Toronto is Canada's largest and most populous city and one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.
With over 160 languages spoken and nearly half of greater Torontos residents born outside of Canada, Toronto offers a rich and varied cultural experience for visitors of all backgrounds and interests. Whether you want to explore the city's iconic landmarks, enjoy its world-class museums and galleries, sample its diverse cuisine, or experience its vibrant nightlife. Toronto is a city that never runs out of things to see and do, but if you only have a limited time, here are 10 of the best attractions and activities that you should not miss.
Royal Ontario Museum
This is Canada's largest and most visited museum, with over six million items and 40 galleries covering natural history, world cultures, art, and more. You can see exhibits on dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, medieval Europe, indigenous Canada, and much more. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions on various topics, such as photography, fashion, and wildlife.
Art Gallery of Ontario
This is one of North America's largest and most impressive art museums, with over 95,000 works of art spanning from the Middle Ages to the present day. You can admire paintings by Canadian and international artists, such as the Group of Seven, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. The museum also features a sculpture gallery, a photography collection, and a library.
This historic and charming neighbourhood was once home to the largest whiskey distillery in the world. Today, it is a pedestrian-only zone with cobblestone streets, Victorian buildings, art galleries, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and bars. You can stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere, shop for unique souvenirs, taste some local craft beer or whiskey, or join a guided tour to learn more about the history and culture of the area. The district also hosts various events and festivals, such as the Christmas Market, the Light Festival, and the ArtFest.
St. Lawrence Market
This is one of the world's best and oldest food markets, dating back to 1803. It is a paradise for foodies, with over 120 vendors selling fresh produce, meat, cheese, bread, pastries, seafood, and more. The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and on Sundays, it hosts an antique market where you can browse and buy vintage goods.
This group of 15 islands in Lake Ontario is just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto. The islands are a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy nature and recreation. You can bike, hike, kayak, swim, picnic, or relax on the beaches, which include a clothing-optional beach at Hanlan's Point. You can also visit the Centreville Amusement Park, which has over 30 rides and attractions for kids and adults, or the Far Enough Farm, which has over 40 species of farm animals.
This is a colourful and eclectic neighbourhood that reflects the diversity and creativity of Toronto. It combines vintage shops, ethnic restaurants, cafes, bakeries, bars, and street art. You can find anything from Mexican tacos to Jamaican jerk chicken, from Chinese dumplings to Ethiopian injera, Italian gelato, and Portuguese custard tarts. You can also enjoy live music, street performances, and cultural events, especially on the last Sunday of every month, when the streets are closed to cars and become a pedestrian paradise.
This majestic castle was built in 1914 by a wealthy businessman who wanted to fulfil his dream of living in a medieval-style mansion. The castle has 98 rooms decorated with lavish furniture, artworks, and antiques. You can explore the castle, its gardens, and the secret passages, tunnels, and towers. You can also learn more about the history and stories of the court and its owner through audio guides, exhibits, and interactive displays. Tickets for the castle are 32.49 CAD for adults and 22.49 CAD for seniors and students.
Hockey Hall of Fame
This is a must-see for any hockey fan, as it is the ultimate tribute to the sport and its legends. The Hall of Fame has over 15,000 items and 65,000 images related to hockey, as well as interactive games and simulations. You can see the original Stanley Cup, the replica dressing room of the Montreal Canadiens, the jerseys and equipment of famous players, and more. You can also test your skills and knowledge in the shooting and goaltending zones, the trivia game, and the broadcast booth.
This 553-meter (1,815-foot) tower is the most recognizable symbol of Toronto and was the world's tallest free-standing structure from 1975 to 2007. You can take an elevator to the observation deck and enjoy panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can walk on the glass floor or do the EdgeWalk, a hands-free walk around the tower's exterior ledge. You can also dine at the 360 Restaurant, which rotates once every 72 minutes and offers a stunning view and a delicious menu.
This is one of the world's most spectacular and famous natural attractions, and it is only a 90-minute drive from Toronto. The falls are composed of three waterfalls that span the border between Canada and the United States, and they have a combined height of 51 meters and a flow rate of over 2,800 cubic meters per second. You can admire the falls from various viewpoints, such as the Table Rock Centre, the Skylon Tower, or the Niagara SkyWheel. You can also get closer to the falls by taking a boat ride with Hornblower Niagara Cruises, a helicopter tour with Niagara Helicopters, or a walk with Journey Behind the Falls. You can also explore the surrounding area, which has many attractions, such as the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory, the Niagara Falls History Museum, and the Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries.
What is the best way to get around Toronto?
Toronto has a well-developed and efficient public transportation system called the TTC, which includes subways, buses, and streetcars. You can use the TTC to get to most of the attractions and neighbourhoods in the city, as well as to and from the airport. You can pay for the TTC with cash, tokens, tickets, or a Presto card, a reloadable smart card that you can tap on the fare machines or readers.
Another option is to bike, as Toronto has many bike lanes and trails and a bike-sharing system called Bike Share Toronto, which has over 6,850 bikes and 625 stations across the city.