Visiting Toronto as a Family – Your Guide

Are you planning a visit to Toronto with the kids? Whether you’re planning to splash out on a memorable experience, stick to a budget trip, explore all the main attractions, or try and get off the beaten path, this city is certainly a great destination for all the family with plenty to see and do for all budgets and preferences. The capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada is packed full with fun for everybody to enjoy. We’ve put together a handy guide with everything that you need to know before visiting Toronto. 

When’s the Best Time to Visit?

The best thing about Toronto is that there’s always something to do, all year around. It doesn’t really matter which time of year you decide to visit with your family, as you’re sure to find several amazing things to do that are both fun and affordable, no matter the season. In the spring, you’ll be able to see the awesome cherry blossoms in High Park, and throughout the summer there are several outdoor festivals held throughout the city with something for everybody including music, food, drink and more. In the fall, film buffs will really enjoy the Toronto Film Festival, or you can visit during the winter if you’re hoping to experience a true winter wonderland with your family – you’ll be able to go ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square and visit the festive and magical Christmas markets.
If you plan to visit during the summer, then bear in mind that this is usually the busiest season of the year, so it’s worth booking your accommodation well in advance to take advantage of the best prices.

Budgeting for Your Visit:

Toronto may seem like quite an expensive destination at first look, but the truth is that it can be quite a budget-friendly city if you plan ahead. Some tips and tricks to keep in mind for saving money include:
Fly with a regional airline:
If you’re coming over from the USA, then flights to Canada can be a convenient way of travelling with your family since it’s fairly fast depending on the state you’re flying from and can be a fun experience for the whole family as well. If you book in advance, you can get budget flights to Toronto with Porter Airlines (who also allow you to book hotel packages) with flights departing from a selection of major US airports, including airports in New York, Boston, Washington DC, and Chicago. 
Get the Toronto CityPASS:
If you’re planning to see as many of Toronto’s top attractions as you can, then investing in a CityPASS is a great idea. This pass will grant the holder admission into the city’s biggest and most popular attractions for a single price, and some even include skip-the-queue for pass holders, allowing you to get around faster and see more. Some of the attractions included in the CityPASS are:
  • ·         Casa Loma
  • ·         Royal Ontario Museum
  • ·         CN Tower
  • ·         Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • ·         Ontario Science Centre
The pass will be valid for up to nine days, so make sure that you plan your itinerary accordingly so you don’t miss out on visiting any attractions included.

What are the Best Things to Do?

Toronto is filled with things to see and do for all the family, and here are some of the best:
Go up the CN Tower:
Your visit to Toronto would not be complete without a visit to the famous CN Tower. Standing at 553 meters high, it is one of the tallest buildings in the world and visitors can make the journey of 33 stories up to an observation deck, where you can enjoy the view from the top. 
Visit Toronto’s museums:
Toronto has several fabulous museums with something for the whole family to enjoy, and many also allow free admission at certain times. You should definitely visit the Royal Ontario Museum, which welcomes over a million visitors per year and is home to the Bat Cave with eight hundred lifelike bats that are always a firm favorite with the little ones. If you enjoy art, then be sure to pay a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario, designed by Frank Gehry. 
Catch a show in the entertainment district:
The entertainment district always has plenty to offer, with something to suit the entire family. Check out the National Ballet of Canada’s full program at the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre, or head to the Roy Thompson Hall to watch performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. If you and your family are a fan of musicals, then you should definitely see what’s on at the Princess of Wales Theatre. 
Watch a sports game:
If you’re a family of sports fans, then you’ll definitely want to catch some sporting action during your trip to Toronto. And, you’re certainly in the right place – this city is often referred to as one of the sportiest in Canada.

What are Some Kids’ Must-Dos?

There’s certainly plenty of family-friendly things to do, but sometimes you might want to do something that’s specially for the little ones on your trip. So, here are some of the attractions that tend to be the biggest hit with the kids in Toronto. 
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada:
Located at the base of the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to over twenty thousand different aquatic creatures, which you can see as you walk through the longest underwater viewing tunnel in North America. It’s a must-see for the kids, and adults will really enjoy their visit too. 
The Toronto Zoo:
The Toronto Zoo, which is home to over five thousand animals including a baby zebra known as Baby Stripe, is one of the best destinations in the city for a fun day out with the kids. Spanning 780 acres, it is one of the largest zoos in the world and is located on the eastern outskirts of the city. If you’re planning to visit here, set aside at least half a day so that you can ensure a great experience for the whole family. 
The Ontario Science Centre:
The Ontario Science Centre celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year and is an ideal destination for anybody who’s curious, no matter their age. There are ten exhibition halls that feature films, live demos, and interactive learning activities that everybody can get involved with. There’s even an on-site IMAX Dome Theatre!

Getting Around Toronto:

Unless you’re driving over the border in your own car, you’re probably wondering what are the best ways to get around Toronto. The good news is that the city has an extensive and reliable public transport system, and there are a number of reputable taxi companies, too. Your options include:
Public transportation:
The public transport here is readily available and fairly inexpensive. You can get a single fare for the TTC for just $3.25, which provides you with access to the city’s network of buses, streetcars and subways. If you’re looking to spend a day travelling around the city on public transport, you can opt for a day pass which costs just $12.50. 
Bike Share Toronto:
If you’re a family of cyclists, then Bike Share Toronto is an ideal way of getting around, and it’s fairly inexpensive, with a single trip costing just $3.25. If you want to use this service for longer then one- or three-day passes are also available. 
Hopefully this guide has given you some ideas of what to do on your next trip to Toronto. What are you planning to do in Toronto as a family?

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