Toronto's Most Overrated Things to do (with Alternatives)
It's good to know when the line isn't worth the wait.
If you're the kind of traveler that wants to see and do it all when you reach a new city, we understand. That's why it's tough to watch precious hours tick by stuck in a long line, waiting to get into a sought-after destination—only to be disappointed when you're inside. If you're wondering what you can skip on your next visit to Toronto, we've got some ideas. Do check them out if you've got your heart set on them, but for certain travelers, there are other highlights just as worthy of discovering.
1. The CN Tower
We know, it's iconic. It's emblematic. Some even say a feat of modern engineering. It's also $33 a person to reach the top and during peak season, likely a three-hour-plus wait. Savvy locals suggest you check out the tower from other sky-high vantage points. Instead of blowing the bank on passable fare at the tower's 360 Restaurant, try the 54th floor atop the Financial District's TD Tower, where for almost the same amount, you can dine at the Canadian-inspired Canoe. Craft cocktails, a great view (of the tower and the city), and fine fare—it's a win-win.
2. Yonge-Dundas Square
This is Toronto's Times Square. Same bright lights, big city vibe with chain restaurants offering the North American equivalent of the European "Menu Turistico" of overpriced, lackluster fare. If you're a fan of blazing billboards bombarding you from every angle and chain retail franchises you can see in most any North American city, it's all yours. Locals, however, urge you to visit independent eateries that tell a more interesting story of where you are and what you're eating. These can be found all over the city without breaking a sweat.
3. The Eaton Centre
Once you've seen Michael Snow's fiber glass installation of Canadian geese in mid-flight, aptly titled Flight Stop, you may want to seek other shopping pastures. This is Toronto's number one tourist destination, with more than one million visitors a week passing through. That might have something to do with its proximity to the aforementioned Dundas Square. To be fair, the mall has undergone a huge revitalization, but most of the shops are non-descript chain stores that you can find anywhere. Instead, walk the charming neighborhood streets boasting local designers of every stripe to suit your sartorial or creative inclinations.
4. Ripley's Aquarium
One of Toronto's latest tourist attractions, the aquarium is state-of-the-art. Visitors glide along a moving sidewalk underneath a clear tunnel, where you can view the teeming underwater life above. At $22 a pop per adult and $15 for children, you'd hope there was a side of context or marine education in the mix, for which Vancouver's Aquarium is known. No dice here, but if you're a fan of sea creatures, do check out the colorful jelly fish section.
Mary Luz Mejia covers Toronto for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter.