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18 Best Places to Visit in Toronto in Summer

Summer is the perfect time to visit Toronto, the largest city in Canada and a melting pot of cultures. With its vibrant atmosphere, warm weather, and endless activities, Toronto is a top destination for anyone looking to make the most of their summer.

A teenager skates on colourful pavement with a view of Toronto and the CN Tower in the background

However, with so many things to see and do, planning and making the most of your time in the city is essential. With our expert team of Canadian insiders, let's explore some of the best places to visit in Toronto during the summer so that you can make the most of your trip.

It's essential to plan ahead. Toronto is a bustling metropolis that attracts millions of visitors every year. During the summer months, the city comes alive with festivals, events, and activities. While this makes for an exciting and vibrant atmosphere, it also means that things can get quite crowded, and it's essential to plan to ensure you can experience all that Toronto offers. By planning, you'll be able to avoid crowds and make the most of your time in the city.

1. Visit the Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands are a group of 15 small islands located just a short ferry ride from the city. These islands are a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto. They have several beaches, including Hanlan's Point Beach, known for its clothing-optional policy. The islands also offer plenty of cycling, hiking, and picnicking opportunities.

Visitors can take a ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to visit the islands, which takes around 15 minutes. The island is open year-round, and the best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is mild, and the beaches are open. The ferry fee is around $8 for adults, and the amusement park and petting zoo have separate admission fees.

Toronto cityscape from the Toronto Islands

2. Explore Rouge Park

Rouge National Urban Park is the largest urban park in North America. It's a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the great outdoors in Toronto. The park offers over 50 km of hiking trails and birdwatching, fishing, and camping opportunities. The park is home to various wildlife, including deer, foxes, and over 270 species of birds. The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is summer when the weather is mild and the trails are dry. The park is free to visit, and visitors can spend a whole day exploring the park's different hiking trails and activities. It is easily accessible by public transportation on the TTC or GO Transit.

A bird on a stick in Rouge Park in Toronto

3. Visit Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs is a stretch of coastline that offers breathtaking views of Lake Ontario. The bluffs are a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Several parks along the bluffs, including Bluffer's Park, are known for their large sandy beaches. Visitors can also hike along the bluffs and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The Bluffs are a great place to enjoy a picnic or BBQ and watch the sunset. There's a parking lot available for visitors, and the area is accessible by public transportation. There are also several restaurants and cafes nearby where visitors can grab a bite.

People visiting the Scarbrough bluffs near Toronto with colourful trees

4. The EdgeWalk at the CN Tower

The CN Tower is one of Toronto's most iconic landmarks and a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the city's skyline. The tower offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck, located at a height of 346 meters (1,136 feet). Visitors can also take the EdgeWalk, a thrilling outdoor walkway around the tower's edge. The EdgeWalk is open year-round, but summer is the best time to visit when the weather is mild. Tickets for EdgeWalk start at $199. Visitors can also dine in the tower's revolving restaurant, 360, which offers panoramic views of the city.

Three friends experience the Edgewalk at the CN Tower

5. Take in the City Skyline from a Boat

Another great way to experience the city's skyline is by taking a boat tour of Toronto's harbor. Several tour companies offer boat tours, a great way to see the city's landmarks from a different perspective. Visitors can also take a sunset or evening tour to experience the city's lights. Some boat tour companies also offer dinner cruises where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the views of the city.

Sunset over the city skyline of Toronto from a boat tour

6. Stroll Through High Park

High Park is a large park located in the west end of Toronto and is a great place to spend a summer day. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, and swimming. There is also a zoo, playgrounds, sports fields, a pool, a dog park, gardens, and a lake in the park. Visitors can also stroll through the park's gardens and enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants. High Park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is summer when the weather is mild and the gardens are full bloom.

People strolling through High Park in Toronto

7. Visit a Botanical Garden

Toronto is home to several beautiful botanical gardens, including the Allan Gardens Conservatory, which is home to various exotic plants and flowers. The gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy nature, and they're also a popular spot for picnics. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the gardens to learn about the different plants and flowers on display. The gardens are open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the summer.

8. Kayak Around the Lake

Kayaking around Lake Ontario is a unique way to experience Toronto's natural beauty. Several companies offer kayak rentals and guided tours, and it's a great way to see the city's skyline and waterfront. Visitors can also take a guided tour and learn about the history and ecology of the lake. Kayaking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air while taking in the views of the city. Visitors can also rent a kayak and explore the lake at their own pace.

9. Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) on the Island

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is another fun way to explore Toronto's waterways. Visitors can rent a board, paddle around the islands, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air. Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Visitors can also take a guided tour and learn about the history and ecology of the island. Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a fun activity for people of all ages and skill levels.

Three paddleboarders on Lake Ontario with Toronto city skyline in the distance

10. Distillery District

The Distillery District is a historic neighborhood located in the east of Toronto. The district is home to various shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The district is also home to several festivals and events throughout the summer, making it a great place to visit for culture and entertainment. Visitors can stroll through the district, enjoy the beautiful architecture, and pick up souvenirs from local shops. The district is also great for grabbing a bite and sampling some local cuisines.

View of Toronto's Distillery District

11. Bus Travel

A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is a great way to see the city and get around to all the different attractions. It's also a great option if you're short on time and want to see as much as possible. Visitors can get on and off the bus at different stops and visit the attractions that interest them. The bus tour provides a commentary on the history and culture of the city, making it a great way to learn about Toronto while seeing the sights. The bus tour covers all the main attractions in the city and provides a convenient way to get around.

Hop on hop off bus in Toronto

12. Electric Island

Electric Island is a popular summer music festival that takes place at Ontario Place West Island. The festival features a lineup of electronic music acts and is a great way to experience the city's nightlife. Visitors can enjoy live music, food vendors, and beautiful views of the lake. The festival takes place on multiple summer dates so that visitors can plan their trip accordingly.

13. Harbourfront Concerts

The Harbourfront Centre hosts a variety of concerts and performances throughout the summer, making it a great place to catch some live music. The concerts feature a wide range of genres and are a great way to experience the city's diverse culture. Visitors can enjoy live music while taking in the beautiful views of the lake and the city skyline. The concerts are in an open-air venue, providing a great atmosphere to enjoy live music.

Harbourfront Centre in Toronto at Night

14. Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of Toronto's most popular tourist attractions. It's a great place to learn about the city's history and culture. The museum features a wide range of natural history, world cultures, and art exhibits. Visitors can see dinosaur fossils, ancient artifacts, and contemporary art. The museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the city, and it's also a great place to spend a rainy day.

Exterior night view of the entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum

15. Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario is another must-see destination for art lovers. The gallery features a wide range of works from local and international artists. Visitors can see paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The gallery also features a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year.

People sitting indoors near window with tall and modern framing in the Art Gallery of Ontario

16. Visit the Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions is a unique and interactive experience perfect for families. The museum features a variety of illusions and optical tricks that will keep visitors entertained for hours. Visitors can take pictures with optical illusions and learn about the science behind them. The museum also features a collection of holograms, infinity rooms, and other interactive exhibits. The museum is a great place to spend a rainy day or for visitors looking for an interactive and entertaining experience.

A woman's head on a plate illusion in a museum

17. Toronto Great Canadian Food Tour

A food tour is a great way to experience the city's diverse culinary scene. The Toronto Great Canadian Food Tour takes visitors on a culinary journey through some of the city's best restaurants and food trucks. Visitors can sample various local dishes and learn about the city's culinary history.

Food tours are a great way to explore the city and learn about the different cultures that make up Toronto's food scene.

Pow Wow Cafe serves traditional Indigenous cuisine by Toronto Ojibway chef Shawn Adler in Kensington Market

18. Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington

On the last Sunday of each month during the summer, the Kensington Market area closes its streets to cars and becomes a pedestrian-only zone. This event is a great way to experience the neighborhood's vibrant atmosphere and diverse culture. Visitors can stroll through the market and enjoy the street performers, live music, and food vendors. It's a perfect opportunity to explore the area and discover new local businesses — and one of the top things to do in Toronto in summer.

View of street and shops in Kensington Market neighbourhood during daytime

Famous Food in Toronto

Our team of Insiders at Canadian Train vacations have tried many of the foods that Toronto offers. The city is known for its diverse culinary scene, and there's something for everyone to enjoy. Some popular local dishes include:

Poutine - Poutine is a dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It's a popular Canadian dish that originated in Quebec but can now be found all over Canada. It's a great comfort food found at many fast-food restaurants, trucks, and pubs.

Butter Tarts - Butter tarts are a traditional Canadian pastry with a flaky pastry crust filled with butter, sugar, and eggs. They are a sweet treat found at many bakeries and cafes in Toronto.

Smoked Meat Sandwiches - Smoked meat sandwiches are popular in Toronto, with many delis and restaurants offering their version of the sandwich. The meat is usually made from beef brisket and is seasoned with various spices before being slow-smoked. It is typically served on rye bread with mustard.

Ethnic Food - Toronto is a diverse city, and it's reflected in the food. There are many ethnic neighborhoods in Toronto where visitors can find authentic food from around the world. Some of the most popular ethnic cuisines in Toronto include Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Caribbean.

Toronto Street Food - Toronto has a thriving street food scene, with many food trucks and street vendors offering various foods. Visitors can find everything from traditional hot dogs and hamburgers to exotic foods such as Thai and Mexican. Street food is a great way to try different foods while exploring the city.

Classic poutine in cardboard take away box

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions to visit in Toronto?

CN Tower, Toronto Islands, Scarborough Bluffs, High Park, Royal Ontario Museum, and Art Gallery of Ontario are considered top attractions in Toronto.

What is there to do in Toronto in the summertime?

Outdoor activities include hiking, swimming, picnicking, visiting beaches and parks, festivals and concerts, food tours, and much more.

Is Toronto good in the summer?

Toronto is a great place to visit during the summer, with mild weather and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Which month is the hottest in Toronto?

July is considered the hottest month in Toronto, with temperatures around 25-30 degrees Celsius.

How should I dress for summer in Toronto?

Light, breathable clothing and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Opt for shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and sandals. Bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.

Is Toronto too hot in the summer?

During the summer months, the weather in Toronto can be quite uncomfortable, with high temperatures, humidity and occasional smoggy conditions. The temperature can vary greatly, ranging from a low of 68°F to a high of 95°F (20°C to 35°C).

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