Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world which is why many people want to visit. On any given weekend you’ll find a major cultural event and there’s always some kind of sporting event going on that’s worth checking out. The question is, how much does it cost to go to Toronto? Keep reading to find out.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest 3 nights in Toronto. This makes it the perfect destination for a weekend break or a natural stopover if you’re flying to Europe or Asia. You may not get to see everything during that time, but you’ll definitely get a feel for the city. Here’s what a Toronto trip cost looks like.
Toronto Trip Cost
|Food and drink||$120|
The above estimate is for a single traveller in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
Canada can be an attractive destination for Americans since the exchange is favourable. If you live in Canada, you don’t need to worry about the exchange rate so Toronto can be an attractive destination to visit.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
Since Toronto is a major hub for air travel, you likely won’t have any problems finding a direct flight there if you’re originating from a major city. On average, flights will cost you about $350 if you’re flying from the United States. That said, prices can drop the closer you are to the city. For example, if you’re flying from New York, Boston, or Chicago, it wouldn’t be too hard to find a flight in the $250 range.
If you’re flying from the west coast, you may need to budget a little more. Those coming from international destinations are better off using Toronto as a stopover since it won’t cost them anything extra to reach their final destination. It’s worth mentioning that there are discount carriers that fly to Toronto (Porter, Swoop), but they have limited service.
Toronto has every type of accommodation available from hostels to luxury hotels. Most visitors prefer to stay in the downtown core since that’s where most of the major attractions are, but staying just a bit outside can save you some money.
I recommend budgeting $200 a night for hotels since that’s the average price. You can accommodations for cheaper, but there are also more expensive options. If you’re coming to Toronto for a specific event such as Caribana or the Toronto International Film Festival, expect hotels to be more expensive. Here are some hotels I recommend:
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus (must apply by May 15, 2021).
Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $700.
Toronto has excellent public transportation, but compared to some other cities such as New York, Tokyo, and Barcelona, you may find your options limited. That said, you should have no problem getting around the city just by using the TTC and the occasional Uber/taxi.
The TTC operates Toronto’s public transportation network which consists of streetcars, subways, buses, and light rail transit. There’s also a direct train link from the airport to Toronto’s Union Station which is called the UP Express. All modes of public transportation require a reloadable card called Presto which can be purchased at the airport or any subway station.
The cost to ride the TTC with a Presto card is CAD $3.20 for adults. Senior (65+) / Youth (13-19) pay $2.25, while children 10 and under ride free. Each ride is a timed admission for 2 hours where you tap your Presto card every time you get on a new mode of transportation.
The UP Express costs CAD $9.25 with a Presto card for adults/youths and $5.80 for seniors. If you’re travelling with multiple people, getting a family pass (2 adults, 3 children under the age of 19) for $25.70 is a good value.
I’ve written a detailed Toronto public transportation guide, so you can check that out if you want more details. Overall, you’ll spend about CAD $40 (USD $30) on public transportation, but if you’re staying downtown, you may only need to to get from/to the airport as you can walk to most of the major attractions.
When it comes to attractions, you can either spend a lot or not much at all. Many of the cultural events have free admission, but you’ll end up spending on other things. If you’re here to watch the Raptors, Blue Jays, or Maple Leafs, you could spend a small fortune on tickets.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on everyday attractions since they’re available at all times of the year. The best value is to purchase a Toronto CityPASS as it’ll give you access to 5 attractions at a discount of 38%. The attractions that come with the Toronto CityPASS are:
- CN Tower
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
- Casa Loma
- Royal Ontario Museum
- Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre
If you plan on visiting all of these attractions during your visit, then getting a CityPASS is worth it. The cost for a Toronto CityPASS is $75.64 for adults and $51.51 for children ages 4-12. I should also mention that your CityPASS tickets are good for 30 days and there’s a 365-day risk-free return policy.
For those who have limited time, getting a 48hours Toronto Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour ticket can be worth it since it’ll take you to all the major attractions. Since this is a bus, you won’t even need to worry about navigating the subway.
Food and drink
Toronto has many international restaurants and a variety of restaurants that focus on diverse local cuisine. How much you spend on food is really up to you, but here’s a rough estimate for your reference.
- Breakfast – $8
- Lunch – $12
- Dinner – $20
That works out to $40 a day. Most people keep breakfast simple with a pastry and coffee. For lunch, it wouldn’t be difficult to find a takeout spot where a meal is reasonably priced. Dinner spots aren’t that expensive, but if you dine in, you need to remember to tip 15% which is the standard in Canada.
As for what you should eat, Toronto is known for its ethnic food. Head to Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little India or Japantown and you’ll find something great. If you’ve never had poutine, you should try that somewhere since it’s a Canadian classic.
The city also many independent coffee shops, so avoid the big chains to support locals.
While Toronto has many malls, luxury stores, and boutique shops, it’s unlikely you’re going to drop hundreds of dollars on shopping. For those who are here to catch a sporting event or concert, you’ll need to factor in the cost of your tickets and any merchandise. If you’re
Any random spending you do will be on Ubers or Taxis (especially if you head out to the zoo) or on additional activities such as heading to the Toronto Islands to rent a bike. You may also spend more than I’ve estimated on food if you plan on going to some of the more popular restaurants in town.
Overall, I’d budget an extra $100 for random spending which is enough for a bit of shopping or a nice meal.
So how much does it cost to go to Toronto? For a 3 night trip, I estimate you’ll spend USD $1,280. For a major international city, that’s pretty reasonable. Remember, Toronto is also a natural stopover for many destinations so visiting for a few days on your way to somewhere else is well worth it.