There are so many things to do in Toronto it can be difficult to know where to start. Being one of the most multiculturally diverse cities on the planet, there is something for everyone.
It's our hometown but we've also experienced Toronto as a tourist.
Our comprehensive guide will help you find the best places to visit in Toronto for first-time visitors and return.
Top Things to do in Toronto Canada
Part 1: Best Toronto Tourist Attractions
1. CN Tower Edgewalk
The CN Tower is Toronto's most iconic landmark. Built in 1975, it reigned as the world's tallest building until 2007 when it was taken over by the Burj Khalifa in 2008.
While the CN Tower is a top Toronto Attraction unto itself, it's the Edgwalk that makes it special.
Today it is still clinging on to the Top 10 in the 9th spot, but it is no less impressive standing at a massive 553.3 m-high (1,815.3 ft)
You can eat dinner at the revolving restaurant, walk on the glass floor, take in the 360 degree views of Toronto from inside and out, enjoy a virtual reality ride.
Location: 301 Front Street, right beside the Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play baseball. Directions – TTC to Untion Station, then walk East on Front Street
2. Casa Loma
Toronto has a castle and this one is a beauty. It was built in 1911 by Sir Henry Pellatt; a local financier to be used as his private residence. It was a lavish house with 98 rooms at 64,700 square feet (6,011 m2).
There are stables and a coach house and today it is a popular tourist attraction.
There is even an 800-foot tunnel leading to the stables.
You can tour the many suites, the garden, and the grounds, there's dining including fine dining at the BlueBlood Steamhouse, a casual restaurant at the Terrace Grill and coffee and snacks at Liberty Café.
Location: 1 Austin Terrace – Take the Subway Line 1 to St. Claire Station and then walk West to Casa Loma
3. Ontario Science Centre
Located north of the city, the Ontario Science Centre has been a favourite for decades. There are great hands-on science exhibits and spectacular displays.
Walking through the Living Earth exhibits seriously feels like you are walking through a real rainforest.
It has Toronto's only Planetarium and there is an OMNIMAX Theatre showing new films regularly.
Location: 770 Don Mills Road North York: Take the Subway Line 2 to Pape Station, transfer to Bus 25 North to Don Mills at St. Dennis. Or take an Uber, or ride a bike!
4. Hockey Hall of Fame
Canada loves its hockey and you can celebrate everything hockey at the Hockey Hall of Fame located at the foot of Yonge and Front Street. It houses the Stanley Cup and it's on display when it's not touring the country.
It houses the world's largest collection of hockey memorabilia, there are interactive displays and two theatres. Sports fans will love this place.
Location: 30 Yonge Street – Subway Line 1 to King Station.
5. Ontario Place
I am so glad that they re-opened Ontario Place at Toronto's Waterfront. Located at the CNE Grounds on the Lakeshore, it's an excellent place to spend an afternoon.
It has one of the best outdoor festival stages in Toronto at Budweiser Stage attracting big names performing in an intimate setting (We've seen Aerosmith and the Killers here and it was awesome!) And there's an IMAX theatre.
Enjoy the excellent trail for cycling or rollerblading that goes around 7.5 acres of green space. It is transforming every year and you never know what will be new with each season.
Location: 955 Lakeshore West BLVD – Take the 514 Streetcar out to Dufferin Gate Loop. Or ride a bike along the waterfront trail.
Part 2: Best Toronto Museums
When planning your Toronto sightseeing excursions you must include museums in your Itinerary.
6. Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada's largest museum and one of the top 10 cultural institutions in North America.
Located at the corner of University and Bloor, this impressive museum melds old and new. The contemporary design is a beautiful addition.
It was added to the original building creating a stunning work of art.
It is fitting for a building that houses 13 million artifacts and artwork featured in 40 different exhibition spaces and galleries.
You can get advance tickets at Get Your Guide for $20.
Location: 100 Queens Park – at the corner of Yonge and Avenue Road. Line 1 or 2 Subway to Museum Station.
7. Art Gallery of Ontario – AGO
The AGO went through a huge transformation in 2008 with a spectacular design by Canadian artist Frank Gehry.
With new life comes new exhibitions and the AGO attracts some of the top exhibits on earth.
The art gallery houses permanent collections like the Group of Seven, The Thomspon Collection and Contemporary Art.
It also has a lovely cafe where locals like to meet for a drink or coffee.
Its no wonder this is one of the best places to visit in Ontario.
Location: 317 Dundas Street West – Line 1 Subway to St. Patrick Station
8. Fort York
It's a fort in the middle of the city. Before Toronto became the mega city that it is, it was once called York. And this fort stood on the shores of Lake Ontario to protect the city during the War of 1812.
This National Historic Site is open year-round offering guided tours, demonstrations, and exhibits. You'll have fun interacting and learning about history.
Location: 250 Fort York Blvd. Streetcar 511 or 505 or 509 Street Car
9. Bata Shoe Museum
This is one of the most unique museums we've experienced with displays of footwear through history. But you'll also get to see celebrity footwear like Elton John's platform boots and Elvis' Blue Suede Shoes.
Canadian legend Terry Fox's running shoe is on display from when he attempted to run across the country for cancer research after losing his leg to cancer. He eventually succumbed to the disease, but he is a true Canadian hero.
Location: 327 Bloor Street West. Subway Line 1 or 2 to St. George Station
Advance tickets can be purchased through Get Your Guide
10. Aga Khan Museum
Opened in Sept 2014, the Aga Khan Museum is one of Toronto's newest attractions. This museum located in the north of the city at the Don Valley and Eglinton features a collection of Islamic, Persian and Muslim Art.
It is North America's first museum dedicated to Islamic Art and was started by the private collection of the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan who had been collecting since the 1950s.
The museum houses 1000 objects dating back 10 centuries housed in an impressive eye-catching building.
Location: 77 Wynford Drive – Subway Line 2 to Broadview Station then take Bus # 100 to museum.
It's a good museum to visit in conjunction with the Ontario Science Centre as they are in the same area of town.
Part 3: Interesting Places to Visit in Toronto
11. City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square
It's a gathering spot for tours and meetups. It probably attracts the most visitors to Toronto due to the iconic City Hall Building. It is a popular spot for events, art displays, and celebrations.
It's Toronto's Times Square as this is where we celebrate New Year's Eve and the fountain turns into a skating rink during the winter months.
Location: 100 Queen Street West – Subway Line 1 to Queen Street.
Take a walking tour of Toronto to see all the major sites with Get Your Guide.
12. Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley is picking up steam with the popularity of Instagram.
Located at Queen and Bathurst offers 1 km of walls covered in Graffiti along Rush Lane. Canadian commentator Rick Mercer shot his Rants along Graffiti Alley over the course of his 15-year show.
Location: South of Queenstreet Between Spadina and Bathurst.
Toronto Tour Guys offer Toronto Graffiti Tours.
Harbourfront has come a long way since we lived there in the 90s. It is now an amazing entertainment area complete with theatres, museums, music venues, and festivals.
There are plenty of dining options at Harbourfront and it is an excellent place to stroll along Toronto's waterfront, do some shopping in the Harbourfront Centre and take some artisan workshops.
Location: Located on Queens Quay – Take the subway to Union Station and Walk South to the water. Or take the Spadina Streetcar all the way to Harbourfront.
One of Toronto's most vibrant neighbourhoods in the downtown Chinatown located on Spadina Avenue. Pick up your favourite Asian vegetables for authentic cooking, eat incredible Chinese food and ask for a pot of tea after hours (you'll get a pot of beer if you know where to go!)
You really fell as if you have stepped into little China with the sounds, smells and taste of Asia engulfing the senses at every turn. If you travel a lot, this is a great place to get that dose of Asia you've been missing.
Located along Spadina Avenue between Queen and College
Take a walking tour of China Town and Kensington Market.
15. Toronto Underground City
It's true, Toronto has an entire subterranean world under the city known as The Path.
Starting at Yonge and Dundas Square it weaves through 30km of the downtown core all the way to Union Station.
More than 200k daily visitors and commuters walk the path filled with restaurants, shopping, cafés connecting 75 skyscrapers, subway stations, department stores and hotels.
When it's cold outside in the winter it's a great place to wander and when the summer months get too hot, it's a nice escape from the heat.
Located: in the downtown core. Just walk into any building and look for the Path sign. Visit Path.com for maps
16. Yonge and Dundas Square
It's Toronto's version of Times Square.
This popular public square in the heart of Downtown always has something exciting going on. Surrounded by billboards, shopping, movie theatres and City TV, it's a happening spot.
There are always outdoor performances, festivals and even free movies in the summertime.
Location: At the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Street. Take Subway Line 1 to Dundas Station.
17. Entertainment District
The Entertainment district is a great place to make a base while exploring the top Toronto Attractions.
Close to Union Station, it is easy to get to and it is where Toronto's main nightlife venues can be found. With cocktail lounges and chic bars, this is one of Toronto's most happening places.
No public vehicles are allowed on King Street West in the heart of the district, so it's a great place to walk from Spadina to University to do some bar hopping.
Here you'll also find Steam Whistle Brewery, Toronto's top theatres and it is home to TIFF. (The Toronto International Film Festival)
Part 4: Toronto – Things to do Outdoors
18. Distillery District
The Distillery District was once home to Gooderham and Worts alcohol distillery, making it the perfect place to convert into one of the city's top entertainment districts.
Stroll through the pedestrian walkways along cobblestone streets as you browse the many boutiques and art galleries. I love the historic artifacts that are on display throughout the complex.
In the summer the streets come alive with outdoor street performers, music and stage performances.
In the winter, the Christmas Markets are in full swing. There are plenty of places to eat and there are some bars and microbreweries to wet the taste buds.
Location: Located on Mill Street between Parliament and Cherry Street.
A Segway tour of the Distillery is a fun way to get around and learn of its history.
19. High Park
Located in the West End, the city's largest park attracts visitors from afar during cherry blossom season, but there is a lot more to high park.
Visit the High Park Zoo housing domestic animals like bison, highland cattle, and llamas. It's a great park for hiking and cycling and in the summer Shakespeare in the Park begins with live performances from the Bard.
There's Grenadier Pond, the Historic Colborne Lodge and it is a short walk down to the Lake Shore to enjoy the Toronto Waterfront.
Location: Take Subway Line 2 West to Keele or High Park Station.
20. Evergreen Brickworks
The newest outdoor market destination is the Evergreen Brickworks located in the Don Valley.
With outdoor markets, art exhibits and cafés, it's a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours.
Rent a bike from one of the city's bike share locations and peddle out to the quiet district to grab some fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers market.
Location: 550 Bayview Avenue. It's tricky to get to an cycling or a car is the best way. By transit, take Subaway line 1 north to Davisville and then bus #28 to the Brickworks.
21. Toronto Islands
You must go to the islands for an incredible view of Toronto but there is a lot to see out here too!
There is stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and cycling. You can visit the beaches of the island including Toronto's famous Nude Beach.
Kids will love playing at one of Toronto's cutest amusement parks.
We always enjoy a picnic on the islands and there's even a small amusement park. The islands are a perfect getaway from the city.
Location: Take the ferry from Queen's Quay.
22. The Beaches
The Beaches have long been a favourite tourist attraction of Toronto.
It is a place where time stands still boutique shops, bakeries, indie shops and bistros line the busy street. The Beaches are exactly what you would expect from its name.
Starting at Ashbridges Bay, you'll find beach volleyball, boardwalks, and parks stretching along Lake Ontario through Kew Beach along the 3km trail leading to the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant.
Traffic is a killer in the summer, so use a bicycle to get around. Buy an ice cream cone and walk the streets stopping in to listen to music or visit the farmers market. The Beaches Jazz festival takes place during the month of July.
Location: Toronto East -Take the Queen Streetcar.
23. Riverdale Farm
You heard me correctly, there is a farm in the middle of Toronto. Located in the East End of downtown Toronto, this is an actual working farm that allows visitors.
Its 7.5 acres contain vegetable gardens, farm animals, and a farmhouse and barns. It's a great representation of rural Ontario farming community and a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Location: 201 Winchester Street – Line 1 to College Subway Station transfer to 504 Eastbound bus.
24. Toronto Bike Trails
Toronto has some excellent bike trails away from the city traffic. You can use the bike share program to cycle around the city, or you can rent some bike.
How about taking a tour with a guide to see some of Toronto's best attractions.
Some of the best cycling trails are the Waterfront Trail, Leslie Spit Trail, The Don Valley Bike Path, Key Garden Belt Line, Taylor Creek Park and High Park.
Locations: For a complete list of Toronto, Bike Trails visit Toronto.com
There are plenty of cycling tours in Toronto to get you started.
Part 5: Toronto Adventure Activities
25. Scenic Flight Over Toronto
For a birds-eye view of the city, take a scenic flight from Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island.
Fly along the waterfront and circle around the skyscrapers of this spectacular international city.
26. Mountain Bike the Don
Toronto has some amazing mountain biking with more than 70km of intermediate to advanced single track.
They are well maintained by local volunteers and it's popular for hikers, runners and dog walkers too. So be careful when riding!
27. SUP Bluffers Park
There are plenty of spots to Stand Up Paddle Board in Toronto but the most scenic spot is Bluffers Park just off of Bluffers Beach.
Blue waters mixed with the white Scarborough Bluffs make a perfect setting and the water is usually calm.
28. Kayak the Humber River
Sure the Beaches and Islands are popular for Kayaking, but Toronto has a beautiful river that offers a quiet alternative.
The Humber River can be accessed at Old Mill Station in the West End of the city.
Here you can paddle down the calm waters to spy wildlife like egrets, turtles, and hawks.
The Humber River empties into Lake Ontario.
29. Harbourfront Cruise
Getting out on the water any way you can is an adventure and if kayaking, SUP or Canoeing isn't your thing, head down to the Harbourfront Centre and book a sunset harbour cruise.
There are all kinds of cruises planned to show off the Toronto skyline from dinner cruises, daytime cruises and cocktail cruises to special Luau Cruises and holiday events.
It's a beautiful way to take in the Toronto Scene and witness the Toronto Islands. Book a cruise in advance
Part 6: Toronto Entertainment Venues
30. Roy Thompson Hall
For the best orchestra, opera and musical performances, Roy Thompson Hall is the place to be.
Home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra it is the premier concert hall in the city with outstanding acoustics.
Check out the Roy Thomson Hall Website for more details.
31. Ed Mirvish Theatres
Princess of Wales, Royal Alexandra & Ed Mirvish Theatre
Ed Mirvish was a beloved businessman in Toronto from the 1960s to the 1990s. He had venues like the discount store Honest Eds and his famous restaurant Eds Warehouse. But it was his love for the theatre that basically single-handedly revitalized the Toronto theatre scene.
He built the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre, both of which still showcase top Broadway shows today.
Mirvish Entertainment also owns the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Pantages) just South of Yonge and Dundas Square and CAA Theatre just south of Bloor on Yonge Street.
Check out Mirvish.com for all theatre listings and showtimes.
32. Rogers Centre
This is the ultimate entertainment complex. Home to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rogers Centre is a huge stadium seating 53,000 people. It has a retractable roof that opens when the weather is balmy and closes when it's cold outside.
When the Jays aren't playing, you will find the hottest musical acts in the world playing in their stadium tours.
See Roger's Centre Live Nation for upcoming concerts.
33. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
The Sony Centre is Canada's largest soft seat theatre making for a very comfortable experience. There's always something playing here including concerts, films, live shows and festivals.
Anyone under 30 Years old receives $15 tickets!
Check out their calendar for show details.
34. Scotia Bank Arena
It is our second largest stadium and is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors.
In between the two major sporting seasons, the Air Canada Centre opens its doors to more music acts.
With a seating capacity of 19,000 people, you'll see some pretty musical artists.
Visit their website for hockey, basketball and concert schedules.
35. Massey Hall
It's sister theatre, Massey Hall is an intimate music venue. If you are looking for a rock and country acts or comedians to watch, chances are you'll find someone at Massey Hall.
Note: , Massey Hall is currently closed for renovation.
Part 7: Toronto Beaches
36. Ashbridges Bay
Ashbridges Bay is one of the more popular spots for beach lovers in Toronto. The waterfront trail runs through the Bay area that has green parks and walkways, beaches, a skateboarding park and picnic sites.
This is Toronto's main spot for fireworks during Canada Day and Victoria Day.
37. Bluffers Park
Located in Scarborough it is one of the more scenic beaches of Toronto with the lovely Scarborough Bluffs towering overhead at 65 metres high. (180 feet)
There's a restaurant at the marina and spots for picnics. Bluffers Beach has become a popular Instagram spot.
38. Sugar Beach
It's a tiny beach but has fast become one of Toronto's most photographed spots. Located on Corus Quay right beside the Redpath Sugar Factory, Sugar Beach is a quiet spot just at the east end of Queens Quay.
It's a small patch of sand with Muskoka Chairs and a pink umbrella installation.
It's surprisingly busy and the waterfront trail passes right in front of it.
Located in the West End of Toronto, Sunnyside Beach is a quieter stretch of beach located near Sunnyside Pool. There's a lovely pavilion that's popular for weddings and events and you can grab some lunch while you are here.
It's an excellent place for running and cycling and there are plenty of stops along the Waterfront Trail.
This trail takes you out through wetlands, over the Humber River and Mimico Creek and into West Etobicoke.
40. Cherry Beach
Cherry Beach is located at the outer harbour on the Martin Goodman Trail and is a popular spot for SUP, Kite Boarder and kayaking. Locals like the off-leash zone for dogs.
During the weekend it's very busy, but it's a good stop if you are on your bike or planning for water activities.
On your way stop at Polson Pier for one of the best skyline views of the city.
41. Kew Beach
Kew Beach is another great spot for Canoe and Kayaking plus our favourite SUP. It's home to the balmy beach club and there's outdoor fitness equipment to play with.
Kew Beach basically blends into Balmy Beach and Woodbine Beach and there's an outdoor swimming at the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools including 5 and 10-metre (15-30 feet) diving boards!
Part 8: Toronto Shopping Districts
42. St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market was once voted as the #1 Food Market in the World by National Geographic.
I don't know if I agree with that, (I've been to some pretty amazing markets around the world, but it is a super place to pick up fresh cheese, fruits and vegetables.
It's been operating for more than 200 years at the foot of Front and Jarvis Street. 120 vendors take pride in their goods operating stalls that have been passed down for generations.
43. Queen West
This is where the hippest of the hip hang out in Toronto. It is known as the Art and Design district and if you're looking for some trendy styles, this is the place to go.
Queen Street is lined with shops and stores selling everything from makeup to menswear. You can even buy sewing and material goods here as well as jewelry making supplies. It's got it all.
Queen West is a place to hang out day and night as once the shops close, the food scene begins and the music starts at venues like The Horseshoe, the Rivoli, and the Rex.
It's home to the Mink Mile – One of the world's most expensive shopping streets. It is in Bloor Yorkville that you'll see celebrities sipping on cappuccinos and the uber-rich driving their latest sports car through the narrow streets.
For shopping, you'll find every high-end sort you can think of including Gucci, Chanel, Kate Spade and Burberry. The top salons make their home in Yorkville and some of the cities best dining is here.
If you want to people watch or pretend to be a Princess for a day, this is the place to be.
45. Eaton Centre
For your all in one stop, the Eaton Centre has been the heart of Toronto Shopping since the 1970s.
Located at Yonge and Dundas Square, this shopping mall spans from Dundas to Queen with flagship stores like The Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom helming the ends.
There are high-end boutiques and thrifty dollar stores. It has everything you'd want under one roof.
46. Kensington Market
For the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Kensington Market is a funky shopping district with second-hand clothing and vintage style.
Located just off Spadina in the heart of China Town, you'll find cheese boutiques, fresh vegetable markets, microbrews and vintage clothing.
It is the funkiest place in the city and a must stop for anyone coming to Toronto.
48 – 52. Best Instagram Worthy Spots in Toronto
- 48. Sugar Beach
- 49. Polsen Pier
- 50. Brookfield Place
- 51. Humber Bay Bridge
- 52. Museum Subway Stop
- 53. Graffiti Alley
And that is our comprehensive guide to all of the amazing things to do in Toronto.
There is a lot more to be added, so stay tuned for more Toronto guides as we spend the summer exploring our own backyards.
53 – 60 Toronto Festivals
Toronto is a city of festivals and some of the not to miss events are:
- Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – Sept
- Toronto Pride – June
- Toronto Summer Music Festival – July
- Luminato – June
- Beaches Jazz Festival – July
- Toronto Caribbean Carnival – July
Getting Around Toronto
To and From Pearson Airport
- There is the UP Express that leaves from Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 every 15 minutes and takes you directly to Union Station.
- Get Your Guide offers airport limousine transfers in style that will take you to your downtown hotel.
- Uber and Lyft can now answer calls at Toronto Pearson Airport.
- By Train, you arrive in Toronto at Union Station from all major hubs.
Hop on Hop Off Bus
- If you want to get around the city, a great way to explore is the Toronto Hop on Hop off Bus. A 48-hour pass lets you explore Toronto's main attractions as you hop on hop off at major tourist sites. Cost $49/It will help you see the highlights quickly and take you to some of the top sights in Toronto like Casa Loma, St. Lawrence Market and a free harbour cruise.
- The TTC isn't the most elaborate of subway lines in the world but it's clean and safe. Fares cost $3.25. If you buy tokens or a Presto Card it is $3. You can buy Presto Cards in advance here.
- Toronto Transit Pass – You can buy 1 day or a weekly pass. If you plan on an extended stay, a Presto card is a good option.
- Bike Share Toronto is good for short rides. A day pass is only $7. It's important to note is that a pass is for 24 hours, but includes unlimited 30-minute rides. So after 30 minutes at a time, extra fees apply. So it's best to use them to get from point A to point B. The good news is that rental stations are close to most attractions.
- Toronto itself can sometimes be very spread out depending on where you are going. If you want to do day trips from Toronto, a rental car is a good option.
- RentalCars.com is a good comparison website to find the right car rental for you.
Parking – Use Green Ps when parking in Toronto, they are the best deal and you can download the app.
Uber – In America Lyft is cheaper, but in Toronto Uber is cheaper and the drivers we've talked to say they prefer Uber over Lyft. (it's the opposite of what we've heard from drivers in America. Interesting eh?
And there you have it. Our ultimate guide for things to do in Toronto. What did we miss?
Read next: Where to stay in Toronto