Cool things to do in Toronto this winter
Although it might be a bit chilly, fun winter activities in Toronto make it worthwhile to explore this world-class Canadian city.
Grab your toque, throw on your gloves, bundle up and head out on an urban winter adventure.
Enjoy panoramic views from Canada’s tallest building
Experience the best views of the snow-covered city from the top of Toronto's tallest free-standing structure. The CN Tower is open year-round and is one of the best places to visit in Toronto.
At 114 stories above the ground, the Main Observation Level offers spectacular unobstructed floor-to-ceiling views. An elevator ride 33 stories higher will take you to the Skypod, the highest point of the Tower for even more unique perspectives of the city.
Enjoy the experience longer while dining at the Tower's revolving 360 Restaurant, more than 350 metres (1,150 feet) up, and admire the panoramic views while savouring locally sourced menu items.
Go ice skating at Toronto’s top outdoor rinks
Canadians love to get out on the ice and Toronto is home to some of the best places to skate.
Glide past the "Toronto" sign on the rink at Nathan Phillips Square, or experience the enchantment of skating under twinkling lights and through a partially exposed old brick factory surrounded by evergreen trees at the Evergreen Brick Works. The experience (and your photos) will be truly memorable. If you don't have skates, several public skating rinks provide skate rentals, as well as snack bars and washrooms.
In Toronto's west end, experience an outdoor rink closer to nature at Colonel Samuel Smith Park near Lake Ontario. It features a figure-eight-shaped skating trail. If you’re planning to visit, pack your skates—skate rentals are unfortunately not available. If you’re looking for more places to skate, here’s a comprehensive list of indoor and outdoor skating rinks in Toronto.
Tip: Outdoor rinks are busiest during the weekends, so plan a weekday visit. You might just have the rink almost to yourself.
Bring your appetite to foodie neighbourhoods and events
It’s easy to be captivated by the appeal of the Historic Distillery District. The historic pedestrian-only neighbourhood has the old-world charm of quaint 19th-century buildings and cobblestone streets. In the wintertime, the snow adds even more character, making it feel like an idyllic snow globe setting.
This neighbourhood is more than just a hotspot for spirits and brews. The restaurants celebrate modern flavours and new dining experiences, so bring your appetite and savour flavours from across the globe.
Start with tapas and a custom-made gin and tonic at Madrina’s. Make your main course Mexican and margaritas at El Catrin and round out your meal at Cluny Bistro with handcrafted chocolate, marshmallows and ice cream. Chocolate lovers will want to continue the chocolate journey and visit SOMA Chocolatemaker to try delicious chocolates and truffles from around the world.
Visit St. Lawrence Market, Toronto's oldest market. Open Tuesday to Sunday, it's the perfect place to explore in the winter. With lots of coffee shops, restaurants, cafes and boutiques, you’ll want to spend hours wandering around this cozy market.
Winterlicious is Toronto’s highly-popular, fixed menu, food and drink event during the winter season. Choose from many menu options featuring an appetizer, a main course and a dessert from Toronto’s hottest restaurants.
Experience the vibe on Queen Street West
Easily one of Canada’s coolest streets, Queen West runs through Toronto’s fashion district. The world-renowned Graffiti Alley at Augusta Avenue and Rush Lane is worth visiting. Stop by The Good Son Restaurant to experience a one-of-a-kind upscale but comfortable dining atmosphere, with an impressive food and cocktail menu featuring sharable options that are perfect to enjoy with friends or a date. For vegetarian cuisine, try the winter menu at Hello123.
There are also plenty of hip and unique places to shop like indie jeweller Made You Look. The Drake General Store has a variety of unique and fun gifts, including snug and stylish onesies for adults, children and dogs.
Cozy up in a room with a waterfront view
The Toronto waterfront is beautiful year-round and the Westin Harbour Castle has some of the most unbeatable water views. After a day outdoors exploring the city, it’s a good place to unwind for rest and relaxation.
In the winter, you can often catch a glimpse of the fireboat breaking ice for the ferry that runs between downtown and the Toronto Islands, all from the comfort of your room. Toronto’s skyline views are also stunning on the hotel’s 38th floor, occupied by MICHELIN-awarded restaurant Don Alfonso 1890.
For more information about Toronto:
- Your Toronto Neighbourhood Shopping Guide
- MICHELIN Star Restaurants in Toronto
- Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Toronto
Last updated: January 24, 2023