Visiting Toronto in Winter: Embracing the Chill and Thrills

Ammara Younas2023-12-05

Table of Contents


Welcome to the winter wonderland of Toronto, where the cityscape transforms into a magical realm of snowy delights. As the temperatures drop, Toronto doesn't hibernate; instead, it thrives with a plethora of activities and experiences that make the winter months truly special.

In this guide, we'll explore why Toronto is worth visiting in winter, delve into the chilly weather, uncover the top 10 things to do, pack for the frosty season, savor winter delicacies, and discover exciting activities and nearby places. So, bundle up and join us on a journey through the enchanting winter landscape of Toronto.

Take in the Best Sights of Toronto from CN Tower to St. Lawrence Market!

Is Toronto Worth Visiting in the Winter?

Absolutely! Toronto's winter charm is a unique spectacle that captivates locals and visitors alike. The city, often referred to as "The 6ix," embraces the winter season with open arms, offering a variety of activities and experiences tailored for the chilly months. Whether you're a fan of outdoor adventures, cozy cuisine, or winter wellness, Toronto has something to spark your curiosity and warm your heart.


@shot_byben / Instagram

Toronto Winter Weather

Toronto wears a snowy coat from November to April, transforming into a picturesque snowy landscape. While the average January temperatures hover around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, occasional dips to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind chill making it feel like -22 degrees, create a true winter wonderland. The first snowfall usually occurs in November, setting the stage for fluffy white snow that blankets the city. It's essential to dress warmly, with waterproof snow boots, insulated parkas, and accessories like gloves and scarves to stay cozy during your winter explorations.

Things to do in Toronto in the Winter

Ice Skating at Nathan Phillips Square:

Toronto's favorite winter activity. Glide across the ice in the heart of the city, surrounded by festive lights.

Distillery Winter Village: 

Wander the cobblestone streets of the Distillery District, transformed into a winter village with charming lights and artisanal crafts.

Toronto Islands:

Take a scenic ferry ride to the Toronto Islands for breathtaking views of the city skyline and enjoy outdoor activities in a serene winter setting.

CN Tower:


@normyvision / Instagram

Marvel at the city from the iconic CN Tower, where you can dine, explore, and even take an exhilarating EdgeWalk around the tower.

Embark on a Night Tour of Toronto featuring the CN Tower!

Toronto Light Festival:

Immerse yourself in the enchanting light displays at the Distillery Historic District, adding a magical touch to winter nights.

St. Lawrence Market: 

Indulge in a food lover's paradise at one of the world's best food markets, offering diverse culinary experiences.

High Park:

Experience winter wonderland in High Park, complete with cross-country skiing and serene snow-covered landscapes.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada: 

Dive into an underwater world at the country's largest indoor aquarium, a perfect family-friendly winter activity.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO):

Explore the AGO's impressive collection, from the Group of Seven to European masterpieces, a cultural escape from the winter chill.

Winter Light Show at Ontario Place:

Witness a captivating winter light exhibition, complemented by skating fire pits and delightful food vendors.

Royal Ontario Museum:

Make a stop at Canada’s largest museum to learn about art, global cultures, and natural history!

Things to Pack for Winter in Toronto

As you embark on your winter adventure in Toronto, packing the right essentials ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here's a checklist to make your winter visit hassle-free:

A Winter Coat or a Puffer Jacket:

Why not pack both if you can? An insulated parka is essential for staying warm during chilly outdoor activities and a lightweight, water-resistant jacket for flexibility and easy packing.

Layers and More Layers:

When you pack layers, don't forget heat tech long sleeves which provide lightweight warmth, ideal for wearing under sweaters.

Winter Leggings:

Ditch the discomfort of cold legs with some cozy and stylish fleece-lined leggings.

Essential Moisturizers:

Combat dry winter skin with a thick moisturizing lotion. And don't forget your lips! Pack a reliable and moisturizing chapstick. 

Waterproof Boots:

Invest in quality snow boots to keep your feet warm and dry during winter explorations.

Extra Cozy Socks: 

Wool socks keep your feet dry and warm, especially when paired with waterproof boots.

Beanies and Mittens: 

Protect your extremities with beanies and wool-blend mittens.

Chunky-Knit Scarves:

Stay stylish and warm with versatile scarves, perfect for accessorizing.

Polarized Sunglasses:

Shield your eyes from the winter sun and glare of the snowy landscapes.

What to Eat in Toronto Winter

Toronto's culinary scene remains hot, even in the coldest months. Embrace the chill with these winter delicacies:

Heartiest Bowl of Ramen in Toronto:

Warm up with a steaming bowl of Toronto's best ramen, Ikkousha Tonkotsu Ramen, a soul-soothing winter treat. Still hungry? Head over to Midori Ramen to try their Signature Tori Paitan!

Visit Little Canada:

Immerse yourself in the miniature world of Canada, featuring iconic landmarks and delicious regional foods. While there, make sure to treat yourself to delicious offerings of Little Bites Café!


@littlecanada / Instagram

Brunch in Locally-Loved Neighborhoods:

Explore Liberty Village and get freshly baked bread from Brazen Head or devour a full Irish Breakfast at Cabbagetown’s Stout. From Riverside to Bloor West Village, Toronto is packed with lovely neighborhoods for a cozy North American brunch experience.

Savor Cocktails or Maybe Hot Chocolate:

Cheers to the winter season with creative and warming cocktails at Toronto's trendy bars. A warm mug of Hot Chocolate is a must so head over to Sweet Jesus for this delightful drink in the spirit of the holidays!

Iconic Eats of Kensington Market:

Dive into the diverse, bohemian, and flavorful offerings of Kensington Market, a culinary haven in any season. Fresco’s Fish & Chips to The Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles, their every culinary offering is special!

Toronto Winter Activities

Beyond the usual suspects, Toronto offers a plethora of activities from Christmas markets to Winter festivals to keep you entertained and warm throughout the winter:

Toronto Christmas Market:

Experience the magic of the holidays at the Toronto Christmas Market, an enchanting spectacle of lights, decorations, and festive cheer. Make sure to check out the 56-foot-tall Christmas tree in Trinity Square!

Hockey Hall of Fame:

Celebrate Canada's favorite sport by exploring the rich history of hockey at the Hockey Hall of Fame. See memorabilia, interactive games, exhibits, multimedia stations, and much more located in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

See the Hockey Hall of Fame, St. Lawrence Market, & More on a Walking Tour!

Winter Festivals:

From Winterlicious to the Toronto Light Festival, the city hosts various winter festivals that celebrate art, culture, and the joy of the season.

Pampering at Hotel Spas:

Treat yourself to a day of relaxation at one of Toronto's luxurious hotel spas, offering winter-themed treatments to rejuvenate both body and mind.

Winter Workouts:

Stick to your New Year's resolutions with winter workouts. Join outdoor fitness classes or hit the indoor gyms to stay active and warm.

Places to Visit Near Toronto in Winter

Extend your winter escapade by exploring nearby destinations that offer additional charm and excitement:

Niagara Falls:

Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Niagara Falls adorned with icy splendor. The winter landscape adds a magical touch to this natural wonder.

Embark on a Niagara Falls Tour from Toronto!


Embrace the quaint charm of Niagara-on-the-Lake with its historic architecture, wineries, and winter events.

Blue Mountain:

Hit the slopes or enjoy the apres-ski atmosphere at Blue Mountain, a popular winter destination just a short drive from Toronto.

Bruce Peninsula National Park:

Discover the serene beauty of winter landscapes at the Bruce Peninsula National Park, where snow-covered trails lead to stunning vistas.

How Cold Is Toronto in Winter?

While temperatures can occasionally drop to around 14 degrees Fahrenheit, proper clothing and layers can make outdoor exploration enjoyable. The crisp winter air enhances the magic of the season, and with the right attire, you'll be ready to embrace all that Toronto's winter wonderland has to offer.


@gtanophotography / Instagram

Guided Tours in Toronto: Unveiling the City's Wonders

Best of Toronto Tour

Embark on a captivating 4-hour journey with the Best of Toronto Tour, a delightful experience that covers the city's key attractions. Your knowledgeable guide ensures you don't miss the iconic CN Tower, a scenic Toronto City Harbour Cruise, and the vibrant St. Lawrence Market.

Immerse yourself in the charm of Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto's Old City Hall, the Toronto Waterfront, the University of Toronto, Queens Park, and Dundas Square. This small-group tour, limited to 7 guests, provides a fully narrated adventure in the comfort of a Mercedes Metris Van.

Scenic Toronto Night Tour with CN Tower

As the sun sets, dive into the enchanting Scenic Toronto Night Tour, a 2.5-hour exploration featuring a breathtaking CN Tower experience. Begin your evening with panoramic views from the CN Tower's Observation Deck before embarking on a fully guided driving tour. 

Traverse the city, passing landmarks like Nathan Phillips Square, Younge & Dundas Square, the Distillery District, and Cherry Beach. The adventure concludes with a drop-off at your downtown hotel. Enjoy the convenience of complimentary pick-up and drop-off, skip-the-line entry, and a small-group experience.

Niagara Falls Canada Tour from Toronto

Embark on a 9-hour adventure to Niagara Falls, a perfect day trip from Toronto. This small-group tour, limited to 7 people, includes a boat cruise into the mist of the Falls aboard Niagara City Cruises Voyage To The Falls Boat Tour (seasonal), providing a thrilling perspective of this natural wonder. 

Explore behind the Falls at Journey Behind the Falls, and enjoy a scenic narrated driving tour featuring Dufferin Islands, the International Control Dam, Old Scow, Whirlpool Rapids, and the Floral Clock. With pick-up and drop-off in downtown Toronto, this tour ensures a seamless and memorable experience.

Best of Toronto Walking Tour

Discover Toronto on foot with the Best of Toronto Walking Tour, a 4-hour exploration led by a local tour guide. Commence your adventure at the St. Lawrence Market, dubbed the world's best food market by National Geographic. Enjoy a narrated walk past landmarks like the Hockey Hall of Fame, Fairmont Royal York, and Union Station. 

Take in city views from the CN Tower's observation deck, stroll along the Toronto Waterfront to Toronto Harbour, and, seasonally, embark on a Toronto Harbour Cruise. With all admissions included, this walking tour offers a comprehensive and immersive Toronto experience.

Private Tour of Toronto

For an exclusive and tailored experience, opt for the Private Tour of Toronto. This 5-hour small-group tour accommodates up to 7 people and includes VIP transportation, hotel pick-up and drop-off, and a luxury Mercedes Metris van. Your private tour guide ensures you explore iconic sites like the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto’s Old City Hall, the Toronto waterfront, the University of Toronto, Queens Park, and Dundas Square. 

Enjoy skip-the-line entry, a Toronto Harbour Boat Cruise (seasonal), and the chance to walk on the glass floor at the CN Tower. Indulge in a VIP experience, avoiding large crowds and embracing the best of Toronto at your own pace.

Indulge in a VIP Touring Experience with our Private Toronto Tour!

Book your guided tour now to unlock the treasures of Toronto in the most enriching and enjoyable way possible.


In Toronto's winter wonderland, the city doesn't merely survive the cold; it thrives in it. From enchanting light displays and outdoor adventures to culinary delights and cultural treasures, Toronto in winter is a journey into a magical realm. Unwrap joy this holiday season in "The 6ix," where the chill is just a backdrop to the warm and vibrant experiences awaiting you. So, don your coziest attire, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let the magic of Toronto in winter unfold before you.

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