Exciting Towns and Cities in the Toronto Area
While the Royal Ontario Museum and CN Tower might top many Toronto visitors’ to-do lists, there is so much more to discover in Cities in Toronto.
For example, the Distillery District is a must-visit. Its cobblestone streets and Victorian architecture set the scene for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Toronto’s Vibrant Neighbors: An Introduction to GTA
Toronto might be best known for its towering skyscrapers and hulking freeways, but it is also home to many cool neighborhoods where families live, local businesses thrive and artists dream. It isn’t uncommon for different districts within the city to bleed into each other, but that only adds to its charm.
Located just to the east of downtown, Riverdale is one of the city’s most popular family-friendly neighbourhoods thanks to its fantastic schools and green space. Its trendy vibe is also a draw, with the area’s residents frequenting local bars and restaurants. A visit to the area isn’t complete without stopping by Kensington Market, a bohemian district that boasts the city’s best street market.
Another trendier area is The Junction, a former industrial neighborhood that has been fighting back against over gentrification in recent years. Its popularity among students and young urban professionals is fueled by its bar scene, boutique shops and proximity to Christie Pits Park and Casa Loma. It’s easy to get to from the city centre via the Keele and Dundas West stations.
Must-Visit Cities in Toronto Suburbs
The city is bursting with vibrant neighbourhoods and districts, each of which has its own personality. While each has something special to offer, Yorkville is especially popular among travelers seeking a fashionable, high-end stay.
The area boasts an excellent bar scene and a handful of trendy independent restaurants. The Kay Gardner Beltline, a disused railway path that’s transformed into a walkway, runs through the area, drawing joggers and cyclists.
Nearby, you’ll find the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, which is a must-visit for foodies and Anthony Bourdain-style trekkers. It’s brimming with Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese eateries and markets selling fresh produce, unique products and souvenirs.
The west end of Toronto is a favourite with young professionals thanks to its proximity to downtown office buildings and a variety of pubs and nightclubs. A trendy area, it’s home to a number of upscale condos and is just a short walk from the Art Gallery of Ontario, as well as Osgoode Hall and the ultra-modern City Hall. It’s also where you’ll find the popular indie bar scene and the famous Long & McQuade guitar store.
Exploring Nearby Cities from Toronto
The GTA is a gateway to many scenic escapes just a short drive from the city. Spend a weekend in one of these gorgeous Ontario towns and you’ll be treated to beautiful architecture, delicious food, charming places to stay and plenty of outdoor activities.
If wine is your thing, head to Niagara-on-the-Lake to sample local wines from the area’s many vineyards. The town is also a heritage district and home to delicious restaurants.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-time resident of Toronto, there are many incredible tourist attractions that are waiting to be explored. These hidden gems include neighborhoods, parks and other epic sights that are sure to blow you away.
For a more outdoorsy getaway, drive to Tobermory and explore the crystal blue waters of Georgian Bay. This gorgeous provincial park is a naturalist’s dream, with lots of hiking trails and kayaking adventures. If you visit during the summer, you can even join in on a night time wolf howl!
Stratford is a Shakespeare fangirl’s dream, with a wealth of buildings with a literary connection. The town is set in the midst of rolling hills and farmland, and is home to several festivals and events throughout the year. St Jacobs is another lovely Mennonite town to visit; spend the day exploring the quaint shops and admiring the pretty buildings and you’re bound to spot a horse and buggy!
Cultural Gems in the GTA
The cultural gems of Toronto are a bit more spread out than the city’s main tourist areas, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of attractions to see. For instance, the east of the Downtown district offers a mix of low rise neighborhoods to explore, including Regent Park and Trefann Court, home to a sizeable gay community and the aptly named The Village. Here you’ll find the Royal Ontario Museum and a handful of more quirky museums, including the Museum of Illusions where you can get wonky with holograms and other interactive experiences.
The Annex is another upscale neighborhood, edged by the University of Toronto and popular with a young, trendy clientele. Rows of cafes, theaters, bookstores, galleries, and swish restaurants line Bloor Street and fill up with patrons day and night. While a thriving community of students keep The Annex feeling young.
To the north of Downtown is Yorkville, a swanky area offering high-end shopping and dining along its leafy streets. It also boasts the Royal Ontario Museum, and the nearby Yorkville Park is a great spot for strolling. Here you’ll also find a good choice of affordable chain hotels. Alongside some boutique offerings leaning more towards the artsy side of things.
Outdoor Adventures with Cities in Toronto
Ontario may not be the first place that comes to mind for a nature trip. But this diverse province boasts stunning hikes and gorgeous lakes. The city of Toronto has plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts too. With a city known for its parks and citizen culture, the options are endless.
Roam the city’s expansive Toronto Island Park and its interconnected trails on a stroll. Or bike ride (solo, tandem, and four-seaters are available for rent). The park also has two beaches, Centre Island Beach and Ward’s Island Beach. Where you can get your sun on or swim in Lake Ontario, as well as the historic William Meany Maze.
For a completely different experience, paddle your way along Lake Ontario with a kayak, SUP. Or canoe from Toronto Eco Adventures’ small group excursion to Niagara Falls. You’ll see the city from a totally new perspective and enjoy uninterrupted views of its skyline and waterfront.