Wondering if Toronto is worth visiting in 2023? We asked our friend, Erie from Everywhere Ontario, to cover this topic in depth.
If you find yourself debating a trip to Toronto, this guide will help you make your decision. We’ll cover some of the city’s top attractions, as well as things to do, where to stay, and how to get around.
By the end of this blog post, you should have a good idea of whether or not Toronto is the next vacation destination for you.
Is Toronto Worth Visiting In 2023?
To answer your question.. yes, Toronto is worth visiting!
With so many attractions and iconic Canadian landmarks, Toronto is a great place to visit if you’ve never been before.
This is especially true if you’re more of an urban traveler who enjoys exploring cities rather than venturing out in the rugged outdoors; though there’s plenty of Canadian wilderness not far from the city.
As the largest city in Canada, Toronto boasts attractions like the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. If you’re a fan of shopping and nightlife, Toronto is also home to some of the best shopping malls and clubs in the country.
That said, we definitely think Toronto shouldn’t be your only travel destination during your trip to Ontario. There is so much more to see and do within a short drive of Toronto that the city simply cannot offer.
From the world-renowned Niagara Falls and picturesque wine region of Niagara-on-the-Lake to the tranquil wilderness of Algonquin Park, to the spectacular beaches along the Great Lakes, Toronto is not only worth the visit but it also makes the perfect hub for your Ontario travels.
If you’re going to visit the Canadian province of Ontario at all, then we give two enthusiastic thumbs-up for making your way to Toronto and discovering what the largest city in Canada has to offer.
20 Best Things To Do In Toronto
There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in Toronto. Here’s a look at some of Toronto’s top 20 tourist attractions and things that we recommend you do while visiting:
1) CN Tower: Head to the top of Canada’s tallest free-standing structure for unbeatable views of Toronto. And, if you’re brave enough, dare to do the EdgeWalk – it’s the highest external walk on a building in the world!
2) Royal Ontario Museum (ROM): Explore art, culture, and natural history at one of Canada’s largest museums.
3) Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Home to over 16,000 aquatic animals, this is one of North America’s top aquariums.
4) Eaton Centre: One of Toronto’s most popular shopping destinations, with over 230 stores.
5) Ontario Place: An outdoor recreation and entertainment complex with rides, restaurants, and more.
6) Nathan Phillips Square: A public square in the heart of downtown Toronto, home to the iconic “Toronto” sign.
7) Kensington Market: A vibrant and colourful neighbourhood known for its fresh food and artisan markets.
8) High Park: Toronto’s largest public park, with over 400 acres of green space.
9) Casa Loma: A historic castle turned museum, located in midtown Toronto.
10) Toronto Islands: A group of 15 small islands off the coast of Toronto, accessible by ferry. The islands include popular beaches, an amusement park, restaurants, bike rentals and more.
11) Canada’s Wonderland: An amusement park located in nearby Vaughan, perfect for a day trip.
12) St Lawrence Market: One of the world’s best food markets, with over 120 vendors selling fresh produce, meat, seafood, and more.
13) Hockey Hall of Fame: A must-see for any hockey fan, this museum is dedicated to the history of the sport.
14) Ontario Science Centre: A hands-on science museum featuring over 80 exhibits.
15) Toronto Zoo: One of the largest zoos in the world, with over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species.
16) Historic Distillery District: A pedestrian-only village with art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and unique shops.
17) Allan Gardens Conservatory: A beautiful greenhouse filled with tropical plants, flowers, and birds.
18) Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO): One of North America’s largest art museums, with a collection of over 90,000 masterpieces.
19) Toronto Botanical Gardens: 17 unique gardens and green space spread over 4 acres in the heart of the city.
20) Fort York: A National Historic Site that where a major battle during the War of 1812 took place.
Pro tip: For a great deal on 5 of Toronto’s top attractions, we recommend buying a CityPASS. If you plan on seeing most of these attractions, the CityPASS is definitely the way to go to. You can save tons of money by buying multiple admission passes upfront.
What Is Toronto Known For?
Toronto is known for many things but above all it’s famous for being the largest city in Canada, and the most multicultural city in the world. Nearly half of the city’s residents were born outside of Canada, and over 180 different nationalities are represented in Toronto. Pretty impressive, eh?
With multiculturalism comes a vibrant and exciting food scene, with cuisine from all over the world. Foodies will love a trip to Toronto’s St Lawrence Market, one of the best food markets in the world, or Kensington Market, where foods from around the globe find their home in one exciting place.
Aside from exploring food, anyone visiting Toronto for the first time will certainly want to spend time in the busy downtown area, visiting attractions such as the famous CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium, and shopping in the ever-popular Eaton Centre.
And of course, if time allows, attending a Toronto Maple Leaf’s hockey game, Toronto Raptors basketball game, or a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game is a must.
A few more reasons why Toronto is worth visiting include the magnificent waterfront skyline (best seen from Centre Island) and Highway 401, considered to be the busiest stretch of highway in the world.
Without a doubt, Toronto is a bustling, active city that will not disappoint the adventure seeker and curious tourist.
Best Time To Visit Toronto
The best time to visit Toronto is during the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. However, this also happens to be the busiest time of year, so be sure to book your accommodation in advance.
Summer is the perfect time for exploring Toronto’s beaches, including Centre Island Beach, Cherry Beach, Rouge Beach, and more.
It’s also the perfect time to explore everything that Ontario has to offer, such as Algonquin Park (3.5 hours north), the Bruce Peninsula (4 hours north), and some of Hamilton’s scenic waterfalls (1 hour west).
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds but still enjoy nice weather, early fall (September-October) is a great time to visit Toronto. The leaves begin to change color and there is still plenty to do outdoors. Camping in Ontario during fall is also unbelievable. Consider staying a few extra days to really soak it all in.
Algonquin Park is absolutely incredible at this time of year, as is the Kawartha Lakes region northeast of Toronto.
Winters in Toronto can be cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. However, the city comes alive during this time with festive markets and holiday light displays. Christmas markets are a must-see when visiting Toronto in November and December.
No matter when you visit, Toronto is a great city to explore and is always bustling with activities.
How Many Days In Toronto Is Enough?
You could easily spend a week in Toronto and not run out of things to do. However, if you’re short on time, 3-4 days is enough to see the city’s main sights.
If you’re spending an extended period of time in Ontario and plan on taking a day trip to Toronto, or have a one-day layover in the city, a single day in the city is doable. For first-time visitors, we recommend focusing your time in the downtown core, seeing the most highly-rated attractions.
While everyone’s preferences are different, the most common things to do during one day in Toronto include:
- Tour of the CN Tower and Ripleys Aquarium
- Professional sports game at the Rogers Centre or Scotiabank Arena
- Check out a festival, such as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
- Walking food tour or bike tour of downtown
- Catch a live show at the Ed Mirvish Theatre or Royal Alexandra Theatre
- Ferry to Toronto Centre Island for incredible views of the city skyline
Where To Stay In Toronto
A city the size of Toronto has plenty of great accommodation options to choose from. If you’re looking for a hotel in the heart of the action, you’ll definitely want to stay in downtown Toronto
Downtown’s Entertainment District is home to some of Toronto’s best restaurants, shopping, and nightlife options.
Our favorite downtown Toronto hotel is the Fairmont Royal York. This luxury hotel is located right in the heart of the city and offers stunning views of the skyline and waterfront.
For a more budget-friendly option, try booking your hotel outside of the downtown and midtown areas. Hotels in the suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area tend to be more affordable, while still being close to all of the action.
We prefer staying north of Toronto, near Markham, Richmond Hill, or Vaughan, as a quick hop on the Don Valley Parkway will get you to and from downtown Toronto in no time (unless you happen to be driving during rush hour!).
One of our favorite budget-friendly hotels in the Toronto area is the Staybridge Suites Toronto – Vaughan South. This hotel is located just north of the city and offers free parking and complimentary breakfast each morning.
Each room comes with a well-furnished kitchenette and extra lounge space. Using the kitchenette for some self-catering is a great way to save money for a few nights!
Some of the most reliable hotel chains in Canada can be found in the Toronto area: Best Western, Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express, and Marriott hotels are some really great options that you can find in various parts of the Greater Toronto Area.
They all generally offer comfortable stays for affordable prices.
How To Get Around Toronto
Once you’re in Toronto, getting around is easy. The city has an extensive public transit system that includes buses, streetcars, and subways. (Yes, even a subway!)
And if you’re staying in the downtown core, you’ll likely find that most of the places you want to go are within walking distance.
If you’re staying outside of downtown, or if you simply want the freedom to explore at your own pace, renting a car is a good option. Just be aware that when driving in Toronto, traffic can get crazy, especially during rush hour.
Another affordable and easy way to get around Toronto by car, without going through a formal rental, is by using a Car Share program. Zipcar, Communauto, Enterprise Car Share, and Turo are some of the companies that operate in Toronto and offer hourly and daily rates for car rentals.
And of course, if you want to combine sightseeing and getting around Toronto all in one, consider booking a city bus tour.
Conclusion: Is Toronto Worth Visiting?
We hope we’ve settled your thoughts on whether or not Toronto is worth visiting.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Toronto; it’s a dynamic, cosmopolitan city with something for everyone. From world-class museums and art galleries to the CN Tower and the Hockey Hall of Fame, there are plenty of attractions to keep you entertained.
And with a thriving food and drink scene, plus great shopping and nightlife, you’ll never be bored in Toronto. So, if you’re looking for a fun-filled city break, Toronto is definitely worth a visit.