How To See The Best Of Toronto In A Day – 24 Hour Itinerary
Just over 5 million people call Toronto home, it’s one of North America’s fastest growing cities. Toronto is a great city to visit any time of the year and is jammed pack with activities.
Wondering what to do in Toronto if you only have one day? This one day Toronto itinerary is perfect if you are passing through on a road trip, or perhaps have a long layover and want to spend the time exploring the city. From exploring it’s local and diverse food scene to learning about the cities Victorian past.
If you only have time to spend one day in Toronto, you’ll want to use your time wisely to see the top sights the city offers. This post features some of the cities best attractions as well as some off-the-beaten path areas. Put on your walking shoes and let’s go!
This is how to see the best of Toronto in a day…
From Toronto Pearson International, you’ll head straight to Union Station in Downtown Toronto. This is the most efficient and cost-effective way into the city. Union Station is a good hub to start the day as this route will bring you back here should you need to head back to the airport.
The UP Express train takes you from Toronto Pearson to Union Station in 25 minutes. Prices for an Adult one-way fare are $12.35 . The first train leaves Toronto Pearson at 5:27 a.m. and trains come every 15-30 minutes.
Start your day at the distillery District. Once home to the biggest Distillery in the British Empire, Gooderham & Worts, the Distillery District has since been renovated into a hub for Arts, Culture & Entertainment.
Retaining it’s old world charm, this pedestrian only district features a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, gelato and chocolate shops. As a community run by artists there are several galleries and unique, independently owned clothes and gift shops.
Grab a morning coffee at Balzac’s coffee or grab a bite to eat at Wildly Delicious.
If visiting in the winter, be sure to make time to visit Toronto’s Christmas Market at the Distillery District.
Want to get personal and learn more about the Distillery District? Take a Walking Tour!
Duration: 2 Hours
Price: Entry to the Distillery District itself is free!
The Toronto Skyline is one of my favourites and a very recognisable one at that. Take the ferry to one of Toronto’s Islands to get breath-taking views of the skyline. Alternatively if you are short on time you could take a Harbour Cruise. The Harbour Cruise is a great way to learn a little bit about the Islands. During my tour on the Harbour I was surprised to see swans! Our guide explained that they were a gift from Great Britain and in return Canada gifted Britain with Canada Geese.
Duration: 1 Hour
Price: $26 CAD
Try Your First Beavertail
No, not a real Beaver tail… Beavertails are one mouthwatering treat you must try when in Canada. As a dessert enthusiast it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! The maple pecan beavertail was heavenly. And conveniently located at the Harbour…
Duration: 10 very yummy minutes!
Price: Beavertails are around $6
Yonge-Dundas Square is where Yonge Street & Dundas Street meet (Who’d have guessed?) This is comparable to Times Square but on a smaller scale, and London’s Piccadilly Circus. Yonge-Dundas is the place to do any shopping while you are in the city. Located on Yonge Street, the Eaton Centre is North America’s busiest shopping mall and one of the most visited Tourist Attractions in Toronto. With over 200 stores, you’ll be sure to get your shopping fix.
Duration: 1-2 Hours
Strike A Pose
How will anyone know you were in Toronto if you don’t have a photo with the Toronto sign? The natural tourist in me was obviously attracted to this big 3-D sign – if there’s a sign I’m taking a photo with it! The sign lights up at night creating cool reflections on the fountain below. The Toronto sign can be found in Nathan Philips Square, just in from of Toronto City Hall.
During the winter months they even offer free ice skating in the square.
Duration: For regular people 10 minutes / For Instagrammers 20-30 minutes
Royal Ontario Museum
With over 1million visitors per year, The Royal Ontario Museum (Or ROM) is one of the largest museums in North America, and the largest in Canada. The ROM houses over 40 galleries and is famed for its collections on Art, World Culture & Natural History. If you only visit one museum in Toronto, make it this one! To truly experience the museum, you’ll need at least 2/3 hours here. Make sure you hit up the Dinosaur & Egyptian exhibits.
Price: $23.00 CAD
Duration: 2-3 Hours
Get your fix of street art and people watching at one of Toronto’s most unique bohemian neighbourhoods, Kensington Market. This area reminded me very much of Haight Ashbury in San Francisco – except I loved Kensington market so much more!
Known for it’s diverse food scene, this is a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat. Take a food tour through Kensington Market and learn about it’s immigrant origins through it’s culinary history.
Duration: 1 Hour
Toronto is home to Canada’s largest China Town, which stretches along Dundas Street West & Spadina Avenue. There is a wide variety of restaurants including, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai & Japanese Cuisines. You’ll find everything from Dim-Sum to Pho. China Town is the perfect place to buy souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home.
Duration: 1 Hour
If you hadn’t got enough of Toronto’s Street Art, Graffiti Alley is a quick detour from China Town. Experience some of Toronto’s most vibrant street art in Graffiti Alley (AKA Rush Lane). The Alley runs from Spadina Avenue to Portland Street. Over time some of the mural’s get painted over, so you never know what you might get.
Duration: 30 minutes
The CN Tower
You can’t come to Toronto without experiencing the CN Tower. If you’ve read my other blog posts, you might have noticed I really like observation decks. This might come as a surprise to you – but I’m from the city! So naturally I love seeing the skylines of different cities. The CN Tower is a grand 553 metres high, with the observation deck at 342 metres high. I’ve been lucky enough to experience the CN tower on two occasions now, during the day and at night.
Dining at the CN 360 Restaurant is a perfect way to end your time in Toronto. Enjoy exquisite food while taking in the view of the city below as the restaurant rotates. The city is magical at night and 360 is an unforgettable dining experience. The reservation allows you access to the dining room as well as the lower observation decks including the glass floor.
Duration: 3 Hours
Price: $38 + Tax for both Observation Decks/$65 minimum for the 360 Restaurant
Where To Stay In Toronto
The Drake Hotel is a boutique hotel in Toronto’s hip Queen Street West neighbourhood. The hotel offers rooms for every budget and every guest has complimentary access to the 99 Sudbury Gym. The Sky Yard is considered one of Toronto’s best rooftop patios, and one of my favourite spots whether you are staying at the Drake or not. Queen Street West is where I’ve spent most of my time in Toronto and has it’s own gritty charm to it. It’s full of character and unlike anywhere else with great connections to Downtown.
One day in Toronto is a very short amount of time, and although there is far more to Toronto, these are my must-see & dos if limited on time.
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