The metropolis charms its tourists with abundant sightseeing opportunities, historical monuments, and multicultural experiences.
When in Toronto, do as the Torontonians do!
We, Torontonians, love our city and celebrate every aspect of it that makes it unique. We certainly take pride in Toronto’s rich history and cultural tapestry but also enjoy its natural beauty. If you are new to the city or just visiting it for a few days, and wish to capture the true essence of Toronto, then you must see the city from the eyes of a true Torontonian.
The ever welcoming city has something in store for everyone. For an immersive, spellbinding experience of the city, every newbie/tourist should explore these 13 fabulous places within Toronto that the locals adore.
Considered to be one of the best museums in the world, Royal Ontario Museum is definitely worth checking out. Popularly known as ROM, it houses over six million items in over 40 galleries creating a perfect mix of science, culture and natural history. Established in the year 1912, Royal Ontario Museum has been mesmerizing tourists for over 100 years. Its bat cave and collection of dinosaur fossils are major crowd pullers. It also boasts an interesting collection of design and fine arts. Art lovers from around the world admire the different exhibitions that ROM organizes every year. Apart from the awesome range of antiques to grab your attention, its unique crystalline architecture makes it stand out from the other structures in the area. History lovers are sure to have a field day at ROM. Even if you are not a museum person, we insist that you give ROM a visit. It will blow your mind.
Timings: Weekdays – 10 am to 5 pm
Weekends – 10 am to 5:30 pm
Ticket fare: $20 for adults, $14 for children, $16.5 for students
This 553-meter high modern marvel was once considered to be the world’s tallest building. Standing tall in the middle of Toronto’s downtown area, CN Tower is a source of national pride for Canadians. With exciting experiences like walking on a glass floor at a height of 342 meters and observational decks with breathtaking views of Toronto’s cityscape, CN Tower is perhaps city’s favorite tourist spot. Every year, over two million tourists throng to the tower to enjoy the view from dizzying heights. At night, CN Tower is lit up with 1330 super bright LED lights providing a spectacular view to onlookers. If you consider yourself a daredevil of sorts and are always up for an adventure, then we dare you to take the CN Tower Edge Walk. Started in 2011, it is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk. Thrill addicts walk on the edge of the entire circumference of CN Tower’s roof. Just watching the video of people indulging in Edge Walk is enough to give you goosebumps. The best time to enjoy the hair-raising experience of Edge Walk is in summers as it is closed in winters due to safety reasons. Your visit to CN Tower is not complete without dining at the magnificent revolving restaurant called The 360 restaurant. The revolving restaurant completes a 360 degrees rotation every 72 minutes. Enjoy the view of changing landscape while you gorge on some delicious food.
Timings: All days – 9 am to 10:30 pm
Ticket fare: Tower view – $38, Edge Walk – $225
Just a few meters away from CN Tower lies one of the best underwater aquariums in the world – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. It boasts North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel. With an aim to educate people about aquatic creatures and conserve underwater species, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada creates the perfect blend of entertainment and information. Tourists love the experience of underwater adventure with over 20, 000 creatures spread over 9 viewing galleries. From sharks, stingrays, and turtles to crabs and shrimps, one can experience creatures in the salt water and fresh water habitat through numerous touch exhibits. Daily deep dive shows are one of the main attractions that people love to watch. Special events on weekends like Friday Night Jazz and after hours show like Sleeping with the Sharks are great crowd pullers as well. Are you ready to get up close and personal with aquatic wonders of the world?
Timings: All days – 9 am to 11 pm
Ticket Fare: $31 for Adults, $21 for Senior Citizens
Who says science can’t be fun? Ontario Science Centre surely knows how to blend education with entertainment. That’s why it is considered one of the popular tourist destinations for kids in the city. With plenty of interactive exhibitions on different subjects like geology, astronomy, human anatomy, technology etc., the centre has something to appeal to kids and adults alike. Apart from the exhibits, one can enjoy enthralling science documentaries on IMAX dome screen. We can vouch for the fantastic IMAX experience that will surely leave you spellbound in your seats. The centre also organizes field trips and sleepovers for school children, and team building activities for corporates. Come have fun at the altar of science!
Timings: Weekdays – 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm
Ticket Fare: $22 for Adults, $19 for Children
Toronto is blessed with islands of its own that are just a stone’s throw from the downtown area. A 13-minute ferry ride from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal will take you to the group of 15 islands on Lake Ontario collectively known as Toronto Islands. Touted as the largest urban community to go car-less, the islands attract a lot of cycling enthusiasts. Since the islands are connected via walking bridges, it is perfect for long romantic walks by the lakeside. The islands have their own airport in case you want to step out of the airplane and directly head to the beaches to soak your feet. Beaches, 200-year-old lighthouse, Centreville amusement parks, and plenty of garden spaces for picnic and barbecue make Toronto Islands a recreation hub for kids and adults alike. So now you know where to head to let your hair down and indulge in some beach fun!
Ferry Timings: 8 am – 11:15 pm
Ferry Fare: $7.71 for Adults, $5.05 for Children, $3.72 for Senior Citizens
Toronto has a rich heritage of art and culture, and there isn’t a better way to celebrate the city’s art history than visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario. Popularly known as AGO, the art gallery is considered to be one the best art museums in the world, housing over 90,000 artifacts ranging from the first century to contemporary history. Peppered with paintings, relics, and antiques, AGO ensures a blissful experience for art lovers and is a great introduction for beginners to the world of art. Its carefully curated events and exhibitions attract a lot of tourists who visit the city. Apart from art exhibits, there are plenty of youth events and hands-on art classes to help young Torontonians to find their arty side. AGO is the place to be if you wish to indulge in history, art and culture of Toronto.
Timings: Closed on Monday
Tuesday & Thursday – 10:30 am to 5 pm
Wednesday & Friday – 10:30 am to 9 pm
Weekends – 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Ticket Fare: General Admission – $19.50, Special Exhibition – $30
No visit to Toronto is complete without exploring the great castle of Casa Loma. Built originally as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellattv in 1913, it was opened for public viewing in the year 1937. Ever since then, millions of travelers from around the world have explored the decorated suites, majestic towers and the 800-foot tunnel of Casa Loma. There are secret passages in the castle that are bound to excite the mystery lovers. Fiction based gaming experiences like Casa Loma Escape Series are one of the most popular events in the castle. Apart from the tour of the castle, you can enjoy the sprawling 5-acre estate gardens and click pictures with the beautiful Casa Loma palace. Since many movies and television programs have been shot around the castle, Casa Loma is renowned as a popular filming spot. Once the castle is closed for public viewings, it can be rented for wedding ceremonies and other personal/commercial events. Are you ready to be transported to the bygone eras of great European Gothic architecture and get lost in the web of suites, hallways, and secret passages?
Timings: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Ticket Fare: $30 for Adults, $20 for Children
If you wish to the see the true spirit of Toronto and experience the culture of the city, then you must hit the St. Lawrence Market. Named as the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012, St. Lawrence Market is the place to be for freshly grown food, gourmet restaurants and purchasing antiques. The market complex houses three different sections namely, South Market, North Market and St. Lawrence Hall. Locals and tourists head to South Market for fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, grains, and baked products that are sold by 120 specialty vendors. Every Saturday, the North Market becomes a venue for farmer’s market where producers from Southern Ontario sell their goods at reasonable rates. The St. Lawrence Hall is available for rent for weddings and other ceremonies. Walking through the vibrant St. Lawrence Market, one could experience the diverse food scene of Toronto while munching on fresh bagels, Portuguese churrasco, chicken sandwich, and lots of gourmet goodies.
Timings: Farmer’s Market – 5 am to 3 pm (Saturday)
South Market – 8 am to 6 pm (Tuesday to Thursday)
8 am to 7 pm (Friday)
5 am to 5 pm (Saturday)
If you are a person of vintage tastes and love Victorian-era architecture, then the Distillery District might just be the perfect place for you to unwind. Declared as a national historic site in 1988, the Distillery District is the hub for great restaurants, cafes, and shops that share their premises with heritage buildings of Gooderham and Worts Distillery. The red-bricked buildings and cobbled streets add an old-world charm to the district. While the place is great for enjoying a drink or two, multiple art galleries and performing arts studios will make your visit to the Distillery District a wholesome experience.
Timings: 10 am – 7 pm (Monday to Wednesday)
10 am – 8 pm (Thursday to Saturday)
11 am – 6 pm (Sunday)
In the era of rising Islamaphobia, Aga Khan Museum comes across as a breath of fresh air showcasing the artistic, intellectual and scientific prowess of Islamic civilization across ages. The museum is an initiative by Aga Khan Trust for Culture for the better understanding of Islamic art and culture. It houses paintings, relics, manuscripts, sculptures etc. from Muslim and Persian civilizations. Numerous personal artifacts of His Highness Aga Khan are also a part of the collectibles in the museum. Ever since its opening in 2014, Aga Khan Museum has been seeing a steady rise in the number of tourists visiting the museum every year. If you are searching for a diverse cultural experience, make sure to explore Aga Khan Museum.
Timings: 10 am – 6 pm (Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday)
10 am – 8 pm (Wednesday)
Closed on Monday
Ticket Fare: $20 for Adults, $10 for Children
Great view of Lake Ontario coupled with beach, parks, and walking trails – doesn’t it sound like a wonderful place to crack open that picnic basket? Scarborough Bluffs has been a favorite haunt for Torontonians to spend their weekends thanks to its close proximity to downtown area. With 11 parks spread across 15 km, The Bluffs are at the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. From the highest point of The Bluffs (300 feet above the sea level), you can enjoy a panoramic view of the lake and feel the wind in your hair. Out of the 11 parks, only Bluffer’s Park has access to the beach front. Long walking trails provide enough excursion opportunities to trekking enthusiasts. With restaurants and recreational events galore, Scarborough Bluffs provide a perfect getaway from the routine of life.
Toronto loves the game of hockey and adores its hockey stars. So, it doesn’t come off as a surprise that the metropolis has the Hockey Hall of Fame that attracts admirers of the game from all over the country. It houses the famous Stanley Cup and allows its visitors to get up close and personal with the trophy. One of its major features include opportunities of playing against life-size animated versions of top goalies and shooters of the game. You can also watch popular hockey goals and hockey related movies in the state of the art theatres. Apart from exciting games and movies, one can view a wide collection of hockey memorabilia. If you love the game of hockey, then you would cherish the visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame for years to come.
Timings: Weekdays – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday – 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday – 10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Ticket Fare: $19 for Adults, $13 for Children
Toronto Zoo is not a run of the mill zoo but an interactive wildlife experience for visitors. With an aim to save endangered animals, the Toronto Zoo provides the perfect habitat for over 5,000 animals across 450 species. Spreading over 710 acres, it is one of the largest zoos in the world with a walking track of over 10 km. The animals are housed across 7 different zoographic habitats based on the regions they belong to. It has an interactive area, known as the Discovery Zone, for a complete wildlife experience for children including a 2-acre water play area. There are over four exciting rides to choose from to keep kids engaged. One-horned rhinos, pygmy hippos, ringtail lemurs, giraffes, lions, polar bears and other exotic species can be found in the Toronto Zoo. If wildlife adventure is your cup of tea, you can’t afford to give the zoo a miss!
Timings: Weekdays – 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Weekends – 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Ticket Fare: Winter (October 10 – May 4) – $23 for Adults, $14 for Children
Summer (May 5 – October 8) – $29 for Adults, $19 for Children
Once you are done ticking off these 13 must-see places from your list and still have the zest to explore more, you can head to the vibrant Kensington Market for shopping or visit ethnic food hubs like Chinatown or Little India to treat your taste buds. There are numerous places to visit and various activities to indulge in, so plan your adventure across the city to explore sights and sounds of terrific Toronto!