This guide to the top 10 things to do in Toronto is based on my research and experience traveling in Toronto over my lifetime. Originally published in September 2017, this post has been updated in July 2019. In full disclosure, my most recent trip to Toronto in May 2017 was hosted by Tourism Ontario. I thank Tourism Ontario for their hospitality and bringing me back to Toronto. This post also contains some affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As always, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

Over the past three decades, I’ve traveled to Canada’s largest city four times. From my first visit as a 10-year-old on a family vacation to my most recent as a professional travel and food writer, I’ve experienced a wide range of Toronto’s diverse attractions and activities. With a variety of museums, unique neighborhoods, and a diverse dining scene, Toronto offers plenty to explore during a weekend getaway.

If you are visiting Toronto for the first time, I hope you’ll find my list of the top 10 things to do in Toronto a helpful starting point for planning your trip. I’ve also included bonus ideas if you have extra time, are a return visitor seeking an activity off the beaten path, or are road tripping and could add a destination near Toronto as a day trip.

To access this post offline and with GPS navigation to the attractions I’ve recommended, you can download the free GPSmyCity app and then take this Toronto guide with you on your trip. Want to learn more about how GPSmyCity works? I wrote about the app in this post.

As you read this post, one important thing to know is all prices are listed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. At the moment, the Canadian loonie is worth 76 cents in U.S. currency. For my fellow American travelers, right now is a financially beneficial time to visit our northern neighbors. 😉

Without further ado, I give you …

10 Best Things To Do In Toronto

The CN Tower is the top attraction in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1. See The View From The CN Tower

Iconic to the skyline and offering 360° bird’s-eye views of Toronto, Canada’s National Tower is visited by 1.5 million tourists each year. If you are a first-time visitor to Toronto, consider taking a Toronto city tour that includes admission to the CN Tower’s two observation levels.

If, like me, you have already visited the CN Tower, consider seeing the view with an experience — dining or adventure. For adventurous souls, scale the outside with EdgeWalk — the highest hands-free external walk around a building in the world. Don’t worry — you’ll be harnessed! During my last visit, I dined at 360 Restaurant. As I enjoyed my meal of Canadian wine, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and Fogo Island seafood, the dining room made a full rotation offering stunning sunset views over the Toronto skyline.

Great Deal: Get 38% off Toronto attractions, including the CN Tower, with Toronto CityPASS®

Plan Your Visit To The CN Tower

Location: 301 Front Street West

Hours: Open every day except Christmas from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Cost: General admission tickets start at $26

Bring: Camera, ticket (if you pre-purchased and printed at home), money for food and souvenirs in the gift shop. Note: Bags are OK as long as they are smaller than 25″ long x 15″ wide x 20″ high and will be searched at security.

360 Restaurant Reservations: You can make your 360 Restaurant reservation via OpenTable.

Recommended Hotels Near CN Tower: Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto, InterContinental Toronto Centre, Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront, Fairmont Royal York

Pro Tip: Whether you plan to dine at 360 Restaurant or visit the observation decks, schedule your CN Tower visit for sunset. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get through security, wait in line, and up the elevator to see the city in sunlight. Then stay to see the city lights at night.

Disclosure: My visit to the CN Tower and dinner at 360 Restaurant was provided by Tourism Toronto.

View of Toronto from 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

2. Eat Your Way Around St. Lawrence Market

A Toronto culinary destination since 1803, this historic marketplace has 120 vendors including farmers, bakers, butchers, and artisans. Graze from stall to stall, or shop for groceries to make your own dinner back at your Airbnb rental. For a real Toronto classic, try a peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery. Want a local to show you the market? Sample Jewish bagels, Ukrainian pierogies, and local cheeses on a guided food tour of Old Toronto and St. Lawrence Market!

Plan Your Visit To St. Lawrence Market

Location: 93 Front Street East

Hours: Open from Tuesday through Saturday. Hours vary by day, so you’ll want to check Google before you go.

Cost: Free admission, but how much you spend depends on what you purchase 😉

Bring: Spending money and your appetite

Recommended Hotels Near St. Lawrence Market: The Omni King Edward Hotel, One King West Hotel & Residence, Novotel Toronto Centre, Fairmont Royal York

"Bevery Hills, 90210" star Jason Priestley's maple-leaf marker along Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

3. Stroll Along Canada’s Walk Of Fame

Anyone else have a crush on Brandon Walsh of Beverly Hills, 90210? Just me? I was a little geeked to find my childhood celebrity crush’s name and autograph inscribed along King Street West. Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Canada’s Walk of Fame inducts actors, directors, producers, and musicians. However, Canada’s Walk of Fame also inducts a wider range of occupations including writers, cartoonists, models, playwrights, athletes, and coaches.

Plan Your Visit To Canada’s Walk of Fame

Location: You’ll find Canada’s Walk of Fame stars downtown along King Street West between John and Simcoe streets and along Simcoe Street between King Street West and Wellington Street.

Hours: Whenever you want!

Cost: Free

Bring: Walking shoes and your camera

Recommended Hotels Near Canada’s Walk of Fame: Le Germain Hotel Toronto Mercer, Bisha Hotel Toronto, The Ritz-Carlton

Pro Tip: Have a particular Canadian celebrity whose star you’d like to find? Michael Bublé? Céline Dion? Ryan Reynolds? Check out this Inductee Star Map beforehand to locate their star, and you’ll save time searching for your photo op.

Along Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, you'll find stars for famous Canadians such as actor Ryan Reynolds.

4. Indulge In The Arts

Interested in ceramics, fashion, paintings, or sculpture? Love to see Broadway musicals? If you enjoy experiencing the arts when you travel, Toronto has plenty for you to see. During my first two visits, I saw The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre. Now called Ed Mirvish Theatre, it remains one of several regal theaters to see a show in Toronto.

Explore The Arts At These Toronto Museums, Galleries, and Theatres

Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square

5. Take A Touristy Photo

If you didn’t snap, Instagram, or Facebook your trip, did it really happen? Of course, it did. But, isn’t it so much more fun to share your trip with friends and family back home? Those of us who aren’t ashamed of a touristy photo op have several noteworthy settings for those perfectly Instagram-worthy shots. Get your smartphones and cameras ready!

My Picks For The Best Instagram Pics in Toronto:

  • CN Tower — Not only will you be able to photograph the exterior of the tower, but you’ll find a 3-D CN Tower sign. The sign is lit up at night, too.
  • Nathan Phillips Square — At this plaza near Toronto City Hall, you’ll find the colorful Toronto sign. Installed for the 2015 PanAm Games, it has become an iconic photo op for visitors. Be sure to stay a few minutes to watch it change colors. I recommend timing your visit for dusk when you’ll see the lights’ reflection on the water.
  • Graffiti Alley — I’ll delve into this more later, but you’ll find vibrantly colored murals and graffiti for a hipster-chic background.

Take One Of These Top-Rated Toronto Walking Tours To Find Photo Ops:

  • Arts, Food, & Culture Toronto Walking Tour On this two-hour tour, walk through Toronto’s most popular neighborhoods to Queen Street, Chinatown, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Kensington Market.
  • Private Half-Day Guided Toronto Walking TourOn a 1.5-mile (2.5-km) loop through downtown Toronto, your knowledgable local guide will show you the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, and more all while sharing tales of the city’s history.
  • Loon Escape’s “Heart of Toronto” Tour Take a two-hour tour of Toronto’s famous sights — the iconic Toronto sign, Ontario College of Art & Design, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Dundas Square — with photo ops captured by Polaroid camera, trivia games, and tasty Canadian snacks.

Taking touristy photos at the CN Tower is a must when visiting Toronto, Canada!

6. Visiting Toronto With Kids? Go To The Ontario Science Centre

Ok, this suggestion will take you outside Toronto proper, but it is worth the drive if you are visiting Toronto with kids. Granted it has been 20 years since I last visited the Ontario Science Centre on a middle school field trip, but I still remember the baseball pitch of the Sports Arena. Though the sports exhibit is now rented out to other museums, the permanent collection includes The Living Earth. There young explorers can walk through a rain forest, crawl through a cave, touch a tornado, and see a coral reef and poisonous dart frogs.

Plan Your Visit To The Ontario Science Centre

Location: 770 Don Mills Rd, North York, Ontario

Hours: 10 a.m. – 5.m. Sunday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Holidays

Cost: $22 Adults, $16 Seniors (65+), $16 Youth (13-17) & Students with student ID, $13 Children (3-12), Free for ages 2 and younger

Bring: Camera and money for admission, IMAX tickets, souvenirs, and parking ($10 per vehicle)

Save 38% on Toronto attractions, including the Ontario Science Centre, with Toronto CityPASS®

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

7. Walk Down Graffiti Alley

Street art seekers, this is where you’ll find vibrant murals and graffiti in Toronto. I’d recommend spending 30 minutes to an hour walking through the alleyway of Rush Lane. If that’s not enough to quench your thirst for street art, Tourism Toronto has a curated guide of where to find more street art in Toronto. You can also learn more about Toronto’s colorful street art by taking this free graffiti tour.

Plan Your Visit To See Toronto’s Street Art

Location: Rush Lane, one block south of Queen Street West, between Spadina Avenue and Portland Street

Hours: Go during daylight hours, and plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour exploring

Cost: Free

Bring: Camera

Recommended Hotels Near Graffiti Alley: The SoHo Hotel & Residences, Le Germain Hotel Toronto Mercer, Bisha Hotel Toronto

Graffiti Alley, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo by Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

8. Drink A Flight Of Local Craft Beer

Move over, Molson! There is so much more happening in the Toronto beer scene these days. During my recent visit, my first stop was Amsterdam BrewHouse for Lake Ontario views from what has been voted one of Toronto’s best lakefront patios. It’s certainly a popular destination on game days, and the Toronto Blue Jays’ ballpark, Rogers Centre, is only a 10-minute walk. With 480 seats outside and another 500 indoors, you might be able to squeeze in for a beer flight even during the busiest of times. I certainly did. At Amsterdam BrewHouse, you can select a flight from pre-arranged options, and there is a full food menu. The roasted vegetable and goat cheese pizza is delicious.

Plan Your Visit To Amsterdam BrewHouse On The Lake

Location: 245 Queens Quay West

Hours: 11 a.m. – Midnight Sunday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Cost: $7.50 20-oz. draft beer, Flight costs about $10

Bring: Money and ID

More Toronto Breweries And Craft Beer Bars To Visit

Toronto Brewery & Beer Tours

  • Small-Group Toronto Beer Tour On this four-hour guided walking tour of Old Toronto, learn how beer is a part of the city’s history as you visit three classic Toronto pubs and sample beers at Mill Street Brewery.
  • Toronto Craft Brewery Tour — Hop aboard the 10-seater van to three West Toronto breweries to get a behind-the-scenes look at brewing, learn how to do a beer tasting, and sample 60-oz of local craft brews on this guided tour.
  • Toronto East End Brews and Dark History Tour Taste locally made craft beer and cider while learning of Canada’s prohibition, jails, crime, and capital punishment with a stop at the historic Don Jail.
  • East End Craft Beer & Bites Tour — Explore Toronto’s historic East End on this four-hour guided tour of gastropubs, breweries, and a trendy cider house. Transportation is wheelchair accessible, and service animals are welcome.

In Toronto, drink a local craft beer flight at Amsterdam Brew House.

9. Take In The Skyline At Toronto Harbour and Toronto Islands

One of the best views of Toronto’s waterfront skyline is from the Toronto Islands. You can take a 10-minute ferry ride out to the islands from the downtown ferry dock. If you don’t have time to visit the Toronto Islands, you will find plenty to see and photograph along the waterfront including Lake Ontario, sailboats, skyscrapers, and the CN Tower peeking though the buildings. This bustling area of downtown is also host to lively weekend festivals and events.

Plan Your Visit To Toronto Islands

Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, 9 Queens Quay West

Hours: Ferries mostly run from 6:35 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Cost: $8.19 for adults, $5.37 for ages 15-19 and 65 and older with ID, $3.95 for ages 2-14, free for children younger than 2 | All prices quoted are for round-trip tickets and were accurate as of July 2019.

Bring: Printed ticket if pre-purchased online or money to purchase ticket at ferry terminal, camera for skyline photos

Recommended Waterfront Hotel Near Toronto Harbour: Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront

Toronto Harbour Cruises

Bike Tours Of Toronto Islands

  • Toronto Islands Morning Bike TourPedal 3.5 miles around the Toronto Islands, the largest car-less community in North America. Points of interest include Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Bikes and helmets are provided.
  • Toronto Islands Evening Bike TourEnjoy an after-dinner bike ride around the Toronto Islands for stunning city views from Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Bikes, helmets, and dessert from an island cafe are included.

Toronto Harbour

10. Taste Toronto’s Diverse Dining Scene

Last but certainly not least, Toronto’s food scene should not be missed. With Toronto’s diverse population, you’ll find Korean, Chinese, Italian, Indian, German, Jamaican, and all sorts of ethnic cuisines. I’ll let your mouth start watering with this tantalizing ice cream cone pictured below. Named the Red Rapture, vanilla soft serve is covered in red velvet cake and meringue crumbs, cream-cheese frosting, and raspberry puree from the Sweet Jesus in downtown Toronto.

Plan Your Visit To The Toronto Restaurants I’ve Visited

  • Sweet Jesus — soft-serve ice cream with unique toppings at 106 John Street
  • La Carnita — hip Mexican restaurant serving street tacos and tasty cocktails at 106 John Street
  • RUDY — classic burger joint at 619 College Street
  • Drake One Fifty — swanky brasserie with patio serving Canadian cuisine and delicious sourdough pizza at 150 York Street
  • Amsterdam BrewHouse — pair a craft beer flight with a wood-oven pizza or burger with lakefront views at 245 Queens Quay West
  • Baro — Latin restaurant serving delicious cocktails at 485 King Street West
  • 360 Restaurant — a unique dining experience at the CN Tower where Canadian wine and cuisine is served in a rotating dining room offering bird’s-eye views of Toronto

Toronto Food Tours

  • Kensington Market Food Tour Explore Toronto’s most internationally diverse food scene with six samples of such global dishes as Tibetan momos and Jamaican patties. Tours run Saturdays and Sundays only.
  • Toronto’s Original Brunch Tour This three-hour tour takes you through Toronto’s coolest neighborhoods to taste double-smoked bacon, flaky croissants, and more brunch dishes with a local culinary guide.
  • Queen Street West Pastry TourTaste mouthwatering treats with coffee or tea at four local bakeries and pastry shops on this 2.5-hour tour.

The Red Rapture ice cream cone from Sweet Jesus in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

If You Have More Time In Toronto

Visiting for longer than a weekend? Not your first time in Toronto? Here are a few more ideas of things to do in and near Toronto:

Should You Use Toronto CityPASS®?

The Toronto CityPASS® saves you 38% off five of the city’s most popular attractions. Included in the pass is admission to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre. Visiting five of these attractions would cost about $119.65 (USD) per adult. With the Toronto CityPASS®, you’ll save more than $45 per adult and more than $30 per child (USD). It’s definitely a money-saving deal if you plan to visit all five attractions. Even if you only make it to four out of five attractions, you’ll still come out slightly ahead. Click here to learn more or purchase your Toronto CityPASS®.

Day & Side Trips From Toronto

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls

Is seeing Niagara Falls on your bucket list? If it isn’t, it should be! These thundering waterfalls are absolutely majestic. Straddling the Canada-US border, Niagara Falls is less than two hours by car from Toronto, and you can even take an organized day trip from the city. A typical excursion to Niagara Falls includes cruising on the Hornblower (pictured above), eating a buffet lunch, visiting the Whirlpool Rapids observation deck and the Floral Clock, and wine tasting at a Niagara-on-the-Lake winery. Want to extend your time to an overnight trip? Visit TripAdvisor to search for Niagara Falls hotels.

Canada’s Wonderland

Thrill seekers, did you know Canada’s premier amusement park is less than a hour’s drive from Toronto? At Canada’s Wonderland, you can ride 17 roller coasters, including Canada’s tallest and fastest. On the Yukon Striker, you’ll hang for three seconds over a 90-degree drop before diving 245 feet into an underground tunnel at speeds reaching 80 mph (130 km/h). Little ones will find thrills too at two family-friendly zones, KidZville and Planet Snoopy. And when you need to cool down, head over to the 20-acre waterpark Splash Works. Plan to stay near Canada’s Wonderland? Search TripAdvisor to find the best deals for your travel dates!

Headwaters

Located about 80 miles (128 km) from Toronto, Headwaters is a region of natural beauty, charming towns, artistic and cultural events, and culinary experiences to be had. Certainly, Adamo Estate Winery is a must-visit stop. A small-batch boutique winery, Adamo Estate produces terroir-driven wines from grapes grown on their own estate and by some of Ontario’s top growers. Tastings are offered daily with tours at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. When you’re feeling hungry, head over to Paddock Café, the intimate, farm-to-table restaurant right in the heart of the winery. To stay in the Headwaters region, look for hotels in and near Orangeville, Ontario.

Adamo Estate Winery

Where To Stay In Toronto

Now that you have ideas for fun things to do in Toronto, you’ll need a place to stay. You’ll find the best deals for Toronto hotels on TripAdvisor and  Booking.com. I’ve also shared five Toronto neighborhoods convenient for travelers. In that post, you’ll find accommodation recommendations for each neighborhood. To get you started in your Toronto hotel research, here are my top recommendations by category:

Where I’ve Stayed: Sheraton Centre

My Top Pick: The Drake Hotel

Most Stylish: Bisha Hotel Toronto

Five-Star Luxury: Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Four-Star Luxury: Fairmont Royal York

For Hilton Points: Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Downtown

For Hyatt Points: Hyatt Regency Toronto

For IHG Points: Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown

For Marriott Points: Residence Inn by Marriott Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District

For Radisson Points: Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront

Airbnb Superhost Properties: 

Discount Alert! Booking your first Airbnb? I’m giving you $40 off your first home booking + $15 off an Airbnb experience worth $50 or more. Click here to get your discount of up to $55!

Booking.com

More Resources For Your Visit To Toronto

  • The official Ontario and Toronto tourism websites are wonderful resources to begin planning your trip.
  • Find unique, self-guided Toronto walking tours that you can download to your mobile device before your trip!

Pin this Toronto guide to reference when you plan your trip!

10 things to do in Toronto, Canada


Have you done any of these top 10 things to do in Toronto? Did you do anything else in Toronto that I haven’t mentioned in this post?

I’d love to hear about your Toronto travel experiences. Tell me about your trip in the comment section!

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