Since it is now officially the first day of summer (YAASSS!!), I wanted to put together a list of fun things to do in Toronto no matter what your budget is. If you live in Toronto, you know that summer here is so magical and that there is always so much to see and do 😀
Have a picnic and explore one of Toronto’s beautiful gardens. (Bonus: all of the below gardens have free entry #blessed)
- Toronto Music Garden – designed by the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma, this garden is architecturally stunning. It is also right by Lake Ontario allowing for you to take a stroll along the waterfront after exploring the garden.
- Cloud Gardens – snug between the buildings of downtown Toronto, this little gem often takes people by surprise as it is a tropical oasis you would miss if you weren’t looking for it.
- Allan Gardens – the actual structure containing these gardens is almost as pretty as the flowers inside. Open everyday and all year long, it is the perfect escape from the bustling city no matter what season it is.
- Edwards Gardens – located close to the Bridle Path, this used to be an estate garden becoming a formal garden open to the public. Besides the gorgeous flowers, Edwards Gardens also contains rock gardens, a greenhouse, wooden arch bridges, a waterwheel, fountains and walking trails.
- Toronto Botanical Garden – the largest garden on this list, it spans four acres and has both indoor and outdoor activities for visitors. During the summer the gardens are also home to a cafe, a organic farmers’ market on Thursday, free guided tours and free outdoor concerts.
Relax and spend the day working on your tan at one of Toronto’s fabulous pool bars. Plus, the views are all S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G and are perfect for a good Instagram pic 😉
- Lavelle – this bar quickly became the city’s most popular rooftop bar and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This gorgeous bar is on the 16th story of a condo building and consist of a lounge bar, dining room and an outdoor pool along with accompanying cabanas. If you are from Toronto, I guarantee you have seen countless pictures Instagram from here highlighting the bar’s breathless city views.
- Thompson Hotel – a longstanding favourite hangout in the summer, the Thompson Hotel Pool Bar features an insane infinity pool along with cabanas for pool side lounging. Ultra exclusive, this rooftop is only reserved for hotel guests and those who are members of the lounge.
- Cabana Pool Bar – a massive pool bar located on the shore of Lake Ontario, Cabana Pool Bar is a classic Toronto summer hangout. Only open on the weekends, it features everything from free wi-fi to private cabanas and daybeds where you can spend hours basking in the sun after some fun in the water.
- Muzik Beach Pool Bar – now officially named the largest outdoor patio in North America, this beautiful patio features 3 gorgeous pools and can fit over 6000 people at once. Once nighttime hits, get ready for the biggest party scene complete with disco balls and a never ending flow of alcohol.
Grab some friends and enjoy one of the many patios Toronto has to offer. As every Torontoian knows, patio season will forever be our best season.
- Amsterdam Brewery – located on the shore of Lake Ontario, they have a wide selection of beers (obviously) as well as cocktails and tasty food. It is the perfect place to refresh after exploring the waterfront all day.
- Black Bull – a longstanding Queen Street favourite, this patio gets direct sun on the sunniest days making it the perfect patio to catch some rays and enjoy a drink. This guy is a popular one and, while large, fills up quickly so make sure to get there early in the day.
- Pilot Flight Deck – a cute rooftop patio in Yorkville, the Flight Deck serves amazing drinks (their elderflower lemonade is insanely good) and sits high above the busy streets below. Open from March until December, this patio is equipped with both heaters and awnings allowing you to enjoy it all summer and into the fall.
- Gusto 101 – one of my favourite brunch spots in the city, this patio has a retractable glass roof which is always absent during the summer allowing you to sit in the sun while you munch on the delicious food. Combined with their famous $1/oz wine, you’ll never want to leave.
- The Porch – located above the Rockin’ Horse Saloon, this patio is a nonstop party during the summer. Come here to lounge on couches or wander around and take in the stunning views this patio has to offer. Once nighttime hits, find yourself basking under white string lights and the surrounding city lights while you continue to sip on their tasty drinks.
Take a trip to a beach for the day to relax in the sun, swim or just read a good book.
- Sugar Beach – located close to the Distillery District, this beach is famous for it’s abundance of cute, pink umbrellas and Muskoka chairs that are scattered along the beach. While you cannot swim at this beach, it is the perfect place to relax with a good book as it is quiet and calm with gorgeous views of the lake and of downtown.
- Cherry Beach – perfect for dog owners (and lovers) due to it’s massive dog park which is equipped with an off-leash area as well for all the little puppers. Cherry Beach is quite large and therefore never feels too crowded which is an amazing feat in a city this big. It is also located quite close to Sugar Beach should you want to check out both.
- Centre Island – as most of us have heard by now, Toronto Island will be closed for the majority of the summer due to flooding from high levels of rain ( 😦 😦 😦 ) BUT this is my favourite beach so I had to include it. Plus it is supposed to be open by August so fingers crossed! Located on Toronto Island, this beach is a short walk from where the ferry drops you off and is the perfect size no matter how big your group is. Afterwards, you can explore the island either by foot or by renting bikes for $8.00 for the first hour.
- Woodbine Beach – a very family friendly beach, Woodbine has on-duty lifeguards, washrooms and changing rooms as well as “a playground, outdoor fitness equipment, beach volleyball courts, picnic shelters, snack bar, full-service restaurant and parking”. Need I say more? 😀
Toronto also has some really lovely markets to check out should some treasure hunting be more your vibe.
- Kensington Market – as someone who lives in this area, it is hard to not write paragraphs about how much I love Kensington Market. While not a market in the traditional sense, you can still wander the streets for hours and browse street side vendors selling both food and trinkets alike. From amazing restaurants to vintage stores to street performers, the fun never here stops all summer long and should be on everyone’s to-do list.
- Leslieville Flea Market – running once a month from June until October, this cutie offers antiques. furniture, homemade crafts and even collectible items. With free admission, you could spend the whole day here if you wanted digging through all the gorgeous treasures it has to offer.
- St. Lawrence Market – guys, St. Lawrence Market is the shit. And everyone knows it. Open on Saturdays only, this two floor market has tons of vendors selling anything and everything including fresh produce, meat and seafood. Stalls selling beautiful crafts, jewelry, and clothing are also found here. My favourite way to start off my day at St. Lawrence Market is to stop and pick up a lobster roll from Buster’s Sea Cove which is found at the back of the main floor. DO IT.
- St. Lawrence Antique Market – located on the edge of St. Lawrence Market, this market runs every Sunday from 5:00am – 5:00pm. As someone who has browsed here on several occasions, I can tell you that you will find vintage gems here that you cannot find anywhere else. They always seem to have the most amazing furniture that you can spend years looking through until you find a piece that makes you swoon.
Of course there are tons and tons more other things to do in Toronto during the summer but I hope the above gave you some ideas and made you even more excited for the upcoming months! 😀 ❤