Categories > Guides and Tips
Alright, let’s say you’re craving a little adventure getaway—nothing fancy, just a day trip to break the monotony—but, alas, you don’t have a car.
No worries, though, because who says you need one to explore? Believe it or not, there are plenty of great places around Toronto that are accessible even for those of us who have never held a steering wheel.
Our list of car-free day trip ideas in Toronto is your guide to ditching the concrete jungle for a bit of country charm or city exploration beyond the Six. So read on!
The Toronto Islands are an absolutely delightful cluster of small islands located just off the city’s shoreline. It doesn’t matter if you’re a native or a visitor; this place has got leisure written all over it.
You can just hop on a ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, and you’re sorted. It’s a crazy short ride; I’m talking like 15 minutes max (depending on the island).
And if you’re into biking or kayaking, rentals are available across the islands. Centreville Amusement Park is a hit with kids; it’s got rides and a petting zoo!
And if you don’t mind me prattling on about the views a bit, the views are going to floor you! The islands serve up some of the best skyline views of Toronto.
Local tip: If you’re heading there in the summer, don’t forget to pack your swimwear. The beaches in the Toronto Islands are perfect for taking a quick dip and cooling off.
Kelso Conservation Area
Address: 5234 Kelso Rd, Milton, ON
Contact details: +1 905-878-5011
- Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 7 PM
Kelso Conservation Area is practically a stone’s throw away—okay, it’s a 30-mile throw, but who’s counting? It has lakeside beaches, beautiful wooded trails, and panoramic escarpment vistas—you’re going to want your camera for this, trust me.
Here, you can embrace your inner adrenaline junkie and try out their mountain bike trails. Not your taste? No problem; go for a hike, do some fishing, or just lounge on the beach (yeah, there’s a beach too!).
If you time it right, you can even take a dip in their outdoor swimming area. In the winter, Kelso Park turns into snow-bound fun with skiing and snowboarding runs for all ability levels.
Speaking of time, let’s give a shout-out to the Kelso weekly summer movie nights. I mean, who doesn’t love a backyard-sized movie screen under the stars, eh?
Local tip: Don’t forget to carry along your marshmallows and stick around for a bonfire during the movie nights. It’s the community vibe that makes it more special.
Address: 2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-392-5900
- Monday to Sunday – 9:30 AM to 7 PM
The Toronto Zoo is honestly mega-awesome. With over 5,000 animals representing more than 450 species, it’s like an animal kingdom!
It’s Divided into geographic regions, giving you a chance to travel the world without needing that pesky passport. Get ready to meet the adorable pandas from Asia, majestic lions, and many more incredible creatures from different corners of the world.
But wait, this place isn’t just a look-and-see zoo. They’ve got interactive experiences like the Stingray Bay and the Tundra Trek featuring Polar bears.
Besides all the exotic animal love, there’s also a lot of walking trails, perfect for leisurely strolls or serious marathon training, whatever floats your boat.
Local tip: Make sure to check out the free zookeeper talks scheduled throughout the day. They’re super informative and perfect if you want to go home with some extra knowledge apart from memories!
Niagara-on-the-Lake ain’t just the name—it’s literally on Lake Ontario, and it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump from the famous Niagara Falls. The town is known for its quaint vibes, beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings, and, of course, the wineries.
Oh yeah, bring your wine-tasting hat, cause it’s wine o’clock all day ’round these parts! The town also hosts the Shaw Festival-a month-long extravaganza of theatre and culture; trust me, it’s entertaining even if you’re not a theatre nerd.
Oh, and you can’t miss the u-pick fruit farms. Because who doesn’t love some fresh, right-off-the-tree fruit to munch on?
If you’re still not sold, think about this: horse-drawn carriage rides through historic streets, green gardens, and breathtaking sunsets over the lake. Uh huh, I see that smile.
Local tip: Visit Balzac’s Coffee Roasters for some of the best coffee in town and a caffeine fix before you set out exploring!
Royal Ontario Museum
Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-586-8000
- Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5:30 PM
Royal Ontario Museum, located smack dab in the city, is just the place for an awesome, history-filled, no-car-needed day trip! This museum holds a collection of art, culture, and nature that touches the whopping 13-million item mark. Imagine that!
If you are a dino fan, they’ve got you covered with their dinosaur exhibit complete with roaring T-Rex (okay, maybe not roaring, but definitely cool!). Their gem and gold collection will also make your eyes pop!
And if you’re a fan of world cultures and art, you’ll be eating out of ROM’s hands. But let’s not forget the architectural wonder that is ROM.
The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, an extension made up of diagonally sliced glass pieces slotted together, would make any architecture enthusiast drool. Isn’t that alone worth the trip?
Local tip: Grab the ROM general admission on a Friday after 5:30 PM for a discounted rate. The added perk?
You get to soak in some of that wondrous Toronto nightlife post-museum!
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Address: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 647-351-3474
- Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 11 PM
Ripley’s Aquarium is home to more than 20,000 aquatic animals. You can travel under the sea without even leaving the 6ix.
They’ve got everything from scary-looking sharks to adorable sea turtles, colourful coral reefs to mesmerising bioluminescent jellies. Now, let’s talk about the must-sees.
The Dangerous Lagoon is a total adrenaline rush with its underwater tunnel—hello, sharks! And who can miss the Rainbow Reef brimming with vibrant tropical fish?
They also have live dive shows, a discovery centre for kids, and, drumroll, please—a touch tank where you can truly get up close and personal with some sea creatures. Yep, you can actually touch ’em!
Local tip: Try to plan your visit during weekday afternoons. It’s usually less crowded then, and you can almost feel like you have the place all to yourself!
Scarborough Bluffs has got to be one of the best in the city, for real. You’ve got Lakeside Park down by the beaches, and then the sky-high views from up top the bluffs.
You can have a good chill at the beach below; the water’s so clean and clear. And the high, rugged cliffs with the wide, open lake below are utterly breathtaking.
The Bluffs have been formed over thousands of years from the natural erosion process of Lake Ontario—kind of cool and mind-blowing, isn’t it? There’s also Scarborough Bluffs Park, where you can get your Instagram-worthy shots of the cliffs!
And when your tummy starts rumbling, there’s Bluffer’s Park, where you can park yourself for a nice picnic. Or head over to Bluffer’s Restaurant for some good food with a view—a total win-win, if you ask me.
Local tip: The Bluffs can get really crowded, especially during summer weekends. So, if you’re into peaceful vibes, a weekday trip would be a better bet, I promise!
Toronto Distillery District
Address: 55 Mill Street, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-364-1177
- Monday to Thursday – 10 AM to 6 PM
- Friday and Saturday – 10 AM to 8 PM
- Sunday – 11 AM to 6 PM
The Toronto Distillery District on your list is a car-free zone that’s pumping full of character, and packed with heritage. And getting there is a piece of cake; hop on a streetcar or subway, and you’ll be there in no time.
This place is tricked out with the best of the best: great restaurants, artisan boutiques, and absolutely unique galleries. Plus, you can stroll around, soak up the Victorian industrial architecture, and feel the vibes of its former whisky distillery days.
The cobblestone streets, the red brick buildings, and the famous Love Lock statue—it’s all so picturesque! During the holiday season, the District transforms into a winter wonderland featuring Toronto’s biggest Christmas Market.
And being a historic distillery district, how could you miss having a local craft beer or a bespoke cocktail at one of the many trendy spots? Once you’re done exploring for the day, just think—you can chill and ride public transport back home.
Local tip: The District gets super busy on weekends, especially during the Christmas Market. So, if you’re all about chilling and enjoying the vibe without the crowd, you’d have a better shot on a weekday.
Address: Kensington Market, Toronto, ON
Contact details: email@example.com
- Monday to Sunday – 11 AM to 7 PM
Kensington Market is like a bohemian neighbourhood teeming with charm, culture, and world-class ethnic cuisine, and it’s all in a compact, walkable area. Just starting your morning off by strolling here is legit an unbeatable way to start a day trip.
There’s no traffic noise, just the lively chatter of urban life and maybe a street performer or two howling blues on the corner. Then there’s the food—holy Cannoli!
The number of food joints crammed into this place is mind-blowing. You can globe trot without a passport, sampling everything from Latin American empanadas, Jamaican patties, Chinese dumplings, Hungarian chimney cakes, and so many more.
Don’t forget the Kensington Market street festivals! These wild shindigs totally transform the streets into a vibrant outdoor arts and music party for everyone.
Local tip: Take it slow and wander off the main drag to discover the real gems of Kensington Market tucked away in its laid-back side streets. Trust me on this one: the best discoveries are made when you’re lost.
Evergreen Brick Works
Address: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-596-7670
- Monday to Sunday – Open 24 hours
The Evergreen Brick Works, aka the Brick Works, is a historic site that has been turned into an eco-haven packed with recreation, education, and breathtaking nature. Don’t forget to pack those comfy shoes, because the area is crisscrossed with trails.
You can mosey along the paths, admire the wildflowers, bounce ideas off the public art installations, or get your recreation in loads of outdoor activities year-round. Did someone say food?
They’ve got that covered, too. Head over to the farmers’ market – it’s legendary.
If you’re looking for more intellectual stimulation on your day off, the Brick Works does not disappoint. The site hosts many rotating exhibitions, workshops, and talks on green design, urban sustainability, and more.
They even have interactive spaces for kids to get their hands dirty and learn about nature.
Local tip: Bring your own reusable containers and bags for shopping in the farmers’ market. It’s all about sustainability here, folks.
Address: 160 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-392-7288
- Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM
Allan Gardens has a palm house dome, which alone is iconic. Stroll your way through the century-old conservatory filled with lush plants from all over the globe.
The garden is an all-season hangout! When winter’s got you down, just pop into the indoor conservatory and hotfoot it straight to summer.
With the warmth and the array of plant life, you might even forget those pesky snowflakes covering the city. And when spring and summer roll in, the outdoor gardens blossom to life, and you might even bump into an event or two.
Allan Gardens are totally pooch-friendly, so bring your loyal sidekick along for the adventure. You’ll find other furry friends taking their hoomans for a walk around the park, giving you plenty of chances to swap pats and awws.
Local tip: When you visit, make sure to head over to the south entrance; there’s a lovely little fountain that offers a perfect backdrop for some awesome photos.
Address: Port Credit Lighthouse, 105 Lakeshore Rd W, Mississauga, ON
Contact details: +1 905-278-7742
Port Credit has this truly amazing marina, and dang, it’s a sight for sore eyes. This scenic waterfront offers a sweet spot to unwind and watch the yachts bob gently in the lake.
Take a leisurely stroll along the Credit River, maybe pack a picnic, and enjoy the beautiful lakefront park. You might forget the city noise even exists.
Now, we all know food is life, and Port Credit is a true foodie’s paradise. The lakeside village is jam-packed with diverse eateries, each with its own unique charm.
The village hosts super fun festivals throughout the year, from the Mississauga Waterfront Festival to Port Credit’s BuskerFest. Live music, art, and local talent—it’s a party you won’t want to miss.
Local tip: Don’t miss out on the lighthouse; it’s an iconic symbol of Port Credit’s rich maritime heritage.
Aga Khan Museum
Address: 77 Wynford Dr, North York, ON
Contact details: +1 416-646-4677
- Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5:30 PM
- Wednesday – 10 AM to 8 PM
The Aga Khan Museum is an architectural marvel housing spectacular Islamic art. It’s a modern-day palace that beckons, and, spoiler alert, it’s super accessible without a car, so we’re golden!
Entering here is like stepping into another world, teeming with intricate artefacts (over 1,000, I tell you) against a backdrop that is so stunning. You can even catch exhibitions showcasing Islamic art or attend soulful concerts that’ll resonate with you.
You can also check out the Diwan restaurant, the place where fusions of Moroccan, Lebanese, and Syrian cuisine come together in a palate firestorm of flavours. Now, as if the museum itself didn’t blow your mind, the Aga Khan Park just screams tranquillity.
When you start craving some outdoor zen, take a stroll in the expansive park with its gardens and serene reflecting pools.
Local tip: Time your visit to catch one of the fabulously curated “Nuit Talks” events. It’s like getting an artistic pep talk from the experts themselves!
Address: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-338-0338
- Monday to Sunday – Open 24 hours
Now let me tell you, High Park is HUGE—over 400 acres! This means you can always find something to do, no matter what you’re into.
Nature lovers will be totally smitten with the cherry blossoms in the spring, and the fall foliage is chef’s kiss beautiful. You’ll find tons of open green spaces where you can lay out your blanket and enjoy some delicious grub.
The park also has you covered, from swimming to tennis and even a skating rink in the winter. Oh, and there’s a dog park too, so make sure to say hi to all those cute fur babies!
What makes it even better? The park is home to plenty of outdoor eateries and snack bars, so you can easily grab a bite if you didn’t pack one.
Local tip: On Sundays, a trackless train takes you around the park for a small fee; it’s a super fun and easy way to explore all the park has to offer!
Art Gallery of Ontario
Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
Contact details: +1 416-979-6648
- Tuesday and Thursday – 10:30 AM to 5 PM
- Wednesday and Friday – 10:30 AM to 9 PM
- Saturday and Sunday – 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM
The AGO is hands down one of the best cultural spots in town; it’s got an amazing collection of art and super-engaging exhibitions. Plus, it’s right in the city, so no need for wheels—just hop on the TTC, and you’ll be there in no time!
Inside, you will be blown away by over 90,000 works spanning from the first century to the present day. The Indigenous and Canadian collections are particularly cool, and the contemporary art section is mind-blowing.
You’ll need a whole day to truly appreciate the smorgasbord of creativity on display, so make sure you’ve got comfy shoes on! Once you start feeling a bit peckish, worry not!
There are a couple of on-site eateries where you can refuel with some delicious food. My personal favourite? The cafe near Walker Court is the perfect spot for people-watching and soaking in the museum’s vibe.
Local tip: Visit on a Wednesday night between 6 and 9 PM—the AGO offers free admission to their permanent collection during those hours!