My Toronto Tourism Guide gives you a quick overview of top
Toronto attractions and entertainment and includes helpful trip-planning
advice about flights to Toronto, rental cars, hotels, tour packages and
Tourist Attractions in Toronto: As a former resident and (now) a frequent visitor to Toronto, I speak from experience when I tell you that the biggest challenge with visiting Toronto isn’t finding things to do. It’s deciding how to squeeze everything in!
To get a real “overview” of the city, you may want to start with the CN Tower, a popular tourist attraction that gives you a bird’s eye view of the city and Lake Ontario. When you’re back on the ground, consider some of the city’s biggest cultural gems. These include Toronto museums like the Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum. For history lovers, historic Casa Loma and the Distillery District offer hours of entertainment. Families will appreciate exciting kid-friendly Toronto tourism attractions like the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre, Centreville Amusement Park on Toronto Island, and Canada’s Wonderland (just north of the city).
Toronto Entertainment options are a big part of Toronto tourism attractions. Check out the live Broadway musicals, Theatre, Movies, stand-up comedy, big name singers and musicians, night clubs, dub poetry readings, symphony orchestras, concerts, opera, ballet, dancing on ice, medieval supper shows, and even the unique black-light theatre by the Famous People Players.
Toronto Festivals: Some of the most crowd-pleasing festivals in Toronto are Caribana, Toronto International Film Festival, International Festival of Authors, Gay Pride Week, Nuit Blanche and the Christmas-season Cavalcade of Lights. Check Harbourfront Centre for its regular series of musical and cultural festivals nearly every weekend during the summer. Note: most of the events at Harbourfront and many of the other festivals are free (bonus!). Also note: if you are coming to Toronto during a major festival, it's best to plan and book your hotel early as these are huge Toronto tourism attractions in their own right.
Toronto Neighbourhoods: Visitors love to crane their necks at all the shiny skyscrapers downtown, shop at the Eatons Centre, and stroll around Harbourfront, but if you venture off the beaten track, you’ll discover some pretty amazing Toronto neighbourhoods out there too. Try Little India, for example, along Gerrard Street in the east end, or head to Danforth Avenue in Greektown. With a large Asian population, Chinatown Toronto rivals the best in the world. Gay and lesbian clubs abound in the Church Street district. Look for entertainment clubs in the Entertainment District along King Street West.
Toronto Museums: Experience the biggies like the Royal Ontario Museum or the Ontario Science Centre or discover the smaller, quirkier ones...
Toronto Parks: Discover great green spaces like Toronto Island, Riverdale Park, High Park, and more...
Toronto Shopping: Speaking of cool neighbourhoods, vintage clothing fans will want to check out Kensington Market and Queen Street East for consignment shops. Fashionistas should head straight to the Yorkville district and Spadina Street’s Fashion District. Art lovers can pick up treasures at galleries specializing in Aboriginal and Inuit art and local artists along Queen Street West (which also has fashion), the amazing historic Distillery District or in Yorkville. For more helpful shopping advice, check out this site devoted to Toronto shopping: www.torontoshopaholic.com
Toronto Sports: If you’re a hockey fan you can’t miss the Hockey Hall of Fame, home of the Stanley Cup, when you’re visiting Toronto. While you're in the city, you may want to take in a game of professional hockey (the Toronto Maple Leafs), basketball (the Toronto Raptors), baseball (the Toronto Bluejays) or football (the Toronto Argonauts). If you enjoy playing sports, the city’s many parks have plenty of recreational areas for weekend warriors.
Toronto Tours: Want a quick overview of the city? I often do this when visiting a new city to help me understand the layout and pick out the attractions or neighbourhoods I want to explore in depth. Newcomers can enjoy touring the city by bus, boat, or pedicab. You can also find excellent walking tours. I loved the Old Town/St Lawrence Market tour I took with Bruce Bell; I learned a lot, even after living for years in Toronto! You can also find other companies and non-profit groups offering walking tours with themes of food or history or architecture (Heritage Toronto is one). There’s even a Haunted Walk of Toronto.
Where is Toronto?
Arriving in Toronto: Toronto has two airports. If you’re flying into Toronto, chances are you’ll probably be using Toronto Pearson International airport as most flights to Toronto wind up at one of its terminals. However, if you’re taking Porter Airlines, you be arriving at the island airport which is closer to downtown. If you’re taking the train you’ll arrive at Union Station. Most out-of-town buses arrive at the Central Bus Station on Bay Street, except for buses operated by GO Transit; they arrive at the GO Transit Terminal across from Union Station.
Getting Around: Are you bringing your car or planning to rent a car in Toronto? If you’re arriving by plane you should arrange to pick up your car at the airport. If you prefer not to rent a car, then Toronto has plenty of taxis. However, many locals and visitors get around with walking, biking, or with public transit. The local system is called TTC which stands for Toronto Transit Commission, and includes subways, streetcars and buses. If you’re walking, getting around will be easier if you get to know the Toronto PATH system.
Toronto Hotels and Lodging: Toronto has a wide variety of accommodation options from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Some of the most interesting places to stay are historic Toronto hotels like the Royal York Toronto or the Park Hyatt Toronto which are Toronto tourism attractions in their own right. Read more by clicking on the Toronto hotel link above.
Costs & Saving Money: Toronto isn’t cheap, but one of the best ways to save money is with Toronto Attractions Coupons. Instead of staying in a hotel, you might also want to consider a Bed and Breakfast or a Hostel.