Toronto transforms into a magical haven of festive fun during the winter months. From alluring Canadian Christmas markets and outdoor skating rinks to cozy indoor escapes and world-class museums, there are arguably too many places to visit in Toronto in winter.
Not to worry, that's where we come in. Join us as we narrow down the best winter events and sights in Toronto so you can make the most of your trip. Just don't forget to wrap up!
10 Toronto Places to Visit in Winter
Whether you're a snow lover, a holiday shopper, or someone seeking the warmth of indoor culture, Toronto has something special in store for everyone during the winter months. Let's find out what's on offer.
If you're planning to go further afield, why not check out our guide to the best places to visit in Canada in winter?
1. Visit the Distillery District
The cobblestone streets of the Distillery District come alive over winter, adorned with thousands of twinkling lights, creating a festive atmosphere that's nothing short of magnificent.
The historic red-brick buildings house charming boutiques, galleries, and eateries, so if you want to do some holiday shopping or relax with a delicious meal, this is the place for you.
The iconic Toronto Christmas Market, now known as the Distillery Winter Village, takes centre stage during the winter, offering artisanal goods, seasonal treats, and live entertainment. From the enchanting decorations to the joyful sounds of carolers, the Distillery District provides a spirited retreat in the city’s heart.
2. Try Cross-Country Skiing on the Toronto Islands
The Toronto Islands are just a short ferry ride away from the city, and they offer a serene, snowy escape where you can participate in winter sports like cross-country skiing.
Imagine traversing across the snow-covered landscapes with the city skyline as your backdrop, exploring the network of trails and discovering the best of the island's natural beauty, surrounded by snow-laden trees and the crisp winter air. Is there a better way to spend the winter days?
Skiing on the Toronto Islands is an unforgettable way to experience the city’s idyllic landscape. The Islands become a serene winter playground for outdoor enthusiasts who don't mind braving the cold.
If you’re a skiing enthusiast, take a look at our guide exploring the best ski resorts in Canada that are worth a visit. Or, if you want to relax in style after a day on the slopes, check out our guide to the most expensive hotels in Toronto.
3. Go Ice Skating Across the City
Ice skating across the city is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Toronto during winter, as it allows you to embrace the season rather than shy away from it!
Nathan Phillips Square is home to an iconic outdoor skating rink where you can glide across the ice under the glittering lights of skyscrapers.
Bentway Skate Trail, nestled beneath the Gardiner Expressway, is another popular spot for skaters of all ages and abilities Don’t worry; skate rentals are available.
Follow the figure 8 loop, grab a hot drink from their on-site village, and experience the contagious joy of everyone around you. Whether you're a seasoned skater or lacing up your skates for the first time, these urban rinks are a must-try for locals and visitors alike.
4. Visit the Yorkville Ice Sculptures
The Bloor-Yorkville Icefest, featuring mesmerizing ice sculptures, is a must-visit winter wonder in Toronto. This annual event turns the chic neighbourhood of Yorkville into an outdoor gallery, showcasing intricate and incredible icy masterpieces.
They range from animals to fantastical creations, glistening under the winter sun or glowing with the city lights in the evening. The festival offers a truly captivating experience, allowing you to stroll through the streets as you admire these unique sculptures.
With the crisp winter air adding to the festive atmosphere, the Icefest is a must-visit attraction if you're after a visually stunning experience you're unlikely to find anywhere else.
5. Attend an Ice Hockey Game at the Scotiabank Arena
If you're after the quintessential winter experience in Toronto, head to an ice hockey game to watch the much-loved Toronto Maple Leafs or Toronto Marlies play.
The arena comes alive with the thunderous cheers of devoted fans, creating an electric ambience that's uniquely Toronto. The exhilarating speed and skill displayed on the ice and the crowd's infectious energy make every moment a thrill.
Whether you're a die-hard hockey enthusiast or a newcomer, the sheer excitement and camaraderie during a game are contagious. The Scotiabank Arena provides the perfect setting to embrace Canada's favourite pastime, making it one of the best places to embrace the winter spirit in Toronto.
6. Shop at the Toronto Eaton Centre
The Eaton Centre is one of the most popular malls in North America, and for good reason. It spans two massive blocks and boasts over 250 stores, so you'll be spoilt for choice.
During the festive season, the shopping centre transforms into a winter wonderland adorned with dazzling decorations, holiday lights, and a 108-foot-tall Christmas tree!
Plus, its location makes it easily accessible, so you can combine your shopping spree with other winter activities in the heart of downtown Toronto.
7. Walk Through the Hockey Hall of Fame
If you're a hockey fan or want to learn about the nation's passion for the game, head to Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame. Housed in the beautiful Bank of Montreal building, you'll find the world's largest hockey collection, from the Stanley Cup to iconic goalie masks and much more.
Beyond trophies and memorabilia, you can also put your hockey skills to the test by competing against life-size versions of today's greatest NHL goalies in an interactive model rink. You can even watch a 3D film in a state-of-the-art theatre or take pictures next to larger-than-life statues of hockey legends.
The Hockey Hall of Fame provides an enriching and entertaining escape from the cold weather, where you can immerse yourself in a big part of Canada's culture.
If you’re a hockey enthusiast, we have a selection of other guides that you might like:
- Ice Hockey’s Biggest Brutes
- The Most Expensive Ice Hockey Teams To Follow
- The Most Expensive Tim Hortons Hockey Cards
- What is the Most Expensive Hockey Card You Can Collect and Buy?
8. Take a Trip to the Royal Ontario Museum
As the weather cools, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) offers a warm sanctuary where you can delve into the diverse realms of natural history, world cultures, and awe-inspiring exhibits.
Whether you're fascinated by dinosaurs, intrigued by ancient civilizations, or drawn to contemporary art, the ROM will have something to pique your interest. It's an ideal destination to escape the cold, immerse yourself in knowledge, and appreciate the richness of human and natural history in the heart of Toronto.
9. Watch The Winter Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls
If you're up for a day trip out of the city, Niagara Falls and its Winter Festival of Lights are well worth the drive. The annual festival transforms Niagara Falls into a palette of breathtaking colour from mid-November to the New Year.
The festival extends beyond the falls, creating a magical atmosphere throughout Queen Victoria Park with intricate light installations, themed displays, and interactive exhibits. Stroll along the illuminated pathways and surround yourself in an enchanting winter wonderland unlike any other.
10. See Panoramic Views of Toronto from the CN Tower
Going to the top of the CN Tower during winter is an absolute must and ranks among the best things to do in Toronto. Climb the iconic tower to see panoramic views of the city cloaked in a blanket of snow.
The observation decks provide an unparalleled view of the city, Lake Ontario, and even as far as Niagara Falls on a clear day. If you’re feeling adventurous, the tower features a glass floor on the deck, allowing you to look straight down at the city below. The EdgeWalk, an outdoor hands-free walk around the tower's edge, definitely gets the adrenaline pumping.
For a unique dining experience high above the city, why not book a table at 360 Restaurant? You can enjoy a meal in the revolving restaurant while you admire the spectacular views.
Enjoy Your Dream Winter in Toronto with Help from Spin Genie
Whether you'd rather glide across the ice at Nathan Phillips Square, explore the Royal Ontario Museum, or shop til you drop at the Toronto Eaton Centre, we know it'll be a Toronto winter to remember.
Take a look at some more of our recommendations for living a life of luxury in Canada:
- Best Beach Destinations for New Year's Eve
- Best Places to Spend Christmas in Canada
- Best Christmas Market Cruises
- Best Christmas Markets in Ontario
- Best Places to Celebrate New Year in Canada
FAQs About the Best Places to Visit in Toronto in Winter
What is the #1 Attraction in Toronto?
The CN Tower is often considered the top attraction in Toronto, as it's one of the city’s most iconic and widely recognized attractions. The tower is a must-visit landmark that offers stunning panoramic views of Toronto.
Is Toronto Fun in December?
Absolutely! Although the Toronto winter is a cold one, it's also a lively and festive destination in December, offering a variety of activities and attractions that make it a fun place to visit during the holiday season.
There are winter festivals, holiday markets, scenic snowy views and more to enjoy when visiting Toronto in December!
What's the Best Art Gallery in Toronto?
The 'best' art gallery in Toronto depends on your personal preferences. Still, one stands out as the city's most renowned and significant art gallery - the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).
The AGO features an incredible collection that spans from historical to contemporary art. It houses works by renowned artists such as the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, European masters, and Indigenous Canadian artists. The gallery itself is also a work of art designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
The AGO regularly hosts special exhibitions, educational programs, and events. Whether you're an art enthusiast or a casual visitor, the AGO offers a rich and diverse art experience in the heart of Toronto.
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