Cosmopolitan Toronto blends plenty of relaxing outdoor fun with a vibrant arty and intellectual atmosphere. The city is clean, friendly, and easy to get around, with a great mix of neighborhoods and entertainment options to suit any taste, from rough-and-tumble hockey fan to highbrow foodie.
I visited Toronto in 2010. We didn’t get to do a whole lot of exploring on that trip, but I still managed to come away loving the city for its cultured vibe, non-stop festivals, and easy-going attitude!
One of the most recognizable features of the ever-changing Toronto skyline, the CN tower is the tallest free-standing tower on the continent—so naturally the view from any of its observation decks is absolutely spectacular! A favorite among tourists is the Glass Floor Level, which lets especially brave visitors wander on a transparent floor 1,120 feet over the city streets. A couple stories above that is a revolving restaurant, and a few hundred feet higher still is the Sky Pod, which also happens to be the highest public observation deck in the world.
Second City Comedy Club
During our visit, I insisted that we take in a show at this world-famous comedy theater. Second City has produced some of the best comics in recent decades, including Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, and (one of my personal favorites!) Tina Fey. This visit didn’t disappoint: the show was hilarious!
Originally the heart of Toronto shipping and transport, the Harbourfront has been revitalized over the last 30 years. It offers plenty of pedestrian-friendly options for dining, amusement, and sightseeing. The CN Tower is located in this district, as well as Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the baseball stadium, and historic Fort York. Of course, a simple stroll here is the perfect way to get some fresh air and enjoy a cool breeze off Lake Ontario.
St. Lawrence Market
Located in Old Town, the St. Lawrence Market has a dizzying selection of domestic and international foods. You can sample some of the best Canadian bacon around, as well as delicious seafood, local cheeses, and other tasty items.
On Saturdays, a farmers market operates in the brick building just across the street. Local growers here offer fresh produce, as well as homemade preserves, pickles, and other fare. The venue transforms into an enormous antique market on Sundays.
This small group of islands just off the city coast boasts hundreds of acres of parkland—all easily accessible by ferry. This is a popular summer destination to get away from the heat of the city. There are lots of outdoor activities available here, including tennis, sunbathing, swimming, and so on. There’s even a clothing-optional beach for the uninhibited! Of course, the islands get very cold in the wintertime, but that doesn’t stop winter-sports enthusiasts from doing a little cross-country skiing here during the chilly season.
The most famous waterfalls in North America are located about an hour and a half from Toronto, right on the border between the U.S. and Canada. Niagara Falls actually comprises three separate waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, American Falls on (you guessed it!) the American side, and Bridal Veil Falls beyond that. On my last visit here in 2010, we took a boat tour that took us right up to the base of the falls. Absolutely breathtaking!