What to do in Toronto: Explore Attractions and Hidden Gems

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  • Toronto is a wonderful metropolis that’s uniquely North American and European.
  • With marketplaces, bustling neighborhoods, and royal theaters, this city doesn’t disappoint. 
  • If anyone in your party needs a small break from the hustle, there are gardens and nearby islands to escape to.
  • Some of the best shopping in the world exists within the Distillery Historic District, an absolute must on anybody’s agenda. 
  • You’ll also be shocked to find a castle right, smack, dab in the heart of the city. 

Toronto is the dignified capital of the province of Ontario. Proudly preening along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shoreline, this city has everything, including downtown delights and spectacular waterscapes. 

If you’re wondering what to do in Toronto, don’t stop now because it’s time for a new travel blog! You’re about to dip into a fabulous North American city that also features a unique European flair. 

With architectural delights, some of the best restaurants in the world, and unrivaled theaters and parks, there’s something in this majestic metropolis for everyone. 

St. Lawrence Market

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St. Lawrence Market should be first on your list when deciding what to do in Toronto, Ontario. It’s the perfect plan of action if you’d like to stock your Airbnb with unique culinary finds. 

The name is simplistically misleading. It’s actually a diverse culinary explosion with fresh meats, seafood, baked goods, sandwiches, and more. 

Located in downtown Toronto, St. Lawrence Market is a bit reminiscent of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Plan to casually stroll the stalls within this beautiful brick building for a couple of hours. 

If you time it right, you can enjoy their farmers’ markets and, on Sundays, peruse the stalls of over 80 antique dealers. 

Casa Loma

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When you envision Disney castles, do you think of Bavaria, Romania, Scotland, or Ireland? Fair enough. But, Toronto has its own stunner right in the heart of midtown. 

After an afternoon here, you’ll go home with countless pictures of turrets, stained glass windows, hidden staircases, and secret passageways. The rooms feature authentic period furnishings and open up to breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline from its towers. 

To no surprise, the gardens are also gargantuan, delivering as many savory sights as the interior. Since Castle Loma is only a little over 100 years old, it still has countless stories untold and you can make yourself part of them. 

Try to visit Toronto in the summer so you can enjoy the show put on by the Casa Loma Symphony Orchestra in the Glass Pavilion. Whether you’re looking for your own Beauty and the Beast moment or a step back in time, Casa Loma delivers, making it one of the most stunning vacation destinations in the world. 

Toronto Island Park

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What is there to do in Toronto Island Park? Well, technically, this is a day in and of itself. But it’s worth every hour devoted to its sunny shorelines. 

In the morning, hop aboard a ferry and, in just over 30 minutes, you’ll step through another portal into picturesque finds. 

Toronto Island Park boasts:

  • four different beaches
  • the 200-year-old Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
  • two permanent public art installations
  • several bird-watching locations, including Hanlan’s Point and Trout Pond
  • lagoons for boating 
  • Centreville Amusement park
  • Far Enough Farm where you can meet ponies, rabbits, sheep, and more
  • a disc golf course
  • William Meany Maze, a spectacular hedge maze with 1,200 black cedars
  • Franklin Children’s Garden
  • an endless array of trails
  • Centre Island Pier, a popular fishing hotspot for carp and pike

It’s amazing that such an island is within arm’s reach of a bustling metropolis. You’ll be happy to return to the mainland for a meal in any one of their delicious restaurants after a stunning day out on the island. Or, better yet, this may answer the question of what to do in Toronto for a weekend. 

Ironically, Toronto Island Park has a lot in common with some of the hidden gems in a city much farther south: Miami. If that cultural paradise is next on your list, make sure you bookmark our complete guide of what to do in Miami

Distillery Historic District

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To use an overused word: this place is so cool. About 20 years ago, a small group of visionaries put their minds together and turned a few derelict Victorian Industrial buildings into a small village where further visionaries could unite. 

The name gives itself away, with countless fresh brews to savor, along with other culinary delights. But, the Distillery District is much, much more than that. 

The Toronto Star says it’s a place where you can step back in time to an era filled with horse-drawn carriages, windmills, and sailboats. 

The restoration of these buildings is incredible and it opens the door to over 40 boutiques and unique shops, serving as a mecca for creative souls – artists and admirers, alike. This corner of the city is an answer to what to do in Toronto for a day.

Whether you’re in the mood for a bespoke addition to your closet or an artisanal treat, you’ll be dazzled by the Distillery District. If you don’t make it to Toronto during the summer for an orchestral sensation at Casa Loma, aim to come during Christmas when the Distillery Historic District truly comes alive. 

Hockey Hall of Fame

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This could be a nice family field trip if you have hockey lovers in the house. The Hockey Hall of Fame is home to the Stanley Cup, as well as a host of other hockey memorabilia. 

With countless interactive exhibits, it’s sure to dazzle and delight everyone on your team. One of the most popular attractions is a life-size screen featuring famous goalies where everyone can line it up and see if they can make the shot. 

Little Canada

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Speaking of the kiddos, Little Canada is a great way to teach them about the city they’re about to explore. The museum’s tagline is Miniature World. BIG Wonder – aptly named.

Within 45,000 square feet of wonder, families can take an immersive journey through the sights and sounds of the country on a miniature scale. It’s a bit like being the marionette over one of the most famous cities in the world. 

You can soak up Little Niagara, Little Toronto, Little Ottawa, Petit Québec, and more. It’s the cutest little fascination that everyone is sure to enjoy, making it one of the best things to do in Toronto, Canada. 

High Park

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Here we go again, wondering how 399 acres can exist amid a bustling metropolis, but High Park delivers, much like the High Line in New York City. 

There are many magical playgrounds, easily answering what to do in Toronto with kids. Beyond that, there are hiking trails, beautiful lakefront views, a few eateries, picnic areas, and even a zoo.

If you’re up for a subway ride, High Park is a quick trip from the Dundas West TTC station. Then, it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to some of the best walks of your life.

If the Big Apple’s on your mind next, be sure to review our guide to the best things to do in New York City and beyond.  

Royal Alexandra Theatre

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Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Canada is part of the Commonwealth. Yet, its British flairs are quite spectacular, including The Royal Alexandra Theatre

The building alone is a stunning display of beaux-arts architecture. Within its walls, you can enjoy magical musicals like Mamma Mia or Moulin Rouge, as well as Broadway blockbusters like The Lion King or Wicked. 

If you have time, it’s worth scheduling a historic tour. The theater’s history is rich since it holds the title of the oldest continuously operating theater in North America. During his reign, Edward VII issued letters patent, entitling it to its royal designation as well as his wife’s namesake.  

The Royal Alexandra Theatre falls under the umbrella of Mirvish Productions which owns and operates four theaters in Downtown Toronto, including the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and CAA Theatre. You’ll find there’s something for everyone, thanks to their many showtimes.  

Kensington Market

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Let’s close out with a rival for the Distillery District and one more nod to Torontos’s British influence. Kensington Market is its own neighborhood, bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street, and College Street. 

There’s a lot going on within this radius. Filled with unique boutiques, eclectic restaurants, and art galleries galore, Kensington Market is well worth the visit whenever you find yourself downtown. 

What to do In Toronto: Travel Back In Time In Its Modern Streets

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You won’t be wondering what to do in Toronto for more than a minute or two. We’re talking castles, ferries, gardens, and world-class eateries to rival London, Paris, New York, and any of its other comrades. 

Whether you travel in the summertime for Toronto Island Park and Casa Loma, or Christmastime for the Distillery District and Kensington Market, we’re certain Toronto will imprint on your heart. 

Another metropolis filled with architectural wonders and gardens galore is Southeast Asia’s Lion City. If that corner of the world is next on your list, be sure to check out our luxurious guide to the best things to do in Singapore for singles, couples, and families alike. We hope to see you out there!

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