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Nathan Phillips Square  | © Taxiarchos228 / WikiCommons
Nathan Phillips Square | © Taxiarchos228 / WikiCommons

How to Discover Toronto in 24 Hours

In case you find yourself in Toronto for a day trip or a short layover, Culture Trip has put together a quick guide of what you shouldn’t miss while you’re here. Of course, the city has a lot more to offer, but for a quick trip, here’s how you can make the most of your 24-hour stay in Canada’s largest city.

Morning stroll & the CN Tower

Hoping that the weather is pleasant, you can start by taking a walk through the city’s downtown core so that you can get your bearings. You’ll want to take a look at popular sights like Yonge and Dundas Square, Nathan Phillips Square, and both New and Old City Hall, which are all within walking distance of each other. From any one of these spots, you can then head south toward the lake so that you arrive at the CN Tower on Front Street West by mid-morning.

After going straight to the top, you can take in the spectacular view of the city, Lake Ontario, and the surrounding cityscape from Toronto’s most iconic structure. You could also have a snack at one of the tower’s restaurants before heading back down, or if you’re feeling brave, you could attempt the Edgewalk, which is the world’s highest hands-free external walk on a building.

CN Tower, 301 Front St W, Toronto, ON, Canada

Visit the Eaton Centre & grab a bite to eat
Food Court, Fast Food, American, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, $$$
The Best Food Courts in Toronto

Urban Eatery | © CF Eaton Centre

Visit the Eaton Centre & grab a bite to eat

After you finish exploring the CN Tower, you can head over to the Toronto Eaton Centre, known as North America’s busiest mall. Here, you can window-shop through the mall’s 250-plus retailers, including souvenir shops. You can also have lunch at the Urban Eatery, located on the ground floor. With 24 restaurants and 900 seats, this isn’t your average food court. The Urban Eatery was part of the Eaton Centre’s $120 million revitalization project a few years back, and it has become a busy hub for shoppers, mall-walkers, and local business and government employees on lunch break. Healthy options include an extension of Kensington Market’s Urban Herbivore and Fast Fresh.

Toronto Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 598 8560

More Info
Mon - Fri:
10:00 am - 9:30 pm
9:30 am - 9:30 pm
10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Meal service:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Fast Casual

Take an afternoon walk through some of the city’s neighborhoods

Toronto is known for being a city of distinct and unique neighborhoods, so it would be well worth your time to explore some of them while you’re here. From the Eaton Centre, you could walk north toward Bloor Street and then head west through Yorkville, the University of Toronto area, the Annex, and Koreatown. Otherwise, you could head to Chinatown and Kensington Market—all these neighborhoods reflect the city’s diversity and the multiculturalism for which the city is celebrated. There are plenty of opportunities to people-watch and do some shopping along the way.

Evening on King Street West

From any of the neighborhoods mentioned above, you can walk or take the subway—or if you want a more quintessential Toronto experience, you can take one of the city’s iconic streetcars—to King Street West, which is one of the city’s swankier districts. A variety of popular bars and restaurants that are open late into the night line the street. Depending on what you’re craving, you can go for Burger’s Priest on Adelaide or the semi-casual Il Fornello.

King Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada

The morning after

As the sun rises over the city again, you can end your whirlwind 24-hour stay in Toronto with a hearty brunch before heading to the airport or train station. Be sure to indulge in a hearty Canadian brunch before you leave—Queen Street West is one of the most popular brunch areas, with restaurants such as The Drake or Café Neon featuring a delicious mix of all of your favorite breakfast foods.

Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada