Canada’s biggest city, Toronto is an absolute must-visit for people who love the hustle-and-bustle, the energy and excitement of an urban paradise. From big attractions to a big nightlife, and some of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, the only way you’ll be bored in Toronto is if that’s your goal.
If you only have a long weekend to spend in Toronto, here are a few tried and true activities to help you make the most of your time.
Day 1: Foodie for a day
If your stomach is the main decision-maker on a lot of your holidays, you won’t do much better than Toronto. The city has an unbelievable foodie scene, with all the staples you’d expect: a growing food truck scene, a great market to pick up fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods (actually ranked the top food market in the world by National Geographic), and an encyclopedia of great restaurants inspired and influenced by Toronto’s diverse community.
Rather than trying (and failing) to give you a concrete list of all the restaurants you should see, here’s what one great day of eating and drinking might look like.
Neo Coffee Bar
- What to get: A latte (with some beautiful art from a skilled barista)
- Where: St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood
- Website: http://www.neocoffeebar.com/
Peter Pan Bistro
- What to get: Brunch! (A croque madame maybe?)
- Where: Queen Street West
- Website: http://www.peterpanbistro.ca/
The Hole in the Wall
- What to get: A craft beer with a classic cheese burger and fries
- Where: The Junction neighbourhood
- Website: http://www.theholeinthewallto.com/
416 Snack Bar
- What to get: Whatever snack they recommend. The menu always changes!
- Where: The Fashion District
- Website: http://www.416snackbar.com/#eat-together
The Sky Yard at the Drake Hotel
- What to get: A dangerously good cocktail
- Where: Queen Street West (and on the roof of the hotel)
- Website: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/dining/venues/sky-yard/
Day 2: Pick a museum
Toronto is home to some of the most impressive and wonderfully diverse museums in the country. Sports fans will love the Hockey Hall of Fame and a chance to take a souvenir photo with the Stanley Cup, while promising young scientists can revel at the wonders of science at the Ontario Science Centre. From shoes to ancient civilizations, Toronto has a museum for everyone in your group.
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
- What you will see: Cultural and historical artifacts from Egyptian mummies to ancient dinosaur bones.
- Where: Bloor-Yorkville
- Cost of admission: Adult – $23.00 Child - $14.00 Student/Youth - $18.00
- Website: https://www.rom.on.ca/en
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
- What you will see: Over 95,000 works of art, an extensive Canadian collection, and rotating special exhibitions.
- Where: Chinatown
- Cost of Admission: Adults - $25 and free admission to all Indigenous Peoples and anyone under the age of 25.
- Website: https://ago.ca/
Aga Khan Museum
- What you will see: Painted manuscripts, metalwork and scientific instruments showcasing the influences of Muslim civilizations in an architecturally stunning building.
- Where: Wynford Drive in North East Toronto
- Cost of Admission: Adult - $20 Child - $10 Student - $12
- Website: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/index.html
Bata Shoe Museum
- What you will see: Over 13,000 objects related to over 4,500 years of history of shoes in the world.
- Where: Bloor (near the ROM)
- Cost: Adult - $14 Child - $5 Student - $8
- Website: http://batashoemuseum.ca/
- What you will see: This museum is totally dedicated to all things ceramic and has over 4,000 pieces from ancient civilizations to modern times.
- Where: Bloor-Yorkville
- Cost: Adult - $15 Youth/children/students are free
- Website: https://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca/
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
- What you will see: Contemporary art from over 1,000 Canadian and international artists through a series of special exhibitions.
- Where: Junction
- Cost: Adult - $10 Student/senior - $5 Under 18 is free
- Website: https://moca.ca/
Day 3: Try a sightseeing tour
Toronto’s neighbourhoods are full of hidden gems, however you might not find them if you don’t know where to look. One of the best ways to get in the know is to take a city tour. From double decker buses, boats, bikes and helicopters, the city has the ticket to all the best sights. Or maybe, you prefer to be on the ground exploring local favourites. The best way to live like a local is to follow one around, and Toronto has a variety of tours for the urban explorer.
TOFoodTours with Chef Scott
- What to expect: Show up to this tour on an empty stomach! Food tours with Chef Scott focus on key neighbourhood in the city and highlight those areas’ best eats. Tour options also include pizza tours, maritime feasts and brunch crawls.
- Website: https://www.tofoodtours.com/
Go Tours Canada
- What to expect: Segway tours in a couple of Toronto’s coolest areas – Ontario Place and The Distillery District! Tours are beginner friendly with a quick training session before you head off. Once breezing at a nice 10 km/hour, your tour guide will share some of the area’s most interesting stories. If you’d prefer to be on your feet, walking tours are also available.
- Website: https://www.gotourscanada.com/
Toronto Bicycle Tours
- What to expect: Explore some of Toronto’s most vibrant neighbourhoods while getting a good workout. Your bicycle tour will help you orient yourself quickly in the city and bring you to some of the best landmarks and attractions. Feeling extra adventurous? Book a downtown and island combo tour. If you’re short on time, consider this your speed pass to Toronto.
- Website: https://www.gotourscanada.com/
- What to expect: Cruise Toronto’s harbour in style during a sightseeing or dining cruise with Mariposa. Here you will experience Toronto’s best panoramic view of the downtown skyline and learn more about Toronto’s iconic island and history.
- Website: https://www.hornblower.com/toronto/
Bruce Bell Tours
- What to expect: Walking tour with a ton of historical context. Somewhat of Toronto icon himself, actor Bruce Bell became one of Toronto’s most well-known historians. His highly informative walking tours are made memorable from by Bell’s personality and passion for the city.
- Website: http://brucebelltours.ca/
Other Toronto musts
Activities: If you just so happen to land in Toronto on a day with no festival or sports match to be seen, there are a few major attractions that you can always rely on for a good time. These include great museums, like the Museum of Illusions and Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. It also includes the awe-inducing CN Tower, where you can strap into a harness and hang over 500 metres above the street on the thrilling EdgeWalk. It also includes the Toronto Islands, where only 10 minutes downtown you can lay out on the beach, enjoy a picnic, or go for a paddle boat ride away from the city.
Other highlights: A great way to really experience Toronto is by taking the time to explore different neighbourhoods. From the history, art, and culinary innovation found in the pedestrian-only Distillery District, to the fashion-forwardness of Bloor-Yorkville, and the nightlife of the Entertainment District, you can experience so many different sides to the city in just a few days. And while we’re on the topic of fashion, Toronto has more than enough shopping to keep anyone occupied for a weekend.
See this trip in action
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