Guides Toronto What to Do During a Toronto Layover

What to Do During a Toronto Layover

City Guide May 24, 2024



If you find yourself with a layover at Toronto Pearson International Airport, you’re in luck! The city of Toronto is a vibrant city with plenty to offer, even if you have just a few hours to spare. This guide will help you make the most of your time, whether you're looking to explore iconic landmarks like the CN Tower or simply want to relax and enjoy some good food.

Before diving into your Toronto adventure, you might be wondering about your luggage. The good news is, there are convenient services for luggage storage in Toronto Airport. This allows you to store your bags securely while you explore the city. For a hassle-free experience, consider using Nannybag's service.


Can You Leave Toronto Airport During a Layover?

Absolutely! If you have a layover that’s longer than a few hours, you can definitely leave Toronto Pearson Airport and explore the city. Just make sure to check the requirements for re-entry, including your visa status and customs regulations. Toronto Pearson International is well-connected, making it easy to head into the city and return in time for your next flight.


How Can I Get from Toronto Pearson Airport to Toronto?

Getting from Lester B Pearson International airport to downtown Toronto is straightforward and offers several options:

UP Express

The Union Pearson Express (UP Express) is the fastest way to travel between Toronto Pearson Airport and downtown Toronto. It takes only 25 minutes to reach Union Station, and trains depart every 15 minutes. You can find the UP Express station at Terminal 1, located at the ground level.


Public Transport

Toronto’s public transportation system, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), provides bus and subway services. You can catch a TTC bus from the airport to Kipling Station, where you can transfer to the subway line heading downtown. This option is cost-effective and gives you a glimpse of the city as you travel.


Taxi and Ride-Sharing

Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available at the arrivals level of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. This option is convenient and provides door-to-door service.



Sights to See

CN Tower

No trip to Toronto is complete without a visit to the CN Tower. This iconic landmark, standing at 553.3 meters, offers stunning views of the city and Lake Ontario from its observation decks. The LookOut Level, located at 346 meters, provides a 360-degree panoramic view that is breathtaking both during the day and at night.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the EdgeWalk, a thrilling walk on the tower's outer edge at 356 meters above ground. Participants are harnessed in and can walk hands-free on a 1.5-meter-wide ledge encircling the top of the tower’s main pod, making it a heart-pounding experience.

Additionally, the 360 Restaurant offers a unique dining experience, revolving to provide diners with an ever-changing view of the city as they enjoy their meal. The CN Tower is not just a visual marvel but an engineering feat that defines Toronto's skyline.


Hockey Hall of Fame

For sports enthusiasts, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must-visit destination located in downtown Toronto. This museum celebrates the rich history of hockey with an extensive collection of exhibits, memorabilia, and interactive displays. Visitors can engage with exhibits that showcase the evolution of the sport, including historic jerseys, sticks, and pucks used by some of the greatest players in hockey history.

One of the highlights is the Great Hall, where the Stanley Cup is prominently displayed, allowing fans to get up close and take photos with the legendary trophy. Interactive zones allow visitors to test their skills in shooting, goaltending, and play-by-play broadcasting, providing a fun and immersive experience.


Distillery District

The Distillery District is a historic area in Toronto, renowned for its well-preserved Victorian industrial architecture and charming cobblestone streets. Once the site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, this pedestrian-only district has been transformed into a vibrant cultural and commercial hub. Unique shops offer a range of products from handcrafted jewelry to artisanal foods, while numerous art galleries and studios showcase the works of local artists and craftsmen.

The area is also home to various restaurants and cafes, offering diverse culinary options in a cozy and historic setting. Seasonal events and festivals, such as the annual Christmas Market, add to the district’s lively atmosphere. Whether you’re shopping for unique souvenirs, enjoying a meal, or simply soaking in the historic ambiance, the Distillery District provides a delightful and memorable experience.


Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in North America, located near downtown Toronto. The museum features collections that span art, culture, and natural history. Visitors can explore exhibits ranging from ancient civilizations and dinosaur fossils to contemporary art and cultural artifacts from around the world. The ROM is particularly known for its extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies, and Chinese temple art.

Special exhibitions often bring unique and rare items to the museum, offering fresh experiences for returning visitors. Interactive and family-friendly displays make learning engaging and fun for all ages. The ROM's architectural design, including the striking Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, adds to its appeal as a must-visit cultural institution in Toronto.


Toronto Islands

If you have more time, consider taking a ferry to the Toronto Islands, a group of small islands located just off the mainland. The islands offer beautiful parks, beaches, and trails, providing a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Centre Island, the largest of the islands, features picnic areas, gardens, and the popular Centreville Amusement Park. Visitors can rent bikes, kayaks, or paddleboards to explore the scenic surroundings.

The islands also offer excellent views of the Toronto skyline, making it a great spot for photography. Hanlan’s Point Beach, Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, and the Franklin Children's Garden are other notable attractions. With its serene environment and recreational opportunities, the Toronto Islands provide a perfect day trip for relaxation and outdoor activities.


Shopping and Dining

Toronto is renowned for its diverse culinary scene and excellent shopping options. Neighborhoods like Yorkville are known for high-end boutiques, luxury brands, and chic cafes, making it a premier destination for fashion enthusiasts and gourmet dining.

The area’s upscale ambiance is perfect for a day of shopping and people-watching. Kensington Market, on the other hand, offers an eclectic mix of shops, vintage stores, and eateries, reflecting the city’s multicultural spirit. It’s a vibrant area where you can find unique items and sample international cuisine.

St. Lawrence Market is another top destination, offering fresh produce, artisanal foods, and a variety of international dishes. It’s a food lover’s paradise where you can taste local delicacies and shop for specialty ingredients. For a more traditional shopping experience, the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto features a wide range of stores and dining options, providing something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for high fashion, unique finds, or culinary delights, Toronto’s shopping and dining scenes have something to offer every traveler.


Nannybag - What to Do During a Toronto Layover


Returning to the Airport

Ensure you plan your return to Toronto Pearson International Airport with enough time to go through security and customs. Whether you’ve taken the UP Express, a TTC bus, or a taxi, aim to be back at the airport at least two hours before your departure for domestic flights, and three hours for international flights.

Additional Tips

  • Luggage Storage Price: Be aware of the Toronto Airport luggage storage price to avoid any surprises. Services like Nannybag offer competitive rates.
  • Public Transport: Toronto’s public transport system is reliable and cost-effective, but always check schedules ahead of time.
  • Weather: Toronto’s weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and be prepared for changing conditions, especially if you plan to explore outdoor attractions.
  • Local Currency: Make sure to have some Canadian dollars on hand for smaller purchases and tips.

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