Toronto – one of the most vibrant cities and a must stop when visiting Ontario, Canada. If you cannot stay awhile to enjoy this fun city on your large family travels – here is a quick guide to 24 hours in the city that highlights family-friendly places to go, where to eat and where to stay.
Suite It Up
What is the first thing on every large families mind when traveling? Accommodations. Luckily Toronto has many different options available for larger families. You can always find the best hotels at SixSuitcaseTravel.
For our summer trip to Toronto, we stayed at the Cambridge Suites Toronto. Accommodating, budget-friendly and with valet parking, the location is within walking distance to the famous Eaton Centre for the shoppers in your family and many other Toronto sights, restaurants and links directly to the PATH, Toronto’s underground walkway. The Portico restaurant on the lobby level hosts a nice breakfast in the morning.
They have various rooms for any size of family. For our overnight trip, we booked a Deluxe Suite, a 550 square foot room that has a separate bedroom with king bed. The shared bathroom was spacious and the living room had a double pull out couch and could still fit a rollaway bed. Of course, some rooms have balconies – always a welcome addition when traveling with kids.
Ripley’s Aquarium and CN Tower
If you have one day to enjoy Toronto, the best use of time is to hit two of the main attractions that are close enough together for younger travelers to walk to and from. The CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. There are many different ticket combinations for both attractions. To keep in mind, the CN Tower has a children 5 and under are free policy – always a great value for larger families.
Currently, there is a Sea The Sky Combo Ticket where you can also purchase the timed priority ticket for both attractions. When traveling with children the priority access with the timed ticket means no line-ups! It’s worth the extra price.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a state of the art aquarium and a huge tourist attraction. It is worth mingling with the crowds to view the colorful tanks of freshwater and tropical fish, jellyfish displays, stingrays and to ride the moving sidewalk through the walkthrough tank. You will enjoy watching your family gaze up and around in wonder at the sharks, large sea turtles, and stingrays that float overhead. One of my favorite exhibits is the colorful sea amonenes.
After the Aquarium, forgo the snack bar and instead feed your family from one of the many hotdog or snack vendors surrounding the base of the Rogers Centre and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Grab a seat on the steps of the aquarium and refresh yourself before walking over to the CN Tower.
The CN Tower is a must visit attraction if it is your first time to Toronto – or at any other time of the year. A 553.3 m high concrete structure, your family will ride the glass elevators up to the observation decks and take in the whole city of Toronto. New this year is the two floor-to-ceiling panoramic Window Walls – an even better way to view Toronto from above.
Across the street from the CN Tower/Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the Toronto Railway Museum. A nice park area outside the museum is a welcome reprieve and you can take a look at the antique steam engines. If you have time, there is a Miniature Train ride for the younger kids or just simply enjoy strolling the grounds.
Classic Eating Is The Best
Toronto is full of fun, lively places to eat. When we visit, I like to take the kids to the Old Spaghetti Factory. Originally a blacksmith shop and built in 1898, the huge warehouse was converted into a 600-seat restaurant and is a showcase in Toronto. The menu is diverse and all meals include everything from salad, main and dessert. The ambiance is fun and full of families of all ages and generations. Need to distract a younger one? Take a walk around and view the antique carousels that decorate this large space.
Stroll Along The Lake
One of the nicest strolls in Toronto is a short distance from the Esplanade and the Old Spaghetti Factory. Toronto’s Waterfront Trail along the Queen’s Quay has a newly constructed pedestrian boardwalk. This scenic walk is often animated during the summer months with street performers, musicians and festivals for the entire family to enjoy. Talk a walk after dinner and enjoy the spectacular sight of Lake Ontario full of sailboats and grab a second dessert at the many food kiosks and stores.
Even though 24 hours is a short time to explore Toronto, if it’s your first time or even your tenth, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, CN Tower and the Waterfront Trail will never disappoint any members of your large family.