I’ve lived in Toronto for 3.5 years and it has been an incredible experience! Since I am moving very soon, I thought I’d share with you my top 10 favorite things to in Toronto.
Toronto is a very eclectic city with lots of international foods, kind people, and a beautiful skyline. These are by no means the only places you can go to in Toronto, and if you have any other recommendations comment them down below, these are just my top 10 favorites. I highly recommend you give Toronto a visit and, if you do, here’s 10 things you should do!
1. The Toronto Islands
If you’re planning on visiting Toronto during the summer months, you should definitely go to the Toronto Islands. The islands are located in Lake Ontario and they’re a short ferry ride away from downtown Toronto. You can buy tickets at the Harbourfront for $7.50 for adults, $5.00 for students and seniors (ages 15 to 19; and over 65 with proof of age), and free for infants under 2. The tickets also cover the ferry ride back.
While you’re on the ferry, you get an incredible view of the Toronto skyline, which is filled with new, modern buildings.
Once you get to the Islands, there are tons of opportunities to be super active, such as renting bikes or boats. Or, you can go to the beach area and lay out in the sun.
To put it simply, the Islands are gorgeous. There are beautiful birds and the beach looks like a real ocean-side beach, not just a “lake beach”!
Also, if you’re a music buff, there are a couple of cool music festivals that happen on the Islands during the summer, such as Electric Island.
2. Queen Street West
One of my favorite streets to go check out in Toronto is Queen Street West. It’s full of very trendy, young, hip people and there are tons of shores, restaurants, and bars.
Queen Street West will definitely meet all of your shopping needs! It has Brandy Melville, Zara, H&M, and many other trendy stores, along with some independent shops as well, if you want to get something a little more unique.
It’s even fun if you’re just looking to walk around. You don’t have to buy anything or do anything, just look around and enjoy, especially on a sunny day. You can sit outside on a patio and watch people walk by and be nosy, which is one of my favorite hobbies.
If you’re interested in listening to cool, live music, you can go to the Horseshoe Tavern or Rivoli, which are both located on Queen Street West. Go jam out! Toronto has a really cool underground music scene, so you will not be disappointed.
3. The Eaton Centre
If you’re really in the mood to go shopping, the best place to go is the Eaton Centre. The Eaton Centre is an enormous indoor mall, that has a MILLION visitors each week. It has anything and everything you would ever want to buy. It’s a shoppers paradise!
It gets quite crowded, so prepare yourself to be surrounded by people. But, there is excellent shopping, whether you’re looking to get gifts for your loved ones or you want to get a gift for yourself.
Right outside the Eaton Centre is Dundas Square, which looks very similar to Times Square in New York City. There are giant lit up advertisements, cool restaurants, and even more shopping.
Go have fun, and get your shop on! Just be prepared that your wallet might be a little bit lighter when you leave.
4. Go Ice Skating
If you happen to be in Toronto during the winter months, I would definitely recommend you go ice skating. There are tons of ice skating rinks all over Toronto, since, obviously, Toronto is in Canada and people love hockey and skating.
Ice skating is the perfect family outing. You’ll see lots of little kids with their walkers learning to skate, but, truthfully, most of the little kids are better ice skaters than me. They have some serious skills!
It’s fun, it can be romantic (if you want to bring that special someone), or you can rock the skates all by yourself.
A great neighborhood to go take a look at is Chinatown. They have some wonderful, delicious restaurants where you can get authentic Asian food. There are also tons of Asian markets and little souvenir shops, if you want to buy any Canadian souvenirs. The souvenir shops offer everything from Canada t-shirts, to maple syrup, to any kind of moose item you could dream of.
It’s a super bustling neighborhood with lots of markets and restaurants, so you can find cute, little treasures and lots of cheap, delicious treats. If you’re looking for bubble tea, dumplings, or anything Asian and delcious, that’s where you should go and that’s where it’s going to be extra tasty.
6. Kensington Market
Not too far from Chinatown is Kensington Market. It is also a little neighborhood filled with small markets, restaurants, and delicious food . Kensington has some great taco places, excellent vegetarian restaurants, and very cutesy coffee shops that are fun to sit in and people watch.
If you are a vegetarian, or you’re looking for vegetarian food, there are two excellent restaurants there that I absolutely love. One is King’s Cafe, which serves vegetarian Asian food, and the other is Urban Herbivore, which has sandwiches, salads, and power bowls. Believe me, they’re amazing!
Kensington gets super crowded when it’s sunny out and people often play live music. It’s a very fun, young, eclectic environment, kind of like a teeny, tiny Brooklyn in the middle of Toronto.
If you’re staying in Toronto for a longer period of time, or you have a refrigerator in your hotel, I recommend going to the markets in Kensington to get fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and organic snacks that are healthy and inexpensive.
7. Go To A Brewery
If you’re 19 or older and looking to have a few drinks, I recommend going to a brewery. There are two breweries I really like in Toronto. One is the Steam Whistle Brewery, which is right near the CN Tower. The other is the Mill Street Brewery, which is in the Distillery District. You can go, tastes the beers, enjoy yourself, and make some friends!
The Distillery District, where Mill Street Brewery is located, is also a cute little neighborhood to check out. There are cobblestone streets, cute coffee shops, and little novelty stores to look around in.
If you’re in Toronto from November 18th- December 21st, there’s a beautiful Christmas Market in the Distillery District. There, you can drink hot mulled wine, eat tasty Christmas snacks, listen to live music, or check out the giant Christmas tree. It’s super festive!
If you’re in Toronto between August 19th- September 5th, I recommend you check out “CNE”: the Canadian National Exhibition.
There’s a giant outdoor fair with all different kinds of rides, carnival games, concerts, air shows, and activities. There are little roller coasters, spinning rides, and a giant ferris wheel that gives you a beautiful view of the city. It’s a great place to bring kids or just to bring your inner child.
The giant convention halls are filled to the brim with people selling international items, new inventions, and tons of other knick knacks. Anything you can think of, someone in that convention center is selling it.
There’s also a giant food hall with any kind of food you’d want to eat and pig out on. My friend Aidan even got chocolate fried chicken there!
9. Go To A Game
Toronto has a huge sports culture. Three major teams you can check out are: the Toronto Blue Jays, if you’re interested in baseball, the Toronto Raptors, if you’re interested in basketball, and the Toronto Maple Leaves, if you’re interested in hockey. I’ve been to all 3 of them and they’ve all been amazing!
You can find Blue Jays tickets for pretty cheap prices and the games are played in the Rogers Centre, which is a fancy, newer stadium. When it’s nice out, they open up the top of the dome and you’re right below the CN Tower, so you get a great view AND you get to watch the game.
Torontonians are very proud of their sports teams, so it’s really fun to check out a game and see some Toronto pride.
10. Go Up The CN Tower
Your trip to Toronto is not complete without going up the CN Tower. The CN Tower is a beautiful radio tower in the middle of Toronto. It is an impressive and iconic landmark.
General admission is $32.00 for adults (13 – 64) and $23.00 for seniors (65+) and children (4 – 12). You take a quick elevator ride to the viewing structure at the top of the tower and, once you’re up there, you get the best view of the city. There’s even a room with glass floors, where you can look down hundreds of feet. If you’re afraid of heights, maybe skip that part.
You can also dine on the top of the CN Tower at the 360 Restaurant. The restaurant is located in the general viewing tower and offers regional Canadian dishes, all while slowly spinning and giving you a breathtaking view of the entire skyline. I went there for my 5 year anniversary with my fiancé David and it was incredibly romantic! It’s a little bit pricey, but you can’t beat that gorgeous view.
If you’re feeling incredibly brave and adventurous, you can even do the EdgeWalk, which allows you to go outside the tower and hang off of a bungee chord over the city for a few minutes. Perfect for any adrenaline junkie or lover of heights!
That’s it for my recommendations of 10 things to do in Toronto! I highly recommend you give it a visit because it’s a very special city with amazing people.