Want to explore Toronto like a REAL local? If so then you gotta check out all the totally unique things to do in Toronto.
Because this badass city is positively brimming over with weird things to do in Toronto that only super savvy locals know about.
And I happen to be in the know about all the cool, non-touristy things to do in Toronto.
After all, not only have I visited more times than I can count, but I have a ton of friends who live there. As a result, they’ve taken me under their wing and shown me all the cool things to do in Toronto.
So, I want to share all my insider tips with you so that you can get away from the guidebooks and start experiencing this magical city like a Canadian…eh?
Sorry, bad joke. But, this post on the most unusual things to do in Toronto is the antithesis of bad and is something you should 100% read before planning any future Toronto itinerary of awesome.
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If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especialy since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Best Hotels in Toronto
Not sure where to stay while checking out the most unique things to do in Toronto? If so then have a look at my secret recs on all the best places to stay in this amazing city.
Because regardless of your budget there really is an epic place in Toronto for you.
- The Palmerston (budget) – If you’re on a limited budget but still want to stay in a decent queen-sized room then try The Palmerston. After all, rooms here are under $100 a night with the hotel itself sitting near Hanlan’s Point Beach. You’ll also dig the free WiFi and can use super fast express check-in/check-out services too.
- The Alexandra Hotel (Mid-range) – This 2-star hotel has everything you need for a comfy but simple stay. So, expect well-priced, ideally located rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and kitchenettes. Additionally, you can use on-site parking and get access to a coin-operated laundry.
- Shangri-La Toronto (Luxury) – This hotel is epic beyond belief. It also has a whopping five stars and is an Asian-inspired facility with an indoor pool, a cocktail bar, a fitness room, and a full-service spa. Rooms are also fully-outfitted with Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso machines, and anything else you can imagine. Plus, it’s easily one of the best hotels in Toronto with balconies.
Most Unique Things to do in Toronto Right Now!
1. Kensington Market
Think colorful and artsy because that’s what you’ll get from Kensington Market. That’s also why it’s near some of the best boutique hotels in Toronto.
Located between College and Dundas in the heart of the downtown area, Kensington is one of the most unique places to visit in Toronto!
Celebrated as one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Toronto, Kensington Market is known for its eclectic vibe!
So, throughout the neighborhood visitors will find streets lined with colorful buildings, street art, and plenty of interesting shops and cafes!
Then, every last Sunday of the month – from spring through fall – Kensington becomes a pedestrian-only zone.
As a result, people take to the streets to browse through vintage clothing and antiques or just people-watch in the city. It’s also a great place to try some of the best food tours in Toronto.
However, one piece of incredible street art in the neighborhood that is super iconic in Kensington Market is the Garden Car!
Parked along the neighborhood’s main street, Augusta Avenue, the Garden Car is one of many hidden gems in Toronto!
In fact, the abandoned car became a staple of the city well over a decade ago.
And that’s probably because it’s covered in bright colors and essentially used as a planter – making it a must-see if you’re looking for unique things to do in Toronto!
Address: Kensington Market, Toronto
Hours: All day, every day.
How to Get There: Take the University-Spadina line to St. Patrick station and walk from there.
2. Museum of Illusions
This city is filled with cool and incredible museums. And some of the most popular ones include the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
But, there are a few weird museums out there that should be added to everyone’s list of unique things to do in Toronto! And one of these hidden gems in Toronto is the Museum of Illusions.
See, this small museum is filled with over 80 wonky experiences where holograms, illusions, and other exhibits are used to entertain and educate visitors in a unique way.
So, test your skills with their logic games and your balance with their Vortex tunnel! Or, check out other fun spaces that include titled rooms that make you question gravity and size.
Yup, the Museum of Illusions is all in all a weird and fun sensory experience for kids and adults alike.
Address: 132 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1E2, Canada
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, with extended hours until 8:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Price: General admission is $27.24 (CAD) per person.
How to Get There: Take the 304 to King Street East at Jarvis Street East Side and walk from there.
3. The Monkey’s Paw
Another quirky Toronto find is located in The Monkey’s Paw. And that’s because this epic bookstore sells rare and unusual books, along with other strange oddities.
So, bookworms will swoon over the eclectic mix of 20th-century books here that are difficult to find anywhere else.
Plus, the owner, Stephen Fowler, has an odd way of categorizing the books. See, books are separated into four groupings, absurd, macabre, beautiful, and arcane.
Also, don’t forget to check out one of the store’s funkiest treasures…a unique vending machine!
Dubbed the Biblio-Mat, this vending machine is the first of its kind! And if you have the right five-dollar token, you’ll find that it dispenses vintage books at random.
Therefore, a visit to the Monkey’s Paw is a must for any book lover looking for non-touristy things to do in Toronto.
Address: 1067 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M5, Canada
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and on Sunday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Price: Free to look around.
How to Get There: Take the 306 to College Street at Havelock Street and walk from there.
4. SkullStore Oddity Shop
If you’re into dinosaurs or the macabre then run, don’t walk, to SkullStore Oddity Shop since you need to add it to your list of weird places to visit in Toronto!
After all, this is one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto that is set within the free Prehistoria Museum.
And this wonderfully strange gift shop is the largest oddity shop and natural history store in all of Canada!
So, look through an array of ghoulish skulls, taxidermied items, fossils, and ancient artifacts to see if there’s a Canadian souvenir you might want to pick up.
In fact, epic highlights include dinosaur bones, pieces from Ancient Egypt and Rome, as well as Viking artifacts! Yup, talk about the ultimate shopping experience!
Address: 397 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2A7, Canada
Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Price: Varies by item but free to look.
How to Get There: Take the 506 to Gerrard Street East at Ontario Street and walk from there.
5. Graffiti Alley
Most people aren’t exactly keen on wandering around back alleyways when they travel. However, you’ll want to add Graffiti Alley to your list when looking for unique things to do in Toronto!
See, Graffiti Alley is a laneway that extends along three blocks and that is absolutely brimming over with street art.
Located south of Queen Street West, the alley runs from Portland Street to Spadina Avenue. Otherwise known as Rush Lane, Graffiti Alley is definitely one of Toronto’s weirdest attractions.
And like any back alleyway in the world, you’ll find bags of trash, garbage bins, and other not-so-lovely stuff. However, it all kind of adds to the gritty ambiance.
Plus, nearly every inch of the alley is covered in street art, murals, graffiti, and tags. The subject matter of murals is also all over the place too.
So, you’ll discover retro cartoon characters, strikingly realistic portraits, and typical graffiti – like the one at Portland that reads Toronto!
Flanked on both sides by various-sized buildings, there’s a lot of space to cover when enjoying one of the weird things to do in Toronto.
Heck, there’s even one entire building that’s covered by an underwater-themed mural!
Just know that this is a popular spot among photographers. So, don’t be surprised to see models posing with the art and trash!
Address: Graffiti Alley
Hours: All day, every day.
6. Underpass Park
One of the most unique things to do in Toronto is visit Underpass Park. Located in the city’s east end, Underpass Park is set beneath Eastern Avenue.
Just brace yourself because this urban park is devoid of traditional parkland or green spaces. Instead, its trees are the concrete pillars holding up the overpass.
However, the park is still home to many traditional park features like a basketball court, a jungle gym, and skateboard ramps.
Plus, you’ll find some of the best street art in Toronto scattered across much of the concrete here!
In fact, some murals are inspired by locals and depict them holding up the street above, as they are thought to be pillars of the community.
However, there are other art installations too, like a section of mirrored ceiling tiles.
Additionally, various events take place throughout the year at Underpass Park including dance nights and even a farmers’ market too.
Address: 29 Lower River Street, Toronto, ON M5A 1M6, Canada
Hours: Open all day, every day.
How to Get There: Take the 301 to Queen Street East at River Street and walk from there.
7. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Another great place to go in Toronto along Queen Street West is Trinity Bellwoods Park!
After all, you can’t really miss the grand gates of this park. And, where the park sits now was actually where the old Trinity College once stood.
And while the gates are the only thing that remains from the college, this 38-acre park is now a popular spot with locals.
In fact, the park is home to a farmer’s market in the summer, tennis courts, and an off-leash dog park.
Plus, in the spring Trinity Bellwoods Park becomes one of the best places to see cherry blossom trees in the city!
You’ll also love that most of the trees are lined up perfectly so that you can get a shot of the CN Tower in the background.
And then within the park itself resides one of Toronto’s weirdest residents, a white squirrel! Yes, one of the most unique things to do in Toronto is to try and find this elusive white squirrel.
Strangely, there have been sightings of white squirrels in Trinity Bellwoods for decades.
And they’ve become such a hallmark of the park that many of the shops and cafes in the area actually use the white squirrel in their name or logo!
Address: 790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, Canada
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the 501 to Queen St West at Strachan Avenue and walk from there.
8. The Yorkville Rock
The Yorkville neighborhood is best known for its high-end boutiques, posh restaurants, and swanky hotels that are frequented by many A-list celebrities during the Toronto International Film Festival.
However, this sleek part of the city is also home to a massive rock that weighs well over 650 tons!
Now, why is there a giant rock in the middle of this classy neighborhood you might be rightfully wondering?
Well, the Yorkville Rock is part of a collection of features in the Village of Yorkville Park that come together to represent the diverse Canadian landscape.
And since it dates back one billion years and is made of pieces of a Canadian Shield that were shipped in from Muskoka, it’s easily one of the most unusual things to do in Toronto.
Other key pieces in the park include a rain curtain waterfall and gardens that follow the outline of an old set of row houses.
Therefore, this park makes for a lovely urban oasis and is a perfect spot for relaxing with a coffee or ice cream after exploring the city.
Plus, sitting atop Yorkville Rock is prime real estate for people-watching!
Address: 115 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5S 2W7, Canada
Hours: Open all day every day.
How to Get There: Take the 506 to Queen’s Park Cres West at Hoskin Avenue and walk from there.
9. CN Tower Edgewalk
Dominating the city skyline and home to some of the best views in Toronto is the CN Tower.
Once the tallest free-standing structure in the world, it is now ninth on the list but should still top yours when you visit and are looking for cool things to do in Toronto!
You’ll also love that the CN Tower offers a long list of experiences for you to enjoy, including fine dining in their 360 Restaurant, complete with revolving views of Toronto, and admiring the sweeping views from SkyPod!
In fact, on a clear day you can see all the way to New York!
However, one of the most unique activities at the CN Tower is its EdgeWalk. So, if you’re looking to test your adventurous spirit and heart then EdgeWalk is for you!
And while the tower stands at over 1800 feet tall, this experience happens at the 1000-foot mark.
Therefore, The EdgeWalk is the world’s highest hands-free full-circle walk! Plus, it’s the first of its kind in North America!
Don’t be scared though since you’ll be harnessed up and brought out onto a five-foot ledge. Once here you’ll be tested to your limits as you check out the city!
Address: 290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Price: Starts at $195.00 CAD per person.
How to Get There: Take the S10A to Queens Quay West at Rees Street and walk from there.
10. Leslieville’s Crazy Doll House
Without a doubt one of the most unique Toronto attractions is the Crazy Doll House!
Located along a residential street in the city’s Leslieville neighborhood, this home has an unusual garden.
In fact, this place is also known as the Tchotchke House. So, instead of flowering shrubs and rows of roses, you’ll find a front lawn filled with dolls!
Yeah, the entire yard is totally stacked with hundreds of dolls that include Barbies, action figures, and stuffed animals.
It basically looks like a child’s toy box erupted all over the place!
And this beyond-crazy doll house is always expanding and changing – taking on an even more macabre vibe in October with the addition of Halloween decorations!
So, be sure to add 35 Bertmount Avenue to your list of weird things to do in Toronto!
Address: 35 Bertmount Ave, Toronto, ON M4M 2X8, Canada
Hours: Open day, every day since you’ll be admiring the exterior.
How to Get There: Take the 306 to Gerrard St East at Jones Avenue and walk from there.
11. Toronto Islands
Sitting in the waters south of the city is one of Toronto’s unique attractions, the Toronto Islands!
And a short 10-minute walk from Union Station is the ferry terminal. In fact, the ferry ride is only 15 minutes and transports you to an unexpected oasis in the city.
See, the Toronto Islands are a group of islands that are connected by a series of bridges and pathways.
And there is so much to do and see on these Islands that you could easily spend the entire day there!
As a result, the Islands come alive with activity all summer long since you can rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards to help you explore the areas.
Plus, the whole family will love visiting the Island’s amusement park, Centreville. Or, you can just head to one of the many beaches on the Islands and sunbathe for a bit.
But, the best part? You can visit the Toronto Islands all year long! Sure, many things aren’t open in the off-season but it’s still a great place to explore.
In fact, you can wander through the charming and colorful homes on Ward’s Island or check out Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
After all, this magical lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in Canada and is said to be haunted.
Then, in addition to all the sights, Toronto Islands offers some of the best views of the city which easily makes this one of the most unique things to do in Toronto.
Address: Lake Ontario
Hours: Ferries to the island run from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Price: Single-ride tickets start at $8.70 per person.
How to Get There: Take the ferry to the islands from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on Bay Street on Queens Quay
12. Poop Cafe
If you’re looking for unique places to eat in Toronto then head on over to Bloor Street West!
And cast any discomfort aside so that you can visit the one and only Poop Cafe!
See, this strange – and some might say gross – cafe is a fun place to enjoy a few milkshakes and desserts while perched on a toilet!
Yes, you read that right. This dessert bar has toilets to sit on instead of your standard chairs. Plus, along with a not-surprising brown interior, visitors will find a plethora of poop emojis scattered throughout the interior!
And then there’s the menu, which is filled with tasty Asian-inspired treats. However, most come in dishes shaped like toilets and urinals or literally in the shape of the poop emoji itself!
All jokes aside though, the Poop Cafe is a fun place to visit for the whole family and is DEFFO one of the most unique things to do in Toronto.
Address: 678 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1L4, Canada
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Drinks start at around $5.75 (CAD) each.
How to Get There: Take the 307 to Bathurst St at Bloor St West and walk from there.
13. Casa Loma
Sitting atop a hill in midtown Toronto is Casa Loma, aka Toronto’s very own castle! So, you 110% don’t have to travel to Europe to visit a castle.
And as one of the most unique attractions in Toronto, Casa Loma is home to almost 100 rooms, complete with secret passageways, a grand library, and even a beautiful garden!
In fact, it was first completed in 1914 and served as the home of Sir Henry Pellatt and his family.
Today though, this Toronto landmark is now a museum and is filled with various period pieces that will transport you back in time.
You can also embark on a self-guided tour of the historic house and learn about its interesting history as well as explore some secret hallways. Plus, there’s even a turret that you can walk up too!
Additionally, Casa Loma is home to a wide array of exciting events, like lavish parties with food and live music in the gardens all summer long.
Then, for the holiday season, Casa Loma transforms into a winter wonderland with dazzling lights, towering Christmas trees, and stunning decor – making this one of the coolest things to do in Toronto during the holiday season.
Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON M5R 1X8, Canada
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $42.83 (CAD) per person.
How to Get There: Take the 307 to Bathurst Street at Davenport Road and walk from there.
14. The Vog Vault
There are so many unusual finds along Queen Street West! So, if you love to explore unique places in Toronto then chances are that you’ll probably end up here.
And you’ll probably be drawn into one of Toronto’s most unusual shoe stores, John Fluevog Shoes.
See, this Vancouver designer is known for his weird and wonderful shoes! And his Queen Street store was actually a TD Bank that has been transformed into a chic industrial space to showcase his shoes.
Now, as you’d expect, all banks come with a vault. And this one is no different.
However, the Fluevog shoe store vault is one of Toronto’s hidden gems!
And that’s because the designer reimagined the vault into a whimsical room of illusion that is easily one of the most unique things to do in Toronto!
So, if you step inside you’ll uncover a Victorian loveseat that’s backed by a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf.
This small room also offers visitors the chance for a gravity-defying photo-op that’s every Instagrammer’s dream.
Address: 686 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E7, Canada
Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, except on Sundays when they’re open from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Price: Free to shop.
How to Get There: Take the 301 to Queen St West at Palmerston Avenue and walk from there.
15. Little Canada
In the heart of downtown Toronto is one of the city’s newest unique attractions!
And that place is none other than Little Canada. Yeah, it’s basically a massive and expertly detailed exhibit that lets you travel across this vast country by way of a miniature display.
So, if you’re looking for family-friendly attractions or unique things to do in Toronto then Little Canada is where it’s at!
After all, this incredible miniature layout features many of Canada’s top sights and landmarks – everything from the nation’s stunning scenery to its famous cities.
Plus, it’s all animated to bring each place to life to help bring each piece to life while you enjoy one of the many cool things to do in Toronto.
So, a few of the destinations you’ll see during your visit are Little Niagara, Little Ottawa, and of course, Little Toronto. Plus, there’s also a Petit Quebec and more is being developed every day!
However, one of the coolest things about Little Canada is that you can be featured in it too!
And that’s because you can opt to be scanned to create a 3D-printed version of yourself! Then, your little self will be placed into the Little Canada world for you and everyone else to enjoy.
Seriously, how cool is THAT?
Address: 10 Dundas St E Basement2, Toronto, ON M5B 2G9,
Hours: Open daily from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm, with extended hours until 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Price: General admission tickets start at $32.00 CAD per person.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to Dundas Station and walk from there.
16. STACKT Market
Believe it or not, Toronto is filled with interesting markets, like St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market.
But, one of the most unique markets of them all is STACKT Market. It sits just north of Fort York National Historic Site and is made up almost entirely of shipping containers.
In fact, STACKT Market is the largest shipping container market in North America!
So, as the name suggests STACKT is literally stacked with shipping containers that feature the wares and products of an assortment of local businesses and artisans within.
Plus, the containers also play host to a wide variety of quirky shops and cafes too.
Therefore, you can buy everything from one-of-a-kind art and fashion to unusual food. And, the market is always evolving. So, you’ll find a rotating list of vendors at one of the most unique things to do in Toronto.
However, other market highlights include a microbrewery, street art, a dog park, epic city views, and so much more!
Then, throughout the year, this cool spot features a long list of events like workshops, movie nights, and even a full-on festival for the holidays!
Address: 28 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V 0C6, Canada
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm except closed on Mondays.
Price: Free to look.
How to Get There: Take the 501 to Queen Street West at University Avenue and walk from there.
17. Toronto’s Half House
On St. Patrick Street, just south of the Art Gallery of Ontario, sits half a house. It’s known as Toronto’s Half House and is one of the most unique things to do in Toronto.
See, the home was initially built in the late 1890s. And back then it was created as part of a section of row homes in the Toronto slums.
Over the years, the neighborhood saw a lot of changes, including the street name. Eventually, a developer bought up most of the row houses, except for number 54 (and a half).
See, the owner held firm and was intent on not selling. So, while the rest of the row houses were torn down, the Half House remained.
Now, it stands as an optical illusion and one of the many quirky things to do in Toronto.
Address: 54 St Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T 1V1, Canada
Hours: Open all day, every day.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to Osgoode station and walk from there.
18. Visit the Distillery District
In the heart of Old Toronto is a pedestrian-only spot that is reminiscent of historic European cities.
Locally known as Toronto’s Distillery District, this area is filled with cobblestone streets and red-bricked buildings.
So, visiting this part of the city is a must-add to everyone’s Toronto weird bucket list!
Now, the name comes from the fact that the complex once housed the British Empire’s largest distillery.
Today though, this place is filled with unique shops, cafes, art galleries, and various permanent art pieces too.
And a few iconic pieces include the big heart, the love locks, and the “Still Dancing” sculpture. Plus, true to tradition, there’s still a distillery for you to visit known as Spirit of York Distillery!
Plus, along with over 40 unique shops and eateries, there’s a center for the performing arts theater and a ton of fun events!
In fact, one of the most famous is the Toronto Christmas market that’s now called the Distillery Winter Village.
So, during the holidays the neighborhood will become a winter wonderland that feels like a classic European Christmas Market!
19. Go on a Ghost Walk
With such a long, rich, and varied history, one of the most unique things to do in Toronto is to go on a ghost walk!
After all, this city boasts an array of ghost tours for you to enjoy. And each one has tour guides who will regale you with ghoulish tales about Toronto’s vast history and about the people and places that have transformed the city into what it is today.
In fact, some of these people have never left! So, if you want to meet them then sign up for one of a series of ghost tours that run throughout the year and that really ramp up around Halloween.
These unique walking tours are led by entertaining and knowledgeable people who want to help you enjoy one of the most unique things to do in Toronto.
Guided by lantern light, these pros will take you to some of Toronto’s most haunted places and share tales about the ghosts that linger there.
Plus, along with haunted houses and graveyards, visitors will be surprised by the strange and unusual places the ghost walks will take them.
Also, do keep an open mind, as you might just meet the ghost of William Lyon Mackenzie or a few soldiers from the Battle of York.
And a few top places in Toronto to take a ghost walk include the University of Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village, and the Distillery District.
PSST…Ghost Walks of Toronto does a great tour.
20. Look Out for The Toronto Neighborhood Watch Signs
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? I know I do! Well, that’s also probably why one of the weirdest things to do in Toronto is to hunt for Neighborhood Watch Signs.
No, not the standard, mundane signs that are found across the country. These signs feature a motley crew of dynamic characters, many of which were pop culture icons back in the 1980s and 90s!
Yeah, artist Andrew Lamb reimagined many of the city’s aging signs and added his creative touch.
And the list of characters he’s added to these signs is about as diverse as the city itself. So, expect to find signs with Mulder and Scully, Mr. Rogers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more!
So, if you’re looking for a fun way to explore the city then do keep an eye out for over 100 different Neighborhood Watch Signs in Toronto.
A few key areas to find them are Kensington Market, College Street, and Queen Street West!