There are lots of different things to do in Toronto: sports, food, history and shopping and whilst some of these are obvious (and included in the incredible CityPass!) some things to do in the city aren't as obvious. Read our guide to the hits and misses of Toronto for some ideas of attractions to visit in the city and those which aren't really worth the time.
I must make an honorary shout out for the Toronto CityPass which we used for entry to all the main attractions in the city. We paid £55 each which saved us so much money on entry as well as time queueing, as we often had separate queues or skipped the purchasing queue. They do CityPasses for loads of major American states too so check out our link HERE, I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Toronto.
Basketball at Scotiabank Arena
Without a doubt my favourite activity we did in Toronto was to go and watch the Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena. There is such an amazing atmosphere in here and it was an amazing 'night out' as such for us. Drinks are a little pricey but really what do you expect from a stadium? I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting the city and to check out resale tickets on Canadian ticketmaster website, we were seated away from the court but this didn't stop us having a clear view of the game or enjoying the atmosphere.
Rarely have I enjoyed an aquarium as much as I did the Ripley's one. I was intrigued by all the amazing reviews of the aquarium so was pretty happy that it was included in our CityPass attractions. They have such a range of species here, it's very interactive (stroking all the stingrays were an absolute highlight for me!) and there are plenty of shows/feeding displays on during the day. I would perhaps avoid visiting on a weekend as this is likely to be a popular attraction for young children.
Ripley's Aquarium Website
A notorious landmark and signature of Toronto skyline is the CN tower. Towering way over 550m the tower is nearly 200m taller than the Empire State Building, and this is evident in the views from the top. Again another attraction included in our CityPass we visited the tower both during the day and at night. I would recommend visiting in the day to actually see Toronto from this height as there is little visibility at night, however I would recommend visiting the 360 restaurant, a revolving floor allowing 360 degree views with a reasonably priced menu which also provides a free ride up the tower and for you to skip the queues!
Royal Ontario Museum
This museum has it all, ancient China, enormous dinosaurs and a cool interactive bat cave, all included (to our amazement) in our CityPass.. You won't run out of things to gawp and interact with here, so allow yourself at least half a day to wander amongst it's many exhibitions spread across 4 floors. The museum structure itself is beautiful, a mash-up of huge modern glass and steel shards amongst a regal antique brick building. I would advise against visiting on a weekend as it is very busy, particularly with young children. There's also a gift shop and cafe here should you want to stay long enough to get a drink or snack.
A very central district in Toronto, Chinatown spreads over a huge area, containing colourful shops, restaurants, chinese bakeries and fresh food stores. Meander the energetic streets hosting street art and a mix of modern and old bars and shops. Definitely check out the Chinese bakeries, unusual stores with shelves of freshly cooked goods for ridiculously cheap prices. This area connects the university area with the entertainment district so make sure to take a detour through this interesting district.
Niagara Falls Tours
One of the most incredible trips I've been on, visiting Niagara Falls was an amazing experience made even more so by the extreme weather and pretty ice formations. This is an absolute must when visiting Toronto, no matter what your budget. We got a tour-guided return coach trip from the city to Niagara Falls and the Niagara-on-the-lake for around £60 each, which was really good value. There are plenty of options, including more luxurious trips with helicopters tours and a la carte lunches. During the winter we weren’t able to take any boat trips to the fall but we were able to travel behind the fountains and still got some beautiful views.
Our Niagara Falls Tour
Although we visited during absolutely FREEZING weather, we loved visiting the Toronto zoo, particularly the antarctic exhibitions! Also included in our CityPass! I seldom get to see arctic foxes, wolves and polar bears in their 'natural habitat' (not quite but the weather was much closer to that than anywhere I've been before), so it was a real treat to get to see them in a more natural setting than at home. The zoo is huge so be prepared to spend an entire day here wandering between exhibits and also check if there are any seasonal changes, as we visited in winter none of the outdoor sahara exhibits were open. This place is also in the middle of nowhere and a good 30/40 minutes from Toronto centre so either grin and bare the expensive uber or if you're hiring a car prepare to drive, there are no direct public transport options.
Zoo website here
Whilst this colossal structure is impressive from the outside, we felt there was a story lacking behind the history of Casa Loma and we ran out of things to do/look at after an hour or so. Whilst the attraction was included in the CityPass and we happy to visit for the morning it isn't something I would go out of my way to visit.
Casa Loma Website
Toronto City Hall
Personally a big miss for me. I’d seen pictures of the notorious Toronto sign before and had the impression it was bigger and brighter. Not only that although the photos are misleading it is located in a ‘concrete rich’ area of town, with the same depressing shade of grey bordering the tiny ice rink. Another disappointment, perhaps after having just visited the ice rink at Central Park we were abit spoilt, but this rink was tiny and way too busy given the number of people using it when we visited. This would probably look much better at night, but if you don’t have time to detour here during your stay I’d think it was safe to say you didn’t miss much.
Let us know your favourite things to do in Toronto, or things you think visitors should miss!