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At heart, I’m the type of traveler who absolutely adores the ubiquitous buzzy atmosphere that you’re only able to find in big cities. However, at the same time, I totally understand hectic streets, energetic crowds, subway trains, and towering skyscrapers aren’t for anyone. Which is totally fine!
We’re all different, particularly when spending our hard-earned money to travel, so it’s important to find a destination that nourishes the soul, especially if you’re limited on vacation time.
As for those of you who love cities, though, you’ll definitely want to spend a long weekend in Toronto the next time you’re in Canada. Toronto is one of the largest cities in all of North America and packs a (positive) punch over the course of a couple days.
3 Days in Toronto Itinerary FAQ
First and foremost, I want acknowledge that (in general) travel isn’t an affordable hobby. As a vacation, Toronto isn’t necessarily the cheapest city to visit either, so you want to budget your time and energy for a long weekend here.
So, in the first part of my 3 Days in Toronto Itinerary, I’ve included some of the most frequent questions that I get from my readers when they’ve asked about this city.
Afterwards, I’ll dive into the specifics about what you ought to see and do on your vacation. As always, I left some wiggle room in the itinerary, so you’re able to add your own touch.
Is 3 Days Enough Time in Toronto?
I think Toronto is totally worth visiting for travelers who love big cities. Absolutely. At the same time, though, you might be wondering if 3 days in Toronto is enough to see and do everything.
3 days isn’t a ton of time for a city like Toronto. My best advice is to divide your days in neighborhoods, or pick your top attractions and center your sightseeing around them.
You don’t want to try and travel ALL OVER the city in a single day by choosing sites that are far apart. While the streetcars and TTC (Toronto subway) are effective, you want to use your time actually enjoying Toronto’s rich neighborhoods and museums rather than staring at the walls of public transportation.
Ultimately, in my itinerary, I’m going to share a lot of what I did on my own long weekend in Toronto. However, I know we have different tastes, so I left enough flexibility for you to add activities that interest you.
Is Toronto Safe to Visit?
Honestly, if you’re already used to big cities, then Toronto really isn’t too challenging of a destination. I had a great time traveling solo in Toronto, and definitely want to visit again in the near future.
As Canada’s biggest city, though, normal city “street smarts” apply when visiting Toronto.
For example, I strongly believe that any area without people isn’t a good place for me to be either. Avoid walking down deserted, empty roads alone. When in doubt, call a rideshare rather than risk the walk alone back to your hotel.
Honestly, compared to a lot of similarly-sized US cities, Toronto’s violent crime rate is pretty low. It’s insanely unlikely that you will be attacked sightseeing in the middle of the day. INSANELY UNLIKELY.
What to Pack for a Long Weekend in Toronto
You don’t really need to pack anything “special” for Toronto, but here are a couple essentials that you want to bring on your trip.
- Appropriate Clothing: Toronto’s weather wildly varies depending on the season. In winter, obviously bundle up with a heavy coat, hat, and gloves. However, in the summer, the weather is quite warm and moderate, so don’t overdo it with the layers. Just because Toronto is “in Canada” doesn’t mean it is chilly all year round.
- Comfortable Footwear: You’ll be clocking a lot of steps in Toronto. So take good care of your feet! I love cozy walking shoes for city trips but in winter, maybe opt for a comfortable pair of boots to keep your feet happy and warm.
- Lightweight Day Bag: A lightweight day bag is perfect for a solo trip to Toronto. Pacsafe bags are awesome if you’re worried about keeping your belongings safe and sound.
- Lonely Planet Pocket Toronto: As a blogger, I always love travel blogs, but there’s something to be said for a traditional guide book. Lonely Planet has the perfect pocket Toronto guide to help you plan the the perfect city adventure.
- Travel Insurance: Canada has universal healthcare for citizens, but for travelers, medical care is a fortune if an emergency happens. Protect yourself and purchase travel insurance to keep your health and wallet safe. I always use World Nomads on my trips.
Where to Stay in Toronto
- The Anndore House: This is a hip and upscale little hotel that’s part of the Hyatt chain. I absolutely loved my stay here. It was safe and cozy, and very welcoming for solo travelers. Plus you’re only a quick two minute walk from the Bloor-Yonge station. See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
- The Annex Hotel: This hotel has a wonderful location (5-minute walk from Spadina subway station) and a wonderful price. Plus you’re not too far from the Bata Shoe Museum, which is one of Toronto’s most unique attractions. See prices on Expedia.com.
- The Hazelton Hotel: Do you want a bit of luxury? Then stay in this 5 Star boutique hotel located in Yorkville, which is Toronto’s high-end neighborhood. You can’t go wrong here. See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
3 Days in Toronto Itinerary Overview
|St. Lawrence Market, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Explore Downtown Toronto
|Casa Loma, ROM, Yorkville
|Kensington Market Food & Shopping, Arts, and Neighborhoods
3 Days in Toronto Itinerary: All the Details
Let’s get started on the details of your 3 Days in Toronto. I tried to keep distances between sites very practical and reasonable, and actually (more or less) followed this same itinerary on my own trip to Toronto.
Additionally, I also left some room for creativity, especially surrounding restaurants, because I know everyone has different tastes and budgets, and my personal recommendations might not be perfect for you. Which is okay!
On your first day in Toronto, I want to take you to some of the city’s most popular attractions, which all first time visitors ought to at least consider checking out. After all, the popular sites are well-known and beloved for a good reason. Let’s go!
St. Lawrence Market
Are you ready for an amazing breakfast that’s special in Toronto? Then it’s time to go to St. Lawrence Market.
St. Lawrence Market is the oldest market in Toronto and frequently considered one of the best markets in all of North America. The market offers tons of local produce, meats, cheeses, souvenirs, and so much more. It even transforms into an antique market on Sundays.
As for specific treats to eat, at St. Lawrence Market, I loved devouring a Peameal Bacon Sandwich at Carousel Bakery. This is Toronto’s iconic sandwich and a muse try! It’s simple and yet so, so, so good and very filling.
St. Lawrence Market is big, though, and might feel overwhelming, especially on weekends. Fortunately for you, Toronto also has plenty of food tours if you want to maximize your time. Toronto Secret Food tours has a lot of fun stops including St. Lawrence Market. Plus you’ll make new friends over delicious food which is great for solo travelers in Canada.
The CN Tower isn’t cheap, but honestly, on a clear and sunny day, I think going to the top of the tower is well worth the money.
I had a great time taking the elevator, watching the city shrink beneath me, and then exploring the views at the top. You’re allowed to stay at the top for as long as you want, and there’s even a cafe where you can grab a coffee and do some excellent people watching.
In the warmer months, you can opt for a small group tour that bundles together the CN Tower and a harbor cruise, which sounds lovely. The views from the water are incredibly pretty in summer.
Hockey Hall of Fame
After those breathtaking views, I suggest you learn all about one of the most beloved sports in Canada: Hockey, of course!!
The Hockey Hall of Fame was one of my favorite places to go on my recent trip to Toronto. You need to go through a mall to find the entrance, which is a little confusing, but going here is totally worth it.
The Hockey Hall of Fame showcases the rich history of hockey, including its origins, evolution, and significant milestones. However, the main reason to come to the Hockey Hall of Fame is to take your picture with the Stanley Cup. As a Philadelphia Flyers fan, it was so cool to find their names etched on the cup in their winning years. It’s like a rite of passage for hockey fans.
Furthermore, the Hall of Fame houses an extensive collection of hockey memorabilia and artifacts, including game-worn jerseys, equipment, and personal items belonging to legendary players. You can even embrace your inner child and play interactive games if the mood strikes you!
While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying downtown (it is more a business hub), you’ll definitely want to take a quick walk around during the day.
I loved all the sleek skyscrapers, as well as Nathan Phillips Square. Even though it’s touristy (hey, you’re a tourist, so it’s fine), you should take your picture in front of the illuminated three-dimensional Toronto sign.
You can spend the rest of the day exploring the downtown or finding another cool neighborhood for dining and shopping.
For your second day in Toronto, you’ll have time to see some gorgeous architecture and experience a fascinating natural history museum. Go to a coffee shop to grab your breakfast and hop on the metro, because you’re very first stop is a castle. Yes, a castle. In Toronto.
Yes, you can explore a stunning historic castle in Toronto. Casa Loma will make you feel as if you’ve been teleported to Europe, and is a definitely must-see for a long weekend trip to this city.
The mansion’s history is as fascinating as its architecture. Built by Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Canadian financier, Casa Loma offers insight into Toronto’s Gilded Age. You need to buy a ticket, but it includes a wonderful audioguide that will shed a lot of fascinating insights about the rooms surrounding you. My favorite room was the gorgeous conservatory.
In addition, movie buffs will appreciate Casa Loma’s status as a popular filming location for numerous Hollywood films and television shows. I know for a fact that Casa Loma will look especially familiar to X-Men fans, haha.
Last but not least, don’t forget to climb the towers! You get a fantastic view of downtown Toronto from the castle. The stairs are very windy, though, so take your time climbing them!
University of Toronto
As someone who lives near a university, I have a soft spot for university cities on my travels, and Toronto is home to one of the best. The University of Toronto is one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious universities, with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1827.
I personally had a wonderful time admiring the old buildings and feeling like I was a college student again.
Furthermore, the University of Toronto is home to the stunning Allan Gardens Conservatory, a botanical garden with a variety of exotic plants and flowers from around the world. It’s a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. If you want to snap some nature photography, then this is the perfect stop for you during your 3 days in Toronto!
Royal Ontario Museum
Do you think you’re too old for dinosaur bones? Then think again!
Royal Ontario Museum (or the ROM) is one of the best museums for natural history lovers. It’s a world-class collection in the truest sense of the phrase.
For example, even though I’m beyond my “dinosaur fascination” years (I love Magic School Bus and Jurassic Park), the exhibit here still filled my heart with wonder. From dinosaur skeletons to ancient artifacts, to contemporary art, there’s something to pique everyone’s interest.
The ROM also has really cool special exhibits. Visiting them costs extra money, though, so I would only consider visiting them if you want to dedicate a lot of time to this museum.
After visiting the ROM, you’ll find yourself in the Yorkville neighborhood, which is a very upscale part of Toronto. At this point, you’re probably hungry, and Yorkville has plenty of fantastic restaurants to enjoy.
If you’re visiting on a Friday or Saturday or have your heart set on a particular restaurant, then you definitely want to make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.
As for those of you who somehow aren’t tired of museums, Bata Shoe Museum, which lets visitors discover the history and culture of footwear from around the world, is also located in Yorkville.
Considering you have 3 days in Toronto, don’t skip over the neighborhoods. We’ll talk more about them in Day #3!
Last but not least, you’ll spend your final day in Toronto exploring more amazing local neighborhoods, eating tons of delicious food, admiring plenty of art, and so much more!
Kensington Market Food Tour
Okay, first and foremost, Kensington Market is more of a neighborhood rather than a traditional marketplace. This area’s bohemian and welcoming atmosphere makes it one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Toronto. Favorite.
This area is very well known for its variety of speciality food shops. At the same time, there are so many food choices that I actually suggest taking taking an organized food tour of Kensington to introduce to the neighborhood. You’ll sample treats from all over the world, learn about this unique neighborhood’s character and history, and make new friends all at the same time. Well worth it.
Hands down, this was my favorite neighborhood in Toronto.
This neighborhood felt inclusive and welcoming toward many different identities, so I felt very safe here. Well worth exploring.
Kensington Market is also the perfect place to go vintage shopping! You’ll find cool souvenirs here that you won’t find anywhere else. And you deserve something special to remind you of your three days in Toronto.
This eclectic neighborhood has some of the best independently-owned vintage shops that I have ever seen on all of my travels. Some popular vintage shops in Kensington Market include Courage My Love, Bungalow, and Flashback Vintage.
Obviously, you can find cool retro clothing, but as you shop, you might come across other awesome finds, such as vinyl records or even quirky decor items.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Ontario or AGO is another perfect stop for this 3 Days in Toronto Itinerary, because, if you ask me, I feel like it’s impossible not to truly understand a city without experiencing art of some sort (public art, local art fairs, street art, etc). I would especially recommend AGO to art museum fans, because it’s easy to spend hours roaming this collection.
The building itself is set in a dramatic modern space that’s also a fantastic work of art. Take your time exploring AGO’s diverse collections. I especially love the displays of Indigenous art, which tells an important
Do you want to see even more creative expression? Then you need to take a walk down Graffiti Alley.
These street art masterpieces are always changing. You could visit Toronto once, and then come back and a year later to an entirely different display of murals or graffiti tags. As a visitor to Graffiti Alley, admire how the local artists freely tell their stories and beliefs through art, and as you snap pictures, use the time to think and reflect, too.
Graffiti Alley is perfectly safe to explore during the day, as a side note. It might feel weird to randomly go down a city alley, especially if you’re from a rural area, but you’ll encounter plenty of other tourists in the morning and afternoon.
Explore More Neighborhoods
As your 3 days in Toronto come to end, spend some time exploring other neighborhoods that I haven’t already talked about in this itinerary.
- Chinatown: One of Toronto’s oldest neighborhoods that’s also home to the Art Galley of Ontario, which is a very popular museum. Eating and drinking your way through this neighborhood is a ton of fun.
- Church and Wellesley: You might already know this area as The Village. This is Toronto’s thriving LGBT enclave. It’s well-known for its vibrant parades during Halloween and Pride Month.
- Distillery District: A historic area of Toronto that’s fun to explore. Go at night and see the area lit up by lots of twinkling lights. You’ll also find some cool art galleries. The Distillery District is also pedestrian only, making it lovely to walk.
- West Queen West: This area is always highly recommended by locals, and is hailed as one of the greatest and coolest places in Toronto to eat and shop. West Queen West is just … super cool. Graffiti Alley, which I have already highlighted in this guide, is also located in this neighborhood.
I hope you enjoyed reading about how to spend 3 days in Toronto! You’ll really love this city, regardless of when you visit, and find yourself planning another trip sometime in the near future. Have fun!