Ultimate 3-Day Toronto Itinerary

Welcome to Toronto, Canada’s bustling metropolis known for its diverse culture, vibrant neighborhoods, and iconic landmarks. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning for another round, this DIY(Do It Yourself) travel guide will help you make the most of your 3-day adventure in the city. Let’s dive into a detailed Toronto itinerary filled with top attractions, local insights, and practical tips.

Exploring Toronto

Toronto offers something for everyone, whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, in a group, or with family. Each type of travel experience brings its own unique approach to exploring the city. Here’s how to make the most of your Toronto trip, no matter who you’re traveling with.

Solo Travel

Traveling solo in Toronto, or any other city around the world, allows for maximum flexibility and the freedom to explore at your own pace. You can dive into the city’s rich cultural scene, spend time in museums, or enjoy a quiet afternoon in one of the city’s many parks. Solo travelers will appreciate the extensive public transit system, making it easy to get around without the need for a car.

Tips for Solo Travelers:

  • Stay in Hostels or Budget Hotels: Great for meeting other travelers and saving money.
  • Join Group Tours: A fantastic way to meet people and learn about the city.
  • Visit Cafes and Bookstores: Perfect spots for some solo downtime.
Visit exotic sceneries as part of your ultimate Toronto itinerary

Day 1: Downtown Delights

Morning: CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium

Start your Toronto adventure with a visit to the iconic CN Tower. Arrive early to avoid long lines and head straight to the observation deck for breathtaking views of the city skyline and Lake Ontario. For thrill-seekers, the EdgeWalk offers a heart-pounding experience as you walk around the outside of the tower’s main pod, 1,168 feet above the ground.

CN Tower:

  • Opening Hours: 9 AM – 10:30 PM daily.
  • Tickets: It’s best to buy tickets online in advance to save time.
  • EdgeWalk: Must be booked separately and well in advance due to its popularity.

After soaking in the views, make your way to Ripley’s Aquarium, located right next to the CN Tower. The aquarium features over 20,000 marine animals and various themed galleries. Walk through the Dangerous Lagoon, an underwater tunnel with moving sidewalks that takes you up close with sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

Ripley’s Aquarium:

  • Opening Hours: 9 AM – 11 PM daily.
  • Tickets: Purchase tickets online to skip the line. Consider the Express Anytime tickets for flexibility.
  • Getting There: Both the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium are located in the heart of downtown Toronto, easily accessible via public transit. If you’re staying in the city center, it’s a short walk or a quick ride on the TTC subway to Union Station.

Lunch: St. Lawrence Market

For lunch, head over to St. Lawrence Market, a historic market offering a wide array of food options from local vendors. This market is a foodie’s paradise, featuring fresh produce, artisanal goods, and ready-to-eat meals. Don’t miss the famous peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery, a Toronto staple.

St. Lawrence Market:

  • Address: 93 Front St E, Toronto.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday 8 AM – 6 PM, Saturday 5 AM – 5 PM, closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Pro Tip: Visit the market’s upper level for unique souvenirs and local products. It’s a great place to pick up gifts or mementos from your trip.

Afternoon: Distillery District

After lunch, make your way to the Distillery District, a pedestrian-only village filled with cobblestone streets, art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. The district, once a large whiskey distillery, is now a vibrant cultural hub.

Must-Visit Spots:

  • Distillery Historic District: Take a guided tour to learn about the area’s history and its transformation from an industrial site to a cultural hub. These tours provide in-depth insights and interesting anecdotes.
  • Mill Street Brewery: Stop by for a craft beer-tasting session and enjoy the lively atmosphere. The brewery offers a variety of locally brewed beers, and it’s a great spot to relax.
See also  My Travel Bucket List

Getting There: From St. Lawrence Market, it’s a short streetcar ride on the 504 King Streetcar to the Distillery District. Alternatively, you can enjoy a pleasant walk if the weather is nice, taking in the sights along the way.

Evening: Dinner and Entertainment in Entertainment District

As evening approaches, head back to the Entertainment District for dinner and nightlife. This area is bustling with restaurants, theaters, and bars, offering something for everyone. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many eateries – for a variety of cuisines, check out King Street West.

Dinner Recommendations:

  • The Keg Steakhouse + Bar: A popular spot for steak lovers, offering a great atmosphere and excellent service.
  • Khao San Road: For those craving Thai food, this restaurant offers authentic and flavorful dishes.

After dinner, explore the vibrant nightlife. Catch a live theater performance at the Royal Alexandra Theatre or the Princess of Wales Theatre, both renowned for their excellent productions. If you prefer live music, check out some of the local jazz bars or music venues.

Theater Options:

  • Royal Alexandra Theatre: Known for its grand architecture and historical significance.
  • Princess of Wales Theatre: Offers a range of performances from musicals to plays. Check their schedules in advance for available performances.

Day 2: Cultural and Natural Escapes

Morning: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

Start your second day with a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, one of the largest museums in North America. The ROM’s collections span natural history, world cultures, and art, making it an enriching experience for all visitors.

Upon entering the museum, you’ll be greeted by the imposing skeleton of a Barosaurus, a spectacular introduction to the extensive dinosaur exhibit. The ROM’s Dinosaur Gallery is a must-see, featuring fossils and life-sized models that captivate both children and adults.

Next, explore the Bat Cave, a fascinating interactive exhibit that recreates a bat habitat complete with sound effects and lighting that simulate the cave environment.

The First People’s Gallery provides deep insights into the art, culture, and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This exhibit features artifacts, art, and multimedia displays that highlight the rich traditions and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

Additionally, the ROM has an extensive collection of Egyptian artifacts, including mummies, hieroglyphs, and ancient jewelry, providing a glimpse into one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Getting There: The ROM is located at 100 Queen’s Park, easily accessible via the TTC subway. Get off at Museum Station, which is directly across the street from the museum entrance. If you’re driving, there are several parking lots nearby, but public transit is highly recommended due to downtown traffic and parking costs.

Lunch: Yorkville

For lunch, head to the nearby Yorkville neighborhood, a chic and trendy area known for its upscale cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Yorkville is not only a dining destination but also a great place for a leisurely stroll, window shopping, and people-watching.

shopping mall with Gloria Jeans coffee

Sassafraz: Located in a charming Victorian row house, Sassafraz offers a sophisticated menu featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant’s beautiful setting, complete with a sunlit atrium and a picturesque patio, makes it perfect for a relaxing lunch.

Hemingway’s Restaurant & Bar: For a more casual atmosphere, visit Hemingway’s. Known for its rooftop patio, Hemingway’s is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. The menu offers a wide variety of pub-style food, including burgers, salads, and their famous fish and chips.

After lunch, take some time to explore Yorkville’s many boutiques and art galleries. The neighborhood is home to several high-end stores and unique shops that offer everything from designer clothing to handmade crafts.

Afternoon: Toronto Islands

After exploring Yorkville, head to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to catch a ferry to the Toronto Islands. The ferry ride itself offers stunning views of the Toronto skyline and takes about 15 minutes.

Toronto Islands: Amazing Things To Do and See Just A Short Trip From Harbourfront

The Toronto Islands are a car-free oasis with beautiful parks, beaches, and recreational activities. The islands provide a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, offering plenty of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.

Bike Rental: Rent a bike from one of the island’s rental shops and explore the scenic bike paths that wind through the islands. Biking is a great way to see more of the islands and discover secluded spots.

Centreville Amusement Park: If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love Centreville Amusement Park. The park features over 30 rides and attractions, including a Ferris wheel, log flume, and miniature train.

Beaches: Spend some time at Hanlan’s Point Beach or Ward’s Island Beach for a bit of sun and sand. Hanlan’s Point Beach is known for its clothing-optional section, while Ward’s Island Beach is family-friendly and offers picnic areas and playgrounds.

See also  Is Getting Across Canada On Less Than $25 A Day Possible?

Getting There: The ferry terminal is located at the foot of Bay Street on Queens Quay. Ferries run regularly, especially during the summer months. Tickets can be purchased at the terminal or online in advance to save time. Be sure to check the ferry schedule and plan your return trip accordingly.

Evening: Kensington Market and Chinatown

Return to the mainland and head to Kensington Market and Chinatown for an evening of exploring two of Toronto’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Kensington Market: Known for its bohemian vibe, Kensington Market is a cultural mosaic with eclectic shops, vintage clothing stores, and diverse food options. The market’s colorful street art and murals make it a great place for photography and casual strolls.

Rasta Pasta: For a unique dining experience, try Rasta Pasta, which offers a delicious blend of Jamaican and Italian cuisine. The jerk chicken and oxtail pasta are crowd favorites.

Seven Lives: If you’re in the mood for tacos, Seven Lives is the place to go. Their Baja-style fish tacos are legendary, and the casual setting is perfect for a quick bite.

Chinatown: Just a short walk from Kensington Market, Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood with a rich cultural heritage. The area is packed with authentic Asian restaurants, herbal medicine shops, and unique markets.

Mother’s Dumplings: Visit Mother’s Dumplings for authentic handmade dumplings. The dumplings are made fresh daily and come in a variety of fillings, including pork, chicken, and vegetarian options.

Rol San: For classic dim sum, head to Rol San. This popular restaurant offers a wide selection of steamed, fried, and baked dim sum items, perfect for sharing with a group.

Spend the evening enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, sampling delicious food, and exploring the unique shops and markets in Kensington and Chinatown. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into Toronto’s multicultural fabric and are a must-visit for any traveler.

With these comprehensive plans, your second day in Toronto will be filled with cultural discoveries, scenic beauty, and culinary delights. Whether you’re exploring world-class museums, relaxing on the islands, or indulging in diverse cuisines, Toronto promises a day of unforgettable experiences.

Beautiful Sights in Canada

Day 3: A Mix of History and Modernity

Morning: Casa Loma

Start your final day with a visit to Casa Loma, a majestic gothic-style castle that offers a unique glimpse into Toronto’s past. Built in the early 20th century by financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is an architectural marvel with grand rooms, secret passageways, and beautiful gardens.

Casa Loma Highlights:

The Great Hall: With its 60-foot high ceiling and sculpted figures, this room is truly awe-inspiring. The hall often hosts events and can give you a sense of the grandeur that defined Sir Henry Pellatt’s vision.

The Library: Featuring rich woodwork and an elegant design, the library is a favorite spot for visitors.

The Towers: Climb up the narrow stairs to the towers for a panoramic view of Toronto’s skyline. It’s a bit of a workout but worth the effort.

Secret Passages: Discover hidden passages that add an element of intrigue to your visit. These were used by Sir Henry Pellatt to move discreetly around his home.

The Gardens: During the warmer months, the gardens are in full bloom and offer a tranquil setting with fountains, sculptures, and beautiful landscaping.

Tips for Visiting Casa Loma:

Audio Tour: Take advantage of the free audio tour available in several languages. It provides detailed information about each room and the history of Casa Loma.

Special Exhibits: Check for any special exhibits or events happening during your visit. Casa Loma often hosts themed events and temporary exhibits.

Photography: The castle and its grounds are very photogenic, so bring your camera for some stunning shots.

Getting There: Casa Loma is located at 1 Austin Terrace. You can reach it by taking the TTC subway to Dupont Station and walking north. Alternatively, you can take a short taxi or rideshare from downtown.

Lunch: Queen Street West

After your castle visit, head to Queen Street West for lunch. This trendy area is known for its artistic vibe, diverse dining options, and vibrant street art. Queen Street West is a hub of creativity and culture, making it an ideal spot to relax and enjoy a meal.

Recommendations:

The Drake Hotel: Not just a hotel, but also a great spot for brunch or lunch. The Drake Hotel’s restaurant offers a variety of dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The rooftop patio is perfect for a sunny day, offering great views and a lively atmosphere.

See also  Is Canada The Healthiest Country To Travel In?

Terroni: An Italian restaurant known for its delicious pasta and pizza. Terroni maintains a rustic charm and a commitment to authentic Italian cuisine. Their outdoor patio is a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal while people-watching.

Alternative Options:

Queen Mother Café: Known for its eclectic menu that includes Thai, Laotian, and North American dishes.

Fresh on Queen: A popular spot for vegetarians and vegans, offering a range of plant-based dishes and smoothies.

Afternoon: Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Spend your afternoon at the Art Gallery of Ontario, home to an impressive collection of Canadian and international art. The AGO is not only renowned for its extensive collection but also for its stunning architecture, including the modern addition designed by Frank Gehry.

AGO Highlights:

Canadian Collection: The AGO boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Canadian art, including works by the Group of Seven and Indigenous artists.

Contemporary Art: Explore contemporary works from around the world, with frequently changing exhibitions that showcase current trends and new artists.

European Art: The European collection includes masterpieces from the Renaissance to the Baroque period, featuring artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Gogh.

Henry Moore Sculpture Centre: The AGO houses the largest public collection of Henry Moore sculptures in the world, providing a deep dive into the artist’s work.

The Galleria Italia: A beautiful glass and wood gallery that runs along the building’s facade, offering a serene space to view art and relax.

Tips for Visiting the AGO:

Guided Tours: Join a guided tour for in-depth insights into the collections and special exhibits. Tours are included with admission and cover different themes.

Interactive Areas: The AGO offers interactive spaces and activities for children and families, making it a great visit for all ages.

Dining: Grab a coffee or a light snack at the AGO Bistro, which offers a menu inspired by the gallery’s art collections.

Getting There: The AGO is located at 317 Dundas Street West, easily accessible by public transit. Take the TTC subway to St. Patrick Station and walk a few blocks west. The gallery is also accessible by streetcar.

Evening: Harbourfront Centre

Conclude your Toronto adventure with a relaxing evening at Harbourfront Centre. This cultural hub along the waterfront offers a variety of activities and stunning views of Lake Ontario. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring.

Things to Do at Harbourfront Centre:

Stroll Along the Waterfront: Enjoy a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, taking in the views of the lake and the city skyline.

Public Art Installations: Harbourfront Centre features a range of public art installations that add a creative touch to the area.

Live Performances: Check the schedule for live music, theater performances, and festivals. The summer months, in particular, are filled with outdoor events and activities.

Boating and Water Activities: Rent a kayak or paddleboard, or take a scenic boat tour of the Toronto Islands and the waterfront.

Travel across a scenic lake by kayaking is one of the great ways to enjoy the outdoors

Dinner Options:

Amsterdam BrewHouse: For a casual meal with stunning views of the lake, Amsterdam BrewHouse offers a variety of craft beers brewed on-site and a menu featuring pub favorites like burgers, fish and chips, and poutine.

Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine: For a more refined dining experience, Pearl offers an elegant setting with panoramic views of the waterfront. The menu includes a variety of Chinese dishes, with a focus on fresh seafood and traditional dim sum.

Final Tips for Your Toronto Trip

Public Transit

Toronto’s TTC system is efficient and easy to navigate. Consider getting a day pass for unlimited travel on buses, streetcars, and subways. It’s a cost-effective way to explore the city.

CityPASS

If you plan to visit multiple major attractions, consider purchasing a CityPASS for discounted entry. It includes admission to the CN Tower, the ROM, Ripley’s Aquarium, and more.

Weather

Toronto’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack accordingly and check the forecast before your trip. Layers are key, especially in the spring and fall.

Local Etiquette

Canadians are known for their politeness. Be sure to say “please” and “thank you,” and respect local customs. Tipping is generally expected in restaurants and for services like taxis and hotel staff.

Enjoy your DIY adventure in Toronto, and make the most of every moment in this vibrant and diverse city! From historic landmarks and world-class museums to trendy neighborhoods and scenic waterfronts, Toronto offers an unforgettable experience for every type of traveler.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best time of year to visit Toronto?

The best time to visit Toronto is during the late spring (MayJune) and early fall (SeptemberOctober) for mild weather and fewer tourists. Summer offers a vibrant festival scene, but it can be crowded and hot.

2. What are some family-friendly activities in Toronto?

Family-friendly activities in Toronto include visiting Ripley’s Aquarium, the Toronto Zoo, and Centreville Amusement Park on the Toronto Islands. Interactive exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre are also great for kids.

3. How many days do you need to explore Toronto?

A three-day itinerary is ideal for exploring Toronto’s major attractions, cultural sites, and vibrant neighborhoods. If you have more time, you can delve deeper into specific areas or take day trips to nearby destinations.

4. What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Toronto?

The best neighborhoods to stay in Toronto include Downtown for its central location, Queen Street West for its trendy vibe and Yorkville for luxury and shopping. The Distillery District offers a unique, historic atmosphere.

Share

Search
Close this search box.

We want you to know! Some links on this page may be affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from what you buy. 
It will never cost you extra, or make us bias, but helps us run this blog and occasionally get a good cup of coffee. 
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
Do you want to contribute?
Publish your guest post on Etramping!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *