Struggling to decide where to stay in Toronto? As one of the most popular travel destinations in Canada, this metropolitan city has a ton to offer visitors and plenty of choices for accommodations.
Toronto is a vibrant, energetic city with a large downtown area and many interesting areas & neighbourhoods to explore. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the centre of business, finance, culture, and the arts in Canada.
While it’s not known for its historic sites or heritage, Toronto has thousands of shops, restaurants, and one-of-a-kind tourist attractions. It’s also home to PATH, the largest underground pedestrian complex in North America, connecting several dozen major buildings.
Whether you plan to see the top attractions or shop until you drop, all the best areas to stay in Toronto have something to suit your needs.
Not sure where to start your search for the best hotels in Toronto? Compare Toronto accommodations with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Toronto including the top areas, neighbourhoods & districts for travellers.
Best places to stay in Toronto: Top areas, neighbourhoods & districts
The diversity of the city can make it difficult to choose where to stay in Toronto. Each neighbourhood is unique, from the bohemian streets of West Queen West to the high-end shops in Yorkville.
The southern portion of the city hugs the harbour, with downtown just a few blocks to the north. The neighbourhoods and districts surrounding the downtown area.
To the west, you’ll discover some of the more affordable and eccentric parts of Toronto containing many boutiques and hipster galleries. The main entertainment and shopping streets lie between downtown and the harbour while the University of Toronto campus and designer shops are to the north.
Keep in mind that most areas are easy to reach, thanks to the extensive subway system and dozens of kilometres of underground walkways.
The best areas to stay in Toronto include:
- Downtown Toronto
- Entertainment District
- West Queen West
✔ Best area to stay in Toronto for first-time visitors
Downtown Toronto is the business and financial hub of the city. As the most visited part of the city, Downtown Toronto offers something for every traveller. Undoubtedly, downtown is the top choice area in Toronto for first-time visitors.
You can indulge your palette with a wide selection of restaurants, offering everything from fine dining to fast food. It’s also a great place to shop, containing hundreds of shops, department stores, and malls.
Downtown packs a lot of entertainment into a relatively small area, making it easy to explore on foot. Lined with skyscrapers and retail stores, the wide boulevards resemble New York City. In fact, locals refer to Yonge-Dundas Square as Toronto’s Times Square.
The public square marks the unofficial centre of downtown Toronto. It’s the busiest intersection, surrounded by stores and high-rise buildings displaying massive advertisements.
Directly west of the square is Eaton Centre. Located above the subway station, the mall provides an entrance into the PATH network of walkways and underground tunnels.
Staying in the downtown area also makes it easier to explore the rest of Toronto, as everything revolves around the centre of the city. You’re just a short walk from the entertainment district and harbour to the south and the fashion district to the west.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Toronto
The Toronto downtown area has the widest selection of hotels in the city. You can find something for any budget or style, including several three-star and four-star hotels located in the heart of Toronto and within walking distance of the main attractions.
- Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel: Located on Queen Street next to Nathan Phillips Square, this spacious four-star hotel recently underwent a $120 million renovation. The rooms feature marble bathrooms and mahogany furniture. It’s also connected to the PATH walkway system, allowing you to easily reach almost any major landmark without crossing a street.
- Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre: Halfway between Toronto City Hall and Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of downtown, this hotel also connects to the PATH system. In fact, it’s inside the Eaton Center. After a long day of shopping, relax near the rooftop pool with views of the city.
- The Omni King Edward Hotel: This luxurious four-star hotel borders Old Toronto, just a few blocks from the harbour. The hotel features elegant furnishings and comfortable rooms. When you’re hungry, visit the onsite restaurant to take a short stroll to nearby St. Lawrence Market.
- One King West Hotel and Residence: Just down the street from the King Edward, this boutique-style hotel offers a variety of accommodations, including suites with separate dining and working areas. If you want a view of the city, get a room on one of the upper floors.
✔ Top area in Toronto for luxury travellers & high-end shopping
Yorkville is north of downtown, on the other side of the University of Toronto campus. Yorkville is known for offering a high-end shopping experience, mostly found on a stretch of road called the Mink Mile.
Located on Bloor Street West, between Avenue Road and Yonge Street, the Mink Mile is home to many world-famous shops. It’s also the most expensive place in the country to lease retail space with people comparing it to Fifth Avenue in NYC. You can find almost any popular designer or name brand clothing line in this part of Toronto.
Along with luxury shopping, Yorkville has a large public market, movie theatres, and many restaurants. It’s an upscale Toronto neighbourhood and the top choice for families that want to avoid the bustling downtown area.
Yorkville also offers access to the Royal Ontario Museum, found out at the end of the shopping street. It’s a prestigious museum, attracting over a million visitors each year.
With over six million items, the variety of collections and displays should provide something interesting for everyone, from little children to adults that have seen it all. Browse dinosaur collections, historical artifacts, and famous paintings.
Recommended hotels in Yorkville
Yorkville has some of the best hotels in Toronto, along with the highest rates. After a long day of shopping for designer brands, rest in one of the following luxurious four-star or five-star hotels.
- The Hazelton Hotel: This four-star hotel is inside a luxurious building located at the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Avenue Road, just two blocks from the Mink Mile. The spacious rooms have marble bathrooms and interiors designed by a renowned designer.
- Four Seasons Hotel Toronto at Yorkville: Located at the other end of Yorkville Avenue, this five-star luxury hotel offers some of the best views in the city. The rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the downtown area if you stay on the southern side of the building. You’ll also enjoy celebrity treatment from the attentive staff.
- InterContinental Toronto Yorkville: If the five-star rates are too steep, try this hotel located at the western end of the Mink Mile. You can walk out the front doors and reach the high-end shops within seconds. It’s also surrounded by a variety of fine dining options.
✔ Best district in Toronto for entertainment and sightseeing
Some of the top things to see & do in Toronto are found in or near the Entertainment District. You can see the rest of the city from the top of the CN Tower and then spend the morning watching sharks and fish swim at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
Travellers of all ages should enjoy this district. As the name suggests, the Entertainment District has lots of ways to keep you entertained. Along with the major attractions, it’s full of theatres, performing arts centres, and retail shops. It also has endless clubs, bars, and restaurants.
If you grow tired of the cuisine in the Entertainment District, walk to Chinatown to explore the wide assortment of noodle shops and restaurants.
You’re also more likely to find live events in the Entertainment District. Check out the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre, the host of the Toronto International Film Festival, or look at the showtimes at the Roy Thomson Hall.
If you have only one day in Toronto, consider staying in this area. You can easily walk to the harbourfront after visiting the main sites. From the harbourfront, you can take a ferry to the Toronto Islands and the popular Centreville Amusement Park.
Recommended hotels in Entertainment District
The Entertainment District isn’t an inexpensive place to stay. While the luxurious hotels found in this area charge premium prices, they also offer a wide range of amenities and some of the most spacious rooms among all the hotels in Toronto.
- The Ritz-Carlton Toronto: This five-star hotel stands out for its high-end rooms with city views and every amenity you could imagine. You can also see most of downtown from the floor-to-ceiling windows. If you don’t want to venture outdoors, the hotel has three different dining areas and bars.
- Fairmont Royal York Hotel: Surrounded by skyscrapers, this boutique hotel is in the centre of the Entertainment District. You can walk to all the top theatres and shopping areas or stay indoors. The hotel has five restaurants, a gym, and its own shopping centre.
- Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront: You’ll love the city & harbour views from this incredible mid-range luxury hotel located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The rooftop patio and seasonal outdoor swimming pool area is particularly charming.
- The Westin Harbour Castle: Located on the harbourfront, this 4-star hotel features excellent amenities and rooms with spectacular views over Lake Ontario.
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto: Located between CN Tower and downtown Toronto, this mid-range hotel offers convenient access to the city’s top attractions. It’s also connected to the PATH system. During your stay, enjoy the comfort of the large bathrooms and clean rooms along with an indoor pool, hot tub, and yoga studio.
West Queen West
✔ Recommended area for boutique shopping & the coolest sites in Toronto
People tend to overlook West Queen West, but it offers many interesting sites to add to your Toronto itinerary. It’s where you’ll find Graffiti Alley and a wide array of eccentric bars and small art galleries.
The youthful, bohemian vibe of the West Queen West neighbourhood should appeal to younger travellers. It’s also home to an energetic nightlife scene.
This neighbourhood is an older part of Toronto, containing the most examples of historic architecture. While the city itself doesn’t have a lot of historic attractions, you can get an idea of how Toronto appeared a hundred years ago. The combination of old buildings and quirky attractions creates a unique atmosphere.
West Queen West is named after a stretch of road located just north of King West Village. As with West Queen West, the village has a youthful atmosphere and a wide range of boutique shops.
West Queen West is a little further from the action in the downtown area or the Entertainment District. Depending on where you stay, you may need to hop on the bus or subway to explore the rest of the city.
Recommended hotels in West Queen West
West Queen West isn’t the most popular tourist area in Toronto, so it doesn’t have very many hotels. The available options include a couple of mid-range hotels located directly on Queen Street West and several nearby apartments.
- Gladstone Hotel: This is a historic hotel located toward the western end of Queen Street West. It’s certainly not one of the largest hotels in Toronto, home to just 37 guest rooms. Each room has its own artist-designed theme, ensuring that you have a unique experience.
- The Drake Hotel: Also found on Queen Street West, this charming little boutique hotel has an eccentric style that matches the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. The rooms feature handcrafted art pieces from local artists. It’s located above Drake’s Underground, an entertainment venue with live shows.
- Cozy City Oasis in Queen West: Located a little closer to the downtown area, this apartment has cozy rooms with city views. Some of the units even have outdoor patios. While you may need to book more than one night, you get a full kitchen, dining area, and a washing machine, making it a good option for a longer stay.