My interest in visiting Toronto peaked when the NBA All-Star game occurred in 2016. I could not find a group of friends to commit and I was not sure All-Star weekend would be the best to travel to Toronto solo. This year, after researching things to do and realizing it’s close proximity to the Niagara Falls (another place I was itching to get to) I resumed my plans to visit Toronto. Toronto may not be the largest city in Canada according to its size, but it definitely can make that claim with the number of people that live there. There are a lot of things to do in Toronto. I have created a quick guide to the city with some of the highlights, tips and things to do in Toronto, that helped my recent trip to be a success.
There are two airports in Toronto, YYZ, Toronto Pearson International and YTZ, Billy Bishop Toronto Airport. YYZ is the furthest with about a 30 min drive. YTZ is very close to the city and you can take a pedestrian tunnel, ferry or cab/uber.
Once in Toronto, driving a vehicle is not always the best way to get around as the streets are always congested, and traffic jams are a common occurrence on the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) and in the city. However, visitors have many options when it comes to getting from one destination to another. The Toronto Transit Commission, or TTC, is a great way to get around this city, especially for those who are staying close to the downtown area. The TTC is comprised of buses, streetcars, and the subway, which means that everyone can choose the mode of transportation that fits their needs. Of course, everyone can also choose to take a taxi or an Uber, although they are more expensive. The ride from the Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Downtown is about 30 mins and an uber ride is roughly $40-42 CAD one way.
There are plenty of hotels in Toronto, but these are the favorites of many visitors according to TripAdvisor:
This Edwardian hotel was constructed in 1903 and has sixteen floors of guest rooms, an on-site restaurant, and many amenities. Many guests enjoy using the fitness center, and the free Wi-Fi is a great perk as well.
This charming hotel has all the luxurious qualities that guests want and need when they are staying in a hotel, plus it is located in a wonderful part of the city. Guests can walk to the nearby neighborhoods to go shopping or simply enjoy the sights.
The employees of this hotel go above and beyond for their guests as they ensure that everyone thoroughly enjoys their time in Toronto. This hotel is even pet-friendly, so no one needs to worry that they need to leave their furry family members home during their vacation. The swimming pools are great features, as are the fitness center, an on-site restaurant and bar, and the free internet.
I stayed at this hotel and it is in the perfect location and within a short walking distance from Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, and CN Tower. There are a variety of suites and rooms you can choose from. The unique Corner Soaker Rooms in this hotel cater specifically to leisure transient travelers. The harborfront is visible from the lake view rooms. View current hotel promotions and packages here.
The club level rooms give you access to the Club Lounge where free breakfast and evening snacks are served daily. Alcoholic beverages in the evening are an additional costs.
Dining and bar options include the Signature Restaurant SOCO Kitchen + Bar and the menus focus a lot on using local produce and sustainable products. Char No 5. is a premium whiskey bar which serves whiskeys from around the world.
Things To Do
While in Toronto, visitors will find plenty of things to do and these are a few of the top-ranked attractions to add to your itinerary.
The St. Lawrence Market can be found in the historic Old Town area of the city, where it has been since it opened during the 17th century. There are three buildings within the market and they include the South Market, North Market, and St. Lawrence Hall. In the South Market, there are more than one hundred vendors selling food and other items. The farmer’s market can be found within the North Market, while St. Lawrence Hall is where the retail businesses are located.
A strip of bars, restaurants, and shops located within Dundas St., Spadina Ave., Baldwin St., and Augusta Ave.
Walk or take a bike ride along Toronto’s waterfront. You can also take an evening cruise to see the Toronto Skyline from June thru August.
The CN is a memorable icon of the Toronto skyline. It is a communications and observation tower with 147 stories. If you’re interested in visiting you can take a photo from outside or by paying to tour the top. Some are even brave to walk on the outside of the top, Edgewalk. Click to view ticket information.
Access a park, an amusement park for small children, beaches with a quick ferry ride from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in Downtown Toronto.
Sir Henry Pellatt had this ninety-eight-room castle constructed during the early 1900s because he wanted a castle that overlooked the city. The favorite feature of Casa Loma is the eight-hundred-foot underground tunnel that leads from the castle to the stables, but the wine cellar that holds eighteen hundred bottles of wine is also popular. Visitors will love wandering through the gardens that are filled with wildflowers, sculptures, and fountains.
The Royal Ontario Museum was established in 1912 and it now has more than six million artifacts. While inside, visitors can expect to see Roman sculptures, dinosaur bones, Chinese temple art, and more. Children will love the hands-on gallery where they can enter a fox den, see the jaw of a shark, and touch the skin of animals.
If you want a picture with the Toronto Sign, come here. Expect crowds and possibly a few photobombs.
If you have enough time to visit Niagara, I highly recommend it. Check out the details of my road trip to Niagara here.
Throughout the year, there are many festivals held in Toronto and visitors can choose to attend including:
Taste of the Danforth August
The Taste of the Danforth is a Greek festival where everyone who attends gets to pretend that they are Greek for the day as they devour traditional Greek foods. There are numerous restaurateurs selling traditional cuisine including grilled lamb, stuffed grape leaves, souvlaki, and moussaka. Free samples are available and there are contests with exciting prizes. The festival attracts about 1.6 million people.
Toronto International Film Festival September
This film festival has fourteen gala presentations as well as more than thirty special presentations, and every year the films get better and better. The films are separated by genre, so everyone can watch the ones that they are interested in and forget about the rest.
In February there is a Toronto Black Film Festival.
Toronto Oktoberfest September
Toronto brings Munich to the city every year when they hold the infamous Oktoberfest. In addition to the beer that flows continuously, visitors will find traditional Bavarian cuisine, polka music and dancing, and lots of fun.
Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival July-August
Mostly known as Caribana, this festival is one of the largest Carribean festivals. Peeks/Caribana lasts for 4 weeks but many travel for the events of the last weekend of July.
Toronto Christmas Market November-December
If you love Christmas, this event is for you! The Distillery District is turned into a Christmas Wonderland with food vendors and a chance to buy gifts, view art and live music!
For details of the schedule, click here.
For a list of more events in Toronto, click here.
Known for being a foodie city, there are a ton of options to choose from but here are just a few recommended places.
Richmond Station takes pride in having a staff that has been there forever, while also keeping the menu full of favorites the same. It is recommended that diners begin with the garden salad before ordering either the station burger or the roasted black cod. The strawberries and cream or the chocolate and lavender are fantastic options for dessert and no one can resist ordering either of them.
George Restaurant serves French and Canadian cuisine in an elegant setting. Guests can begin with the veal tataki or ahi tuna before beginning on their second course, which should include either the Cornish hen or beef ribeye. Desserts are necessary at the George and everyone will want to consider the chocolate coconut cake or the pinenut torta.
A hip Thai restaurant that offers a R&B vibe with unique Thai dishes. Expect a crowd but the line moves fast. You can use the Yelp App to check out the estimated wait time.
This restaurant opened in 1987 and it lays claim to being the first oyster house in the city. Guests will want to consider ordering the New England clam chowder, steamed mussels, crab cakes, or the willy krauch smoked salmon. Of course, oysters of all kinds are on the menu and that is what many people order when they are there. Everyone will want to try one of the delectable desserts at Rodney’s Oyster House and the Belgian chocolate mousse and Crème Brulee come highly recommended.
Toronto is the perfect vacation spot since there are things to do year round. I can’t wait to visit again!
What are some things to do in Toronto that you would recommend? Comment below!
Thank you to the City of Toronto Tourism and Delta Hotels, SOCO Restaurant and The CN Tower for assisting with a wonderful trip!
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