Toronto, Ontario’s capital and the country’s largest city, is home to a dynamic mix of tourist attractions, from museums and galleries to the world-famous CN Tower and just off the coast of Toronto Islands. The city also offers a vibrant entertainment district, with the latest musicals and other performing arts, and the historic distillery district. The city center is still relatively easy to navigate, with many of the top attractions within walking distance of each other and a metro system to cover longer distances.
1 CN Tower
Toronto’s famous landmark, the 553-meter-tall CN Tower, is one of the must-see attractions and also the most impossible to miss. Above the downtown area, the structure can be seen almost anywhere in the city. Visitors have the option to simply appreciate the building from the ground, or take a trip to one of the observation rooms or restaurants for beautiful views of the city and Lake Ontario. Built between 1972 and 1976, the CN Tower was once the tallest free-standing structure in the world, but has long since been surpassed.
The highest view of the CN Tower is from the Sky Pod 447 meters above the city with views stretching to Niagara Falls and upstate New York on clear days. To get here you have to take two elevators. Below this, at the top of the main lift, is the LookOut at 346 meters where the Horizons Restaurant is located. One floor lower is the glass floor and the outdoor terrace. As the name suggests, the glass floor offers a panoramic view directly over the city while visitors stand on a glass floor.
For those looking for a little more adventure, or perhaps even more adventure, there is the “ Edge Walk .” This involves a hands-free walk on a 1.5 meter wide ledge around the outside of the main pod, at a height of 365 meters. Participants are attached to a harness and rope.
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Located at 351 meters is the revolving 360 Restaurant , offering great food and some of the best views from a table in Toronto. 360 is open for lunch and dinner, and visitors who dine here also receive free access to the Lookout and Glass Floor levels of the tower.
Horizons Restaurant , on Lookout Level, offers a more casual dining experience and is open all day from lunch to dinner.
Locating yourself in the center of the city, preferably near the CN Tower, is the best option for exploring Toronto. For accommodation ideas in this area, check out our recommended luxury, mid-range and budget hotels in Toronto.
Adres: 301 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Official site: https://www.cntower.ca/intro.html
2 Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum, also known as the ROM, is one of Canada’s top museums with an international reputation for excellence. It houses an excellent collection and also has major exhibitions from all over the world. A controversial expansion of the facility saw a modern wing with glass and sharp corners added to a very traditional older building. The museum contains collections covering a wide variety of periods from all over the world.
Adres: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto
Official site: https://www.rom.on.ca/en
3 Rogers Center
Immediately adjacent to the CN Tower is the Rogers Center, a huge domed sports arena. The unique design includes a roof that slides back so it can be opened in favorable weather. Completed in 1989, this megastructure is Toronto’s answer to the ambitious Olympic Stadium built by its arch-rival, Montréal. Rogers Center can accommodate many thousands of spectators and is a venue for all types of sports, baseball and football in particular, as well as rock and pop concerts. The center also offers one-hour guided tours with a behind-the-scenes look at the facility.
Adres: 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Official site: https://www.rogerscentre.com/
4 Art Gallery of Ontario
The famous Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is located in a unique-looking, modern building on the west side of the city center. A whole range of temporary exhibitions are held throughout the year by this exceptionally well-endowed gallery. Highlights include the collections of Canadian, African, Oceanic and European art. The museum also has a particularly impressive collection of Canadian paintings.
Adres: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Official site: https://www.ago.net/
5 Casa Loma
Set in beautifully maintained grounds, Casa Loma is an extraordinary building somewhat reminiscent of a medieval castle. It was originally built for Sir Henry Pellatt, an eccentric Canadian multimillionaire who was one of the first to recognize and exploit the money-making potential of Niagara Falls. With nearly 100 rooms, including three dozen bathrooms, the house is now a museum. Visitors can look back in time to a period of European elegance and splendor. Canada’s most important castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables and a 12-acre estate.
Adres: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto
Official site: https://www.casaloma.org/
6 Toronto Zoo
The enormous Toronto Zoo, with its collection of several thousand animals, is located about 40 kilometers northeast of the city center on the Red River. One of the main attractions is the panda exhibit, which opened in Toronto in 2013. The zoo is divided into several sections, each representing a large part of the world. The North American section is unique with its spacious grizzly bear enclosure, large bison park and impressive polarium. Some of the other highlights at the Toronto Zoo include the African savannah and the Great Barrier Reef.
Adres: 361A Old Finch Road, Toronto
Official site: https://www.torontozoo.com/
7 St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is home to several vendors selling various foods, flowers, and specialty items. St. Lawrence Hall was built in Toronto in 1850 and served as a public meeting place and concert venue. The hall was restored in 1967, but retains much of its old charm. The building provides a unique atmosphere for the market and is also occasionally used for film and television shoots. The interior features a grand staircase and a gas-lit chandelier.
Adres: 92 Front Street East, Toronto
Official site: https://www.stlawrencemarket.com/
8 Entertainment District
Toronto’s answer to New York’s Broadway, the Toronto Entertainment District comes alive at night. This is the place to see major theater productions with the latest shows and musicals, concerts and other performing arts. There are also all kinds of restaurants and places to socialize, as well as hotels and shops. The main center of activity in the entertainment district is King Street .
Official site: https://torontoed.com/
9 Ripley’s Aquarium van Canada
One of Toronto’s newest attractions is Ripley’s Aquarium near the base of the CN Tower . This fantastic facility exhibits all kinds of marine life, but the most impressive feature is the huge underwater tunnel with a moving sidewalk. Visitors can watch the ocean world go by as sharks glide by and sawfish hang out on the tunnel roof above. This is a truly serene experience for all ages. Another unexpected highlight is the jellyfish display, accented with creative lighting. Furthermore, touch tanks with stingrays and small sharks provide a hands-on experience. And for the engineering-minded, the open concept of the building also offers a glimpse into the Life Support Systemand filtration equipment serving the facility.
Address: 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Official site: https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/
10 Town Hall
Dominating spacious Nathan Philips Square with its bronze sculpture, “The Archer,” by Henry Moore, is the still highly acclaimed New City Hall. It was designed by the gifted Finnish architect Viljo Revell and built in 1965. The town hall consists of two arched high-rise blocks, 20 and 27 stories high respectively, wrapped around a lower central building topped by a flattened dome. At the front of the square is an artificial pond, which becomes a popular skating rink in winter. This area is beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays.
Adres: 100 Queen Street West, Toronto
11 Eaton Center
The enormous Eaton Center is located at the north end of the Central Business District. With its own metro station, this ultra-modern shopping complex extends over several blocks and is constantly being renovated and expanded. Strangers can quite easily lose their way in the bewildering maze of department stores, specialty shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafeterias and snack bars that divide the different levels above and below ground. The original Eaton Department Store opened in Toronto in 1869 and grew into a huge retail operation.
Official site: https://www.cfshops.com/toronto-eaton-centre.html
12 Distillery District
Toronto’s Distillery District is a restored historic area that has been transformed into a trendy entertainment and shopping district. Visitors will find charming boutiques, galleries, artist studios and restaurants. The Distillery District also offers a variety of entertainment events and is home to numerous performing arts venues and schools. This is an interesting place to come during the day or evening.
Official site: https://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/
13 High Park
High Park is a vast green space with sunken gardens, hanging basket gardens, nature trails, natural ponds and streams. The 165-acre estate, originally owned by the Howards, was transferred to the City of Toronto in 1873. This deed also included the fact that the park remained “for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the people of Toronto.” is called High Park. Animal paddocks, swimming and wading pools, playgrounds, picnic areas and a scenic train journey are highlights. The grounds also include 19th-century recreated gardens, a coach house and Howards’ tomb.
The Canadian Stage Company performs annually during the months of July and August in the open-air theater in Toronto’s High Park known as ” Shakespeare in the Park “.
Official site: https://highparktoronto.com/
14 Ontario Science Center
The Ontario Science Center is a family-oriented attraction with many interesting exhibits to keep children entertained. It occupies a site overlooking the Don Valley, approximately six miles northeast of the city center. This modern building was designed by virtuoso architect Raymond Moriyama and was completed in 1969. Visitors to the center are brought face to face with the latest developments in technology, telecommunications, optics, biology, physics, space travel and meteorology, and more much more, all presented in an engaging and imaginative way. There is a very strong emphasis on visitor participation, with many interactive displays and widespread use of appropriately installed computer and other equipment.
Adres: 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto
Official site: https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/
15 Toronto Islands
The ferry journey from Queen’s Quay Terminal to the Toronto Islands, about a kilometer offshore, is the prelude to a very enjoyable outing. There are beautiful walks on the islands and also the opportunity for rowing, sailing, swimming and other outdoor activities. marinas and the odd cluster of weekend houses bring a touch of variety to the scene. In summer the islands are the location for numerous outdoor events. With favorable visibility there is a beautiful view of the Toronto skyline. The Centerville Amusement Park is located on Center Island , one of the Toronto Islands, and offers a variety of attractions for children. The Toronto Islands Ferry Serviceruns from Queen’s Quay and travels to each of the main Toronto Islands.
Where to Stay in Toronto for Sightseeing
For sightseeing and entertainment, the best place to stay in Toronto is right in the heart of the action. The hotels listed below are all highly rated and in good locations in downtown Toronto, within walking distance of many of the major attractions.
- Luxury Hotels: At the top of the luxury category is The Ritz-Carlton, with a convenient, central location near the entertainment and financial districts. Just opened in 2014, Delta Toronto has a great location near the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and Rogers Center and offers good views of Lake Ontario. Near the Eaton Center shopping center and Toronto’s famous City Hall and ice skating rink are the Hilton and Sheraton, both luxury hotels with beautiful indoor and outdoor pools.
- Mid-Range Hotels: At the top end of the mid-range is the Radisson Admiral on the waterfront. This is a great spot, especially in the summer, near many lakeside restaurants and an extensive pedestrian waterfront area and within walking distance of the CN Tower and other attractions. The hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool. The Novotel is another good choice, on The Esplanade near the St. Lawrence Market and trendy restaurants with outdoor dining in the summer. North of The Esplanade and within walking distance of the Financial District and many attractions is the Holiday Inn Express, another quality mid-range hotel.
- Budget Hotels: With a good location in Chinatown, on the east side of the city center, is the reasonably priced Super 8. A few blocks north of the popular Yonge district and Dundas Square, The Saint James Hotel always ranks highly. The Comfort Inn City Center is a little less centrally located, but offers good value if you don’t mind walking a little further or taking public transport.
Tips and tours: how to get the most out of your visit to Toronto
- Sightseeing: When it comes to sightseeing in Toronto, you can’t beat the Toronto CityPASS for added value. This is a nine-day pass that starts on the first day you use it, and offers savings on admission to some of Toronto’s top attractions, including the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo, Casa Loma and the Ontario Science Center. To enjoy the attractions, or just for general sightseeing, the Toronto Hop-on Hop-off Tour is the best option. This is a three-day pass that allows you to explore the city at your own pace from the comfort of a double-decker bus. Once you purchase the CityPASS, you can stop and visit all the places listed on your pass.
- Day Trips: If you haven’t been to Niagara Falls, the Niagara Falls Day Trip from Toronto is a must-do. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Canada, and it’s only an hour and a half away. This tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, transportation to Niagara Falls, a boat ride at the base of the falls, buffet lunch, a visit to the Whirlpool Rapids observation deck, and a stop at the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
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Places to visit near Toronto : If you have time to explore areas outside the city, be sure to take a trip to Niagara Falls, just a 1.5-hour drive away, and check out other day trips in and around Toronto . A short distance away are some of Canada’s top cities, including Ottawa and Montreal, just four to five hours away by car and easily accessible by train or short flights. For other ideas on what to see and do in the province, see our list of top attractions in Ontario.
Ontario’s Outdoors : Between spring and fall, nature lovers can enjoy hiking, canoeing, camping or relaxing at a lodge in one of Ontario’s many parks, or enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of one of Ontario’s best fishing lodges.
Canadian vacation ideas: If you’re coming to Canada for a short or longer vacation and are arriving in Toronto, check out some of our Canadian itineraries to plan the rest of your trip, or select a few highlights from our list of Canada’s top tourist attractions .