These are Some of the Top Toronto Tourist Attractions!
Want to explore Toronto like a local? You got an Ontario boy right here at Ontario Away! Not only did Eric grow up north of Toronto, but we’ve lived and worked in Toronto in the past.
With family living there now, we go back very regularly. And boy, have we had some amazing adventures in Toronto.
From visiting the iconic CN Tower, venturing to the Toronto Islands, and exploring some of Toronto’s coolest neighbourhoods – like Kensington Market -, there is no shortage of things to see and do if you’re visiting the city.
So, to make it easy, our guide covers some of the best and most well-known tourist attractions that visitors should check out. If you want to play tourist, we’ve got you covered!
Top Toronto Tourist Attractions
But that’s enough tour talk now – let’s dive into the top attractions around Toronto! You’ll notice that they are in no particular geographical order. That said, we did our best to give you the general locations/directions.
Address: 290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9
The Canadian National Tower (also commonly known as the CN Tower) is like the crown jewel of the Toronto skyline.
Built back in the 1970s, the CN Tower was the tallest man-made structure! Standing 533 metres tall, the views from the top are absolutely incredible. You can see for many miles and even into the United States!
Once you ride one of the speedy elevators to the main deck, there is lots to do up there! There is a famous glass floor for those brave enough to walk on. The view down to the ground is pretty dizzying.
There is a restaurant up there – 360 Restaurant – that is known for serving high-class dishes with local ingredients. The coolest part? The restaurant makes a full rotation every hour so you truly get views all over the city!
The CN Tower is known for the Edge Walk – a thrill-seeker experience of hanging off the edge of the outside of the building.
Lastly, you can take the elevator to the Sky Pod – one level higher for views of the city. Comes at an entry cost, though, so plan accordingly! Here is the official website for the CN Tower.
Our Tip: To make the most of your day in Toronto, you can hop on a guided Toronto evening experience to catch the sunset from atop the CN Tower.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Address: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9
As a relatively newer attraction to the city’s line-up of awesome things to do, Ripley’s Aquarium has certainly made a splash in a short amount of time. See what we did there? Gotta love our aquarium puns!
The Aquarium is home to the longest underwater glass tunnel in North America – it extends through the “Dangerous Lagoon”. This is where you come face-to-face with some scary predators like sharks and eels.
In all, there are 9 different galleries and over 400 species to check out. You are sure to find something you enjoy! The place is so popular – they recommend visiting before 10 am or after 3 pm to beat the crowds.
If you are planning a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and know which day, consider a Ripley’s Aquarium “After Hours” ticket that is valid for a night visit after 7:00 pm. Crowds can be smaller and admission is actually reduced from the daily fare.
The Distillery District
Location: 43°39’00.5″N 79°21’34.1″W
Do you like beer, history, good food, and great photo spots? Great – it sounds like a visit to the Distillery District is for you!
Located to the east of downtown, this old industrial area was once the home of many distilleries in the city – hence the name!
These days, the odd distillery still exists and is mixed in among the many shops, restaurants, coffee places, and breweries that have moved in! You can do a Distillery District walking tour change to learn about the rich history of the red-bricked factories.
Pro Tip: If beer is what you are into, Toronto has a crazy vibrant beer scene. You can check it out on a Beer and History Tour of the city. The good news? You’ll end up in the Distillery District!
The Distillery District is full of interesting art installations that draw crowds and make great photographs. In the winter, the District is home to amazing light displays and a winter wonderland of Christmas Market stalls.
The District is also home to one of our favourite classic breweries – Mill Street. Known for their Signature Mill Street Organic Beer, you can even sit outside and have a flight of beer for a great price!
Address for “The Garden Car”: 232 Augusta Ave #254, Toronto, ON M5T 2L7
You might have heard about this hip and alternative area that you have to walk through. It’s likely Kensington Market – and you should definitely check it out.
Kensington is located to the west of Spadina Avenue, north of downtown, between College and Dundas Streets. It’s close to Chinatown if you want to see that too – we mention it below!
This urban jungle of graffiti, cool clothing shops, amazing restaurants, and markets, almost certainly has something for everyone.
Pro Tip: Kensington is a uniquely old and multicultural neighbourhood with a fascinating immigrant history about it. So, it can be great to learn more about the history of Kensington Market on a guided tour!
You don’t even have to be looking for anything – just a wander through to experience the neighbourhood is enough. You can’t miss things like the “Garden Car” – you’ll know it when you see it. Trust us.
Royal Ontario Museum
Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6
The Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM, for short) is located at Bloor Street and Avenue Road and has a history of displaying just a little bit of everything!
However, this makes sense – the ROM is the largest (and most visited) museum in Canada and one of the largest in North America.
With around 6 million pieces, the numerous galleries and exhibits feature things from spiders to art, culture to dinosaurs, and Rome!
Eric went as a kid years ago and remembers having an amazing time at the Royal Ontario Museum! If you are getting there by subway, you can get off at – you guessed it – Museum Station!
Bata Shoe Museum
Address: 327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7
Do you like shoes? Like, do you really like shoes? Would a museum full of shoes make you happy? If so, the BATA Shoe Museum might be for you to check out!
Located on Bloor Street just north of downtown, the museum has done an amazing job of collecting and showcasing footwear from all around the world.
We’ve never been but walked by many many times and always thought it looked super interesting. If you want to visit, get your BATA Shoe Museum entrance ticket.
“The Toronto Sign” at Nathan Phillips Square
Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1
Travelling to Toronto and wanting to snap a photo for Instagram? Of course, you do! Head north from Lake Ontario to Nathan Phillips Square. Located at Queen Street West just west of Yonge, it’s here that you’ll find Toronto City Hall and the famous “Toronto Sign”.
During the day, the sign of often themed for various festivals or occasions. At night – it’s all lit up! Nathan Phillips Square is quite the gathering spot in the city. At New Year’s, the Square is filled with concert stages and party-goers – Eric has even been a few times.
In the winter, the fountain you see in front of the sign turns into an ice skating rink which is free to use (or costs a few dollars for a skate rental).
There are street food trucks and lots of tourist buses parked here since it’s a great place to start any Toronto sightseeing adventure.
To get your bearings and to learn all about Toronto’s busy core, try out a 2-Hour Guided Downtown Walking tour.
Fort York National Historic Site
Address: 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9
Are you into learning about Toronto’s role in military history? Want to learn about how we beat the United States in the War of 1812?
That’s a true story – and you can learn all about it at Fort York. The grounds are located to the west of downtown – pinched between the Lake and Liberty Village under the Gardiner Expressway.
The historic site is actually one of the largest collections of 1812 Wartime buildings. They even have cannon firings and daily tours that run frequently.
Some of the park grounds are free to roam through but the exhibits and museums are entered for a fee. To learn more about visiting Fort York and the exhibits, visit the official Fort York website.
St. Lawrence Market
Address: 93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3
St. Lawrence Market is definitely a must-see if you are visiting the city. We visited the Market “playing tourist” when Lisa was visiting before she moved to Canada and it was an amazing experience.
The current building where it is located was opened in 1902! Inside, there are two floors – the main floor stretches the length of the main hall and the lower floor is just a portion of the length.
You’ll find a selection of fresh produce, fresh meats and kinds of seafood, cheeses, prepared food, wine, trinkets, you name it!
There are samples at various counters and places to grab lunch so you definitely shouldn’t leave hungry.
You can experience the Market (and all our yummy food like Peameal bacon and butter tarts) on a Canadian Food Discovery tour!
If you are looking for very tourist Canadian souvenirs, there is also a place to buy them here.
Pro Tip: The Market is located just to the east of downtown on Front Street – and you can check out The Gooderham Building for a great photo. The Gooderham is that historic red-brick flatiron building at the intersection of Wellington Street and Front Street!
Steam Whistle Brewing & Biergarten
Address: 255 Bremner Blvd STALL 6, Toronto, ON M5V 3M9
All aboard the Steam train… to Steamwhistle! Located very close to Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, and the Rogers Centre, Steamwhistle has been a tourist magnet and popular brand in Toronto and Canada for two decades.
Founded back in 1998, Steamwhistle finds its home in the Roundhouse – an old red-brick railway repair depot used back in the day.
These days, you can tour the brewery or just belly up to the bar in their Tap Room or Biergarten for a pint of the classic pilsner that has made them one of the most well-known beers in Canada.
To check out the Brewery or to book a tour, check out the official website of Steamwhistle.
The Toronto Islands
Address for Ferry Terminal: 11 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2H3
Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto? Check out the Toronto Islands – that might help!
Located in Lake Ontario just off the shore across from downtown, “the Islands” as they are known are popular for their beaches, walking trails, and the historic Centreville Amusement Park.
We visited the Islands one beautiful summer day and had an amazing day walking along, eating food, relaxing at the beach, and just taking in the views. Lots of people explored the area on bikes – and there’s a really popular guided bike tour that helps you get the most out of your visit.
The Islands themselves actually have inhabitants – and to get to them there is a ferry that leaves from the Ferry Terminal located on Queens Quay between Yonge and Bay Street. You can check out the Toronto Island ferry schedule here.
Alternatively, if you want a smaller tour of the harbour and surrounding islands, check out this Toronto Harbour boat cruise. You have to get off on the islands so the tour doubles as a water taxi – with amazing photos of the skyline!
Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON M5R 1X8
It’s a house? It’s a castle? No, it’s Casa Loma! Built in the early 1900s and located in Toronto’s midtown, Casa Loma is a top tourist attraction for so many reasons.
This Gothic dream home was built by a wealthy Toronto businessman – Sir Henry Pellatt. After decades of history, the estate is now owned by the city and revered for its many art pieces and rich history.
Because of the grand size of the estate and gardens, Casa Loma is also the place for many events, festivals, and even weddings throughout the year.
If you are visiting, you can buy a ticket to enter and hop on a guided tour to learn all about one of Toronto’s most famous attractions.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Address: 30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8
You can’t go to Canada and not discover the rich history of hockey! So, you should take a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame! Located downtown on Front Street, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a great museum/exhibit with tons to do and lots to learn about.
The coolest part is that you will be able to see the Stanley Cup (the biggest trophy in hockey and one of the oldest sports trophies in organized leagues worldwide).
Eric went as a kid many many times since it was always a great place for a school to plan a field trip to. That said, there is plenty to do for adults as well.
Hockey is a huge part of Canadian culture and so a stop is definitely worth your time! You can learn more at the official Hockey Hall of Fame website.
Address: 1 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B 2R8
If you are looking for “Times Square” but for Toronto – Dundas Square is it. From the street performers to the lights at night, the corner near Yonge and Dundas is a great place to experience Toronto in full swing in the evening.
Besides malls and restaurants, there isn’t much to do there, but you would certainly pass through to snap a few photos in the evening!
It’s probably good to mention that the southwest corner is where you enter the Eaton Centre – a top attraction but not good enough for its own place on the list.
It’s just a very nice mall that is pretty big and features some very popular shops. There are fountains and at Christmas, they have a tree and giant reindeer!
Scotiabank Arena – formerly Air Canada Centre
Address: 40 Bay St., Toronto, ON M5J 2X2
If you are into sports, Toronto is an amazing sports city with very passionate fans across the professional leagues.
At the Scotiabank Arena (formerly called the Air Canada Centre) the Toronto Maple Leafs play ice hockey and the Toronto Raptors play basketball. The Arena is located closer to the water, just south of Union Station.
Leafs tickets can be very expensive but are definitely worth the experience of watching professional-level hockey in Canada. Raptors tickets can be less expensive if you don’t mind sitting farther up in the stands!
Even watching the game in any of the sports bars nearby is an experience worthy of a visitor to Toronto! Here is the Scotiabank Arena website if you want to check out ticket availability and prices.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4
The Art Gallery of Ontario (or AGO, for short) is located on Dundas Street West between Spadina and University Avenue and is definitely an art lover’s paradise.
Featuring 95,000 works over 45,000 sq metres of space, this makes the AGO one of the largest galleries in all of North America.
The AGO was originally founded in the year 1900. Over the years, it has seen expansions to the current size and number of galleries.
The AGO hosts exhibitions and has many permanent galleries featuring everything from Canadian artwork to African sculptures to Baroque-era paintings. You can purchase a ticket for admission in advance. Keep in mind the AGO is closed on Mondays!
Location: 43°39’10.6″N 79°23’52.3″W
There are many amazing Chinatowns around the world (San Francisco, for example) – and Chinatown in Toronto is no exception! If you want to experience Chinatown in Toronto, head over to Spadina between College Street and Queen Street West.
You’ll find open-air shops with all sorts of goods, amazing restaurants (with really good dim sum), and other places to grab sweet treats.
Chinatown itself is a neat experience and conveniently placed along Spadina. This makes it easy to wander through on the way to another attraction. Toronto is a city that prides itself on its multiculturalism and ethnic diversity so check it out!
Tip: Explore both Chinatown and Kensington Market on a guided tour!
Address: 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto, ON M5V 1J1
Still thinking about sports? How about catching a baseball game? The Blue Jays play at the Rogers Centre – located physically at the base of the CN Tower.
The Jays are the only Canadian team playing in Major League Baseball so if you’re in Toronto anytime from April to September, Toronto is your only chance to catch baseball north of the border!
The nice thing about Jays games is that the summer weather means a great time out in the sunshine. The other great thing about tickets at the Rogers Centre is that that they are still relatively inexpensive. You can go to a game for cheap and enjoy the game from decent seats!
Unlike at Scotiabank Arena, you can show up on game day, wait in line, and get tickets! It’s a franchise that isn’t too expensive yet (cough, the Leafs). Here’s the website for Jays tickets.
Address: 1675 Lake Shore Blvd E, Toronto, ON M4L 3W6
Ah, Woodbine Beach – what can we say? It’s “home”. The beach is located in the neighbourhood called “The Beaches”. The Beaches are in the city’s east end – and it’s actually exactly where we lived for the better part of 2017 when we lived in Toronto!
Woodbine Beach is a massive (and massively popular) sandy and rocky beach with access to swim in Lake Ontario. There is a boardwalk that runs for kilometres through Ashbridge’s Bay, other walking trails, parks, dog beaches, and wooded areas.
As for things to do, the summertime is busy with paddleboard renters, swimming, sunbathing, a few patios, and beach volleyball. The autumn is great for fall strolls along Lake Ontario.
The neighbourhood area along Queen Street East is full of restaurants, bars, and shops that you should check out. It’s funny – the Beaches is where we worked on and grew our other travel site – Penguin and Pia – in its early days. How times have changed!
Queen Street West
Queen Street West is certainly where you can get some shopping done! Located – you guessed it – along Queen Street West west of Yonge Street and extending well past Bathurst Street, Queen Street is also home to many amazing restaurants, hip bars and pubs, and coffee shops.
One of our favourite ramen places is on Queen Street West and Lisa misses it dearly from when we used to go for ramen lunch! Mmmm, noodles.
Address: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
If you are looking for things to do down near the waterfront, head to the Harbourfront Centre! The Centre itself is actually an area of the pier described as a “cultural hub”.
This means that there are walking paths, performance stages, exhibits, restaurants, coffee shops, and much more.
There is always something going on down at the Harbourfront Centre. You can get great photos down by the lake, and the proximity to Amsterdam Brewhouse is also nice!
University of Toronto
Address: 27 King’s College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S
As one of the oldest universities in all of Canada and the oldest in Ontario, the University of Toronto has a great reputation on the world stage for academics.
Founded in 1827, the main campus (St. George Campus) is often like stepping into a time capsule.
This university has a massive main campus that sprawls for blocks and blocks between College Street and Bloor Street. You can walk through, hop on a campus tour, and you might even find football going on at their Varsity Stadium!
Attractions Located Outside of Toronto
While this article is about Toronto tourist attractions that are mainly located downtown or very close by, the reality is there are a handful of awesome attractions that you might be interested in checking out! So, here are five.
We want to make it clear: these are NOT in downtown Toronto. It would be in your best interest to have a car to reach these attractions given their distance. That said, you can definitely consider some of these as a day or weekend trip in Ontario if you’re up for it!
Address: 2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7
Located out in the north end of Scarborough, the Toronto Zoo is renowned for its number of species – over 5,000!
The zoo itself is divided into 7 “areas” that showcase all different climates/regions where animal groups exist in the wild.
The Toronto Zoo was originally opened in the 1970s and today enjoys very high visitor numbers because of its commitment to research and ecological sustainability.
You can learn more about directions and admission prices at the official website of the Toronto Zoo.
Address: 50 Bluffers Park, Scarborough, ON M1M 3W3
If Woodbine Beach and the parks in that area weren’t enough, you could drive out to Scarborough (far east of the city).
Along the water’s edge, you’ll find large white cliffs – these are the Scarborough Bluffs. The cliffs draw in a number of visitors to the nearby parks and beaches in the summer.
Notably, you can plan a visit by heading to Scarborough Bluffs Park Beach or Bluffer’s Park Beach.
Address: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Maple, ON L6A 1S6
Wonderland is the biggest and best amusement park in the country.
Located about 40 minutes north of downtown Toronto, Wonderland features roller coasters that crack numerous top 10 lists in the world for tallness or speed, among other things. Just Google “Leviathan” – it’s the tallest in Canada and the 9th tallest in the world!
Eric grew up about 20 minutes north of Wonderland and so as a kid (and as a teenager, too) he would go to Wonderland on summer evenings when the crowds had died down.
You can also go in the spring or fall at reduced hours. These days, the place is busy and expensive – but definitely worth it if you like thrills and decent attractions. Check out the official website for Canada’s Wonderland!
Ontario Science Centre
Address: 770 Don Mills Rd., North York, ON M3C 1T3
Want to be entertained and learn a little bit, too? The Ontario Science Centre is where you should go!
Located to the northeast of the city along the Don Valley Parkway in North York, the Science Centre is known for its featured exhibits, interactive science displays, and an IMAX theatre.
They even have a rainforest area that is climate controlled to help grow different plants to discuss ecology.
All in all, the Science Centre is a great way to kill a few hours or entertain the kids if you want more ideas! Check out the official website of the Ontario Science Centre for directions and prices!
Address for Table Rock Welcome Centre: 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6T2
Let’s be clear – Niagara Falls shouldn’t be on this list because it’s not “only a 45 minutes drive” from Toronto like the others. Niagara Falls is about 2.5 hours from downtown Toronto, with traffic depending.
So, if you want to explore Niagara Falls, you can go on a Niagara Falls day trip from Toronto to make things easy if you didn’t plan on heading down on your own.
Things to Consider When Visiting Toronto
If you’re planning a visit to Toronto, here are a few other details you might want to know about before you arrive
Best Time to Visit Toronto
The best time to visit Toronto will definitely vary based on what you want to see and do. The summer months are the warmest and when the famous “patio season” in Toronto is in full swing.
The shoulder months – like May is cooler but definitely good for visiting. The fall can be tricky: September can be warm but it might already be feeling like fall. In this case, a few layers and a cup of coffee will have you enjoying the cool lake air with no problem.
The winter in Toronto is actually fine for a visit. Sure, it might be chilly – but, historically, the city doesn’t get as much snow as the surrounding areas. There are plenty of indoor activities like museums and there’s outdoor skating across the city (especially in Nathan Phillips Square).
Getting Around Toronto
Since there is so much to see and do in Toronto, doing it all will take some planning.
While the city is basically all flat and walkable – the distances between attractions can be a little daunting. You can hop on the TTC (Toronto Transit) by using the streetcars, buses, and subway lines to get around.
You can consider buying a Presto card (the rechargeable card you just tap) and just loading it with money at a machine.
Toronto Sightseeing Tours
Speaking of getting around, planning what to see and how to get there can be a little overwhelming.
Luckily, Toronto is a diverse city with lots of different tours that show off its different sides. Here are some great ideas for Toronto tours that might interest you for your trip.
And there you have it – some of the best Toronto tourist attractions out there! Obviously, there are a few things that we didn’t mention – but those “hidden gems” are for another post.
Toronto is an amazing city, a place we also call home, and a welcoming city for people of all backgrounds, colours, and languages!
We hope that you will have an amazing time exploring Toronto when you visit! Have you been before? What did you get to see or what did you miss? Get in touch and let us know!
As always, Keep Exploring, eh?
- Our One Day in Toronto Itinerary
- 17 Day Trip from Toronto (+ How to Get There)
- 9 of our Favourite Coffee Shops in Toronto
- Great Bars in Downtown Toronto!
- Our Toronto Accommodation & Area Guide
- Great Ice Cream Across Toronto
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