Toronto is a fascinating and dynamic city where you could spend days exploring the museums, restaurants, bars and attractions. But we know you might not have time for everything so we’ve narrowed down what to do in Toronto if you have 1 day, 3 days in the city.
If it’s your first time in the city, you will most likely want to head down to the CN Tower first as it is the most iconic building in our skyline. Elevator prices are $38 dollars for the ride, but if you’ve got an extra $225 and the need for a heart attack you can do the edge walk around the outside of the tower. A little secret is if you book a meal in the revolving restaurant the elevator is free and you can go to the observation decks. Prices are reasonable especially when you figure the elevator ride.
Afterwards, head over to Steam Whistle Brewery for a pint of beer. If you book ahead you can take a tour of the facility and enjoy some samples. The grounds also have some old trains and an old train turntable to enjoy. Or you can head of to the Rec Room to enjoy some state of the art video games and food in the same facility
If you are looking to enjoy Toronto’s famous China Town you can walk west to Spadina and head north to Dundas Street. This a walkable distance and it will take you about 20 min, however, if you don’t really feel like walking you can also hop on the street car and be there in about half the time. This is where you will want to pick up any souvenirs for those back home or cheap electronics you left at home. Once here you can enjoy drinks like sugar cane juice, conconut milk, or bubble tea but King Noodle is a favourite for authentic Chinese food. And you can order in English so no need to point at pictures.
Next, just behind China Town, is Kennsington Market. Here you will see why Toronto is considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Sample food from around the world in the plethora of restaurants, cafes and shops in the neighbourhood.
If you’ve still got energy, head a little further west on Dundas or College Street and enjoy some dinner and drinks. A couple personal favourites of ours is Pizza Lobretto, Queen Margarita Pizza, Ryoji, and Bellwood Brewery. Need a little some sweet to end the night off? Hit up Bang Bang on Ossington for an ice cream sandwich or a puffy waffle cone. Either way, get there early as there is a line up even in the winter.
Today, it’s all about the east end (East of Yonge). Head down to St. Lawrence Market and explore some farm fresh produce, delis or gourmet treats. Vendors have been opening their stalls at 8am to 6pm since 1803. The building alone is worth a visit. The market is closed on Sunday and Monday so plan accordingly. Hockey fans will be happy to know that the hockey hall of fame is just a couple blocks west on Front Street.
Next, head east to Parliament Street and explore the historic Distillery District. In its previous life, the complex was a whiskey distillery but the area is now occupied by lots of little shops, bakeries, restaurants, and a really great sake shop. If you are visiting in December, there is a very popular Christmas Market that takes place over a couple weeks in December. Weekends are quite busy so try a weekday if you’re not into the crowds.
Next you can hop up to the head west on the Queen Streetcar and visit City Hall. Not because you want to see city hall, but because you want to take a picture in front of the famous TORONTO sign or if it’s the winter you can skate on the outdoor rink. You can also, try some of the poutine (fries, cheese and gravy) or street hot dogs at one of the food trucks that line up here throughout the year.
The Eaton Centre is just a quick walk east. It is Toronto’s biggest shopping mall and you can shop everything from high end luxury items to flip flops here. If you want some designers that you can’t find at home, this is your spot. Right across the street is Yonge Dundas Square, where the city puts on a whole host of events and concerts.
It’s time to get a little culture into your trip. Spend a couple hours at either the Art Gallery of Ontario (A.G.O) or the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). These two museums hold some of the most spectacular exhibits in the city. And have a bunch of special, limited time exhibits fairly consistently. Spend as much or as little time as you please but these two can easily take up the better part of the day each.
Next, you can take a quick stroll through the University of Toronto campus or head into swanky Yorkville (just east on Bloor from the ROM). It really is a great spot to people watch. If it’s during the film festival in September, you might see a celeb here and there as well. Affordable eats include Planta, and Fat Lamb Kouzina. If you’re in the party mood, the Madison Avenue Pub “the Maddy” is where the University Students will be. Live piano is up on the third floor playing your favourite covers and taking requests (if you can find it). Need something a little more low key? Hemmingways in Yorkville is a great choice.