Spanning 9.98 million square kilometres, Canada has a lot to offer.
Spectacular landscapes that will take your breath away, and adventures you’ll never forget, Canada has so many diverse experiences. And then there are the cities.
These are the best cities to visit in Canada
Toronto is one of the best cities in Canada to visit. Home to the Iroquois before European settlers made it their home in the 1800s, Toronto is a modern city loaded with history, galleries, theatres and museums. Not to mention Toronto’s thriving live music scene.
Toronto is also one of the cleanest and safest cities you’ll ever visit and is less than two hours from Niagara Falls – one of the most popular day trips from Toronto.
Things to do in Toronto
Visit the CN Tower
Toronto is home to the impressive CN Tower. The elegant CN tower provides incredible views of the city and a revolving restaurant that will add something special to your trip.
Visit the Harbourfront Centre
Attend a festival or event, have a lazy lunch or get out on the water at the Harbourfront Centre on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organisation offering year-round arts events and world-class performances at a collection of unique venues in the heart of Toronto’s downtown waterfront.
Formerly a derelict shipping terminal, the fabulous location is a great way to spend a day enjoying a multitude of activities on offer. Check the Harbourside Centre site for up to date calendar of events.
Hang at the Distillery District
Soak up the ambience at the pedestrian-only Distillery District. The historic waterfront neighbourhood is home to quaint 19th century buildings that once housed Canada’s largest distilling company – the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.
The cobblestone streets now draw crowds thanks to the hip indie restaurants, bars and boutiques. The area is also famous for its galleries, outdoor sculptures and dance, music and stage performances at the districts several theatres.
In December, the neighbourhood hosts the annual Toronto Christmas Market. The Distillery District is one of Toronto’s favourite hangout spots. This is why Toronto is one of the best places to visit in Canada, especially in December.
Check the Distillery District site for latest events.
Toronto is also a great city to visit in winter. Discover more great things to do in Toronto in March.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
If you get a good deal on a flight to Canada, make the most of your trip and be sure to include Halifax, Nova Scotia on your best places to visit in Canada itinerary.
Halifax is breathtaking mountain views and stunning shorelines. Rich maritime history and beautiful architecture, Halifax is the perfect getaway with so much to do and see.
The busy seaport city is not just famed for its natural beauty. Halifax is a fantastic tourist destination with beautiful waterfront spaces, great shopping, dining and cultural districts.
The city also boasts more clubs and pubs than other parts of Canada which means Haligonians know how to have a good time.
Things to do in Halifax
Free Thing to do in Halifax. Walk the Waterfront
Start your time in Halifax with a walk along the colourful four-kilometre Habour Walk and discover some of the cities best attractions in one place.
Stroll along the historic area of beautifully restored Victorian buildings and discover some of the cities most popular dining spots. Stop in at the Maritime Museum and see a collection of artefacts from the Titanic or take a whale watching tour from the harbour.
End your stroll at the Farmers’ Market and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
Take the View from the Citadel
Take the view from one of Canada’s most visited historic sites; the iconic Citadel on top of Halifax’s central hill. Built in 1749, the star-shaped fortress overlooking the harbour is responsible for the founding of Halifax.
Take a guided tour to learn the history and the reason behind the forts star shape. The grounds inside the fortress are open all year and is free to enter. Admission fee applies for exhibits.
Take a Brewery Tour
There is no doubt the craft beer scene is happening in Halifax and what better way to sample some local brews than on a brewery tour.
Take a tour of a historic brewery such as the Alexander Keith Brewery, one of the most popular things to do in Halifax. Head to the North Brewing Company for some Belgian inspired brews or head just a little out of town to Nine Locks Brewing Co. one of the few microbreweries in Halifax to sell their beer in cans.
There are plenty of breweries in Halifax to keep even a beer cicerone happy.
Niagara Falls City
There are plenty of great things to see and do near Niagara Falls. Seeing the natural wonder may be what draws you to Niagara Falls, but there is plenty of reasons to stop a while in the City of Niagara Falls one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. The city of Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, 25-minutes from the Falls has everything from fancy wineries, high end dining, and shopping through to Vegas-style casinos.
Surrounded by beautiful green spaces and lakes, Niagara City is perfect for fishing, hiking and boating. A city escape within the city. The beautifully laid out Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens has a floral clock that chimes every 15 minutes.
You really can’t visit Canada without making a trip to Niagara Falls.
Things to do in Niagara Falls
Found on the Canada-US border, the Falls are a natural wonder for a good reason, and it is what people come to see. From the Canadian side, the view from the Horseshoe Falls, named for its shape is vast and impressive. A viewing path along the Niagara River allows you to get very close to where the water makes its way to the drop of the Falls.
Take a Journey Behind the Falls
You will be given a much-needed waterproof poncho as you will be very close to the action on this adventure which is without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls. Travelling in an elevator, 150 feet down the falls, standing in 130 yr old bedrock tunnels you will feel the power of the falls from behind.
Journey Behind the Falls is one of the most popular things to do at Niagara Falls.
The Skylon Tower
Get the best view of Niagara Falls from 775 feet above the Falls. The Skylon Tower offers incredible views of both sides of the Falls and surrounding areas including the city skylines of Buffalo and Toronto.
As well as offering 360-degree views of the Falls from the observation deck, there are two fine dining restaurants at the top, a movie theatre, and a family fun centre.
For yet another spectacular view of the Falls, head to the tourist area of Clifton Hill. You will find a large entertainment complex and Canada’s largest observation wheel, the Niagara Sky Wheel. From the comfort of fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas you can view the Falls from 175 feet in the air.
The Sky Wheel is open all year round, and each ride lasts around 10 minutes.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Take a ride over the Niagara Gorge in a 1916 antique cable car. Suspended from six cables; the unique attraction takes you one kilometre over the spectacular swirling Niagara Whirlpool and the Class 6 whitewater rapids of the Niagara River.
Even though the Whirlpool Aero Car travels between two points on the Canadian shore, each cable car ride crosses the international border between Canada and the US four times each trip due to the way the river elbows.
On the east coast, in Canada’s largest province, Quebec City is one of the oldest settlements in the whole of North America. It is also the only walled city you will find in this part of the world and one of the best places to visit in eastern Canada
The cobbled streets lazily wind their way past 17th and 18th century stone houses, a scene reminiscent of being in France.
Things to Do in Quebec City
Stroll The Old Quarter
Stroll through 400 years of history in Old Quebec. Walk along the fortified walls of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and take the view of one of the prettiest cities in Canada.
Visit the Petit-Champlain District, Place Royale, the Plains of Abraham and the Parliament Building or just enjoy the ambience of cosy bistros and theatres set amongst the colourful townhouses and cobblestone alleys.
Stop in at Château Frontenac
Château Frontenac is Quebec’s most iconic landmark and most visited attraction. Built as one of a series of “château” style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 19th century, Château Frontenac has been a designated National Historic Site of Canada since 1980 and is one of the most photographed hotels in the world.
Now owned by the Fairmont Hotel group, tours are no longer possible, but a drink at the 1608 – Wine & Cheese Bar is possible. Or, perhaps a London inspired high tea at the Champlain Restaurant.
Marvel At Montmorency Falls
Only nine miles from Old Quebec on the St Lawrence River you will find Montmorency Falls Park. While the park itself attracts nature lovers and hikers, it is the impressive falls people come to see. At 272 feet high, Montmorency Falls is one and a half times taller than Niagara Falls.
Summer is the ideal time for the outdoors, and one of the most beautiful times of the year in Quebec is fall, but in winter, the Montmorency Falls make for an impressive sight, without the crowds.
Although Ottawa is not the largest of the best cities to visit in Canada, it is undoubtedly one of the friendliest.
The National Gallery, Arts Centre and museums galore are indicative of the cities love for art and culture. A thriving restaurant scene forms a big part of the cities modern and sophisticated outlook, and miles of bike paths make it an easy city to get around. Ottawa is a fantastic city destination with something for everyone.
Things to do in Ottawa
The magnificent Neo-Gothic structures of Parliament Hill overlooking the Ottawa River are hard to miss. Home to the Parliament of Canada, the Parliament building is also one of Ottawas major tourist attractions.
Three buildings make up Parliament Hill set in expansive formal gardens. The Parliament building caters well to both locals and tourists with free guided tours, concerts, cultural exhibitions and even a seasonal after-hours sound and light show. Many visitors to Ottawa claim the Parliament Building as a highlight of their visit and a must to include in the best things to do in Canada itinerary.
Tours run throughout the day lasting from 30 – 60 minutes. You can find more about tour times here.
Shop at ByWard Market
Located in the heart of Ottawa City, ByWard Market is one of the oldest markets in Canada. With one main building open all year, the market boasts lively open-air stalls in fine weather.
Mingle with locals on the hunt for fresh produce or explore the four blocks of museums, cafés, speciality food shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, hair salons and more. You will always find something happening at ByWard Market.
Cruise Rideau Canal
One of the cities most historic attractions is the Rideau Canal through the centre of the city. The 125-mile waterway was constructed in 1826 to connect the city with Montreal, Quebec, and Kingston.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the canal is one of the city’s most beloved features. Take a leisurely boat cruise or rent a bike and enjoy the paved paths along the length of the canal.
When the temperature drops, the canal is transformed into the world’s largest skating rink, the size of 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks. You’ll find food stands selling hot chocolate and soup as well as heated huts for those who want a break from the cold.
A bustling seaport city in British Columbia surrounded by mountains and beautiful wilderness, Vancouver is one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities and top cities to visit in Canada.
A thriving art, theatre and music scene, an endless array of world-class dining, fabulous Vancouver Island road trip possibilities, and plenty to keep the outdoor enthusiast busy within easy reach of the city, including one of the best city parks in the world – Stanley Park. What’s not to love about Vancouver?
Things to do in Vancouver
Once home to factories and sawmills, Granville Island is now one of the biggest attractions in Vancouver for both locals and tourists. The Granville Island Public Market is a constant hub of activity with an assortment of produce stores showcasing fresh local produce, handcrafted products and unique gifts.
The neighbourhood is one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios. Granville is also home to the Granville Island Brewing Company, British Colombia’s oldest brewery.
Capilano Suspension Bridge, and The New Cliffwalk.
The 440-ft long suspension bridge 70 meters over the Capilano River has been a big crowd-pleaser in Vancouver since 1989. Although, it may not be for those wary of heights.
The new Cliffwalk is a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms through rainforest vegetation. The walk follows a granite precipice along the Capilano River. 16 anchor points in the cliff support the structure and two glass platforms. This walk is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Vancouver’s original settlement and oldest neighbourhood, Gastown grew from a single tavern in 1867. Today, the district still oozes with historic charm but with a dash of edgy chic. Gas Town is a must on any Vancouver Itinerary.
Gorgeous Victorian architecture, a thriving fashion scene, flawless boutiques, unique galleries and one of the best culinary scenes in Vancouver. Gas Town is where stylish Vancouvians gather; a place for shopping, dining or just languishing in indie bars.
Don’t forget to stop by its biggest attraction, the Steam Clock.