Discounts on Tourist Attractions
If you are going to the CN Tower, ROM, Science Center, Casa Loma and Toronto Zoo, buy the tickets through CityPASS. It is usually about 50% off admission prices.
If paying admission isn't your thing, this is the list of free things to do in Toronto: Eaton Center, Harborfront, Nathan Phillips Square, St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, Chinatown, Distillery District, Union Station, Woodbine Beach, Niagara Falls. Aside from the beach and Niagara, these places are in walking distance of each other too.
1. CN Tower
The most popular place to visit in Toronto. Go up the CN tower, walk on the glass floor, and have a meal with the best view of Toronto at the 360 restaurant. With the new CN tower lights, it is an attraction both on the outside and the inside.
2. Canadian National Exhibition (CNE, The Ex)
The CNE is only open for the 3 weeks before Labour day (Mid August to early September). It is a fair/carnival/bazaar with many things to do: roller coasters, animal shows, displays of the latest gadgets, cheap clothing and souvenirs and even a casino.
3. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
The cool building is just a glimpse of what the ROM has to offer. The museum contains more than 6 million items and 40 galleries on World Culture and Natural History. Even though I am not a big fan of museums, it is still a lot of fun to look at all those dinosaur bones.
4. Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
Displays of Canadian, European and African art. Go to the AGO if you have heard of Van Gogh, Picasso, Rodin, Degas or Henry Moore. Honestly, I have never been there, but the artist types assure me it is a worthwhile experience.
5. Ontario Science Center
The Science Center is full of fun science displays. It is very interactive and you get to play with the experiments and see it in action. There is also a planetarium for science fiction enthusiasts. There will be a lot of kids, because it is both fun and educational.
6. Casa Loma
A gigantic mansion built around 1914. It used to be a home, then a hotel, then a secret military base, and now it is a museum. This one is more for people interested in history and architecture.
7. Bata Shoe Museum
The shoe museum is unexpectedly fun to visit. The entire museum is dedicated to displaying shoes from all different cultures and times. The coolest display is the one from ancient China where the royalty's shoes are only 4 inches in length. Maybe I just have a thing for shoes.
8. Fort York
An old fort built by the British to defend against the newly formed United States. If you want to see cannons and original buildings from the "War of 1812" era, come visit the fort.
9. Hockey Hall of Fame
Home of the Stanley Cup. This place is like a shrine for anyone interested in hockey. Find out the history, and check out the stuff from of all the greatest hockey players.
10. Toronto Eaton Center
One of the oldest and most beautiful shopping malls in Canada. Dundas square across the street always have some street perfomers, as this is the most high traffic area in Canada.
Walk south from the CN Tower/Skydome for 5 minutes and you will end up at the Harbourfront. There are different indie concerts and festivals held every weekend of the summer. If you can't decide what to eat for dinner, there is a tent with ethnic food stalls during festivals.
12. Nathan Phillips Square
Toronto city hall usually has some events going on. In the winter, there is a free skating rink there (rental skates available). And all year round, the roads are liked with hotdog stands and hotdog trucks.
13. St. Lawrence Market
The main building used to be a police station or jail. Now it is Toronto's most popular farmer's market. It is best to come on a Saturday morning, when the market is packed with people.
14. Kensington Market
The Kensington market is a National Historic Site. Conveniently hidden beside Chinatown, it is one of most multicultural places in the world. The marijuana culture there makes it feel like walking into hippy land.
15. Toronto Chinatown
One of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in North America. It is the oringinal chinatown, but the surrounding cities (Markham, Scarborough, Richmond Hill) are just as densely populated with Chinese restaurants and shops.
16. Distillery District
Victorian era buildings that are now used as restaurants, cafes and shops. The best part is that you won't find any franchises or fastfood chains in the entire area, so every store is unique. Historically, it used to be the largest Whisky distillery in the world.
17. Union Station
The central station connecting the cross-country trains, Toronto subway, and intercity GO buses. The building is grand and has some historical and architectural value.
18. Woodbine Beach (Ashbridges Bay Park)
Toronto's beach with literally hundreds of volleyball nets. Most people come down to have a barbeque and play beach volleyball. I think the water is somewhat dirty, but people do swim in it all the time.
19. Black Creek Pioneer Village
Old buildings and villagers playing the parts of early pioneers is a great tour of what life was like in the early 1800s. It is a popular place for school field trips.
20. Toronto Zoo
A large zoo full of animals from around the world. Make sure to check out the beavers, moose, grizzley bears, polar bears and penguins.
21. Canada's Wonderland
An amusement park with the super roller coasters. It is like Disneyland, except it is less cute and the rides are a lot scarier.
22. Niagara Falls
One of the natural wonders of the world. It is not in Toronto, but everyone visiting Toronto also goes to Niagara Falls. The boat tour to see the falls is called The Maid of the Mist
. The town also has casinos and the streets are famous for their haunted houses and clubs. While you are in the area, you could also check out Niagara-on-the-lake (which is not close to the actual falls) and Niagara wine tasting regions.