Top 10 Places to See
When visiting a city with as many great attractions as Toronto, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Begin sightseeing and visit these tourist attractions which include the top 10 places to see in the city of Toronto.
The CN Tower
Located right downtown, The CN Tower is Toronto's classic tourist attraction. Visitors will attest that you haven't really seen Toronto until it's been seen from 553 meters (1,815 feet) above. The CN Tower has been the city's most iconic attraction since it was built in 1976, and until last year it was the tallest free-standing structure in the world. However, it's not just a tower. There are interactive rides, an arcade, and even a 3-D movie theater. On the main observation deck is also the CN Tower 360 Restaurant, a revolving restaurant that features the world's highest wine cellar. For the brave tourist, do not miss the glass floor elevator ride, which was named number one in National Geographic's list of the World's Top 10 Elevator Rides.
Head to the Market
St. Lawrence Market, located on the east side of the downtown core, is another of the city's most popular attractions. It was named among the top 25 markets in the world according to Food and Wine Magazine. On Saturdays the area also has a farmer's market, while on Sunday an antiques market takes its place. However, for those looking for something a little rougher around the edges, Kensington Market is a great option. Navigate the narrow streets where visitors can find everything from seafood markets and butcher shops to vegetarian health-food stores. There many restaurants and cafes, as well as a variety of stores selling vintage clothes, antiques, jewelery and accessories.
A popular outdoor winter activity is skating on one of the city's many outdoor ice rinks. Toronto has over 50 rinks, operating from mid-November to early March. If you have a pair of skates and a stick, go check one out. For visitors who didn't happen to bring skates with them, there are several rinks where they can be rented. The rink at Nathan Phillips Square and the Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre (Canada's largest artificially cooled outdoor rink), both have rentals available for visitors. The Natrel Rink also offers regular skating lessons for all skill levels.
Look out from Toronto's waterfront towards Lake Ontario and you will see the Toronto Islands, another of the city's most popular attractions. The islands are reached by taking a short ferry from the harbour, usually to Centre Island which is the main point of arrival. One of the best ways to check out the island's trails and boardwalks is by bike, which can be rented. The islands are packed with activities for all ages, including an outdoor maze, beaches, and an amusement park for the kids.
The Distillery District
Located just east of the downtown core, the Distillery District is one of the best examples of Victorian era industrial architecture in North America. Designated a National Historical Site in 1988, the past 10 years have seen the area revitalized into a destination for the arts, food and shopping. Among the attractions, the Distillery District is the home to the world famous SOMA chocolate factory. One of the best ways to take in the historical scenery is on a guided tour. For the adventurous, guided Segway tours are also available.
Try Eating Something Different
Toronto is increasingly becoming known for its wide range of international cuisine. When visiting Toronto, it's a great chance to try something you haven't eaten before. Outside of the downtown core, certain types of restaurants are often clustered together in one neighbourhood. Just west of downtown are the bustling markets and restaurants of Chinatown, while a little further northwest of there are Little Italy and Little Portugal. Over to the east, the area on the Danforth is famous for its Greek restaurants, while a little southeast of there is the up and coming area known as Little India.
A Night at the Theatre
Toronto has a booming theatre scene, featuring top stars and many hit plays and musicals from London and New York City. Downtown Toronto features several large Broadway-style theatres, including The Royal Alexandria Theatre, The Princess of Wales Theatre and The Canon Theatre. Recent hit shows to pass through include Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia, and The Lion King. There are also many acclaimed smaller venues such as Soulpepper Theatre Company or The Second City Theatre.
Check Out a Brewery
For the beer lover, there are several great breweries in Toronto that are worth checking out. The Steam Whistle Brewery, located downtown in the shadow of the CN Tower, offers regular tours of their brewery which is located in railway roundhouse from the 1920s. North of downtown is the Granite Brewery, an award-winning microbrewery that features a great patio in the summer. Meanwhile, over in the Distillery District is the Mill Street Brewpub, a restaurant and pub located on the original site Mill Street Brewery, who were the winner of Canadian Brewery of the Year from 2007 through 2009.
The Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto has many fascinating museums, but one that stands out from the others is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), located on Bloor Street. The building is hard to miss, thanks to its famous redesign that added a glass crystal structure to the existing museum building. The museum features dozens of exhibits and galleries on world culture and natural history, as well as a variety of changing special exhibits. Some of the most popular exhibits include their collections of Egyptian, Greek and Chinese artifacts, while kids will love the huge collection of dinosaurs as well as the recently re-opened Bat Cave.
North of downtown and perched atop a hill is Casa Loma, another of Toronto's top tourist attractions. The huge mansion was built in 1914 for a rich businessman looking to fulfill his childhood dream of living in a castle, but is now owned by the city and is open to the public. Casa Loma has also been a popular spot for movie shoots, including films such as X-Men and the recent Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The castle features decorated suites, tunnels, secret towers, stables, as well as a beautiful five acre garden. Self-guided multimedia tours are available in nine languages, including American Sign Language.
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