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How to Spend THREE DAYS in Toronto: 3-Day Itinerary for First Timers

How to Spend THREE DAYS in Toronto: 3-Day Itinerary for First Timers

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Toronto is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends diverse cultures with modern sophistication. It is easy to see why so many people travel here from all over the world!

There is so much to do in Toronto, from exploring the Toronto Islands to visiting the famous Niagara Falls on a day trip, there is never a dull moment! With so many places to go and great tour options, it can be overwhelming trying to plan a trip here.

Daniel and I have been lucky enough to visit this bustling city countless times and as a Canadian myself, I consider us Toronto experts. So I have gone ahead and created this 3-day travel itinerary to help you plan your trip to Toronto and to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best activities and experiences!

Don’t have time to read the full article? With only 3 days in Toronto, you are going to want to make the most out of your limited time. We have narrowed down the top experiences you can’t miss while visiting:

Day 1

Breakfast – Lady Marmalade

Daniel with brunch from Lady Marmalade in Toronto
Brunch is our favorite!
Two brunch meals at Lady Marmalade in Toronto, Canada
How good does that look?

There is no better way to start your first day in Toronto than by fueling up at Lady Marmalade for breakfast! It’s such a cute breakfast spot, with food that tastes even better than it looks – and it looks good!

We think this is the best place in the entire city for brunch … especially if you’re an Eggs Benny fan! They offer 7 different types of delicious Eggs Benedict, from mango to pulled pork! You can wash it down with a coffee or even a mimosa if you’d like – it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Lady Marmalade is located close to downtown Toronto. They serve breakfast and lunch all day every day from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Prices are pretty average for a specialty brunch spot ranging from $14 – $22 CAD for a plate.

It’s a very popular spot and unfortunately, they don’t take reservations. We recommend showing up around 10 minutes before they open so you can get seated right away. This way you can have your breakfast nice and early and still have time to explore the rest of Toronto!

Morning – Hockey Hall of Fame

Daniel poses for a photo with the current Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
The current Stanley Cup!
The original Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
The original Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Once your belly is full, you can head on over to the Hockey Hall of Fame! Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a trip to Canada if you didn’t do something hockey-related, right?

It’s a lot of fun for hockey fans, and if you’re not a fan you’ll still have a good time. I’m not big into hockey but I really enjoyed looking at all the hockey memorabilia from around the world! They even have the current and original Stanley Cup on display, which was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston over 130 years ago. You can take a picture with the current Stanley Cup for free, or pay $10 CAD for a professional photo, which makes a great trip souvenir!

But that’s not all, there are also a ton of exhibits and fun interactive activities the whole family will love such as NHLPA Game Time, a model rink where you can take on animated versions of NHL’s greatest stars! Or you can test your sports anchor skills in front of the camera at the TSN Broadcast Zone.

Another super cool exhibit was the to-scale replica of the famous Montreal Canadiens dressing room. And I liked the 22-minute film in the TSN theatre called Stanley’s Game Seven in 3D. There is honestly so much to see, that we wrote an entire post all about the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Bailey poses with a statue at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
The place is huge!
A man plays a hockey game at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
The games are fun!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, about a 10-minute drive from Lady Marmalade. If you aren’t renting a car, you can always use Uber, which is super popular in Toronto. To get there you’ll enter the street-level entrance to Brookfield Place, then follow the signs to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Alternatively, you can use public transit (subway, bus, or streetcar) to get around downtown Toronto easily. Check out the routes and schedules here. And if you’re arriving via public transit, you can access the Hockey Hall of Fame from Toronto’s underground walkway (PATH). Plus, if you’ve run into a little rain on your travels, you’re in luck! Both PATH and the Hockey Hall of Fame make excellent rainy-day activities in Toronto.

It is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (except for Christmas and New Year’s Day). Costs are quite affordable as well at just $25 CAD for ages 14+, $15 CAD for ages 4-13, $20 CAD for seniors over 65, and free for kiddos 3 and under!

We recommend booking your tickets in advance with Viator because it allows you to skip long ticket lines when you get there. It also allows free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, so there is no need to worry if your plans change!

Related Read: If you’re looking for more unique cities to explore, head south to Philadelphia, USA! There is a ton to explore, from iconic sightseeing tours to informational history tours.

Mid-morning – Head up the CN Tower

View of Toronto from the CN Tower
What a view!
The shadow of the CN Tower over Toronto as seen from the top viewing platform
It’s the best vantage point in the city!

Next, you can head on over to the CN Tower, the most iconic building in Toronto! It is also located downtown and is only a quick 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk away from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The CN Tower is Toronto’s most prominent and tallest structure and is a must-visit when you’re in the city. Soaring at a height of 553 meters (1,814 ft), it is the tallest building in Canada and the highest structure in North America, narrowly beating the One World Trade Center in New York City.

The CN Tower offers breathtaking views of the entire city, with the primary observation deck located 346 meters (1,136 feet) off the ground! Additionally, there’s the glass floor deck, providing a unique perspective as you gaze down at the city below. While stepping or sitting on the glass floor may induce some nervousness, rest assured that it is entirely safe! General admission for the main observation deck costs $43 CAD and you must reserve a time slot in advance.

For only $10 CAD more, you can head up to the SkyPod observation deck, which is 33 stories higher than the main observation deck! It is the highest observation platform in the entire Western Hemisphere!

And for those who want to get their adrenaline running, you can do the EdgeWalk, where you will walk along the outside of the building 116 stories up (harnessed in of course)! It is the world’s highest hands-free walk and is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget. Edgewalk operates from the spring to the fall every year and costs $199- $225 CAD per person aged 13 and up.

There is also a restaurant on the CN Tower that offers incredible panoramic views of the city. It’s called 360 Restaurant, because it rotates around once every 72 minutes, allowing you to enjoy the changing view as you eat! It is open every day from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm for lunch and 4:30 pm – 9:15 pm for dinner. Please note they do have a minimum spend requirement of $75 CAD per person, but that includes the cost of admission to the main observation deck.

Lunch – St. Lawrence Market

The front of the St Lawrence Market in Toronto
St. Lawrence Market!
Daniel enjoys a slice at St Lawrence Pizza and Pasta in the St Lawrence Market, Toronto
Daniel enjoys a slice at St. Lawrence Pizza and Pasta in the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

If you don’t wind up getting lunch at the 360 Restaurant in the CN Tower, we highly recommend making your way over to the St. Lawrence Market area to do some shopping and enjoy a bite to eat. It’s only a 7-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from the CN Tower, and it’s the best market in Toronto (in my opinion!).

St. Lawrence Market is the oldest market in Toronto and hosts 120 unique vendors. Originating in 1803, it has been renovated many times since making it into the lively market it is today.

It offers everything from gourmet cheeses to artisan jewelry and delicious food vendors! Our favorite is St. Lawrence Pizza and Pasta, where you can get mouthwatering pizza by the slice. Or if you’re craving fresh seafood, make sure to stop by the popular Buster’s Sea Cove – it’s so good it has people lining up around the corner!

If you’re a cheese lover (who isn’t?!) then don’t miss the Olympic Cheese Mart, home to over 600 different types of cheese. And if you love to cook, make sure to stop by Domino Foods, a niche cooking store that offers specialty ingredients that can be hard to find anywhere else.

The St. Lawrence Market is open every day except Monday, but the hours differ a bit depending on the day of the week. It’s best to check online before you go.

We absolutely love taking a stroll around this lively and vibrant market! It’s one of our fave places in the city, and we’re not surprised it’s a top destination on many Toronto sightseeing tours. It is a great example of the friendly atmosphere you’ll find all over Toronto which is why we think it deserves a stop on your 3-day Toronto itinerary!

Afternoon – Visit the Legislative Building

Bailey poses for a photo at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Toronto
How beautiful!

After lunch, head on over to Queen’s Park to visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It’s only 12 minutes away from the market by car and is an important political landmark. The building houses the Ontario provincial legislature – meaning all important decisions are made here to shape Ontario’s future!

Not only is the building important, it’s equally as beautiful to look at. Full of intricate carvings, arched windows, and green gardens, it makes for an impressive sight. Plus, you can even head inside the building on one of these tours to learn and explore. From free guided tours to architecture tours and tea tours, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

We did the 30-minute building tour, which gives you an overall look at the building while exploring various exhibits and seeing where the government meets – and the best part is that it’s completely free! Finding free things to do in Toronto is a challenge, so we love this option.

Another tour that sounds really interesting is the Afternoon Tea Tour where you can tour the building and then enjoy a traditional English-style tea service! This tour costs $45 CAD per person and all tours can be booked in advance on their website here.

To enter the building you must be on a tour of some sort and guided by staff. Anyone over the age of 16 will need to show photo ID upon entry and everyone will need to pass through the airport-style security. You can visit the Legislative Assembly from 8 am to 6 pm on weekdays, but it is closed to visitors on the weekends.

Note: Make sure you arrive 15 minutes before the tour starts to ensure everything runs smoothly and starts on time.

Night – Sunset sail

Sailing in Toronto
Sailing in Toronto!

For a unique and memorable activity to add to your Toronto itinerary, you can go for a sunset sail! Head to the harbourfront for a bite to eat beforehand, then hop on this sailing tour to get unbeatable views of the Toronto skyline while floating on Lake Ontario.

You’ll get to explore Toronto’s coast for 2 hours while relaxing on deck with a cocktail in hand. And the crew is so amazing, even letting you take the helm if you’d like! With only 12 people on board, it feels very intimate and social without being overcrowded.

The tour only runs during the summer from mid-May to October and only on select days, so make sure to check the schedule here to see if the dates line up for any of the days you’re in Toronto. The departure times also vary depending on the month you book to align with the changing sunset times. If a sunset sail doesn’t work for you, there is also an option to go for an earlier departure in the afternoon, but you would have to skip one of the other activities on this itinerary in order to fit it in.

The sailing experience costs $189 CAD per passenger and makes for a perfect activity to do with a partner, friends, or family. Seeing Toronto from the water offers a unique perspective on this gorgeous city. So if you’re ready to set sail, book this sailing adventure here!

Related Read: For more epic Canada travel destinations, consider visiting Banff! We put together the ultimate Banff itinerary to make your planning a breeze.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

Day 2

All day – Niagara Falls tour

Niagara Falls in the background of the viewpoints on the Canadian side
Summer is a beautiful and busy time here!
A cruise cruises past Niagara Falls on a tour
A cruise is a must while in Niagara!

Let’s be honest, you can’t visit Toronto for a couple days without going to see one of the most famous waterfalls in the world!

Niagara Falls is a majestic group of 3 waterfalls located only 90 minutes outside of the city, making for a great day trip from Toronto. Located right on the border between Canada and the USA, people come from all around to view the falls from each side of the border. From the Canadian side of the falls, you can view Horseshoe Falls (aka Canadian Falls), which is the most powerful waterfall in North America! Having seen both sides ourselves, we can say that the Canadian side is much more impressive and is definitely worth visiting while in Toronto!

There is so much to do here and many ways you can enjoy the scenic views of the falls. You can go on a cruise to the base of the falls with Niagara City Tours, take a scenic helicopter flight overhead, go up to the Skylon Tower observation deck, or even zipline across the falls!

Being such a breathtaking natural attraction, Niagara Falls is a very busy place. If you rent a car and drive out there yourself, it may be hard to find parking and get reservations. Plus there is so much more to see in the Niagara area than just the falls, so if you go yourself you risk missing out on some seriously awesome activities and sights.

This is why we decided to do a day tour of Niagara Falls from Toronto when we went. We didn’t want to deal with the stress of planning, logistics, and crowds – and boy are we happy we did! We had such a fantastic time on our Niagara Falls tour that we think everyone visiting the Toronto area needs to add it to their bucket list! That’s why I created the list below of the best full-day tours to Niagara Falls that you can add to your Toronto Itinerary.

Niagara Falls Day Tour from Toronto

Bailey leans over the railing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
Amazing views!
Niagara Falls boardwalk on the America Side as seen from the Canadian side
The boardwalk on the US side!

This $99 CAD full-day tour to Niagara Falls from Toronto is perfect for people who don’t want to go over budget but still want to experience the highlights of the Niagara region!

This tour picks you up in Toronto and brings you to Niagara Falls where you get 3 full hours to explore independently! During this time you can choose to do the Voyage to the Falls boat cruise during the summer months for an additional $36 CAD. Or for $22 CAD you can head up the Skylon Tower for some incredible views of the falls below (this is a great winter activity because it keeps you out of the cold!).

Not only does it visit the falls, but this tour also stops at the Floral Clock and the Living Water Wayside Chapel (the smallest church in the world)! Plus, you’ll get to visit the Niagara Whirlpool, a natural majestic blue whirlpool at the bottom of the Niagara Gorge, so get your camera ready!

Make sure to budget for lunch as well because it is not included on this tour. You can always pack a lunch and some snacks to bring along with you to save some money. This tour has thousands of 5-star reviews and always books up quickly, so reserve your spot here to book with free 24-hour cancellation!

Niagara Falls Platinum Tour from Toronto

Daniel poes for a photo at the front of the boat on the Hornblower Cruise in Niagara Falls
The cruise was our favorite part!
Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant with views of Niagara Falls
Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant with views of Niagara Falls

This full-day premium tour of Niagara Falls was the one that we did during the summer in Toronto and we had such a great time! We got to visit the falls, go on the boat ride, have a 3-course lunch overlooking the falls, and go wine tasting – all included! Does it get any better than that?

Since we visited in the summer, we got to do the boat ride adventure to the base of the falls which was simply incredible! But if you visit in the winter months when the boats don’t operate, you get to do the Journey Behind the Falls experience which takes you behind the powerful falls instead – which honestly looks just as fun!

This tour also stops at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is a charming town full of quaint boutiques and historic buildings. You’ll have some time to explore and take pictures. It was so nice having a guide for this trip, we learned so much about the falls and surrounding area and got to see so many things we would have missed had we been on our own.

For only $200 CAD per person, we think this tour is worth it! It includes all of the activities mentioned above, so we don’t think we could have done it any cheaper ourselves. Make sure to book this tour in advance, as it’s likely to sell out, especially in the busy summer months!

Niagara Falls Tour from Toronto with Boat, Journey Behind the Falls, and Lunch

Two boat cruises below Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls as seen from the US side!

This adventurous full-day Niagara Falls tour is jam-packed with all the amazing experiences the Niagara area has to offer! It is perfect for those wanting to make the most out of their day and see all of the highlights.

It is basically the same as the tour above but with a couple of little extras. It includes the boat ride to the falls (summer only), Journey Behind the Falls, lunch, wine tasting, and a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake. But it also visits the Niagara Whirlpool Aero Car, where in the summer, you can choose to go directly over the whirlpool suspended in a cable car!

You’ll also get to visit the Floral Clock (made out of 16,000 flowers!), Living Water Wayside Chapel, and drive through the scenic botanical gardens. This tour costs $325 CAD per person and lasts approximately 10 hours. Everything is included, except for the Aero Car, which is $20 CAD extra. If you’re ready to experience everything Niagara Falls and the area has to offer, book this tour in advance here.

Private Niagara Falls Tour in an SUV

For those who want to visit Niagara Falls on a tour, but don’t want to be with a large group of people and prefer flexibility, then this full-day private tour is for you! Since it will only be your group in a private SUV, you are in complete control over your itinerary and activities.

Prices vary from $999 – $1,099 CAD per vehicle depending on the number of people going. For example, an SUV that seats 6 people is $1,099 CAD, so if you had 6 people going it would only be $183 CAD per person. This price is for transportation only, so you would have to pay extra for any activities such as the Aero Car, the Voyage to the Falls cruise, or a visit to the Skylon Tower.

We think it’s definitely worth the price if you are going with a group of people and split the price. That way you can avoid being on a bus with a bunch of people and just do your own thing instead! Book your luxury private tour here!

Related Read: You can also visit Niagara Falls on a day trip from New York City to see another perspective of the falls from the American side!

Day 3

Morning – Visit the Toronto Islands

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo on a small bridge on the Toronto Island in Canada
The beautiful Toronto Islands!

There is no better way to start your last day in Toronto than with a visit to the Toronto Islands! This group of 15 interconnected walkable islands is only a quick ferry ride away from Toronto and is just booming with incredible things to do such as visiting the amusement park and exploring the islands on a bike ride!

The most convenient way to access the Toronto Islands is the City of Toronto ferry service. Boats embark from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal every 20 – 60 minutes and run from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm, but be sure to check the current schedule for the day of your visit as it’s always changing!

During the summer there are 3 different islands you can disembark on, but we think the best option is to take the ferry to Ward’s Island. This island has consistent ferry service year-round so it keeps things a bit less complicated. If you do end up disembarking on a different island it’s no biggy as you can walk to all the islands!

The ferry ride is only 20 minutes and offers fantastic views of the Toronto skyline the whole way. Plus it is super affordable at only $9 CAD for a return ticket.

A ferry leaves Toronto and heads to the Toronto Islands to transport guests
The ferry to the islands!

We recommend getting to the islands bright and early as there is so much to do! Start your day by grabbing a quick to-go breakfast and eating it on the ferry on the way over (Tim Hortons anyone?!). Make sure you have good walking shoes and get ready to explore.

You can visit the islands year-round but a lot of activities are closed in the winter. During winter you can still go for a beautiful walk around the islands on the 14.6-kilometer (9-mile) loop that transverses around the islands. And if you’re a history fanatic, make sure to check out the Gibraltar Lighthouse, where legend has it that the former lighthouse keeper was brutally murdered over some bootlegged beer and haunts the place to this day!

Summer is when the Toronto Islands really come alive! You can go swimming at Hanlan’s Point Beach (beware this is a nude beach!), or for something more PG we recommend Ward’s Island Beach, which is super peaceful. If you want to partake in some water activities such as paddleboarding, you can rent SUP boards from Toronto Island SUP for $30 CAD an hour, or $70 CAD for 5 hours. 

If you are visiting Toronto with your family, then a visit to the Centreville Amusement Park is a must. With over 30 kid-friendly rides, like teacups and bumper cars it is the perfect activity for the little ones. This attraction is open in the spring and closes in the fall and an all-day pass costs $40 CAD for kids over 4, and a family pass is $132 CAD.

When we visited the Toronto Islands, we went bright and early and did a morning bike tour around the islands. It was the perfect way to explore everything the islands have to offer from Gibraltar Point Lighthouse to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and some residential areas. We learned all about the area from our guide and got panoramic views of Toronto’s skyline along the way!

The tour starts at 8:30 am and lasts 3.5 hours, giving you enough time to explore more of Toronto still once you’re done. It operates every day year-round and costs $113 CAD per person. Out of all the fantastic tours in Toronto, this is one of our favorites! I highly recommend you book in advance here so you don’t miss out!

Lunch – Distillery District

Entrance to the Distillery District in Toronto
Welcome to the Distillery District!
Bailey enjoys a drink at Spirit Of York distillery in the Distillery District of Toronto
At Spirit Of York Distillery in the Distillery District of Toronto

After exploring the Toronto Islands you’ll be ready for some lunch! Head to the Distillery District located in downtown Toronto to fill your stomach and explore this historical area.

Toronto’s Distillery District was once a hub for whiskey production, but in the late 20th century it became run down. To bring up the neighborhood value, 47 of the historic Victorian buildings were redeveloped into restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and art studios, making it the trendy area it is today!

Most of the Distillery District is closed off to cars so it is a lovely place to walk around and admire the Victorian architecture and watch some street performers before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants.

One of our favorite places is BOKU Japanese Eats + Drinks, which serves incredible ramen and neat cocktails. I ordered an Old Fashion and it was served in a teapot – so cute! If you’re a vodka or gin fan, I recommend going to the Spirit of York Distillery which is actually the only real distillery in the Distillery District! You can even go on a self-guided tour of the distillery and sample 3 spirits here for $15 CAD.

Feeling like a craft beer? Swing by Mill Street Brewpub (you might spot Daniel there!). If sweets are your thing, indulge in a delicious craft ice cream at Scooped (my personal favorite), or savor a pastry and coffee at the charming Brick Street Bakery.

Honestly, there are so many cool spots here, that it’s tough to decide where to begin. So to get some more guidance on where to go and to learn some history about the area, we recommend doing this 1-hour walking tour. It starts at 11:30 and 3:30 most days and only costs $25 CAD per person. It’s a great way to make the most out of your time here, but it does sell out quickly so be sure to secure your spot in advance here.

Afternoon – Explore Casa Loma

Bailey poses for a photo at Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada
Casa Loma is so beautiful!
A bedroom at Casa Loma, Toronto
Just one of the bedrooms!

Once you’re all fueled up from lunch, make your way over to Casa Loma (about 20 minutes by car). Casa Loma looks like an impressive Gothic Revival Castle from the outside, but on the inside, it’s been transformed into a museum full of interactive and interesting exhibits for all ages!

Inside the castle, it’s like you’ve stepped back in time as you wander around and look at the vintage decor. You can also check out the exhibits, from the Backstage Celebrity Gallery to the Dark Side of Toronto, where you learn about Toronto’s darker side during the days of prohibition, The Great Toronto Fire, and much more!

Another educational exhibit is the WWII Intelligence exhibit, where you learn how this castle was a secret agent training school and can even see a spy suitcase radio on display! The Antique Car Collection is another exhibit that car enthusiasts will love. We had a great time checking out the cars and taking a bunch of pictures!

Plus, there are many specialty exhibits that change often, so even if you have been to Casa Loma before, I’m sure you’ll have a great time coming back again for another visit! Admission is $40 CAD for adults, $35 CAD for seniors and teens, and $25 CAD for 4 to 13-year-olds. The castle is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily for touring, except for Christmas Day. You can purchase your tickets in advance here.

Vintage car out the front of Casa Loma on display in Toronto
A vintage car!
Daniel with a statue of Mike Tyson at Casa Loma, Toronto
The museum of the stars!

When we went to Casa Loma, we actually visited as part of this guided tour of Toronto. We found this was a great option to not only experience Casa Loma, but also a bunch of Toronto’s other highlights in one day!

With only 3 days in Toronto, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to fit in everything that you want to do. That’s why a tour is a great option! This tour is about 6 hours long and makes sure you see all of the best places Toronto has to offer in a short amount of time.

It visits many of the stops we’ve mentioned so far such as the the CN Tower, Distillery District, St. Lawrence Market, and Casa Loma. On top of that, we also went to Chinatown, the Harbourfront, and Kensington Market just to name a few. It was also so nice having a guide to teach us about the city and its history as we went along.

This small-group tour costs $282 CAD per person and includes downtown hotel pick-up around 9:30 am, admission tickets, and transportation. It only runs on Sundays from mid-June to the end of September and tends to book up fast, so secure your spot here.

Dinner – Little Italy

A Little Italy sign in Little Italy in Toronto
Welcome to Little Italy!
Bailey eats her meal at Trattoria Taverniti in Little Italy, Toronto
Trattoria Taverniti!

Having explored many of Toronto’s iconic activities all day, we are sure you’ll be starving by the time dinner rolls around. We recommend heading to a new area of the city to get a taste of just how diverse the culture of Toronto is – and there is no better place to do that than Little Italy!

Little Italy is a vibrant neighborhood in Toronto set around the main College Street strip. Since Daniel’s family is Italian, we can’t resist going here to indulge in authentic Italian cuisine. It’s such a quaint and trendy area of the city, and we enjoy walking around and taking in the Italian vibes!

For a nice, sophisticated evening meal we suggest Sotto Voce Pasta and Wine Bar. I’m a sucker for their potato gnocchi in a white wine sauce – yum! It’s a great spot in any season, feeling cozy inside during the winter and enjoying the patio in the summer months!

If you are looking for a budget-friendly dinner option, we recommend heading to Il Gatto Nero for some delicious authentic Italian pizza. And if you’re craving affordable pasta, then Trattoria Taverniti is the place for you! Make sure to reserve a spot here in advance as it can get really busy.

After dinner, you can catch a show at the old-style movie theater, The Royal. Or walk down the Italian Walk of Fame along College Street, to honor the 25+ Italians who have made significant contributions to the world across many different fields. Or head to a fancy cocktail bar for a nightcap or two (more on this in the next section!).

Night – Go for cocktails

Two cocktails at the bar at Pompette Bar in Toronto
Pompette Bar in Toronto
Daniel drinks a cocktail from Pompette Bar in Little Italy
Cheers!

After your busy day exploring Toronto, there is no better way to end it than by relaxing with a fancy cocktail in hand! Some of the bars below are located in Little Italy, making it easy for you to walk over after dinner. The others may require a quick taxi or Uber ride over, but hey, you have limited time in Toronto, might as well make the most of it right?

Bar Pompette (our favorite)

Bar Pompette is conveniently located in Little Italy and is also our favorite cocktail bar! Offering a chic French atmosphere and cocktails made with authentic ingredients, this bar feels like you are sitting in a Parisian café. When you get here, you won’t be surprised as to why they are named one of the Top 50 Bars in North America, and one of the best bars in Canada.

You can snack on some shared plates from their sister restaurant, Pompette (which is equally as great), and if you’re lucky enough, you may be there on one of the live jazz nights! Make sure to check their Facebook page here for any upcoming events. The bar is open until 1 am Sunday – Thursday and until 2 am on the weekend. Believe us when we say that this bar deserves its spot on your 3-day Toronto itinerary!

Bar Raval

If Bar Pompette is too busy, or you want to try out a few different cocktail bars, head on over to Bar Raval which is also located in Little Italy. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be wowed by the gorgeous wooden decor! We had so much fun here sipping on cocktails and cracking jokes with the hilarious staff.

They also serve some delicious tapas that pair well with craft cocktails. My favorite was the “Palomita”, a twist on the classic Paloma cocktail. And if mocktails are what you’re after, they have a great selection of those as well. It’s open daily from 11 am to 1 am, and would be a perfect way to end off your busy 3 days in Toronto!

Civil Liberties (Canada’s No. 1)

Civil Liberties is located just outside of Little Italy, but is worth going to because it was rated the Best Bar in Canada! It is a small speakeasy that serves unique Prohibition-era cocktails. And the craziest part? They don’t have a menu, so the bartenders will whip up a specialty creation for you based on your preferences!

There is no sign on the front of this bar, instead, you must look for the large pineapple symbol signifying you’re at the right place. Please note that they don’t accept reservations and are open every day from 6 pm to 2 am. It’s a busy place, and you may have to wait a bit for a seat, but we think it’s well worth the wait!

BarChef

BarChef is located on Queen Street West, another quick drive from Little Italy. This is the place to go for super unique and quirky cocktails. Some are served in plant pots while others are inside of giant shells! This makes for such a memorable experience – offering many great “Insta” photo opportunities!

The menu is always changing to reflect the time of year as the mixologists use seasonal herbs and ingredients. The prices definitely reflect this upscale establishment as a cocktail can set you back anywhere from $20 – $55 CAD per drink. We think it’s worth it to experience this one-of-a-kind cocktail bar and treat yourself! It’s open from 5 pm – 2 am and will certainly be somewhere you’ll want to visit again when you return to Toronto one day!

Other Things to do While You’re in Toronto

bailey smiles at the camera while riding her bike in downtown Toronto
A bike tour is a great way to explore!
Daniel tastes an authentic taco in the Kensington market on a food tour in Toronto
Trying tasty tacos on a food tour!

Toronto is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So here are a few other top attractions and activities you may like to explore:

  • Go on a wine tour! – Canada’s largest wine-making region, the Niagara Wine Region, is not far from Toronto. Famous for its exquisite Chardonnays, Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, and icewine, you can’t miss coming here if you’re a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur! We don’t recommend driving yourself to go wine tasting, so the best way to visit is by taking this full-day wine-tasting tour from Toronto.
  • Eat great food! – With so many different cultures and restaurants, Toronto is a foodie heaven! Miku Toronto is considered the best sushi restaurant in the city with a big outdoor patio and a happy hour (3-4 pm) with great discounts. Food tours in Toronto are also top-notch and we enjoyed this walking food tour to help us try a variety of tasty dishes from butter tarts to pierogies to maple syrup and the chance to explore the iconic St. Lawrence Market.
  • Go on a bike tour – Biking is a great way to explore Toronto’s fantastic outdoor areas, the trendiest neighborhoods, and historic sights. You can easily get around and see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. Plus, there are many fun bike tours to choose from to suit your interests and needs. Our favorite was this guided bike tour downtown!
  • Watch a hockey game – Hockey is HUGE all over Canada, so taking in an NHL game while you’re here is sure to be a fun night. While I’m a diehard Oilers fan, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the home team here and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. Tickets range from $150 – $350 CAD and you can buy tickets on Viator.
  • Drink craft beer – The craft beer scene in Toronto is booming! If you’ve read a few of our blogs, you probably already know how much we love a refreshing pint! Our favorite spot in Toronto is the Amsterdam Brewhouse – it has 4 patios and is located right on the waterfront. For a behind-the-scenes look at how craft beer is made and to do some tastings, check out this brewery tour!

Where to Stay in Toronto

One King West Hotel & Residence
Photo credit: One King West Hotel & Residence

Let’s face it, Toronto is a huge city with practically endless options when it comes to hotels. But, not all hotels are created equal – you want to ensure you book a place with an amazing location and even better amenities, which narrows down your choices.

I’ve handpicked some of the best places to stay in the city – the below hotels all have an ideal central location as well as everything you need to have a comfortable stay!

If you’re looking for more info about where to stay in Toronto, be sure to read our blog. It includes detailed info on the best area to stay, how to get from the airport to your hotel, and the top hotels!

Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Luxury Stay – $$$)

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Toronto. With its historic ballroom, beautiful rooms, and a gorgeous skylit indoor pool, you’ll have to force yourself to leave and explore the city! But once you do, you’re steps from Union Station, so getting around via public transport is really easy. It also means that you can take the train from the airport directly to the hotel! 

The Hockey Hall of Fame is two blocks away, and you’re also about a 20-minute walk from both the waterfront and the Distillery District. Rooms usually start from around $500-$600 CAD per night and you can check availability and book the Fairmont Royal York online here!

The SoHo Hotel (Moderately-priced Boutique Hotel – $$)

The SoHo Hotel is an excellent choice for anybody looking for a centrally located hotel that is just stunning. This hotel is located only a short walk from attractions like the CN Tower, and it also has plenty of nice facilities including a lap pool and fitness center. Oh, and did I mention the rooms have heated bathroom floors?!

Room rates typically range from $300 CAD and up. The SoHo is one of the highest-rated hotels in Toronto, so be sure to book online here well in advance to secure your room.

One King West Hotel and Residences (Moderately-priced Full Apartments – $$)

If you’re looking for a home away from home, then One King West Hotel and Residences might be the best choice for you. Although a hotel, this property features fully self-contained apartments complete with a kitchen. This is perfect if you like to cook some of your own meals. On top of that, the location is ideal and you’ll also find a fitness center and onsite bar and restaurant.

For an entire apartment in Toronto, prices start at about $330 CAD. You can check availability and book online here.

Town Inn Suites Hotel (Budget Hotel – $)

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to stay in Toronto. If you’re on a tighter budget, Town Inn Suites Hotel is the best choice for you. Starting from only $170 CAD per night (in the low season), this centrally located hotel is tastefully decorated and features plenty of amenities. Rooms also feature a kitchenette, which comes in very handy. You can check prices and secure your room online here.

Samesun Toronto (Budget Hostel – $)

The Samesun Toronto is the perfect choice for backpackers or solo travelers wanting to meet others. The hostel has a great location as well as communal spaces (including a huge kitchen) where you can relax. They offer both dorm beds as well as budget private rooms, but bathrooms are all shared.

You can grab a dorm bed for less than $100 CAD per night during peak season. You can book the Samesun Toronto online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

One of the best ways to experience Canada is by hitting the road. Some of the best things to do and attractions are located in remote areas between destinations. For that reason, we highly recommend getting your own wheels!

  • Rent a car – To simply rent a vehicle, search on Discover Cars where they compare tons of different rental companies near you. This way you can easily compare prices, features, policies, and more!
  • Rent a campervan or motorhome Motorhome Republic is great for finding a motorhome or campervan to rent in Canada. With your own home on wheels, you can camp in beautiful places and save money on accommodation!

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfies as people loading onto a tourist boat at niagara falls canada
Thanks for reading!

Exploring Canada’s largest city in just 3 days can be a challenging feat! There are so many things to do and see, but I hope this post helped you to plan and make the most out of your short time here. If you do happen to have an extra day, our 4-day Toronto itinerary might come in handy. We loved visiting Toronto and plan on returning as soon as we can, maybe we will run into you there!

For more travel tips and ideas, check out our other blogs about Canada and the USA. Or leave us a comment or question below!

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