The most popular neighbourhoods in Toronto showcase the diversity of Canada’s largest city. Each area offers a distinctive slice of local life, such as theatre, music and sports in the Entertainment District and indie arts in West Queen West.

    There are also several international enclaves spread across the 630-sq-km city, including Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Regardless of where you choose to stay in Toronto, you’ll have easy access to plenty of boutique shops, art galleries, museums, markets, lakefront parks, dining spots, fun family activities, and trendy nightclubs.



    Designer shops, spas and art galleries

    Bloor-Yorkville is a shopper’s haven in Toronto, with dozens of designer and boutique shops along its photo-friendly streets. The neighbourhood was a hub of hippie counterculture activities in the 1960s, but these days, its denizens are more likely to be seen lounging on the patio of a chic cafe or indulging in a luxury spa session.

    Visitors to Bloor-Yorkville can explore several private art galleries and notable cultural venues like the Royal Ontario Museum and Gardiner Ceramic Museum. Some of Toronto’s best events take place in the neighbourhood, including the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest and Yorkville Murals. From June to September, the Village of Yorkville Park hosts the Summer Music in the Park concert series.


    photo by Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) modified



    Toronto’s festival hot spot

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    Harbourfront is a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, set along the shores of Lake Ontario. A focal point of the area is Harbourfront Centre, an events venue that hosts several cultural, dance, arts, and food festivals throughout the year. You can gain some insight into Toronto's contemporary visual arts scene by checking out the Power Plant Art Gallery, which opens year-round with free entry.

    Outdoor lovers will find plenty to enjoy in Harbourfront, such as its scenic walking and biking paths, kayaking and sailing opportunities, as well as an ice-skating rink that opens in the winter. The neighbourhood is busiest in summer when the boardwalk and lakeside cafes are packed with visitors looking to dine, shop and take in harbour views.


    Downtown Yonge

    Busy public square with diverse entertainment

    Downtown Yonge is a brightly lit and busy neighbourhood with a mix of shops, restaurants, historic buildings, and entertainment options. One of its most notable landmarks is Yonge-Dundas Square, which is illuminated by flashing billboard screens and bustling with locals and visitors alike.

    Beyond the square, you'll find the Eaton Centre shopping mall and the legendary Massey Hall – Canada's oldest performing arts centre has hosted concerts by such acts as U2, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Other notable concert venues in Downtown Yonge include the Ed Mirvish Theatre and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre.


    photo by Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Distillery Historic District

    Former booze factory turned artsy-foodie destination

    Toronto's Distillery Historic District has a mix of stylish restaurants, breweries, bars, theatres, art galleries and shops, all set in restored 19th-century buildings. The 5-hectare area is open to foot traffic only, letting you wander along its cobblestone streets with ease. Here, shops offer a variety of goods, including gifts, home decor, and fashion boutiques by local designers.

    The Distillery Historic District hosts several events throughout the year, including the popular Christmas Market in December. There's a distillery here, as well. Spirit of York Distillery Co. offers tasting sessions and tours of its factory.


    Entertainment District

    A hot spot for arts, sports, and nightlife

    The Entertainment District is spread across 8 blocks in Toronto’s Downtown West area. It’s a lively area full of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, sports venues, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Most theatres and concert halls are concentrated in King Street West, including the 20th-century Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Princess of Wales Theatre, and Roy Thompson Hall.

    Rogers Centre is a major concert venue and the home base for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. Sports fans can also find plenty to enjoy at the Scotiabank Arena, which hosts the home games of the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball team and the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. The Entertainment District hosts Toronto’s landmark CN Tower, where you can enjoy sky-high views of the city.


    photo by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    West Queen West

    Creative community packed with galleries and shops

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    West Queen West is a trendy neighbourhood and hot spot for art, fashion, and design in Toronto. It has more than 30 art galleries, alongside a colourful mix of antique and vintage shops, cafes, restaurants, and cutting-edge fashion boutiques. You’ll find these independent businesses along a 2-km stretch, between Bathurst Street and Gladstone Avenue.

    Among the many artsy attractions in West Queen West include Graffiti Alley – great for photographing vibrant street art – and Artscape Youngplace, a gathering place and studios for artists. Those seeking fresh air could head to the Trinity Bellwoods Park, where a farmer’s market takes place on Thursdays.


    Kensington Market and Chinatown

    Lively downtown communities with a rich heritage

    Kensington Market and the nearby Chinatown are 2 of Toronto's oldest neighbourhoods. Kensington Market is a designated National Historic Site of Canada, with streets lined with Victorian houses and a colourful array of shops, cafes, bars, and galleries. Several walls and alleyways are covered with gorgeous murals. During the summer months, the neighbourhood closes its streets to cars to make it easier for everyone to explore on foot.

    Chinatown sprung up in the late 1800s as an enclave for Chinese migrants to Toronto. Since then, it’s been a bustling community where you can visit herbal medicine shops, traditional markets, and Asian restaurants serving dim sum, noodles, dumplings, and Chinese regional cuisines.


    Little Italy

    For great eats and thriving nightlife in downtown Toronto

    Little Italy is centred around College Street, just west of Kensington Market in downtown Toronto. The neighbourhood grew in the years following WWII when there was a large influx of migrants from Italy. While there’s still a distinctive Italian charm to the area, you can experience a mix of cultural influences like Portuguese, Latino and Vietnamese – which adds to its global character.

    Many like to come to Little Italy for its food scene. Many restaurants and cafes have patios for al fresco dining and people-watching. The main strip along College Street is a buzzing place to wander, especially on weekend nights or during annual festivities.


    photo by Joe Futrelle (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Greektown (The Danforth)

    North America’s largest Greek neighbourhood

    The Danforth, also known as Greektown, is a neighbourhood with a large Greek community. These days, the area has a more diverse mix of cultures than it did during the wave of Greece immigration in the 1960s and 1970s. However, many street and shop signs are still written in the language. In fact, parts of the 2002 movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding were filmed in The Danforth.

    Visit on an empty stomach not only to enjoy all the Greek food at places like Mezes and Pantheon, but also authentic Indian, Ethiopian, and Lebanese cuisine. In August, you’ll have a chance to enjoy food and entertainment during the Taste of the Danforth festival.


    photo by Andre Carrotflower (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    The Beaches

    Resort-like community on Lake Ontario

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    The Beaches is a leafy neighbourhood along the shores of Lake Ontario. Found just east of downtown Toronto, it’s a great place to stay for those looking for an outdoor oasis within the city. Beaches, parks, nature trails and boardwalks offer plenty of fresh-air activities. There’s a good range of boutique shops, galleries, cafes, and dining spots to explore along Queen Street East.

    Kew Beach and Woodbine Beach are often packed with sunseekers in summer. The Beaches also hosts summertime events, such as the month-long Beaches International Jazz Festival and Movie Nights in the Park, both in Kew Gardens Park. Visit in February or March to enjoy the Winter Stations outdoor art installation competition.


    photo by Payton Chung (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Lana Willocks | Contributing Writer

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