Welcome to Toronto! This vibrant city has something for everyone, from stunning architecture and world-renowned museums to lively markets and outdoor adventures. In this 3 days in Toronto itinerary, we will help you make the most of your time and check off the primary attractions and experiences!
You can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the CN Tower, wander the cobblestone streets of the Distillery District, and learn about Canadian art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Plus sample international cuisine in Kensington Market, go biking around Toronto Island, and more.
With so much to see and do, you’re sure to have a memorable trip!
The perfect 3 days in Toronto Itinerary for first-time visitors
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There is never a bad time to visit Toronto as it is brimming with events and activities all around the year. This lovely city offers such a plethora of attractions that you might wonder how much you can see in just three days without missing anything interesting.
We have lived in Toronto, and also explored it as a tourist, and in this guide, we have picked up our favorite and must-do things to do!
3 day Toronto Itinerary: Snapshot
Day one in Toronto
- Start with an awesome breakfast at the heart of the city
- Check out the Royal Ontario Museum, the most visited museum in Canada
- Head to Kensington Market for international cuisine and vintage finds
- Visit the CN Tower for a panoramic view of the city
- Explore attractions nearby such as the Canadian Train Museum
- End the day with a show and dinner at the Entertainment District
Day two in Toronto
- Visit St. Lawrence Market, a foodie paradise with fresh produce, artisanal cheese, and delicious baked goods
- Hang out at the Nathan Philips Square
- Stroll around the Distillery District, a pedestrian-only village with cobblestone streets and Victorian industrial architecture
- In the evening, eat a nice dinner at 66 Wellington TD tower, or head over to Little India/Gerard Street
Day three in Toronto
- Visit Casa Loma, and admire its rooms and gardens
- Head to East York for a lovely brunch
- Stroll around the Harbourfront area of Toronto. You can rent bikes and explore the island’s parks, beaches, and gardens
- Take a ferry to Toronto Island for a view of the skyline from the water
Preparing your trip to Toronto Canada
Toronto is the capital city of Ontario (not Canada, Ottawa is our capital – also located in the same province). It is one of the most populous cities in the country.
The city is served by the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is the busiest in Canada, and we are sure you won’t have any issues finding flights here. The airport is located in Mississauga, and it is accessible by train.
Union Pearson Express runs from Pearson Airport to Union Station in downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes. An adult one-way fare from Pearson to Union is $12.35 CAD.
You can also book private transfers from the airport here
It is very easy to get around the city and you don’t need a car at all unless you opt for a day trip. Additionally, the city is extremely walkable and the Toronto Transit Commission makes it still easier to get across using a bus, subway, or Streetcar.
Popular tours in Toronto downtown:
- Guided walking tour in downtown
- Hop on and hop off bus tour to cover all the primary touristy sites in Toronto
Where to stay in Toronto?
Toronto has attractions for almost every age level and to suit every taste and budget. So base yourself in such a place where you will be close to the major attractions. Consider proximity to neighborhoods like Little India (Toronto east), the Junction, and Leslieville when deciding.
As far as accommodation is considered there are several upscale hotels in the heart of the city like Fairmont Royal York and Ritz Carlton Toronto. There are some excellent mid-range hotels here as well and also in the east and west end areas.
Places like Queens West have numerous bars and live music. The Drake Hotel here is very popular with single travelers and couples. You might want to stay near the waterfront also for easy access to the Harborfront Center.
Toronto’s Airport is located far away from the downtown area, so for sightseeing purposes stick to a central location.
- Fairmont Royal York: This is a luxurious 5-star property located in Toronto and housed in a 1929 building. Rooms are beautiful and many of them have spacious sitting areas and kitchenettes. The CN tower is only a 13-minute walk away, plus the Harbourfront center is a few steps away. Book your stay here
- Ritz Carlton Toronto: Located in downtown Toronto, this property means staying in the city extra style and posh. The building and its suites ooze a lot of luxe and are perfect if you have a good budget. Find more details here
- Drake Hotel: This is a mid-budget hotel located in a nice neighborhood and surrounded by contemporary art, culture, and genuine hospitality. There is live music and a cool eatery inside. Book your stay here
Pro tip: For reasonable weather, fewer crowds, and cheaper rooms, plan your visit to Toronto either between April and May or September to November.
This itinerary is family oriented but works just as well if you are traveling without them or even alone.
Day 1 of the 3 day Toronto Itinerary: Visit the Royal Ontario Museum, hang out at the Kensington Market, soak in the views from the CN Tower, see the Canadian Train Museum, and finish the night at the Entertainment District
Assuming you have arrived in Toronto the night before or early in the morning on day one of your Toronto itinerary, begin your trip with breakfast at the popular Fran’s Diner near the College Subway station.
This family-owned institution has been around since the 1940s and serves some of the best pancakes, maple syrup, and more in the city.
Finish breakfast and walk west from College Street towards University Avenue, through Queen’s Park till you reach the Royal Ontario Museum, which is home to the largest collection of fossils in the world.
You will also find over 13 million artworks from Canadian, and European historical artifacts including African, Near Eastern, and East Asian cultural objects and natural history specimens, which are featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. They also hold temporary exhibitions that are worth checking out prior to your visit.
There is so much to see in this Ontario museum that you are likely to spend the rest of your morning here – no wonder this is the most visited museum in all of Canada! We recommend setting aside 3 to 4 hours here. There are spaces where you can sit down and rest a bit in between exhibits.
- Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
- Tickets: The entry fee starts at $14 CAD. General admission ticket here
- Nearest subway station: Spadina station
Pro tip: Art Gallery of Ontario is a premier gallery in Toronto. It is located about a 25-minute walk (or 10-minute train ride away) from ROM. You can swap for the Art Gallery of Ontario if you are an art fan. Tickets here
By the time you are done with Royal Ontario Museum it will be lunchtime, so stroll along to the upscale Yorkville neighborhood where you will find a number of great places to eat.
If you like Italian food try Soso’s, but my personal favorite is STK Toronto which serves some of the best oysters with all the condiments, although a bit pricey at $4 per piece.
Alternately, you want try something unique for lunch, you can instead head to the Kensington Market where you get everything from street food to native American dishes or go on a food tour to sample dishes from Germany, France, England, Croatia plus other countries.
There are also many lunchtime (or late afternoon) food tours that you can participate in devouring Toronto’s culinary scene and its colorful lanes. Book an international food tour at the Kensington Market.
After lunch, head towards Union Station to take in one of the tallest buildings in the world, the CN Tower. The CN Tower is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Toronto and for good reason.
Standing at 553.3 m, it is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. You can take an elevator to the top aka the SkyPod for unparalleled views of the city.
On a clear day you can see the outline of the United States to the south as well as Niagara Falls.
There is also an amazing revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower, so you can enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the stunning views. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try the EdgeWalk – a hands-free walk around the perimeter of the main deck, 116 stories above the ground!
No matter how you choose to experience it, a visit to the CN Tower is sure to be a memorable one.
- Hours: Every day from 09:00 am to 09:00 pm
- Tickets: Entry fee starts at $43 CAD (for general admission, SkyPod + Timed General Admission at $53 CAD)
- Nearest subway station: High Park station
You will have plenty to do for the rest of the afternoon, as just across the tower are the Canadian Train Museum and the Steamwhistle Brewery. The Ripley’s Aquarium is also nearby if you still have some time left.
Canadian Train Museum/ Toronto Railway Museum is a nice indoor museum where you can learn about the history of trains and railways in Toronto and nearby. They are closed on Mondays, and on other days you can visit from 12:00 pm to 05:00 pm.
A minute walks away from the CN Tower is the Ripley’s Aquarium. And they are open until 11:00 pm if you are interested to check it out. Keep in mind the complex is huge, and you will easily need a couple of hours here to fully enjoy the place!
Round off the first day of your Toronto itinerary at the Entertainment District, located to the north along King Street West. Again you will find plenty of food options, especially if you are with a family. If I was you, I would either go to The Shore Club or Eighteen 30.
Day 2 of the Toronto 3 day Itinerary: Start at St. Lawrence Market, hang out at Nathan Phillips Square, wander the Distillery District, dinner at the 66 Wellington TD Tower
Either have breakfast at the hotel, or better still at St Lawrence Market, one of the biggest of its kind in the world located in Old Town, Toronto and about a mile from the city center.
The market sells handcrafted jewelry, seasonal products, and more than 80 vendors of antique items. Make sure to taste the peameal bacon sandwich here or check out the different food tours available through the market.
Head back downtown to visit Nathan Phillips Square, a popular gathering place for locals and tourists. You will be able to recognize it easily by the giant Freedom Arches and the 3D sign of Toronto.
This is a great spot to go skating in the winter in Toronto. In the summer months, you can enjoy live music or free events, from time to time.
Time permitting, stop at the Osgoode Hall, home to the Great Law Library which holds the largest collection of legal material in Canada in an innovative antique design.
It is time to fuel up now, so it is suggested to try some South American delights at Lena, an Argentine restaurant in downtown Toronto. The churros and shortbread cookies are worth dying for.
Once you have fed and rested, head to the lively Distillery District, just two blocks away. This is a listed National Historic Site and an extremely popular spot for those wanting to spend time at boutiques or an authentic art gallery.
Stepping inside this Victorian-era building will transport you back in time. While there, visit Balzac’s Coffee Roasters for a cup of joe, or go for a sake tasting session at the first brewery in North America, Izumi.
For dinner, treat yourself to contemporary Canadian dishes at the Canoe restaurant, sitting high on top of the 66 Wellington TD Tower. For an unforgettable experience, order the six-course menu, which focuses solely on local ingredients and flavors. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Alternatively, you can explore restaurants in Gerard Street and Little India. This area just brightens up in the evenings with international cuisine (and yes lots of options to choose from!).
Day 3 of the 3 days in Toronto Itinerary: Visit Casa Loma, East York for brunch, then make your way to the stunning harbourfront of Toronto
Day 3 of your Toronto itinerary has a major sightseeing attraction and a cruise! So get excited!
You will be surprised to know that there is a real castle in midtown Toronto, known as Casa Loma. Built in 1914, the castle was initially a residential building for a local businessman but has now been acquired by the Government of Canada and turned into an impressive museum and often rented out for wedding events.
Incidentally, this Gothic mansion has also served as a backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters. Today, you can explore the gorgeous rooms, wine cellars, and various indoor exhibits.
They also have a lovely garden where you can enjoy a stroll. In the winter months, particularly in December, you can also meet Santa here for photos!
- Hours: Every day from 09:30 am to 05:00 pm (Mondays they are open longer)
- Tickets: The entry fee starts at $30 CAD. Book here
- Nearest subway station: DuPont station (St Clair Ave West at Spadina Rd East Side station)
From here, make your way to the Lady Marmalade in the East York neighborhood which is a nice eatery and is highly recommended for brunch.
Afterward, ride the Queen Streetcar to downtown Toronto and alight at the old city hall, which is quite near the new city hall round the corner. Walk further south by Bay Street till you hit the waterfront.
Stroll the harbor trail to soak in a part of the city’s history. This was our favorite spot in the city when we lived in Toronto, absolutely beautiful.
By the time you finish your hike, it will be mid-day and the perfect time to have lunch at any of the wonderful restaurants lining up the harbor. The Amsterdam Brewery has stunning patios and is worth a visit.
Finish your lunch and take a ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at Lakeshore Blvd. using the Lakeshore streetcar to get there. Ferries from here leave frequently for the Toronto Islands, which will be your next stop.
Check out the area in advance and either bike or hike around the islands for the perfect family activity. From beaches to amusement parks there are plenty of things to do here.
If the weather is good you can go for a late afternoon swim in Lake Ontario before heading back before sunset.
Pro tip: If you have limited time, take the one hour Toronto Island Harbor Cruise which will showcase views of the islands and epic skyline views of the city.
There are harbor cruises with an optional lunch or dinner option as well. Click to view it here.
On your last evening, pamper yourself at what many people say is the best restaurant in Toronto, JaBistro, a stylish Japanese restaurant on Richmond Street. This cozy eatery serves fresh seafood and you just can’t go wrong, no matter what you order.
If you cannot make up your mind, just opt for the five-course fixed menu – it is worth every penny.
Day 3 of Toronto Itinerary: Day trip to Niagara Falls
If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Toronto instead (on your day 3 in the city), consider heading to Niagara Falls.
Just a short drive away, Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada. We have a detailed guide here on planning a trip to Niagara Falls. Whether you want to see the falls up close, take a boat ride, or just enjoy the views, there’s something for everyone at Niagara Falls.
If you’re interested in getting close to the action, there are a few different boat tours you can take. The most popular is the Maid of the Mist, which takes you right up to the base of the falls.
For something a little more unique, try the Cave of the Winds tour, which takes you behind the falls.
If you’re just looking to take in the sights, there are plenty of great vantage points around Niagara Falls. The Observation Tower offers unbeatable views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.
For a different perspective, consider taking the Journey Behind the Falls tour, which takes you into the tunnels behind the waterfall.
You can easily spend an entire day at Niagara Falls. After sightseeing you can hang out at the Entertainment District, eat, go bowling, and more. If you plan to stay there a little longer then reserve a table at Skylon Tower for a nice dinner with views.
No matter what you’re looking for, Niagara Falls is a great destination for a day trip from Toronto. With so much to see and do, you’re sure to have a fun-filled day.
You might like this Niagara Wineries tour, check it out here
(We have more day trip ideas below as well)
Alternative activities for your Toronto 3 day itinerary
We know that everyone travels differently, so here are some additional attractions and travel tips to make the most of your three days in Toronto.
If you are visiting Toronto with kids, you can make a switch from shopping and instead go to the Toronto zoo or Canada’s Wonderland amusement park for a good day of fun and excitement for the whole family. You can also visit the Legoland Discovery Center Toronto.
To introduce your kids to science and games, there is no better place than the Ontario Science Centre to head to. With over 800 displays, including European historical artifacts spread across three pavilions, this is one of the best museums in North America.
High Park is Toronto’s largest green space and it is particularly beautiful in late spring and summer months for hiking, picnicking, and scenic views.
For food and shopping lovers, head to Chinatown for authentic Chinese cuisine. You can shop on trendy Queen Street West for vintage clothes, local art, and unique boutiques.
Popular evening activities in Toronto include catching a game at the Rogers Centre or a concert at the Budweiser Stage. You can also head to the world-renowned Toronto Symphony Orchestra for a show!
Toronto has lots of fun events and food festivals almost every month. We recommend checking the tourism/seasonal calendar to add some of your itineraries.
Most of these events are best explored in the evenings, so you can skip some of the dining options on this guide and instead opt for festivals. We enjoyed the Greek Festival at Danforth Avenue (but this is just one example!)
Toronto Itinerary 3 days: Sightseeing Map
Day trips from Toronto Ontario
Need a break from Toronto? Go on day trips to some of these amazing places, less than three hours away from the city.
Elora: Travel time is 1 hour 40 minutes
Elora is recognized as the most beautiful village in the Ontario district and hiking or cycling through the Elora Gorge is an experience of a lifetime.
During the summer you can even try tubing down the Grand River or swimming in a limestone quarry. Sample the local craft beer at the Elora Brewing Company.
Hamilton: Travel time is 1 hour 15 minutes
Home to numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, and the famous Eramosa Karst Conservation Area, its tourist scene has risen up several notches in the last few years.
Though James Street North and Locke street are the main tourist hubs, you can check out some vintage shopping outlets like Filter and Antique Avenue for textile outlets.
The Blue Mountains: Travel time is 2 hours 30 minutes
This skiing and biking destination located on the shores of Georgian Bay is a bit far off from Toronto for a day trip, but definitely worth a visit. The Scandinave Spa is known for its full range of treatments and heated outdoor pool baths.
Kids can enjoy themselves at the pristine Northwinds Beach in season. Do not forget to try the legendary tacos and superb cocktails at Bent Taco.
Read: Ontario winter getaways
Milton: Travel time is 50 minutes
This short drive is one of the best one day trips from Toronto, particularly because of its prime location along the Niagara Escarpment.
There are several conservation areas in this part of the Halton region, especially the Crawford Lake Conservation Area, where one can learn a lot about the local history. Home to 1000-year-old cedar trees, Milton has everything for persons of all ages.
Toronto is the perfect spot for road trips to other cities, provincial parks, and nearby areas. Read our top picks for the best road trips from Toronto Ontario.
Additional Toronto travel tips
Toronto is a beautiful city located in the province of Ontario in Canada. The city is known for its diverse population, vibrant nightlife, and an array of tourist attractions. When planning a trip to Toronto, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, Toronto is a large city, so you’ll want to make sure you give yourself enough time to explore all of the different neighborhoods and attractions. Figure out when you can come, and how long you’ll be staying.
After you have your dates set, start looking into accommodation options. Toronto has a wide range of hotels, from luxury to budget-friendly. There are also many Airbnbs and other vacation rental options available.
Once you have your accommodation sorted, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do while you’re in Toronto. There are endless possibilities, but some must-sees include the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, and High Park.
Toronto is a very diverse city, so you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of the different cultures and traditions that are represented.
The city is rightly known for its amazing food scene, so be sure to leave time to explore the city’s many restaurants and cafes. Make sure to try some of the local specialties, like Peameal bacon or smoked meat Sandwiches, and maple syrup!
For currency exchange, ATMs are best advised for the withdrawal of cash as bank exchange rates are extremely high. Moreover, traveling with less currency in hand is always better. Know that Canadian dollars are our official currency (only a handful of places will accept USD).
Plan a good budget for Toronto. When flying from New York City in the US, you can be in Toronto in less than 2 hours, and for around $220 CAD.
While you should plan to set aside at least US $175 per day for your Toronto visit, there are ways to save additional money.
The Art Gallery of Ontario offers free museum nights every Wednesday from 6:00 – 9:00 pm while the Bata Shoe Museum offers to pay what you wish on Thursday evenings between 5-8om. Visitors must take advantage of this.
If you are a plant lover you are in luck because the Allan Gardens Conservatory, which features an indoor botanical garden, offers free entry throughout the year.
Courtesy of Tour Guys, you can join free walking tours of Toronto for an introduction to the city in the company of a knowledgeable guide.
Should you happen to visit Toronto in summer, there are as many as 58 free outdoor pools for leisure swimmers.
As far as safety goes, Toronto ranks extremely high, both on personal and digital security. In fact, the EIU or the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Toronto as the second most safe city after Copenhagen.
Downtown Toronto is generally safe at night, even for solo women. However, caution is advised when visiting some seedier parts of the city, especially those that are on the fringes.
Finally, don’t forget to pack your walking shoes. Toronto is a big city, and you’ll likely do a lot of walking to get around, and comfortable shoes are a must.
Weather plays a big role in deciding what to pack for Toronto. While casuals are okay for summer, heavy clothing is a must during winters because of the harsh snowfall.
Following these tips will help ensure that you have a great time on your trip to Toronto!
Were three days in Toronto enough?
A first time visitor to Toronto can easily spend a week or even more enjoying all the friendly vibes, and attractions, eating out, and wandering around the city like a local.
That said since this is not often the case and if you have limited time at your disposal, three days in Toronto will ensure you get to see what is best on offer here and return home satisfied.
Most visitors love to add a day trip to Niagara to round off their experience in Toronto, and it is a wise thing to do! We recommend prioritizing sightseeing by keeping your personal taste and budget in mind and you should be able to cover most of your bucket list items in 3 days in Toronto.
We hope you found the blog post useful in planning your trip to Toronto. This itinerary gives you a taste of the best that the city has to offer. From world-class museums and iconic skyline views to lively markets and outdoor adventures, you’re sure to have a memorable vacation.