What to do in Toronto : 23 Fun and Off-Beat Things Beyond Attractions

what to do in Toronto with kidsWe all know that there are plenty of things to do in Toronto with kids but the challenge is that we seem to have visited all the best attractions in Toronto for young kids. You’ve taken your babies and explored all the baby friendly things to do in Toronto and they grew into toddlers who had jam packed Toronto itineraries during every visit. Now they’re rambunctious young kids who want to explore more but are looking for experiences beyond the usual list of Toronto attractions, am I right? So, if you, like us, are looking for fun things to do in Toronto beyond attractions, we’ve come up with a list. We’ve been to most of the spots on this list and others look like family friendly Toronto spots which Chris and I plan to explore this summer with our children. Our fair city has so much going on that there’s no shortage of fun activities for families who wake up and wonder “what to do in Toronto today?”. We got you!

 

 

Now don’t get us wrong, if you haven’t explored ALL the Toronto attractions, please ensure you do! We love going back to our favourite spots like the ROM, AGO, Ripley’s Aquarium and Science Centre. We also have a great weekend in Toronto itinerary for families visiting Toronto!

 

Unique Things to do in Toronto with Kids

Unique things to do in Toronto with kids beyond attractions

Here’s a list of  unique things you can do in Toronto, with kids, that are beyond the usual attraction recommendations. We’ve already written about a few of these spots and have included links if you want to learn more about our experiences.

 

Free and Nearly Free Things to do in Toronto 

unusual things to do in toronto with kids

  • Visit the Toronto Islands – Far Away farm, beach, BBQ, Centreville amusement park, ride horses, rent family bicycles, take boat tours and do so much more
  • Explore High Park – splash pads, mini zoos, hiking trails, picnics and crazy playgrounds
  • Visit the fabulous Grange Park playground (near the AGO) – we have a list of other playgrounds in Toronto but that’s our favourite one
  • Ride the Street Car – I know it sounds odd but kids love roaming in them. Why not neighbourhood hop and pop out for treats as you wish? The College/Gerrard street one is always a good one as is Spadina
  • Visit the waterfront – swing by the Harbourfront Centre which has loads going on every weekend or hang at HTO Park!
  • Visit the Toronto Police Museum – hey this isn’t a big attraction! You’ll have to pre-book your visit but kids will love it!
  • Get dirty at Evergreen Brickworks – there are farmers markets and brewery pop ups on the weekends, story circles, a children’s garden, places to play with dirt and find insects too!
  • Experience a Toronto festival – there’s a festival every weekend in Toronto! Our faves include Taste of Little Italy, Salsa on St. Clair, Pride, Caribana and Luminato
  • Check out the Toronto Library – there are  free activities and story time sessions throughout the year (you can also get free museum passes!)
  • Learn about horticulture (or just run around) at Allan Gardens Greenhouse – after visiting the greenhouse in downtown Toronto pop by the large playground nearby (not the small one right next to the greenhouse)
  • Splash around at Nathan Philips Square – you could do this at Dundas Square too but our kids love the sprinklers and enjoy climbing the Toronto sign at Nathan Philips (there’s also a small playground behind Old City Hall)
  • Explore Ontario Place – watch a movie at the Cinesphere, run around the massive grounds or experience one of the many pops up taking place
  • Hangout at a beach  –  we had a fabulous day at Woodbine Beach but Cherry Beach is also a good option for those hot hot days

 

 

Unique Restaurants, Bars and Cafes in Toronto for Kids 

Toronto free things

  • Spend an afternoon at a board game cafe – there are so many but Snakes and Lattes and Storm Crow Manor are solid options
  • Play games at the Rec Room – this downtown Toronto bar/restaurant offers plenty of games to keep kids amused all day long
  • Dine around Lawrence Market – if you kid loves food and wants to explore one of the best food markets in the world, you can do just that!
  • Visit a themed restaurant – go to the Poop Cafe, the Superhero themed Figures or Harry Potter themed Lockhart
  • Dine around Kensington Market – explore the street art, swing by the playground, grab some ice cream and lunch on a patio with a drink in hand 
  • Enjoy a dessert crawl  -we have so many dessert shops and here’s the self-guided Toronto dessert crawl we did by ourselves on Yonge Street. You can also walk down on Dundas street (between Bay and University) to hit up others.

 

 

Cool Toronto Experiences for Kids

unusual things to do in toronto with kids

 

 

I know I’m looking for things to do in Toronto this weekend as it’s a long one and I know I’ll continue to look for places to take my kids to throughout the summer, so I’ll be sure to update this list and hopefully you’ll share your favourite places in Toronto with us as well!

What to do in Toronto 23 Fun and Off-Beat Things Beyond Attractions

  • Amy Heffernan
    May 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Lawrence Market!! YES have to check that out!

    • Yashy
      May 27, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      That’s a tasty stop for sure.

  • Melissa H
    July 19, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Amazing! We do the same some weekends when we come into the city. Off beat parks and fun little nooks people don’t often think about. My son loved Corktown Common and Evergreen brickworks. Thanks for the cafe list, I have not thought of visiting one of these. Must try one next time for sure, great plan for rain.

    • Yashy
      July 22, 2019 at 9:41 am

      I’ve got Corktown common and Brickworks on my list for August.. been too long since we visited!

  • Annette C.
    July 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    That’s a great list! I will have to check out the Harry Potter themed Lockhart & Evergreen Brickworks.

    • Yashy
      July 22, 2019 at 9:40 am

      I need to get to Lockhart too, let me know your thoughts once you do!

  • loucheryl
    July 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Riding the streetcar is always one of my boys favourite things to do. And we are so blessed to live near Woodbine Beach. It is our go to fun spot in the summer.

  • kristen visser
    August 5, 2019 at 9:21 am

    there is so much to do in Toronto!! unfortunately we havent been able to get to T.O to enjoy any of these things but what a great list and many ways to keep the kiddos busy. i would love to check out the poop cafe

  • Samantha Albert
    November 4, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    These are great ideas. We used to take our son to the parking garage at Pearson Airpot and watch the planes taking off and landing. I think there are a group of plane spotters who lost some of their favourite locations to watch from around the airport.

    We sometimes did the train station as welll

    We also used to take him to the toy store just to play- never to buy. After a short while he stopped asking to buy and just enjoyed the Thomas the tank set-up. It was heaven.

    Thanks for your list. !

    • Yashy
      November 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      I’ve heard of many families who go there to watch the planes but we haven’t done it… I always want to fly when I see a plane. LOL

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