solo travel in toronto at the hockey hall of fame

Solo Travel Toronto: Everything You Need to Know

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Toronto is the largest city in Canada (actually, it’s the fourth biggest city in all of North America), so understandably, it is a massive tourist destination. Furthermore, Toronto is also well known for its many museums, green spaces, close proximity to Niagara Falls, and renowned film festival.

So, as someone who only lives a short fifty minute flight from the Canadian border, I have grown to love solo travel to Canada and that love even includes the country’s cities.

Like Toronto (duh)!

I wanted to put together this guide for anyone who wants to travel solo to Toronto either for a long weekend or as part of a longer Canadian road trip. This city has so, so, so much to offer that you won’t run out of fun things to do, even if you’re exploring Toronto’s streets by yourself.

Personally, I highly recommend visiting Toronto.

solo travel in toronto means going to st lawrence market
Solo Travel in Toronto Will Make Your Tummy Happy.

Solo Travel Toronto: My Experience

So I have flown through Toronto three times before I actually decided to spend a long weekend in the city. Toronto’s always been a city that intrigued me, but my travel schedule never “fit” with a visit here.

I’m not even joking. Whenever my plane would descend into Pearson or Billy Bishop, I would ogle at the CN Tower and think about visiting one day in the future and then mentally shelve the idea. 

Well. United owed me a big fat flight credit this year (don’t ask), so I decided to check out Toronto on my own terms. 

And full disclosure. Before visiting Toronto, several Canadians told me it wasn’t exactly worth my time and energy, which made me even more intrigued to see this poor maligned city for myself. 

I love a good underdog, after all and wanted to go even if I was asking myself if Toronto was worth visiting.

toronto is a very modern and sleek city

Personally, I’m so happy that I gave Toronto a chance. I loved it! I spent 3 days in Toronto, which I felt was perfect for a first visit.

Of course, I’m a city gal at heart, and like I already mentioned, I also loved solo travel in Canada’s other large cities.

For example, exploring Montreal alone was great fun because of the food and hockey. And how could I say “no” to traveling alone in Vancouver with gorgeous Stanley Park?

Toronto really spoke to me, and I’m excited to share some tips and suggestions for planning an independent trip here. So buckle in.

solo travel toronto tip: go vintage shopping in kesington market

Should You Travel Alone to Toronto?

Yes, but with a caveat. I know I already bragged about how much I loved Toronto, but at the end of the day, I am just one person and as travelers, we all have different preferences for how we want to spend our hard-earned money.

Ultimately I only recommend solo travel to Toronto to city lovers who also don’t mind a bit of grittiness. As for me, I personally love diving into a big city’s thriving food scene as well as endless arts and cultural experiences, so Toronto checked all those boxes for me.

At the same time, though, I totally understand that big cities aren’t to everyone’s liking. Fortunately, there are other great options in Canada if you’d rather avoid a larger city. For example, Kingston Ontario isn’t too far away and is a perfect small university city that’s surrounded by lovely natural beauty.

And, since Toronto is a big city, you will encounter a little roughness. I honestly felt safe, but I know comfort levels vary from person to person.

solo travel toronto tip: climb up the casa loma towers

New Solo Travelers

New solo travelers, especially those who love international cities, would have a great time in Toronto. Since Toronto has so many wonderful attractions, it’s the perfect place to keep a new solo traveler busy and happy. 

Furthermore, Toronto (and Canada in general) has a really strong tourism infrastructure, so it’s easy to find guided tours and other activities to make your trip memorable. English-speakers will also have zero problem because there is no language barrier to consider, since literally everyone speaks English, haha. 

Plus, if you’re a solo traveler from New York City or Los Angeles, then visiting Toronto will be an absolute breeze for you. Big city smarts go a long way.

solo travel toronto tip: don't skip cn tower
Smiling at the Top of CN Tower.

Experienced Solo Travelers

Experienced solo travelers will also love Toronto.

However, I will admit that if you have a few solo trips under your belt, you’ll be more inclined to go “off the beaten path” and explore neighborhoods and smaller museums rather than hit all the big attractions on a whirlwind itinerary.

As someone who’s traveled alone a lot and knows a lot of solo travel tricks and tips, I found myself getting lost in Kensington Market multiple times to eat all the international delicacies and shop at trendy vintage stores. For me, Toronto was more about the vibe than anything else. 

solo travel in toronto and exploring downtown

6 Top Reasons to Travel Alone to Toronto

Toronto is a world-class international city that offers “something for everyone.” Even though that sounds cliche, I promise that it’s the truth! You’ll find something to love about Toronto on your solo trip here.

These are five reasons you ought to consider solo travel to Toronto in the near future. I’m sure I will add more after my next visit! 

eating delicious thai food in toronto

Amazing Food Scene

Toronto has one of the best food scenes that I’ve ever experienced in my travels across Canada. Not even exaggerating.

However, the best part about eating in Toronto is that you don’t have to sit down at a Michelin star restaurant to eat well (although you can if you want!). Additionally, you never have to request the dreaded “table for one” if you don’t want to.

Toronto is home to many diverse markets with St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market taking the lead as the most famous ones.

solo travel in toronto means eating delicious pie

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!

Meanwhile 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.

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 a food tour of Kensington to introduce yourself to the neighborhood. You’ll sample treats from all over the world, and make new friends at the same time. Well worth it.

solo travel in toronto in fall means seeing the leaves
Toronto on a Gorgeous Fall Day.

Awesome Nearby Natural Beauty

Canada’s cities have a lot of lovely green space and natural wonders nearby, and Toronto is no exception. 

Obviously, seeing Toronto’s natural beauty is going to depend on when you visit. Summer is obviously the ideal time if you want to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

In addition to Niagara Falls, if you visit in the summer, you will definitely want to hop on a ferry to Toronto Island Park. The park is open year round, but everyone I spoke to told me that the islands are best enjoyed in the warmer months. Toronto Islands have four beaches that are lovely for relaxing and swimming, and you’ll also enjoy fantastic views of the city skyline if you’re a photographer. 

Toronto also has many beautiful parks that you can enjoy inside the city itself. For instance, High Park is a stunning, nearly 400 acre park that has recreational areas, as well as natural areas to explore. 

toronto solo travel offers plenty of museums

Lots of Museums

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is home to many museums that will appeal to a wide variety of interests. Personally, I think museums are best experienced alone. You’re able to wander for hours and read every exhibit if you want to fully immerse yourself.

On the flip side, you can speed through a museum in an hour and only see a few select rooms. The choice is entirely yours! You don’t need to worry about bothering anyone else. Which is awesome. 

solo travel toronto stop should include the hockey hall of fame

Toronto’s museums are very unique to the city. For instance, one of my absolute favorite museums is the Hockey Hall of Fame where you can actually take a picture with the Stanley Cup. Visiting here is like a pilgrimage for hockey fans!

In addition, I truly enjoyed both the Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum as a solo traveler. These comprehensive museums offer a deeper appreciation for the region.

And honestly, you can’t miss the dinosaur bones at the ROM. I’m not a big “natural history” person, but even I’ll admit that this is one of the best collection of dinosaur bones that I’ve ever seen in my life. Well worth it.

toronto flatiron building in canada

Group Tours Available to Make Friends

Does the thought of solo travel make you feel lonely? Never fear! You won’t have this problem in Toronto if you plan the right way.

Honestly, I like diversifying my travels with independent activities plus guided tours where I interact with other people. And thanks to Toronto’s tourism infrastructure, you will find at least on tour to appeal to your interests. I already discussed food tours, but there are plenty of other options too!

So add a guided tour or two if you’re worried about feeling lonely. I can’t necessarily promise that you’ll meet tons of new friends, but you will have a greater chance of that happening by putting yourself out there.

toronto has a lot of lovely coffee shops like fika
Enjoying Hot Tea at Fika.

Tour Recommendations

solo travel toronto is perfect for book shopping

Perfect for Introverts

I know I literally just talked about group trips, but I also know that not everyone is an extrovert who wants to make friends when they travel.

So, as a big city, you won’t constantly have people excitedly approaching you in Toronto to make “small talk” like you perhaps would if you were visiting a smaller metro area.

While this might feel isolating, for introverts, Toronto is the perfect solo trip. It’s very easy to get lost in a museum or shop, or wander through one of the many parks without speaking to a soul. I had some time when I could just focus on me and it was marvelous.

Furthermore, in Toronto, no one is going to judge you for doing things alone. For example, I’m awkward eating at a “table for one,” but had a solo dinner at one Toronto’s excellent Thai restaurants and no one blinked an eye. This city is very used to people doing things on their own as well as minding their own business. 

solo travel toronto tip: stop at kesington market if you have time

Unique Neighborhoods to Explore

Last but not least, Toronto has a ton of cool neighborhoods to explore. Downtown might have a lot of attractions, but this area also clears out after the work day, so it’s important to venture to neighborhoods where people actually live.

In addition to Kensington Market, which I already bragged about, you will definitely want to check out the Annex with its youthful student vibe, and Little Portugal for its delicious cuisine and art. 

Seriously, you could dedicate an entire solo trip to Toronto just based on the city’s fantastic neighborhoods. I missed a bunch of them, and need to go back just to explore. 

cheese looking delicious in st lawrence market

Practical Tips for Solo Travel in Toronto

Whew! With all that said and done, I wanted to conclude this post with a couple of practical tips for your adventures all over Toronto. I hope these tips help jumpstart your planning, so that you will have the greatest solo trip ever!

taking a solo trip to toronto and enjoying golden hour

How to Get Around Toronto

Despite being a large city, Toronto is manageable. You can’t really go wrong with both the TTC and street cars. Both systems are easy to navigate and safe. As an example, I used public transportation morning, noon, and night, and didn’t have any issues. 

You can also pay for public transportation using your credit card or Apple Pay, which is fantastic. It was nice not having to worry about buying specific tickets to use the TTC.

Of course rideshares are also widely available in Toronto too!

solo travel in toronto can be safe and fun, plus you will see street art

Safety Tips for Traveling Alone in Toronto

Over all, I felt like Toronto was a pretty safe city for solo female traveler. As Canada’s biggest city, though, normal city “street smarts” apply.

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. 

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.

skyline of toronto on a sunny day

In addition to usual safety precautions, I need to mention that Toronto has a visible homeless population. As of this posting, Toronto is in the midst of a very serious housing crisis, so you will see people living hard on the streets, which is obviously very sad and concerning.

Most homeless people won’t approach you, but it’s common sense not to mess with anyone who is in the middle of a mental health crisis. 

Obviously, as a solo traveler, you’re not expected to solve this issue, but it’s important to stay aware. If you want to support the homeless on your stay, look into social outreach programs.

solo travel in toronto means fun in the art galleries

What to Pack for 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.

exploring the inside of casa loma in toronto

Where to Stay in Toronto

Toronto has a ton of wonderful accommodation options. Do your own research about the neighborhoods and then pick a location that works for you before diving into the hotels. I personally suggest staying somewhere within walking distance to the TTC to make sightseeing a little easier. 

Here are a couple of cute boutique hotels to get you started, although (of course) Toronto has some great hostels too! 

king size room in anndore house is cozy

Accommodation Suggestions

  • 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.

cool park sculptures in toronto

I hope you enjoyed reading all about solo travel in Toronto. As always, reach out with any questions, and have a wonderful time exploring Toronto! It’s a great city!