If you’ve planned to spend this weekend in Toronto, but still aren’t quite sure how to make the most of your trip – we’ve got you covered! This vibrant city is full of amazing things to do for all types of people.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend of artistic and cultural immersion, wanting to do a food tour of the city, or you’re simply hoping for 48 hours of sporty pleasure, you’re going to love Toronto!
We’ve found a mix of popular and exclusive events and activities on offer in Toronto so you can plan out a detailed Toronto itinerary that fits you perfectly. This comprehensive guide will leave you with endless ways to spend the best weekend in the city.
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Insider Tips for an AMAZING Weekend in Toronto
Psst! Want to know the ins and outs of making a rad Toronto weekend adventure? We’ve got all you need to know before you visit this vibrant city.
When you’re deciding where to stay for your Toronto weekend getaway, it’s wise to look at finding accommodation in Downtown Toronto. This is loosely known as central Toronto. From here, you can conveniently access most of the top attractions, which is important when you’re short on exploring time!
There is currently just a handful of cool hostel accommodations in Toronto, but there are many fabulous hotels on offer. Our top accommodation options, mentioned below, are all located centrally and will allow you to reach the rest of Toronto easily and quickly. If you fancy a homestay, there are some great ones in Toronto.
Our Favorite Hostel – Planet Traveler
- Located centrally in the heart of Downtown Toronto.
- Free breakfast until 1 pm & free tea + coffee all day every day!
- Modern design.
A green hostel with a homely feel, you can enjoy much more than just a good night’s sleep here. Meet other travelers and enjoy the friendliness of Toronto.
Our Favorite Airbnb – 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.Check on Airbnb
Our Favorite Budget Hotel – The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar
- Enjoy trendy live music every night in the hotel’s onsite restaurant.
- Hotel is within walking distance to awesome tourist attractions!
- Free but limited breakfast.
Affordable, trendy, and perfectly located, the Rex Hotel is an ideal place to experience Toronto life while enjoying a comfy room with modern luxuries.
Our Favorite Splurge Hotel – Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
- City views from luxury rooms, offering pure relaxation.
- On site restaurant, bars, fitness centre and spa!
- Each room comes with a personal iPad.
A fine establishment, you’ll find an amazing experience here. With essential comforts and many added extras, this is the best place to splurge!
Know How to Get Around in Toronto
If you’re staying in Downtown Toronto, and you’ve packed your best walking shoes, you can easily stroll through the city and reach most destinations within 20 minutes. If, however, walking is not your idea of fun, there are other transport options available.
The TTC (or Toronto Transit Commission) is the cheapest transport option in Toronto.
- Subway – this is the fastest but it doesn’t service everywhere. Running underground, you’ll have to use the nearest stop to your desired destination.
- Bus – These are slightly slower, but run on wider routes, and so will help you get closer to your destination.
- Streetcars – Much like a tram, the streetcars in Toronto are found on most of the main roads and service the major routes. An even slower way to travel, the streetcar is more of an experience than a convenience.
Taxi Cabs/ Uber
Cabs are available throughout Toronto but can be quite a pricey way to travel. While they are easiest to hail at the airport, ordering an Uber will save you up to 50% of your fares. So if you’re not going to walk, and you don’t have the patience for public transport, Uber is your next best bet.
If you’re looking for some unforgettable nighttime partying, here are the best options:
- Harry Potter themed Tapas bar with good food and great cocktails!
- The perfect way to meet locals and travelers on a bustling weekend night.
- Located on a street of other busy bars that you can visit on the way!
This modern bar is still quite new to the Toronto nightlife scene, but has already become quite popular! While you’ll probably have to wait for a table (which you can easily do in a nearby bar) it’s all worth it once you’re inside! You can feast upon Tapas galore, accompanied by signature cocktails which have subtle HP references.
- An award-winning Tavern, almost 71 years old!
- The best places to see top Toronto local bands.
- A building with tons of history and even more character!
The Horseshoe is the best place in Toronto to check out local live music. Bands, solo artists, and singing groups are booked by the tavern and enjoyed by the guests almost every night! Located in West Queen West, you’ll enjoy an energetic vibe and a fun crowd whenever you choose to visit.
Friday Night Live at the ROM
- Hosted inside the Royal Ontario Museum – one of the largest museums in North America!
- Held every Friday from 7 pm to 11:30 pm, so catch it any weekend.
- Tickets to the event will cost you around $20 per person.
This is a weekly event held at the ROM. DJs, dancing and dangerously fun times can be expected. There is good food, flowing drinks, and a party full of people ready to welcome you into Toronto the right way!
Toronto is a paradise city for taste buds! There is so much good food that a mere 48-hour visit may actually not be enough! Here’s what you absolutely can’t miss out on.
St. Lawrence Market
- Named by National Geographic as one of the best food markets in the world!
- Take a cooking class and learn to make delicious Canadian food.
- Find everything from flowers to food and even arts and crafts on sale.
St Lawrence Market is a great place to explore, especially for first-timer Toronto visitors. Here, you’ll find some of the most delicious foods in Canada. The market vendors sell arts, flowers, and antiques. You can enjoy a true farmer’s market in the hall every Saturday from 5 am to 3 pm.
Kensington Market Food Tour
- Taste delectable sweet and savory foods of many international origins.
- Enjoy 3 hours of guided touring and tasting foods on your Saturday afternoon!
- Dietary restrictions can be catered for – allergies, vegetarian, vegan etc.
Another great way to taste your way around Toronto is a food tour through Kensington Market! This market became a National Historic Site in 2006 and is an extremely popular spot to visit. The food here is from a number of different nations, from Chinese to Portuguese and even Jewish.
Dinner in a Dome
- Eat your dinner under the stars in a private dome!
- A unique opportunity not often found elsewhere.
- Enjoy a surprise 3-course meal, prepared by a master chef.
A brand-new experience offered in Toronto, beginning in the spring of 2019. Book a table inside a dome, located in a secret location. You’ll be notified of the location after booking your seats. Then, sit down to enjoy a ‘blind’ meal. There is no menu, the chef serves his finest creations.
Canadians are pretty passionate sportsmen! So if you’re looking for your sports fix, or simply want to experience Canada’s sports scene, you’re really going to enjoy Toronto’s sporty spots.
Hockey Hall of Fame
- Get to touch the Stanley Cup if you’re lucky enough to visit while it’s there!
- Try out being a hockey player for a few hours in the Be A Player Zone.
- See a 3D Stanley Cup documentary in the TSN Theater!
Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, the HHOF is a must-see when in Toronto. With a balanced mix of historic memorabilia and fun, interactive hockey fun – this is a great way to enjoy the sport. Open every day, the museum welcomes visitors for just $20 admission.
Throw an Axe!
- Try out this ever-growing popular sport!
- Get out all your frustrations/excitement in a uniquely fantastic way.
- Find a new and different hobby to possibly take back home (Be Safe!)
Although a relatively new sport idea, axe throwing has taken off in Canada! It has even become a competitive sport. You can find many establishments that have set up targets and will allow you to practice your axe throwing abilities. Something you’re not likely to get to do at home!
Air Canada Center
- Watch some of Canada’s best ice hockey matches.
- Catch a live performance from top artists and celebrities!
- Home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto Rock.
Anyone hoping to see a real live ice hockey game – in all it’s glory – needs to book tickets for an ACC match. If you’re visiting between October and April, you’ll be able to see many ice hockey and/or baseball games. Otherwise, have a look at whether there’s a concert happening in the stadium as those are year-round.
If you’re an artistic soul, looking for some good live music, a play, or other stage entertainment, you’re bound to enjoy one or all of these options.
Ed Mirvish Theatres
- Enjoy an authentic theater experience with amazing shows
- Canada’s largest commercial theatre production company.
- Pre-show dinners can be had at a nearby restaurant in the same street.
Brilliant plays, musical and theatrical shows can be seen in this enthralling theater. Run by the Mirvish family – who have decades of theater experience – there is also a brilliant show to watch. This is the perfect opportunity to dress up and enjoy a sophisticated night out.
Roy Thompson Hall
- Run by a Non-Profit organization, kept open thanks to donations and volunteers.
- See both well-known and up-and-coming artists and musicians!
- The hall was named after a $4.5 million donation was made in honor of the late Roy Thompson.
From Orchestra performances to well-known celebs, the Roy Thompson Hall is often alive with the sound of music. Concerts on offer include classical, stand-up comedy and even jazz. This is a lovely way to spend a relaxing evening, especially if you enjoy live concerts and multiple genres of music.
- The hall is 50 years old and the largest soft-seat theatre in Canada.
- Enjoy an unobstructed view from every one of the 3,191 seats.
- A variety of dances, concerts, galas, and festivals on offer!
The Sony Centre is a large, impressive theatre, offering shows galore. You can enjoy graceful ballets, funky jazz concerts, and even stand up comedy acts that will make you cry with laughter! You’ll have to check out their calendar to see if there is a show on during your weekend visit.
10 Other Awesome Things to do in Toronto This Weekend
Make the most of your short visit and see how many of these unique and exciting activities you can fit into your Toronto itinerary.
#1 – Hike through High Park
Toronto’s largest public park, High Park, is the best place to get out and enjoy some fresh air while in the city. There are many hiking trails for you to try out, as well as a list of other fun outdoor options.
You can grab some new pals and try out a game of baseball or soccer in one of the sports fields. You can even check out a llama or buffalo in the mini zoo.
Otherwise simply chill after your hike with a bite to eat at the lakefront. It can be quite romantic if you want it to be – especially this summer with Toronto’s annual Shakespeare in High Park event!
#2 – Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM is a fascinating collection of art, culture, and natural history, displayed in the largest museum in Canada! You can visit between 10 am and 5:30 pm, every day of the week; general admission tickets will cost you $20.
There are a number of engaging galleries to browse through, exhibition displays to see and a host of information to digest. You can grab a souvenir at the boutique store, and enjoy a coffee and meal at the onsite cafe.
The museum is known to attract over a million visitors each year – so expect a crowd!
#3 – Edge Walk at the CN Tower
If the idea of standing 168ft above the ground, overlooking the city with birds flying by and the wind in your hair excites you – then you’re in for a treat. The CN Tower was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and rightfully so!
Locals and tourists alike can be found enjoying the height of this brilliant tower. The most exciting part – and one not to miss during your weekend Toronto trip – is the Edgewalk!
On the roof of the tower’s 360 Restaurant, you can walk along the outside of the tower. You’re strapped in with a harness, of course. But the exhilaration of being so high is sure to get your adrenaline pumping!
#4 – CineForum
This somewhat unconventional cinema house is an absolute must, especially for film lovers! Reg Hartt is a captivating man, he has opened his (quite illegal) cinema in his house and shows regular films. Many people visit him and pay a ‘donation’ to see the movies.
What makes it even more interesting, though, is the way Hartt will randomly stop a film mid-through to discuss it. His commentaries are hardly an annoyance – in fact, most find them to enhance the experience!
Hartt often has to fight with officials to keep his cinema open, and so it has no promised future. Rather visit it while you are there before it’s too late!
- Located centrally in the heart of Downtown Toronto
- Free breakfast until 1 pm & free tea + coffee all day every day
#5 – Tiff Bell Lightbox
This gigantic center takes up an entire block and is situated right in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district. You can visit the center to enjoy films, talks, parties, and exhibitions all year! It’s also home to the International Film Festival, as well as other smaller festivals throughout the year.
Anyone remotely interested in film, screenwriting and the rest of the industry will enjoy a visit to the center’s library. It holds a wealth of knowledge on the topic.
Tickets to see films and other presentations will cost between $14 and $24 per adult.
#6 – Casa Loma
An impressive medieval castle, situated right in the middle of modern Toronto, the Casa Loma is quite a picture – inside and out!
Visitors can look forward to guided tours – either live or audio – through the castle’s massive building. Then, you can enjoy some time in the extensive gardens, taking in the unimaginable beauty!
Alternatively, you can simply book an Escape Room game inside the castle. Join a bunch of fun people and see if you can solve mysteries throughout the castle rooms.
#7 – Walk of Fame
Enjoy a view of a different kind. The Canadian Walk of Fame is made of 13 blocks’ of maple leaf ‘stars’ embedded in the sidewalks.
Unlike Hollywood’s version for celebrities, the Canadians honored in this Walk of Fame are all successors in their respective fields. Everyone from movie directors and singers to doctors and activists! Allowing smart and dedicated residents the chance to get their names on a block.
Take a walk down the streets and view the names of all the honored Canadians.
#8 – Explore West Queen West
This trendy neighborhood is bursting with life. Find sidewalks dotted with hip restaurants and vibey bars, and enjoy meeting with artists, writers and other creative souls that walk the streets.
You can explore the whole day, or just pop by for a tasty meal and some really good coffee. If you’re wanting to make some lasting memories, you can even opt for a tattoo or piercing from one of the local studios!
One thing not to miss out on is a photo in the famous Graffiti Alley. It’ll be sure to make all your Insta-followers wish they were in Toronto too!
#9 – Kayak the Humber River
A great break from all the wonderful, but sometimes tiring, city exploring is an exciting kayaking experience!
The Humber River is Toronto’s Largest river, and arguably the most compelling! The view is simply breathtaking, it is also the perfect place for a water-based adventure.
There are many companies that you can book with, some offering SUP, canoeing and other water sports as well. No fear if you’ve never tried these activities out before, many places offer beginner lessons in addition to advanced tours.
#10 – Chill on one of Toronto’s Beaches
Toronto may be a bustling city, but it also has some gorgeous white sand beaches for you to enjoy! There are a lot of them, so you can really take your pick.
Some of the best include Sunnyside Beach, Hanlan’s Point, and Cherry Beach. Of course, to enjoy a day of tanning and swimming you’d need to be spending a summer weekend in Toronto.
Even in winter, though, the view of the clean sand and the pristine sea is worth a walk along the nearby beach roads.
If you’ve never been to Toronto, or to Canada in general, you may have some questions on what to expect. Here are some questions you may have, as well as answers, to help you plan and enjoy an awesome Toronto getaway!
#1. What should I pack for a weekend in Toronto?
If you’re wondering what to pack in your bags before leaving for Toronto, aside from the essential backpacking items, here’s what should be at the top of your list:
- Comfy walking shoes – Walking is arguably the best way to see the city. It’s also quite an effortless, enjoyable way to get around, so having a good pair of shoes that are comfy and won’t leave you with blisters is extremely important!
- Weather-wise clothing – Summers are hot and humid, while winters are cold in Toronto! So packing appropriate clothing (such as thin tops, shorts and swimming gear for summer, and thermal underclothes, hats and gloves for winter) is essential for a happy weekend.
- Waterproof jacket – This will help you in any season. It will help protect you from any rain showers you may encounter during the weekend. It will also come in handy should you plan a detour trip to Niagara Falls during or after your Toronto weekend trip.
#2. Can I get an apartment in Toronto for the weekend?
You can rent lofts and small apartments for weekend group trips on Airbnb. There is a pretty snazzy loft for rent on Airbnb which has 2 bedrooms and can hold up to 5 guests! The loft rents out for events and parties over the weekend, so if you’re planning bachelor or birthday party, this is perhaps your best bet.
Alternatively, you could rent out a self-catering apartment, offering separate bedrooms, private bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, and neat living rooms. While these are available in many neighborhoods, the Simply Comfort Apartments in Downtown Toronto are a top option.
#3. Is Toronto safe for a weekend trip?
That said, there is, unfortunately, crime wherever you go in the world, and Toronto is no exception to that rule. There are a few tips you can use to stay extra safe while in the city, especially as a tourist.
For the most part, as long as you stay vigilant, keep your valuables close to you, and stay out of the ‘bad’ neighborhoods, you’ll be absolutely safe! Areas such as Regent Park, St Jamestown, and Cabbagetown are best avoided during your Toronto weekend trip.
It’s also best not to look too much like a tourist, to avoid being hassled by the beggars and scammers. Advice such as “don’t walk with large paper maps or tourist guides” is often given to travelers – this shouldn’t be too hard, with today’s technology and this great Toronto travel guide!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for travelers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
Final Thoughts on a Great Weekend in Toronto
By now, you should be completely ready for your trip to Toronto this weekend, or any weekend for that matter!
While you’re not likely to be able to get through everything we’ve mentioned in this travel guide with just 48 hours in Toronto, be sure to pick out the best for you! Whatever your reason for visiting this wonderful city, you’ll find appropriate things to do.
We hope your bags are packed wisely, and your taste buds are ready for this trip! If you’re stopping off in Toronto during a Canada backpacking experience, enjoy the city break!
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.
Need More Inspiration?
- Backpacking Canada on a Budget – Maps, Itineraries, and Things To Do
- 33 MORE Amazing Things to Do in Toronto
- 10 Coolest Hostels in Toronto (Best Backpacker Hangouts)
- The Best Hostels in Vancouver to Crush your Travels
- Where to Stay in Toronto
- MUST READ: Best Backpacker Hostels in Montreal
- VERY Best Airbnbs in Toronto
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Noodle addict. City dweller. Aaron Radcliffe is the marketing ninja for The Broke Backpacker, founder of Nomads Nation and Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.