20 Awesome Things to Do in Toronto

Check out some of the best things to do in Toronto

rom-museum
••• Royal Ontario Museum. Image courtesy Clifton Li

Toronto is filled with fun, interesting, unique and exciting things to do whether you’re new to the city, here on vacation, or you’ve called Toronto home for a while. Get inspired to get out there and explore all year round with this list of 20 can’t-miss things to check out in Toronto.

Hang out in High Park

Stop by Toronto's largest public park to take advantage of hiking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, landscaped gardens and in the spring, an explosion of cherry blossoms.

Shop for delicious foods at St. Lawrence Market

The city’s largest market is a definite must-do on any trip to Toronto and was even voted best food market in the world by National Geographic. The South Market is home to over 120 specialty food vendors selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to prepared foods, dairy, meat and seafood. Saturdays in the summer you’ll find a bustling farmers’ market at the North Building.

Visit the Royal Ontario Museum

Canada’s largest museum showcases art, archaeology and natural science in over 30 galleries. Whether you’re interested in ancient Rome, Chinese temple art, dinosaurs, textiles from the 1st century BC to the present day, or Japanese culture (to name but a few), something at the ROM will pique your interest.

Stop by the Art Gallery of Ontario

Wandering through the AGO, whether the permanent collection or a special exhibition never gets old.

Toronto is lucky to have one of the largest art museums in North America, with a collection of more than 90,000 works of art. The collection is comprised of Canadian, European, contemporary art, photography and more.

Shop until you drop

No matter what you’re looking for, be it clothing and accessories, housewares, vintage finds, art, kids’ stuff or something for your pet, Toronto has it.

The city is filled with diverse shopping areas including Bloor-Yorkville, Yonge and Eglington, the Eaton Centre, Kensington Market, Leslieville and Queen Street West.

Wander through the “second coolest neighbourhood in the world”

Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood was named by Vogue as the second coolest neighbourhood in the world thanks to its eclectic mix of shops, bars, art galleries, restaurants and cafes.

Stroll through Allen Gardens Conservatory

Slip into a tropical oasis in the middle of the city with a visit to Allan Gardens Conservatory where you’ll find six greenhouses filled with plants from around the world.

Spend a day in the Distillery District

No visit to Toronto would be complete without a few hours spent exploring the historic Distillery District. Wander among Victorian-era buildings on pedestrian-only cobblestone streets filled with shops, cafes and restaurants.

Head to the Toronto Islands

Escape the city via ferry with a trip to the Toronto Islands. Whether you rent a bike and explore on two wheels, relax by the water, hang out on the beach, have a picnic or take the family to Centreville on Centre Island to check out the rides, there’s always something to do.

Hit the beach (in season)

Toronto is blessed with some great beaches as evidenced by how busy they can get come summertime. Cherry Beach, Sunnyside, Ward’s Island Beach, Bluffer’s Beach and Kew-Balmy Beach are some of the best.

Take in the views from the CN Tower

Whether you head to the LookOut level of the CN Tower at 346m/1136 feet or one level down to the Glass Floor and Sky Terrace at 342m/1122 feet above the ground you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the city.

Try EdgeWalk

Depending on your threshold for thrill-seeking, you can go one step further than the CN Tower’s LookOut Level or Glass Floor and try EdgeWalk. This adventure is the first of its kind in North America ad has you walking around the main pod of the tower, 116 storeys above the ground.

Take a food tour

Toronto has become a full-fledged foodie destination and one of the best ways to experience the diverse culinary scene is via food tour.

A few good ones to check out include those offered by the Culinary Adventure Co. and tours offered by Foodies on Foot including their popular 501 Streetcar Food Tour.

Hang out in Kensington Market

One of the most fun and eclectic neighbourhoods to explore in Toronto has to be Kensington Market. Brimming with vintage stores, a diverse array of restaurants and bars, food shops and cafes, it’s easy to spend a whole day wandering.

Check out the Aga Khan Museum

One of the newest museums in Toronto, Aga Khan Museum is dedicated to showcasing the art and culture of the Islamic world, as well as the ways in which Muslim civilizations have contributed to world heritage. In addition to a vast permanent collection, the museum also offers workshops, rotating exhibitions and special events.

Learn something at the Ontario Science Centre

There’s always something new to discover at the Ontario Science Centre with its array of interactive, hands-on exhibits that cover everything from the human body and outer space, to the living earth and rocks and minerals.

Go to Evergreen Brick Works

Named one of the top 10 getourism destinations in the world by National Geographic in 2010, Evergreen Brick Works is a year-round destination boasting a farmers’ market, skating rink, nature trails, ongoing events for the whole family, art, the Evergreen Garden Market, a bike shop, workshops and more.

See some live music at Horseshoe Tavern

One of the best places in the city to see live music is the legendary Horseshoe Tavern, which has been going strong since 1947. The much-loved venue has seen everyone from The Rolling Stones and Tragically Hip, to Blue Rodeo, Wilco and Arcade Fire grace the stage.

Catch a flick at TIFF Bell Lightbox

There’s always something interesting playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox so it’s worth checking the listings to see what’s showing since it’s not likely something you’ll see at your local multiplex.

Hang out at Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre’s 10-acre waterfront site is home to more than 30 spots to explore including theatres, galleries, parks, gardens, restaurants and more. The multifaceted year-round venue attracts over 12 million visits each year and is well worth checking out any time of year.