Top Things to Do in Toronto
Are you a full-time Torontonian looking for fun things to do with friends and family on weekends? Or are you visiting for the first time and only know the city as the home of Drake and the Toronto Blue Jays? In either case, you’re guaranteed to have fun in the metropolis that locals affectionately refer to as “T-Dot.”
Toronto has hundreds of attractions. Some are seasonal while others are available all year round. Below is a list of activities and events that make Toronto one of the best places to spend your vacation.
Toronto is a guaranteed stopover for all the big name acts that come to Canada. The Eagles, Dave Matthews Band, Erasure, and Foo Fighters are only some of the iconic artists who will be in town this summer. You can check out the schedule at the Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre, and Budweiser Stage to see who’s playing at any given time.
If street shows and smaller venues are more your style, Toronto is internationally renowned for its music festivals. Popular examples include:
- Beaches International Jazz Festival: This annual 10-day jazz festival showcases blues, jazz, Caribbean, rhythm and blues, and more. It takes place at various venues around the Beaches area and includes jam sessions, workshops, and even kids events.
- 2018 Toronto Summer Music Festival: Held from July 12 until August 4th, the 2018 event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI and features music written during or inspired by wartime.
- Electric Island Summer Concert Series: This exciting and highly anticipated summer series features well-known names like Billy Kenny, Green Velvet, Charlotte de Witte, and the Martinez Brothers.
In the summer, you can find fascinating shows and performances within walking distance of practically anywhere. Moving screenings and dusk dances enliven local squares and parks, and Shakespeare in High Park offers a refreshing dose of culture and entertainment.
If you are a dedicated foodie, you’ll never want to leave the city. Practically every weekend during the summer months there’s a new opportunity to sample authentic cuisine. The best chefs and local producers gather together to create and showcase their culinary talents at festivals such as:
- Toronto Food Truck Festival, which has a huge variety of street food options, from Italian and BBQ to Mexican and Asian fusion.
- Taste of the Danforth, otherwise known as Canada’s largest street festival, which is equally famous for its delicious Greek fare.
- Jerkfest, which celebrates Caribbean culture and cuisine.
- Toronto Vegandale Food Drink Festival, where you can sample enticing meat-free versions of Big Macs, tacos, and even wood-fired ribs.
If you’re bringing the family to Toronto this summer, buying a CityPass will provide everyone with discounted admission to the following attractions:
- CN Tower: Zoom up 1,136 feet to the LookOut in under a minute in a high-speed, glass-fronted elevator. If you’re the daring type, look down on the city from the world-famous Glass Floor.
- Royal Ontario Museum: Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring the bat cave, standing beneath the huge T. rex, and seeing a collection of meteorites! Other attractions include Asian art collections, African jewelry, and Egyptian mummies.
- Casa Loma: This historic castle and grounds includes five acres of beautifully maintained gardens, elegantly-appointed suites, an 800-foot tunnel, and even secret passages!
- Ripley’s Aquarium: This stunning attraction in the heart of downtown Toronto includes 16,000 marine animals, 100 interactive displays, and exhibits featuring sharks and stingrays. Don’t forget to walk through the longest underwater viewing tunnel in North America!
- Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre: Enjoy the sight of exotic animals such as Aldabra tortoises, a polar bear family, and endangered Amur tigers, or get out of this world by seeing a planetarium, a collection of meteorites from Mars, and even a Living Earth exhibit with poison dart frogs and giant cockroaches.
Passes, which are $88 for adults and $59 for children are valid for nine consecutive days beginning with the first day they are used. You can enjoy the city’s most celebrated attractions at a cumulative discounted price of 38%.
If you’re a big fan of unique and unusual experiences, you will find plenty of them in Toronto. Here’s a list of attractions that await you off the beaten path.
- The Monkey’s Paw: This antiquarian bookstore on Bloor Street West hosts the world’s first ‘Biblio-Mat’, a vending machine that dispenses random used books.
- Sewers of Toronto: This is definitely one for the adventurous! A well-preserved network of underground tunnels that are also marvels of vintage engineering. Visiting is permitted only with permission and guidance by a public works employee, but the experience is said to be worth it.
- Toronto’s Half House: This unique structure on 54 1/2 Saint Patrick Street dates back to the late 19th century. It looks like something out of an Escher print, so if you’re a fan of unique architecture, don’t miss it!
- The Little House: Think you live in a shoebox? 128 Day Avenue near Dufferin and Rogers Road is only 29 square metres, making it the smallest in the city. The house has even been featured on the Ellen Degeneres show.
- Bata Shoe Museum: Do you love shoes? You’ll be in heaven at the Bata Shoe Museum, which has over 12,000 shoes on display in a shoebox-shaped building.
Are you looking for things to do in Toronto in winter? You have plenty of exciting choices even when the mercury is plummeting.
- Sharpen your skates for the free Saturday DJ Skate Nights’ at the Harbourfront Centre, where you can skate beneath the starry skies to fantastic DJ sets.
- If you’re a fan of craft beers, check out the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival. It showcases top-quality beers from Ontario craft brewers, who are justifiably proud of their product.
- Like fine dining? Then don’t miss Winterlicious, a culinary event in which over 200 of Toronto’s best restaurants offer three-course prix fixe menus. Choices are available to suit every palate and budget.
With inspiring attractions, a wide range of live performances and a year-round festival schedule, you’ll never run out of things to do in Toronto. When it comes to keeping yourself and your family entertained, this city has you covered!