Whether you’re visiting Toronto for business or pleasure, there’s always time to be a tourist. When you have a spare afternoon or evening, don’t be concerned about finding things to do. In fact, there are dozens of options there just waiting for you to come out and enjoy them. While you will only be in town for a limited time, rest assured there are plenty of popular options that you can fit into your spare time. Here are top 7 things to do in Toronto that you will want to include on your list.
Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
Include a little culture among your things to do in Toronto by paying a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum. Found in the Yorkville area, the eclectic combination of the surreal and the traditional will capture your attention before you event set foot inside. What you will find inside is the single largest museum of any kind in Canada. Without a doubt, there will be something among all the galleries to pique your interest.
How large is the Museum? You’ll find 40 different galleries to peruse. As of January 2019, there are over six million items on display. If history is your thing, there are plenty of exhibits that cover just about any era you would like. That includes natural history exhibits that focus on pre-historic times. If the kids are along, they’ll be fascinated by the chance to learn more about dinosaurs, meteors, and other important parts of the planet’s history.
What else will you find there? If you’re into all sorts of art collected from around the world, this is the place. Along with plenty of examples of Canadian art, you’ll find excellent pieces related to European, Near Eastern, African, and South Asian art forms.
If you happen to be in town during the autumn, check out Friday Night Live at the Museum. The event takes place from 7:00 pm to 11:3- pm weekly. Along with art exhibits, you get to enjoy live music, cocktails, and several other amusements. If your trip allows you to be in town for two successive Fridays, make sure to attend each time. The theme changes weekly.
Take the Beyond Kensington Market Toronto Food Tour
If you’re looking for things to do in downtown Toronto, the Beyond Kensington Market Toronto Food Tour is a must for your list. This walking tour takes you through a series of ethnic communities that sport all sorts of locally owned restaurants along with mom & pop shops to explore. Lasting three hours, you have the benefit of tour guides who know and love these communities and are happy to share all sorts of historical tidbits along with personal anecdotes about the food, the people, and the cultures found along the way.
To ensure that you get a chance to sample plenty of different cuisines, there are seven different locations set up for tasting. You get to try dishes that hail from places you know well to others that you never heard of before going on the tour. Would you like to try a Caribbean dish? How about dumplings that are popular in several different countries? Maybe you’re in the mood to try Dan Dan noodles for the first time. Whatever your tastes, there will be plenty to eat and some chances to slip into some of the local shops too.
Enjoy a Show at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre
There are plenty of indoor things to do in Toronto. One that you don’t want to miss is making a trip to the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre. Home to some of the most prestigious theatre festivals, there are always interesting shows to see. The Elgin has a capacity of over 2,000 seats while the Winter Garden sports in excess of 3,500 seats. Even so, you’ll want to get tickets in advance since they sell out quickly.
What kind of shows can you expect at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre? You name it and it’s been there. There’s a good chance you can see long-running favourites like “Wicked” or take in a classic like “The Phantom of the Opera.” If your tastes lean more toward comedies or fun musicals, don’t be surprised if there’s a rock opera playing, complete with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and dialogue. Family friendly shows like “Peter Pan” are also included in the mix. Whatever your tastes, there’s bound to be something playing that’s just right.
Do Some Shopping at the Toronto Eaton Centre
One of the best things to do in Toronto is treat yourself to a shopping trip. For this activity, there’s no better place than the Toronto Eaton Centre. Here you will find the latest in contemporary designs that are sleek, clean and airy. Much of the charm is due to the high arched glass ceilings and the eclectic mix of exclusive high-end retailers and chain stores that add a familiar flair to the pace.
Considered North America’s busiest shopping mall, close to 49 million visitors shopped at the Centre during the calendar year of 2015. To put this figure in perspective, that’s a greater number than the total passenger count for the Toronto Pearson International Airport during the same year.
As of 2018, the Centre offers a total of 235 stores for your shopping pleasure. Six anchor stores provide the department store experience while the remainder focus on more customized goods. If you find yourself getting hungry, the food court offers all sorts of quick and tasty dishes. It’s easy to grab something to eat while you figure out which stores you want to visit next.
Are you in town for your birthday? That means it’s time to treat yourself to something that you’ve always wanted but never found the time. Once of the great things to do on your birthday in Toronto is to get tattooed. The City is home to a number of highly-trained tattoo artists who have plenty of standard designs to consider. You can personalize them with the choices of colours if you like.
Many of these artists are happy to explain the process while you check out different designs for your Toronto tattoo. Remember that if you have something in particular in mind, it’s possible to adapt a standard design or even come up with an original one. While you may have read a bit about Tattoo articles in the past, nothing beats visiting a clean and brightly lit facility that’s staffed by professionals who are ready to help you.
Remember that the better shops will also offer piercing and plenty of high-quality jewelry to go with it. They offer discretion with the tattoos and piercings, allowing you to select from all sorts of options. Whether you want something to show off to others or prefer something that only you and a select few will see, this can be one of the ways to take a little of Toronto home.
Have an Evening at Second City
You’ve heard of Second City and you know they’re one of the most prestigious comedy troupes in North America. Did you know that Toronto is home to one of the three Second City locations that are in operation today? The Toronto branch has been in operation since the 1970‘s and has served as the home for a number of popular comedians and performers. Such luminaries as Mike Myers, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, and Tina Fay have appeared there as well as at the other two locations.
When you visit Second City Toronto, you have the opportunity to laugh your cares away at all sorts of innovative and entertaining comedy acts. From sketch comedy to stand up, there’s something for just about everyone. There are even classes you can take if you want to learn a bit more about improvisation.
If you get hungry while visiting Second City, the bar offers a nice selection of foods along with beverages. There are also plenty of restaurants within walking distance if you would like to enjoy a full meal and then come back for more.
Try Poutine All Over the City
What’s poutine? It’s a dish made with a mound of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Poutine is considered one of the most popular comfort foods in the province and possibly across the entire nation. If you’re not a native of Canada, there’s a good chance that you’ve never had the opportunity to sample this delicacy. Since you want to enjoy fun things to do in Toronto, trying poutine is at the top of the list.
Where do you find poutine? Wherever you go, there’s a good chance that there’s an eatery that has it on the menu. One of the more popular spots to go is to Nom Nom Nom, although some will tell you that Poutini’s House of Poutine is the place to go if you want the real deal. Keep in mind that some eateries embellish their poutine by adding ingredients other than the basic three. Consider starting with the original and then try a few variations.
Whether you’re in Toronto for a couple of days or plan on spending a week or more in the city, there will never be a lack of things to do. From visiting a local tattoo studio to get your first tattoo to enjoying a bit of culture to trying all sorts of local and international cuisines, there’s always something new to see and do. Do some research, make a list, and do your best to see as much of the city as possible. While it can’t be done in single visit, you’ll be back for more.