You're about to embark on an exciting journey through Toronto, a city of diverse cultures, architectural marvels, and exceptional entertainment. Whether you're a sports enthusiast eager to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame or a foodie ready to explore the delectable delights of Winterlicious and Summerlicious, Toronto has something to offer everyone. With a fine blend of history, art, and nature, the city's attractions will leave an indelible impression in your heart.
From the soaring heights of the CN Tower to the thunderous beauty of Niagara Falls, Toronto is a city that never stops impressing. Here, you'll find a vibrant Entertainment District boasting world-class theatre and music alongside the Historic Distillery District, where Victorian industrial architecture meets chic boutiques and eateries. There's also Kensington Market, a lively neighborhood with eclectic shops and delicious food worldwide.
Toronto's attractions are diverse, exciting, and rich in culture. As you delve deeper into what the city offers, you'll be captivated by its charm. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Toronto's top attractions will surprise and delight you at every turn.
Top 10 Things to Do in Toronto
Discover the Vibrant Entertainment District
In the heart of downtown Toronto, you'll find the bustling Entertainment District. Known for its vast array of theatres, performing arts centers, and sports venues, this area is a hub of creativity and excitement. Here, you can catch a Broadway-calibre show at the Princess of Wales Theatre or immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game at the Scotiabank Arena.
Beyond the glitz and glamour of its entertainment offerings, the district also features many cultural landmarks. The CN Tower, a symbol of Canada and a marvel of modern engineering offers breathtaking city views from its observation deck. As the sun sets, the district comes alive with various bars and nightclubs where you can dance the night away or enjoy a quiet drink with friends.
No visit to Toronto would be complete without exploring the Entertainment District. Whether you're seeking thrilling performances, cultural experiences, or a night out on the town, this vibrant district has it all. So, wear your dancing shoes, let your hair down, and get ready to experience the best of Toronto's nightlife.
- Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
- This aquarium is home to over 20,000 aquatic animals and features a variety of exhibits and interactive experiences.
- The Ballroom Bowl
- This bar offers a unique experience with its combination of bowling, arcade games, and a full-service bar.
- Peacock Bar
- Known for its stylish decor and craft cocktails, this bar is popular with locals and tourists.
- A rooftop restaurant with stunning city views and a menu featuring seafood and tropical cocktails.
- Experience the vibrant flavors of Asian-inspired cuisine, from mouthwatering pork buns to satisfying ramen bowls, at this renowned Toronto restaurant helmed by celebrity chef David Chang.
Exploring the Historic Distillery District
As you step into the cobblestone streets of the Distillery District, you'll feel as if you've traveled back in time. Once home to the largest distillery in the British Empire, this district is now a National Historic Site and a hub of culture and creativity. Its Victorian-era buildings house various art galleries, design studios, boutiques, and restaurants.
Stroll through the district to soak in its unique charm. Admire the stunning architecture, explore the unique shops, and stop for a bite at one of the many gourmet eateries. Don't forget to visit the local craft breweries and distilleries to sample various locally brewed beers and spirits.
Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or a foodie, the Distillery District offers a delightful blend of past and present. Its historic charm, combined with its contemporary culture, makes it a must-visit destination in Toronto.
Toronto's distillery is a menagerie of fantastic and diverse experiences. Just a few of them are as follows:
- Young Centre for the Performing Arts
- This is a performing arts center that offers a variety of shows and events.
- Spirit of York
- This distillery produces vodka, gin, and whiskey. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery and sample the spirits.
- Yummi Candles
- This candle shop offers a unique and fun DIY experience where you can create specially curated scented candle jars surrounded by hundreds of candles.
- Mill Street Brewery
- This cozy and warm pub/brewery offers a selection of delicious beers and a food menu worth sinking your teeth into.
- This charming coffee shop with a unique interior and a lovely setting, offering a delightful experience for coffee enthusiasts and visitors alike.
The Cultural Melting Pot: Kensington Market
Welcome to Kensington Market, one of Toronto's most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. With its eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and street art, this district is a melting pot of cultures worldwide. You can find everything from vintage clothing and vinyl record shops to traditional bakeries and international grocery stores here.
Start your journey with a coffee from one of the many local cafes, then lose yourself in the labyrinth of colorful streets. Sample diverse cuisines worldwide, explore unique shops and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. Don't forget to check out the market's various street performances and festivals.
Kensington Market is more than just a shopping destination - it's a sensory experience that encapsulates the multicultural spirit of Toronto. Whether a local or a tourist, spending a day in this vibrant neighborhood will give you a taste of the world without ever leaving the city.
Kensington Market is home to a vibrant and eclectic mix of stores and stalls that you can only find in Toronto. There are too many to pick out the few best, so instead, here are a few parts of Kensington Market you definitely shouldn't miss.
- Food crawl
- Kensington Market is a great place to go on a food crawl and try various dishes. The neighborhood has many awesome food spots, including Seven Lives for tacos and Rasta Pasta for jerk chicken.
- Blue Banana Market
- This is a specialty and gift shop that offers a variety of unique items, including clothing, jewelry, and home decor.
- Vintage clothing stores
- Kensington Market is known for its vintage shops, which offer a variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories.
- International grocers
- The neighborhood is home to many different cultures and ethnic groups, and there are a variety of international grocers where you can find unique ingredients and foods.
- Take a tour
- If you're new to the area or want to learn more about the history and culture of Kensington Market, taking a tour can be a great way to explore the neighborhood. Local Toronto Food Tours offers a Kensington Market and Chinatown Toronto Food Tour that takes you off the main streets and into the heart of the community.
Niagara Falls: A Natural Wonder Near Toronto
Just a short drive from Toronto, you'll find the awe-inspiring beauty of Niagara Falls. One of the world's most famous natural wonders, the falls are a breathtaking spectacle that should be on every traveler's bucket list. Feel the mist on your face as you get up close to the thundering falls on a boat tour or admire the view from the Skylon Tower's observation deck.
Beyond the falls, the Niagara region offers a wealth of attractions. Explore the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, known for its wineries and beautiful architecture. Or, get your adrenaline pumping with a visit to the Niagara Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, where you can experience the rapids of the Niagara River.
Visiting Niagara Falls is not just about witnessing a natural wonder - it's about immersing yourself in an experience that combines nature, culture, and adventure. So, carve out a day in your Toronto itinerary to explore this iconic destination.
Niagra Falls is home to a host of exciting adventures. Here are a few activities you can look forward to on your trip to Niagara Falls.
- Niagara Falls State Park
- This nation's oldest state park offers a panoramic view of all three Falls from the Observation Tower near Prospect Point. Visitors can also take the elevator down from the tower to board the iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour.
- Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
- This boat tour takes visitors up close to the base of the Falls for a unique and thrilling experience.
- Niagara Wine Tours
- Visitors can tour the local wineries and sample some of the region's best wines.
- WildPlay MistRider Zipline
- This zipline takes visitors above the thundering Falls for a bird's-eye view of the area.
- Niagara Falls Illumination
- The Falls are illuminated at night with colorful lights, creating a beautiful and romantic atmosphere.
Soaring Heights: The Iconic CN Tower
Dominating Toronto's skyline, the CN Tower is one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Standing at an impressive 553.3 meters, it held the record for the world's tallest free-standing structure for over three decades. Today, it remains a symbol of Canadian achievement and a must-visit attraction for any visitor to Toronto.
Step onto the glass floor elevator and ascend to the tower's LookOut Level, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario. For the more adventurous, the tower offers the EdgeWalk, a thrilling hands-free walk on a ledge circling the top of the tower.
Whether you're marveling at the cityscape from the observation deck or dining at the revolving 360 Restaurant, the CN Tower offers a unique experience quintessentially Toronto. It's not just a building - it's an icon that encapsulates the city's spirit.
Despite only one building, the CN tower has fantastic activities to help you get the most out of your experience. Some of these are as follows:
- Take your thrill-seeking to the next level by walking 116 storeys above Toronto on the exterior of the CN Tower, secured only by a harness, for an adrenaline-pumping experience like no other.
- 360 Restaurant
- Indulge in a culinary delight at 360 The Restaurant, located at the CN Tower, where you can enjoy a full rotation dining experience with breathtaking views of Toronto's skyline and savor cross-Canadian cuisine.
- Immerse yourself in the artistic ambiance of the CN Tower's Gift Shop, where you can find a diverse collection of works by Indigenous artists, local designers, and unique CN Tower memorabilia, including a stunning geometric metal sculpture inspired by the aurora borealis.
- Ascend to the highest observation platform in the Western Hemisphere, the Skypod, located at the CN Tower, and be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring panoramic views of Toronto and beyond.
Celebrating Cinema at the Toronto International Film Festival
Every September, Toronto becomes a hotspot for film enthusiasts as it hosts the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Considered one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, TIFF attracts some of the biggest names in cinema and showcases hundreds of films from around the globe.
But TIFF is more than just a film festival. It's a celebration of cinema that transforms Toronto into a hub of creativity and innovation. From panel discussions and workshops to parties and red-carpet premieres, TIFF offers a range of experiences for film lovers.
Even if your visit doesn't coincide with the festival, you can still explore the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the festival's headquarters, and a year-round home for film culture. Here, you can watch screenings of classic and contemporary films, explore exhibitions, and participate in workshops and talks.
TIFF Canada is one of the world's largest film festivals, bringing in international superstars and industry moguls alike. If you're lucky enough to attend TIFF Canada, here are five things you absolutely must do to get the most out of it.
- Attend the Film Screenings
- TIFF is a film festival, so the most important thing to do is to watch films. Canadian feature films, international cinema, and the Gala Presentation can be seen.
- Experience the Industry Conference
- TIFF Canada is a great opportunity to learn about the film industry and network with other professionals.
- Check out the TIFF Tribute Awards
- The TIFF Tribute Awards celebrate the achievements of actors, directors, and other film industry professionals.
- Explore the TIFF People's Choice Awards
- The People's Choice Awards is a festival highlight, as the audience votes on them and often predict which films will be successful in the coming year.
- Attend TIFF-Run Events
- TIFF organizes various events, including cocktail parties and filmmakers' lounges, which are great opportunities to meet other film enthusiasts and industry professionals.
Artistic Journeys at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Immerse yourself in the art world at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), one of North America's largest and most distinguished art museums. With over 90,000 works from the first century to the present, the AGO is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces.
Explore the museum's vast galleries to discover works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Emily Carr. In addition to its permanent collection, the AGO hosts temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary and historical art worldwide.
Whether an art aficionado or a casual observer, the AGO offers an enriching experience that will broaden your understanding and appreciation of art. It's not just a museum - it's a journey through the history and evolution of artistic expression.
Whether you're interested in Canadian art, European masterpieces, contemporary works, or Indigenous art, the AGO offers a rich and engaging experience for art enthusiasts. If you find yourself in that category, here are five highlights of the AGO that you cannot miss.
- Canadian Art Collection
- The AGO contains the world's largest Canadian art collection, showcasing works by notable Canadian artists. This exhibit is a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the rich artistic heritage of Canada.
- European Art
- The gallery features works by renowned European artists such as Rodin, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and more. This exhibit offers a glimpse into history's diverse and influential European art movements.
- Indigenous & Canadian Art
- The J.S. McLean Centre at the AGO is dedicated to Indigenous and Canadian art. It showcases Indigenous and Canadian artists' works, providing a platform for their unique perspectives and artistic expressions.
- Contemporary Art
- The AGO houses a collection of cutting-edge contemporary art that challenges and inspires visitors. This exhibit features works by emerging artists and explores current themes and artistic practices.
- Special Exhibitions
- The Art Gallery of Ontario regularly hosts special exhibitions highlighting emerging and underrepresented artists. These temporary exhibits offer a chance to discover new and exciting artworks and perspectives.
The Hockey Hall of Fame: A Must-Visit for Sports Enthusiasts
A visit to Toronto isn't complete for hockey fans without a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame. This museum is dedicated to the history of ice hockey and is home to exhibits featuring memorabilia and equipment from legendary players, interactive games, and a replica NHL dressing room.
But the museum's crown jewel is the Great Hall, where the Stanley Cup is displayed when it's not on the road. Here, you can marvel at the names engraved on the cup and learn about the players and teams who have won this prestigious trophy.
Whether you're a die-hard hockey fan or new to the sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame offers an exciting and educational experience. It's not just a museum - it's a celebration of a sport that holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is the perfect introduction to the history and culture surrounding a sport that is more than just a sport in Canada. No trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame is complete without the following:
- Stanley Cup
- The Hockey Hall of Fame is home to the Stanley Cup, the most prestigious trophy in professional hockey. Visitors can see the Cup up close and learn about its rich history.
- NHL Trophy Displays
- The Hall of Fame features displays showcasing various NHL trophies, including the Hart Trophy, Norris Trophy, and Vezina Trophy. These trophies are awarded to the league's top players and goaltenders each season.
- Interactive Exhibits
- The TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone allows visitors to experience what it's like to be a sports broadcaster. They can host their own SportsCentre at the desk, make the call on iconic hockey moments, and create their own TSN Top 10 highlight reel.
- Montreal Canadiens Dressing Room
- The Hall of Fame has a to-scale replica of the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room from the renowned Montreal Forum. Visitors can get a feel for the historic space where the Canadiens prepared for their games.
- World of Hockey
- The World of Hockey exhibit celebrates international hockey's greatest moments, tournaments, and players through artifacts and media. Visitors can learn about the global impact of the sport and explore its diverse history.
Toronto's Culinary Delights: Winterlicious and Summerlicious
Food lovers, rejoice! Toronto's culinary scene is a smorgasbord of flavors from around the globe, and there's no better time to explore it than during the city's Winterlicious and Summerlicious events. During these culinary festivals, participating restaurants across the city offer prix-fixe menus, allowing you to sample various dishes at affordable prices.
From upscale fine dining establishments to cozy neighborhood bistros, these events showcase the diversity and creativity of Toronto's culinary scene. You'll find it here whether you're craving Italian, French, Thai, or fusion cuisine.
Winterlicious and Summerlicious aren't just about food - they're about celebrating Toronto's vibrant culinary culture. So, bring your appetite and prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure that will tantalize your taste buds.
While Winterlicious and Summerlicious have lineups that change yearly, there are some significant aspects to experience at every festival. They are as follows.
- Discounted Prix-Fixe Menus
- During Winterlicious and Summerlicious, participating restaurants in Toronto offer special prix-fixe menus at discounted prices.
- Culinary Workshops
- Winterlicious offers themed tastings and food-prep workshops, allowing attendees to learn new culinary skills.
- Celebration of Local Cuisine
- Both festivals celebrate the vibrant food scene in Toronto and highlight the city's diverse culinary offerings.
- Community Engagement
- These festivals unite the community, fostering unity and celebration among residents and visitors.
Relaxing at Toronto Island
Optimized. That's the perfect descriptor for a day spent on Toronto Island, where the hustle and bustle of the city fade into the tranquil symphony of nature's serenade. As an oasis conveniently located just off downtown Toronto's shore, this cluster of small islands offers an idyllic retreat packed with plenty of things to do in Toronto. The island lures visitors with its pristine beaches, where the golden sand meets the crystal clear water - a sight for sore eyes. This gem encapsulates the essence of relaxation and adventure in one comprehensive experience. So when planning your next day trip, remember that Toronto Island awaits you with open arms and endless opportunities for exploration.
Toronto Island is not just a natural oasis - it's a haven of tranquility contrasting the city's urban landscape. It's the perfect place to unwind and enjoy life's simpler pleasures. Here are some of the best things to do in Toronto Island:
- Hit the beach
- Toronto Islands have three beautiful beaches - Center Island Beach, Ward's Island, and Hanlan's Point Beach. These beaches offer a great place to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.
- Explore Far Enough Farms
- Visit Far Enough Farms, a petting zoo on the Toronto Islands, where you can interact with farm animals and learn about agriculture.
- Have a picnic
- Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal in one of the many picnic areas on the islands. It's a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax with family and friends.
- Rent a bike
- Rent and explore the islands on two wheels. Bike rental services on the islands allow you to cycle and take in the sights at your own pace.
- Rent a kayak or canoe.
- Take to the water and rent a kayak or canoe to explore the islands' surrounding waters. It's a great way to enjoy the natural beauty and get some exercise.
- Visit Centreville Amusement Park
- Centreville Amusement Park is a popular attraction on Centre Island. It offers a variety of rides, games, and activities for both kids and adults.
- Enjoy the skyline view of Toronto
- Toronto Islands offer a stunning city skyline view. Take a moment to appreciate the panoramic view and capture some memorable photos.
Toronto is a hotbed of vibrant, exciting activities, enriching cultural experiences, delicious food, and warm, friendly people. This is why it is a world-class travel destination and one of the most sought-after immigration destinations in the world.
How to Go to Toronto
Before exploring all that Toronto offers, you'll need to figure out how. You may need a tourist visa to enter Canada, depending on your country of residence. If you plan to work or study in Toronto, you'll need a work or study permit, respectively. Alternatively, you might consider a working holiday or looking to immigrate to Canada permanently.
A tourist visa (or visitor visa) is most travelers' easiest way to visit Toronto. This allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months. The application process involves filling out an online form and providing supporting documents, such as proof of financial support and a letter of invitation from someone living in Canada. Learn more about a Canadian tourist visa.
If you plan to work in Toronto, you must apply for a work permit. This requires a job offer from a Canadian employer and proof that you are qualified. Not all jobs are eligible for a work permit, so check the eligibility requirements before applying. Learn more about how to get a Canadian Work permit.
A study permit is required for students wishing to study in Toronto. This requires an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution in Canada and proof of financial support. The study permit allows you to stay in Canada for your study program. Learn more about how to get a Canadian study permit.
The working holiday program allows young people from certain countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. This is a great option to explore Toronto while earning money to fund your travels. The program has certain eligibility requirements, including age limits and nationality, so check if you qualify.
Learn more about Canada's Working Holiday Visa.
If you're considering making Toronto your permanent home, you might want to apply for permanent residency. You can apply through several programs, including the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, Express Entry, and Caregiver Pilot Programs.
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is a program that allows foreign workers with specific skills to settle in Ontario. The program has several streams, including the Human Capital Priorities Stream for skilled workers and the Employer Job Offer Stream for workers with a job offer in Ontario. Learn more about the OINP and how to apply.
Express Entry is a system used by the Canadian government to manage applications for permanent residency from skilled workers. The system ranks candidates based on various factors, including age, education, work experience, and language skills. The highest-ranking candidates are then invited to apply for permanent residency.
Learn more about Express Entry.
Caregiver Pilot Programs
The Caregiver Pilot Programs are designed for caregivers caring for children, the elderly, or those with medical needs. If you have experience in this field and have a job offer in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through one of these programs.
Learn more about Canada's Caregiver Pilot Programs.
Whether you're a sports enthusiast, a culture vulture, a foodie, or a nature lover, Toronto has attractions that will cater to your interests. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to explore what this vibrant city offers.
Here are a few things to remember before moving to Ontario.
Is Toronto Expensive?
Toronto is considered one of the more expensive cities in Canada, but it's also one of the most diverse and vibrant. The cost of living can be high, especially regarding housing and dining out. However, many free and affordable attractions and events make it possible to enjoy the city on a budget. Learn more about the cost of living in Toronto.
What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit Toronto?
Toronto is a city of seasons, each offering its unique charm. Summer is a great time to visit to enjoy outdoor activities and events like the Summerlicious food festival. Fall offers beautiful foliage and pleasant weather, while winter brings holiday festivities and the chance to ice skate at Nathan Phillips Square. Spring is a time of renewal, with cherry blossoms blooming in High Park and the city shaking off the winter chill. Learn more about Toronto's climate.