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While summer is my favorite time to be in Toronto, there are still many fun things to do in Toronto in winter. When the city gets covered in a blanket of snow, it’s an entirely new experience.
As Canada’s largest city, there’s always something new and exciting going on in Toronto matter what season it is.
From winter festivals to dazzling light shows and snowy weekend getaways, here are 101 Toronto winter activities to try out this year.
Fun Outdoor Things to do in Winter in Toronto
Given the ongoing status of indoor gatherings fluctuating, the best winter things to do in Toronto are outdoors. Make sure to bring the right gear if you’re visiting Toronto in the winter to ensure your time is an enjoyable one.
- Go skating. One of my favorite Toronto winter activities is to grab a pair of skates and head to one of Toronto’s public outdoor ice rinks.
One of the most popular skating rinks is Nathan Phillips Square, where you can see the Toronto sign. Bring your own skates or rent them there!
2. Fat bike the lower don – The best way to explore the lower don trails this winter is on a fat bike.
3. Visit Tommy Thompson Park to learn about Toronto’s urban wildlife. It’s considered one of the best places for bird-watching in the city!
4. Explore the street art on Graffiti Alley. This kilometer-long stretch is home to some of the city’s most iconic street art pieces! Winter is a great time to visit as it’s far less busy, allowing you to take amazing photos.
5. Walk through a tunnel of lights at Bloor-Yorkville BIA. It runs from November 26 to December 31.
6. Visit Rouge National Urban Park. Grab your hiking shoes or snowshoes and explore one of the park’s many hiking trails that take you through various landscapes.
7. Go tobogganing. This is the perfect activity to do in Toronto with kids! Grab a sled and head to one of 23 toboggan hills across the city for an afternoon of fun.
8. Explore a wonder-filled adventure inspired by fire, ice, and light at Snow Magic in Ontario Place. This year’s event runs from November 12th to January 23rd, 2023.
9. Visit the Toronto Islands. While the islands are a favorite among locals during the summer months in Toronto, some are still accessible during the winter and are the perfect place to go for some quiet time. You can even join a guided bike tour!
To get to the islands, catch the 13-minute ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay St. and Queens Caye. Only the Ward’s Island ferry operates during the winter season.
10. Take a winter stroll through a ravine. You don’t have to go far away from the city streets to get into nature. Toronto is blessed with an extensive ravine system. Some of my favorite ravine walks include the Humber Valley and Crothers Woods.
11. Skate under the Gardiner. The Bentway Skate Trail is a free public skating rink unlike any other in Toronto, running one kilometer under the Gardiner Expressway overpass. It’s open every day!
12. Casa Loma holiday light tour. Wander through a dazzling light display in the gardens and tunnels decorated for the holiday season with live performances during November and December.
13. Visit the farm animals at Riverdale Farm in the Cabbagetown neighborhood.
14. Get to know Toronto’s charming Distillery District on this walking tour. A guide will take you around Victorian Industrial architecture, sharing history along the way.
15. Experience Terra Lumina, a magical night walk at Toronto Zoo.
16. Check out the art installations at Winter Station. International artists turn the lifeguard stations along Toronto’s east-end beaches into temporary interactive art installations. The public exhibition starts February 20th at Woodbine beach.
17. Play a round of disc golf at one of the city’s six locations. It’s open year-round!
18. See the holiday trees at High Park zoo from December 5 – December 31st, 2022.
19. Have a snowball fight in any of the city’s parks, a classic fun Toronto winter activity.
20. Scare yourself on a haunted walk of Toronto ghost tour.
21. Visit the flat iron building. This unique building,, skinny on one side and fat on the other, has become one of the most photographed places in Toronto.
23. Join DJ Skate night at the Harbourfront Centre.
24. Take a 30-minute segway tour through the distillery district.
Toronto Winter Festivals
24. The Winterfolk Music Festival is back in 2023 – updated schedule still to be postedd.
27. Toronto Black Film Festival will host its 11th edition from February 15 to 20, 2023.
28. DesignTO Festival, where design and art meet across the city, is back this year from January 20-29th, 2023.
29. Bloor-Yorkville Icefest – See over 70,000 pounds of ice carved into sculptures at this annual celebration of winter in the Village of Yorkville Park. The 2023 will run from February 18th-19th with more details to be announced on the website.
30. Toronto Comicon – If you’re a cosplayer, you need to check out Comicon at the Metro Toronto Convention Center for a weekend of exhibitions and special guests. This year’s event is scheduled for March 17 – 19, 2023.
31. Does tea make you feel warm and cozy? Then you’ll want to check out the Toronto Tea Festival which runs on Jan 28 & 29, 2023.
32. The TD Music Great Hall Series features streamed musical performances from Toronto and the GTA’s top artists recorded in the Great Hall at Union Station.
34. Explore the Distillery Winter Village! This is one of my favorite things to do in Toronto in the winter. Previously named the Toronto Christmas Market, you can go shopping, drink mulled wine, and go on a Ferris wheel ride overlooking the city.
This years event officially opens with a tree lighting ceremony on November 17th and is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.
35. Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival – Celebrate the shortest and darkest day of the year on December 21.
36. Hit up Winterfest at Canada’s Wonderland for a whole new season of fun. Runs select nights from November 18th-December 31s, 2022.
37. Wavelength Winter Festival – This music and arts festival saw 20 bands over the course of 4 days across various venues in Toronto. It took place from February 13-16 in 2020, no dates yet for 2022.
Food and Drink Winter Events Toronto
Eat your way through 120 food stalls, try the famous peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery, or pick up some fresh local products to make your own feast. You can also join a guided food through the market to learn more about its history.
39. Visit a winter indoors farmers market at Evergreen Brickworks on Saturdays.
40. Explore Eataly where you can pick up fresh ingredients to make something at home or try one of the fantastic on-site restaurants. They also do take-out and home delivery.
41. Eat Weekend brunch. Toronto has an awesome brunch culture, with new restaurants popping up all the time. Some of my favorite places to go for brunch in Toronto are Le Petit Dejeuner, Auntie’s and Uncles, and Saving Grace.
42. Take advantage of Winterlicious where you can try some of the best restaurants in Toronto at amazing prices. 2022 dates have not yet been announced.
43. Explore Toronto’s beer scene and learn about its history while stopping at famous bars and pubs on this local craft beer tour.
45. Eat at the highest restaurant in North America. The CN tower 360 restaurant offers breathtaking views of Toronto with equally amazing food.
46. Indulge your sweet took at the Sugar Shack Festival. 2023 dates have not yet been announced.
47. Get your drink on at Brewfest. You can sign up to be notified for 2023 dates.
48. Tour Steam Whistle brewery – Steam Whistle Brewery offers 30-minute tours where you can learn all about the brewing process and taste the finished product!
49. Join a group beer tour. Don’t want to go to a brewery alone? No problem! You can join a guided group beer tour which is a great way to meet people if you’re traveling solo.
50. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at one of Toronto’s coffee shops on a cold day.
51. Go clubbing. Toronto has some amazing nightclubs where you can stay warm during the colder months (if you can manage the lines). Crawl your way through the many clubs on King St. West.
52. Take in a drag show. If you haven’t watched a drag show before Toronto is the perfect place to try. Head to the village on Church Street and praise those queens.
53. Play lawn games at Track and Field bar while drinking!
54. Hit up an arcade bar. Another great way to spend a night out with friends. My favorite arcade bars in Toronto are Rec Room across from the CN tower and Get Well on Dundas West.
Indoor places to visit in Toronto during winter
Stay warm at one of these indoor venues if you’re not a fan of winter weather.
55. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum. It’s the largest museum in Canada, and always has an interesting exhibit going on where you can learn about world cultures and natural history in Canada. It’s also a great place to stay warm during the winter! You can buy skip the line tickets here.
57. See the fascinating marine life at Ripley’s Aquarium or better yet, go dancing there! Check out Friday night Jazz at the Aquarium every second Friday of the month.
58. Visit the Bata Shoe Museum – this unique museum in Toronto tracks 4,500 years of history of foot coverings from all over the world. It’s the largest collection in the world!
59. If you’re a fan of Canada’s favorite sport, then spend an afternoon at the Hockey Hall of Fame to learn about Canada’s greatest ice hockey players who made the Stanley Cup.
61. Visit the Ontario Science Centre to learn more about the fascinating world that we live in. This is one of the best things to do in toronto during winter with kids.
62. Explore a museum of Islamic art, Iranian art, and Muslim culture at the Aga Khan Museum in North York.
63. Shop at over 250 stores at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, one of Canada’s most iconic malls. (Tip: Go during the weekday for a more pleasant experience).
64. See the Toronto Maple Leafs play at ScotiaBank Arena.
65. Learn something new at the Toronto Library. Toronto’s libraries offer a range of free classes from crafts and hobbies to technology and health.
66. Swim at an indoor pool – The City of Toronto operates 60 public indoor pools in the city so you have lots of options. This is a great way to stay active indoors during the winter!
67. Catch a broadway show at one of Toronto’s world-class venues.
68. Go indoor rock climbing! My fave place is Rock Oasis in the East End.
69. Test your thinking skills at one of Toronto’s escape rooms.
70. Witness the incredible views of Toronto from top of the CN tower. It’s the tallest free-standing structure in North America, and offers incredible views of the city as well as a fun glass floor you can stand on and look down.
71. Cozy up at a cafe – whether you want to get some work done or catch up with friends, Toronto has a number of amazing cafes to chill at.
72. Go shopping on Queen Street West, where you can find some unique gifts to bring back home.
73. If you don’t want to be outside at all, stay underground to shop and explore Toronto’s PATH. This indoor path is more than 30 kilometers long with shops and food courts along the way. (Fair warning – it’s very easy to get lost here).
74. Catch a show at Comedy Bar – guaranteed laughs!
75. Warm-up in Allan Gardens Conservatory, a beautiful indoor tropical garden which you can come and stroll around.
Places to Visit Near Toronto in Winter
If you’re looking to escape the city for a day or weekend, here are some great places to visit near Toronto! Before booking any travel, check local government guidelines to ensure it is safe to travel.
77. Explore the natural wonder of Niagara Falls – There’s no better Toronto Getaway than a weekend trip to Niagara Falls.
The falls become a magical winter wonderland during the winter, and you can score amazing deals on accommodation during that time.
You can also easily visit as a day trip on this guided tour where you visit both the American and Canadian sides of the falls. It has great reviews!
78. Check out the Winter Festival of Lights – an 8 km light display along the Niagara Parkway. It runs from November 12, 2022 to February 20, 2023.
80. Relax at a spa – One of the most relaxing things to do in Toronto this winter is to spend a day at the Scandinave Spa in Collingwood. It’s magical sitting in the outdoor hot tubs while the snow falls over you.
81. Explore the frozen waterfalls of Hamilton. There are over 100 waterfalls tucked behind the trails of the Niagara Escarpment, making it the perfect place for a winter hike. Tourism Hamilton even has a waterfall guide to help you find them!
82. Rent a cottage in the woods. While most people think of Muskoka as a summer destination, during the winter months it has just as much to offer visitors. There’s ample opportunity for winter fun, including ice skating, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and dog sledding.
83. Visit The Thousand Islands. This beautiful part of Ontario has more than 1,800 islands along the St. Lawrence River, between the border of the U.S. and Canada.
84. Visit Algonquin Park. Get lost in the frozen lakes and forests of Algonquin, one of Ontario’s most amazing provincial parks. If you don’t have your own way there, you can join this Algonquin winter park adventure from Toronto.
85. Or any other provincial park. If Algonquin is booked up, check out one of Ontario’s many other provincial parks for a weekend trip.
88. Drink ice wine at Niagara-on-the-lake during the Niagara Icewine Festival.
89. Go on a snowshoe hike at Halton Hills Conservation Area.
90. Go cross-country skiing at the Albion Hills Conservation Area of Caledon, with 26 kilometres of groomed and track-set trails.
91. Walk with adorable Alpacas at Haute Goat – it’s just an hour away from Toronto!
92. Go on a winter adventure at Scenic Caves Nordic Centre. Explore the 27km trail network by cross country ski, or hike by snowshoe.
93. Try ice climbing with One Axe Pursuits in Elora.
94. Go winter horseback riding at Von Doeler’s Ranch.
95. See the aurora borealis by heading north to an area with little or no light pollution. It’s more than possible to see them in Ontario, and winter is the perfect time to try.
96. Stay at a heated yurt or cabin in Killarney Provincial Park and summit a mountain during the day. The view from above with the landscape covered in snow will be magical!
97. Head to Ottawa for a weekend and go skating down the Rideau Canel – one of Canada’s most iconic winter activities.
99. Go dog sledding through the snowy forest on this epic adventure tour.
100. Go winter Glamping at Alabaster Acres. Just an hour away from Toronto where you’ll find a gorgeous tent nestled in the forest waiting for you.
101. Go tubing down snowy slopes at Chicopee Tube Park, one of Ontario’s most unique winter experiences.
Where to stay in Toronto
If you’re looking for somewhere unique to stay during your winter holiday in Toronto, be sure to check out my post on the best boutique hotels in Toronto.
Budget: The Only Backpacker’s Inn. If you’re traveling solo or on a budget, this is one of the most highly-rated hostels in Toronto. And it’s in the Danforth, which is one of my favorite Toronto neighborhoods!
You could also try Couchsurfing or Housesitting with TrustedHousesitters if you’re looking for free accommodation in Toronto.
Mid-Range: Chelsea Hotel – I lived here for two weeks when I first moved to Toronto! It’s centrally located downtown Toronto by Young-Dundas square, right next to a subway station so you can get anywhere else in the city.
Luxury: The Westin Harbour Castle is a centrally-located hotel right on Lake Ontario, with rooms overlooking the water.
I stayed here in 2022 and loved the amenities, including an expansive fitness centre and wellness activities. The beds are so comfortable and warm to come home too after a day of exploring outside! Read my full review of the Westin Harbour Castle here.
Getting around Toronto in winter
If you’re not a fan of walking around in cold weather, the best way to get around Toronto is on the subway systems managed by the Toronto Transit Commision.
It’s not the best subway system in the world, but can get you around where many of the top tourist attractions are. If you have the budget, a better way is Uber or Lyft which work very well in the city.
You can also rent a car for your trip, but driving in Toronto isn’t that fun due to the traffic. But if you’re planning to visit other places in Ontario, a car is definitely the way to go! There are many fun road trips from Toronto you can take that are perfect for the winter season.
What is there to do in Toronto in winter?
This list of 101 things to do in Toronto in winter will fill you up with inspiration! It includes ideas for fun outdoor activities in Toronto, the best events during winter in Toronto, day and weekend road trip ideas, arts and culture, free activities, nightlife, and more.
What can you do in Toronto for free in the winter?
There are many free things to do in Toronto in the winter. You can go hiking or ride a fat bike through the trails and parks in the city, go skating, go tobogganing, explore street art, take part in free events, and more. Fill your Toronto bucket list with ideas from this post.
Is Toronto worth visiting in December?
Yes! December is a magical time to visit Toronto as the city will be lit up with lights for the holidays, and there will be several holiday-themed events taking place. The best is the Toronto Christmas Market in the distillery district, where you can warm up with mulled wine and get in the festive spirit. Check this post for more inspiration about things to do in Toronto in December.
Is Toronto nice in the winter?
Yes, as long as you have the right clothes to keep you bundled up warm! While Toronto can be cold in the winter, it’s also a magical time to visit. Fresh snow falling over the city’s parks gives way to fun winter activities and beautiful landscapes. Get inspired for your trip to Toronto this winter with this post.
No matter the time of year, Toronto is a beautiful city to visit. Even in the winter season, the city is alive with fun activities and events to attend. I hope this post could help you find some fun things to do in Toronto this winter!
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