I only had a short two days visit to Toronto, but I had to come while I could! I had been dying to check it out. I've heard many people say that Toronto is the clean version of New York City. As someone who currently lives in NYC, I can tell you that Toronto is absolutely nothing like Manhattan... hahaha. Toronto IS very clean, and it is a bit more spread out than NYC, yet everything is fairly walkable. Toronto is less busy and more open than the big apple. But lets not compare it to NYC, because Toronto is absolutely beautiful and unique in itself. Although I didn't have time to see and taste everything that I wanted to here (I have to come back!) I am going to create a travel guide based on my own personal experience, research, and recommendations from locals! I hope you enjoy. <3
1. CN Tower
Standing at 1,815 ft tall, the CN Tower (CN originally stood for Canadian National) is an iconic landmark labeling Toronto. You can purchase tickets to go up in the tower that defines the Toronto skyline here. You can even experience fine dining with a view at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. If you're more of a thrill-seeker, you can purchase tickets for the EdgeWalk for a hands-free walk around the exterior ledge of the CN Tower (yikes!!).
2. Nathan Phillips Square
A must stop for a tourist photo! Nathan Phillips Square is a beautiful plaza featuring the vibrantly lit TORONTO sign and city hall. This is a great place to stop on your way to shop on Queen's Street!
Along the shore of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront is a beautiful place to walk around. You can see what festivals are going on the the Harbourfront Centre here. While you can enjoy beautiful weather here in the summer, you can ice skate and enjoy live music during the winter. There are some great places to eat along Harbourfront. I recommend the Pier 4 Storehouse Restaurant for amazing seafood or the Harbour Sixty Steakhouse.
4. Toronto Islands
While walking down Harbourfront you can head over to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and take the ferry to Center Island. The Toronto skyline views on Center Island are incredible. This is a great place to hangout and picnic during the day, walk, bike, or run. There are lots of activities to do on the island, such as Centreville Park, a small beach, a petting zoo, and boathouse. For restaurants I recommend the Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co. or the Toronto Island Marina restaurant.
5. Younge and Doundas
Younge and Doundas is like the Times Square of Toronto. There is lots of shopping and business here! Definitely a big tourist attraction.
6. Canadian National Exhibition
The CNE is a huge attraction to both tourists and locals. It is the biggest annual fair in Canada! I wish I had time to stop by here, the pictures looked amazing and so fun!
7. Kensington Market & St. Lawrence Market
Although I didn't make it to either of these, I got a lot of recommendations to visit both the Kensington Market and the St. Lawrence Market. Kensington Market is a colorful trendy/hipster vibe with art, boutiques, cafes, and food stands. St. Lawrence Market is rich in history and a Toronto landmark. St. Lawrence market has a large variety of different food vendors.
8. Distillery District
The Distillery District is a really cool area rich in history, art, and culture. You can walk the cobblestone streets and enjoy great food, art galleries, specialty stores, and of course alcohol. The best distilleries to visit for tastings are the Mill Street Brew Pub, Spirit of York, and the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company.
9. Graffiti Alley
I wasn't sure whether or not to put this in the "Most Instagrammble Spots" category or Top Things to Do. Because Graffiti Alley is a huge tourist hit and not just a "blogger girl" type place, I figured this should go in the Top list. Located in the Fashion District, Graffiti Alley is a great place to view the art and take vibrant pictures. This is one of the most impressive graffiti destinations I have ever seen in all of my travels so far.
10. Niagra Falls
Last but not least, Niagra Falls!! Of course this is a major destination for many people as it is 1 of the 7 natural wonders of the world. It's a good drive to get there... a little under 2 hours. Hence why I didn't have enough time allotted to go this trip. :( But, I WILL get there next time!
Best Restaurants in Toronto
Cluny Bistro - french food in distillery district
Hockey Hall of Fame Museum
Famous for holding the Stanley Cup most of the year, The Hockey Hall of Fame hosts the best of the NHL as well as a museum dedicated to the history of ice hockey. Purchase tickets here.
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
The Ripley's title threw me off, but this Aquarium is supposed to be one of the top attractions in Toronto. This aquarium features more than 20,000 aquatic animals. You can purchase ticketshere.
Royal Ontario Museum
One of the largest museums in North America. The Royal Ontario Museum features culture, art, and natural history. Purchase tickets to the most popular museum in Canada here.
Ontario Science Centre
Learn & experience advances in science and technology at the Ontario Science Centre. You can purchase tickets here.
Aga Khan Museum
The Aga Khan Museum is known for its beauty and culture. It is a museum of Islamic, Iranian, and Muslim art & culture. Purchase tickets here.
Most Instagrammable Places in Toronto
1. Sweet Jesus
I had many, many
recommendations to come to
Sweet Jesus Ice Cream. I was on
a diet at the time but I mean...
it's a Toronto must! I have never
had anything else like it. I got
the birthday cake ice cream
cone (birthday cake is my
favorite) and not only was there
soft serve on the inside,
but ACTUAL birthday cake with
ice cream covering the outside.
This was texture and taste
heaven, you guys. Sweet Jesus
does not disappoint.
2. Cops Doughnuts
Cops Toronto is a cute little hidden alleyway gem. It super simple and all dusty pink! The best part about it is the mini doughnuts! They are all baked fresh right in front of you, with special flavors daily. Sour cream glaze is their most popular!
3. June Callwood Park (The Pink Park)
Honestly, theres not much to do here... BUT it makes for a really cool photo. If you like pink, then this all pink park is for you!
4. Sugar Beach
If you're visiting during the summer months... Sugar Beach is so aesthetically pleasing. It's so fun, light, airy, and pretty.
5. Calii Love
You might recognize this famous artist on the wall of each location. Colette Miller Artist, famous for the GlobalAngelWingsProject, has commissioned work for Calii Love locations in Toronto to give a California vibe all the way up north. Find amazing wall art at each of their locations as well as their aesthically pleasing (& healthy) acai bowls, poke bowls, smoothies, breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
6. Graffiti Alley
I know I already mentioned this in 'Things To Do," but this also is one of the most Instagrammed places in Toronto, so naturally I had to add it to this section too. Here are some of my favorites I've seen on the gram.
7. Sorelle and Co Bakery
How amazing is this- a bakery that is nut-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, preservative-free, soy-free, and vegan?! Sounds too good to be true. The treats here are so exquisite and wonderful! They also have a tea room. Sorelle and Co is clean, chic, and absolutely delightful!
8. Thompson Hotel Rooftop
Enjoy a cocktail or two with the most stunning view! Open during the day and night in the summer months!
9. Polson Pier
And one last thing for the scenic photos... Polson Pier. Lots of engagements happen here! The view is both stunning and romantic.