Guide to Family Fun in Toronto
- February 12, 2019
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Anyone who thinks big city life doesn’t accommodate for kids hasn’t been to Toronto yet! One of the most lively, vibrant, walkable and diverse cities in the world, Toronto offers outstanding family-friendly activities from parks and beaches to zoos, arcades, skating rinks, exciting and educational entertainment and sports. And it also boasts a range of neighborhoods to explore which just so happen to be home to a long list of kid-friendly world-class cuisine!
Here is our complete guide to a trip full of family fun in Toronto.
Endless Opportunities to Explore
Toronto is a city of unique neighborhoods and exciting areas to discover. It would take weeks to truly explore all the areas that Toronto has to offer, but most visitors don’t have that long - so here are 5 must-see places to visit.
Toronto’s beautiful and tranquil Harbourfront boasts everything from waterfront parks and trails to galleries, theaters and outstanding restaurants, cafes and shops. And no matter the season, there’s always something exciting taking place at Harbourfront Centre. For a full schedule of events, visit the Centre’s website here.
Toronto Island and Centre Island
While island hopping probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Toronto, the city boasts a chain of islands mere minutes from the downtown core. From beaches to amusement parks, bike paths, walking trails and restaurants, Toronto Islands are a great way for visitors of all ages to enjoy a day outdoors. For transportation, head to the Harbourfront and take one of the many water-taxis making frequent trips from the mainland.
The Distillery District
Charming and quaint, Toronto’s Distillery District is a pedestrian-only neighborhood and historic site boasting beautiful brick buildings from the 19th century. Once housing a large whiskey distillery, the area now draws crowds to its cobblestone streets lined with hip indie restaurants, bars and boutiques. It also features a number of galleries and sculptures as well as outdoordance, music and stage performances. Throughout the year, the Distillery District is home to a number of outstanding festivals, including Toronto’s famed Christmas Market in December.
Located on College Street West, Little Italy boasts an lively and authentic Italian atmosphere. Packed with trattorias, trendy restaurants, cafes and pool halls, it’s a great place to explore by foot with the family - and maybe pick up some delicious snacks as you go.
Toronto’s The Beaches neighborhood will make you forget you’re in the heart of Canada’s biggest and most booming metropolis. Located to the east of the city, The Beaches neighborhood gets its name from its four distinct beach areas. With biking and walking trails as well parks and playground, it’s the perfect place for a picnic, a game of volleyball or a little bit of lounging in the sun.
Fantastic Food for All Ages
This 24-hour Toronto staple welcomes crowds of all kinds. While it may be filled with the late-night crowd in the early hours of the morning, during the daytimes and dinnertime it often plays host to highchairs. Lakeview Restaurant boats the Captain Canuck kids’ menu which includes kiddie takes on dinner offerings like burgers, spaghetti and grilled cheese. Best of all, it’s filled with games and illustrations to color in with the restaurant’s complimentary crayons.
Pizzeria Libretto Danforth
This Italian favorite boasts outstanding pizza, pasta and salad for grown-ups but it’s also extremely family-friend - particularly its Danforth location. Their “bambini” menu offers a mini margherita pizza and a scoop of gelato for only nine bucks - and comes with crayons and paper to keep kids busy.
Lazy Daisy’s Café
Located in Toronto’s Little India neighborhood, Lazy Daisy serves wholesome bacon, eggs and sausage straight from a Mennonite farm. The mini moo’s menu offers simple but delicious kids’ meals for only $5.95, while the adult brunch menu offers outstanding comfort food favorites. Best of all, there’s a table topped with a train set for kids to play at.
Uncle Betty’s Diner
This Midtown diner is only a stone’s throw from The Roehampton Hotel, making it a great place for a quick bite. The restaurant’s kids’ menu features mini versions of the restaurant’s staple dishes - including a grilled Nutella and banana sandwich.
Another Midtown must-visit is Stack Restaurant, located at Yonge and Lawrence. This amazing smokehouse offers outstanding BBQ for adults, and a menu full of mini plates for kids - all for $11.
If you happen to craving a waffle fix, look no further than Starving Artist. With six locations across the city, including on St. Clair Avenue in Midtown, Starving Artist offers vegan and gluten-free options as well as a two-dollar mini waffles menu for the kids.
The best family restaurants are the ones that are run by families. Piano Piano is one of those restaurants. This amazing Harbord Village eatery combines a dedicated dining room with a play area involving activities from costumes to Pac-Mac. Best of all, its kids menu was designed by a nutritionist and boasts happy trays of broccoli and blueberries.
Pickle Barrel (Midtown)
This favorite chain has been around since 1971 and has 11 restaurants across the city. But what’s most impressive is that Pickle Barrel understands exactly what kids want - from chicken fingers to spaghetti and meatballs, grilled cheese and even salmon, brown rice and broccoli.
Indoor Fun for the Young and the Young at Heart
You might have been to an aquarium before, but you’ve probably never been to one quite like this. Located in the heart of downtown, Ripley’s Aquarium will wow family members of all ages. This 135,000 square-foot aquarium is contains more than 1.5 million gallons of water, filled to the brim with 20,000 aquatic animals from around the world - including a submarine tunnel underneath a tank full of sharks.
Standing more than 1,800 feet tall, this iconic Toronto landmark is amongst the 7 Wonder of the Modern World for good reason. Take the thrilling, 58-second long, glass-bottomed elevator ride to the top of the city at 22 kilometers per hour and enjoy the best view in town. You can even stand on a glass floor looking directly down at the city below - but don’t worry, it can hold the weight of 35 moose.
The Ontario Science Centre
If you’ve got a curious streak and have ever wondered about how things work, then the Ontario Science Centre is a must-see destination for you. Located at 770 Don Mills Road, the Ontario Science Centre seeks to inform and inspire its visitors through hands-on experiences and engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since it opened its doors in 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 52 million visitors and has become a renowned hub for dialogue about science, technology and society.
The Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey is Canada’s game so it’s only right that Toronto should host the famed Hockey Hall of Fame. Whether fans of today’s players or the pioneers of the sport, The Hockey Hall of Fame is a great place for a family day trip to see exhibits about players, teams, National Hockey League records, memorabilia and NHL trophies - including the Stanley Cup.
The Rec Room
You don’t have to be a kid to have a blast at an arcade. Located at the base of the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, this family-friendly funhouse is situated in an old railway roundhouse and offers 60,000 square-feet of arcade games, food and entertainment. It even has an ultra-realistic race car simulator used by professional drivers for training.
Toronto Blue Jays Games
Take me out to the ball game! There are few activities more fun and family-friendly in Toronto than a Toronto Blue Jays game. With a roof that opens wide in great weather and a capacity of more than 50,000, Jays games offer a fun and wholesome family experience.
The Dinosaur Gallery at The Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of art, world culture and natural history. This must-see museum is one of the largest museums in North America, and the largest in Canada. But what’s arguably its most exciting feature is the exhibit that will thrill the kids and make the grown-ups feel like kids: the dinosaur gallery. This breathtaking space boasts everything from a full-sized brontosaurus (with a neck that goes to the ceiling) to Giganotosaurus, possibly the largest land predator to have ever lived.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
For an immersive and exciting look at Ontario history, stop by Black Creek Pioneer Village. Step back to the time of Canada’s federation and interact with the animals, building and tools of early Toronto - from the 1790s to the 1860s. A legitimate experience all the way through, the Village brings to life the lifestyles, customs and surroundings of the city’s early residents.
Outstanding Outdoor Family Fun and Attractions
A truly unique and beautiful experience, Evergreen Brickworks is a place where the world can experience sustainable practices that enable flourishing cities of the future. What started as an abandoned brick factory has transformed into a stage for future cities and boasts exciting seasonal activities - from the Saturday Farmers Market to a hike to a lookout, an ice skating rink, art displays, a Children’s Garden and more.
The Toronto Zoo
As Canada’s premier zoo, The Toronto Zoo is not only home to a vast array of beautiful animals of all types from all around the globe, but is also known for its interactive education component and its conservation activities. For a unique wildlife experience the whole family will love, it’s a must-see.
If you’ve got a family full of thrill seekers, there’s no better place to visit than Canada’s Wonderland. This 134-hectare theme park features everything from wild rollercoasters to wave pools and special events - it even has a dedicated two dedicated kids areas with more than 25 family-friendly rides.
Summer Skating at Ontario Place
Winter knows no bounds in Toronto - at least not at Ontario Place. Located against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Ontario, Ontario Place offers a synthetic ice rink build from a solid polymer material so that families can enjoy the fun of ice skating, all year round. But if you happen to be in search of a great wintertime rink, you can also strap on some skates and hit the ice rink at the iconic Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto’s Old City Hall.
Tall Ship Tour on the Harbour
Have your kids (or you) ever wondered what it was like to be aboard a pirate ship? Well, wonder no more. The Kajama, Toronto’s resident tall ship, offers amazing rides from May through September in the city’s beautiful harbour.
No Toronto summer is complete without a visit to the CNE! The Canadian National Exhibition, affectionately known as The Ex, takes place at Toronto’s Exhibition Place every summer from August 18th through September 4th. Jammed with midway rides, live music, dog and pony shows and over-the-top culinary concoctions, The Ex has something on offer for everyone.
To learn what else the city has to offer, visit theroehamptonhotel.com/guides for even more of The Roehampton Hotel’s comprehensive Guides to Toronto.
- December 05, 2018
- Things to do
If you’re not from Toronto, there’s a good chance you might’ve heard some not-so-nice things about the fall and winter in our city. And it’s not entirely unfounded. Toronto can be pretty chilly when the summer fades away.
- December 05, 2018
- Things to do
Toronto is truly a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique identity and offering of experiences. Spanning roughly from Bloor Street to the south, Lawrence Avenue to the North, Bayview Avenue to the east and Ossington Avenue to the west, Toronto’s Midtown is a neighborhood