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The Best 4 Day Toronto Itinerary for Visiting Canada in January

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It only took me 23 years to realize I was living a mere 10 hour drive from a country I had never been to. So a few weeks ago, my bestie and I filled her car with snacks and booze and started the 600 mile drive to Toronto, Canada. Although it was far from a beach vacation, there’s still plenty to do in Canada during the wintertime. Keep reading for my ultimate 4 day Toronto itinerary to see how I spent my first trip to Canada!

4 day itinerary for toronto

Your 4 Day Toronto Itinerary: The Quick Version

🏡 Where to Stay in Toronto

BUDGET-FRIENDLY HOTELS IN TORONTO:

MID-LEVEL HOTELS IN TORONTO:

LUXURY HOTELS IN TORONTO:

🇨🇦 My Favorite Things to Do in Toronto

✈️ How to Get to Toronto

For our vacation to Toronto Canada, we decided to drive the 10 hours from Madison, WI. However, you can also easily fly into Toronto. Toronto’s main international airport is Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). The airport is located very close to downtown Toronto, so it doesn’t take very long to get into the city. You can call an Uber or take the budget-friendly route with the Toronto Transit Commission’s public transit options. 

Our Toronto Airbnb with CN Tower Views

The major perk of traveling to Canada in January is the ability to live out your wildest Airbnb fantasies. Since we were willing to drive north from a state that was already in the midst of a blizzard, we were able to rent the bougiest apartment in downtown Toronto for a fraction of the normal price! We rented this gorgeous place on the 22nd floor in the Entertainment District, complete with indoor parking and this spectacular view, for less than $80/night. Keep in mind, it’s not so affordable in the summer.

Views of the CN Tower from our Airbnb's balcony in Toronto
The view from the patio.
The interior of our Airbnb in Toronto

Is 4 Days in Toronto Enough?

If you’re wondering how many days in Toronto, four days was plenty of time for our trip to Toronto Canada. We had time to hit all the highlights, eat at some of the best restaurants in Toronto and even take a day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls! 3 days in Toronto would also be a decent-length trip, although you might miss some of the best attractions. I wouldn’t recommend spending less than a weekend in Toronto, unless you live nearby. 

Our drive from Madison took a full 10 hours – so you know we were getting our fill of vacationing in Toronto before we left!

The Best 4 Day Toronto Itinerary for January

If you’re wondering what to do in Toronto in 4 days, then you’ve come to the right place! After plenty of trip research, I’m convinced that I planned out the perfect four days in Toronto in January. Keep reading for the highlights of my Toronto Canada itinerary!

Visit the St. Lawrence Market

As an avid traveler and a devoted foodie, there’s nothing I love more than a local market in a new city. St. Lawrence Market in Old Toronto is home to some of Toronto’s best eats, and you can’t beat the prices. Thankfully the market is indoors, so it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon warming up and tasting some delicious Canadian cuisine during your Toronto 4 day itinerary!

Fresh produce stands at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto

No trip to the St. Lawrence Market is complete without sampling Carousel Bakery’s famous peameal bacon sandwich* (pictured below)! Make sure to try it with their maple mustard for the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

*Peameal bacon is a wet-cured, unsmoked bacon made from pork loin rolled in cornmeal. It’s found mainly in Southern Ontario, so make sure to try it when visiting Toronto.

Still hungry? Head to Future Bakery to sample a range of international treats including sweet & savory burek and Pastéis de Nata, Portuguese custard treats.

Treats from Future Bakery at the St. Lawrence Market
Trying peameal bacon sandwiches at the St. Lawrence Market is a must-do during your 4 day Toronto itinerary

Admire the Gooderham “Flat Iron” Building

Step outside the St. Lawrence Market for a fantastic view of the Gooderham, or the “Flat Iron” Building, and Toronto’s CN Tower. This famous building was designed in the 19th century for Toronto’s Gooderham family as the headquarters of their empire. Although many assume it was modeled after the Flat Iron Building in New York City, Toronto’s version actually predates the NYC landmark by a decade.

📸 The Best Walking/Biking Tours in Toronto

The Gooderham or "Flat Iron" building in Toronto

Take the Elevator 147 Floors Up the CN Tower

If you’re a fan of epic views over Toronto and spooky elevators, head to Toronto’s famous CN Tower and pay 38 CAD for a ticket to the top. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, and you’re visiting in the summer months, you can book tickets for the Edgewalk! For 200 CAD they’ll strap you in and scare you shitless as you walk around the very top of the tower…1,815 feet in the air.

Make sure to book your tickets to the CN Tower on one of your first days in Toronto. We waited until the last day and almost couldn’t get tickets due to a private event.

Enjoying the view from the CN Tower with my bestie in Toronto
Toronto things to do – visit the CN Tower.

Nathan Phillips Square

Brave enough to experience a Toronto winter outside? Head to Nathan Phillips Square and ice skate your heart out in front of the city’s famous Toronto sign! No skates? No problem. Rent a pair on-site for only 10 CAD! Nathan Phillips Square was our first stop on our 4 day Toronto itinerary and, besides the bone-chilling cold, was the perfect introduction to Toronto.

Behind the “Toronto” sign, you’ll catch a glimpse of Toronto’s New City Hall! The building opened in 1965, replacing the Old City Hall which was built in 1889. You’ll also be right next to the Eaton Centre, one of the largest malls in Toronto. 

Your 4 day Toronto itinerary needs to include a stop at Nathan Phillips Square

Catch a Blue Jays Game at the Rogers Centre

No Toronto travel guide would be complete without mentioning one of Toronto’s claims to fame, the Blue Jays. Although it’s still called the SkyDome by many old-school Blue Jays fans, Canada’s only professional baseball franchise plays their home games in the Rogers Centre – around the corner from the CN Tower. 

The Rogers Centre was kind of a big deal at the time of its opening, since it was the only stadium with a retractable rooftop. This allowed games to be played at Rogers Centre year-round. If you only have 4 days in Toronto, fitting in a Blue Jays game is not to be missed!

Try Canadian Poutine

Fries? Good. Gravy? Good. Cheese curds? Good. All together = VERY good.

This 4 day Toronto itinerary is not complete without mention of Poutine. Poutine is a Canadian staple found on every street corner of Toronto. Although it’s all delicious, some places have a better reputation among locals than others. The best of the best is Poutini’s House of Poutine in Liberty Village. You can’t go wrong with the original, but if you’re feeling adventurous try one of their special creations like “The Works” with sour cream, bacon and chive.

Trying poutine from Poutini's House of Poutine needs to be on your 4 day Toronto itinerary
Two heaping helpings of poutine from Poutini's House of Poutine in Toronto's liberty village
Traditional: gravy, cheese curds and The Works: sour cream, bacon, chive.

Have Drinks at the Bier Markt

Could there be anything bad about a bar that serves over 150 beers on tap? Yeah I didn’t think so either. Bier Markt serves brews from all over the world, including a wide selection of local Canadian beers. My advice? Don’t limit yourself. Order a flight and taste four yummy beers at the same time!

If your perfect Toronto itinerary includes lots of Canadian craft brews, I suggest visiting Toronto’s famous Steam Whistle Brewery (near the CN Tower) or booking yourself on a Toronto Local Beer Tour.

Take a Day Trip to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is easily one of the best winter day trips from Toronto. Only an hour and a half away, there’s no excuse to not take a day to experience one of the most famous national parks in North America. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot more to do in Niagara Falls in the summer time. But do you know what there’s also a lot more of? People. If you’re interested in seeing spectacular views without the pesky crowds, head to Niagara in January and enjoy being one of the ten tourists brave enough to be outside during an Ontario winter.

If you do head down to Niagara Falls, I would suggest staying on the Canadian side. The views are much better than the United States side!

⛴️ Niagara Falls Tours You May Enjoy…

Enjoying the views at Niagara Falls needs to be added to your 4 day Toronto itinerary
Add a visit Niagara Falls to your Toronto itinerary 4 days.
Gorgeous views of Niagara Falls on the Canada side

Visit Yonge-Dundas Square

Widely known as Toronto’s “mini Times Square,” Yonge-Dundas square is located in the middle of downtown Toronto. This public square is a unique focal point of the Toronto community and serves as gathering space and event venue. You can easily see why it reminds people of New York’s Time Square! ðŸ‘‡ðŸ¼

Test Your Knowledge at the Royal Ontario Museum

There’s no better activity for a frigid Canadian day than exploring a museum! Well, besides maybe indoor drinking.

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest museum in Canada. It’s filled with really cool exhibits in art, world culture, natural history and more. My personal favorite is the third floor, where they house the “Age of Mammals” exhibit as well as the “Age of Dinosaurs.”

Entrance tickets cost 23 CAD, but are only 18 CAD with a student ID.

A dinosaur exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum
Wondering what to do in Toronto Canada? Visit the Royal Ontario Museum!

Explore Toronto’s Historic Distillery District

The Distillery District of Toronto is a hipster neighbourhood filled with trendy boutiques and restaurants housed in 19th century whiskey distillery buildings. It’s the perfect neighborhood to do some shopping or enjoy a hipster happy hour. During Christmastime, the streets are filled with Toronto’s Christmas Markets.

While you’re wandering the quaint, cobblestone streets, stop by Wildly Delicious for a taste of Toronto’s finest. They sell plenty of sweet Canadian maple syrup as well as home goods and every kind of sauce, chutney and cheese you could imagine – perfect for your Toronto travel itinerary.

A Smirnoff sign in the Toronto Distillery District
The historic Distillery District is the perfect addition to your 4 day Toronto itinerary

Wander Through Graffiti Alley

Although I’ll admit it’s not the best activity for a freezing Toronto trip, Graffiti Alley is definitely worth a quick visit. Wander the narrow alleyway, admire the colorful street art gallery…and maybe warm up with a hot chocolate afterwards.

Graffiti alley is a great experience to add to your 4 day Toronto itinerary
A colorful mural in Toronto's graffiti alley

Where to Eat in Toronto in Four Days

Now for the highlight of my Toronto vacation guide! Like every major city, Toronto has no shortage of yummy eats. Make sure to eat your fill at these delicious restaurants before you head home after four days in Toronto.

Menami

Featured by INSIDER Food, Menami serves udon noodles with a delicious twist. Thick and doughy noodles are topped with creamy cheese sauce and shredded tex-mex cheese before being baked to perfection. It’s the perfect mix of traditional udon and mac n’ cheese!

Since I love both udon noodles and cheese, Menami was one of my favorite restaurants on our 4 day Toronto itinerary.

Fried ika from Menami
Fresh fried ika.
Cheesy udon noodles from one of Toronto's most unique restaurants – Menami
Mentaiko cream sauce udon, oven baked udon.

Chinatown’s The Dumpling House

To say we left full would be a gross understatement…a dumpling coma might be more accurate. The Dumpling House, located in Toronto’s hip Kensington Market neighborhood, sells traditional dumplings both steamed and fried with a variety of fillings. It was also one of the most affordable restaurants we ate at in Toronto. If you do decide to try it out, learn from our mistake and don’t order any appetizers. We were uncomfortably full until the next day, but nothing warms you up like fresh dumplings!

A massive bowl of egg drop soup from The Dumpling House
Egg drop soup.
A heap of pan-fried and steamed dumplings from Chinatown's The Dumpling House in Toronto
Steamed seafood dumplings, pork & shrimp pan-fried dumplings.

Pancho’s Bakery

Soft serve in a churro cone? Enough said.

Right around the corner from The Dumpling House, Panchos’ Bakery serves this Instagrammable mash-up treat. Although probably enjoyed best in the summer, the juxtaposition of the freezing ice cream and the warm churro made the treat even more enjoyable.

Instagram-worthy soft serve in a churro cone from Pancho's Bakery in Toronto
Churro ice cream cones.

Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen

Not only does Chubby’s serve up delicious and authentic Jamaican cuisine, but their restaurant is an Instagram dream. The inside is covered in pink lights and plants and the whole restaurant smells like smoky pork and fried plantains. They also offer a full menu of fancy cocktails topped with edible flowers and whipped egg whites! The food was delicious – we ordered the jerk pork, fried plantains and jasmine rice, and it was the perfect addition to our 4 day Toronto itinerary.

Chubby's Jamaican Kitchen is a great addition to your 4 day Toronto itinerary

Eggspectation

Sometimes while traveling, a girl just needs a full brunch and a spicy Bloody Mary. Eggspectation is the perfect combination of American brunch with a Canadian twist. Now I’m convinced that the only thing that makes poutine better is a fried egg on top!

Smoked salmon bagel and breakfast poutine from Eggspectation – a popular brunch chain in Toronto
Bloody Mary, bagel & lox, breakfast poutine.

Little Italy’s Pizzeria via Mercanti

What better place for a girl missing Italy than a pizzeria in Little Italy? Pizzeria via Mercanti was a little slice of heaven with tasty vino, fluffy Neapolitan pizza, and an Italian-speaking waitstaff. We enjoyed some authentic Neapolitan pizza and ended the meal the right way, with an espresso and an ice-cold limoncello.

Add a stop for delicious Neapolitan pizza from Pizzeria via Mercanti to your 4 day Toronto itinerary
Margherita pizza, via Mercanti pizza, house red wine.

Final Thoughts

Even in the frigid Canadian winter, there’s plenty to see, do and eat in Toronto! I recommend staying for at least a long weekend to truly enjoy your time there.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this 4 day Toronto itinerary don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow my adventures on Instagram @madisonfootsteps! You also might enjoy my posts

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6 Comments

  1. Looks like a great place to visit with plenty to do and eat! Chubby’s kitchen sounds so good! Plantains= yum! I also love that you went to Niagara Falls in January. I love following your adventures 🙂

  2. Torontonian right here! I must say, this is a good list. Our winters are super long and cold so these are the ONLY things for us to do, year after year. At some point it does start getting boring, but we try to make the best of it and be happy anyways. Since you were visiting, these places must’ve been new and interesting to you. Glad you had fun!!

    1. So glad you agree! We had a great time (and saved a lot of money) visiting in winter. Although I would love to go back and see Toronto in the summer! I bet you’d have a few more options of things to do.

  3. Hi Madison, great ideas for Toronto, thanks. We’ll be spending four days there before Christmas so will check out some of the places you mention. Could you send the link to the Airbnb apartment as the one in your post wouldn’t open? Many thanks and happy travels! 🌼

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