3-Day Toronto Itinerary: Where To Stay, Eat and Explore

Wondering what to do in Toronto? Brimming with an eclectic mix of cultures, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine, Toronto is a cosmopolitan haven. From world-class art and unique exhibits to lively theater, a dynamic nightlife scene and plenty to do both inside and out, you could spend a week in this city and still not manage to cover half of what should be seen. Follow this Toronto itinerary to pack the best sights and activities into a three-day visit.

Toronto harbor skyline with CN Tower and skyscrapers
Toronto skyline. Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

If you’ve only got a few days in Toronto, this three-day itinerary will help you cover the must-see attractions, can’t miss restaurants and areas to explore. Pack your bags and spend 72 hours in this vibrant city.

Day 1: Touchdown Toronto: Food and art

Start your adventure in Old Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York, a landmark hotel with a legacy dating back to 1929. Its central location, impeccable service and plush rooms make it an ideal home base for exploring the city. Plus, their afternoon tea service at the Clockwork Bar is an absolute must. 

Clockwork Bar Royal York Hotel.

This world-class hotel is also just steps from some of the city’s best attractions, and it is connected to The Path, North America’s largest underground pedestrian walkway and shopping concourse, making it easy to get around the city.

Fueled up and ready to roam, make your first stop at the iconic St. Lawrence Market. Packed with over 100 vendors, it offers everything from artisan cheeses to handcrafted jewelry. Don’t miss the Carousel Bakery’s world-famous peameal bacon sandwich. Peameal bacon is unique to Ontario, and it’s delicious. Served on a sandwich, this is a quick and delicious meal that Torontonians have been enjoying for more than 30 years. It’s an institution unto itself and well worth a visit to one of Toronto’s favorite spots.

St. Lawrence Market exterior.
St. Lawrence Market. Photo caption: All The Best Spots.

After lunch, hop on the subway and head up to the St. Patrick subway stop and immerse yourself in Toronto’s art scene at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It houses a vast collection of over 95,000 works, ranging from contemporary art to the Group of Seven’s iconic Canadian landscapes. 

As the day winds down, treat yourself to dinner at Canoe, one of Toronto’s finest restaurants. Located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, it offers spectacular views of the city skyline. Their tasting menu featuring regional Canadian cuisine is a gastronomic journey you’ll never forget. If you can’t get into Canoe, try Marked, an amazing South American restaurant with a stunning outdoor patio.

Before retiring for the evening, take a 12-minute stroll to Pravda Vodka Bar for a nightcap and a snack. Enjoy their glass-enclosed walk-in freezer showcasing vodkas from around the world.

“I love exploring different places to eat in Toronto! I have my must-visits, like the St. Lawrence Market for fresh oysters, but I also love to discover new finds each time, from Michelin-starred restaurants to little dive bars.”

— Ksenia Prints, At the Immigrant’s Table

Day 2: Island excursion and nightlife

Wake up early and make your way down to Queens Quay and the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal for a ferry ride to the Toronto Islands. With stunning lake views, sandy beaches and picnic spots, the Islands are perfect for a serene getaway from the urban hustle. Rent a bike or a kayak and let the island breeze guide you.

Toronto skyline in the day over lake with urban architecture and ferry.
Toronto Ferry. Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

When you’re back in the city, stroll around Queen Street West, an uber-cool neighborhood full of indie boutiques, quirky street art and vibrant bars. I recommend grabbing a bite at Grand Electric for some stellar tacos. 

You’ll find Indian, Greek, Tibetan, Italian, Middle Eastern, African and other global cuisines all on Queen Street West, making it a great destination for foodies.

Before you wrap up your day, head to the Distillery District, which is known for its well-preserved Victorian architecture and cobblestone streets. For an unforgettable experience, book a performance at the Soulpepper Theatre Company. After the show, try the Mill Street Brewpub for a pint of their signature organic lager.

“I grew up in Buffalo, New York, and Toronto was our closest big city. If you are a sports fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must-see attraction. My favorite thing to do is marvel at the Stanley Cup up close and dream of the day my Buffalo Sabres finally take it home!”

— Jennifer Petoff, Sidewalk Safari

Day 3: History, heights and hotspots

Finish a trip to Toronto with a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada’s largest museum of world culture and natural history. The architecture is a spectacle, with the modern Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension juxtaposed against the traditional historic building. You can easily spend hours in this museum, but look in advance to see if they have any special exhibits during your visit and book tickets online.

Royal Ontario Museum exterior.
ROM. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.

Take a break on the short subway trip and head downtown for a trip to the sky at the CN Tower, one of the world’s tallest freestanding structures. The Glass Floor and SkyPod offer breathtaking views of the city, and if you’re brave enough, you can even try the EdgeWalk.

For a final gastronomic treat, enjoy dinner at Alo, which consistently ranks among Canada’s top restaurants. Alo’s multi-course tasting menu offers dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious, a perfect way to end this culinary adventure.

“Stepping out onto the glass floor on the CN Tower’s observation deck provided me with a view of Toronto you won’t get anywhere else. The thrilling adrenaline rush is an added bonus!”  

— Sharon Rhodes, The Honour System

Last thoughts

Toronto is a bustling, beautiful city offering a plethora of experiences over three days: mouthwatering meals, awe-inspiring art and enchanting excursions. Perfect for year-round visiting, no matter where you stay or what you do, there’s always something new to do in this amazing city. 

If you’re looking to dive headfirst into a city that’s as diverse as it is dynamic, Toronto’s got you covered. Safe travels, fellow explorers, and remember, in Toronto, every corner turned has a new adventure waiting to unfold.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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