I used to live on the other side of Lake Ontario from Toronto (across the U.S. border in Buffalo), and seeing the city skyline and CN Tower come into focus while driving into the city was always an impressive sight.
Kids will be equally impressed by Toronto’s skyscrapers—but they’ll also enjoy its world-class museums, cruising on Lake Ontario, and day-tripping to Niagara Falls. While Toronto is Canada’s largest city, it’s great for families because of how spacious it is, with lots of parkland and waterfront areas. As a parent, here are my top picks for three days in Toronto with kids.
Toronto’s winters are bitterly cold and snow-bound; families should visit between late spring and early fall.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the viewing deck at the CN Tower.
The needle-like CN Tower is visible from miles around, and on a clear day, you can see well into the U.S. from its viewing decks. Start your trip by heading up to the main viewing platform or the even-higher Skypod viewing deck. If you have a generous budget, you could even take a helicopter tour that lets you look down on the CN Tower!
Chill out in the afternoon with a cruise on Lake Ontario to admire the skyline from a different angle. Old-style tall ship cruises are especially fun for kids, while parents will love the indulgent buffet cruise—and not having to worry about what’s for dinner.
On your final day, make a trip out to Niagara Falls, just a couple of hours from central Toronto. Kids will love riding The Hornblower to the base of the falls (tip: bring a change of clothes as you will get wet).
Depending on your kids’ ages and interests, opt for an adventurous activity—like jet boating or ziplining in the gorge—or a relaxing one—like a horse-and-carriage ride through the historic streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake (where adults can grab a bottle of ice wine to take home).