Where To Stay In Toronto – Best Areas and Hotels for First Time Visitors
Toronto is a city of many neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is this city has a different cultural inspiration, identity, and vibe. For a tourist, however, some neighborhoods are better suited than others. So, what is the best area in Toronto for a first-time visitor or a tourist? Ideally, it’s somewhere close to Toronto attractions, has good subway access, close to hop-on-hop-off bus stops and close to restaurants and shopping.
To make your search simple, I start with a list of the best areas in Toronto for tourists followed by recommendations of hotels in every budget. To jump directly to a particular section, click on the links below.
1. Entertainment District – Hotels near CN Tower and Rogers Centre
Entertainment district is the best area for tourists in all respects. Many well-known attractions such as the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ripley’s Aquarium and ferry to Toronto Islands are within walking dstance.
The area has excellent access to public transport. The Union Station at Front street West gives you access to Toronto Subway, GO transit and Via Rail where you can catch a train to Niagara Falls, and also board the UP Express from Union Station which takes you to the Toronto Pearson International Airport in 25 minutes. .
The area has good restaurants, shops and theatres.
The Hop-on Hop-Off tour buses have a stop at the CN Tower, Union Station, Hockey Hall of Fame and Sony Centre.
However, hotels in this area are generally more expensive and they fill up quickly during the summer months due to high demand.
2. Yonge Street from College to Queen Street
If you find the hotels in Entertainment district too expensive, the next best area in Toronto is the area on Yonge Street between College Street and Queen Street as shown in the map. The hotels in this area are relatively cheaper and have great access to attractions and subway as well.
There are great places to shop in this area such as the Eaton Centre, the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue. Apart from the big malls and shopping centres, there are a lot of independent shops along Yonge street as well.
From the Hudson’s Bay building, You can also access the PATH Toronto – an underground pathway which connects many buildings in Downtown Toronto. You can also find many shops and restaurants on the PATH and walk up to the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame and some other attractions through the PATH. Read my linked article for more information.
Bloor-Yorkville area is a trendy area with many high-end designer shops and restaurants on Yorkville avenue and Bloor St. West.
It has good subway acess. You can access both Line 1 and Line 2 of the subway from Bloor-Yonge subway Station
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Bata Shoe Museum and the University of Toronto are within walking distance from hotels in this area
The Hop-on Hop-Off bus tours have a stop at Bloor and Yonge, Royal Ontario Museum and Bata Shoe Museum. So, if you have bought a bus tour ticket, it’s easy to see other attractions.
However, this area mainly has luxury hotels/ high-end hotels which may not be affordable by everyone.
Also, it’s not within walking distance of attractions such as CN Tower and other popular attractions.
4. Chinatown Toronto
Hotels in China Town are less expensive than other areas. I have listed some great budget hotels in this area in a section below.
Chinatown also has good streetcar service which will take you to downtown and Harbourfront within half hour.
Nearby attractions include Art Gallery of Ontario(AGO), Kensington Market and Grafitti Alley. This area also has some of the best restaurants serving Asian cuisine.
Tour buses have stops at Art Gallery of Ontario
Where To Stay In Toronto – Best hotels in Downtown Toronto
#1. My First Choice For The Best Hotel In Toronto Is The Intercontinental Toronto Centre
This hotel is also in Entertainment District and has excellent location. It’s within walking distance to many attractions, subway stations and UP Express. It comes with slightly lower price tag of approx. $300 USD/night .
The hotel has rooms overlooking the city and the lake. The floor to ceiling glass give fantastic views regardless of where your room is facing. High-end rooms even have bath-tubs with a view of the CN Tower!
Facilities include: Swimming pool, Fitness centres, Facilities for disabled guests , on-site restaurants, WiFi in all areas, Bar and excellent breakfast.
The most helpful aspect of this hotel is that it is located in downtown.. It’s located just outside the most desirable area around Yonge street near the intersection of Gerrard St. East and Jarvis St.
Major tourist attractions are a lit bit further away but still within walkable distance(approx. 30 min). Street car is a block away (3 min by walk) and College Street Subway Station is just 10 min by walk.
Major shopping and dining streets like Church Street and Yonge Street are also a block or two away
This hotel is Pet-Friendly! – a feature which you will not find in many hotels.
Average price per night is approx. $158 USD/night .
This hotel is also in the ideal flipped “L” location of downtown Toronto. Located on Gerrard St. W, very close to Yonge street, this hotel is just a block away from College Street Subway Station and Street Car.
Steps away from the vibrant Yonge Street, great shopping and dinning.
Facilities include swimming pool, fitness centre, good breakfast, bar, facilities for disabled guests, and good Wifi in all areas
Average price per night is approx. 180 USD/night .
Nothing says Luxury better than the Ritz chain of hotels all around the world. The Ritz-carlton Toronto lives up to its brand and provides a luxurious experience.
As expected the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is in an ideal location in the Entertainment District.
Prices of the room start from approx. $450 USD/per night for the Deluxe King/Queen room. However, if you are looking for the ultimate luxury, go for the Luxury King Suite which can cost you approx. $1360 USD/night.
The feeling of luxury is all about “attention to detail” . The Shangri-La Hotel scores very high when it comes to customer service and attention to detail. Check out the glowing reviews this hotel has received from customers on Booking.com
The floor to ceiling windows in each room of the hotel give amazing sights of the city. Some of the rooms even have a view of the CN Tower.
Prices start from $400 USD/per night. The One-Bedroom suite which has marble flooring can cost approx. $500 USD/per night.
This hotel is located in the popular and affluent area of Yorkville north of Bloor Street in downtown Toronto
Though the hotel is not within walking distance of the CN Tower and other attractions in downtown Toronto, you can easily reach these attractions by car in 10 minutes or board the subway which is very close by.
It is within walking distance to ROM and Bata Shoe Museum and High-end shopping.
The hotel has excellent decor and has rooms starting at $430 USD/per night to $870 USD/per night.
I hope this hotel guide helps you find suitable accommodation in Toronto. Please plan and book your accommodation early as the hotels in Toronto get booked very quickly, months in advance, during peak tourist season April – September. Also, remember that there’s 13% HST in Toronto which may not be shown upfront by the hotels while booking.
If you need any help planning your visit to Toronto or have any specific questions about Toronto, feel free to ask me by commenting on the post. You may find my post on Top 25 free things to do in Toronto helpful. It may save you some money on some Toronto attractions if you time your visit right.
If you find this post helpful, please share with your friends and family on social media.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that when you book a hotel through the links posted here, I get a small fee from the booking amount. Please note this doesn’t affect my opinion on the hotels above and this doesn’t cost you extra. You pay the same amount if you do it through my link or directly. If you find this article useful, please consider booking through my link so that I can continue writing this travel blog. Thank you for your support.