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. It is the largest city in Canada, and in our humble opinion, it’s the most exciting!
Our comprehensive Toronto guide will help you find the best places to visit in Toronto for first-time visitors and return.
Top Things to do in Toronto
Table of Contents
1. CN Tower Edgewalk
The CN Tower is Toronto’s most iconic landmark and the most popular thing to do in Troonto. 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.
You can eat dinner at the revolving restaurant, walk on the glass floor, and see the best view of Toronto from inside and out, enjoy a virtual reality ride.
- Location: 301 Front Street. Directions – TTC to Untion Station, then walk East on Front Street
2. Casa Loma
Did you know Toronto has a castle? Casa Loma 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 or eat 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 exhibit 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: Subway Line 2 to Pape Station, transfer to Bus 25 North to Don Mills at St. Dennis. Or grab an Uber, or ride a bike!
4. Hockey Hall of Fame
Canada loves its hockey and Toronto is home to 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 also houses the world’s largest collection of hockey memorabilia, there are interactive displays and two theatres.
- Location: 30 Yonge Street – Subway Line 1 to King Station.
5. Ontario Place
Located at the CNE Grounds on the Lakeshore, Ontario Place 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. And there’s an IMAX theatre.
Enjoy the excellent trail for cycling or rollerblading that goes around 7.5 acres of green space.
- Location: 955 Lakeshore West BLVD – Hop on the 514 Streetcar out to Dufferin Gate Loop. Or ride a bike along the waterfront trail.
Watch this Toronto City Tour we took with Tours by Locals. The Best of Toronto in One Day.
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 and Canada s largest museum.
Located at the corner of University and Bloor, this popular Toronto attraction melds old and new. The contemporary design is a beautiful addition.
The ROM houses 13 million artifacts and artwork featured in 40 different exhibition spaces and galleries.
- You can purchase 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. 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
- There are several private art galleries along this street.
8. Fort York
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 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. 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 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. 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 transfer to Bus #100 to the museum.
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 and is the place where travelers meet. 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.
- Book a walking tour of Toronto to see all the major sites of Toronto
12. Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley is picking up steam as the most popular place in Toronto for 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 is an amazing entertainment area complete with theatres, museums, music venues, and festivals.
There are plenty of dining options and it is an excellent place to stroll along Toronto’s waterfront, do some shopping in the Harbourfront Centre and enjoy the artisan workshops.
- Location: Located on Queens Quay – Subway to Union Station and Walk South to the water. Or ride 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 (meaning, a pot of beer)
You really fell as if you have stepped into an Asian city with the sounds, smells, and taste of Asia engulfing the senses at every turn.
- Located along Spadina Avenue between Queen and College
- Book 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. It is one of the largest underground walkways in the world. 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.
- 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
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.
It’s Toronto’s version of Times Square and a place all travelers to the city should visit. There are always outdoor performances, festivals and even free movies in the summertime.
- Location: At the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Street. Subway Line 1 to Dundas Station.
17. Entertainment District
The Entertainment district is a great place for travelers 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 popular 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)
18. Distillery District
The Distillery is one of the most popular places in Toronto for travelers. Stroll through the pedestrian walkways along cobblestone streets as you browse the many boutiques, brew pubs, and art galleries.
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.
- 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. There are plenty of picnic areas, 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
With outdoor markets, art exhibits and cafés, the Evergreen Brickworks is 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 cycling or a car is the best way. By transit, Subway line 1 north to Davisville and then bus #28 to the Brickworks.
21. Toronto Islands
You must go to the islands for the best view of the Toronto skyline. This is the view that everyone around the world recognizes.
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: Board the ferry from Queen’s Quay.
22. The Beaches
The Beaches have long been a favourite tourist attraction of Toronto. Starting at Ashbridges Bay, you’ll find beach volleyball, boardwalks, and parks stretching along the 3km trail along Lake Ontario leading to the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant.
Traffic is a killer in the summer, so use a bicycle to get around. The Beaches Jazz festival takes place during the month of July.
- Location: Toronto East – Queen Streetcar.
The Main Toronto Beaches are:
- 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. On your way stop at Polson Pier for the best skyline view of the city outside the island.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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 that will take you to see the top Toronto attractions.
25. Scenic Flight Over Toronto
For a birds-eye view of the city, take a scenic flight from Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island. Travelers shouldn’t miss the chance to see Toronto from above.
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 singletrack.
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 for paddleboarding.
Located in Scarborough just east of the other Toronto beaches, 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.
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.
Here you can paddle down the calm waters to spy wildlife like egrets, turtles, and hawks.
- The Humber River can be accessed at Old Mill Station in the West End of the city.
29. Harbourfront Cruise
Head down to the Harbourfront and book a sunset harbour cruise for a fantastic sunset view of Toronto.
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
30. Roy Thompson Hall
For the best orchestra, opera and musical performances, Roy Thompson Hall is the top classical music venue in Canada.
Home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra it is the premier concert hall in the city with outstanding acoustics. It is also a popular venue during the Toronto international film festival.
- Check out the Roy Thomson Hall Website for more details.
31. Take in a Show at one of the Ed Mirvish Theatres
Ed Mirvish was a beloved businessman in Toronto from the 1960s to the 1990s. His love for the theatre that basically single-handedly revitalized the Toronto theatre scene.
He opened the Princess of Wales, Royal Alexandra & Ed Mirvish Theatres all of which still showcase the most popular Broadway shows of the day.
- Check out Mirvish.com for all theatre listings and showtimes.
32. Rogers Centre
This is the ultimate entertainment complex with the largest retracting roof in North America. Home to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rogers Centre is a huge stadium seating 53,000 people.
When the Jays aren’t playing, you will find the hottest musical acts in the world playing in their stadium tours.
- See Roger’s Live Nation for upcoming concerts.
33. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
It is the largest soft-seat theatre in Canada making for a very comfortable experience. There’s always something playing here including concerts, films, live shows, and festivals.
- Check out their calendar for show details. Anyone under 30 Years old receives $15 tickets!
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 Scotia Bank Arena opens its doors to more music acts.
- Visit their website for hockey, basketball and concert schedules.
35. Massey Hall
Massey Hall is an intimate music venue that has seen acts perform from all around th eworld. 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.
36. Sugar Beach
It’s a tiny beach but has fast become one of Toronto’s most popular spots for photography. 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.
37. Sunnyside Park
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.
42. St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market was once voted as the #1 Food Market in the World by National Geographic.
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. Queen West 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.
Once the shops close, the food scene begins and the live 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. 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 and keep an eye out for celebrities in Toronto, this is the place to be.
45. Eaton Centre
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.
Best Instagram Worthy Spots in Toronto
Best 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
- 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, and a free harbour cruise.
Public Transit – 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.
Car rentals – 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?
Read More Toronto Travel Tips
- Where to Stay in Toronto – A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
- 59 Things to do in Toronto – A Guide to the Top Attractions
- Things to do in Niagara Falls – What to do, Where to Eat & Where to Stay
- 35 Iconic Places to Visit in Ontario, Canada
- Toronto to Niagara Falls by Bus -It’s Easy with Busbud
- 19 Most Epic Things to do in Ontario
For more information on Canada cities read:
- Winterlude Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide to Ottawa
- Ottawa Attractions – 20 Winter Activities to Embrace the Snow
- Places to Visit in Ottawa this Autumn
- 33 Things to do in Ottawa – A Complete Guide to the City
- 15 Awesome Ottawa Museums – What Not to Miss and Why
- Nordik Spa Nature – A Guide to Ottawa’s Luxury Spa Escape
- Ottawa River Rafting
- Montreal Festivals – Celebrate Canada’s Coolest City
- Where to Stay in Montreal – A Guide To The Best Places and Neighborhoods
- Traveling by Via Rail Canada – Toronto to Montreal Train
- Mont Tremblant, Quebec
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