Sightseeing In Toronto: 10 Places You Should Not Miss
If you are planning a trip to Canada, don’t miss Toronto! It is the largest and one of the most vibrant cities in Canada. There is a lot to explore in Toronto. If you’re visiting for the first time, you may find it difficult to narrow down the top tourist attractions in Toronto. Every neighbourhood of Toronto has its own story. There are many hidden gems and tourist attractions in Toronto. If you love to travel and explore, the following places should be on your itinerary.
1. Explore the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is home to a range of exquisite cultural and historical pieces collected from all over the world. All three levels of this magnificent place, locally called “The ROM,” are rife with treasures organized into more than 20 galleries — like the new Willner Madge Gallery, Dawn of Life or the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery or Life in Crisis: The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity. And that’s not all! Be sure to check out the limited-time exhibits, such as Psychedelics (on until March 9, 2024).
2. See the animals at the Toronto Zoo
The zoo is one of the best outdoor attractions in Toronto. If you love wildlife, you should visit the Toronto Zoo. Spread over 10km, it is a great place to walk and explore. It features a unique polar bear habitat and an African penguin exhibit. From alpacas to giraffes, there’s a lot to see here.
Orangutans of Gunung Leuser: Guardians of the Rainforest is a brand-new outdoor habitat for Sumatran orangutans, whose conservation status changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2017. Why? Palm oil harvesting is destroying the rainforests they call home. In addition to protecting these amazing mammals, the Toronto Zoo has taken a leadership stance on raising awareness about palm oil.
For the best experience at the Toronto zoo, be sure to see if there are any feeding times scheduled during your visit.
3. Enjoy the View from CN Tower
Built between 1972 and 1976, the CN Tower was once the tallest building in the world, at 553 meters tall. It is the most famous tourist destination in Toronto. It can be enjoyed from the ground, but the view from the top is simply breath-taking. You can even download a free viewfinder app so you know what are looking at in all directions.
There is also a revolving restaurant at the top for dining and lunches. The 360 Restaurant completes a full rotation every 72 minutes. The menu focuses on local and sustainable ingredients and recipes from across Canada, including Indigenous dishes. It is popular so you should reserve ahead.
4. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the major attractions in Toronto. It is home to a large collection of artwork dating back centuries. The building is an architectural masterpiece in itself.
More than 95,000 works of art are held in the collections at the AGO, as it is locally called, from European masterpieces to work by emerging Indigenous artists, Group of Seven to Western and Central Africa, historic to modern to contemporary. You can get lost in here for hours, transported through the art in the regular collections and in the many special exhibits featured throughout the year.
5. Eat at Kensington Market
You’re bound to get hungry after exploring all the tourist attractions in Toronto, Canada. It’s time to head to Kensington Market, just west of downtown Toronto. This multicultural neighbourhood offers various food shops and restaurants which serve cuisines from all over the world.
There are lots of little places you pick up a snack to walk around with — empanadas maybe or a burrito or something with bacon. Or put together a picnic from Global Cheese or Sanagan’s meat and head to Bellevue Park. If you want to sit for a while, check out Trinity Common, a popular pub, especially with the hipster crowd, for smash burgers and fries that go oh-so well with craft beer. And I have never left Kensington Market without stopping at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.
Additionally, you can explore the beautiful shops that sell vintage items. You will want approximately two to three hours to explore this neighbourhood, which is easily accessible by public transportation.
6. Witness Marine Life at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
The aquarium is also one of the most popular tourist places in Toronto. It is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the country. It is home to about 450 different fish species and other sea animals.
The Dangerous Lagoon is one of the most exciting features at Ripley’s. Board the moving sidewalk through a clear tunnel in the tank while sharks, stingrays and other lagoon inhabitants swim over your head. You may even be lucky to see staff feeding the fish twice a day.
7. Take a Selfie at the Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions opened in 2018. It is one of the new family attractions in Toronto, Canada. It is fun for both adults and kids alike. The museum features an elaborate series of illusions, along with their explanations.
Illusion rooms, installations, images and holograms, this is one place you will want to be sure you have a fully charged phone so you can take lots of weird and wonderful photos. There are selfie points along the way, and it is one of the most Instagrammable places in Toronto.
8. Learn About Hockey at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey is an extremely famous sport in Canada, which makes this a must-visit tourist destination in Toronto for all sports fans. Housed in a heritage building that was formerly a bank, Hockey Hall of Fame is spread over 65,000 square feet. It’s big! It even has a replica of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room.
See interesting exhibits about the sports and try fun interactive displays. For example, follow the evolution of goalie masks or try your skills at broadcasting or play the latest hockey video games. It is also the home of the Stanley Cup, the NHL’s biggest trophy. The retail shop has everything a hockey fan could want. And where do you go for snacks when you visit the Hockey Hall of Fame? Tim Horton’s, of course! Horton, a former hockey star, founded the famous coffee franchise and a special edition Tim’s is located next door to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
9. Go Down Memory Lane at St. Lawrence Market
Named the best food market in the world in 2012, this famous tourist destination in Toronto has been operating since the early 1800s. Apart from buying the freshest and best produce, you can also explore several cuisines at this market and everything you need to make it. Caviar, fresh oysters, croissants, sausages, cheese by the slab — you name it and they probably have it, plus all the condiments and sauces, and even the kitchenware to prepare it.
Don’t feel like cooking? There are so many ready-to-eat options. From Indian to Ukrainian, there’s something for every palate. Try a Toronto classic peameal bacon sandwich — basic and fancied-up versions are available. And don’t miss the lower level, where you’ll find many more delicious choices, like cabbage rolls and pierogies. Inside tables are at premium especially on weekends, but you can also take your to-go boxes outside to the picnic tables.
And when you’re done eating, go upstairs to explore the art gallery. The market also hosts a public kitchen for special cooking classes and is home to St Lawrence Hall, where you can catch exhibitions and live performances.
10. Get answers at Ontario Science Centre
The first interactive museum of its kind in the world, this place is specially designed for all those interested in science. It is one of the best family attractions in Toronto. There are live experiments, demonstrations, planetariums and games to explore and enjoy.
What people love about this place is that it’s hands-on: not only you learn about science, but you also get to try things out and see how they work in the Science Arcade and Innovation Centre. Underwater adventures bring Captain Nemo to Life and the space exhibit makes sense of meteorites, black holes and cosmic rays. Plus, there’s a rainforest, a Canadian forest and a domed IMAX theatre.