In this ultimate city guide to Toronto, we will share our top 10 things to do, neighbourhoods to stay in, best restaurants and bars to visit and much more!
Toronto is an incredible city with so much to offer. It is the largest city in Canada and is very well known for its multiculturalism as people often refer to Toronto as the most multicultural city in the world! Nearly half of the city’s population was born outside of Canada.
The city’s multiculturalism is quite pronounced as the city has various cultural neighbourhoods and an ethnic food scene, no matter what type of cuisine you may be craving – you’ll find it in Toronto. Toronto is the perfect city to visit for a weekend getaway, with so much to see and do the possibilities are endless.
Keep reading to learn all of our best tips for making the most out of your trip to Toronto – or as the locals call it, The 6.
Top 10 Things To Do In Toronto
1) Visit the Scarborough Bluffs
The Scarborough Bluffs are located on the east side of the city, along a nine-mile stretch with 11 different parks. This area is great for natural beauty with scenic views, hikes, and a sandy beach.
2) Visit The CN Tower
The CN Tower (Canadian National Tower) is a historic landmark that held the record for being the tallest tower in the world for 32 years! It overlooks the city at an astonishing 553m giving you some spectacular views.
We would discourage you from purchasing the regular price ticket, instead, consider making a reservation at the 360 Restaurant. This restaurant is located inside the CN tower at a 350-metres high with a revolving setting allowing you to see a panoramic view of the city during your dining experience.
There is a prefix menu for lunch and dinner and your lift ticket is included in this price. For just a couple dollars more, you’re able to experience the CN Tower and enjoy some delicious food with an exceptional view.
3) Yonge – Dundas Square
Many reference Yonge-Dundas Square as the Times Square of Toronto. It’s a public square located on the southeast corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street East.
This is one of the busiest areas in the city with a mall, business centre, university, movie theatre and shops located in close proximity to the square.
4) Visit Harbourfront
This neighbourhood is located at the south tip of the downtown core. This is the perfect place to go for a nice walk and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Harbourfront is a great place to rent some bikes and enjoy the 22km lakefront trail. Located right at the centre are the world-famous Beaver Tails.
There are also many parks located in this area. We would suggest visiting Sugar Beach, this urban park is an amazing spot to grab some Instagram shots! The bright pink umbrellas create a stunning ambience with the gorgeous views of Lake Ontario.
5) Distillery District
Your trip to Toronto isn’t complete without visiting the Distillery District. This quaint neighbourhood is set in the eastern part of the downtown core.
The 19th-century buildings and cobblestone roads were once home to a whisky distillery, today the neighbourhood has been completely gentrified with hip restaurants, art galleries, bars, and boutiques located in this area.
There are many annual events that take place in the Distillery District, for a list of events check out their website.
6) Visit The Toronto Islands
This attraction is best to visit during the spring/summer months in the city. The boat ride itself to the islands captures an amazing view of Toronto’s Downtown Core.
From the harbourfront pier, you can take a short ferry to 3 different parts of the island. You can find the full schedule of ferry ride times.
- Centre Island: Here you’ll find a petting zoo, splash pad, the Centerville amusement park, a beach and more! It’s perfect for families with children.
- Ward Island: This is personally our favourite part of the island as it’s quiet, less busy and more relaxing. The quaint island is home to a beach, cafes and plenty of recreational space.
- Hanlan’s Point: If you want to get close and see aeroplanes landing – this is the best place to do it as it is located next to Billy Bishop Airport. The island is home to an “optional clothing” beach, however, it is a bit louder (due to the airport).
The islands are interconnected so you can rent bikes and ride around to see the different parts of the island.
7) China Town
Toronto’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world! It hosts a variety of Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese restaurants.
There are hundreds of open-air markets and shops along Spadina Avenue that sell fresh produce, souvenirs and more. Be sure to drop by one of the many bubble tea places in this area – we’d recommend Coco’s as a personal favourite.
8) Royal Ontario Museum
Calling all history junkies! The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is filled with art, culture and history exhibits.
It is one of the largest museums in North America that attracts over one million visitors every year. Check the ROM website for the most up to date exhibits.
If you’re not up for the typical museum visit we would suggest visiting the ROM After Dark. This event takes place almost every Friday of the year.
The evening consists of music, visual arts, immersive experiences, food & drinks. You won’t want to miss this incredible and one of a kind event!
After all, it’s not every day that you get to party in a museum. Please note that the event usually sells out, therefore pre-buying your tickets a week in advance is recommended.
9) Trinity Bellwoods
This neighbourhood is located just west of the downtown core and is home to a microbrewery, cool restaurants and bars, and Trinity Bellwoods Park.
During the spring/summer months, many locals gather around in the park to hang out, picnic and enjoy a beautiful view of downtown Toronto. There are also movie nights hosted in the park during the summer months.
10) Kensington Market
Kensington Market is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Toronto. Located just around the corner from Chinatown this market boasts for its vintage shops, boutiques and art spaces. There are also many restaurants and bakeries located in this area.
The neighbourhood itself has a very hipster vibe with a ton of exploring to do, you don’t want to miss out of Kensington!
Looking for more things to do in Toronto? Then read our 8 Things You Can’t Miss In Toronto article!
How to Get Around Toronto
Arriving In Toronto
Toronto has two airports located in the Greater Toronto Area; Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Airport.
Billy Bishop Airport is located on the Toronto island and welcomes local, short-distance flights. If you are landing at this airport you will have an easy commute into the downtown core where there is an underground path which will lead you to the mainland.
If you are arriving at Pearson International Airport, your easiest way to get into downtown Toronto is by taking the Union Pearson (UP) express. The train is located just outside of the airport and will take you to Toronto’s main transit station, Union Station, in 30 minutes. The fare is 12.35CAD one way and comes every 20 minutes!
If you are arriving by bus, you’ll be getting off at the Toronto Coach terminal located on Bay Street and Dundas street west, putting you at the city centre! The terminal services both Greyhound and Megabus.
Getting Around the City
Toronto’s local public transit is known as the TTC and consists of buses, subways and streetcars. This mode of transportation is both the easiest and cheapest way to travel throughout the city.
The public transport system is linear and centered around all major streets, and therefore isn’t overly complicated like other metropolitan cities. If you do get lost, each TTC subway station is equipped with an information clerk ready to help you out!
Standard fare is currently 3.25CAD per ride, however, if you are planning to travel a lot you might consider buying a day pass which will cost you, 13.50CAD, for the day but give you unlimited rides on the TTC.
While the TTC streetcars operate 24 hours, the subway does close around 2 am, therefore if you are looking to commute late at night or want to venture out of the city you might consider using Uber or Lyft.
Uber and Lyft
The ride-sharing services around Toronto will cost you anywhere between $6-25+ depending on the distance and time of day.
If you want to experience local Toronto life we would suggest walking as much as you can! Toronto is a very pedestrian-friendly and safe city that is easily accessible on foot.
If you are travelling during colder months you can take the PATH, an underground pedestrian system designed to let you walk across downtown while being sheltered from the outside weather.
If the weather is nice and you’re up for a challenge we suggest using the bike share service in Toronto.
Bike Share Toronto is an affordable bike rental system located around the city. You will need to download the app and sign up for the service online prior to using it.
Neighbourhoods and Areas to Stay
1) Entertainment District
This neighbourhood lives up to its name. Located right in the Downtown Core it is close to many attractions and right in the hustle and bustle of the city.
2) Queen West/Liberty Village
Just west of the downtown core, this neighbourhood is hip and many parts of it have been completely gentrified.
If you’d like to stay at a hostel, you can check out The Parkdale Hostellerie.
Yorkville is dedicated to luxury dining and boutique shopping.
Where To Eat In Toronto
There are so many amazing restaurants in Toronto, that it might be a little difficult choosing where to go. Toronto offers restaurants and cuisines from all around the world, cheaper dishes, date spots, local eateries… the city has it all.
That is why we’ve created this extensive list of the top restaurants you must visit in Toronto!
- This small family-run restaurant offers one of the most authentic pizzas in Toronto! They do specialize in Neapolitan style pizzas but they also offer pasta, paninis, antipasti etc. They always use fresh ingredients and fun fact, their wood oven was shipped over directly from Italy.
- Perfect date night restaurant or dining out with friends on their summer patio. Like any typical Italian restaurants, they offer great menu items, however, you must try their famous house-made mushroom truffle pasta.
- This ramen chain has multiple locations all across the city. Their ramen always includes the freshest ingredients, the most flavoursome broth and the portions are enormous. Plus there’s a vegetarian option too!
- As big sushi fans, we love going out for all you can eat sushi. With tons of locations all across the city, this spot not only offers the usual sushi but a ton of other menu items like noodles, dumplings, spring rolls as well. If you are feeling hungry and need that sushi craving satisfied, head to August 8 for AYCE under $30.
- Tsujiri specializes in matcha flavoured desserts. Matcha is made out of green tea, that is stone ground and created into a powder. The desserts you can make with matcha are absolutely endless. You don’t want to miss out on this delicious Japanese treat.
Best Spot to Impress your Date
- This luxurious Italian restaurant is located on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle, offering incredible views of the lake and Toronto’s skyline.
- If there is one place that deserves a Michelin star in Toronto, it’s this one. This modern French restaurant offers a tasting menu, located on top of a beautiful Victorian building. Although it is quite pricey, the food is well worth it.
For more date ideas be sure to read our Top 5 Date Spots In Toronto article!
Vegan/ Vegetarian: Fresh & Planta
- Vegan or not, Fresh is the spot for a healthy and satisfying meal. With 3 locations around the city, you won’t have to wait for a table. Make sure to try one of their fresh bowls and quinoa onion rings!
- Created by world chef, David Lee, this is the spot for foodies. Even though the menu is fully plant-based, no flavour gets lost in the meals and it’s perfect for groups as the items are meant to be shareable.
- Over Easy is the classic brunch spot to go get some delicious and comforting breakfast food. It’s the best place to go with a group of friends after a night out or with family. You must try their eggs benedict or their big breakfast.
- Come here for the most inventive breakfast whilst in a gorgeous setting! Lady Marmalade serves all-day brunch with high-quality meats, free-run eggs and vegetarian dishes. Mush tries are most definitely the eggs benny, breakfast poutine (a Canadian classic) and their famous bread pudding with pockets of fruit and Ontario maple syrup – drool.
Canadian Comfort Food Classic
- A trip to Toronto, well actually Canada is not complete without trying poutine. Smoke’s Poutinerie offers unlimited variations and toppings to choose from. Most locations are also open until 4 am, making the best-drunk food.
- Serving the famous and delicious Canadian fried dough pastries, that are hand-stretched to resemble the tails of beavers. They offer a heap of sweet toppings including classic cinnamon sugar and strawberry cheesecake flavour (vegan options available too!).
- Named after a town in Northern Thailand, this restaurant is truly bringing a real Thai experience to Toronto. Their menu is full of many flavourful dishes. It is divided into “snacks and starters” and “mains”, where meals can be shared and enjoyed with a group or alone.
- This Greek restaurant is known all around the city for their authentic Greek food – especially for their packed pita wraps. Located in Toronto’s Greektown – this comforting and casual restaurant will not leave you disappointed. Sit down for a delicious meal or order the souvlaki dinner for takeout.
- This family-owned Jamaican bakery serves the best Jamaican patties in Toronto. Located in Kensington Market, grab a patty here for only $2! The best snack when venturing around Toronto.
- Offering the tastiest chimney cakes that are Hungarian pastries, freshly baked on a rotisserie grill – with the perfect crunch and softness on the inside. They have many other flavours and vegan options as well!
- Bakery + Ice cream shop and you’ve got Bang Bang. Craving a cookie ice cream sandwich or cinnamon toast crunch milk ice cream – this is the place to go! Their ice cream flavours are so unique – burnt toffee, lemon meringue, bday cookie dough etc. – they even offer a local beer flavour. Although the lines may get long in the summer, they move pretty fast and quite frankly it’s worth the wait.
- Located in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood, this cash-only pop-up taqueria serves some of the best and most authentic tacos in Toronto. Served on classic corn tortillas, and toppings fried fresh to order. The Baja fish taco is a favourite!
- This taco joint serves a variety of authentic Mexican street foods like tacos and burritos. This casual eatery offers quick service, where you can grab a taco to go, or sit down and enjoy a beer with friends.
Evening Hangouts And Bars
General Tips And Advice For Each Season
As you may already know Toronto experiences 4 seasons every year- Spring (March-June), Summer (June-September), Fall (September-December), & Winter (December – March).
Each season in Toronto has so much to offer, we created this list of events that take place annually during each season, so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Cherry Blossoms in High Park
The blooming of the cherry blossoms occurs late April to early May. Every year the blooming brings thousands of visitors to High Park. The trees are located all over the park creating a Picturesque ambience.
Veld & Bud Light Dreams Festival
Two of the largest festivals of the summer bringing some of the hottest artists to the city!
Veld is a music festival that typically takes place in early August. The Bud Light Dreams Festival is a two day electronic music festival in the end of June.
During the summer months, you can find different food festivals happening at Ontario Place. Food festivals include Pizza Fest, Taco Fest, Grilled Cheese Fest & more!
Calling all foodies! Some of Toronto’s top restaurants come together and offer a pre-fix 3-course meal at their restaurants, all at an affordable price.
Remember to make reservations early in advance as spots fill up quickly. If you book early, you could be eating at one of Toronto’s 5-star restaurants for a fraction of the price.
Visit High Park
This is one of the best times to visit High Park and see the incredible leaves change colour. You can snap some amazing photographs here and walk around the 161 hectares of land. This park is a quick subway ride from the downtown core.
TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)
This festival takes place annually around the second week of September. It brings some of the top actors and producers to Toronto.
You can watch some incredible movie premieres, just make sure to buy your tickets early in advance!
Hosted in the Distillery District this Christmas Market will make you feel like you’re in Germany! You can enjoy some delicious food, mulled wine and Christmas themed shops at the market.
Skating In The City
One thing Canadians love doing in the winter is ice-skating. There are hundreds of skating trails located in the city and many even offer free skate rentals!
This food festival is the winter equivalent to Summerlicious. Some of Toronto’s top restaurants come together and offer a pre-fix 3-course meal at their restaurants, all at an affordable price! You need to make reservations early in advance as spots fill up quickly.
Toronto Guide Wrap Up
The city of Toronto is an amazing destination. You will never get bored in this city as there is an endless list of things to see, do and eat.
We hope this guide helps you plan your ultimate trip to The 6!
We hope that this article has helped inspire you to visit Toronto, Canada. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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