Like most metropolitan cities around the world, it’s hard to really get the full sense of Toronto in a single visit. A weekend or even a weeklong visit will only allow you to just scratch the surface of what this city has to offer. Even as someone who calls Toronto home, I’m continually discovering new spots and things I love about this city. There’s just so much to see and do! While there are a handful of things you simply must do on your first visit to Toronto, below are some suggestions of things to see and do for your next visit.
If you liked the CN Tower’s 360 Restaurant, try a rooftop patio
No doubt, your first visit to Toronto included visiting our most prominent landmark, the CN Tower, and maybe even included dining in the 360 Restaurant that rotates while you enjoy your meal. This time around, make a point to visit our many rooftop patios including Lavelle, The Porch, and The Thompson Hotel, which comes complete with a rooftop pool too! Our rooftop patios offer a unique way to experience the city and a chance to enjoy the stunning skyline views with a cocktail in hand.
If you liked the Toronto Islands, try Trillium Park
The Toronto Islands are one of the highlights for a first-time visitor to the city, especially in the summer months when you can pack a picnic, hop on a ferry, and enjoy a day at a beach. For something that doesn’t require a full-day commitment, check out the newly opened Trillium Park in Ontario Place. The city’s newest green space is located right on the waterfront and, much like the Toronto Islands, offers great views of the Toronto skyline. The 7.5-hectare park includes the William G. Davis Trail for those who love lakeside strolls or bike rides, and even a waterfront fire pit to enjoy during those amazing Toronto summer evenings.
If you liked St. Lawrence Market, try the Drake Commissary
The St. Lawrence Market is a fantastic spot where you can eat your way through the city while staying in one location. For this time around, head to the city’s west end and check out the newly opened Drake Commissary in the vibrant and rapidly evolving Junction Triangle. This 8,000-square-foot space is part of the Drake group of properties (which includes The Drake, Drake One Fifty, and Drake Devonshire) and boasts a restaurant, bakery, bar, and take-out food all in one location. The space showcases retro-chic interior finishes and is a perfect spot for brunch, lunch, or post neighbourhood-exploration drinks.
If you liked the CN Tower Edge Walk, try a helicopter tour
If you love experiencing adrenaline activities on your travels, you may have already tip-toed your way around the top of the CN Tower’s Edge Walk. If you’re looking for more incredible adventurous ways to take in the city, opt for a helicopter ride over Toronto with Toronto Heli Tours. Tours range from 8-15 minutes in the air and give you sweeping views of the city below, including major landmarks like the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, BMO Field, and the city harbour.
If you liked the Entertainment District, Distillery District and Kensington Market, try West Queen West, Parkdale, and Leslieville
I’ve always maintained that the charm of Toronto lies in its neighbourhoods and chances are you already checked out some of the more popular areas on your first visit, including the Entertainment District, the Distillery District and Kensington Market. This time, make a point to venture further out from the downtown core and get to know Toronto even more. West Queen West is home to old Victorian-style homes, boutique hotels and shops, vibrant street art, and was even named one of the coolest streets in the world by Vogue magazine. After, head further west and visit Parkdale, the latest neighbourhood seeing revitalization taking shape. Here you’ll find vintage shops, furniture and fabric stores, trendy restaurants and bars, and a large Tibetan and West Indian influence. On the east side of the city, spend some time exploring Leslieville. This family-friendly neighbourhood is home to a variety of coffee shops, unique fitness facilities, craft breweries, and small studios and art galleries.
If you liked the ‘Big 3’ breweries, try small craft brewpubs and breweries
If you enjoy beer, you’ve likely already hit up Mill St. Brewery, Steamwhistle, or even Amsterdam Brewery on your initial visit to the city. But Toronto’s craft beer scene is booming and every year, new breweries and brewpubs are opening in the city, which means there’s a huge selection of brews to sample this time around. Some of the notable new spots include Folly Brewpub, Bandit Brewery, and Blood Brothers Brewery in the west end, while in the east end you’ll find Left Field Brewery, Rorschach Brewing Co, and Common Good Beer Co.
About the Author
Arienne Parzei is a travel writer, videographer and photographer from Toronto, Canada. Her insatiable curiosity for learning about different cultures first-hand has led her to some amazing destinations and experiences, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, living in South Korea for two years, and backpacking for eight months through China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Open to trying just about anything, she shares her adventure activities and cultural experiences on her website, SeeYouSoon.ca, and hopes to inspire you in the process.
All photos and video by Arienne Parzei.