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Where to Stay & Play in Toronto ON for Downtown Attractions and Exploration

Considering a visit to Toronto? Prepare yourself for a metropolis of world-class culture, attractions, food, and shopping! You’ll find this vibrant city on the must-visit lists at Forbes, New York Times, and more, and for good reason. This chic provincial capital is family-friendly, diverse, eclectic, and full of opportunities for discovery.

Whether you’re excited about Toronto’s professional sports teams or drawn to award-winning live entertainment and theatrical performances, you’ll want to situate yourself in the heart of the city for easy access to all Toronto has to offer. Chelsea Hotel is conveniently located at Gerrard and Yonge, a desirable intersection for easily navigating uptown for shopping or downtown for culture. The subway line runs along Yonge Street, but if with spring weather upon us there’s so much within walking distance worth exploring.

Chelsea Hotel is a perfect oasis in the heart of the city. Family-friendly with a 130-foot corkscrew waterslide, the whole family will enjoy the relaxing, inviting vibe of this downtown hotel. Enjoying a weekend couples’ getaway? Head to Deck 27 for an adult-only pool and fitness center. When hunger strikes, there are plenty of on-site culinary options to tempt your taste buds. Market Garden offers quick menu options for those with a busy schedule, while T | Bar invites you to unwind at the end of an exhilarating day. You’ll also find quick pick-me-ups at espress|o coffee & wine bar.  And, if you’ve booked a luxurious Club Room, you also have access to a private lounge with fabulous city views accompanying complimentary breakfast and an evening hors d’oeuvres service.

During my stay, I loved the panoramic views my private balcony provided from my suite. I enjoyed a lush king bed, large desk and ample lighting for working on my laptop, and a generous en-suite bath with refreshing toiletries. If you prefer something for the whole family, consider a Family Fun Suite with 600 square feet of space or more, complete with a private kitchenette. Chelsea Hotel also has a kid play area and a teen zone.

When it comes time to explore the city, take advantage of the close proximity of Art Gallery of Ontario. See classics like Auguste Rodin’s Adam and Eustache de Saint-Pierre sculptures, or peruse the contemporary gallery. You’ll also find a gorgeous Canadian collection within the J.S. McLean Centre for Canadian Art. Feel like taking home a little artistic expression? Visit the museum shop for local and national arts and souvenirs. Then fill up on a hearty lunch at AGO Bistro. I tried Ontario Pickerel—with saffron fumet, braised baby fennel, charred vine tomato, green beans, and black olive tapenade.

Downtown, explore Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, located on the waterfront and right next to the CN Tower. The aquarium provides an incredible opportunity for learning about marine life through exhibitions, interactive educational programs, dive shows, and more. Stroll through this aquatic wonderland to see sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and tropical fish. Then zip up the CN Tower to get the best view of the city and beyond via the interior observation deck or on the daring Edge Walk. Use Toronto CityPASS to access these and other area attractions at a discounted package rate.

Getting hungry? When it’s time for a bite to eat, wander through St. Lawrence Market for an incredible variety of eateries and fresh produce. From homemade pasta to fresh baked goods and local coffee, you’ll find it all here at this legendary market. How legendary? National Geographic named St. Lawrence Market as one of the best in the world. For more than 200 years, this market has been serving up local goods and with mouthwatering treats like lobster rolls from Buster’s Sea Cove you’ll see why this is a must-visit venue for eats and treats. Then take time to explore the all-in-one shopping destination, Toronto Eaton Centre, for major retailers, Canadian boutiques, and a variety of eateries.

Ready to plan your visit to Toronto? Visit for more travel planning tips and book your stay directly at Chelsea Hotel to be centrally located within the downtown core. 

Lori A. May is a Seattle-based travel writer.
Hotel photos courtesy of Chelsea Hotel.

Insider Tip

Save 36% on five amazing attractions with Toronto CityPASS:

Where I stayed / started

Chelsea Hotel Toronto

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