Not only is Toronto one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant places on the planet, but it's also one of the most beautiful. Canada's largest city frequently lands at the top of the world's best cities list. Forty million people make their way here each year to shop, dine, visit its art galleries, and take in the magnificent skyline. Throughout the city, visitors will find an endless number of places to explore and sites to see.
The glass floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and glass elevators of Toronto's CN Tower make it one of the most spectacular marvels of engineering on the globe. It towers over Toronto, providing mind-blowing 100-mile views of Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls, and Toronto Islands. In a mere 58 seconds, rocket up to the top floor aboard a glass-front elevator to find the EdgeWalk, a 20-minute walk around the main pod's fenceless, windowless perimeter. It's the ultimate thrill.
If you prefer seeing the unique and unpolished side of a city, head to Kensington Market, a diverse neighborhood with a vibrant but laid-back vibe, just north of downtown Toronto. The colorfully painted residences and shops create the perfect backdrop for exploring this eccentric but fun and entertaining locale. Street musicians, tightrope walkers, and bongo drum circles entertain the crowds outside of the neighborhood's vintage shops, artist studios, and patio cafes, alongside fishmonger and outdoor fruit stands.
To celebrate its national sport, it's no surprise that Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame, a magnificent museum that pays homage to all-things hockey. The visually stunning collections and multimedia exhibits will undoubtedly spark the hockey lover inside of you. Shoot pucks at video-projected National Hockey League goalies, duck virtual pucks via a 3D film, and see the world's most extensive collection of hockey artifacts dating back to the game's origins.
It was once an estate garden in the district of North York. Today, Edwards Gardens is located near the Toronto Botanical Garden, located on a rock-lined ravine north of downtown Toronto. It features a collection of themed gardens, including wildflowers and manicured rose and perennial gardens. The gardens are stunningly peaceful and beautiful and open from dusk till dawn, making it a popular site for leisurely walks along its paved pathways.
Nestled among trendy retailers, pop-up shops, and indie boutiques, you'll find a small treasure trove of outdoor art in one of the coolest stretches in the downtown area. Start at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue, then head west. You'll come upon six spots along the way, including the technicolor Graffiti Alley, the Raptors Mural, and the Artscape building, a location providing workspaces for local artists. Your last stop is the Craft Ontario Shop, where you'll find some amazing Inuit and Indigenous art to take home.
Travelers fascinated by the stories behind a city's buildings won't be disappointed when they see the eclectic combination of architectural styles in Toronto. There's lots to explore from 19th century Georgian to 21st postmodern architectural styles. To see some of the city's lesser-known yet most interesting neighborhoods and historical structures, join one of the Royal Ontario Museum's one-to-two hour guided tours.
As a home to a collection of 13,000 pairs of shoes, the Bata Shoe Museum is a must-see for every shoe lover. Whether you're inspired by vintage shoes, like a pair of women's Parisian-made shoes from 1875, or you're into footwear worn by the world's most famous performers, like Elton John and Justin Timberlake, you won't be disappointed.
Add the Toronto Music Garden to your itinerary if you love classical music and the outdoors. The garden, designed in collaboration with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fronts the city's inner harbor. It was inspired by Bach's Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello, with each of the six movements coinciding with and replicating a section of the garden. The park is one of the most inspired outdoor spaces in the city.
You've probably seen this remarkable cliffside structure in films like X-Men and Chicago; you just didn't know it was Casa Loma. The 500,000 square foot Edwardian castle, built in 1914, has never been the home for royalty, yet it is one of Toronto's most treasured landmarks. While there is an admission fee, the architecture and decor are dazzling, and the castle also houses a classic car collection and a "Dark Side of Toronto" photo exhibit that adds to its mysterious allure. Dine at one of the upscale, onsite restaurants, such as the BlueBlood Steakhouse, amid works by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali.
With more than 8000 restaurants across Toronto, the city has become a world-class foodie destination. Each neighborhood has its distinct version of cultural cuisine, including crossover dishes that you wouldn't expect. Discover a range of Asian delicacies in one of the city's six Chinatowns. Find excellent Greek food in Danforth and in Little Italy; in addition to scrumptious Italian favorites, you can dine on everything from Spanish tapas to Asian fusion dishes. Head to Little Portugal for a variety of modern comfort foods and creative cocktails.
This was once the largest distillery in the British Empire. Today, the Distillery District is a conglomeration of locally-owned coffee shops, galleries, restaurants, art studios, boutiques, and performance spaces. You'll find no corporate ownership or franchises here. The red-brick Victorian warehouses and cobblestone walkways add to the neighborhood's distinctive historical aura.
Travelers who are into the after-dark experiences of a city won't be disappointed with what they find in Toronto. The young population here has thrown its support into making the city a center for all things entertainment, from live music venues to hardcore rock and dance clubs and even secret bars. The biggest complaint about Toronto's party scene is that it's hard to choose between the vast number of great options. Check out popular areas like The Annex and Ossington Avenue for a special night out.
Every great city needs an amazing museum, and Toronto has one of the best. With six million artifacts and specimens, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada's largest. Explore the First Peoples Art and Culture exhibit, which celebrates the cultural heritage and artwork of Canada's Indigenous people. Don't miss the Bat Cave, a realistic recreation of the St. Clair Bat Cave in Jamaica housing a collection of more than 20 different bat specimens.
The nearly ten miles of bluffs along Lake Ontario feature eleven parks, trails, beaches, gardens, and recreational facilities. Swim at Bluffer's Park, or follow the trails at East Point Park, Scarborough Heights, or Sylvan Park to the lakefront. Scarborough Bluffs is the result of sedimentary deposits that occurred more than 12,000 years ago. Today, it's a gathering place for people of all ages for picnicking and other outdoor activities.
Just a short — but choppy —13-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto, you'll land at Toronto Islands, a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario and the largest car-free neighborhood in North America. The islands are attached, with Central Island being the most popular stop for visitors. Locals say that Ward's Island, with its scenic boardwalk, quaint cottages, and picturesque views, is the much prettier option. Hop on a bicycle for a leisurely ride around the islands for a gorgeous view of Toronto's skyline and local landmarks.