Toronto was a total surprise to me… In a great way, obviously! It’s one of those cities that you visit that just feels so buzzing as soon as you arrive and a place that I’m already itching to get back to. Now, one of the things that makes it so special is some of the best things to do in Toronto that are dotted all across the city. I mean, it’s a city that has so much diversity that you’ll need days (if not weeks) to see everything. 🤗
When I visit a new place for the first time, I always have a mix of sheer excitement and being totally daunted at all the things I want to see. It’s amazing but also totally exhausting, that’s why I wanted to show ya some of the key spots I think you might like.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Toronto if it’s your first time to visit. ✨
Take a look at some of the best things to do in Toronto. 🇨🇦
1.) Watch the sunset at the CN Tower
For one of the best views of Toronto, you’ll want to head up to the CN Tower that’s perched right in the downtown district of the city.
Now, one of my favourite times to visit the CN Tower is at sunset (you can buy your tickets, here), where you’ll be able to watch a gorgeous orange glow bathe the whole of the city. It’s certainly one of the best things to do in Toronto if you’re looking for a view.
Once you’re there, make sure to walk the glass floor and pop up to the Skypod (even higher than the main deck). If you’re feeling extra brave, go outside on an edge walk that looks equally terrifying and totally cool!
Just be aware it can get quite busy at peak times, so expect a queue.
2.) Explore the gorgeous Casa Loma
Perched in Midtown Toronto, Casa Loma is a gothic-style castle that sits overlooking downtown Toronto. About 25-minutes from the harbourfront by cab, it’s also easy to reach using public transport and well worth a visit to see a different side to the city.
Once inside, make sure to explore the great hall, the huge dining room the stunning conservatory and the Stairs to Towers (where you’ll get some epic views of the city).
3.) Find the best coffee spots
Yeah, there’s a whole heap of the best things to do in Toronto that don’t just involve attractions. One of the things I love most about visiting new cities is finding out little haunts and joints where locals visit. With coffee being one of my favourite ways to do that.
As you stroll around, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the best coffee spots in Toronto. One of my favourites has to be Rooster Cofee and Balzac’s – both create an incredible brew in a really funky setting.
4.) Take a day trip to Niagara Falls
So, one cool thing about Toronto is that it’s only about 130-minutes drive to Niagara Falls and the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can literally do the drive (there and back) in one day if you’d like.
Just follow the Queen Elizabeth Way past Hamilton whilst following the lake’s edge and soon enough, you’ll have arrived! Once here, make sure to look out for some of the best views of Niagara Falls and pop over to the beautiful and historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
5.) Find the tastiest food
Toronto has a huge amount of amazing restaurants to try in the city. It’s one of those cities where you could eat out for every day of the year and still not touch the surface of places to visit.
For me, one of the coolest places has to be Figures restaurant that’s unassumingly hidden behind a secret doorway. Once inside, you’ll be transported into a wonderland of comic book heroes, tv dinners and smoking cocktails that’ll leave you tipsy.
It’s so much fun and delicious to boot.
6.) Explore the Distillery District
Perched just east of Downtown, the Distillery District is a historic landmark and neighbourhood that’s filled with some of the best things to do in Toronto.
If you’re feeling hungry, pop into the Mill Street Brewery (and try a tasty tap ale, too). For some of the best desserts, pop into The Sweet Escape. And, finally, for the very best local accessories, pop into Corktown Designs.
7.) Visit China Town
China Town has existed in Toronto since the late 19th Century and it’s still a hive of activity to this day. In my opinion, it’s easily one of the best neighbourhoods to explore if you’re looking for reasonably priced but high-quality eateries. You’ll also notice a huge array of fresh produce markets, stalls and community gardens.
If you’re hungry, pop into Dumpling House. It’s a totally unfussy and informal restaurant that’s got some of the best dumplings in the city. Just make sure to take cash, they don’t accept cards.
8.) Have a tipple of Icewine
Possibly one of Ontario’s most famous tipples… Icewine! This very sweet wine is quite similar to a dessert wine, really. I’m almost certain you’ll love it if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
Now, most of the best restaurants in Toronto will have icewine on their menu. If not, just ask. The Vidal seems to be most common but there are a few other varieties, too.
If you’re wanting to visit an actual icewine vineyard, pop over to some of these about a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Toronto.
9.) Stroll around St. Lawrence Market
This is literally one of the best things to do in Toronto if you love stuffing your face, like me! 🤣
In so many ways, St. Lawrence Market reminds me of Borough Market in London. With its cool vibes, amazing food and quirky stalls, it’s a great little spot to spend a hungry few hours. Once inside, find a stall and food you like and set up creating your favourite lunch.
It really is a yummy spot to visit.
10.) Find some art at AGO
The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the best galleries to visit, not just in the city but in all of Canada. The gallery itself has a huge array of permeant and temporary indoor exhibitions to wander around – which is even better if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Once inside, make sure to see the incredible; Indigenous, Canadian and contemporary art exhibitions that are housed here.
11.) Find the best places to stay
Obviously, it’s likely you’ll need somewhere to stay if you’re visiting Toronto for a few days (or more). To be honest, you’re going to be spoilt for choice! We checked into the stunning Shangri-La, right in the heart of the city. It has some incredible views and is only about a 10-minute walk from the CN Tower.
Alternatively, check yourself into the Delta Hotel that’s right next door to the CN Tower. Not only that, they have some amazing views across the city.