A 2-Day Weekend Itinerary to Toronto – Your Guide to Enjoying the City
Toronto is a modern and multicultural city. It is huge with lots of small neighborhoods and sights to explore.
It offers a little bit of everything that you will find yourself with plenty of things to do in Toronto in 2 days.
Whether you are a foodie, history buff, culture lover, or someone who simply wants to try a different experience, then this city is a great destination for you.
Discover more of what lies ahead when you visit the city in this Toronto weekend itinerary guide.
Tips for Visiting Toronto
A two-day weekend guide of Toronto (Image Source: Unsplash)
If this is your first visit to the city, there are a lot of things you need to know about how to see all Toronto on a weekend. Here are a few general tips you have to keep in mind to make your stay worthwhile:
- The best time to visit Toronto is from May to early November. This will enable you to see the top tourist attractions without experiencing too much heat or cold. Do take note that Toronto’s winters can be extremely harsh, so it’s best to avoid visiting at this time.
- Book a hotel in areas that are within short walking distance of major tourist attractions, such as Merge Condos. Not only will you save money from the commute to and from your accommodation, but you can also save time. Therefore, you can see more attractions each day.
- If you want to see as many sights as possible in Toronto within two days, buy the City Pass. This gives you access to five attractions in the city so you can save on them (versus paying for the individual tickets). You may use this pass for up to nine days from the first day of use, which provides you with more value. Even if you only have two days, it gives you plenty of options for sightseeing.
- If you plan to visit the major tourist attractions in Toronto, make sure to book in advance. Some of these top spots can get very busy and you might not be guaranteed to get tickets when you simply walk in. Buying your tickets in advance will also give you the opportunity to book them at a discount.
- Tipping is required in Toronto. The average tip is 15% but if you are traveling with a large group, then an 18% tip is to be expected. There is no need to tip in fast food joints or shops, only for sit-down and fine dining restaurants.
- Toronto is a generally safe city. However, as it is filled with many tourists, petty crimes can be common. Make sure to look after your personal belongings while you are sightseeing. It is best to leave your valuables (or any item you would not want to risk losing) in a safe at your hotel. It is also advisable that you avoid bad areas such as Jane & Finch, Malvern, Kipling & Albion, and Cabbagetown (especially after dark).
How to Get There
One of the most important things to consider when building your Toronto itinerary is to know what transportation options you have available. If you are traveling from outside Canada, the best way to get to the city is via any international flight to Toronto Pearson International Airport. This is the busiest airport in Canada with many domestic and international flights daily.
If you are traveling from other parts of Canada or Ontario, you have a few other options available. You can travel via train through either VIA Rail or Amtrak. This train will take passengers to Union Station at the heart of Toronto.
You can also opt to drive to Toronto. This city is linked to other cities in Canada and the US via the Queen Elizabeth Way, as well as Highways 2, 401, and 407. Some of the closest cities to Toronto are Kingston, North Bay, Ottawa, Windsor, and New York City.
Getting from the Airport to Toronto
How to spend a weekend in Toronto (Image Source: Unsplash)
There are a few transportation options from the airport to the city. A convenient way to travel this route is via train through the Union Pearson Express. This train runs from the airport to Union Station for approximately 25 minutes.
There are also several taxis to choose from that will take you to the city, although this can be the most expensive option. You can also pre-arrange a transport service with your hotel or you can take the public transit bus.
Make sure you buy a City Pass so you can get more value when you explore sights and things to do in Toronto. You can buy one online before you arrive or at the airport upon arrival.
Best Places to Stay
When you spend a weekend in Toronto, one of the first few things you have to decide on is where to stay. Choosing the best place to stay in the city for a weekend will depend on what you want to see and your budget. There are several different areas to choose from and each one provides you access to a variety of tourist attractions and sights.
The central business district is one of the best places to stay in Toronto. The downtown area belongs to the Old Toronto District wherein you will also find lots of skyscrapers.
This neighborhood serves as the beating heart of the city, which makes it an ideal place to stay if you want to immerse yourself in real Canadian culture. There are many retail stores, bars, restaurants, and other establishments to check out within the business and financial district. The most famous fashion street in Toronto is also located here–the Mink Mile.
When you stay in the central business district area, you will find a few hotel options such as The Hazelton Hotel, The Omni King Edward Hotel, and Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto.
These are contemporary hotels with modern amenities suited for luxury travelers. The payoff is that you can stay within close proximity to major tourist attractions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Bata Shoe Museum.
For budget-minded travelers, you can find great value from accommodations located just outside the city proper. For example, you can look for places to stay in Chinatown since this is where the budget hotels can be found.
One of the best places that offer value to its guests is the Super 8 Downtown Toronto. This hotel gives you easy access to restaurants as well as transportation hubs. They offer comfortable and clean rooms with a free breakfast!
Yorkville is another recommended neighborhood for your Toronto 2-day itinerary. This is known as a shopping district in Toronto wherein you can find lots of designer shops like Gucci and Chanel.
Other must-see attractions include the Gardiner Museum and the Yorkville Park. You can also find a wide range of hotel options including the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto at Yorkville and the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville.
If you are looking for other great areas and neighborhoods to stay within Toronto in 2 days, your options include Harbourfront, King Street West, and the Entertainment District.
Toronto Weekend Itinerary
Toronto is a city packed with attractions for all kinds of travelers, so even if you only have a weekend to spend, there are still a lot of things to do in Toronto in 2 days. By using this weekend itinerary as a guide, you will be able to visit all the best sights in Toronto to experience the best it can offer. Even when traveling on a budget, you can still make the most of the sights and attractions there are to see.
Distillery District in Toronto, Canada (Image Source: Unsplash)
As soon as you check-in at your hotel on Friday night, your exploration of Toronto can start right away. The nightlife in the city is quite vibrant, so make sure you set aside time to experience that. And what better time than a Friday night in Toronto to soak in that experience?
Head over to the Distillery District to kick off your weekend in Toronto on the right note. The Distillery District is such an iconic landmark in the city that no Toronto itinerary will be complete without it. This pedestrian era is composed of Victorian-era buildings that have been preserved. It is a hub of restaurants, cafes, and bars that are frequented by tourists. There are 40 buildings to explore in a span of 10 streets so there will be plenty for you to see.
On Saturday morning, your weekend in Toronto has officially started. Head to the Royal Ontario Museum, which is one of the recommended things to do in Toronto.
This is the largest museum complex in Canada with five separate areas showcasing all kinds of items, such as world culture, archaeology, art, and natural history. There are over 6 million objects on display in over 40 galleries!
Once you’re done exploring the museum, you can head to the St. Lawrence Market. This is one of those attractions that you have to add to your itinerary for Toronto in 2 days. This market is open on Saturdays from 5 AM to 3 PM. It is a Toronto icon that has been around since the 1800s and is a great spot to go to if you are looking for fresh, local produce.
This is one of the must-dos on your summer itinerary in Toronto. There are over 120 stalls and these are good to explore if you want to sample some delicious goodies such as crepes, bagels, and more. Make sure you go when you’re hungry as you will definitely get your fill!
In the afternoon, you can head to another iconic landmark in Toronto, the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is no secret that Canadians love hockey so this attraction is a must in your Toronto 2-day itinerary. It is only a short walk from St. Lawrence Market and will give you a chance to marvel at the trophies, kits, and other hockey artifacts on display. There are also interactive games, which are recommended for hardcore hockey fans!
Once you are done exploring the hockey memorabilia, you can make your way to the Kensington Market. This is a National Historic Site and belongs to a multicultural neighborhood. This is the best place to visit if you want to spot vintage record stores, antique shops, and unique stores. Kensington Market is also known for its street art and performers. It has a unique vibe to it, which makes it worthwhile. If you do get hungry, you can find plenty of places to eat and grab a drink.
To finish off your day, you can head to Chinatown for an Asian feast or visit one of Toronto’s rooftop bars. There are a few hotels in the city with rooftop bars that offer panoramic views of the city at night.
On the second day of your quest to figure out how to see all Toronto on a weekend, you can embark on a one-day tour. There are several places online that let you book tours in Toronto for one full day.
This is a great way to see the highlights of the city without having to worry about transportation. Most tours will pick you up and drop you off at the airport. Plus, they come with tourist guides, too, so you can learn more about each attraction you visit.
The Niagara Falls is a popular day trip destination from Toronto (Image Source: Unsplash)
One example of a great tour to take from Toronto is the one-day Niagara Falls Tour by Bus. Niagara Falls is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Toronto.
Grab this opportunity to witness one of the grandest waterfalls in the world by embarking on the Niagara Falls cruise and get up close to the base of the waterfalls.
Other highlights of this one-day tour include viewing the falls from the observation deck, visiting a local winery near the Niagara Falls, and grabbing some souvenirs at the Table Rock Complex.
If you are a foodie, another great idea for a one-day tour in Toronto is the City Guided Food Tour. You will get the chance to visit the coolest neighborhoods in Toronto known for its culinary landscape.
Among these neighborhoods are Kensington Market, Distillery District, Queen West, and Little Italy. For one full day, you will have the chance to visit some of the top local restaurants in Toronto. You can also learn about the history of the neighborhoods you visit.
Finally, you can buy a tour ticket to the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour. This ticket will give you access to one of the tourist buses that roam the entire city wherein you can hop-off or hop-on each bus.
This is a convenient way to visit some of the most notable tourist attractions in the city while saving on the cost of the commute. You can visit as many tourist attractions as you can in one day.
The activities and sights that were listed above are only the highlights of your Toronto weekend itinerary. If you have more time to spend here, it is worth stretching your vacation for a few more days so you can see more attractions.
But even if you have a tight schedule, it does not mean that you won’t get to experience the best that Toronto has to offer. Feel free to use this itinerary as a guide and adjust it according to your preferences.