Things to See and Do in Toronto

By: Sam Elsley
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Arguably one of the most diverse cities in the world, Toronto offers attractions, neighborhoods, foods, and events catering to just about every interest there is. From the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, to the relaxed stone alleyways of the distillery district, to the lively nightlife of Kensington Market, Toronto diversity is the reason it deserves to be at the top of your list for places to visit.

There really is an endless supply of things to do in Toronto. To help you narrow down your options, here are eight things to see and do in Toronto


CN Tower

If you’ve ever seen an image of Toronto’s skyline, you’ve likely seen the CN Tower. This tall needle-like structure spans far above any other building. As the tallest building in Toronto and the ninth tallest free-standing structure in the world, the CN tower stands 553.3 meters high.

You can take an elevator to the top — or take the stairs for a serious challenge — enjoy a fine-dining experience at the revolving 360 Restaurant, and then check out the LookOut level for some breathtaking views of the city below. If you really want a unique experience, you can even book an EdgeWalk – the world’s highest hands-free external walk on a building.

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Distillery District

With the aim to combine the relaxing atmosphere of European walking and patio districts with the hip aesthetic of an area like New York City’s SoHo or Chelsea, visionary developers created Toronto’s Distillery District nearly 20 years ago. Now, Toronto’s Distillery District consists of 40 boutique and one-of-a-kind shops. These 40 shops offer everything from fashion, to gifts, to antiques, to artisanal treats. There are also plenty of diverse restaurant options with plenty of patios.

The best time to visit the Distillery District is during the holidays. During this time, lights span from building to building, outdoor vendors line the brick-laden alleyways, and musical performances can be heard all throughout the district.

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As with any big city, a visit to Chinatown is a must. Toronto’s Chinatown, beginning at the intersection of Spadina Avenue and College Street, offers plenty of knick-knack shops, authentic cuisine, street buskers, and Chinese medicine stands. Also, there are questionable buildings with no indication of what’s inside, which adds an exciting element of surprise for those who dare go inside.

With a sense of adventure, you can have a completely unique Toronto Chinatown experience every single time you visit. With that said, if there’s one consistency you should hold yourself to every time you visit, it’s to set aside some time at the beginning of your day for dim sum.

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Kensington Market

The perfect day in Toronto starts in Chinatown and ends in Kensington Market, which is a five-minute walk from Chinatown. For lack of a better description, Kensington Market is the pinnacle Toronto hipster experience. It’s for artists, street-side merchants, small-time businesses, musicians, and performers. During the day, grab the lunch at one of the countless hole-in-the-wall lunch spots before walking around with a specialty-brewed coffee. At night, chill out at one of the many patio bars. If you’re looking to dance, hop over to Supermarket. This is a restaurant and bar with themed DJ nights and a huge dance floor.

If you’re lucky enough to check out Kensington Market during the summer, you’ll find the streets blocked off allowing for more room for pedestrians like yourself to walk around. This is due to the influx of visitors.

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Yonge and Dundas Square

Another iconic Toronto scene is Yonge and Dundas Square. Directly outside of the Eaton Centre, Yonge and Dundas Square is essentially a smaller version of New York’s Time Square.

Above, you’ll find large screens advertising all sorts of different companies. On the side closest to the Eaton Centre, you’ll find street performers lining the sidewalk. Across the street, you’ll find the large open square itself, which often features themed events with plenty of food options and entertainment. There’s also one humongous video screen in the square itself which often broadcasts free sports events. For instance, in 2019, thousands of Torontonians gathered in the square to watch the Toronto Raptors win the NBA playoffs.

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Eaton Centre

Right beside Yonge and Dundas Square is Toronto’s most popular tourist attraction, the Eaton Centre. Serving tens of millions of people each and every year, the Eaton Centre offers over 230 retailers, restaurants, and services.

Aside from shopping, the Eaton Centre is an Instagrammer’s paradise. Be sure to look up as you walk around to fully take in the beauty of the mall’s architecture. Also, it’s worth snapping a photo of the recently-renovated glass bridge connecting the Eaton Centre to the Hudson’s Bay Company store across the street.

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Nathan Phillips Square

When you’re done shopping to your heart’s content, walk towards the Hudon’s Bay Company, hang a right, walk about five minutes, and snap a pic with the light-up Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square. Depending on when you’re visiting, you can also expect to see some sort of concert, art display, weekly farmers’ market, or another public event/demonstration.

During October, there’s always some elaborate art exhibit for Toronto’s all-night Nuit Blanche event. During the winter, you can lace up your skates and skate around the pool in front of the Toronto sign.

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Queen Street

There’s a little bit of everything on Toronto’s Queen Street. With plenty of name brands, vintage stores, restaurants, bars, and even a club or two, you can easily spend half a day lulling up and down Queen Street.

For a cool vintage clothing experience, climb up the stairs and visit Black Market. If you’re looking to relax with some drinks and a bit of fun after a day of shopping, chill out and play some pool at Rivoli.

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