Toronto is my favourite city in the world, although, maybe I’m biased since I live here. I moved to Toronto in May 2013 and have fallen absolutely in love with the city since then. I think Toronto is extremely underrated by outsiders, and the city has SO much to offer locals and visitors. So for this edition of “You Gotta Do This,” I decided to share my top things to do in the summer in Toronto.
Catch a concert at the Molson Amphitheatre
The Molson Canadian Ampitheatre is probably the best concert venue in the city, and it’s not because it’s a venue that has the ability for artists to have extravagant stage sets, or because the acoustics are great in the building, it’s because it’s outdoors! Half of the seats are on the lawn, bring a blanket or lawn chair, kick back, and enjoy some great tunes. Nothing beats a summer concert here!
Have some weird food at The Ex
The Canadian Exhibition has been happening every year since 1879, and this 2.5-week extravaganza is filled with all your favourite carnival activities. One of the best things about The Ex, and what everyone looks the most forward to is what weird food they’re going to serve up each year. From deep-fried everything (literally everything) to chocolate-covered bacon, every year the food vendors wow the crowd with the weirdest food concoctions.
Watch a Blue Jays game with the rooftop open
The Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) is home to the Toronto Blue Jays, and for pretty cheap you can score yourself some nosebleed seats to catch a game. If it’s a sunny day, they will open up the rooftop. Yes, the building has a roof that closes and opens like a convertible. When the roof is open, you get a nice view of the CN Tower, and get to soak in some rays while watching the game. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, nothing beats the atmosphere of a ball game.
Toronto is lined with great bars, and everyone flocks to them in the summer when the patios begin to open. From rooftop patios to street-side patios, you can literally spend days just patio hoping to find what one you like best. Check out this patio guide to help you find the patio that you dream about in the summer!
Enjoy Toronto’s Craft Beer
Toronto has a lot of great breweries and beer, and what better time to celebrate that than in the summer? The Toronto Festival of Beer happens every July, which is my personal favourite. Hundreds of beer vendors (small and large) gather for the 3-day festival filled with great food, beer and entertainment. Tickets sell out early for this one! Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto (which is also fun to visit on its own) also hosts a Craft Beer Festival every summer in August. Nothing beats tasting beers, and eating great food, all while enjoying the summer weather outdoors.
Check out my beer routes here:
Enjoy a picnic at High Park
High Park is Toronto’s largest public park and is a great place to spend a day outside. Walk along all the paths, play with the dogs at the dog park, visit the zoo, or just chill out on a picnic. High Park is a mini escape in the city and is a great way to spend a summer day.
Venture to Toronto Islands
One of the best places in the city to escape the city (yet still be in it). Toronto Island is a gorgeous place to spend a day. Pack a picnic, stock up on some beers, and enjoy the sun. Or if you’re looking for some more active activities, try kayaking, biking, standup paddle boarding, or tennis! Here is a list of 20 things you can do on the islands and it doesn’t stop there. The ferry is only $7 CDN return to get there, and departs to any of the three parts of the Islands (Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point, and Ward’s Island). Also, did I mention you’ll get a kick-ass view of the Toronto skyline from there?
Shop at the markets
There are lots of markets in Toronto, from the more well known like Kensington Market and St. Lawrence Market to the smaller farmers’ markets that are sprinkled in different neighbourhoods around the city. Check out this great list of some of the best in the city. Also, for anyone on a budget, these are great places to get some good food and groceries!
Set sail around Toronto harbour
A more expensive option of things to do in Toronto in the summer, but one that will be completely worth it. Nothing beats being on the water, especially when you have a nice view of the city while you’re doing it. It’s not very often you get to mix the two and there are several options for you to do this. From tall ships to sailboats, to cruise boats, all range in price and multiple companies will bring you out on the water. If you’re lucky, you can even stumble across some good deals on Groupon for this.
Experience a different culture at a festival
Toronto has a million festivals in the summer. I mean, we hibernate in the winter, so the minute the weather gets warm, it’s time to celebrate! Although there is basically a festival or event every weekend, some of the notable and most unique ones are the different cultural festivals. Caribana brings in over 1 million visitors every summer, The Festival of India is a weekend event that brings together every Indian tradition you can imagine, and Taste of the Danforth is a Greek festival happening in the Greek neighbourhood of the city and is known for being one of the best food festivals of the summer. All these festivals (plus there are many more) give a real authentic taste of these cultures and the multiculturalism in Toronto!
What are your favourite things to do in Toronto? Share below in the comments.