Anchored by an arresting skyline and enhanced by the glassy beauty of Lake Ontario, Toronto is an enticing and large metropolis consisting of a diverse cultural and historical makeup. This vibrant capital city in the Ontario province has been called the New York City of Canada and boasts an appealing mix of big tourist centers and small ethnic enclaves. Awash in popular tourist attractions, 5-star hotels, attention-grabbing street art, specialty foods, and more, it’s easy to see how Toronto competes as a minor version of The Big Apple. If you want to see for yourself the exciting atmosphere then you have to read on to discover the best places to visit in Toronto, Canada.
A prominent feature on the Toronto skyline is the magnificent CN Tower. Looming over the cityscape, the CN Tower stands at more than 1,814 feet (553 meters) tall. Its prime location in the city center is the supreme spot to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city. This landmark structure is a top tourist attraction providing the 360 Restaurant - a fabulous revolving eatery offering diners incredible panoramic views. To receive an equally spectacular view and test your nerve, there’s also EdgeWalk: a glass floor visitors can step onto for further exhilarating sights of the city below.
Toronto: Night Tour with CN Tower or Harbor Cruise
Duration: 2.5 hour
2. Toronto Zoo
Comprised of 709 acres (287 hectares), the Toronto Zoo is the biggest zoo in the country and boasts an immense collection of fascinating animals covering hundreds of interesting species. From penguins and pygmy hippos to cheetahs and meerkats, there’s something to enjoy for every animal lover. Divided into seven major regions from around the globe, this popular attraction offers a wonderful layout. Crowd-pleasing standouts include the Gorilla Rainforest and The Tundra Trek featuring polar bears, arctic wolves, and the pretty Snowy Owls. This zoo also has lush botanical gardens.
3. Eaton Center
Not your usual retail establishment, the Eaton Center is a shopaholic’s mecca and provides a top-tier shopping experience. Made up of over 250 high-end and specialty department stores, delectable restaurants, and fun entertainment, this gorgeous mall receives about 50 million shoppers every year and enjoys even more business than the United States’ massive Mall of America in Minnesota! When you need to find a wide range of fashionable clothing, pretty accessories, home decor, and more, this bustling downtown-area mall is a cut above.
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4. Old City Hall
Showcasing a regal clock tower and whimsical gargoyles statues, the Old City Hall is an imposing and beautiful Romanesque-style structure erected in 1899. This civic and courthouse building is a robust political symbol of Toronto and displays exquisite architectural features. The interior is as grand as the exterior with colorful murals at the entrance, handsome stained glass, polished marble walls, and attractive mosaic floors. An informative exhibit on this historic building’s history can be found on the first floor.
5. Chinatown, Toronto
Browse the quaint shops and breezy open-air markets when you visit Chinatown, Toronto. Found in Toronto’s city center, this bustling district is a great exploration of all things Asian. Of course, there’s no scarcity of eateries in this neighborhood. Enjoy a full range of scrumptious Asian cuisine from traditional Japanese rice bowls and Chinese dim sum to flavorful modern fusion eats. If it fits your travel schedule, arrive during the Chinese New Year celebrations where you can experience a variety of energetic entertainment like thrilling martial arts displays, live mesmerizing stage shows, and unforgettable lion dances!
6. Nathan Phillips Square
A delightful and spacious urban plaza situated in the city center, Nathan Phillips Square hosts a wide range of special events and fun activities all year round. Nathan Phillips Square is a great spot to simply chill and drink in a peaceful atmosphere. This square also offers a tranquil man-made pond that’s transformed into a popular ice rink in winter. Don’t be shy about lacing up a pair of skates and hitting the ice when the temperature drops. Most notably is the prominent and much-photographed Toronto sign as well as the beautiful twinkling lights that are strung during the December holiday season.
7. Graffiti Alley
A rare attraction in Toronto and worth investigating is Graffiti Alley. Get ready to snap lots of pictures of this colorful collection of vibrant street art that will no doubt be posted to your Instagram account. Visitors are often seen striking a pose in an eye-catching painted doorway or window or taking selfies next to an elaborately painted mural display. A lengthy set of corridors boasting brilliant colors, Graffiti Alley is a great spot to be inspired so don’t miss the chance to check it out.
8. Rogers Center
Residing alongside the CN Tower lies the expansive domed sports stadium of Rogers Centre. The setting where the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team plays, this stadium holds more than 50,000 attendees and touts an uncommon design that features a convenient retractable roof used during Toronto’s temperate weather conditions. If you’re enthralled by Rogers Centre’s megastructure appearance and want an intimate view, take an informative and engrossing one-hour guided tour that offers a compelling behind-the-scenes glimpse at this magnificent architectural accomplishment.
9. Edwards Gardens
A mecca for nature lover’s in Toronto is Edwards Gardens. A captivating piece of land that sits adjacent to the Toronto Botanical Garden, this area could rival the Garden of Eden. Edwards Gardens boasts a woodsy ambiance, plenty of rich greenery, beautiful wildflowers, pretty perennials, soothing fountains, alluring waterfalls, and more. Edwards Gardens is a prime place for quiet reflection or relaxing after a busy day of outdoor pursuits. A gift shop is close by if you want to purchase a souvenir in this enchanting patch of green in the city.
You’ll be completely intrigued the moment you step into the cobblestone streets and alleys of the Distillery District. Originally a derelict assemblage of old warehouses, Distillery District has been revitalized into a picture-perfect setting of a bygone era that oozes a sophisticated European feel. This district showcases a dazzling Victorian-style industrial setting that truly captures your imagination. Distillery District features rows of sharp-looking red-brick-hued warehouses packed with trendy restaurants, charming boutiques and shops, dynamic bars, fabulous art galleries, and entertaining theaters.
Toronto: Distillery District Historic Walking Tour
Duration: 1 hour
11. High Park
Made up of 400 acres (162 hectares) of absolute splendor, High Park is an expansive green space with something for everyone. This divine park offers scenic hiking spots, a fantastic zoo, expertly maintained sports fields, a sparkling swimming pool and pond, a spacious children’s playground, and a superb off-the-leash dog park your furry friend will love. The highlight of this park is the impeccably well-kept gardens, the springtime-bloom of cherry-tree blossoms, and the very popular Shakespeare-in-the-Park plays performed during the summer months.
12. Museum of Illusions
Museum of Illusions is a sophisticated version of the traditional carnival funhouse you visited as a kid. This museum goes beyond the usual hall of mirrors and shrinking hallways. Exuding an upscale art-gallery ambiance in a minimalist space, the Museum of Illusions seeks to inform as much as entertain its patrons. Every exhibit explains the visual deception and the displays are endless from the Rotated Room to the Chair Illusion. Convenient markers assure you’re standing at the perfect spot for a stellar selfie. This museum piques your curiosity with a delightful blend of fun and entertainment along with educational and learning opportunities.
13. Yonge-Dundas Square
A busy public setting in the downtown area, Yonge-Dundas Square is one of Toronto’s most famous sections of the city. Providing a professional concert stage, comely splash-water features, and rows of tourist attractions, Yonge-Dundas Square is a go-to spot for live entertainment programs, movie-going fun, exciting concerts, and interesting community events. At this lively venue, you’ll also find the famed Yonge Street - once declared the longest street on the globe by the Guinness Book of World Records! The mood on Yonge Street is joyous and you can always enjoy high-end shopping, good eats, fine art galleries, and snazzy bars.
You wouldn’t think a footwear museum would be worthy of making a list of great tourist attractions but the Bata Shoe Museum is an exception. This quirky shoebox-shaped structure showcases a phenomenal collection of interesting and awesome shoes. Tracing the 4,500-year history of footgear, visitors to the Bata Shoe Museum can view and learn about the compelling evolution of shoewear from ancient specialty clogs to modern-day loafers. Be awestruck by musical artist Elton John’s outrageous platforms and admire a Japanese sumo wrestler’s geta.
Toronto: Bata Shoe Museum Entrance Ticket
15. Scarborough Bluffs Park
Also called The Bluffs, Scarborough Bluffs Park is a treasure in Toronto’s natural landscape. A large escarpment boasting brilliant white cliffs at the edge of Lake Ontario, this park is the ideal spot to unwind in a truly jaw-dropping setting. Scarborough Bluffs Park is a popular park to walk the scenic bluff-side trail, fire up the barbecue grill, and even pitch a tent for an enjoyable night of camping. You’re sure to catch glimpses of geese in the area and if you visit in late April to early May you can view newly hatched goslings learning to swim in the waters!
16. Fort York National Historic Site
A prized archaeological site, Fort York National Historic Site is the go-to spot for avid history enthusiasts. Visitors can step back in time to the 19th century on this splendid 43-acre (17.4-hectare) site where Canadian and British soldiers established camp during the War of 1812. This site displays the original and historical buildings that stood during the war and there’s also an 1813 battle site. Fort York National Historic Site’s history is kept alive with guided tours, intriguing exhibits, and thrilling military re-enactments year-round. The gift shop even serves tasty cakes made from historic recipes.
The sport of hockey is as synonymous with Canada as maple syrup so it’s no surprise the Hockey Hall of Fame has its home in Toronto. A museum dedicated to the history of hockey, this place could easily be considered a shrine for fanatics of the fast-action sport. Admire the biggest collection of hockey artifacts, memorabilia, and famed hockey equipment and gear found anywhere in the world and see the bank vault where the original Stanley Cup is housed. There is also the reproduction of a genuine NHL dressing room and fun and informative interactive games.
Hockey Hall of Fame Admission Ticket
Duration: 2 hours
From buzz-worthy nightlife to top-tier sports facilities, Entertainment District has a large number of fun diversions to keep anyone entertained. This district was initially a bland area that today boasts some of Toronto’s top-notch pubs and bars, yummy restaurants, and a slate of major theater productions, musicals, and concerts. Fine hotels in the area provide visitors with splendid, comfy accommodations. Be aware most of the Entertainment District’s best action occurs along King Street.
Toronto After Dark – Entertainment District Tour & Cocktail Crawl
Duration: 4 hours
Along the shores of Lake Ontario is the lovely Toronto Harbor. The summer months are when you can enjoy the most activity in this area as Toronto winters can be a bit too chilly for strolling the promenade. This pleasant locale is filled with magnificent views of the city, splendid island parklands, and captivating waterways. You can enjoy tourist spots like the Toronto Islands or the Music Garden. Dining is a mouthwatering experience with hearty steakhouses or fresh seafood eateries available. Fun-inducing festivals and cultural events are also held - mostly during the summertime - in the Toronto Harbor area.
Toronto: City Views Harbor Cruise
Duration: 45 minute
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the biggest indoor aquarium in Canada and the place to view the best in colorful sea life. This sprawling and contemporary aquarium is equipped with 450 striking and fascinating species of marine life and habitats on full display. Witness the ominous presence of a tiger shark and the dream-like movements of jellyfish. Get a close-up experience of stingrays and bamboo sharks at the thrilling touch pool. A standout feature is the longest underwater viewing tunnel in North America featuring more than 100 fun interactive experiences.
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada: Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket
Duration: Wheelchair accessible
In existence as far back as the 1800s, the notable St. Lawrence Market is the ultimate stop for diehard foodies. A top market worldwide, this attraction is replete with 120 expert merchants and vendors eager to introduce their wares. This grand marketplace offers an array of multicultural culinary delights of fine delicacies, gratifying meals, and tasty sweet treats. Sample Polish perogies, Indian fudge, and Toronto’s awesome peameal bacon. It’s advisable to take a walking tour so you don’t miss out on even one delicious morsel!
Toronto: Guided Food Tour with Tastings & Drinks
Duration: 4 hour
Whether you want to grab a sudsy brew at Distillery District, say hello to the animals at the Toronto Zoo, or join a food tour along Kensington Market, Toronto offers no shortage of beautiful buildings and fun places to explore. If your next travel plan involves an escapade in the Great White North, make sure your Canada adventure includes the thrills of Toronto.
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