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They say normal is for people without any courage. If that’s true then Toronto is certainly a city for the brave. Chock a block with hidden hotspots and one-of-a-kind experiences, there is no better place for adventurers to explore than the fast-paced Canadian capital of Ontario.
But with over 140 different languages spoken and 24/7 activity in a city that never seems to sleep, Toronto’s energy and diversity can be bewildering for first-time visitors. But don’t worry. Our handy guide to the most unusual things to do in Toronto will have you feeling like part of the pack in no time!
Whether you’re looking for fun-filled activities the whole family can enjoy or romantic things to do in Toronto, this city’s got it all. Here’s the lowdown:
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Toronto is cutting-edge. There are all sorts of fun things to do in Toronto whether you’re young or old. Here are a few must-dos:
It’s always beer o’clock in Toronto and this exciting four-hour Toronto beer tour is the best way to sample your way through some of the region’s finest.
Trace back the history of the city as you visit three unique bars and historic pubs and learn tales of the Canadian beer industry – particularly the beer brewed in Toronto and regional craft beers. After all, the best stories are always told over a pint!
Along the way, you’ll stop at the bustling St. Lawrence Market to sample some local beers and shop for regional delicacies. End the tour off with a bang in the Distillery District, surrounded by 19th-century buildings that once housed an old whiskey distillery.
Today, these cobbled streets are lined with quirky bars and restaurants where you can continue your beer tasting mission!
Do as the locals do in Toronto with this unique private walking tour of the city. Get a rare look into life as a local as you join a real-life Torontonian in their favourite hangout spots.
The perfect way to meet new people in a new place, this walking tour connects first-time travellers to Toronto with locals passionate enough to share their city with you.
Uncover the city’s best kept secrets on an itinerary that’s tailor-made to your interests, be it history, culture or food. You’ll learn all the tips and tricks used by the locals and discover the best places to shop for groceries, the easiest ways to get around the city and the best things to do in your neighbourhood.
Let loose at Putting Edge, a glow in the dark mini golf experience in the greater Toronto area. With a twist on the traditional game as you know it, Putting Edge offers 18-hole black-lit courses with some crazy themes that range from Aztec jungles to ocean floor.
A feast for the senses, the course also includes neon lighting AND sound effects to make this a truly immersive experience!
There are four locations for Putting Edge to choose from in the Toronto area, namely Whitby, Oakville, Vaughan, and Scarborough Town Centre. Whether you’re looking for a unique date night idea, a fun day out with friends, or one of the best things to do in Toronto with kids, a game of neon putt-putt is sure to be a hit!
One thing is for certain: Date night will never be the same again after you’ve experienced these epic romantic things to do in Toronto as a couple:
You could spend hours exploring Toronto and tasting the city’s exceptional Canadian cuisine. Or you could join us on a secret food tour and we’ll organise it all for you!
On this exciting three-hour food tour with all drinks and meals included, you’ll begin with a guided tour around the famous St. Lawrence Market, one of the finest food markets in the world according to National Geographic. It’s also the oldest in Toronto!
Throughout the tour, you’ll sample six authentic Canadian food tastings, including a classic Canadian Peameal Bacon BLT sandwich, fish and chips, Pierogis, and California rolls, followed by a traditional dessert at an Irish pub. The final sweet tasting is a secret – we can’t spill all the beans – but we promise it will be worth it!
A private wine tasting is hands down one of the most romantic things to do in Toronto. With the guidance of a CMS-certified sommelier, Mackenzie Putici, you’ll get to taste some incredible fine wines in the cellar of an exclusive Toronto wine club.
Learn about the history of the Ontario wine region from facts about the different regions to the grapes grown. As you sample fine wines from Putici’s private collection, he’ll teach you about the art of wine tasting using a grid to identify each taste and how to tell the difference between Ontario’s local vintages.
The tour includes a welcome cocktail made from local spirits and the chance to taste Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Ice-wine. The wines are paired with tasty cheeses and snacks so come hungry!
We don’t know about you but the idea of cuddling up with board games and coffee sounds like our PERFECT date idea! Visit Snakes and Lattes, a concept cafe where the aim of the game is unplug, unwind and reconnect. No mobile phones allowed! (We’re kidding, but not really).
Take your pick of over 1,500 different board games from the impressive collection ranging from Monopoly to Clue. The barista’s jobs at the cafe are two-fold – whip up some incredible coffee and give you tutorials on how to play the board games.
There are loads of two-player games to choose from but some of the baristas will jump in as an extra player should you need it. Keep an eye out for the new brunch and board game Sundays – the owners are thinking up some cool new ideas! Watch this space…
Toronto is built for the young and the young at heart! Here are the best things to do in Toronto with kids:
Toronto’s premier amusement park, Canada’s Wonderland, offers the perfect family fun day out. Located just outside of the city of Toronto, this impressive theme park promises thrills and spills from heart-racing rollercoasters to laidback water rides and slides.
Adrenalin junkies can get their fix on Behemoth, the Mighty Canadian Minebuster or the all-new Yukon Striker. Families with little ones can relax at the kids-only area with 25 child-friendly rides and attractions. There’s something for all ages to enjoy!
And as if all that’s not enough to tempt you, there’s also a 20-acre water park called Splash Works that’s included with your entry ticket. Take note that Canada’s Wonderland is open only during the summer months so it can get rather busy. To skip the queues and crowds, we suggest planning your visit on a weekday if possible.
The largest city park in Toronto, High Park promises 500 acres of sprawling green space for kids to run wild and free. Take a stroll through the scenic gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails before sitting down for a family picnic on one of the large lawns.
Kids will love the Jamie Bell Adventure Park near the Duck Pond. It’s probably the largest outdoor playground in Ontario and it looks like a kiddie’s castle! It also doesn’t hurt that an ice cream truck is usually nearby in the summer months!
April and May are particularly special times to visit High Park when the cherry blossoms are on display. There are also free outdoor performances of Shakespeare plays between June and August, but they’re so popular you’ll have to come at least an hour before the performance starts to grab a seat. Don’t forget your snacks!
Editor’s Note – Have you seen our guide to the most underrated and coolest things to do in Toronto?
Pile the kids into the car and head to one of Toronto’s nearby – err – beaches. While they’re certainly not winning any global awards for beauty, the lakeside beaches of Toronto are still pretty scenic. The most popular beaches are Kew and Woodbine found just within city limits.
Play a game of beach volleyball or badminton at Woodbine, a Blue Flag beach that stretches across three kilometres or take a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool. If you’re here during July you may catch the Beaches International Jazz Festival held at Woodbine Park.
For something a little quieter, head to Ward Beach. More popular amongst locals than tourists, this beach offers a volleyball court and a disc golf course for those looking for a little fun in the sun.
When the sun goes down and the lights go on, Toronto buzzes with energy. Here are the best things to do in Toronto at night:
We all know that Niagara Falls is just one of those things you do when you visit Toronto. But this evening tour with boat cruise offers the chance to do it a little differently.
On-board the Hornblower boat, this nine-hour tour gets you up close to the astonishing cascades of Niagara Falls when they’re illuminated beautifully at night. During the day you will visit the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and learn about the history of the area and its people.
You’ll also stop for a spot of wine tasting at an award-winning winery and visit the smallest chapel in the world! If you’re feeling especially fancy, you can include a number of add-ons, such as a buffet dinner at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel with panoramic views of the waterfall or a helicopter flight over the falls.
Love Toronto? Check out our local guide about where to stay in Toronto!
Taste your way through Toronto’s mouth-watering pizza offerings on this unique pizza crawl with a difference. You’ll visit five pizza hubs throughout the city’s west end, tasting and learning about the history of this age-old delicacy as you go.
A typical Torontonian pizza is unique; unlike anything you might have tasted before. They’re usually loaded with all sorts of unusual toppings, from jam to duck confit and you will get to taste five different pizza varieties while you’re here!
Armed with a local guide and the chance to chat with some of the local pizza chefs at the top of their game, you’ll learn about the art of pizza making, including how to make and roll pizza dough and how to cook it in the oven. You certainly won’t go hungry and beverages and brews are included too!
Fine tune those karaoke skills at Bar+ in Toronto. Don’t let all that practicing in the shower go to waste!
Set in the heart of downtown Toronto, Bar+ is the ultimate karaoke bar for confident singers and shy talent alike. With the privacy of your own private room and literally thousands of songs to choose from, you’ll get to test your vocals to your heart’s content.
While the smaller rooms are perfect for one to seven people, the larger private rooms can seat up to 30 people – perfect for large groups or special occasions. Each room comes with all the equipment you need, including wireless microphones.
On the menu, you’ll find all sorts of drinks to give you Dutch courage, including cocktails, shooters, and beer. There is also bottle service in the licensed rooms.
Put your wallet away; it’s of no use to you here! This city is packed with plenty of fun and free things to do in Toronto. Here are our top suggestions:
Running for well over 200 years, the St. Lawrence Market is the oldest market in Toronto. Named one of the top 25 markets in the world according to Food & Wine Magazine, the market can be found in three historic buildings – the South Market, the North Market, and St. Lawrence Hall.
Within these celebrated buildings, you’ll find a wide variety of local foods, such as organic fruit and veggies, spices and meats, seafood and more. But while the food here is world-famous – even the Pope has shopped here – the St. Lawrence Market offers so more than just food shopping; it’s a culture hotspot too.
Don’t miss the antique market held here on Sundays and take the time to visit the art gallery with free exhibitions detailing the city’s history and culture.
Did you know that the Canadian Opera Company hosts free lunch hour performances in Toronto? Held in the sunny Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Free Concert Series is an opportunity for over 400 artists from Canada and around the world to share their talent with you.
These concerts are one of the best free things to do in Toronto. Held at noon and at 5:30 pm every day from September to May each year, they focus on six series, such as vocal, piano, dance, jazz, chamber and world music. Get ahead of the working mob and arrive early to reserve your spot as admission is available on a first come, first served basis.
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Watching a movie under the stars is by far one of the best free things to do in Toronto. But now imagine you get to do it on a beach with a large outdoor movie theatre set on a floating barge in Toronto Harbour? Bliss!
During a weekend in August, Sugar Beach is transformed into a magical outdoor movie theatre. The sail-in cinema films are shown on a two-sided screen set up in the harbour so you can watch them from the beach or from a boat on Lake Ontario. If you’re opting for the beach, you will need to bring a blanket or chair as no seating is available. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Other outdoor movies are screen in parks and other public places across Toronto in the summer months, including St James Park, Regent’s Park, and Earl Bales Park. There is also a free permanent screen at Tiff Cinematheque in Toronto.
So you can see that this dynamic Canadian city is overflowing with bucket list adventures and exciting experiences, and we’ve only named a few of the best things to do in Toronto!
If we had to pick just one, we’d say that a walking tour with a local is the best thing to do in Toronto because it offers the perfect way to see the city and meet a few locals while you’re at it. After all, there’s no knowledge like local knowledge.
But whether you’re looking for fun, romantic, family-friendly or even free things to do while you’re here, Toronto doesn’t disappoint. Happy exploring!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!