The best way to experience Toronto’s unique character is by walking its streets, soaking up history, architecture, and art. Whether it’s walking by the water during the Hot & Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre, exploring Islamic art at the Aga Khan Museum and park, wandering beneath the leafy tree canopy of Baldwin Street near Chinatown, or munching on walnut cakes in Koreatown, you’ll be immersed in the scents, flavors, and tastes of international cultures.
When to Go
Summer is hot and sunny, so it’s the best season to soak up some rays at the outdoor cafes, beach boardwalks, and terraces that spring into action after the long winter. In spring or late fall, visitors can enjoy displays of cherry blossom trees in High Park or brilliant fall foliage. Winter sees the city's arts, music, and theater programming in full swing.
Hollywood celebrities and film fans flock to the annual September film festival held in venues around town, but you can enjoy the best in global film year-round at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located on the first five floors of a glass-clad tower in the heart of the Entertainment District. Visitors can also scout out famous movie scene locations, such as those from Suicide Squad, the Resident Evil series, and Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, all filmed in Toronto.
What to Eat
Hot dog stands dot many a street corner, but the place to go to sample the city’s most distinctive flavors is the historic St. Lawrence Market. Carousel Bakery's signature sandwiches fly across the counter as hungry patrons line up to order the city’s best grilled peameal bacon tucked within a soft bun. Slather it with hot mustard or horseradish for a memorable lunch.
Souvenir to Take Home
Located within the arts hub of 401 Richmond West, the award-winning Spacing Store offers city-focused books and design items. Look for buttons based on the tile patterns of TTC subway stations or the best-selling City of Neighbourhoods toques, designed and made in Toronto. Another top spot for curated Canadiana is the Drake General Store on trendy Queen West (among other locations). Pick up onesies with northern motifs or items for the home, from coasters featuring Canadian Mounties to candles inspired by vintage maple syrup cans.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Sustainable Travel Tip
Toronto’s cheery red streetcars are an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to tour the city. The 501 Queen Eastbound glides to the laid-back Beaches area, while the 506 Carlton rambles through many of Toronto's most colorful neighborhoods—Cabbagetown, two separate Chinatowns, Kensington Market, Little Italy—on the way to its western terminus at High Park.
Graffiti Alley, south of Queen Street and west of Spadina, features seven blocks of outdoor art and is a top spot for edgy daytime shots.