Toronto is made up of diverse neighbourhoods or districts, each with it's own unique atmosphere. I've highlighted some of the key neighbourhoods to visit here.
There’s lots to explore and experience in central Toronto, here’s my top 11 things to do in this vibrant city:
Visit the Distillery District
Founded in 1832, the Gooderham and Worts distillery became the largest in the British empire. The area was carefully restored and in 2003 was reopened as the pedestrian only village you can see today. The Distillery District is now dedicated to the arts, culture and entertainment and is full of galleries, shops and cafes.
Wandering the cobbled streets of the Distillery District
St Lawrence Market
One of the world’s greatest markets, St Lawrence Market is home to over 120 vendors over three buildings. The South Market contains fruit, vegetables and bakeries – here is the place to grab some great fresh produce. The North Market is known for its traditional Sunday market and also an antique’s market, whilst the St Lawrence Hall house retail vendors.
St Lawrence Market
Shop til you drop at the Eaton Centre
Located in the centre of Downtown Toronto, the Eaton Centre is your typical modern shopping mall with all the high street and designer shops and food outlets that you familiar with.
Doing a bit of shopping in the Eaton Centre
The most famous building on the Toronto Skyline, the CN tower sits on the shore of Lake Ontario with 360 views over Toronto. Located at the top of the tower, some 351 meters above the ground is the 360 restaurant. The fine dining restaurant has floor to ceiling glass windows and rotates every 72 minutes to allow for panoramic views of the city.
As well as the restaurant, other attractions include the Look out and Glass floor which, as the name suggests is a viewing platform with a glass floor to test your nerves! If that’s not adventurous enough, you can take the skywalk around the outside of the top deck!
CN Tower from the Waterfront
The Toronto Islands are primarily comprised of Centre island, Wards Island and Hanlan’s point, with the majority of the tourist attractions on Centre island, accessed by a short ferry ride from the waterfront. Centre Island is popular with families due to the Centreville amusement park and Franklin’s Children’s gardens. But big kids can have fun here too, with plenty of picnic spots, sandy beaches and a large pier.
Having fun on Centre Island
Head to the beach
When you think of Toronto, a sandy beach may not be the first thing that pops into your head, however there are a number of beaches dotted around the city, both along the mainland shoreline and at the Toronto Islands. The Beaches village is a small neighbourhood with a 3km boardwalk, waterfront parks, a beach and an Olympic size swimming pool as well as many restaurants and cafes. For other beaches in the city, you can see a list here.
One of Toronto’s many urban beaches
Art Gallery of Ontario
One of the largest galleries in North America, the Art Gallery of Ontario has close to 95,000 works, ranging from cutting edge contemporary works to established European masterpieces, Gothic works and emerging ingeniousness Canadian artists.
The Art Gallery of Ontario
The Scarborough bluffs are a collection of clay cliffs, stretching for 15km along the Lake Ontario shoreline. There are eleven parks dotted along the Scarborough bluffs, with plenty of walking and hiking trails and beautiful views across the lake.
Get out of the city along Scarborough Bluffs
If there’s one thing that stands out in the modern city of Toronto it’s Casa Loma. First built in 1914, the Gothic architecture is quite striking against the surrounding contemporary buildings. Today, the castle is host to numerous special events and is a popular location for TV and film shoots. It is also open to the public for tours around the house and gardens.
Wander the lively stalls of Kensington Market
Kensington Market is a wonderfully diverse street market which celebrates Caribbean, Latin American, European and Vietnamese culture, brought to the city by immigrants. The market and surrounding area is a lively mix of restaurants, cafes, vintage clothing shops and market stalls.
Kensington Market stalls and street art
Day trip to Niagara Falls
I couldn’t put together a list of recommendations for things to do in Toronto without mentioning Niagara Falls. The falls are only 1 and half hours from downtown Toronto and easily reached by hiring a car or booking onto a day trip, like we did. You can read about my Niagara Falls experience in my blog post, here
The Viewing promenade at Niagara Falls
My Two week Canadian road trip
Two weeks is not a lot of time to see Canada but I managed to squeeze in three main destinations in my two week road trip. See my itinerary for two weeks in Canada, travelling from Toronto to Banff and then onto Vancouver.
All links on this website are my own recommendations or sites I found useful when planning and are not affiliated. I do not receive any commission from including these links within this blog.