Toronto is Canada’s largest and most recognizable city. The CN Tower, the Rogers Centre, and the numerous buildings that make up the skyline make it known to travelers around the world – 13.6 million tourists annually to be exact. Due to Toronto’s multiculturalism, there are culinary experiences, hotels, and attractions to suit almost everyone. It is a city that can be visited as a vacation destination or as a weekend getaway. So, for your traveling needs, we have compiled a list of must-sees and have linked many of them to our reviews so that you can further research and make plans.
We recommend starting your weekend with a thrill at Toronto’s most identifiable landmark – The CN Tower, where adventurers can participate in the Edgewalk and hang off the edge of the tower to get a birds-eye view of the city. For a tamer experience, guests can access the SkyPod level to stand on and look through the glass floor, check out the observation deck, or consider lunch at the 360 Restuarant. Afterwards, visit Ripley’s Aquarium at the base of the tower, or hop next door to the Rogers Centre and take in a concert or a baseball game featuring the Toronto Blue Jays. In the evening, consider the Distillery District for a unique dining experience and live entertainment. We recommend eating at Cluny Bistro, El Catrin, or Archeo, all of which have interesting interiors, gorgeous patios for outdoor dining, and delicious meals you will not soon forget.
Get up early and take a brisk morning walk or run through High Park which contains many hiking trails, a beautiful lakefront, greenhouses, and picnic areas. For more living beauty, check out Toronto’s Botanical Gardens. Then, shop ’til you drop on Queen Street West near Kensington Market, on Queen Street East in the Beaches District, or at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Or, for a more upscale shopping experience, head to Yorkville which is chock full of designer boutiques. By evening, kick back and relax on the waterfront. Just find your way to Queen’s Quay and the Harbourfront to catch a sunset dinner cruise around the Toronto Islands. End the evening with a quick jaunt over to Nathan Phillips Square (an area encompassing City Hall) and snap a selfie with the infamous Toronto sign, which will be lit in colored lights. In the winter, the square also features a skating rink.
If museums are your thing, you’re in luck as Toronto has several. BHDT’s favorites include the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Aga Khan Museum, and The Royal Ontario Museum. There’s also the Bata Shoe Museum which displays shoes from different cultures and different periods in history, some of which date back to 300 B.C.E. Check out a sports-based museum in the form of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Or visit Casa Loma. The iconic Toronto castle has been overlooking the city since 1914 and most of the original furniture is still inside. Self-guided tours are available at the castle, plus it houses several Escape Room experiences. Throughout the summer months, Casa Loma features a live music series called Soul in the City, where performers and showgoers enjoy the castle’s backyard terrace and beautifully sculpted gardens. The castle’s beauty is beyond words and is a must-see.
If amusement parks tickle your fancy, consider a short jaunt north of Toronto to spend the day at Canada’s Wonderland, or take the ferry across to Toronto Island and spend some time at Centreville, with a selection of rides and attractions and 14 food outlets.
Toronto has no shortage of live entertainment with first-class theatre at the Princess of Whales Theatre, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Winter Garden Theatre, and the Royal Alexander Theatre (often called the Royal Alex) and plenty of live music can be found at clubs on Queen Street, including The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern or at various venues throughout the city like Massey Hall, Mod Club, Rebel, and many more.
Toronto has it all, even beaches, including Sugar Beach, Cherry Beach, Woodbine Beach, and others. There’s also the Boardwalk running along a stretch of beach and parkland that contains an Olympic pool for public swimming, a canoe club, and a shuffleboard facility. The boardwalk ends at the beautiful Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club. The area is great for strolling, jogging, bike rides, sunbathing, bbq’s & picnics, boating, paddle boarding, and volleyball tournaments, of which there are plenty.
Still feeling sporty and looking for more action, try Woodbine Racetrack for horse racing, a rec-room-themed bar/club called SPiN for Ping Pong games, or the Ballroom – an upbeat sports bar that specializes in rock n’ roll, tasty bar & grill menu items, and bowling. Yes, bowling and its a lot of fun. As a matter of fact, this particular establishment has been known to attract celebs who want to hit the lanes.
With all of this and more, it’s easy to see why Toronto is the ultimate weekend getaway.
Navigating the city is easy with multiple car and bike rental companies, streetcars, subways, taxis, and Ubers, as well as rideshares and Zipcar. With a GPS, you can get where you need to go in minutes. And if you stay at the right hotel, you can be at the center of all the action. We suggest Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront, particularly if you want a view of Lake Ontario. If you would prefer to stay close to the airport, our recommendation is Sheraton Toronto Airport & Conference Centre. However, there are plenty of other options when it comes to accommodations in Toronto.