The biggest city in Canada, Toronto unsurprisingly has a large number of great attractions. These include the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum and more.
Best Places to Visit in Toronto
Over 6 million people live in the Greater Toronto Area, and over 27 million people visit the city each year. As it’s such a popular city to visit, there are a ton of attractions and places of interest worth checking out. This isn’t a list of all of them, but it covers a variety of places that are all very well-reviewed.
Art Gallery of Ontario
One of the biggest art galleries in North America, this massive building is home to nearly 100,000 pieces of art. Located at 317 Dundas Street West, there’s all sorts of variety in the exhibitions to explore. The permanent exhibitions include a lot of focus on Canadian art, from indigenous works to an extensive collection of the famous Group of Seven.
There are also always temporary exhibitions from all over the world and in different artistic mediums. The building itself is its own work of art, designed by famous Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry.
For more information, click Art Gallery of Ontario.
Bata Shoe Museum
While a museum all about shoes might not sound the most exciting place to visit, the Bata Shoe Museum is one of the top-rated museums in the city. It’s just a couple blocks away from the Royal Ontario Museum at 327 Bloor Street West. The museum building itself is shaped like a shoebox and contains examples of shoes from thousands of years ago up to the present day. With over 10,000 pieces on display there’s plenty to look through. The museum also has free admission for all indigenous visitors.
To learn more, see the Bata Shoe Museum website.
Canada’s Wonderland Theme Park
If you’re looking for an outdoor attraction that’s fun for the whole family, the city of Vaughn is home to the largest theme park in the country. Canada’s Wonderland offers over 60 amusement rides, including plenty of roller coasters that vary in terms of seriousness.
Admission to Canada’s Wonderland also usually includes access to its on-site Splash Works water park. It features a good selection of water slides and places to spend time in the water, such as in the park’s wave pool or splash attractions. Given the fact that most of Canada’s Wonderland is outdoors, the place isn’t normally open year-round. Expect it to be closed between January and May, and perhaps even other months depending on the weather.
For more information, visit the Canada’s Wonderland website.
If you want to visit a Canadian castle then this is your chance. Casa Loma was built over a century ago to be the private residence of the wealthy Sir Henry Pellatt. At the time it was the biggest house in the city and it remains quite impressive today. It’s now a museum open to the public for tours of the building and surrounding estate.
Located at 1 Austin Terrace, there are large gardens, a library, art collections, secret tunnels and more. Casa Loma is also a popular site for festivals and private events. Films shot at the site include X-Men and Scott Pilgrim vs The World amongst many others.
For more details, see our article about Casa Loma.
The CN Tower is the most famous landmark in all of Canada. Until 2007, it was the tallest freestanding structure in the world and remains the tallest such structure in the western world. At over 550 metres tall it provides unparalleled views of Toronto and the surrounding area.
For those who aren’t scared of heights there is a glass floor on the main observation deck that you can stand on. For the most adventurous there is also the EdgeWalk, where participants can strap themselves to the outside of the building and walk along its edge. As well, there is the 360 Restaurant which rotates as you eat, giving you a continually shifting view outside the window.
The attraction is located at 290 Bremner Boulevard.
For more information, check out our article about the CN Tower.
Located near downtown, this historic district is the result of a project that restored what was an old industrial area of the city. Today, it’s a heritage site with the air of a 19th century neighbourhood. The district is pedestrian-only which makes it a pleasant place to explore on foot. The area gets its name from the high quantity of distilleries that used to exist there. While some still do, the modern Distillery District is also home to shops and venues of all kinds.
The Distillery District is a popular place for events as well, including the Toronto Christmas Market. Those who wish to know much more about the area can take a 60-minute guided tour.
To learn more, visit the Distillery District website.
This gargantuan shopping mall is the biggest of its kind on the entire continent. Pre-pandemic, nearly 50 million people visited Eaton Centre each year, making it the most visited site in Toronto. There are hundreds of stores as well as multiple restaurants for those wanting a break from shopping. Located at 220 Yonge Street, the mall’s popularity is helped by its transit-friendly location. In fact, the building has its own subway station!
For more details, see our article about the Eaton Centre.
FlyOver Canada (coming in 2025)
One of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions is coming to Toronto. FlyOver Canada is a multidimensional theatre experience where you get to fly over Canada from coast to coast to coast. You can also fly over other countries as well as a number of American states too at certain times of the year.
FlyOver Canada will be located near the CN Tower and it’s expected to open sometime in 2025.
To learn more, click FlyOver Canada Toronto.
High Park is nearly 400 acres in size, stretching along the coast of Lake Ontario. This massive public park has a number of hiking trails and ponds to explore, with much of it kept in its natural state. There are also playgrounds, outdoor pools and tennis courts among other attractions. Perhaps the biggest is the High Park Zoo which houses a variety of animals. During the summer there is also Shakespeare in High Park, an annual outdoor production by the Canadian Stage Company.
One of the best times to visit High Park is when the cherry trees bloom for a week or two in the spring. There are always large crowds on hand to see the colourful displays when it happens.
For more information, check out the High Park website.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Canada is a hockey country, so it only makes sense that its biggest city is home to a monument of the sport. Located at 30 Yonge Street, there is no better place in the world to learn about the history of the game. There are plenty of cool items on display, including the Stanley Cup itself!
On top of honouring the hundreds of people inducted into the Hall, the building also serves as an interactive museum. There are hands-on shooting and goalkeeping games to play, along with the chance to layer your own commentary over famous hockey moments. There’s also a full re-creation of an NHL locker room to explore.
To learn more, click Hockey Hall of Fame.
Despite its name, Kensington Market isn’t exactly a market in the traditional sense. It’s more of a neighbourhood. Near Toronto’s Chinatown and between Dundas and College Street, this area used to be made up of primarily Jewish residents. The area in fact gets its name from a former Jewish market that was established near two synagogues around a century ago.
Today, Kensington Market is home to food, shops and art from cultures all around the world and is a popular place to visit. There’s a whole host of spots to explore and many of them are quite different from each other.
For more information, visit the Kensington Market website.
Nathan Phillips Square
The most famous part of Nathan Phillips Square is the Toronto sign that is one of the most photographed items in the city. The most noteworthy building in the square is City Hall, which is made up of two high-rise towers built in the 1960s. There is also an artificial pond in front of the building, which turns into a public skating rink during the snowy months.
Located at 100 Queen Street West, this is the biggest city square in the country and so is a popular spot for big events. These include an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and a New Year’s Eve party.
To learn more, click Nathan Phillips Square.
Niagara Falls is not in Toronto. In fact, it’s a two-hour (or more) drive away! But it’s such a big attraction that it’s worth mentioning here, as it can be a fun day-trip for those in Toronto.
There are designated services that plan out tours that take you from Toronto to the falls and back, or you can drive yourself and explore the area. The falls themselves are quite impressive and you can get close to them either on a riverboat cruise, or with the Journey Behind the Falls attraction that gives you the chance to walk through a tunnel up close behind the cascading water.
In addition to the waterfalls, the community of Niagara Falls has other attractions too. For example, WildPlay is an exceptional place for ziplining and ropes course adventures.
For more details, see our article about Niagara Falls.
Ontario Science Centre
Located at 770 Don Mills Road, the Ontario Science Centre is a great place for all ages with all sorts of exhibits and an emphasis on interactive activities. As expected, the centre showcases the advancement of scientific knowledge in different fields like biology, physics, space travel and general technology.
At the Centre there are also live demonstrations of experiments, an arcade, an artificial rainforest and an OMNIMAX dome theatre that’s the only one of its kind in the city. The centre is family-friendly and a fun place to explore.
To learn more, check out the Ontario Science Centre website.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
This relatively new attraction only opened in 2013. Its address is 288 Bremner Boulevard, right next to the CN Tower. The building contains the longest underwater glass tunnel on the continent, taking you through a gallery that contains some large creatures like sharks.
There are over 15,000 animals from hundreds of different species that live at the aquarium, and if you want, you can explore the filtration systems and other technical equipment used on site. There are live shows with some of the animals during the day, and a large number of educational and interactive exhibits throughout the building.
For more information, visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada website.
Royal Ontario Museum
Located at 100 Queens Park, the Royal Ontario Museum is the largest museum in all of Canada. The number of items in its collection total to well over 10 million, covering natural history and cultures around the world in-depth. With everything from dinosaur fossils to Chinese architecture to local Indigenous art, the ROM has almost too much to explore.
The museum offers plenty to check out in its ROM at Home collection, with a series of educational videos aimed at children along with videos covering some parts of the museum’s collection.
For more details, click Royal Ontario Museum.
St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is historic, hosting a farmer’s market on Saturdays since 1803. There’s also the South Market which is open from Tuesday to Sunday each week. Named the top food market in the world by National Geographic back in 2012, you can find almost anything that you might think of at this market, especially when it’s fully open on Saturdays. Just don’t expect to have it to yourself, as it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions!
To learn more, see our article about the St. Lawrence Market.
The Toronto Islands
Just a short ferry ride away from downtown, the Toronto Islands (also called the Island) is made up of 15 different small islands all connected to each other in Lake Ontario. All told, the area is about 5 kms long and contains no cars. The Island is especially popular in the summer when a whole host of outdoor activities like swimming, sailing and biking take place in, on and around the lake.
Also located on the Island is Centreville Amusement Park, which is primarily aimed at children. The area is home to different events and festivals, especially ones to do with music and art.
For more information, visit the Toronto Islands website.
For information about other places to visit in the city see the Destination Toronto website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
For lists of top attractions in a number of other Canadian cities check out the following websites: