If you are planning a trip to Canada, don't miss Toronto! It is the largest and one of the most vibrant cities in Canada. There is a lot to explore in Toronto. If you're visiting for the first time, you may find it difficult to narrow down the top tourist attractions in Toronto.
Every neighbourhood of Toronto has its own story. There are many hidden gems and tourist attractions in Toronto. As Canadian travel experts, Canadian Train Vacations is here to help you. We have curated a comprehensive list of the best attractions in Toronto. If you love to travel and explore, the following places should be on your itinerary.
1. Explore the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is home to a range of exquisite cultural and historical pieces collected from all over the world.
All three levels of this magnificent place, locally called “The ROM,” are rife with treasures organized into more than 20 galleries — like the new Willner Madge Gallery, Dawn of Life or the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery or Life in Crisis: The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity. And that’s not all! Be sure to check out the limited-time exhibits, such as Psychedelics (on until March 9, 2024).
The museum is located at 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario. You can easily reach here by bus, cab, or public transportation. General admission is $23 CAD for adults and $14 CAD for children ages four to 14.
2. See the animals at the Toronto Zoo
The zoo is one of the best outdoor attractions in Toronto. If you love wildlife, you should visit the Toronto Zoo. Spread over 10km, it is a great place to walk and explore. It features a unique polar bear habitat and an African penguin exhibit. From alpacas to giraffes, there's a lot to see here.
Orangutans of Gunung Leuser: Guardians of the Rainforest is a brand-new outdoor habitat for Sumatran orangutans, whose conservation status changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2017. Why? Palm oil harvesting is destroying the rainforests they call home. In addition to protecting these amazing mammals, the Toronto Zoo has taken a leadership stance on raising awareness about palm oil.
Other reasons people love going to the Toronto Zoo: The Wild Rouge Zipline, the Conservation Carousel, and the Tundra Air Ride. If you get tired of walking, hop on the Zoomobile for a tour.
We recommend at least two hours to explore the zoo.
Admission is $24.50 for adults and $15.50 for children.
#1 Travel tip: See the animals being fed at the zoo
For the best experience at the Toronto zoo, be sure to see if there are any feeding times scheduled during your visit.
3. Enjoy the View from CN Tower
Built between 1972 and 1976, the CN Tower was once the tallest building in the world, at 553 meters tall. It is the most famous tourist destination in Toronto. It can be enjoyed from the ground, but the view from the top is simply breathtaking. You can even download a free viewfinder app so you know what are looking at in all directions.
There is also a revolving restaurant at the top for dining and lunches. The 360 Restaurant completes a full rotation every 72 minutes. The menu focuses on local and sustainable ingredients and recipes from across Canada, including Indigenous dishes. It is popular so you should reserve ahead.
The CN Tower is located at 301 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario.
It is open from 9 AM to 9 PM every day. Entry fees start at $53 but depend on what activities you want to do, such as the EdgeWalk, the outdoor walkway around the observation deck.
4. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the major attractions in Toronto. It is home to a large collection of artwork dating back centuries. The building is an architectural masterpiece in itself.
More than 95,000 works of art are held in the collections at the AGO, as it is locally called, from European masterpieces to work by emerging Indigenous artists, Group of Seven to Western and Central Africa, historic to modern to contemporary. You can get lost in here for hours, transported through the art in the regular collections and in the many special exhibits featured throughout the year.
Don’t miss the AGO Shop — it has some of the coolest gifts and souvenirs I have ever seen.
Located at 317 Dundas St W, it is easily accessible by public transportation.
TIP: If you want to skip the line to enter the museum, prepurchase a day pass for $25 CAD or an annual pass for $35 CAD.
5. Eat at Kensington Market
You're bound to get hungry after exploring all the tourist attractions in Toronto, Canada. It's time to head to Kensington Market, just west of downtown Toronto. This multicultural neighbourhood offers various food shops and restaurants which serve cuisines from all over the world.
There are lots of little places you pick up a snack to walk around with — empanadas maybe or a burrito or something with bacon. Or put together a picnic from Global Cheese or Sanagan’s meat and head to Bellevue Park. If you want to sit for a while, check out Trinity Common, a popular pub, especially with the hipster crowd, for smash burgers and fries that go oh-so well with craft beer. And I have never left Kensington Market without stopping at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.
Additionally, you can explore the beautiful shops that sell vintage items. You will want approximately two to three hours to explore this neighbourhood, which is easily accessible by public transportation.
TIP: Admission is free, as it is a public neighbourhood, but we recommend around $50 CAD/couple for a meal.
#2 Travel tip: Make reservations for dinner
Toronto is a top foodie destination and home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Be sure to make reservations at any places you want to try to avoid disappointment.
6. Witness Marine Life at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
The aquarium is also one of the most popular tourist places in Toronto. It is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the country. It is home to about 450 different fish species and other sea animals.
The Dangerous Lagoon is one of the most exciting features at Ripley’s. Board the moving sidewalk through a clear tunnel in the tank while sharks, stingrays and other lagoon inhabitants swim over your head. You may even be lucky to see staff feeding the fish twice a day.
It will take you 2-3 hours to explore the aquarium. Tickets cost $44 CAD for adults and $20 for youth ages six to 13, and $12.50 for children ages two to five.
7. Take a Selfie at the Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions opened in 2018. It is one of the new family attractions in Toronto, Canada. It is fun for both adults and kids alike. The museum features an elaborate series of illusions, along with their explanations.
Illusion rooms, installations, images and holograms, this is one place you will want to be sure you have a fully charged phone so you can take lots of weird and wonderful photos. There are selfie points along the way, and it is one of the most Instagrammable places in Toronto.
It is located at 132 Front Street East. Tickets are $23.50 CAD.
8. Go Down Memory Lane with Bata Shoe Museum
If you're interested in the history of shoes, visit the Bata Shoe Museum. Shoes are much more interesting that you might think, not only in terms of fashion but also culture. Special exhibits include In Bloom: Flowers and Footwear and Obsessed: How Shoes Became Objects of Desire.
It is located just across from the Royal Ontario Museum. You can gain access to the museum for just $14 CAD.
TIP: Check out the outside of the building as well. The building is shaped like a shoebox.
9. Learn About Hockey at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey is an extremely famous sport in Canada, which makes this a must-visit tourist destination in Toronto for all sports fans. Housed in a heritage building that was formerly a bank, Hockey Hall of Fame is spread over 65,000 square feet. It’s big! It even has a replica of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room.
See interesting exhibits about the sports and try fun interactive displays. For example, follow the evolution of goalie masks or try your skills at broadcasting or play the latest hockey video games. It is also the home of the Stanley Cup, the NHL's biggest trophy.
The retail shop has everything a hockey fan could want. And where do you go for snacks when you visit the Hockey Hall of Fame? Tim Horton’s, of course! Horton, a former hockey star, founded the famous coffee franchise and a special edition Tim’s is located next door to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
You can get a ticket to the Hockey Hall of Fame for $20 CAD.
10. Go Down Memory Lane at St. Lawrence Market
Named the best food market in the world in 2012, this famous tourist destination in Toronto has been operating since the early 1800s. Apart from buying the freshest and best produce, you can also explore several cuisines at this market and everything you need to make it. Caviar, fresh oysters, croissants, sausages, cheese by the slab — you name it and they probably have it, plus all the condiments and sauces, and even the kitchenware to prepare it.
Don’t feel like cooking? There are so many ready-to-eat options. From Indian to Ukrainian, there's something for every palate. Try a Toronto classic peameal bacon sandwich — basic and fancied-up versions are available. And don’t miss the lower level, where you’ll find many more delicious choices, like cabbage rolls and pierogies. Inside tables are at premium especially on weekends, but you can also take your to-go boxes outside to the picnic tables.
And when you're done eating, go upstairs to explore the art gallery. The market also hosts a public kitchen for special cooking classes and is home to St Lawrence Hall, where you can catch exhibitions and live performances.
TIP: Hiring a tour guide gives interesting insights into the vendors and the area's history.
11. Get answers at Ontario Science Centre
The first interactive museum of its kind in the world, this place is specially designed for all those interested in science. It is one of the best family attractions in Toronto. There are live experiments, demonstrations, planetariums and games to explore and enjoy.
What people love about this place is that it’s hands-on: not only you learn about science, but you also get to try things out and see how they work in the Science Arcade and Innovation Centre. Underwater adventures bring Captain Nemo to Life and the space exhibit makes sense of meteorites, black holes and cosmic rays. Plus, there’s a rainforest, a Canadian forest and a domed IMAX theatre.
The entire tour of the place will take you about two hours.
TIP: We recommend you book tickets online to skip the lines, especially during school holidays. A ticket costs $22 CAD.
12. Shop at Toronto Eaton Centre
No trip is complete without shopping! Toronto Eaton Centre is a shopper's paradise that's located in the middle of downtown Toronto. Home to the world's best luxury brands, flagship stores, restaurants and movie theatres, Eaton Centre is an iconic structure that's known as one of the best tourist places in Toronto. It receives approximately 50 million visitors every year.
Dozens of dining spots await, especially in the food court area, but my favourite is Trattoria Mercatto for a pizza and the cannolo I can never resist.
You can reach this place easily by taking any public transport — there are subway stations at either end of the complex.
TIP: Don't miss the 115-foot long pedestrian bridge between Eaton Centre and Hudson's Bay Company building. It's an architectural gem.
13. Wander Through the Distillery District
This quaint village-like area gets its name from the fact that it once housed the largest distillery of the British empire. With nearly 50 Victorian buildings, this is a national heritage site. Now home to some of Toronto's best art galleries, boutiques, bars, restaurants, studios, and shops, Distillery District is one of the top 5 attractions in Toronto.
One of my favourite spots is El Catrin Destileria, with its beautiful patio and excellent tapas and margaritas. Soma Chocolate shop is a must-stop for me (just follow your nose), and I always wander through Bergo Designs check out the great gifts and gadgets.
Among the various festivals held throughout the year, the Toronto Christmas Market attracts the most visitors. It is set up like a German-style outdoor market, complete with mulled wine and carollers.
TIP: Distillery District covers13 acres and is a pedestrian-only area. Wear comfortable shoes!
14. Feel Regal at Casa Loma
Casa Loma in Midtown Toronto is an almost 200,000-square-foot mansion designed like a castle in Gothic Revival-style. It was built between 1911 and 1914 to be the home of financier Sir Henry Pellatt. It has an interesting history and served several functions before being converted into a museum that sees at least 650,000 visitors a year.
The castle has three floors that include 100 rooms, grand washrooms, towers, secret pathways and underground tunnels. When you see Casa Loma in all its splendour, you will understand why it is a popular location for movie and television filming, weddings and private events.
TIP: You can also visit the well-maintained stables and estate gardens — five acres of impeccable gardens and a patio restaurant for casual meals during the summer. Fine dining is also available for dinner by reservation only in the Blueblood Steakhouse, where steaks are listed on the menu like wine with the origin along with the name and ounces.
Casa Loma is open from 9.30 AM to 5 PM and a ticket costs $40 CAD.
15. Walk Through the Aga Khan Museum
Constructed by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and Princess Catharine Aga Khan in the 1950s, this museum is completely devoted to Islamic Arts. It is the largest museum for Islamic Arts in North America. The museum is located in serene surroundings in the northern part of city and has a reflecting pool all around it.
The museum and gardens are one of the most beautiful, peaceful places in the city and very much a place to learn and experience Islamic culture and civilization. Until October 23, 2023 visit the Aga Khan Museum to see an inspiring exhibition celebrating Rumi, one of history's most famous poets, on the 750th anniversary of his passing.
There is also a restaurant that provides a fine dining experience. Diwan is one of Chef Mark McEwan’s restaurants and features modern Middle Eastern cuisine. It is open for lunch and dinner; reservations are recommended.
An entry ticket costs $20 CAD and the museum is open 10 AM - 5.30 PM, Sunday-Tuesday.
TIP: Post-Covid, Museum entry has been more restricted. We recommend you book tickets online to avoid any inconvenience.
16. Take a Stroll around Toronto Islands
Toronto Islands is a chain of several islands along Lake Ontario. One of the best outdoor attractions in Toronto, there's a lot that one can do, such as water sports, fishing, boating, bird watching, picnics and even visiting art galleries and shops. It also offers stunning views of the Toronto skyline.
Many people bring their own bikes on the ferry, along with their kids and their dogs. Centreville amusement park, with its 30 rides and attractions, is a popular family spot in the summer. Centre Island Beach is great fun on a sunny day.
TIP: No private vehicles are allowed on the island, so you can catch a passenger ferry from Jack Leyton Ferry Terminal. Rent a bike to explore the islands.
17. Explore Old City Hall
The Old City Hall is a Romanesque-style building that's over a century old. It was very close to demolition, but activists saved the historic site. Now the city hall serves as a museum and a war memorial. There is a lot you can uncover if you love architecture and history.
For example, the façade is mostly sandstone and if you look closely, you will see carvings of animals and humans. Between 1899 and 1917, the clock tower was the tallest structure in Canada.
TIP: If possible, carry just the basics in your bags. The security check at the entry is quite thorough and you will have to pass through metal detectors.
18. Take a Trip to Niagara Falls
The list of the top 10 attractions in Toronto is incomplete without the famous Niagara Falls. Just 90 minutes away from Toronto, Niagara falls is a group of three waterfalls that lie on the border of Ontario and New York state (USA). As expected, you will be greeted with stunning views, exciting trails and hikes, guided tours, and plenty of staying and eating options nearby.
The Journey Behind the Falls is an opportunity to see the falls from inside out via tunnels that lead to observation points. It’s pretty exciting when you consider how much water is crashing down.
TIP: Helicopter rides can be easily arranged to get the best views.
19. Stroll through High Park
If you want to explore the greener side of Toronto, you should check out High Park. One of the best outdoor attractions in Toronto, this place is favoured by families with children or elderly members — and dogs!
It is Toronto's largest urban park and includes a large playground, swimming pool, diverse vegetation, walking trails, and so much more. Genadier Pond has an observation deck so you can watch the birds. The picnic area has tables and lots of space, as well as the Grenadier Café, a summer-only snack and drinks stand.
High Park Zoo is a small, family friendly place that was established in the 1893 for deer. Fast forward 120 years, the Zoo’s eleven paddocks are home to bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle, emus and sheep. In 2016, two High Park capybaras, Bonnie and Clyde, made the news when they escaped and launched a massive search (they were found safe).
TIP: During April-May, the park blooms with cherry blossoms.
20. Visit Black Creek Pioneer Village
This is a one-of-a-kind village that showcases Toronto during the 1860s. Historic buildings, unique stables and sheds, picturesque gardens and trade exhibits - Black Creek gives you a real immersive experience of rural life in the 19th century.
Take a tour with costumed guide for the best insight and be prepared to walk on boardwalks and dirt roads. If you’re lucky, there may be some baby animals on the farm.
An entry ticket costs $15 CAD and it stays open from 11.00 AM - 4PM
TIP: You will have to pre-book a tour online till March 2023. Do check their website for more changes in entry rules.
21. Take a tour of Steam Whistle Brewery
Located close to Ripley's Aquarium, this is one of the most quirky and lively places in Toronto. Founded in 1998, this brewery was developed from a national historic site - The John Street Roundhouse building. This roundhouse used to serve as a depot for the Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive. So, grab a pint of Steam Whistle and take a tour around the area or kick back and relax at the Taproom.
You can also enjoy a meal alongside that crisp Steam Whistle Pilsner at the Biergärten Restaurant, featuring contemporary Canadian cuisine. Reservations are recommended.
22. Relax at Woodbine Beach
Woodbine Beach is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day. This beach is along Lake Ontario and offers a perfect blend of relaxation and revelry. The 3-km-long shore is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, beach volleyball, picnics and an Olympic-sized pool.
Woodbine Beach is located in an area locally known as “The Beaches” and the people who live here love it here. Restaurants and cafes all along Queen Street provide plenty of options for lunch or dinner.
TIP: The beach can get noisy and crowded as it is one of the popular outdoor attractions in Toronto. If you need a breather, you can walk across to the calm and scenic Woodbine Park. Or keep walking east and take in the lakefront scenery all the way to Kew-Balmy Beach and Kew Gardens, a lovely park with a gazebo that started as a farm in the 1850s.
23. Catch the Vibe at Yonge-Dundas Square
Yonge-Dundas Square is often called the Times Square of Toronto. Known for fast-fashion shops, affordable eateries, street performances and its giant screens, you can easily spend 2-3 hours here without realising it. It's a perfect snapshot of Toronto city life and comes alive once the sun sets.
Because of its location at the north end of Eaton Centre, this is a great spot to include on a shopping itinerary. Grab a coffee and settle in for some people watching or catch a movie if you really want to give your feet a break. Some of the restaurants here big and busy — Jack Astor’s, Red Lobster, Joey Eaton Centre, 3 Brewers — all lots of fun. If you want something really special, check performance calendar at Jazz Bistro and make a dinner reservation.
24. Head Over To Chinatown
Chinatown is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Toronto and offers delightful stories in every nook and corner. Curl up at a restaurant with warm dim sum, brothy noodles or spicy chops — there are so many choices. My favourites: Rol San for all-day dim sum and Mother’s Dumplings, which has dumplings and whole lot more.
Shop the outdoor stalls for hard-to-find produce and unique housewares, all at really great prices.
Given its prime location, you can easily reach Chinatown by taking any mode of transportation.
25. Unwind at Harbourfront Centre
An iconic cultural destination, Harbourfront Centre hosts several art exhibits, food festivals, live music and dance shows. The water-front complex, located at 235 Queens Quay West, hosts around 4000 events in a year. The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is also right there and well worth stop for art fans.
Apart from the art scene, you can also relax in one of the many inviting cafes and restaurants in and around the centre — like Boxcar Social with its bacon croquettes and shrimp on toast, or the Goodman Pub and Kitchen, for fish and chips and burgers. Or you can grab an ice cream and go to the beach! HTO Park is right near Harbourfront Centre and has a sandy beach with umbrellas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I not miss in Toronto?
You should not miss the CN Tower when you're in Toronto. It is one of the most iconic and remarkable buildings in Toronto that provides a bird's eye view of the city.
What is the most visited place in Toronto?
Some of the famous tourist destinations in Toronto are the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Ripley's Aquarium.
What is Toronto best known for?
Toronto is best known as a Canadian metropolis. It has sky-high buildings with a waterfront. The city's vibe is vibrant and full of energy, with a good mix of historic and modern establishments.
How many days are enough for Toronto?
You must spend at least 4-5 days in Toronto. There is a lot to see and explore in this capital city of Ontario. You will thoroughly enjoy your time here.
Where can I go when I'm bored in Toronto?
There are many famous tourist destinations in Toronto. You can see the animals at the Toronto Zoo, feed the fishes at Ripley's Aquarium, or stroll through the Distillery District. You will never be bored in this city!
About the author: Carolyn Camilleri is a Contributing Writer with Fresh tracks Canada. A magazine writer and editor since 1996, she loves the discovery that comes from travel. Her work has appeared in several Canadian travel publications, including Where Victoria, Harbour... Read more
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