This guide for where to stay in Toronto contains some affiliate advertising. If your purchase an item or book a hotel through one of these links, I may earn a small commission that helps sustain this blog. This, of course, is at no extra cost to you, and I only link to hotels where I would stay myself. You can read my full disclosure here. Also, I stayed the Holiday Inn as a guest of Tourism Ontario, but as always, all opinions are my own. #DiscoverON
Where To Stay In Toronto As A First-Time Visitor
The expansive city views from the CN Tower. The diverse cuisines and unique dining experiences — 360 views of the skyline, anyone? Museums, art, professional sports, theater. There are many reasons to visit Canada’s largest city. But, where will you stay?
If you are visiting Toronto as a first-time visitor, you may be tempted to book a hotel within walking distance of the CN Tower. This Entertainment District location in downtown Toronto may save you money on transportation, but expect rates above $200 (US) per night during the summer at most three-star hotels in this area.
Is Staying In Downtown Toronto Worth The Cost?
For my first Toronto visit as an adult, I stayed at the four-star Sheraton Centre right near tourist hot spots. Directly across the street is Nathan Phillips Square, where the colorful Toronto sign attracts tourists seeking Instagram-worthy photos. During my stay, I walked less than a mile to the CN Tower, the Eaton Centre, and Dundas Square. From the Sheraton, you could also easily walk to the Art Galley of Ontario and St. Lawrence Market. The convenience of the Sheraton’s location certainly is a major perk.
However, that convenience may come with a hefty price tag depending on when you travel and how you book your stay. Luckily, my travel buddy nabbed a fabulous deal through Priceline’s name-your-price feature — $150/night, if I remember correctly. Granted that was 10 years ago, but it was over the New Year’s holiday. A quick Google search as I pen this post shows a rate of $368/night for midweek in mid-August. I found lower rates via Expedia, Booking.com, and Hotels.com, and the best rate I’ve come across was $359 via TripAdvisor. Even in summer’s high tourism season, deals are out there. You’ll just have to do some research to see what fits your budget.
If you want to stay at a boutique hotel near the action, The Saint James Hotel might be the place for you. Located on Gerrard Street at Yonge Street, the three-star hotel is only a couple blocks from Dundas Square, the Times Square of Toronto. And, it is about 1.6 miles (2.7 km) from the CN Tower. Still close enough to walk!
So, to answer the question … Yes, staying in downtown Toronto is convenient for visiting the city’s top attractions. Even if you stay outside the Entertainment District, your accommodations could still be fairly close to the CN Tower. By booking early, shopping around online, and/or using travel points, you may even find deals within your budget. If not, don’t worry. Read on to see more options for where to stay in Toronto that are safe and convenient for travelers.
Best Neighborhoods To Stay In While Visiting Toronto
Ask a local, and they will tell you to get away from the CN Tower and into the neighborhoods. But, which neighborhoods are safe and conveniently located near transportation, dining, and attractions for travelers? And, what kind of accommodations can you book in those neighborhoods? Well, I’ve done some research for you, and I came up with five Toronto neighborhoods foodie travelers are bound to love. Some of the neighborhoods are part of the downtown area while others are downtown adjacent!
West Queen West
One of Toronto’s hippest neighborhoods, West Queen West has plenty of options to eat and drink. Local foodies I met recommended Oyster Boy and Drake SkyYard. It’s supposedly fantastic for boutique shopping and art galleries, too.
Where to stay: The Drake Hotel, a hip boutique hotel full of contemporary art only 2.5 miles (4-km) from the CN Tower.
Dim sum, anyone? The beauty of Toronto lies in its cultural diversity — and that certainly extends to the cuisines.
Where to stay: Hotel Ocho, a highly rated hip and modern boutique hotel, but some TripAdvisor reviewers complained of some rooms’ open floor plans, meaning bathrooms without doors. While this is probably fine for many solo travelers, one couple found it less than romantic. Double check on that when you book your stay! Plus, the CN Tower is less than a mile (1.5 km) away.
If you want a true local experience in Toronto, this is the place to do it. While the neighborhood isn’t home to any noteworthy hotels, you’ll find plenty of Airbnb rentals. As you may have imagined, Little Italy is full of restaurants — but they aren’t all Italian. In fact, I ventured to the neighborhood for a Rudy burger, and a local foodie highly recommended hipster taco spot La Carnita and Nashville-style fried hot chicken sandwich shop P.G Clucks. This is also a budget-friendly option!
Where to stay: Airbnb rentals are abundant in and around Little Italy. Though Airbnb doesn’t have a filter for this neighborhood, you can toggle the map to Little Italy along College Street to find a number of apartments to book for your Toronto city break. College Street is about 2.2 miles (3.5 km) from the CN Tower.
Never used Airbnb? Get $40 off your first stay of $75 or more!
King West Village
A neighborhood for travelers who like to see and be seen, you’ll find glitz and glamour here. Among the high-rise condos is a neighborhood full of entertainment venues, bars, and restaurants with kitchens run by the city’s top chefs. Drake even opened his restaurant Fring’s here, but foodies, I’m sending you for Italian cuisine at Buca.
Where to stay: Thompson Toronto, a chic, four-star luxury hotel located less than a mile (1.3 km) from the CN Tower.
Walking distance from Toronto’s Distillery District, this neighborhood of historic buildings is anchored by the St. Lawrence Market. The largest farmers’ market in the city has 100+ vendors, including farmers, bakers, butchers, and artisans. It’s also considered the best place to get a peameal sandwich — Toronto’s signature dish.
Where to stay: The Ivy at Verity, a hidden gem of a boutique hotel with four posh rooms located 1.3 miles (2.2 km) from the CN Tower.
Tried And True: Where I Stayed In Toronto
While recently visiting the city to attend the Terroir Symposium, Tourism Ontario put me up at the three-star Holiday Inn in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood. Located on busy Bloor Street West, it was never difficult to catch a cab, and access to public transportation is nearby. Across the street is the Bata Shoe Museum, and if you are visiting for an event at the University of Toronto, the Holiday Inn Bloor-Yorkville is within walking distance of campus. It’s also a short cab ride — only 1.8 miles (3 km) — from the CN Tower.
Best Toronto Hotels For Every Budget
Now that you know the perks to staying downtown — primarily the ease and convenience of getting to nearby attractions and dining — and other nearby neighborhoods where you could stay, I’m sharing some of the top-rated hotels in Toronto broken down into the categories of luxury hotels ($300+/night), mid-range hotels ($140-350/night), and hostels (budget-friendly).
Top Luxury Hotels In Toronto (4-5 star hotels)
- The Hazelton Hotel
- Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
- Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square
- The Ritz-Carlton
- Delta Hotels by Marriott
- The Omni King Edward Hotel
- SoHo Metropolitan
- Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
Best Mid-range Hotels In Toronto (3 star hotels)
- Drake Hotel
- The Saint James Hotel
- Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront
- Residence Inn Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District
- Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale
- Gladstone Hotel
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Downtown
Top Hostels In Toronto
Planning Your Toronto Trip?
As you plan your Toronto vacation, you’ll want to think about the experience you’d like to have in the city. Do you want to live like a local? An Airbnb rental in Little Italy might be your best option. Do you want to be able to walk out your hotel straight to top tourism attractions such as the CN Tower and Nathan Phillips Square? Then a downtown hotel will suit your travel style.
Already know when you’ll be visiting Toronto? You can peruse TripAdvisor to check hotel availability and reviews. If you’d rather book an Airbnb rental in Toronto, you can get $40 (US) off your booking (if it’s your first time using Airbnb and the stay is at least $75).
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