Things to do in Toronto

Things to do in Toronto

Toronto, the capital of Ontario and Canada’s largest city, thrives on all fronts. Sitting pretty beside Lake Ontario’s north-western shore, it's a dynamic metropolis with soaring skyscrapers at its centre, situated under the watchful eye of the iconic CN Tower. Its foodie scene is fantastic and can be complemented by some of the best craft beers available in North America. The city is surrounded by an abundance of nature, with thousands of islands and the world’s most famous waterfall located only a short drive away. Get ready to fall in love with its great museums, quirky quarters and maybe even ice hockey, as we list the nine best things to do in Toronto.


Experience the lofty heights of the CN Tower

You can’t visit Toronto without spotting the CN Tower, mainly because its spire dominates the entire skyline. Standing at a staggering height of 1,1815 feet, this super structure offers breath-taking views of the city and beyond. Take a ride in the glass elevator up to the observation deck, where you can enjoy panoramic vistas of Lake Ontario and the city’s lesser skyscrapers. Dine at the famous 360 Restaurant or, if extreme thrills are your thing, the EdgeWalk experience invites you to tread around the tower’s outer ledge while harnessed to an overhead rail.


Wander through green spaces  

Once you’ve had your fill of its biggest manmade attraction, escape to nature at Toronto’s largest public park. Spanning over 400 acres, High Park offers a variety of activities against a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty. Explore the extensive trails, admire the serene Japanese cherry blossom in spring or relax by Grenadier Pond. The park is also home to a zoo, various sports facilities, playgrounds and picnic areas, making it ideal for families. To enjoy another urban oasis within the city limits, head to the orderly oval of Queen’s Park.


Enter foodie heaven at Kensington Market

Avid foodies and adventurous eaters, this should be your go-to in Toronto. Make sure you have plenty of time, a big appetite and a little bit of budget to explore Kensington Market in depth. This vibrant neighbourhood is a melting pot of cultures, offering a fascinating blend of vintage shops, eclectic eateries and amazing street art. Exploring the eminently walkable area with a local will ensure you find the very best of whatever you (and your stomach) are looking for, be it Caribbean, Mexican or Ethiopian. Yum!


Explore Royal Ontario Museum

Undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Toronto’s impressive museum scene, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) showcases art, culture and nature from around the globe and across the ages. As Canada’s largest museum, the ROM features a world-class collection of more than 13 million objects and specimens, spread across 40 galleries. Discover dinosaur remains, minerals and meteorites, historical artifacts, the world’s largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale and key Art Deco works. It’s least crowded on weekday afternoons and you’ll want to dedicate at least two or three hours to exploring, depending on your thirst for knowledge.


Enjoy a drink (or two) in the Distillery District

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the historic charm of Toronto’s Distillery District. Set among quaint 19th century buildings that once housed a large whiskey distillery, the pedestrian-only area draws crowds to its cobblestone streets for hip indie restaurants, bars and boutiques. Art lovers come for the galleries and outdoor sculptures, as well as the dance, music and stage performances that take place at the area’s several theatres. In December, the Toronto Christmas Market transforms the district into a winter wonderland.


Discover the Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s encyclopaedic collection contains more than 90,000 items spanning some 2,000 years. Renowned for its collections of Canadian and indigenous art, it also has notable works by European masters like Rembrandt, Auguste Rodin and Pablo Picasso. The gallery consistently tops lists of the most popular things to do in Toronto and it’s easy to lose a few hours exploring both the permanent collections and temporary exhibits. The best time to visit? Entry is free on Wednesday nights between 6pm and 9pm, if you pre-book online.


Catch a ferry to Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands, located just offshore from downtown Toronto, are an 820-acre car-free haven. While only 600 people live on the islands, the population doubles during the day as visitors come to enjoy the beaches, parks, gardens, yacht clubs, cafés and small children’s amusement park. Seasonal activities include kayaking, picnicking, barbecuing and outdoor yoga classes. Centre Island is the most popular, but we’d argue that Ward’s Island is prettier, with its scenic boardwalk, teeny cottages and cute café that serves great food and often features live music.


Feel the fandemonium at the Hockey Hall of Fame

If there’s one thing Canada is known for, it’s hockey. By far the most popular sport in the country, the game arouses as much passion among fans as cricket in India and football in South America. So, it’s no surprise that its most populous city is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Dedicated to the history of ice hockey, the museum holds exhibits about players, teams, National Hockey League records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup. Even if you’re not a fan, this is a fascinating place to visit, with an excellent gift shop for those all-important souvenirs.


Take a day trip to Niagara Falls

It’s impossible to gush over (pun intended) things to do in Toronto without mentioning Niagara Falls. Located just an hour-and-a-half away from the city, the Natural Wonder of the World certainly lives up to the hype and there are various ways to experience its deafening roar and spray-in-your-face beauty. Take in the view from the top or hop on a bike to explore the wider park’s many trails. For thrill-seekers, the Journey Behind the Falls involves descending through solid rock to emerge beside the curtain of water. And to admire it from above, there's nothing like a helicopter ride for gawping at the falls’ enormity.