside beaches, including the nudist beach at Hanlon’s Point, and swim in the refreshingly cool waters on a pleasant sunny day. Relax in pretty parks and try a range of water-based activities, such as kayaking, boating, canoeing, and yachting. Kids can have fun at the play areas, the small kid-friendly farm, and the fun Centreville Amusement Park, which has a charming carousel and a cool mini train. Don’t miss seeing the historic lighthouse.
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#21 – The Entertainment District
A great place to visit in Toronto at night
- Excellent night scene
- Diverse cuisine
- Lively theatre district
- Popular with both locals and tourists
Why it’s awesome: The Entertainment District is, as the name suggests, one of the best places to visit in Toronto for a fabulous nightlife. It also promises to be a fun visit during the daytimes too! A previous industrial area, it went through a major transformation in the 1980s and is today a popular part of the city for anyone seeking leisure activities and fun. In addition to a wide array of restaurants, bars, and clubs, the area also boasts some excellent theatres, cinemas, and shops.
What to do there: Catch a top show in one of the theatres along King Street West or watch a movie at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Dine on the delicious global fare in one of the many restaurants, with something to appeal to all tastes and budgets. From French and Italian delicacies to Asian specialities and fast food, the Entertainment District is sure to satisfy your hunger. As night descends you can hop between cool bars, some of which feature live music, or dance the night away as the DJs keep the tunes spinning in one of the spirited nightclubs.
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Terrific places to visit in Toronto
Toronto is a vibrant city with much to appeal to the senses. There are plenty of ways to have fun in Toronto; whether you’re into shopping, dining, sightseeing, or outdoor pursuits, you’ll find lots of ways to enjoy your Toronto visit.
Other fantastic places to visit in Toronto include the pretty Toronto Botanical Garden, the awesome Art Gallery of Toronto, the romantic Allan Gardens Conservatory, and the lesser-visited Riverdale Park. Don’t miss calling by Casa Loma too, one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto.
Start planning your memorable trip to Toronto and add these places to your bucket list.
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