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Toronto was my home for many years and while summer is my favorite time to be in the city, there are still many fun things to do in Toronto in winter. From winter festivals to dazzling light shows and snowy weekend getaways, here are 101 ideas for Toronto winter activities this year!
Fun Outdoor Things to do in in Winter in Toronto
Disclaimer: Effective January 5, 2022 the Province of Ontario is in Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen (until at least January 26). Please follow the latest public health advice and recommendations before booking any travel. Events may not go ahead as scheduled so check the official page – I have linked out to each event mentioned in this post and have done my best to update this post with safe outdoor activities.
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.
- Skate by the lights of city hall at Nathan Phillips Square. One of my favorite Toronto winter activities is to grab a pair of skates and head to one of Toronto’s public outdoor rinks. As space is limited to 25 skaters an hour, the city is encouraging people to reserve a spot online beforehand.
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. Runs from November 27 through 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 from November 12-January 16th.
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 they 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, and is one of the best places to visit in Toronto in winter.
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. It runs from November 25 – December 30, 2021.
13. Visit the farm animals at Riverdale Farm in the Cabbagetown neighborhood (where I lived)!
14. Get to know Toronto’s charming Distillery District on this walking tour. A guide will take you around the Victorian Industrial architecture, sharing history along the way.
15. Experience Terra Lumina, an enchanted 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 22 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 December 5 – January 8, 2022, every evening.
19. Have a snowball fight in any of the cities 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 which is 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 2022 but is still in the planning stage for venues. The dates are February 18th-20th, 2022.
27. Toronto Black Film Festival will have its 10th edition from February 16 to 21, 2022.
28. DesignTO Festival, where design and art meet across the city, is back this year from January 21-30th, 2022.
29. Bloor-Yorkville Icefest – See over 70,000 pounds of ice carved into sculptures at this annual celebration of winter taking place every February in the Village of Yorkville Park.
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 18 – 20, 2022.
31. Celebrate Craft Beer the most Canadian way at the winter craft beer festival in Steamwhistle brewery.
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. This virtual event runs every Friday, October 1, 2021 – to December 3, 2021, on Facebook.
34. Explore the Christmas Market at Distillery District! This is one of my favorite things to do in Toronto in the winter. At the Toronto Christmas Market, you can go shopping, drink mulled wine, and go on a Ferris wheel ride overlooking the city. It takes place in December.
35. Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival – Celebrate the shortest and darkest day of the year on December 21.
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
38. Eat your way through St. Lawrence Market. It’s one of the oldest markets in Canada, with over 120 delicious vendors! While the Sunday antique market is currently closed, the south (main) Market building remains open to the public as an essential service. You can also join a guided food through the market.
39. Visit a winter 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. Join a guided food tour through Kensington Market, home to one of the most diverse food scenes in Toronto.
44. Take a wine & cheese tour with a guided sommelier and try some of Ontario’s best wines.
45. Eat at the highest restaurant in North America. The CN tower 360 restaurant offers unparalleled views of Toronto with equally amazing food.
46. Indulge your sweet took at the Sugar Shack Festival. 2022 dates have not yet been announced.
47. Get your drink on at Brewfest. You can sign up to be notified for 2022 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. Go on a whiskey tour in Toronto and learn all about Canadian whiskey.
51. Go clubbing. Toronto has some amazing nightclubs where you can stay warm during the cold 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
57. See the fascinating marine life at Ripleys Aquarium or better yet, go dancing there! Check out Friday night Jazz which happens every second of the month at the Aquarium.
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 players!
60. Bend your perception of reality at the Museum of Illusions which has over 80 interactive illusions, installations, exhibits, and holograms to explore.
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.
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.
76. Explore the best parts of Toronto with a local guide on this market-to-market tour.
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 13, 2021, to February 21, 2022.
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 a place to stay 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 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 located right on Lake Ontario, with rooms overlooking the water.
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.
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, explore the graffiti, go skating, go tobogganing, explore the street art, take part in free events, and more. Fill your Toronto winter bucket list with ideas from this post.
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.
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 cities parks gives way to fun winter activities and beautiful landscapes. Get inspired for your trip to Toronto this winter with this post.
There you have it, 101 fun things to do in Toronto in winter!
While I know it’s a tough year with ever-changing restrictions, I hope this post could help you find some inspiration for safe and fun things to do this winter. Stay safe!
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