Top 20 things to do in Toronto

Take a look at our list of the top 20 best things to do in Toronto

Top 20 things to do in Toronto

Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the 4th most populous in the entirety of North America. It’s an international hub of business, finance, arts, and culture, and one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. The city can be divided into 140 different neighborhoods, and the diverse population of Toronto reflects its current and historical role as an major destination for immigrants to Canada. The major national broadcast networks and media outlets of the country are located here, and there are countless cultural institutions, museums and sport events everywhere you look. If you want to be one of the 25 million people who visit the city each year, then take a look at out list of the top 20 best things to do in Toronto.

  1. Toronto Islands
    The Toronto Islands are a chain of small islands in Toronto that is a major tourist destination, especially for recreational purposes. It has several parks, playgrounds, gardens, an amusement park and much more. All of island’s are largely car-free, making them the perfect venue for a peaceful stroll, bike ride or picnic. Coming here is one of the best things to do in Toronto if you want to take a break.
2. Distillery District
The Distillery District was once just what its name suggests, but today it is full of art galleries, performance spaces, cafes, restaurants and even breweries. Coming here is a good way to get a glimpse of the past of the city, as this historic pedestrian-only neighborhood with countless industrial-style Victorian buildings and cobblestones once used by horse-drawn carriages shows it in an excellent way.
3. St. Lawrence Market
Along with being a marketplace, the St. Lawrence Market has served as the city’s social center, and its City Hall. Today, the market sells different kinds of goodies, food, handcrafted jewelry and so on. The market is divided into three parts, each serving different needs. Many people consider this market one of the best places for food, so make sure to come here if you want to buy already-prepared food or even just ingredients.
4. Harbourfront Centre
The Harbourfront Centre used to be a shipping terminal, but it was turned into an upscale neighborhood bustling with hundreds of things to do. Just like Pier 39 in San Francisco, the abandoned warehouses have been transformed into theaters, art galleries and so on. Restaurants, gardens and parks await those who want to take a break from the sightseeing.
5. Kensington Market
Kensington Market is a multicultural neighborhood of Toronto which used to be a jewish district, but later turned into a market-like district, since people started setting up stalls in front of their houses and sell goods. Today these shops still remain, but now every last sunday of the month, the neighborhood becomes a big market where cars are not allowed in. This is an excellent place to do your souvenir shoppings.
6. Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum
If you happen to love hockey or just sports in general, then definitely make sure to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s dedicated to the history and current state of ice hockey, a sport loved by many Canadians, with a big hall of fame for famous hockey players and their gears. There is also a replica of the Montreal Canadians’ locker room and a Puck Wall with around a 1000 pucks that were each collected from different tournaments around the world.
7. Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada with around 5000 animals representing 500 species. The zoo is divided into seven section or regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain. Outdoor and indoor exhibitions are both available with great view of the interesting animals, and there are other areas as well like the Kids Zoo and the Waterside Theatre.
8. Casa Loma
The Casa Loma is a house and gardens built in a Gothic Revival style, and is currently used as a museum and landmark. The place can be rented in the afternoon and at night, so due to its unique architectural character in Toronto, it has been a popular filming location for movies and television and a popular venue to hold wedding ceremony and rites.
9. CN Tower
The CN Tower is a concrete communications and observation tower in the city which undoubtedly offers one of the best views of Toronto. The elevator takes visitors to the top in less than a minute, and people can choose from four different observation areas, like a restaurant and a deck with glass floors. The tower is also lit up on different occasions in different colors, like red for Valentine’s day, green for Saint Patrick’s day and blue and white for the first day of winter, among others.
10. Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum has over 6 million artifacts, making it the largest museum in Canda dedicated to history. The museum features a great variety of relics on display, including dinosaur bones, ancient Roman sculptures, Chinese temple art and an exhibit on Canada’s First Peoples, just to name a few. A few years ago the museum also got a new and highly unique entrance, the so-called “Crystal”. That alone is worth visiting even if you are not interested in the museum itself for some reason.
11. Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre features great interactive exhibitions both for children and adults, which are all very educational. Visitors can pilot a rocket chair, explore the only public planetarium of the city and try a dance floor that turns energy into light power. Subjects include geology, natural science, astronomical science, music and technology, human anatomy, communication and bias, among many others.
12. Fort York
Fort York is a historic site of military fortifications and other buildings, which was used in the previous 200 years. Today the site was turned into a museum of sorts where visitors can tour the soldiers’ and officers’ quarters, witness cannon firings, military drills and participate in flag raisings.
13. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library holds a collection of around 700 thousand volumes and 3000 metres of manuscripts, most of which are quite rare in the world. These include books and scriptures that come from ancient times, and from a huge variety of fields and subjects. For bookworms, coming here is one of the best things to do in Toronto.
14. Lower Bay Station
Lower Bay station is located directly beneath Bay station on the Yonge-University subway line of Toronto. It was abandoned due to becoming unnecessary, with the doorways to the station having been bricked over and unmarked fire doors becoming the only known access. It is unfortunately closed to the public, but on rare occasions it is opened, or other times the trains are diverted through this station if the other one is under maintenance.
15. The Little House
The Little House is the nickname of the smallest house in Toronto which sits on a lot that was meant to be just wide enough for cars to drive through. It was built and used by a contractor, Arthur Weeden and his wife for twenty years. It became a popular attraction due to its uniquely small size.
16. Yorkville Rock
The Yorkville Rock is a massive rock that was found in Canada and broken apart to be brought and reassambled in an urban park. It is approximately one billion years old, weighs 650 tons and represents the roots of an ancient mountain range that has long since eroded. The cracks can still be seen on it, making it look like some kind of a tectonic puzzle.
17. Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was once used to guide boats and ships coming to the town of York, before it became Toronto. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the city, and is usually closed to the public, but it is sometimes opened up for visitors. The lighthouse is also involved in ghost stories as some believe it to be haunted.
18. R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
The building of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant might look like more than what it actually is, but it is only just that, a water treatment plant. It was, however, used numerous times in movies and TV series due to its distinct look, usually as a headquarters of sorts, or a prison and even as a hospital.
19. Toronto Eaton Centre
The Toronto Eaton Centre is a huge shopping mall and office complex in the downtown of Toronto. It is visited by millions of people each year, making it more frequently visited then places like Central Park in New York or the Disneyland. If you want to go shopping, then this is definitely the place for you, as there are all kinds of it. Or, if you just want to eat or have a drink, then this mall is also good for that.
20. PATH
The PATH of Toronto is a network of underground pedestrian tunnels, elevated walkways, and at-grade walkways connecting subway stops, business towers, sports complexes, tourist attractions, shopping centers (including the Toronto Eaton Centre), hotels and governmental offices, among others. It’s a vast network of around 30-km-long tunnels combined, making it the largest in the world.