Toronto is the capital of the Ontario province as well as the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest in North America. The city is situated on the shore of Lake Ontario, in southeastern Canada, a short distance from the US border.
Toronto is the largest business & financial center, as well as banking & stock exchange center, in Canada. The city is also headquarters to the biggest financial institutions in the country.
Some of the best things to do in Toronto are the CN Tower gracing its skyline, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Casa Loma, Toronto Islands, and the 287 hectare Toronto Zoo.
You can try local food, enjoy shopping and nightlife because the city has a diverse food scene, and is home to some of the best shopping malls and nightclubs in the whole country.
Toronto is best known for its CN Tower, which is one of the tallest towers in the world. It is located in the downtown core and offers panoramic views of the city from its observation decks and restaurants.
In addition to the CN Tower and the picturesque Lake Toronto, Toronto is a diverse and vibrant city that has a thriving art and culture scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and theaters to explore.
30 Best things to do in Toronto, Canada
1. Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM, is one of the best things to do in Toronto because it is the largest world culture, and natural history museum in Canada, and one of the largest museums of its kind in North America.
The Royal Ontario Museum has a massive collection of art, archaeology, ethnology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology from around the world, attracting millions visitors every year since its establishment in 1912.
Some of the highlights of the ROM are the dinosaur bones in Earth’s Treasures gallery, Chinese temple art in the World Culture galleries, ancient Roman sculptures, and an exhibit on Canada’s First People in the Gallery of Canada.
You can find exhibits throughout its five main floors.
- The temporary exhibits are at Level B2,
- The native Canadian artifacts and East Asian galleries are at Level 1
- The natural history can be found at Level 2
- The world cultures are at Level 3
- The textiles and costumes are at Level 3
The ROM also hosts a wide range of special exhibitions, events, and educational programs throughout the year. There is a hands-on gallery for children, and the CIBC Discovery Gallery for kids to try on costumes.
The Royal Ontario Museum is located in Queens Park, on the northern edge of the University of Toronto campus. It can be reached by a short car/ taxi drive, as well as trains from Union Station to Museum subway station.
The ROM is open for the public, from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 am to 5.30 pm. Admission fee is included in the CityPASS, otherwise it’s CA$20 for adults to CA$14 for children.
2. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is one of the best things to do in Toronto with kids, located in downtown Toronto, in the base of the CN Tower.
There are various exhibits and tanks in its 1.5 million gallons of water. The aquarium has more than 450 different species in several distinct themed areas, including:
- Canadian Waters, features fish and marine life from local to the Great Lakes.
- Rainbow Reef Bright, features100 different colorful tropical fish from the Indo-Pacific.
- Dangerous Lagoon, the largest gallery in the aquarium and a walk-through tunnel where visitors can see sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles swimming overhead.
- The Discovery Centre, designed for young kids.
- The Gallery
- SWARM: Nature by Numbers
- Ray Bay
- Life Support Systems
The aquarium is home to Ripley’s Café, which is a great place to grab a meal. If you want to buy souvenirs, you can check out the Cargo Hold gift shop.
The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is open from 9 am to 11 pm daily. You can buy tickets onsite and online, it is best to buy online to avoid queueing. Admission for adults is $44, and different prices for children and seniors.
3. The Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the biggest museums in North America, conveniently located in Downtown Toronto, on Dundas Street West.
The gallery displays artworks of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, and Andy Warhol. It has a collection of music, film, graphic art from ancient periods to present days, focus on:
- The Canadian collection
- European art
- The Thomson Collection
- collection of Contemporary art
- collection of works by the British sculptor Henry Moore
- 40,000 photographs
- collection of African art
The admission fee is free for young adults and children who are under 25 years old, or you’re visiting from 6pm to 9 pm every Wednesday.
4. CN Tower
CN Tower is one of the must-see attractions in Toronto because it is an iconic Canadian landmark. CN Tower stands for Canadian National, which was the company that built the tower in 1976.
The CN tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world until 2007, at just over 553 m, after Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 829 m. However, it is still the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere.
The CN tower is used as a center of telecommunications for Toronto, including broadcasting and cellular phone services.
You can take a ride in a glass elevator to reach the observation deck, and admire the views of the city, Toronto Islands, and on a clear day the Niagara Falls.
You can try the CN Tower Edge Walk if you are adrenaline lovers. Their walk allows you to walk around the circumference of the top of the CN Tower’s main pod, 356 m above the ground.
You can also buy tickets online from their website, or onsite at the CN Tower admissions entrance, as well as at Ripley’s Aquarium, and Toronto CityPASS.
5. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is one of the most popular day trips from Toronto. It is one of the must-see attractions in Toronto that you should miss on the border between the United States and Canada.
Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River in Ontario, which flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It is made up of 3 waterfalls including the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Fall. Horseshoe Falls is the largest one and located on the Canadian side.
From Toronto, you can reach Niagara Falls by car, bus, train, or take a guided tour. One way trip is around 130 km, about two hours driving, along Gardiner and QEW towards Hamilton.
You can take a sightseeing boat tour of Niagara Falls, Maid of the Mist ferry ride which takes you to the Horseshoe Falls, and pass by Cave of the Winds at the American Falls.
If you want to get a great view of the falls, you can visit the Skylon tower, which is free to go up if you eat in its restaurant.
While in the area, you can also visit the Niagara Falls State Park, which is the oldest state park in the United States; go wine tasting because Niagara Falls is home to many wineries; and walk along the Niagara Gorge;
6. Toronto Botanical Garden
Toronto Botanical Garden is one of the free things to do in Toronto as its admission is free of charge. The Garden has themed gardens, as well as numerous educational programs and workshops for adults and children, guided tours, workshops and events throughout the year.
The Edwards Summer Music Series is a free summer concert series that start early July to the end of August. It is also home to an organic farmers’ market selling fresh veg & fruits and baked products.
The garden is located in Edwards Gardens Park. There is also an on-site cafe and a garden shop inside the area.
8. The Second City Toronto
The Second City Toronto is a comedy theater and school located in the heart of downtown Toronto. It is a part of the bigger comedy club and theater chain that originated in Chicago, called Second City organization.
The Second City Toronto has a reputation for producing talented comedians and comedic actors, and many of its alumni have gone on to successful careers in film, television, and theater.
The Second City Toronto has a wide range of comedic performances, such as sketch comedy, stand-up comedy, and improv shows. It also offers classes in comedy writing and performance, as well as corporate training and private events.
9. Distillery Historic District
The Distillery Historic District, also known as the Distillery District, is an historic and entertainment district east of Downtown Toronto.
It is a great place to browse boutique cafes, shops, and restaurants within heritage buildings of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. This former whiskey distillery has been converted into a pedestrian-only village with shopping, dining, and cultural attractions.
The district is known for its Victorian-era industrial architecture and its numerous art galleries, craft studios, design shops, theater and performance venues.
The Historic Distillery District is the location of the Christmas Market, which is one of the world’s best Christmas Markets.
The Distillery District is conveniently located close to downtown Toronto, and easy to get to by public transport such as the TTC Subway, bus, and streetcar.
10. Centre Island
Centre Island is a small crescent-shaped island, a part of the larger Toronto Islands, located in Lake Ontario. Centre Island offers a variety of recreational activities, including swimming, biking, picnicking.
Centre Island is only accessible by boat, it is car-free island, and best to explore by bike and foot.
You can find the Centreville Amusement themed park, which has rides for children, ferris Wheel, and Far Enough Farm. If you want to relax you can take the Swan Ride or Sky Ride.
11. Bata Shoe Museum
Bata Shoe Museum has a collection of 14 000 footwears with over 4,500 years of history from around the world. The museum is located in Downtown, close to the University of Toronto’s St. George campus.
Bata Shoe Museum was founded in 1979 by Sonja Bata, a shoes and footwear collector.
In addition to its collection, the museum also hosts a variety of exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages. The Bata Shoe Museum is dedicated to exploring the cultural, social, and historical significance of shoes.
Bata Shoe Museum is open to the public 10 am/ 5 pm from Mondays to Saturdays, and 12 pm/5 pm on Sundays. You can purchase tickets online through their website or onsite at the door.
12. St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market is one of the free things to do in Toronto, conveniently located at Front and Jarvis Streets in the Old Town neighborhood of Toronto.
The St. Lawrence Market was once ranked by National Geographic as the best food market in the world. It consists of the St. Lawrence Hall, the North Market, and the South Market, as well as a cooking school, an event space, and a heritage center.
Originally built in 1814 as a public market, St. Lawrence Market was used as the Post Office and City Hall before returning to its first purpose of a marketplace.
The market is home to more than 120 vendors selling everything from fresh vegetables and fruits, to meat, fish, dairy, baked goods, and crafts. There is a farmers’ market held on Saturdays and a specialty food market held on Sundays.
13. Hockey Hall of Fame
If you are a hockey fan, you must visit The Hockey Hall of Fame, which is a museum and hall of fame dedicated to the history of ice hockey in Toronto, located in the former Bank of Montreal.
The Hockey Hall of Fame,houses the Stanley Cup, exhibits on the history of hockey, interactive games, a collection of hockey memorabilia, hockey-books, and hockey-stamps.
Founded in 1943 as a memorial to those who have developed Canada’s ice hockey, The Hockey Hall of Fame originally located at Exhibition Place and moved to the corner of Yonge and Front Streets in 1993.
14. West Queen West
West Queen West was once ranked by Vogue as the World’s coolest neighborhoods due to its vibrant arts and culture scene, with many galleries, studios, and performance spaces.
West Queen West is a hub of activity from morning till night with a number of trendy boutique shops, restaurants, and bars.
You can check out some eateries such as the Oyster Bar, Ravi Soups, and Poutini’s House of Poutine, as well as some local landmarks, such as the The Drake Hotel, Trinity Bellwoods and Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada.
15. Ontario Science Centre
Ontario Science Centre is a science and technology museum and is an iconic cultural attraction in Toronto, attracting 53 million visitors since opening in 1969. It is home to interesting interactive experiences about science and technology.
The Ontario Science Centre has both regular and interactive exhibits about astronomy, geology, human anatomy, music. Some popular exhibits at the Science Centre include the KidSpark children’s learning center, the Space Hall, and the Environmental Park.
You can purchase combined tickets to both Science Centre and the IMAX theater, or buy them separately. The Ontario Science Centre is set at 770 Don Mills Road, off the Don Valley Parkway.
16. Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo is one of the most visited zoos in Canada. It is one of Canada‘s biggest zoos with over 5000 animals and 450 different species.
This zoo in Canada is divided into 7 distinct sections showing animals from all over the world. There are Indo & Malaya, the Americas, Oceania, Eruope, Africa, Canada & the Tundra Trek.
The zoo also has a number of educational programs and interactive exhibits, as well as a number of special events throughout the year.
17. MZTV Museum of Television & Archive
The MZTV Museum of Television & Archive is a great place to visit if you’re interested in the history of television and learn about the impact that television has had on society.
The museum features a collection of vintage television sets, antennas, and other equipment, as well as a library of books, articles, and other resources related to the history of television.
The museum also hosts events and exhibitions, and offers educational programs and tours for visitors.
18. Toronto Greeters
Toronto Greeters is a free service offered by the City of Toronto that matches visitors with local volunteers who are trained to provide information and recommendations about attractions and things to do, as well as to show them around the city.
The program is designed to give visitors a personalized and authentic experience of Toronto and to help them discover the city’s neighborhoods, culture, and history.
Toronto Greeters are available to meet visitors at their hotel or other convenient location, and they offer a variety of options for touring the city, including walking tours, bike tours, and public transit tours. You can fill out an online form to request a Toronto Greeter.
19. High Park
High Park is the largest public park in Toronto that is a popular place to relax, walk, hike, and picnic. Located in the west end of Toronto, High Park is easily accessible by public transportation.
High Park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as recreational facilities such as sports fields, a swimming pool, a playground, a dog park, a zoo, a restaurant, and several hiking trails.
High Park is especially well-known for its cherry blossoms, which attract thousands of visitors each year during the spring bloom.
20. Old Chinatown
Toronto’s Chinatown has a high concentration of Chinese residents and businesses. It is centered on Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West and extends north to College Street and south to Queen Street West.
Old Chinatown, also known as the Ward, was located west of University Avenue and north of Queen Street West. It was the first Chinatown in Toronto, and was home to a large number of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It was a vibrant community that played an important role in the development of Toronto’s Chinatown. However, the neighborhood underwent significant changes in the mid-20th century, and many of the Chinese businesses and residents moved to the current Chinatown, located to the east of University Avenue.
21. Kensington Market
Kensington Market was originally an immigrant working class, it has been developed into a vibrant and diverse neighborhood in the heart of Toronto, easily reachable via the streetcar, bus, and subway.
You can find many independent shops, cafes, bakeries, and restaurants, Kensington Market offers a truly original experience. The market is open daily.
The area is pedestrian only in summer every Sunday, so you can enjoy street performers, musicians, and food vendors. It is the location of Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival in December.
You can buy food and head to the Bellevue Square Park where you can sit and eat, as well as do people watch, or take a photo with the King of Kensington statue.
22. Food Tours
Toronto is famous for its diverse food scene, so it is best to take a food tour while visiting the city to taste delicious local dishes, and learn about the history and culture of the place you are visiting.
You can take a food tour around Kensington, Chinatown, and Little India. Some of the famous food to try are:
- Poutine, dish consists of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy
- Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches
- Peameal bacon sandwich
- Beavertails, fried dough pastries are shaped like beaver tails
- Butter tarts
- Nanaimo bars
- Sushi pizza
23. Toronto Bicycle Tours
Cycling is one unique way to explore the city and to do exercise. With its dedicated cycle tracks and bicycle lanes, Toronto is a safe city for cycling.
There are many companies that offer guided bicycle tours or bikes for rent. Some of the top trails to cycle in Toronto are:
- High Park
- Humber Bay Park
- Waterfront Trail
- Toronto Islands
- Tommy Thompson Park
- Woodbine Beach, or Balmy Beach
- Don Valley Brick Works Park
24. Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley, also known as Rush Lane, is one of the best spots to admire best examples of the vibrant street art and mural culture of Toronto. Graffiti Alley is free and open every day.
Graffiti Alley is located in the Fashion district, close to Queen Street West. It is located within a 20 minute walk, or a short underground subway ride from Downtown Toronto.
Graffiti Alley is a popular spot for photographers and Instagrammers. Many of the murals and graffiti in the alley are created by local artists, and the styles and subjects of the artworks vary widely. The alley is also home to a number of small businesses, including galleries and studios.
25. Eaton Centre
Eaton Centre is a great place for shopping as it is the largest mall in downtown Toronto with more than 250 retail stores.
There is retail shopping on the first three floors and the parking area on the fourth. You can find shops of H&M, Old Navy, as well as large food courts, kiosks and booths.
The Eaton center is centrally situated between Yonge Street and Dundas Street, as well as easy to reach by subway, Toronto’s PATH underground network, streetcar, bus.
The center has spectacular architecture with a beautiful glass galleria, vaulted glass ceiling.
26. Textile Museum of Canada
The Textile Museum of Canada is a museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of textiles from around the globe.
The museum has a collection of textiles from a variety of cultures, with a focus on textiles from Canada and other countries in the Americas.
The museum also has a number of educational programs and workshops available for visitors of all ages.
27. Rogers Centre
The Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium located in the heart of downtown Toronto. It is home to the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, and it has also played host to a variety of other events, including concerts, trade shows, and sporting events.
The stadium was opened in 1989 and has a seating capacity of over 50,000.
28. University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is one of the top universities in Toronto, founded in 1827, making it one of the oldest universities in the world. It is known for its strong research programs and is home to a number of research centers and institutes.
It has three campuses around Toronto at St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga, attract foreign students from more than 160 countries.
University of Toronto provides a wide variety of academic programs in a variety of disciplines, including arts and humanities, science, engineering, and business.
29. Harbourfront Centre
Harbourfront Centre is a hub of culture, art, and performances, located on the bank of Lake Ontario. It is packed with shops, outdoor cafes, antiques & crafts markets, and restaurants.
Harbourfront Centre offers a variety of events and activities such as festivals, markets, and outdoor movies throughout the year.
30. Woodbine Beach
Woodbine Beach is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, walking, and cycling. It is the largest of the four beaches along Lake Ontario.
The beach has facilities such as lifeguards, a bathing station. Woodbine Beach is a great place to visit in the summer months, and offers a variety of amenities including washrooms, concessions, and a large playground for children.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I not miss in Toronto?
You shouldn’t miss top tourist sights in Toronto such as the CN Tower gracing its skyline, Royal Ontario Museum, Distillery District, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Islands, and Toronto Zoo. You can try Canadian food such as the peameal bacon sandwich & poutine, enjoy shopping and nightlife.
What is Toronto best known for?
Toronto is best known for being the largest city in Canada and the capital of Ontario. It is a diverse and vibrant city with a thriving arts scene, world-class restaurants and sporting events, and iconic landmarks such as the CN Tower, Toronto Islands, Royal Ontario Museum, and Toronto Zoo.
Where can I go when bored in Toronto?
Toronto is a vibrant city with plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Consider visiting popular attractions such as the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, or the Toronto Zoo. You could also visit the Toronto Islands for a relaxing day by the water, and take a stroll through one of the city’s many parks.
Is 4 days in Toronto enough?
It depends on what you want to do and see in Toronto. 4 days is enough time to get a good overview of the city and visit some of its main attractions, it may not be enough time to fully experience everything it has to offer. Consider extending your trip if you want to see more of the city and surrounding areas at a more leisure pace.
What are the best things to do in Toronto for young adults?
Some popular activities for young adults in Toronto include visiting the CN Tower, exploring the Distillery District, checking out local art galleries and museums, and trying delicious food from various cultures in the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
What are the best things to do in Toronto for free?
Some of the best things to do in Toronto for free include visiting the Royal Ontario Museum, hiking through High Park, checking out the street art in Graffiti Alley, and exploring the city’s many markets, such as the St. Lawrence Market.
What are the best things to do in Toronto for kids?
Some of the best things to do in Toronto with kids are visiting the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Toronto Gardens, as well as the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum.
So there you have it, the best things to do in Toronto, Canada for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.