Where to stay in Toronto! The ultimate guide to the best neighborhoods, top attractions, and accommodation options for any budget.
Toronto is one of Canada's biggest metropolitan areas. It is the capital city of Ontario and home to nearly three million people. Over 43 million visit Toronto annually.
Where to stay in Toronto all depends on the kind of experience you want. There are plenty of distinct neighborhoods to choose from. Whether you want to stay in the heart of downtown or experience life for a few days in the heart of Chinatown, Toronto truly has it all.
I personally have a soft spot for Toronto. I spent four years of college in Buffalo, New York and often drove up to Toronto for a day or for a weekend. No matter how many times I visited, I kept going back.
And, I'm not alone with being a repeat visitor. It's easy to see why so many people keep making trips to Toronto. It hugs the coast of Lake Ontario and has awesome waterfront views. It's culturally diverse and one of the most important cities in Canada.
Toronto is filled with tons of character and charm. Accommodations in the city reflect that. No matter what kind of vacation you are looking for, Toronto has a number of attractions and hotels to choose from. Let's check out the best ones!
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Where to Stay in Toronto, Canada: The Best Neighborhoods
The neighborhoods of Toronto are unique on their own, but put together they make up one of the most upbeat cities in Canada. Like other major cities in North America, Toronto has top tier restaurants, almost endless shopping options, and an overall cosmopolitan feel.
Choosing where to stay in Toronto means choosing between one exciting neighborhood over another. No matter where you decide to stay and explore, Toronto won't disappoint.
There is a little something for everyone in the Entertainment District. Toronto is a cultural hub and has one of the most famous theater districts throughout Canada.
People from all over the country, and the world, come to this area of Toronto specifically for its performing arts centers.
The Entertainment District is also home to some of the top attractions in Toronto. This is where you can find the popular CN Tower, Second City Toronto, and Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.
The Entertainment District is the best neighborhood in Toronto for exactly what it is named for - entertainment! It is one of the most tourist heavy neighborhoods in Toronto and offers a wide selection of shopping and dining options.
When choosing where to stay in Toronto, the Entertainment District is one of the best options.
Cultural diversity is widespread throughout Toronto (especially in this neighborhood) and can easily be seen in the Entertainment District's food scene.
Where to Stay in the Entertainment District
Diamond Vacation Homes - A budget-friendly apartment style accommodation. This one bedroom one bathroom apartment is stylish and has great views of Lake Ontario. This is the kind of stay that's perfect for travelers who want more space and the perks of having their own kitchen and living room while on vacation.
The apartment has access to a fitness center and an indoor pool. It is centrally located and walking distance to the Entertainment District.
Le Germain Hotel Toronto - A boutique hotel in Toronto's Entertainment District. This hotel offers unique amenities, including a rooftop putting green and a library. There is also access to a 24-hour fitness center.
This accommodation is ideal for guests who want to stay in a trendy hotel with unique furnishings and amenities, without spending a high price. There is a restaurant and a bar in the hotel, as well as a free cappuccino bar. Daily breakfast is offered at Le German Hotel Toronto.
Bisha Hotel Toronto - An upscale accommodation in the heart of the Entertainment District. This hotel takes interior design to a new level with its luxuriously clean decor. For example, the 9th floor of the hotel was designed by Lenny Kravitz's design company, Kravitz Design Inc.
The Bisha Hotel Toronto has plenty of dining options, including a bar and three restaurants. There is also an infinity pool on the roof to enjoy during warming months of the year. Staying at this hotel will bring your Toronto vacation up a notch in terms of elegance and luxury.
If shopping is on your list of things to do while in Toronto, look no further than Yorkville.
Yorkville is home to the Mink Mile, which is one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world. Visitors can find well known high end designers in this part of Toronto, including Chanel, Prada, and Cartier. It is comparable to Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive or New York City's Fifth Avenue.
Aside from being a shopper's paradise, The Royal Ontario Museum is also located in Yorkville. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city in one of the best neighborhoods in Toronto.
Let's face it, shopping can build up a serious appetite. Like its upscale shops, Yorkville also attracts expensive eateries. If money isn't tight, splurge at Buca Osteria and Bar for fresh Italian seafood.
Where to Stay in Yorkville
Hotel 89 Yorkville - A cheap option if you want to stay in trendy Yorkville. If you don't mind plain decor in the guest rooms and basic amenities, this is a good option to save some money while traveling. The hotel offers free breakfast daily to its guests.
You don't stay at this hotel for its beautiful design, you stay here because of its close proximity to Yorkville attractions. It is walking distance to the Royal Ontario Museum and close to public transportation.
Jet Furnished Suites Yorkville - A one bedroom one bathroom apartment. Jet Furnished Suites is central in Yorkville and offers the conveniences of a modern home rather than a standard hotel. The apartment is fully furnished with a contemporary design. It has a full kitchen for preparing meals at home.
If you are driving or renting a car in Toronto, this apartment also has parking available at the apartment building. This is a nice bonus because of how difficult parking in the city can be. Pets are also welcome! This spot is an ideal place when deciding where to stay in Toronto.
The Hazelton Hotel - A luxury hotel option in a luxury neighborhood. The hotel's exterior design is unique and its interior is designed for travelers who appreciate high end style. The guest rooms at The Hazelton Hotel are finished with top notch quality designs, including marble bathrooms.
This hotel has many amenities for guests to enjoy. There is a bar and restaurant onsite. The hotel also has a tranquil spa, an indoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.
The Hazelton is also a pet friendly hotel and offers guests pet grooming services. In addition to this, there is a movie screening room in the hotel, another feature that makes this hotel stand out from the rest.
Downtown Toronto is exactly what you think of when you picture a major city - heavy trafficked streets, soaring skyscrapers, and crowds of people walking from businesses and stores.
It is one of the most popular areas when it comes to where to stay in Toronto as there are a number of high end hotels in Downtown Toronto. But really, Downtown Toronto has so much to offer for any budget.
For one, Downtown Toronto has a bunch of top attractions to visit that are extremely well known. You have to check out the CN Tower, even if you just look up at it from the street. Take in the city's skyline and blend in with the large crowds. It's the best way to get a feel for the true pulse of Downtown Toronto.
There's also a bunch of smaller neighborhoods within Downtown Toronto that showcase their own personal charm. Check out Kensington Market and slow down the pace in residential area, Cabbagetown. Old Toronto is also part of the downtown area.
When you're ready for some drinks after a day of exploring, head over to The Porch for cocktails with a rooftop view. For more beautiful views of the city, plus Canadian cuisine, dine at Canoe. Get a taste of Toronto's diversity at Leña Restaurante for mouth watering Argentinean food.
Recommended Experience: Downtown Toronto Bike Tour
Where to Stay in Downtown Toronto
The Strathcona Hotel - A budget-friendly hotel option in a neighborhood where hotels can get pretty expensive. Although it's a budget hotel, it comes with a more modern and welcoming atmosphere compared to other budget finds in the city. The hotel is in a historical building and located within the Financial District.
The rooms at The Strathcona Hotel have contemporary designs, something that you might not expect in a budget hotel. The hotel has a restaurant and a pub. Major attractions including Ripley's Aquarium and the CN Tower are in close proximity.
The hotel is also walking distance to a number of public transportation options. It's a great option for money saving travelers who still want style and modernity in their accommodation.
One King West Hotel & Residence - An all suite hotel in the heart of the Financial District. One King West Hotel is located within a historic building, built in 1914. The charm and character of the architecture is everywhere. It gives this hotel a unique boutique feel, unlike many other chain hotels in the area.
Each guest room in this hotel has a separate bedroom, along with a dining area and work space. The suites come with a small but modern kitchenette. The rooms are all furnished with contemporary finishes. Being in the center of the city, many rooms also have stunning views of Toronto's skyline.
The St. Regis Toronto - An upscale hotel chain that is synonymous with luxury and the Toronto location is no different. The St. Regis is located in the center of Downtown Toronto and is easily accessible to many of the city's main attractions.
The hotel has a bar and a restaurant, along with a two level spa. There is also a fitness center and swimming pool. The St. Regis Toronto is a pet friendly hotel.
While staying at the St. Regis Toronto, guests can enjoy luxury in many forms. Each guest room is elegantly designed and many have beautiful views of the city as well as furnishings and amenities that are all about luxury.
This hotel is ideal for those who don't mind spending top dollar for a luxurious accommodation during their vacation. It's considered by many as the best place to stay in Toronto.
If you’re anything like me, you love finding special events and festivals while traveling in a new city. And if you’re looking for that in Toronto, look no further than Harbourfront.
This popular neighborhood in Toronto hosts over 4,000 special events each year. It is one of the best places in the city to find everything from cultural events to educational activities for children. It's considered one of the best places to stay in Toronto because of its lively special events.
Aside from the special events, there are tons of other things to do in Harbourfront. Situated along Lake Ontario, there is a beautiful boardwalk along the water. Habourfront also has outdoor gardens, seasonal activities such as ice skating and outdoor movies, and a bunch of restaurants to choose from.
For some Chinese food with a view of Lake Ontario, head over to Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine. Order some over the top ice cream cones at The Fix Ice Cream Bar, like the Campfire ice cream cone with a roasted marshmallow on top.
If you happen to be in Harbourfront on a Saturday evening and want to experience a uniquely Toronto supper club, try out the Grand Bazzar. This once a week event mixes the tastes of different vendors with the social scene of a nightclub.
Recommended Experience: Toronto Harbour Sightseeing Cruise
Where to Stay in Harbourfront
Sarkar Suites- Maple Leaf Square - A wallet-friendly option when staying in the Harbourfront area of Toronto. This apartment style accommodation has two bedrooms. It is a good deal for those who are traveling in larger groups or as a family. The apartment comes fully furnished and has a full kitchen, perfect for staying in and cooking.
The apartment has access to a fitness center and a sauna. It's in a great location and features a beautiful view of the Harbourfront area. It is also great for children because of the extra space in the apartment.
Radisson Admiral Toronto Habourfront - One of the Toronto waterfront hotels in the center of all the action. Guest rooms are contemporary and offer standard amenities. The hotel has a restaurant and lounge for both sit down and casual dining. There is also a rooftop pool and a sun terrace for the warmer months in Toronto.
You can't beat the location of this hotel as it offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. The Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront also has great views of the skyline, including the CN Tower.
This accommodation is a good choice for anyone who wants a nicer hotel experience without completely splurging on the price tag.
The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto - A luxurious option when staying in the Harbourfront area. The Westin Harbour Castle is located right along Lake Ontario with some rooms having views of the water. It is perfect for anyone traveling with pets because it is another pet friendly hotel in the city.
The guest rooms in this hotel are sleek and stylish. Every room has a Westin Heavenly Bed, which is exclusive to this hotel company. The Westin also has a fitness center, indoor pool, and rooftop tennis courts. It is a 4-star hotel that doesn't hold back on luxurious amenities.
If you're in the mood to travel to China for a day without ever leaving Toronto, visit Chinatown. Toronto's Chinatown has been around for over 100 years and continues to grow. It's another example of the city's diversity.
Chinatown is easily walkable and best explored through its cuisine. A walk through this Toronto neighborhood will bring you to rows of restaurants, traditional Chinese herbal shops, and markets.
If you happen to be in Toronto during Chinese New Year, make sure you go to Chinatown for the big New Year's celebrations. The Toronto Chinatown Festival is also a large cultural event that brings locals and visitors together to celebrate Chinese heritage in the city.
Let's face it, there's a lot of food to choose from in Chinatown. For traditional dumplings, head over to Mother's Dumplings. Swatow Restaurant is a local favorite for Cantonese food. Aside from Chinese food, Chinatown is also home to a variety of Asian food as well. Try Ajisen Ramen for a warm bowl of fresh ramen.
Recommended Experience: 3-Hour Old Chinatown Food Tour
Where to Stay in Chinatown
Chinatown Travellers Home - The Chinatown Travellers Home is far from a fancy accommodation but it offers guests with the basics during their stay. Rooms are available with either a private or shared bathroom.
There is minimal decor but the rooms are clean and furnished with a standard bed and linens. This is the type of option for those who don't mind the bare necessities in a hotel stay.
The cheaper price of this accommodation is appealing to those with a smaller budget or younger travelers who would rather spend their money on other attractions and food. Most importantly, the hotel is in a central location in Chinatown, a perfect base for exploring the city.
The Alexandra Hotel - Located near Chinatown as well as Kensington Market, the furnishings of this hotel are simple and basic. Each room comes with a small kitchenette for those who prefer to cook meals. The Alexandra Hotel also has laundry facilities on each floor of the hotel.
This mid-range hotel is for those who want a basic place to sleep and who plan to spend a decent amount of time outdoors exploring the city.
Hotel Ocho - A popular Chinatown hotel option, Hotel Ocho is housed in an old industrial building. The hotel takes advantage of its unique environment and many of the guest suites are decorated to reflect its industrial past.
There is a restaurant and lounge onsite at Hotel Ocho. For guests who want to explore the outdoors, bike rentals are available. The hotel is walking distance to many Chinatown attractions and restaurants. It is also in close proximity to the CN Tower.
How to Get Around Toronto
The best way to get around Toronto is by public transportation. Toronto’s public transportation system is called the Toronto Transit Commission, or TCC. It offers three different services for commuters. Travelers can take the subway, bus, or streetcar.
The subway is the fastest way to get around, but it is not as widespread throughout the city as the bus or streetcar.
There are only two subway lines that run through Toronto. The yellow line runs north to south and the green line runs from east to west. Although it is not as extensive as subways in other major cities, it does go to many of Toronto’s popular destinations and is easy to use.
Take a streetcar or bus for any other destination. Like the subway, they are both easy to use and run almost 24 hours a day. The fare for the TCC is $2.50 for a one way trip. There are also options to buy single day or multi-day passes with unlimited rides. This will cover the subway, bus, and streetcar.
Toronto has many islands off the coast of the city which are accessible only by ferry. The fare is a little more expensive at $6.00 for these ferries.
Keep in mind that walking is also one of the best ways to explore any new city, and Toronto is no different. Take some time to explore each neighborhood by foot. Taxis and rideshare options are available as well. Both Uber and Lyft run in Toronto.
Top 10 Sights to See in Toronto
CF Toronto Eaton Centre
This large indoor shopping complex is in the heart of downtown Toronto. There are over 200 stores in this shopping center, along with an office complex. The Eaton Centre also has access to public transportation within the mall.
The CF Toronto Eaton Centre is actually the busiest mall in North America. It attracts nearly 50 million visitors a year. It beats the Mall of America in foot traffic and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Toronto.
The CN Tower is one of the most prominent buildings in all of Toronto's skyline. It is located in the heart of downtown Toronto and easily accessible to visitors. It was once the tallest building in the world and offers amazing views from the top observation deck. The CN Tower is a must see in Toronto.
For thrill seekers and those who aren't afraid of heights, try out the CN Tower's Edgewalk. Get strapped into a harness and walk around the top of the CN Tower. The Edgewalk is the highest outdoor walkway in the world.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Canada loves hockey, plain and simple. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame for a more in depth look into the beloved sport. The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in the center of Toronto. It is home to a variety of interactive exhibits that make this museum a touch more fun.
If you are a hockey lover, this museum is the epicenter of all hockey memorabilia. Walk through the museum's many exhibits on the players, the history of the sport, and watch movies about hockey. Most importantly, get a glimpse of the Stanley Cup.
Want to see a castle in the middle of Toronto? Head over to Casa Loma for Toronto's own historic castle. This once private mansion was built in the early 1900s. It is now a museum and often used for private events throughout the year.
You can visit Casa Loma and take a tour of the interior of the castle. Tour the stately rooms and all of its antique furnishings. It will make you feel like you've stepped into an old European castle and make you forget that you're in the middle of downtown Toronto.
The Distillery District was once an old area with Victorian Industrial buildings. It is now a pedestrian-only attraction full of restaurants, shops, and bars.
This area has transformed itself into one of Toronto's top attractions over the years. It takes advantage of its historic architecture and the beautiful old buildings are one of the main reasons people visit this area.
The Distillery District also showcases a number of special events throughout the year. Visit this area of Toronto for everything from yoga classes, flea markets, music performances, and artisanal food markets.
Recommended Experience: Toronto Distillery District Walking Tour
Locals of Toronto love enjoying High Park when the weather warms up. Spring and summer months are a great time to visit this urban park for its large outdoor space. It is an ideal way to escape the energizing life of the city. Recreational activities are abundant in this park.
There are different gardens to explore and paths to walk or jog. High Park is also home to the Toronto Zoo. Cherry blossoms are a main attraction in the spring months. It is also known for its rare oaks that grow in the park.
St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is one of the most popular, and most important, markets in Toronto. It is a large indoor market with over 100 vendors selling everything from fresh food to antiques. The St. Lawrence Market is housed in a building that is over 200 years old.
Your taste buds won't be disappointed when visiting the St. Lawrence Market. National Geographic once named it the best food market in the world, so that must mean something. Try everything from local bagels and pastries to Greek cuisine. You can also shop for locally grown produce from regional farmers.
Recommended Experience: St. Lawrence Market & Old Toronto Food Tour
This outdoor entertainment area is located near the Eaton Centre. It is famous for concerts and special events that take place throughout the year. Yonge-Dundas Square is in the heart of downtown Toronto and one of the best attractions to see in the city.
During the warmer months, Yonge-Dundas Square is bustling with people and excitement. You can often find free concerts outside and cultural festivals.
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre makes museums exciting and educational. This interactive science museum is geared towards children, but people of all ages can enjoy the exhibits. Visiting this Toronto attraction is perfect for families who want their children to explore the city in a unique kind of way.
The Ontario Science Centre has exhibits on outer space and also features a planetarium. There are many science demonstrations for people to learn from and an IMAX theater as well.
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is undoubtedly one of the most important museums in Canada. Its grand size and amazing collections of art bring in over one million people a year. It is the biggest museum in Canada and one of the largest in North America.
Admire the unique architecture of the building's exterior. Once inside, enjoy over 40 galleries of art from around the world. Artwork that are centuries old are also on display.
Other Recommended Experiences to Have in Toronto
Top 3 Day Trips from Toronto
Just a two hour drive from Toronto, Niagara Falls is one of the top destinations in Canada. The Canadian side of Niagara Falls offers stunning views of this natural wonder. Visit it during the day and take a boat ride to the base of Niagara Falls.
A nighttime visit to the Falls is equally as breathtaking. Niagara Falls lights up with colorful lights each evening. Head up to the Skylon Tower for a panoramic view of the area.
Recommended Experience: Niagara Falls Day Trip from Toronto
Buffalo, New York
Drive across the border to Buffalo for a taste of authentic Buffalo wings. Buffalo wings got their start at the Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo. Head over to another local Buffalo wing favorite, Duff's, to compare the town favorites.
Aside from eating, take a look at some of Buffalo's top attractions. Visit the Albright-Knox Art Museum or take a walk through trendy Allentown for local shops and cafes. For any architecture buffs, check out Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex.
Visit this outdoor trail when the weather is warmer in Canada. This trail is located in Hamilton, Ontario and stretches for nearly two miles. Dundas Peak has two different waterfalls along the way, Tews Falls and Webster's Falls. It is a favorite hike for locals and only about one hour away from Toronto.
If you are traveling with your dog, this trail is also dog friendly. It is a great place to get away from city life in Toronto and unwind with Mother Nature.
What to Pack for Toronto
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