When it comes to the best places to visit in Toronto, you’re spoiled for choice. This is the largest city in Canada and there are plenty of reasons why people from all over the world come here. They see over 28 million visitors from all over the world annually. The city is a true metropolis but there are pockets of nature so grand that it can feel like you’re far from the city. There are many conferences and events here as well as incredible things to see and do when you’re coming as a tourist. While there are countless things to do here, here are the best places in Toronto to visit.
8 Best Places to Visit in Toronto
1. CN Tower
Admission: $40 (adults), $27 (senior/youth), $14 (child)
Going up to the 553-meter CN Tower is a must. This iconic tower lets you see the whole city and you can even eat dinner up on the top at the revolving 360 Restaurant. When you dine, you get complimentary access to the LookOut and Glass Floor levels. It was once the tallest freestanding structure in the world. You take the elevator up and for the highest viewing, go to Sky Pod where you can see as far as Niagara Falls or New York State on a sunny day. There is an Outdoor Sky Terrace where you can enjoy the view and check out the “Edge Walk” if you dare. It’s a hands-free walk on a 1.5-meter wide ledge on the outside of the main pod. While you’re totally safe with a harness and rope, it’s an adrenaline-seeking adventure not for the faint of heart.
2. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Admission: $23 (adults), $24 (senior), $18 (student) $14 (child/youth)
There’s been a lot of debate on whether this building is beautiful or ugly. In 2007, they expanded the museum with an addition created by Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. It is definitely an attention-getter with its glass and sharp angles. It was added to the traditional structure, which was significantly older. This has been controversial but such is art. While how it looks from the outside is up for debate, the museum itself has an international reputation for excellence. They host outstanding collections covering natural history, art, and culture from various periods internationally. If you’re a true art lover, this is definitely one of the best places in Toronto to visit.
3. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Admission: $43 (adult), $29 (senior/youth), $12.50 (child)
This is one of the best places to visit in Toronto if you’re bringing the family. It’s close to the base of the CN Tower and lets you experience marine life in a truly epic way. What makes it so popular is the huge underwater water tunnel with the moving sidewalk. You can watch marine life as it surrounds you. You won’t want to leave the serenity of watching sharks and sawfish move through the tunnel roof above. There is also a really cool jellyfish display with some artistic lighting to showcase them. There are touch tanks for the kids where they can put their hands on small sharks. For those into engineering, you’ll appreciate the open concept that lets you look into the Life Support System and filtration equipment operating the facility.
4. Niagara Falls
Admission: Various tours and attractions
Niagara Falls is fairly close to Toronto and it’s truly a must-see. Niagara Falls on the Canadian side is more dramatic than what you get on the U.S. side but there are fewer people, which is part of the charm. The waterfall is so dramatic that the ground shakes when you’re near it. There are also a lot of attractions in the quaint little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake close to the natural wonder, making it well worth a day's getaway.
You can go on the Hornblower Niagara Cruise, which takes you right up to the falling water of the main Horseshoe Falls. There is the Go Train that runs to Niagara Falls from Union Station during the summer months and on the weekends, you’re welcome to bring your bike. This allows you to enjoy the Niagara Parkway, a fantastic bike ride opportunity.
5. Casa Loma
Admission: $32.49 (adults), $27.32 (senior/youth), $22.15 (child)
Canada isn’t known for its castles, which is what makes Casa Loma so unique. As the premiere castle in Canada, it’s one of the best places in Toronto to visit. While it’s not very old in comparison to a European castle, it is a massive medieval-looking castle. Sir Henry Pellatt was an eccentric multi-millionaire from Canada who had been one of the first people to exploit the potential of Niagara Falls. He built this castle in 1914, giving it the feel that it was much older. There are nearly 100 rooms, which includes nearly 40 bathrooms. The house is no longer lived in and is a museum you can tour.
This gives you an opportunity to look back at a time when European elegance and splendor were celebrated. There are decorated suites to give you the full picture of Pellatt’s vision. There are also secret passages, towers, stables, and an 800-foot tunnel. You could literally spend the whole day looking through the castle while learning about the small details. There is also a chance to spend some leisurely time in the estate gardens, which are perfectly kept and quite amazing.
6. St. Lawrence Market
This is one of the best places to visit in Toronto if you like to truly connect with the locals. It houses plenty of vendors that sell food products, flowers, and specialty items. It’s actually a great place to get unique souvenirs where you can meet the maker. St. Lawrence Hall itself is a must-see in its own right. It was built in 1850 and was a public meeting place and concert venue.
You can stop and eat here or enjoy a nice cup of coffee. In the summer months, there are outdoor patios on elevated spaces so you can get some sun. The area is so charming and has a unique market atmosphere. The space is often used in film shoots, commercials, and photoshoots. The star of the show is in the interior with a grand old staircase and gas-lite chandelier.
7. City Hall and Nathan Philips Square
This area is one of the public spots you can enjoy. Nathan Philips Square is mostly made up of a massive bronze sculptures. Henry Moore created the new City Hall, naming it The Archer. It has been highly acclaimed for its visual appeal and is worth taking a look at. City Hall was originally designed by a Finnish architect in 1965. Today, there are two arc-shaped high-rise blocks that are 20 stories and 27 stories high. It is then wrapped around a lower central building with a flattened cupola on top.
In the wintertime, you can skate on the man-made pond in front of City Hall. This is also a good photo opportunity with the big Toronto sign. They decorate it so beautifully for the Christmas holidays. It truly gives you that true Canadian winter feeling so it’s definitely one of the best places in Toronto to visit in December if you happen to be in the city.
8. Kensington Market
One of the best places to visit in Toronto if you want to do some shopping in Kensington Market. It celebrates the amazing cultural diversity of the city with its bohemian, multicultural feel. During the summer, the air is full of incense with music from street-side musicians playing off in the distance. There are plenty of retailers here who operate out of the quaint two-story brick homes. They set up their waters on deck-covered lawns or on the sidewalks. You could get some great deals on unique items. Buy Tibetan blankets, unique jewelry, bags, vintage clothing, and more.
It’s really colorful here as well with murals and street art. As it’s so multicultural, there are incredible food options here. Eat your choice of Jamaican, Mexican, Tibetan, pizza, or smoothies.
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