3 day toronto itinerary - city scape

The Perfect 3 Day Toronto Itinerary – Tips From A Local (Updated 2021)

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You have decided to visit Toronto – Canada’s largest city, and are ready to plan your perfect Toronto Itinerary! Toronto is a welcoming, accepting and culturally diverse city. There is lot’s to do, especially for families. If you’re staying for a few days or a weekend, this short stay guide is for you.

Find the best things to do, places to stay and plan the ultimate 3 Day Toronto Itinerary for your upcoming Canadian adventure. This is the best Toronto itinerary if you only have a few days to spend in the city and are looking for the top things to do in Toronto during this time.

Of course, if you have longer, or if you only have a day or two, you can still take the best bits from this Toronto 3 day itinerary and make it work for the time you have!

toronto cityscape

THE BEST TORONTO 3 DAY ITINERARY

Plan your 3 days in the city with the best things to do in Toronto – where to stay, where to eat and tips on making the most of your visit! This is a family-friendly itinerary, but works just as well if visiting without kids!

Where to Stay in Toronto

Stay in an apartment outside of downtown Toronto if you can. Often times an apartment or holiday home will save you money and offer you more space than the hotels.

For families, stay in the East York area, east of downtown Toronto. The closer to Broadview or Queen St. East the better. This area is filled with family-friendly brunch spots, coffee shops and food options.

Also if you’re visiting in the summer, the beach is not far away.

Book your Toronto Airbnb with these tipsBeginners Guide to Airbnb

Getting Around in Toronto

Toronto is often referred to as the New York City of Canada, with the hustle and bustle city vibes and driving downtown can be chaotic! This is why their public transportation system is a great option for your stay!

Toronto Transit Commission

Toronto’s subway, streetcar and bus system is known as the TTC. It is reliable and safe at all hours of the day. This will be the cheapest way to get around the city.

You can buy a Presto card and load money on at any station. A Presto card allows you to tap on to pay for any bus, subway or streetcar for a two hour period.

If you’re visiting on a weekend, get a day pass from the station instead. A day pass allows two adults and two children unlimited travel for a day on the weekends.

Downtown Toronto

By Car

Lyft and Uber are also available throughout the city. If you’re arriving by plane, take the UP express train from terminal 3. This is the fastest and cheapest way to get to downtown Toronto.

There are also rental car options available at Toronto Pearson International Airport, however, parking is very expensive in Toronto. This can be a great option if you have parking at your accommodation and want to take a few day trips from Toronto.

Hop On Hop Off Bus

Alternatively, you can get a hop on hop off bus pass and enjoy learning about the city as you ride around to the key sites and attractions.

Get your Toronto Hop on Hop off bus tickets online

When Is The Best Time To Visit Toronto?

The best time to visit Toronto is during the summer or late spring.

Even though there is a lot to do in Toronto during the winter, it is slightly more difficult to walk around and enjoy the city at its best.

A Toronto winter itinerary may not involve as much time enjoying the outdoor sights and experiences, since temperatures can drop as low as -25 degrees Celcius, with regular snowfall.

If you are wanting to avoid the peak travel season, June to August will see Toronto at its busiest, with both locals and holidaymakers getting out and enjoying the summer weather. During this time, temperatures can reach above 30 degrees Celcius.

Insider Tip: For cheaper prices, fewer crowds and still reasonable weather, the best time to visit Toronto is during April and May or September through to November.

How Many Days In Toronto?

You can easily fill a whole week or more in Toronto if visiting for the first time, enjoying the trendy city vibes and attractions, dining out and exploring like a local. However, if you are short on time, 3 days in Toronto will ensure you see the best of the city and get a real taste for what is on offer!

Toronto city

Top Things To Do In Toronto

You will have no trouble finding fun things to do in Toronto, whether you are looking for family friendly attractions for visiting Toronto with kids or relaxed activities for couples or friends.

This quick list of things to do in Toronto will help you get started planning your itinerary:

  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • CN tower
  • Ripley’s Aquarium
  • St. Lawrence Market
  • Toronto Chinatown
  • Explore Queen Street
  • Kensington market
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Yonge-Dundas Square
  • Relax at the beach… in summer
  • Toronto islands
  • Wander through Yorkville
  • A day trip to Niagara Falls
  • Ontario Provincial Parks
  • Bata Shoe Museum
  • Centreville Theme Park
  • Toronto Zoo
  • A baseball game at Rogers Centre
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Distillery District Segway tour
  • Harbour cruise
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Take a street art walk
  • Casa Loma
  • Shop at Eaton Centre
  • Prehistoria Natural History Centre
  • Visit Nathan Phillips Square and the Instagram worthy reflecting pool
  • Enjoy Italian food & nightlife in Little Italy

3 Day Toronto Itinerary

Use this 3 day Toronto itinerary as a guide for planning your own perfect plan. Even if you are visiting Toronto for just 1 day or staying for much longer, you can adapt the best attractions, experiences and locations into your own perfect itinerary for Toronto, Canada.

From some of North America’s largest museums and art galleries, to fun Toronto attractions that all ages will love, you can easily create a Toronto itinerary using this local’s guide:

Day One:

Start your first day with breakfast at Fran’s Diner on the North West corner of College Subway station if you are in town early. Fran’s is a famous Toronto diner that only closes for 6 hours a year, so it’s a great place to start your adventure.

3 Day Toronto Itinerary

After breakfast, walk west along College Street to University Avenue. Here you will see Queen’s Park, which is the Ontario Legislative Building.

Walk North on University Avenue through Queen’s Park to the Royal Ontario Museum. The ROM houses one of Canada’s largest collections of fossils and often has amazing special exhibits for the whole family to enjoy.

There is so much to see, you will likely spend the rest of your morning here.

Head to Yorkville for lunch and wander the streets of this upscale neighbourhood. There are many great places to eat here from Italian to Indian cuisines.

Afterwards, head for the CN tower by Union Station and Roundhouse Park. Take in Toronto from one of the highest buildings in the world.

Take the glass-front elevator to LookOut Level for some of the best views of the city from the panoramic observation deck. Then head up to the SkyPod where you will be 447 metres over Toronto. How about a walk over the Glass Floor, 342 metres above the ground?

For those of you who are especially brave, try the Edge Walk which allows you to walk around the ledge outside in the ultimate adrenaline experience over Toronto. Yikes!

CN Tower Toronto

Insider Tip: If you are only working on a Toronto 1 day itinerary, the CN Tower would be something you want to make time for! On a good day, you can see the United States to the south and Niagra Falls.

Across from the CN tower are the Canadian Train Museum and Steamwhistle Brewery. Also nearby is Ripley’s Aquarium. You’ll easily have enough to do for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening head north to the Entertainment District along King Street West. You will find lots of food options here and entertainment for the whole family.

Find available tours and perfect Toronto day trip options Toronto Day Trips.

3 Day Toronto Itinerary

Day Two:

Start off your second day at St Lawrence Market, one of the most famous markets in the world. Almost everything here is wonderful and worth a taste. In fact, it has been voted the best market in the world by National Geographic over the years!

After breakfast head to Chinatown and Kensington Market at Spadina Avenue and College Street.

Toronto has one of the largest Chinatown areas in the world and Kensington market is a unique and creative counterculture neighbourhood. There are many boutiques and bakeries here to peruse.

Afterwards, walk south to Queen Street West and head west. Queen Street is one of Toronto’s most famous streets and is home to some of the best boutique shopping and independent shops in the world.

Queen street toronto financial district

The Art Gallery of Ontario is also a short walk along here at Grange Street in case you want to check out the Ontario collection of Aboriginal artworks and Group of Seven Paintings.

There are many great places for lunch along Queen street west, otherwise, head back to Kensington Market for international treats.

In the afternoon visit Yonge-Dundas Square, Canada’s Time Square. If you’re interested in shopping the Toronto Eaton’s center has something for everyone.

In the evening, head to the Distillery District and enjoy a meal at El Cantina or Mill Street Brewery. The Distillery District is full of artwork and historic buildings.

Book your Distillery District Segway tours online

Alternative Itinerary: If you are looking for a more kid-friendly day two itinerary for visiting Toronto with kids, see the list of family attractions below and switch shopping for a trip to the zoo or amusement park for an exciting day out, before heading back to the Distillery District for dinner.

Toronto Itinerary 3 Days

Day Three:

Have brunch near your apartment in East York. I highly recommend Lady Marmalade or Maha’s in that neighbourhood.

Afterwards, take the Queen Streetcar downtown to the old city hall. You can also see the new city hall right around the corner. Walk south on Bay Street until you get to the waterfront.

Follow the harbour front trail to Fork York and experience a part of Toronto’s history.

When you’re ready to have lunch, try one of the great restaurants along the harbourfront. The Amsterdam brewery or Boxcar Social both have beautiful patios.

After lunch, take the ferry from the Toronto ferry terminal to the center island. The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is at Lakeshore Boulevard and Bay Street, you can take the Lakeshore streetcar to get there.

Ferry tickets can be bought at the gate and ferries leave frequently for the islands.

Center Island

The Toronto Islands have lots to offer, including beaches and an amusement park, and make for perfect family fun for a day in Toronto.

Check the map when you get there and either walk or bike around the islands. If the weather is nice, then swim in Lake Ontario. Spend your afternoon here before heading back around sunset.

There are a number of great restaurants on the island for dinner. Make sure to snap photos of the Toronto skyline as the sun sets as this is a great spot to do so.

3 days in Toronto are enough to give you a taste of this beautiful North American city and help you to decide what else you might like to do for future visits.

Things To Do In Toronto With Kids

This Toronto itinerary is made to suit families of all ages, or anyone visiting Toronto without kids as well. However, if you want a few more fun ideas specifically aimed at kids, here are some great Toronto attractions to incorporate into your itinerary.

These Toronto attractions are perfect for day two where you can skip the shopping trip along Queen Street and instead head to one of these fun locations with the kids:

  • Toronto Zoo – The Toronto Zoo is world-famous for its ethical breeding programs, with a focus on conservation, sustainability and animal care. They have over 5000 animals at the zoo which will delight all ages.
  • Canada’s Wonderland – If you love theme parks, Canada’s Wonderland is located just half an hour from Toronto, with thrill rides, attractions for younger children and a summer splash zone when the weather is warm.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium – Mentioned above in the itinerary, the aquarium is home to over 16,000 sea creatures and is sure to impress kids (and adults) during their visit.
  • Centreville Amusement Park – For another day of thrills and rides, Centreville Amusement Park is located on Toronto’s Centre Island and operates during the warmer months of the year.
  • Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto – This one doesn’t need much of an introduction. LEGO fun for kids in the centre of Toronto.

Things To Do In Toronto In Winter

toronto in winter ice skating rink

If you are visiting Toronto in winter, you will get a beautiful winter wonderland and may need to change your itinerary to suit the cold weather.

While you may spend less time strolling and enjoying the outdoors, there are plenty of things to do in Toronto in winter that you can’t do at other times of the year.

If you do choose to visit Toronto during winter make sure to check out the skating at The Harbourfront Center and the Toronto Christmas market in the Distillery District. Both of these are must-do winter activities!

During the winter months, you might also like to time your visit with the Toronto Light Festival, typically held in the Distillery district between January and March.

Another fun event is the Winterlicious Food Festival that is usually held in January, with all of Toronto’s best restaurants putting together 3-course meals to sample.

Longer Stays in Toronto

Toronto is a great city to experience as a family. If you have time for something longer than a 3 day Toronto itinerary, make sure to check out Niagara Falls. You can take a day trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto. We also recommend the Ontario Provincial Parks.

You can also fit more of the things to do in Toronto mentioned in the list at the top of this post and in the recommendations for visiting Toronto with kids.

The best way to plan your longer Toronto itinerary is by working out the top attractions and sights from this city guide you want to visit first and then seeing if you have room to fit some of the secondary things as well.

Toronto islands kayaks

Guided Tours In Toronto

If you want to see the best of Toronto in a short amount of time, especially if you are only visiting Toronto for 1 day or 2 at most, guided bus tours and walking tours can be a great option to make sure you don’t miss the highlights!

You can incorporate one or more of these guided tours and day trips into your Toronto itinerary or short stay:

Recommended Booking Websites

  • Book your flights – We use Skyscanner to research and book flights. You can set up a price alert for your travel dates, plus it compares most major airlines in one place.
  • Book your Accommodation – We use Booking.com or Hotels Combined to book most of our hotel accommodation when we travel.
  • Book your tours & attractions – Our favourite attraction and tour booking services are Get Your Guide and Viator. Booking ahead will mean you don’t miss out on popular tours!

For more itineraries for around the world, check out our travel itineraries page and start planning your next big adventure!

To learn more about what to do in Toronto, check out the Nomad Bears blog. This is a perfect city break during a North America road trip.

AUTHOR BIO: Nomad Bears love to travel and we want to increase the accessibility of travel for everyone. Through creative storytelling, interviews and tips we hope to make your next trip a reality. Keep up to date with the latest Nomad Bears news via Facebook.

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3 day toronto itinerary