Where to Stay in Toronto – No Stress Guide (2018)

We've covered where to stay in Toronto + the best neighborhoods, accommodation, and top things to do in each area for every travel style...

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Toronto is a vibrant and energetic city busting at the seems with historic architecture, diversity, trendy shops, food, and an intense love of sports, especially ice hockey.

As the largest city in Canada, there is plenty to see and do in Toronto: from indulging in delicious cuisine and hitting the club to catching an ice hockey game.

Whether you want to see the top sights, dance the night away, or indulge in the best eats and treats, there’s an area of Toronto that’s perfect for you.

That said, you want to make sure you pick the perfect spot to base yourself for your next Toronto vacation to maximize your time here!

Our guide will help you decide where to stay in Toronto. On vacation with your family? Looking to hit the best bars? Want to explore street art and learn more about the city’s culture?

Keep on reading to see which neighborhood is best for you and our picks for the best areas in Toronto!

Visiting Canada on a larger trip? Make sure to check out our Canada Travel Guide, chalked full of itinerary advice, costs, travel tips, and more!

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Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Toronto

  • Where to stay in Toronto first time – Downtown
  • Where to stay in Toronto on a budget – Chinatown
  • Best area to stay in Toronto nightlife – Midtown
  • Coolest place to stay in Toronto – West Queen West
  • Best neighbourhood in Toronto for families – Downtown West

Where to Stay in Toronto

 

Top 3 Places to Stay in Toronto

Looking for a specific place to stay in Toronto? These are our highest recommendations for the best places to stay in Toronto. If you end up choosing an apartment, make sure to check out our Airbnb post for a 35% discount.

We’ve listed our favorite hostel below, but our guide for the Best Hostels in Toronto will give you even more information!

 

Best Hostel in Toronto: Planet Traveler

Planet Traveler is one of the greenest, most comfortable and best hostels in Toronto. Located in Chinatown, this vibrant hostel is within walking distance of Kensington Market and Yonge/Dundas Square.

Built in a heritage building, this hostel features secure dorms, memory foam mattresses and a free hearty breakfast.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Toronto: Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront

This three-star, waterfront hotel is a great base for your time in Toronto. Located in the Downtown West neighbourhood, this hotel is within walking distance of the Air Canada Centre and the CN Tower.

The rooms are luxurious and spacious, and guests can enjoy relaxing by the outdoor pool, which offers stunning views of the city.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda

 

Toronto Neighborhood Guide

Toronto is a vibrant and energetic metropolis. An interesting mélange, it is known for its historic architecture, rich diversity, shopping, and an intense love of sports.

The largest city in Canada, there’s plenty to see and do in Toronto for intrepid travellers. From watching world-class sports to indulging in delicious cuisines, there’s something for everyone in this cosmopolitan city.

With a population of more than 2.8 million people, Toronto is home to a great number of distinct neighbourhoods. To get a good feel for the city, we recommend you visit three or four different areas depending on the nature of your visit.

This guide includes the “must-sees” broken down by interest in each neighborhood.

Downtown and Downtown West are two neighbourhoods at the heart of the city. The oldest part of Toronto, this is where you’ll find historic architecture, cultural sights and the city’s top tourist attractions.

North of Downtown is the chic and stylish district of Midtown. Energetic and lively, this Toronto neighbourhood is home to trendy restaurants, vibrant clubs, and ultra-hip bars.

As you travel west you’ll pass through Chinatown. A bustling and colourful neighbourhood, Chinatown has great food, cool shops and a myriad of budget accommodation options, which is why it’s the best area to stay in Toronto on a budget.

Continue heading west to West Queen West. The coolest neighbourhood in Toronto, West Queen West is a hotspot for artists and creatives. It’s where visitors can enjoy chic boutiques, vibrant street culture and a stylish bohemian vibe.

Still confused about where to stay in Toronto? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Best Hostels in Toronto

 

5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Toronto

Toronto is a massive and sprawling city that covers more than 630 square kilometres. The capital and largest city in Ontario is packed with lots of things to see, do and explore. Thankfully, the city has a pretty robust public transit network that can take you from Midtown to Downtown, and everywhere in between, with relative ease.

Certain neighbourhoods are better suited to specific interests. Whether you want to see the top sights, dance the night away, or indulge in the best eats and treats, there’s an area of Toronto that’s perfect for you.

Here are the top five neighbourhoods in Toronto broken down by interests.

 

1. Downtown – Where to Stay in Toronto for the First Time

Downtown Toronto is the heart and soul of the city. The economic and commercial hub, this massive neighbourhood is a destination for travellers looking to indulge their palette, shop til they drop, and take in the city’s most picturesque heritage sites.

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. There’s no better neighbourhood for first-time visitors than Downtown Toronto.

Downtown, Toronto

 

Things to see and do in Downtown

  • Shop til you drop at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, one of the largest indoor shopping malls in Canada.
  • Explore Ossington Avenue, one of the most vibrant streets in the downtown core, where you’ll find everything from hip boutiques to trendy restaurants.
  • Grab a pint at the Bellwoods Brewery.
  • Sip and sample your way through St. Lawrence Market, one of the top ten food markets in the world as rated by National Geographic.
  • Wander throughout the historic Distillery District, a pedestrian-only area home to stylish cafes, independent boutiques and picturesque architecture.
  • Visit Nathan Philips Square, an urban square between Old City Hall and the new Toronto City Hall, which hosts an ice skating rink in winter.
  • Stop and smell the roses at Allan Gardens Conservatory, an urban oasis at the heart of the city.
  • Indulge your senses as Rasa Restaurant.
  • Explore Toronto’s underground by taking the Path, a series of corridors that connect many shops and buildings, ideal for avoiding the snow and cold in winter.

 

Best Hostel in Downtown: HI Toronto

Located in Toronto’s Downtown core, HI Toronto hostel is an excellent base for exploring the city in one of the best areas in Toronto.

Surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes and more, this hostel is a short walk to Downtown Toronto’s top attractions. Guests can enjoy free wifi and free entry to the onsite bar for food, fun, and great live music.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Downtown: Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre

This stylish and modern four-star hotel is situated at the centre of Downtown. It is a quick walk to City Hall, bustling Ossington Ave. and the city’s most famous attractions. Guests will enjoy relaxing in the sauna, taking a dip in the pool, or unwinding with a glass of wine at the hotel’s cosy lounge bar.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: Ramada Plaza Toronto

The Ramada Plaza Toronto is a comfortable and conveniently located hotel. Situated in Downtown, this hotel is close to restaurants, cafes, and notable Toronto attractions.

The property is equipped with wellness facilities, including an indoor pool, sauna and fitness centre. Each room is outfitted with modern amenities for an enjoyable stay.

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2. Chinatown – Where to Stay in Toronto on a Budget

Chinatown is a lively and vibrant district in central Toronto. The largest Chinatown in North America, this bustling neighbourhood is a wonderful medley of restaurants, shops, bars and cafes. It is a district that will excite the senses thanks to it’s myriad of sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

In addition to being a top destination for foodies, Chinatown is where you’ll find a high concentration of budget accommodations, including backpacker hostels and boutique hotels.

Conveniently located near Toronto’s top attractions, visitors to Chinatown can enjoy all the perks of the city centre without the high price tag.

Chinatown, Toronto

 

Things to see and do in Chinatown

  • Sample foods from all around the world at Kensington Market, the bohemian heart of Canada where you’ll find shops, restaurants, bars and more.
  • Explore more than 90,000 works of art that make up the collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which includes works by renowned Canadian and international artists.
  • Stand at the centre of Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto’s answer to Time Square.
  • Browse the small stores selling crafts, arts, and other curiosities in Baldwin Village.
  • Try all of the fillings and flavours at Mother’s Dumplings, a delightful restaurant that specializes in, you guessed it, dumplings.
  • Cool down at Arctic Bites and enjoy Thai-style ice cream rolls in a variety of unique flavours.
  • Sip on a delicious and totally instagrammable coffee at the Light Café.
  • Indulge in some seriously good tacos at Seven Lives, where the flavours are good and the prices even better.
  • Enjoy great Asian food on a budget at Banh Mi Boys.

 

Best Hostel in Chinatown: Planet Traveler

Planet Traveler is one of the greenest, most comfortable and best hostels in Toronto. Located in Chinatown, this vibrant hostel is within walking distance of Kensington Market and Yonge and Dundas Square.

Built in a heritage building, this hostel features secure dorms, memory foam mattresses, and a free hearty breakfast.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Chinatown: The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar

Funky and fun, this cosy hotel is located at the heart of Chinatown. Close to public transit, this hotel offers easy access to Toronto’s top sights and activities.

Comprised of 12 recently refurbished rooms, this charming property provides guests with comfortable beds, free wifi and cable/satellite channels.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda

 

Best Hotel in Chinatown: Super 8 Downtown Toronto

This clean and contemporary hotel is in the centre of the city. Conveniently located, it is surrounded by shopping, restaurants, and Toronto’s tourist attractions.

Guests can unwind after a day in the city by taking a dip in the swimming pool or by making use of the sauna.

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3. Midtown – Where to Stay in Toronto for Nightlife

Located north of the city centre, Midtown is the Toronto nightlife district that perfectly blends the historic and the modern. It is one of the chicest areas of Toronto and here you can find high-end shopping, innovative cuisine, and world-class museums and art galleries.

Midtown is also home to the vibrant and energetic Annex. This bustling area is home to Toronto’s hottest bars and liveliest clubs. With everything from quaint cafes to all-night dance parties, Midtown is one of the best areas to stay in Toronto if you’re looking to experience Toronto’s legendary nightlife scene.

Midtown, Toronto

image source: Flickr

 

Things to see and do in Midtown

  • Enjoy a pint at The Bedford Academy, a stylish and cosy pub.
  • Dive deep into the history of the shoe at the Bata Shoe Museum. A must-visit for fashion-lovers, this museum contains more than 13,500 pieces of famous and historical footwear.
  • Sip exotic and delicious martinis and more at Proof Vodka Bar.
  • Experience a world of history, art, and culture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), one of the largest museums in North American.
  • Enjoy an old Toronto vibe at The Rebel House, a relaxed tavern in Midtown.
  • Listen and dance to the best alternative and grunge music at Lee’s Place, a Toronto nightlife staple that’s hosted bands like Alanis Morissette and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • Sample from a great selection of local and international craft beers at Brewhaha.
  • Dance the night away at Dance Cave, a dive bar known for good drinks and even better music.

 

Best Hostel in Midtown: All Days Hostel

This clean, quiet, and comfortable hostel is located at the heart of Midtown. Just a short block from Yonge/Bloor, this hostel is close to shops, restaurants, bars and clubs.

It has both shared and private accommodations, and guests can make use of the two large kitchen as well as coin-operated laundry facilities.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Midtown: Madison Manor Boutique Hotel

Enjoy historic charm and modern elegance at this Midtown hotel. Conveniently located near Midtown’s vibrant nightlife district, this hotel is surrounded by bars, restaurants, clubs, and cafes. Guests can rest and relax before a night on the town in the on-site lounge or by taking a dip in the indoor pool

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Best Hotel in Midtown: Hotel 89 Yorkville

This three-star hotel is located at the heart of chic Midtown. Ideally located for exploring Toronto, this hotel is just a stone’s throw from the city’s hottest bars and clubs, as well as fine restaurants and eateries.

Featuring rustic and minimalist décor, each room is outfitted with air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda

 

4. West Queen West – Coolest Place to Stay in Toronto

West Queen West isn’t just one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Toronto, but according to Vogue Magazine, it’s the second coolest neighbourhood in the world. Dynamic and energetic, this central Toronto district is where the city’s young, creative and fabulous congregate both day and night.

West Queen West boasts a stylish blend of historic architecture and innovative fare. It’s where fashionistas and foodies mingle with designers, writers and graffiti artists. From top-notch galleries to hipster bars, there’s something fabulous for every taste in West Queen West.

West Queen West, Toronto

image source: Flickr

 

Things to see and do in West Queen West

  • Enjoy great drinks and a fantastic atmosphere at Sweaty Betty’s, a fantastic dive bar with a rustic outdoor terrace.
  • Relax on a sunny afternoon in Trinity Bellwoods Park, a mid-sized urban greenspace often packed with people, sports, BBQs and good times.
  • Indulge in delicious food and chic cocktails at Church Aperitivo Bar.
  • Enjoy the finest and freshest oysters in the city at Oyster Boy.
  • Eat amazing smoked and barbecued meats and more at Smoque & Bones.
  • Take a stroll through Graffiti Alley, where the walls and building display the colourful works of highly talented local street artists.
  • See and be seen at The Drake Hotel, one of the hottest spots in the city to enjoy drinks, food, culture and more.
  • Sip exotic cocktails at the ultra-hip cocktail bar, Speakeasy21.
  • Root for the home team at BMO Field where you can take in a Toronto FC match in the summer.

 

Best Hostel in West Queen West: The Parkdale Hostellerie

The Parkdale Hostellerie is a stylish and modern hostel located in one of Toronto’s hottest neighbourhoods. A short walk to the heart of West Queen West, this charming hostel is close to bars, restaurants, boutiques and cafes.

It has dorm-style accommodations, perfect for travellers of all styles and budgets, and guests can make use of the common kitchen and living space.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in West Queen West: Drake Hotel Toronto

Sophisticated and stylish, Drake Hotel Toronto is the best hotel in West Queen West. Tastefully decorated, this hotel features a fitness centre, in-house bar, and bike rental for guests. Conveniently located near shopping, restaurants and cafes, this three-star hotel is an ideal base for exploring Toronto.

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Best Hotel in West Queen West: Elite Suites – Modern Loft

This modern and minimalist property is located at the heart of West Queen West. Providing guests with cosy and contemporary accommodations, these loft-style apartments come outfitted with laundry facilities and free wifi access.

Close to restaurants, supermarkets and bars, the property is within walking distance of Toronto’s top attractions.

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5. Downtown West – Where to Stay in Toronto for Families

Downtown West is a large neighbourhood in the centre of the city. This section of downtown is home to Toronto’s most famous and iconic tourist attractions, including the CN Tower and Hockey Hall of Fame.

It also includes Toronto’s stunning Inner Harbour, which is a must-visit for travellers who love an outdoor adventure and exploring nature.

Downtown West is also the ideal base for families with children. Home to a number of great family-friendly activities and attractions, this area of town is well-connected and easy to navigate on foot.

Downtown West, Toronto

CN Tower

 

Things to see and do in Downtown West

  • Take the ferry to the Toronto Islands and explore this green oasis not far from the city.
  • Cheer on the hometown Blue Jays at a major league baseball game.
  • Dine at Arriba. Located within Roger’s Centre, this restaurant has an amazing view of the field and an extensive kids’ menu.
  • See hundreds of fish, plants, sea creatures and more at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
  • Ride the elevator to the top and take in the stunning panoramic views of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower.
  • Learn about the history of Canada’s favourite game and it’s players at the interactive Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Sit amongst the diehard fans at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.
  • Enjoy a delicious meal at Ricarda’s, a family-friendly restaurant that has a monitored play place and a bouncy castle to keep kids (big and little) entertained.

 

Best Hostel in Downtown West: The Clarence Park

At the heart of Toronto’s chicest district is the recently renovated Clarence Park hostel. Clean and comfortable, this hostel is perfect for families and couples.

It’s a short walk to the neighbourhood’s top attractions, including the CN Tower and the beaches. Guests will love relaxing on the huge rooftop patio and making use of the BBQ area.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Downtown West: Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront

This three-star, waterfront hotel is a great base for your time in Toronto. Located in the Downtown West neighbourhood, this hotel is within walking distance of the Air Canada Centre, the CN Tower.

The rooms are luxurious and spacious, and guests can enjoy relaxing by the outdoor pool, which offers stunning views of the city.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda

 

Best Hotel in Downtown West: Sun Suites – Lakeview Suites

This four-star property is located just a stone’s thrown from the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, and Downtown Toronto’s top attractions. This comfortable apartment is well equipped with a comfortable bed and cosy living room.

Guests can unwind after a long day of sightseeing by making use of the swimming pool and on-site Jacuzzi.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda

 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Toronto

Toronto is more than just Ontario’s biggest city; it’s a buzzing metropolis with plenty of cool neighborhoods, restaurants, art, and history. Whether you’re a night owl, or exploring the streets with your family, there is something in Toronto for you.

Still not sure where to stay in Toronto?

We highly recommend Planet Traveler as one of the best hostels to stay in Toronto. In Downtown West you’ll find one of Toronto’s best rated hotels, Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront.

No matter where you stay, you can be sure you’ll have a great time in Toronto! Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below!


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