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8 Things to Do in Downtown Toronto for First Time Visitors

8 Things to Do in Downtown Toronto for First Time Visitors

Downtown Toronto is not just home to the biggest businesses and skyscrapers in Toronto; it’s also a wonderland of stunning attractions and fun activities for tourists. So if you’re thinking of going on a trip there, you’re in for a lot of fun.

If you’re having a hard time planning your itinerary for your visit, we got you covered! We’ve listed the best things first-time visitors can do in downtown Toronto to have a memorable trip.

Browse through Kensington Market

Address: Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Contact details: [email protected]

There are many things you can miss when travelling to downtown Toronto, but it’s definitely not the chance to browse through Kensington Market. It’s a diverse neighbourhood filled with indie shops, vintage thrift stores, art spaces, and more.

The streets are lined with Victorian houses, and the shops are decorated with vibrant graffiti and paintings courtesy of their local artists. It’s an entire neighbourhood that screams true bohemian experience.

Pro Tip:

The best time to visit is in the afternoon. That’s when most shops are open, and people are coming in, so the market is a lot more vibrant and fun.

For the best bohemian experience, try to visit during Pedestrian Sundays, which are the last Sundays of the month from May to October. There are usually live music and performances, and more vendors pop up to participate.

Check out world culture and history at the Royal Ontario Museum

Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada


Contact details: 416 586 8000; [email protected]

Operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM

The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum, with 13 million artworks, cultural objects, and natural history specimens on display. Be sure to check it out when you’re in downtown Toronto.

You’ll find items from ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, and more displayed in the museum’s 40 galleries and exhibition spaces. There are also 40 models and fossils of Tyrannosaurus rex, which can be the highlight of your visit if you have kids.

Pro Tip:

If you don’t mind paying, avoid coming to the museum on the third Tuesday night of the month because it’s usually free and a lot of people come. The place gets crowded, even with how large it is.

Parking can also be quite stressful during these nights.

Visit the CN Tower

Address: 290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada


Contact details: 416 868 6937

Operating hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM

If you ask Canadians what downtown Toronto’s most popular landmark is, chances are that the CN Tower will be one of the top answers. As the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the tower is hard to miss when in the city.

Its highest observation platform, SkyPod, allows visitors to get a glimpse of Niagara Falls and New York on a clear day. It also offers EdgeWalk, an activity that allows visitors to walk along the edge of the tower’s main pod while secured by a harness.

Pro Tip:

Get your lunch in the tower’s restaurant instead of eating somewhere else to save some bucks. 

For $75 ($40 for kids ages 4 to 12), you get lunch and access to the main observation tower, which is just $30 more than the price for timed general admission. Eating elsewhere can cost you more than $30 unless you opt for a sandwich and coffee.

Feast at St Lawrence Market

Address: Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada


Contact details: 416 392 7219; [email protected]

Farmer’s Market operating hours: Saturday – 5:00 AM to 3:00 PM

South Market operating hours:

Tuesday to Friday – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Saturday – 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Sunday – 10:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Every trip is not complete without pigging out on good food. Luckily, downtown Toronto is home to what National Geographic Magazine previously called the best food market in the world, the St. Lawrence Market.

This over two centuries-old market in downtown Toronto has over a hundred vendors offering almost any food you can think of, from pastries to gourmet cured meats. There are also some gift shops where you can find the perfect souvenirs for your trip.

Pro Tip:

Head to the fresh food stalls around 4:00 PM on Sundays. Vendors typically offer discounts and deals around this time because they’re trying to clear their inventory before they close.

Immerse yourself in a world of art at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada


Contact details: 416 979 6648; 1 877 225 4246; 

Operating hours:

Tuesday – 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Wednesday – 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM

Thursday – 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Friday – 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM

Saturday and Sunday – 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Housing more than 120,000 artworks, the Art Gallery of Ontario is another huge museum in downtown Toronto. It holds artworks made by indigenous people, Canadian, European, and Asian artists.

One of the museum’s most popular artworks you shouldn’t miss is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever. It’s a room that creates an illusion of an infinite field of mirrored spheres and is one of Kusama’s most fascinating works.

Pro Tip:

AGO offers an annual pass that’s only $5 more expensive than the day pass, so get that if you plan on revisiting the place. 

If you get the day pass, you can re-enter on the same day using the same ticket, so don’t worry about not seeing everything before you get lunch.

Dive into the beauty of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Address: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada


Contact details: 647 351 3474

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

On your way to CN Tower, you can drop by Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada since it’s just located at the base of the tower. It’s a world-class aquarium with ten galleries, 450 underwater species, and over 20,000 animals.

Their ten galleries show different themes, such as Canadian waters, Indo-Pacific water animals, jellyfish-focused, and stingray-focused galleries. The Dangerous Lagoon gallery is what you probably shouldn’t miss if you have kids who are shark-obsessed.

Pro Tip:

Buy your tickets online because there’s usually a really long line in the ticketing area. If you want to avoid the crowd, visit after 4 PM (or a bit earlier on Thursdays and weekends) since people are starting to leave around that time. 

Wander around the Distillery District

Address: 55 Mill Street, Toronto ON, M5A 3C4


Contact details: 416-364-1177; [email protected]

Operating hours:

Monday to Thursday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Friday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

To see some of the best-preserved Victorian-era architecture in Canada, head over to the cobblestone streets of the Distillery District. It used to be home to a distillery but is now brimming with clothing stores, jewelry shops, dining choices, and more.

The place has a thriving arts and culture scene and is considered a hub for creativity and expression in downtown Toronto. It hosts several live performances and festivals and has various street art, art galleries, and theatres you can visit.

Pro Tip:

Visit Soma Chocolatemaker to have a taste of some of the best lattes and chocolate in the district. Just be a bit patient because all eateries in the area tend to have long lines unless you go on a weekday.

Splurge and shop at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre

Address: 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1, Canada


Contact details: 416 598 8560

Operating hours:

Monday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM

A shopping paradise in the heart of the city, CF Toronto Eaton Centre is a must-visit place for those who want to splurge. With over 250 shops and 1.7 million square feet of indoor space, Eaton is one of the largest shopping malls in eastern Canada.

Some shops you’ll find in Eaton Centre include Coach, Fossil, Harry Rosen, Michael Kors, Swatch, and more. There are also a bunch of restaurants and cafes you can visit, such as Chick-fil-A, Hendriks Restaurant and Bar, Koryo Korean BBQ, and more.

Pro Tip:

Do not, and I repeat, do not put your phone in your back pocket. Eaton Centre gets really crowded, and there are some instances of people losing their phones, so be mindful of your surroundings and keep your valuables safe in your bag.