Enjoy Toronto's family-friendly attractions and activities for an unforgettable summer vacation with kids.

Toronto is a bustling metropolis that offers a perfect blend of urban excitement and family-friendly activities, making it an ideal summer destination for families. From its world-class attractions to its vibrant parks and waterfront, there’s no shortage of things to do with kids in Toronto. Here’s your guide to ensuring a memorable family vacation in Toronto this summer.

What to Do

1. Visit the Toronto Islands

A short ferry ride from downtown Toronto, the Toronto Islands offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. Rent bikes or paddleboats, enjoy a picnic, and let the kids splash in the sandy beaches. Centreville Amusement Park, located on Centre Island, is perfect for younger children with its charming rides and attractions.

2. Explore the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

The ROM is a fantastic place for children to learn about history, art, and natural sciences. The museum’s hands-on exhibits, including the dinosaur gallery and the Bat Cave, will captivate kids of all ages.

3. Discover Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

Located next to the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium is home to thousands of marine animals. Kids will be mesmerized by the colorful displays and interactive exhibits, including the moving walkway through the Dangerous Lagoon, where sharks swim overhead.

4. Enjoy a Day at the Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world and houses over 5,000 animals. With themed areas like the African Savanna, the Tundra Trek, and the Discovery Zone for kids, it’s a full day of fun and education.

5. Experience the Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre offers interactive exhibits and live demonstrations that make learning about science engaging and fun. The Kidspark area is designed specifically for younger children to explore and play.

Where to Go

1. High Park

High Park is Toronto’s largest public park and offers a variety of activities for families. Enjoy the playgrounds, the zoo, and the beautiful gardens. In the summer, the park hosts Shakespeare in the Park performances that are free to attend.

2. St. Lawrence Market

Visit St. Lawrence Market for a taste of local flavors. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and explore the many vendors. The nearby Market Gallery often has exhibits that appeal to children.

3. Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre offers a range of activities and events, especially during the summer. Take a walk along the waterfront, participate in arts and crafts workshops, or enjoy live performances.

The Powerplant Art Gallery (Harbourfront)

What Not to Do

1. Avoid Driving in Downtown During Peak Hours

Toronto’s downtown traffic can be quite congested, especially during rush hours. Opt for public transportation or walk whenever possible to save time and avoid frustration.

2. Don’t Overpack Your Schedule

While there are countless things to see and do in Toronto, avoid the temptation to pack too much into one day. Allow for downtime so the kids can rest and everyone can enjoy the trip at a leisurely pace.

3. Skip the Lines with Advance Tickets

Popular attractions like the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, and the Toronto Zoo can get very busy. Purchase tickets online in advance to skip the lines and make the most of your time.

Dining with Kids

1. The Old Spaghetti Factory

Located in the heart of downtown, The Old Spaghetti Factory is a family favorite with its eclectic decor and kid-friendly menu. It’s a fun dining experience with reasonable prices.

2. Pizzeria Libretto

For a taste of authentic Neapolitan pizza, head to Pizzeria Libretto. The casual atmosphere and delicious pizzas make it a hit with families.

3. Sweet Jesus

Cool off with a visit to Sweet Jesus for some of the best ice cream in the city. Their creative and decadent soft-serve cones are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Practical Tips for Traveling with Kids

1. Use Public Transportation

Toronto’s public transportation system, including buses, streetcars, and the subway, is efficient and convenient. It’s an excellent way to navigate the city, especially with kids.

2. Pack for the Weather

Toronto summers can be hot and humid, so pack light, breathable clothing, hats, and plenty of sunscreen. Also, bring along a light jacket for cooler evenings.

3. Keep Hydrated and Snack Smart

Carry water bottles and healthy snacks to keep everyone energized throughout the day. Many attractions have picnic areas where you can take breaks and enjoy your snacks.

4. Plan Ahead for Popular Attractions

To make the most of your visit, plan ahead and prioritize the attractions your family is most excited about. Check opening hours, book tickets in advance, and arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Toronto is a vibrant and diverse city that promises an unforgettable family vacation. With its array of attractions, beautiful parks, and delicious dining options, you and your kids will have plenty to explore and enjoy. Have a fantastic summer adventure in Toronto!