Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world — a fact that has helped shape the city into a must-visit destination and a foodie paradise. No matter what type of trip you’re looking for — be it shopping, culture, great food or natural attractions — Toronto has it all. If you’re planning a visit, our local tour guides have shared their top picks for the best things to do in Toronto.
The Toronto islands are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto. Take the short ferry ride over, or (if you’re feeling extra adventurous) rent a kayak or canoe and paddle over. The views of the city skyline from the ferry are pretty spectacular and it’s almost impossible not to snap what feels like a million photos. Pack some snacks or a picnic lunch, or if you’d rather not BYO, there are a few laidback eateries scattered around the islands that are perfect if you get hungry or just want to stop for a beer. Explore the many amazing parks, play some Frisbee or hit the beach (of which there are several, including a clothing-optional stretch of sand at Hanlan’s Point).
High Park is another little nature oasis tucked away in Toronto and always worth a visit. One of the city’s most popular green spaces offers tons of biking and hiking trails, landscaped gardens, a petting zoo, a public swimming pool, playgrounds and more. If you happen to be in Toronto in the spring (late April to early May), you might get to see the stunning burst of colour that comes courtesy of the park’s many cherry blossom trees. During the summer season, make sure to check out the annual Shakespeare in the Park production; every season a different Shakespeare play is performed in an open-air theatre.
Queen Street West was voted as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue in 2014 — why not see what all the fuss is about for yourself? From antique and consignment shops, to hip boutiques, record stores, bars and restaurants, there’s something here for everyone. After you shop and eat on Queen West, hang out in Trinity Bellwoods park, a pretty park loved by locals. Pet some dogs (this is a puppy paradise), join a drum circle or just sit back and relax.
Kensington Market is Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhood and not to be missed on a visit to the city. This diverse and colourful area is full of local shops and restaurants and a strong local community that you won’t find elsewhere in Toronto. Produce stalls and vintage stores rub shoulders with cute cafes, bakeries, butchers and cheesemongers, and there’s always something to see, do and eat. Be sure to visit Kensington Market on the last Sunday of the month from around May to early October for Pedestrian Sunday! Streets get blocked off to cars and there’s street food, live music and sidewalk performances to enjoy. And of course, you can learn even more about Kensington on our Kensington Market and Chinatown Tour.
Another great spot to spend some time in is the historic Distillery District. Cobblestone car-free streets are dotted with Victorian-era buildings that house everything from bars and restaurants, to independent boutiques, art galleries and breweries. This is the ultimate spot for aimless wandering, stopping here and there to snap pictures, browse art galleries and artist workshops, shop, eat and drink.