Posted: 4/11/2023 | April 11th, 2023
While it may lack the scenic views of Vancouver or the historic charm of Montreal, Toronto has a lot going for it.
The CN Tower, one of the tallest free-standing structures in the world, can be found here, and there are numerous museums and galleries, including the Ontario Science Center and the Royal Ontario Museum. There’s also a huge Chinatown, boasting tasty cheap eats; the laid-back Kensington Market and its hippie vibe; and the beautiful coast of Lake Ontario.
Understandably, with over three million people calling the city home, Toronto happens to be quite spread out. And while it has a decent public transportation system, it’s a good idea to plan out which neighborhood you’d like to stay in — preferably based on your interests and lifestyle — so you won’t waste too much time (and money) in transit).
To help you decide where to stay in Toronto, I’ll highlight the best neighborhoods below, so you can choose the area that suits your travel style and budget, as they all have their own feel.
But, before I get to the specifics, here are some common questions I get asked about neighborhoods in Toronto:
What’s the best neighborhood for first-time visitors?
The centrally located Downtown Yonge is maybe the most bustling part of Toronto. If it’s your first time here, it’s the place to be.
What’s the best neighborhood for shopping?
Yorkville is overflowing with great shopping opportunities. Everything from unique boutiques to multinational chains are represented here.
What’s the best neighborhood for foodies?
Kensington Market and Chinatown, which neighbor each other, are two of the oldest districts — and a great swath of town if you’re hungry.
What’s the best neighborhood for partying?
The Danforth has a large Greek immigrant population and is, generally, a fun place to spend time in. But once the sun goes down and the lights come on, it is also one of the best areas for partying too.
What’s the best neighborhood for feeling like a local?
Home to the University of Toronto, the Annex is centrally located and bustling with young students marching to class or hanging out at one of the many restaurants and cafés in this neighborhood.
With these questions answered, here below is a more specific breakdown of each neighborhood, with some recommended accommodations, so you’ll know where to stay in Toronto.
Downtown Yonge encompasses many microneighborhoods in central Toronto, including the Entertainment District and a huge shopping area. If you’re here for the first time, this is a pretty nice and bustling place to base yourself for a while. You’ll be in the center of the action and can get to any part of the city from here.
Plus, there are plenty of interesting things to see and do here: the Toronto Eaton Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square, the Canon Theatre, Maple Leaf Gardens, and Old City Hall. You’re just a short jaunt to the CN Tower as well.
The Best Places to Stay in Downtown Yonge:
If you’re looking to max out your credit card and/or come home with some pretty things, your best bet is Yorkville. The neighborhood is flush with shops and boutiques, its streets flanked by inviting storefronts that are just screaming “buy me!” Here you’ll find everything from Hermès to Versace to the Montreal-based jeweler Maison Birks. Many upscale brands have their flagship shops right here.
The Best Places to Stay in Yorkville:
Kensington Market is a hip, eccentric, and eclectic neighborhood that draws locals from all over town. The streets are lined with funky coffee shops, street food carts and trucks, and small restaurants that reflect the ethnic and culinary diversity of Toronto as a whole.
Just to the south is Chinatown, where you can feast on an array of Asian fare to your heart’s and stomach’s content: Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and, of course, Chinese restaurants abound in this energetic and fun neighborhood.
The Best Places to Stay in Kensington Market and Chinatown:
Home to the largest Greek community in North America, where the street signs in are in English and Greek, the Danforth (aka “Greektown”) is the place to come when you have a hankering for souvlaki or moussaka or you want to see where they shot parts of the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
But it’s also a fun place to party. The neighborhood has a plethora of great bars and is also home to the Danforth Music Hall, where local and international acts take the stage.
The Best Places to Stay in the Danforth:
Sitting next to the St. George campus of the University of Toronto, the Annex is bustling with students and other young people who stroll the streets to patronize the neighborhood’s many indie bookshops, funky cafés, affordable restaurants, and bustling bars. If you’re looking to blend in and feel like a local, the Annex is a good place to base yourself .
The Best Places to Stay in the Annex:
Toronto has a diverse mix of neighborhoods, and all seem to have their own personality and style — even the areas that neighbor one another. While it is easy to get around Toronto on public transportation, it’s always a relief to be staying in the part of town that jibes with your interests and style. You’ll not only save time but money too, ensuring that you can make the most of your visit Canada’s most popular city.
Book Your Flight
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Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Need a Rental Car?
Discover Cars is a budget-friendly international car rental website. No matter where you’re headed, they’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest — rental for your trip!
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Canada?
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