24 Hours in Toronto

If there’s one thing I know how to do well… it’s how to get the most bang for my time anywhere I go. Often when I visit places, it’s only for a few days at a time or even 24 hours passing through on the way to somewhere else. My first trip to Toronto happened to be like this. 

That being said, there’s a lot you can see and experience in just a day in a new city. I present to you some of the highlights of my trip in my own photo diary. 

Obviously, the first thing you do in any new city is check out the local coffee scene. Or is that just me? Well… if caffeine is on your to do list, Rooster Coffeehouse is a perfect place to start! It’s only about an eight minute drive from downtown Toronto and is within walking distance from Riverdale Park East if you’re looking for physical activity. Best of all… the view. You can get a great shot of the Toronto skyline from this quaint little cafe. 

View of Toronto Skyline

Toronto City Sign

The heart of the city, located in Old Toronto in Nathan Phillips Square, is this beautiful 3D sign that is a prime photo opportunity you will not want to miss on your visit. Depending on the time of year, it’s a great spot to enjoy seasonal activities or the outdoor ice skating rink in the winter months. Toronto City Hall is also located directly behind it. 

Even better, it is just a short walk away from the CF Toronto Eaton Center, so you can get your retail therapy ON while spending a few of those 24 hours in the city. This is a beautiful indoor shopping center with over two hundred retailers and restaurants for your enjoyment.

Eaton Centre

Everywhere you go some form of art can be found. It’s one of the best features of the city in my opinion and sets Toronto over the top as somewhere everyone should visit at some point in their life. 


Sculpture? Art installations? Murals? 


It’s got it all! 

Street Sculpture

Thimble Statue

Mural by @sarahskrlj


Mural celebrating the perspectives of Indigenous people by lead artist Tannis Nielsen

Downtown Toronto’s Lower Simcoe Street

Perhaps architecture is more to your interests. Toronto has some of the sleekest and most modern buildings I’ve come across in all of my travels. The beauty of this place, however, is also the way that it has hidden pockets of tradition as well. 


I found many of them on a walk during my 24 hours in the city. Including the Roy Thomson Hall home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Each are examples of the way art envelops every corner of this city. 

Roy Thomson Hall

David Pecaut Square

Royal Alexandra Theatre

Toronto City Skyline

One of my favorite and the most unique parts of the city, further playing into the immense amount of street art that can be found, is Graffiti Alley. This strip runs for over half a mile parallel to the popular Queen Street West in Toronto’s Fashion District. It came about due to an innovative program StreetARToronto (StART) formed in 2012 to minimize vandalism and replace it with engaging street art. 


Nearly every inch of available space is covered in murals and graffiti from portraits to the whimsical. There is truly something to appeal to everyone’s tastes. If you’re in the city, don’t miss out on this little section. Frankly, I could have spent at least half of my 24 hours here, maybe longer. 


The entire alley is a photo shoot waiting to happen, so make sure you bring your camera along!

Even at night, the city seems to come alive. I highly recommend an evening stroll through the Toronto streets. During my own walk I found these great sites including more stunning architecture at the Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University, not to mention a very cool illuminated Campbell House Museum that emits all the spooky vibes.   

Art Gallery of Ontario

OCAD University

Campbell House Museum

Nathan Phillips Square

Once you’ve had your fill of meandering the Toronto city streets at night you’ll surely have worked up an appetite. After all, you’ve done a lot in only 24 hours. Make sure to end up down by the waterfront if possible. Amsterdam Brewhouse is a great brewery to stop for dinner and take a nice relaxing break before heading out of the city.  


I hope you’ve enjoyed this adventure through one of the most culturally rich and interesting cities I’ve had the pleasure of exploring during my travels!