The largest city in Canada celebrates its international influences in a lively cultural scene mirrored in its good-value hostels and modest hotels, providing affordable and fun accommodation options in creative Toronto.
From the celebrated indy vibes of its Kensington Market neighborhood to the starpower of the annual Toronto International Film Festival, Canada’s largest city is also its creative heart. Toronto is home to a network of major cultural attractions – including internationally renowned museums and galleries, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario. The city also wears the wide-ranging influences of its international communities proudly on its sleeve, not to mention on its restaurant scene. Affordable, conveniently located accommodation in Toronto does exist – and we’ve found some of the best for you.
Room choices at this downtown hostel range from a 14-bed dorm setup to a private room with ensuite bathroom, with varying numbers of bunk beds in dorms in between. What its shared rooms necessarily lack in privacy, this Toronto edition of the Hostelling International franchise aims to make up for in lively communal spaces – most notably with the Cavern, a bar and performance space (by night) and quirky coffee shop (by day).
In a converted townhouse in the arty, downtown King West Village neighborhood, this hostel overlooking Clarence Square Park is warmer and more hospitable than your average backpacker haunt. Dorms are fitted with heavy wooden bunks that whisper Canadian coziness, and there are private rooms available to those willing to pay extra for an even more homey stay. The communal facilities include a contemporary kitchen that’s spacious enough to actually cook your own meals, so put away those instant noodles and settle in.
All Days Hostel is a budget option with a pleasingly civilized feel, occupying a townhouse on a quiet street in the otherwise lively St James Town neighborhood, within easy reach of Yonge Street – the city’s key artery. Another point in its favor is the convenient laundry machines on site, which is rarer than it should be, as regular hostel-hoppers will testify.
The one for sustainably minded travelers on a budget, this dorm-room hostel has been purpose built with energy-saving technology at its core – including solar panels, geo-thermal heating and water recycling. Eco credentials aside, this is one of Toronto’s most socially minded hostels, with free barbecues, movie screenings and karaoke nights all making it easy to mix with and meet fellow guests if you’re so inclined. If not, you have the city right on the doorstep.
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Recognizable from some distance by the rainbow-bright mural on its exterior, this East Toronto hostel is a social hub inside, with a downstairs pub and coffee bar beneath its dorm-room accommodations. A terrace, garden and library complete the picture, as well as a shared kitchen for preparing cheap dinners. Head down for the morning breakfast buffet, before striding out into the Danforth area of the city – famous for its shopping.
In Toronto’s bohemian Kensington Market neighborhood, this bright hostel offers a mix of small private rooms and dorm options. Bedroom floor space is in short supply, but bunk beds are equipped with individual smart TVs to give you some sense of private leisure time. Communal spaces include a cute roof terrace, with a statement swing chair and sofas. Then it’s out the front door to peruse vinyl shops, vintage boutiques and edgy art galleries to your heart’s content.
This hotel’s got some serious sticking power. Having been open on this spot on York Street since 1933, the affordable but grown-up-feeling stalwart has just under 200 rooms and its own British-style pub and cafe. You’ll be within walking distance of big-hitter tourist sites like the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Rogers Centre stadium and Toronto’s stellar theater district. No wonder the hotel’s still going strong.
There’s live music every night at the Jazz and Blues Bar of this Queen Street-area downtown hotel, which has been a Toronto fixture for more than 40 years. A well-liked local institution that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the hotel has modest bedrooms but an epic in-house burger and nachos joint – called the Rextaurant.
Flying into Toronto Pearson Airport? Then this airport-adjacent hotel that’s just outside Toronto – but easily accessible – is a logical choice. It’s also in close reach of out-of-town attractions like the Wet’n’Wild Toronto water park and Paramount Wonderland – Canada’s first and largest theme park – should you want to indulge in a thrill-seeking day trip. Get that out of your system before exploring the trendier parts of downtown Toronto, which are about 15mi (25km) from here.