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Family of five heading to Toronto. What should we do?

My family (with three very energetic kiddos) and I will be in Toronto in January. What are fun, family-friendly activities to do there?

6 Answers

top answer by
Stew from Toronto

Hmm...first off, it will be fairly cold then but I'm sure you're already aware.

There's the Ripley's Aquarium but it is sort of pricey ($30 for adult and $20 for youth). There's also the museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario to do as a family. We have the Distillery District which is a very old style area with lots of shops so might be of interest to you. There's also St. Lawrence Market to check out farmer market stuff.

Lots of food options if you're into that. There's Chinatown for cheap and delicious food. Also Kensington Market market which is very close by to Chinatown. It's a bit of hipster place but good food option and neat place to see. I'd recommend seven lives tacos y mariscos if you like that or Banh Mi Boys or The Burger's Priest Be aware though, they are small fast food shop and it's always packed around busy time. I'd also use yelp for food options. The rating are accurate for restaurants and snack shops that aren't new. There's also Greek Town to check out.

As an almost free activity (renting fees), you can go ice skating either at Harbourfront Centre or Toronto City Hall. There are other parks to go skating at but those two are more much larger and closer to downtown. If you don't mind getting a mid cold and wet, you can go tobogganing at Riverdale Park East. It's a fairly steep and long hill so it'll be fun if there's enough snow. You can always get cheap yet decent tobogganing items at the dollar store if anything. You'll have to double check but at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra the musician practice around lunch hour in the lobby so you can check it out and have a small bite while you listen to a free mini show.

That's all I can think of at the moment for family activities. Try to use a week or a few days before you come as they provide a list of events (free or cost) every week.


Enjoy your trip when you come!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Art Gallery of Ontario (attraction)
  2. Distillery District (attraction)
  3. St. Lawrence Market (restaurant)
  4. Chinatown (attraction)
  5. Kensington Market (neighborhood)
  6. seven lives tacos y mariscos (attraction)
  7. Banh Mi Boys (restaurant)
  8. The Burger's Priest (restaurant)
  9. Greek Town (attraction)
  10. Harbourfront Centre (attraction)
  11. Toronto City Hall (attraction)
  12. Riverdale Park East (attraction)
  13. Toronto Symphony Orchestra (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Robyn from Toronto

My reco for burning off energy is to try the following attractions. 

1. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada - who doesn't want to run from tank to tank with excitement

2. Sky Zone Toronto - trampoline fun for the whole family

3. Ontario Science Centre - education & running around :) 

4. Skating at Harbourfront Centre

5. Tobogganing at Riverdale Farm


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (attraction)
  2. Sky Zone Toronto (attraction)
  3. Ontario Science Centre (attraction)
  4. Harbourfront Centre (attraction)
  5. Riverdale Farm (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mein from Toronto

I'm just expanding on some of the earlier suggestions

Depending on your dates, ages of the kids and of course, budget:

There are some Family shows on at the Sony Centre, Panasonic Theatre, The Royal Alex, Rogers Centre.  Check (There’s a T.O.tix in Dundas Square

Famous People Players theatre may be a little far from the downtown core as it's in the west end of the city (Etobicoke)

 Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre The Canadian Opera Company has a Free Concert series going on during noon-1pm, first come first served, arrive 30 minutes earlier as there are no late walk ins - check their site for performance type schedule (dwntwn area)

Textile Museum of Canada – located behind City Hall, 55 Centre Ave (dwntwn area), Family (5 with max 2 adults) $30    Wed PWYC 5pm-8pm

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) (dwntwn area)– has a Family pass,   Wed 6pm-8:30 pm you can see their permanent collection only for Free

The Bata Shoe Museum (U of T/Bloor St W near ROM area) - Family Pass $35,   Thurs 5pm-8pm PWYC sugg $5 donation

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) (MOCCA)  Free admiss

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery @ Harbourfront Centre, is small contemporary art gallery – Free admiss. It's by The Natrel Rink – a small ice rink, you can rent skates and there’s a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms – nice to skate in the evenings (note: They’re having DJ Skate Nights on Saturdays – may get pretty crowded!!) and there’s a really nice small gift shop in the York Quay Centre building.  Just read about Miss Lou's Room, Sat 11am-2pm, (Family) but I’m not sure what it’s about. You can also visit Purina PawsWay while you’re down in the area, just walk a little more west - to learn, discover, and celebrate the world of cats and dogs – there’s an exhibit of the Purina Hall of Fame  (It can get pretty windy and cold at the Harbourfront, be prepared)

You can also rent skates at the City Hall (Nathan Phillips Square) outdoor rink

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament – there’s a holiday special until Jan 11, (located in the CNE grounds)

Monster Jam – Jan 17, 18 @ Rogers Centre $25.00 – $135.00 Mammoth-sized 12-foot-tall, 10,000-pound trucks perform stunts and compete against each other

University of Toronto - St. George Campus has a Planetarium with a public show $5 FCFS basis - Moons and Their Effect on Life on Jan 23,, I've never been so you may want to email them for more info

You can purchase a Toronto CityPass 43% off on admission to the “big 5” Toronto attractions – the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, and Ontario Science Centre

or purchase a Public Transit (TTC) Day Pass only on Sat or Sun for $11:  Family / Group passes are only available for use on Saturday, Sunday, or statutory holidays includes 2 adults and not more than 4 children/youths 19 years of age or under

Wahlburgers Toronto, Canada just opened up in the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel on Blue Jays Way or have a bite at Wayne Gretzky's, on Blue Jays Way as well (dwntwn area). Kids also enjoy eating at Marche Restaurant upstairs the Hockey Hall of Fame located in Brookfield Place (dwntwn)

Enjoy your trip!

2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Mein from Toronto

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Kathy from Toronto, Ontario

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ontario Science Centre (attraction)
  2. CN Tower (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jorge from San Diego

My family lived in Toronto and now visit regularly. Our typical things to do in the winter are:

Centennial Park - suit up and have fun sledding (tobogganing in local parlay) in one of many small hills with the kids, build a snowman and have a snowball fight.

Royal Ontario Museum - Toronto's ROM is awesome. Take the subway there and afterwards go for either Chinese or Vietnamese food nearby.

The following is crazy for a winter stop in TO but grab ice cream with the kids; often you'll find a Cold Stone & Tim Horton paired up. It's a TO-thing to pay a regular visit to Tim Horton.

The malls are quite popular in the winter: Eaton Centre - you can use The PATH - First Canadian Pl to walk around downtown without having to step outside; Yorkdale Shopping CentreSherway Gardens are other ones that come to mind.

Ice skating is pretty cool too (Toronto City Hall); if possible, check out a hockey game (either the Leafs or a neighborhood game at a nearby school).

Enjoy your trip and make the most of it; make winter activities the theme of the trip and everyone will have a great time there !

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Centennial Park (attraction)
  2. Royal Ontario Museum (attraction)
  3. Eaton Centre (attraction)
  4. The PATH - First Canadian Pl (attraction)
  5. Yorkdale Shopping Centre (attraction)
  6. Sherway Gardens (attraction)
  7. Toronto City Hall (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

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