Toronto with Kids: 25 Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada

Niagara Falls makes for an easy day trip from Toronto.
Niagara Falls makes for an easy day trip from Toronto.
5/4/24 - By Rebecca Singer

Toronto, Canada (the country's largest city) is an ideal vacation destination for families looking for an urban adventure. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, the city offers a perfect mix of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, world-class museums, and charming neighborhoods. With so much to see and do, there’s something for everyone in your family to enjoy.

My family visited Toronto last summer and had a blast. Here are the 25 best things to do in Toronto, Canada with kids, including iconic city landmarks, kid-friendly museums, sports venues, amusement parks, and family-friendly Toronto hotels.

For more great family vacation spots in Canada, check out our Canada Family Travel Guide, including the top things to do in Montreal with kids.


CN Tower : Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada
Look out at the Toronto city skyline from the observation deck at the CN Tower. Photo courtesy of © Destination Toronto​

Top Attractions in Toronto, Canada for Families

1. CN Tower

An iconic Toronto, Canada landmark, the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere. Most kids will enjoy the thrill of riding the high-speed glass elevators to the main observatory, which features amazing views of the city. Arrive early to try to beat the lines, which can get quite long.

2. Ripley’s Aquarium

Next door to the CN Tower, the aquarium is a popular family destination. Its main attraction is an underwater tunnel you ride through on a moving walkway to see sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life swimming around you. The stingray touch pools, jellyfish exhibit, and interactive kids’ play area are also very popular.

3. Royal Ontario Museum

Jam-packed with artifacts from fossils to gems to works of art, the ROM (as it’s called by locals) is a fascinating place. Highlights for families include the Bat Cave (an immersive environment displaying bat specimens and models) and hands-on galleries and interactive play spaces where children can touch a shark jaw, explore a fox’s den, or play with dino-bone building blocks.

4. Ontario Science Centre

Experience an immersive rain forest environment, scale a mini rock-climbing wall, and explore an outdoor nature space with walking trails, a tree trunk slide, and a gigantic nest you can climb into. The highly interactive KidSpark educational play space is a favorite for young children and the giant, domed OMNIMAX Theatre provides a state-of-the-art movie screening experience.

5. Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals from around the world, including polar bears, gorillas, and kangaroos. In addition to the animal exhibits, the Zoo offers numerous interactive experiences like the Kids Zoo playground area, as well as seasonal opportunities such as a zip line, the Gorilla Climb Ropes Course, and the extensive Splash Island water play area.

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Centreville Amusement Park: Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada
Take a bumper boat ride at Centreville Amusement Park with the CN tower as your background view.

Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada with Kids

6. Toronto Islands and Centreville Amusement Park

This was one of the highlights of our trip. The short ferry ride from Toronto’s waterfront provides fantastic views of the skyline, and once you arrive at the islands there are plenty of outdoor activities including beaches, biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding. We spent most of our time at Centreville Amusement Park, a quaint collection of classic children’s rides including an antique carousel, spinning teacups, and bumper cars.

7. Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Game

If the Blue Jays are in town you can catch a ballgame at the Rogers Centre. The recently renovated Outfield District provides a unique ballpark experience with hangout spots including a video arcade, lounge areas, cornhole, and a children’s activity zone where kids can play while the grown-ups watch the game.

8. Hockey Hall of Fame

As Canada’s national winter sport, it’s not surprising that the Hockey Hall of Fame is a popular Toronto, Canada destination. Hockey fans love the memorabilia on display, including both the original and current Stanley Cup (the NHL’s championship trophy). But even those with a passing interest in the sport can find plenty to enjoy, like the interactive simulations where you can test your shooting, goalkeeping, and broadcasting skills.

9. Casa Loma

Over 100 years old, Casa Loma is a gothic revival castle in the midst of the city. My daughter enjoyed the grandeur of the building and the excitement of exploring a real castle. The gardens are not extensive, but we enjoyed the view of the city’s skyline from the grounds.

10. Bata Shoe Museum

My family enjoyed our visit to this unique museum that displays 4,500 years of history with a collection of over 14,000 shoes. The museum’s lower level has a section with drop-in kids’ activities including simple crafts and a variety of shoes you can try on. There are also self-guided treasure hunts for exploring the galleries. When we were there in summer, they had daily presentations for kids including a shoebox bingo game and storytime.

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Nathan Phillips Square.: Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada
Hang out near the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square.

Fun Free Things to Do in Toronto, Canada with Kids

11. Nathan Phillips Square

The iconic Toronto sign is the main draw for tourists at this downtown location, which is also the site of various concerts and special events throughout the year. In winter the square’s fountain is transformed into an outdoor ice skating rink.

12. St. Lawrence Market

Grab an afternoon snack at one of the many stalls at this local historic landmark. The peameal bacon (aka Canadian bacon) is a local specialty. Two blocks away is Berczy Park, a small urban park with a whimsical fountain featuring 27 cast-iron dog statues spraying water.

13. High Park

Outside the bustle of downtown, High Park is a great spot to enjoy a picnic, hike nature trails, or relax in beautiful gardens. The park’s attractions include the High Park Animal Display, a splash pad and wading pool, and the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a local favorite with its castle play structure, ropes, swings, ladders, and slides.

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Love Locks sign in the Distillery District : Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada
Stop by the Love Locks sign in the Distillery District for a photo op.

14. Distillery District

This restored historic district is now a pedestrian-only neighborhood with cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. We enjoyed the public art installations (like the Love Locks sign) and had a delicious ice cream cone at Scooped by Demetres.

15. Kensington Market

A vibrant, colorful neighborhood with a bohemian vibe, Kensington Market is a unique area to explore. Stroll the streets and enjoy the eclectic variety of shops, restaurants, and street art.

16. Chinatown

One of the largest Chinatowns in North America, here you’ll find a bustling urban district with many tasty dining options, souvenir shops, markets, and street vendors.

Niagara Falls :  Best Things to Do in Toronto, Canada
Niagara Falls is only a 90-minute drive from Toronto.

Best Day Trips from Toronto, Canada with Kids

17. Niagara Falls, Canada

Only about a 90-minute drive from Toronto, a side trip to Niagara Falls, Canada is well worth the visit. Take a boat tour right up to the falls to experience their beauty and majesty up close, then walk the tunnels behind the falls to stand on an observation deck in the mist and spray at the foot of Horseshoe Falls.

After you’ve (literally!) soaked in the natural wonder, head over to the carnivalesque Clifton Hill entertainment district, where you can play games at the Great Canadian Midway, ride the Niagara SkyWheel, and race on the Niagara Speedway elevated go-kart track.

18. Canada’s Wonderland

Less than an hour’s drive north of Toronto in Vaughan, Canada you’ll find the country’s largest theme park where you can enjoy thrill rides, live shows, and a water park. The KidZville and Planet Snoopy areas are a hit with little ones, while thrill seekers love the Leviathan and Behemoth roller coasters.

19. Legoland Discovery Centre

Also located in Vaughan, Legoland has exciting rides, a 4-D movie theater, character meet-and-greets, and a variety of play areas. In the MINILAND display you can see Toronto landmarks like the CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, and even Niagara Falls recreated in miniature, constructed from over half a million Lego bricks.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Toronto, Canada

20. Barque Smokehouse

A great choice for the whole family, Barque Smokehouse serves barbecue favorites like smoked beef brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled BBQ chicken. Kids’ menu options include barbecue fare as well as chicken tenders and grilled cheese, and children are provided with clay and coloring books to enjoy while they wait for their food.

21. The Old Spaghetti Factory

This is a classic family destination conveniently located downtown near several attractions. The dining room is in a huge, renovated historic warehouse and is full of fun decor including a 100-year-old carousel and an antique streetcar you can actually dine in. The restaurant has an all-inclusive menu, with every meal including an appetizer, bread, an entrée, and dessert.

22. Sunset Grill

This local chain is known for its all-day breakfast menu with classic items like omelets, pancakes, and french toast. The lunch menu includes sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.

Family-Friendly Toronto Hotels

23. Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel caters to families with a special kids’ check-in area and a Family Fun Zone with pet bunnies, an indoor pool with a corkscrew slide, and a teen gaming lounge. For young kids the hotel has a play area with toys, games, dress-up clothes, and arts and crafts activities.

24. Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre

If you’re looking for a convenient, budget-friendly option, the Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre is a good choice. The hotel has an indoor pool and an on-site restaurant where kids eat free when dining with an adult who orders from the full menu.

25. Hotel X Toronto

For a luxury experience, check out Hotel X Toronto, with amenities that include a heated rooftop pool, a movie screening room, and an athletic facility with a basketball court, pickleball, and a Golf Simulator. There's also a Kids' Play Centre that includes its own sports court as well as toys, books, crafts, and video games. Book the Family Fun Package to get child-sized robes and slippers, a keepsake item for each child, and in-room chocolate chip cookies and house-made fruit jellies served with milk.

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Unless noted, photos by the author