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How to Find the Best Places to Stay in Toronto
July 19, 2022 By CityPASS
Toronto is a multicultural northern wonderland on the shores of Lake Ontario. In this lively city stretching across six districts, you’ll find all the culture, entertainment, shopping, history, and good eats you could ever want.
Whether you’ve not yet had the pleasure of experiencing Toronto or you’ve already fallen in love with this sprawling metropolis — which also happens to be Canada’s largest city — it’s time to book your visit.
What to Do When Looking for a Place to Stay in Toronto
When you think of Toronto, what comes to mind includes the bustling city waterfront and top sightseeing destinations like the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, and Casa Loma. But along with these can’t-miss Toronto attractions, you’ll find a mix of neighborhoods and districts with their own story to tell.
Needless to say, this incredible diversity can be a bit overwhelming as you figure out places to stay in Toronto. What are your options when searching for the best places to stay in Toronto? Let’s find out.
1. Set a Budget to Narrow Your Options
Your first goal is to figure out how much you want to spend on lodging — and how many people you’re responsible for housing. Are you traveling solo? With the family? With an extended group to celebrate some milestone or occasion?
By setting a budget or financial plan, you can filter out lodging that doesn’t meet your needs or that costs more per night than you’re willing to spend. A luxury hotel might suit travelers with more disposable income, whereas clean yet cheap hotels could be better for families or those on a tighter budget.
2. Choose Between a Hotel or a House
Next, you’ll want to decide whether a Toronto hotel or a vacation rental makes the most sense.
Hotels come with many services, such as daily housekeeping, a concierge, and breakfast buffets, and some hotels even have in-house restaurants. Yet they also have smaller living spaces that might not be big enough for families and large groups to gather.
Vacation rentals often lack regular housekeeping services, but they come with larger spaces, more privacy, and a kitchen or kitchenette. Some also come with an outdoor living area that offers another place for children or extended family to hang out.
3. Think About Your Proximity to Major Attractions
If you’re planning to stick to downtown Toronto attractions in the Entertainment District, don’t choose lodging on the other end of the city. However, if your trip includes stops in the downtown core and other districts, your lodging options naturally open up a bit more.
Some attractions like the Royal Ontario Museum and Casa Loma are closer to Midtown, while others like Toronto Centre Island, the CN Tower, and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada sit much closer to or on the waterfront. Other destinations like the Toronto Zoo, Canada’s Wonderland, and the Ontario Science Centre sit further into Uptown or more outlying districts. The destinations that spark your interest should be a major factor in where you settle down each night of your trip.
4. Look for Amenities Such as a Pool or Fitness Center
Sometimes, it’s nice to mix sightseeing with relaxation or wellness pursuits. Making sure that your trip blends downtime and tourism adventures helps keep you balanced and burnout-free.
High-rise or modern hotels like Bisha Hotel Toronto or Shangri-La Toronto are more likely to have an expansive fitness and spa center or indoor pool than a smaller boutique hotel — especially one housed in a Victorian-era former chocolate factory like The Ivy at Verity, or a Romanesque-Revival former railway inn like Gladstone House. That said, being surrounded by stunning architecture and history can be an incredible experience in itself.
5. Consider Staying Close to the Airport and Public Transit
For the best places to stay in Toronto, another option is to look for public transit hubs. Pearson International Airport isn’t in Toronto — technically, it’s on the border of the city of Mississauga and Etobicoke, the most eastern district of the greater Toronto area.
You might like to stay near the airport to blend bustling city life with nature reserves and other explorations — like the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, a museum showcasing artwork from Canada’s famous Group of Seven, First Nations artists, and other contemporary works.
Or, you could choose a hotel near regional public transit. While there is an extensive bus network, the city is also well-designed with its Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway and streetcar network.
The subway has four lines:
- Line 1 at the Vaughn Metropolitan Centre that loops up Yonge Street to Finch Station
- Line 2 at Kipling Station in Etobicoke (accessible via the Airport Express)
- Line 3 at Kennedy Station in the East End that connects to the Scarborough Centre
- Line 4 at Don Mills Station in Uptown that runs across to the Sheppard-Yonge Station
Toronto’s streetcar network runs throughout the downtown core from Queen’s Quay along the waterfront up to Spadina. Line 1 subway and streetcar lines connect at Union Station, the lively transportation hub less than a block from the Scotiabank Arena, Hockey Hall of Fame, and Harbour Square Park.
At the harbor, you can catch a ferry at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal for a trip across to Centre Island. Enjoy the amusement park with the family, or linger for outstanding Toronto skyline views at sunset.
6. Discover Perks Like Amazing Views and Continental Breakfast
If you’re ready for a luxurious experience, consider a hotel like the Omni King Edward Hotel. This elegant hotel was first built in 1903 and now sits in the heart of the Financial District, where it pampers guests with in-room dining, continental breakfasts and afternoon tea, plus luxurious rooms with robes, a high-end coffee maker, and plush beds. It’s also within a few blocks of the St. Lawrence Market, the Distillery District, and the shoppers’ paradise Toronto Eaton Centre.
Toronto Lodging Map
Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Booked Your Room? Here's What to Do Next
You’ve narrowed your options and booked your room at one of the best places to stay in Toronto. Congratulations! Now it’s time to book your attractions because saving money while falling for Toronto’s cultural wonders leads to even more smiles. Save up to when you buy CityPASS tickets for must-see Toronto attractions.