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How to spend 72 hours in Toronto this summer 

Ready to hit the road? Summer is the perfect time for an epic road trip adventure. Why not grab your loved ones and set your sights on Toronto for an unforgettable weekend? Dive into a city alive with tantalizing eats, thrilling exploration spots, iconic cultural landmarks, and vibrant seasonal festivities. There’s a slice of Toronto for every taste! Plus, if you’re a CAA Member, get ready to snag some sweet deals at top attractions.  

Get set for a long weekend packed with joy, laughter, and memorable moments. Here’s your ultimate guide to 72 hours of non-stop fun in Toronto. Let’s make some memories! 

Day 1

Breakfast in Vaughan or downtown

Kick off your long weekend in Toronto with a tasty breakfast before your big day ahead. If you’re visiting with little ones, the city has several casual diner spots with lots of menu options for picky eaters. Kotsy’s Restaurant in Vaughan opens daily at 6:30 a.m. and serves breakfast all day. With classic options like bacon and eggs, unique eggs benedict meals, pancakes, crêpes and more, this breakfast joint is about a 15-minute drive from Canada’s Wonderland 

If you’re staying in downtown Toronto and would prefer a cozy, elevated atmosphere, enjoy brunch at Peter Pan Bistro. Indulge in freshly baked scones, avocado toast, croque madame or a breakfast sandwich with a cappuccino or latte.   

Canada’s Wonderland

Canada’s Wonderland
Canada’s Wonderland

Ontario’s premier amusement park, Canada’s Wonderland, has more than 200 entertaining attractions to keep you entertained all day (in addition to seasonal events throughout the year).   

Take your little ones to the two children’s areas, KidZville and Planet Snoopy. Kids will have a blast floating in a hot air balloon ride on Frequent Flyers, racing around on cars at PEANUTS™ 500, enjoying the simplicity of a carrousel, sailing through the trees on the Treetop Adventure monorail and much more.   

The park has 18 rollercoasters, including big thrill rides like the Behemoth, Flight Deck and Leviathan. Keep your adrenaline rushing on the Drop Tower and Shockwave. If you want to cool off while having fun in the sun, visit Splash Works to relax in the lazy river, cruise through slide tunnels at Typhoon, and zip down on an inner tube on the Barracuda Blaster.  

Schedule time for food stops during your amusement park adventures and grab an all-day dining pass. With the pass, you can enjoy an entree and a side at participating restaurants every 90 minutes, which will pay for itself in two meals. The dining pass includes Alpen Cheesery, King’s Feast, Lazy Bear Lodge, Mediterranean Kitchen, and Piazza Bar, among others. 

Regardless of what excitement the day brings, save on single day admission tickets to Canada’s Wonderland, including Ride and Refresh tickets, using your CAA Membership.  

Day 2

Breakfast in Kensington Market

Arpad Benedek | iStock

Take a morning stroll around the eclectic, trendy neighbourhood of Kensington Market. Full of vintage shops, art spaces and specialty grocers, you’ll also find cozy spots for a bite to eat. Sit down for a croissant sandwich, omelette or French toast at The Arch Cafe Bar. Enjoy a Turkish-inspired Shakshuka breakfast or egg croissant platter with an artisan coffee at Pera Cafe. Head over to Sleepy Pete’s for one of their loaded breakfast sandwiches on a biscuit or a freshly baked scone. Are you an early bird? Head to T.O. Dickens Restaurant because this cozy spot is open 24/7.    

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Embark on a colourful adventure under the sea at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the largest indoor aquarium in Canada. Get up close and admire 20,000 marine animals from around the world, enjoying unique encounters and interactive experiences.   

Go on a journey from east coast to west at the Canadian Waters exhibit, where you can see wildlife, including a Red King Crab, Rose Anemone, Lake Sturgeon, American Eel, Bat Star, a Giant Pacific Octopus and more. Reach out and pet a ray at the Shoreline Gallery, gaze at a kaleidoscope of thousands of fish in the Rainbow Reef, discover an underwater world of jellyfish at Planet Jellies and surround yourself with Sharks as they swim over you in Dangerous Lagoon. 

CAA Members will save 15% off Timed Ticket admission at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada when purchasing tickets online.  

Nearby lunch options

When it’s lunchtime, enjoy a under 15-minute walk from Ripley’s Aquarium to The Well shopping mall. An architectural gem and destination in its own right, The Well is a fun place to explore as you dine and shop. Among the gastronomical options, you’ll find Mandy’s Gourmet Salads, the second location of this Montreal-based chain in Toronto. Eat a signature salad, a grain bowl or a build-your-own meal using fresh ingredients. You’ll find seasonal options like soups or smoothies, too.   

If you’d rather stay as close as possible to the attractions – since Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN Tower are right next to each other – dine at The Rec Room in Roundhouse Park. Find meals like burgers, nachos and pizza on the menu, which you can scarf down before playing games on site, such as shuffleboard, ping pong or video games.   

CN Tower

Toronto Downtown from the boat. Ontario, Canada.
Jiri Vlach | iStock

Dominating the Toronto skyline at a soaring 553.33 metres tall is the CN Tower. This iconic tower is next to Ripley’s Aquarium, so it’s easy to visit both attractions back-to-back. The SkyPod is the highest observation platform in the Western Hemisphere, and you can see as far as 160 kilometres on a clear day.   

The main observation level has an entire wall of windows, so you can gaze out to the vast cityscape and take tons of photos. Stare down 114 storeys to street level from the glass floor on the lower observation level. If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, walk along the rim of the CN Tower’s central pod, secured by a harness on the EdgeWalk. You can also soak in the atmosphere while enjoying a meal at the 360 Restaurant, dining as the tower spins around, and you catch Toronto from every angle.  

Enjoy a discount of 10% on general admission tickets to the CN Tower if you have a CAA Membership.   

Dinner before your show

For a cozy dinner before you experience an evening at the theatre, make a reservation at the Cafe Landwer location on University Avenue. With origins from Berlin, Germany, this cafe-restaurant will serve you from breakfast to post-dinner dessert with a menu inspired by Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. It also has a kids’ menu if you’re travelling with little ones, and it’s an easy walk to the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre.  

For a South American meal full of culture and flavour in the heart of downtown Toronto, indulge in dinner at MARKED Restaurant. Celebrate with an elegant dining experience and feast on menu options such as corn ribs, steak tartare, tuna ceviche, fried chicken, lamb sirloin and much more. It’s also a convenient walk or quick drive to the theatre.  

Mivrish Productions – A night at the theatre

Prepare for an entertaining evening of drama and performance in Toronto. Mirvish Productions, Canada’s largest commercial theatre production company, presents dozens of musicals and Broadway performances each year in four downtown Toronto theatres. The Royal Alexandra Theatre, for example, is a historic landmark as the oldest continuously operating theatre in North America. The equally charming CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre is a two-tier auditorium that has been at the centre of the city’s entertainment scene for over 100 years.   

The 2024-2025 season lineup of shows features seven must-see performances, including some returning favourites. Toronto is the only Canadian city where you can enjoy the sensational Life of Pi, coming in September 2024. The ultimate feel-good show, Mamma Mia!, returns to the town in October 2024, followed by the triumphant return of Disney’s The Lion King beginning in November. The month of November also means the Canadian premiere of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which runs in January as well. In 2025, you’ll be able to catch the Canadian premieres of Beetlejuice, followed by Back To The Future: The Musical.   

If you’re planning on visiting the city in the summer of 2024, catch performances of Wicked, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical or Shrek – The Musical. 

Purchase your tickets online using your CAA Membership card and save up to 25% on select individual shows. You can also receive free coffee and coat check at all Mirvish Theatres as well as a 15% discount on food and beverages at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre. Make sure to bring and show your CAA card. 

Day 3

Brunch downtown Toronto

Toronto is overflowing with delicious restaurants, so wrap up your final day of adventures with an incredible brunch.   

District Eatery offers brunch on weekends between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when you can enjoy classic breakfast options and unique treats with a healthier twist. Some specialties on the menu include Vagan Scramble, PBJ French Toast, Avocado & Beet Salad and Mushroom Toasts. Relax on the spacious patio in the summer. 

For an extensive menu full of farm-fresh brunch eats and a spacious Instagrammable patio, go to The Morning After. Open daily at 9 a.m., you can brunch like royalty any day of the week and take advantage of specials on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.   

Toronto Zoo

Elephant At Toronto Zoo
lmel900 | Adobe Stock

Travel from Eurasia as you admire tigers, red pandas and snow leopards to the lemurs, a lowland gorilla and hippopotamus from Africa. The Toronto Zoo is the largest in the country, and you can see over 3,000 animals from over 300 species.   

You can ride the Zoomobile between each zoogeographic region, from Canadian Domain to Australasia. Ride the TundraAir ride on weekends and stroll through the greenhouse while visiting many creatures of the globe. There are seasonal activities to enjoy when the weather is warm, such as the Wild Rouge Zipline, Splash Island, and Kangaroo Walk-Thru.  

Grab a meal during your day full of animal adventures with your picnic or at one of the zoo’s establishments. Indulge in a pizza or poutine from Africa Restaurant, a hot dog or burger from Caribou Café or treats like popcorn and ice cream from Savanna Snack Bar.   

Save 10% on regular-priced admission at the Toronto Zoo when you show your CAA Membership card at the gate. 

Alternate activity: Casa Loma

Casa Loma a Gothic Revival castle-style mansion and garden in midtown Toronto, now a historic house museum and landmark.
Marvin Samuel Tolentino Pineda | iStock

If historic exhibits and picturesque castles are more your speed rather than lions, tigers and bears, add a visit to Casa Loma to your Toronto itinerary. This architectural wonder was built in 1911 as an extravagant private residence and is one of its kind in Canada. Today, you can explore its many rooms, from the Great Hall to the grand suites on the second floor, up narrow staircases, through museum exhibitions, to the Gothic towers. Enjoy the expansive grounds and gardens below as you soak in the distant view of Toronto’s skyline.   

Check out the antique car display in the garage and carriage rooms featuring a collection that includes 1920s Ford Model Ts, then go underground to explore the 800-foot tunnel connecting the stables and carriage house to the building. Here, you’ll discover an exhibit of the city’s dark side with photos from The Great Depression, The Plague, and more.   

You can dine like royalty at Casa Loma with fresh pastries and a coffee at Liberty Caffe, a fine steak or seafood meal at BlueBlood Steakhouse or Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by Michelin star chefs at Don Alfonso 1890. During summer, guests can reserve a spot in the gardens to dine al fresco, with the castle as your backdrop. You can also visit for special events throughout the year. 

Dinner at Le Petit Chef

For an immersive culinary event that is unlike any other dining experience, enjoy an elegant meal with the most miniature chef in the world at Le Petit Chef. Using 3D mapping projections, watch as a 6-centimetre-tall chef creates a world of wonder on the table and plate before you. These moving images create a colourful show that includes themed music, props and an exquisite menu. Enjoy a fixed five-course meal as each dish continues through the story. There is a vegetarian option and a children’s menu, ideal for kids ages six to 12  

Alternate dinner options

Other top picks include getting pizza at Pizzeria Badiali for a casual and affordable slice using house-made ingredients, Playa Cabana for modern Mexican fare, including many fun flavours of tacos, or Isaan Der – Thai Kitchen & Bar for an incredible Thai meal. 

Start saving before you reach the city

Enjoy discounts on select transportation, hotels and restaurants, with a CAA Membership, so you can save before you even start exploring.   

Check out how to save on car rentals or VIA Rail tickets to save on your way to Toronto. As a CAA Member you’ll also enjoy discounts on over 30 hotel brands, along with over 126,000 Rewards partners online, in addition to the ones mentioned above.   

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