Toronto is a fantastic year round destination for everyone - backpackers, solo travellers, friends and families.

Toronto is a truly multicultural city with rich ethnic and cultural diversity. The result is a huge metropolis with a wide range of attractions, ranging from historic buildings to world famous annual events.

Toronto’s cultural highlights attracts around 27.5 million domestic and international visitors annually, and this city really is one of the must visit destinations in north America.

If you are visiting Toronto for the first time these are some of the unmissable attractions and places to see.


1. Wander the City Centre

Toronto city centre

Toronto offers a unique cultural mix like no other place in the world.

You could stroll around the iconic Distillery District, a Victorian-era structure with pedestrian-only cobblestone alleys lined with stores, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and theaters. For more local experience head to Toronto’s largest supermarkets - Kensington Market and St. Lawrence Market.

You can find tons of moderna and also vintage stores filled with retro vintage designs items that date back to the 19th century. 

Dundas Square, Toronto

Dundas Square, pictured above, is another popular destination for shopping, food and entertainment.

For lunk or dinner out venture into Chinatown, Little Italy, or Koreatown.


2. Go Sightseeing

Toronto skyline

There are so many things to do in Toronto all year round, from entertainment, culture, sports and adventures.

Toronto's skyline is iconic and one of the best ways to get the best photos is from Lake Ontario or by taking a ferry and visiting the Toronto Islands.

The iconic CN building (553-meter) high is one of the top things to do in Canada. After a flight of two elevators, you reach the highest viewing area on the CN Tower known as Sky Pod at 447 meters.


3. Explore The Beaches

Toronto beach

Toronto is blessed with some of the best beaches in Canada and if you visit during summer not much beats this as a way to spend a few hours or a whole day.

Beaches are one of the top things to do in Toronto with children, especially in summer when they likely won't want to be sightseeing in the city heat.

Some of the most popular beaches in Toronto you need to visit include Sunnyside, Cherry Beach, Ward’s Island Beach, and Kew-Balmy Beach.

If you want to do more than sunbathing there are lots of outdoor activities such as open water swimming, fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are available. 


4. Relax at Parks

With all its nature, Toronto is rich in wildlife and conservation. Exploring some of the country's most famous parks is at the top of many people's lists when planning a vacation to Toronto. 

There are so many parks in Toronto and the surrounding areas with everything from child-friendly areas with playgrounds to adult activites like biking and walking trails. Some of the parks to add to your Toronto sightseeing itinerary include Dufferin Grove Park and High Park.


5. Live Sport

Toronto Maple Leafs Scotiabank Arena

If you love sports you will love Toronto. There are lots of teams based here including:

• Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football, 18 Grey Cups, (last in 2022)
• Toronto Maple Leafs Ice Hockey, 13 Stanley Cups, (last in 1967)
• Toronto Blue Jays Baseball, 2 World Series, (last in 1993)
• Toronto Raptors Basketball, 1 NBA Title, (last in 2019)

The atmosphere on matchdays is incredible.


6. Enjoy Exciting Nightlife

Toronto is full of life, both day and night. However, Toronto's nightlife is a magnet for music enthusiasts, and party animals. Toronto boasts a vibrant nighttime scene with plays, theater, concerts, live music bars and clubs.

In the evening, go explore the Entertainment District which comes alive with so many options for nightlife. If you are looking forward to an unforgettable night in this dazzling city, checkout hotspots like ‘The Drake Hotel’ or ‘Steam Whistle Brewery’.


7. Attend Vibrant Festivals

All year long Toronto hosts several festivals. The best festivals in Toronto mirror the city's soul. Let’s highlight some of them:

Toronto International Film Festival
This can be considered as the most internationally recognizable of all the Toronto festivals. This event brings you in close proximity to the biggest movie stars and movies. Directors and actors travel from all over the world to attend premieres and meet fans in Toronto. It is one of the rarest festivals that celebrate the audience rather than the critics.

NXNE (North by Northeast) is the longest-running music festival in Toronto. This annual music and arts festival is held every June in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The festival's main focus is live music, but it also includes an eSports gaming tournament, comedy, and a conversations series.

Hot Docs Festival
Long before the coming of Netflix or any other, this festival (Hot Docs) was discovering the best in documentary film and bringing it to screens all over Toronto. If you are looking for rare and authentic stories you will surely appreciate this event.


Plan a City Break to Toronto

Although there are a lot more places to explore in Toronto as a tourist, hopefully we have highlighted the best activities to do when visiting for the first time.

Toronto really is a unique destination and there is so much to see and do here whether on a short weekend break or longer. Once you visit you will understand why this is one of the most popular places to live in Canada.

From a tourist’s point of view, Canada is a good country to go backpacking and take the much needed break from hectic life. If you would like to see more of the surrounding areas and country search tours of Canada.

Have you ever been to Toronto? Got any first timer tips? Let us know in the comments section below.