3 Ways To See Toronto!!

Toronto Nighttime Skyline

Toronto’s skyline as scene from Toronto Islands

Toronto is one of those vibrant cities that takes you by surprise. It’s hip, happening and diverse. To see Toronto in all her glory, I recommend taking to the streets, the water, and the air.

Start on the streets with a self-guided walking tour that starts in Chinatown, goes through Kensington Market, and then along Queens St West.

Take the Harbourfront Streetcar from the Harbourfront to Chinatown. Exit the streetcar at the corner of Spaldina and Dundas. It’s from here that you will start a self-guided walking tour that will take you through the heart of this city’s multi-cultural hub.

The buzzing of the crowds add to the constant excitement of Toronto’s Chinatown. Located downtown, Chinese characters grace the stores and street signs, while markets with exotic fruits and vegetables spill out onto the sidewalk. And, of course, there is a bountiful selection of Asian restaurants. Great food alone is reason enough to visit Chinatown. A vermillion Twin Dragon Gate marks the epicenter

Dragons Gate  Chinatown

Dragon’s Gate marks the epicenter for Chinatown

Man in Chinatown

Vendor a Chinatown restocking his tables.

Street scene in Chinatown on Spaldina St.

Street scene in Chinatown on Spaldina St.

Heading west on either Baldwin or Nassau will put you smack in the middle of Kensington Market, a maze of narrow streets and alleys. Brightly painted Victorian houses, and shops that are packed with goods from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America line the streets. With its eclectic restaurants and cafés, Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most diverse areas.

Baldwin Street in Kensington Market

Baldwin Street in Kensington Market

Vibrant colored houses line the streets of Kensington Market.

Vibrant colored houses line the streets of Kensington Market.

As you walk along, keep an eye out for some fantastic street art. Toronto is one the of the best street art cities on earth. Get a feel for ethnic culture through murals in Kensington Market and Chinatown.

Street Artists in Kensington Market

Street Artists in Kensington Market

Grafitti along the alleys of Kensington Market

Grafitti along the alleys of Kensington Market

The street art in Toronto is incredible!!

The street art in Toronto is incredible!!

From Kensington Market, head to Queen St West. Walk west on Nassau until you reach Bathurst and walk south until you reach Queen St West, walk east. The stretch located between Bathurst and Simcoe is where the action is at.

Set in an area of historic buildings and unique restaurants from around the world, Queen St West is Toronto’s trendiest shopping district. Toronto’s fashion district has a collection of clothing boutiques, shoe stores and accessory shops, as well as local designers art galleries, restaurants and cafes. At night, revive yourself by listening to great music.

Accessories Orgasm Sign

The sign says it all!! You need accessories. 🙂

Bovine Sex Club Facade

You just never know what you’ll find along Queens St West, such as this art installation on the facade of the Bovine Sex Club…

CP24 Truck in CTV Building

…or this truck in the side of the CTV Building.

If you prefer, rent bikes. Renting a bike in Toronto is easy. Throughout the city are automated bike stands. Pick up a bike at one stand and return it to another. It’s just another great way to see this vibrant city, and it’s a great alternative to taxis.

After a day of perusing the streets of Toronto, take a breather from the city and head out to the water and see Toronto’s skyline from one of the best vantage points, Toronto Island.

Right off of the coastline on Lake Ontario is Toronto Islands, a top recreation destination for locals and tourist. A 15-minute ferry ride affords fantastic views of Toronto’s magnificent skyline. Once there, spend the day hanging out, relaxing on the beach. Or, explore the islands waterways by renting canoes, or rent bikes for another great way to see the island.

CN Tower from Ferry

Take the ferry to Toronto Islands for this fantastic view of the city.

Toronto Island

Toronto Island

Seeing Toronto from the air is easy. Go to the CN Tower. The CN Tower is Toronto’s most recognizable landmark. Rising 553.33 meters into the air, it held the record for World’s Tallest Tower, Building and Freestanding Structure from 1976 – 2010. The high-speed glass-fronted elevators give you a breath-taking view as you race upwards at 22 kilometers (15 miles) per hour, arriving at the main observation level, with its Lookout and glass floor, for those who want to test their nerves. If that still isn’t high enough for you, from the main observation level, transfer to the special SkyPod elevator and soar to another amazing 33 stories. It’s here that you will see an awe-inspiring 360-degree unobstructed view of Toronto, Lake Ontario, and surrounding region. On a clear day, it’s not unusual to see Niagara Falls or Rochester, New York.

CN Tower Walk The Edge

Walk The Edge of the CN Tower!!

And, for those who are more adventurous, walk the edge. EdgeWalk is CN Tower’s thrilling attraction. Visitors walk along the ledge that is outside of the main observation deck, while attached to a trolley and harness system. Trained EdgeWalk guides encourage participants push their personal limits by leaning back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath them.

Whether by land, sea or air, you’re sure to love Toronto!

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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.