Do you like cities with beautiful views, nice parks, and street art? You will love Toronto! These are the best things to do in Toronto in the summer.
Why should you visit Toronto?
Toronto has a population of no less than 2.9 million, making it the largest city in Canada. It is quite a trendy city, full of beautiful art galleries, nice neighborhoods to discover, and bursting with lovely restaurants and cafes.
In this article, I’ll share some practical tips and the best things to do in Toronto in the summer.
Things to do in Toronto in the summer
What are the best sights and what are the best things to do in Toronto in the summer?
Visit the CN Tower
Wherever you go or stand in Toronto, you will see it: the CN Tower. At 553 meters (1814 feet), this is one of the tallest buildings in the world. Very cool to take a closer look. If you feel like it, you can also go all the way to the top. The highest platform is at 447 meters (1466 feet). Are you a daredevil? There is also a glass platform that you can stand on and look down 350 meters (1148 feet)! Who dares?
St. Lawrence Market
Do you like large covered markets? Then you should definitely visit St. Lawrence Market. This market is housed in a large building from 1902 and you can go here daily for fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, and other delicacies.
Discover the most beautiful street art
You’ll be able to find a lot of cool street art in Toronto. In many places, you can see the most beautiful artworks of graffiti (also in the schoolyard, as in this photo). In addition, there are art works like statues in many places, often made from residual waste. A great city for lovers of modern art.
Extensive shopping with a discount
Compared to Europe, shopping is really cheap in North America. In the city center (Downtown Toronto), there are more than enough shops where shopping enthusiasts can get their bearings. I myself am a big fan of the Premium Outlets (here you regularly get a discount on top of discounts), which you can find west of Toronto in Halton Hills.
One of the largest shopping malls in Canada can be found in Mississauga (a suburb on the west side of Toronto): Square One Shopping Center, this mall has no less than 360 (!) Different stores.
Are you not in the mood for massive malls and are you looking for a cozy neighborhood to stroll around? Go to Kensington Market. This district is located just north of Chinatown and consists of a maze of narrow streets. Graffiti everywhere, cute little boutiques, and lovely restaurants. Here I ate in a Hungarian / Thai restaurant (yes, I also thought it was a special combination) and the food was delicious. A great place to wander around.
Have a picnic with a view of the skyline
Do you feel like taking a break and still want to see the city? Then I recommend that you go for a picnic in one of Toronto’s many beautiful parks. The best part is to do that on Lake Ontario with a view of the skyline. One of the most popular parks is Toronto Island, which can be reached in 13 minutes by ferry from downtown Toronto.
Usually, this is one of the best things to do in Toronto in the Summer, but unfortunately, during my stay in Toronto, Toronto Island was closed due to flooding. So I had to divert to another park: Humber Bay Park. It is also good to stay here, it is wonderfully quiet and you have a beautiful view of the skyline.
The Distillery Historic District
Toronto is a really trendy city and some neighborhoods show it better than others. For example, the Distillery Historic District is great to visit in the evening. It is bursting with nice galleries, restaurants, bars, and beautiful boutique shops. There is a large Christmas market here in December.
Pro tip: Get a Toronto CityPASS when you plan to visit multiple attractions in Toronto like the CN Tower and Casa Loma. With this pass, you’ll get a great discount on many attractions!
Great day trips from Toronto
Are you staying a little longer in Toronto and do you want to know what the best day trips are from Toronto? These are a few options:
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is a beautiful nature reserver west of Toronto. There are some nice hiking trails along Lake Ontario and through the forest (bring bug spray, as it is quite swampy) and there are many picnic benches where you can have a nice picnic.
Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands National Park is located on the border of Canada and the US in the Saint Lawrence River. It has nothing to do with the famous salad dressing, but more with the thousands of islands that lie here. Many of the islands are inhabited and some islands have huge villas on them (there’s even a castle!), which are only accessible by boat. You can take a boat trip from Kingston and Gananoque. Highly recommended!
Tip: Instead of taking a boat, you can also see the islands from above if you go on a scenic helicopter tour!
Not far from Toronto is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world: Niagara Falls. I have to admit, the village itself looks like a cheap version of Las Vegas, but the waterfalls are incredibly impressive! It is also great to go on a boat trip. Then put on the poncho (you’ll get one at the tour), because you will get wet!
How do you get to Toronto?
There are several flights daily from several European cities to Toronto. You can find a return ticket from Europe to Toronto for no less than € 300 (this is during the low season, in the high season plane tickets of course are a bit more expensive). The flight from Amsterdam, Paris, or Madrid to Toronto takes about seven hours. Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest airline tickets.
Tip: The Canadian low-cost airline AirTransat often has good deals on flights to Canada.
Don’t forget your eTA!
If you are going to Canada by plane, you must apply for an eTA online. This is an Electronic Travel Authorisation. You can easily apply for your eTA for Canada via this website and it will cost you $7 CAD.
How to get around in Toronto
Is it useful to rent a car while in Toronto? Or is it better to use public transport?
Public transportation in Toronto
Downtown Toronto is quite pedestrian friendly, you can reach most of the sights on foot. Yet it is sometimes useful to sometimes take a bus, tram or metro. To use public transport, you can buy and recharge a chip card, this can be done at one of the machines at a station. Check Google Maps for the timetable.
If you want to visit Toronto Island, you can take a ferry. You can buy tickets for the ferries at the terminal.
By car in Toronto
Are you going on a road trip? Then it is useful to rent a car at the airport when you arrive. I always rent my cars for road trips in Canada and America through Sunny Cars or AutoEurope. These websites are especially useful for European travelers. If you book through these websites, all the insurance you need is included.
Unfortunately, having a car in Toronto is not very useful. It is quite busy (lots of traffic) and you have to share the road with many trams, which can cause delays. It is useful to find a good parking garage where he can park safely. I myself use the website Best Parking to check all the parking spots and prices.
These are my tips for the best things to do in Toronto in the Summer.
Would you like to read more about a trip to Toronto?
Check out one of these travel guides:
DK Eyewitness Top 10 Toronto (Pocket Travel Guide)
Moon Toronto & Ontario: With Niagara Falls, Ottawa & Georgian Bay