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As with most major cities, it takes time to get to know the true character of Toronto. Most visitors cluster downtown, exploring the neighborhoods there — and there’s plenty to see. Many are doing this through the experience of a home-away-from-home environment via Airbnb. Here’s a quick guide to the best Airbnbs in downtown Toronto for every type of traveler.
Old Town waterfront penthouse overlooking Lake Ontario
If you only have time for one neighborhood, make it Old Town, the birthplace of the city. From this waterfront penthouse, grab breakfast or lunch at St. Lawrence Market (Tuesday to Saturday). Then follow the tree-lined Esplanade to the Distillery District, a pedestrianized area of Victorian industrial buildings converted into high-end shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Make your way back along King Street East and take in the old red-brick buildings, many of which date back to the mid-19th century. Admire the gardens in St. James Park next to its eponymous cathedral before walking down Church Street to the Flatiron building. Don’t forget to check out the mural and small park at the back.
Four guests, two bedrooms
Price: $268 per night
Two-bedroom lakeview with parking in the Financial District
From this apartment, you have access to the financial heart of Canada. Go on a weekday when the place crawls with suits, and the shops along the underground walkways (PATH) are open. Start at Nathan Phillip Square for the modern City Hall and beautiful old City Hall (now the Court House). Meander between the glass-and-steel skyscrapers to discover courtyards with sculptures and fountains, such as “Tembo, Mother of Elephants” in Commerce Court Plaza and “The Pasture” on the grass next to the TD Centre. At Front and Bay, visit the atrium of Brookfield Place and have lunch at the Marché Restaurant. Then walk up stately University Avenue, designed to resemble a French boulevard.
Six guests, two bedrooms
Price: $283 per night
Arts-centric house in Entertainment District, downtown Toronto
Buzzing with activity on weekend evenings, this is Toronto’s playground, centered around Queen and King streets, just west of the Financial District. From your room in this arts-centric home, easily access the trendy shops, have dinner at The Queen Mother (or anywhere else that looks good), catch a Broadway play or a movie, then hit a bar or a nightclub to round up the night. For something a little more laid-back, keep walking west on Queen Street past Bathurst Avenue to hip West Queen West for art, culture, and fun. Relax in spacious Trinity-Bellwood Park, and have a full meal and live music at The Drake or The Gladstone hotel. On the way, check out Graffiti Alley, squeezed between Queen and Richmond Streets, west of Spadina.
Price: $72 per night
CN Tower view from affordable high-end loft
Here’s the thing about this high-rise unit — it delivers BIG TIME on its promise of an epic view. If you’re like us, you’re itching to get to Toronto just so you can stay in this apartment and hang out on the balcony. If you do manage to take your eyes off the CN Tower, the inside of the unit is trimmed nicely with a modern kitchen and bedroom. You can walk through the streets of Chinatown and Kensington Market easily while taking advantage of the dining, nightlife, and other epic scenes of downtown Toronto from throughout the neighborhood.
Three guests, one bedroom
Price: $162 per night
Entire downtown condominium across from the Rogers Center
Easily make your way to Toronto’s best restaurants, bars, and shopping from this upscale, 700-square-foot apartment across from the Rogers Center. The condo has views of the city skyline stretching out across the water and an interior lined with modern furnishings and 10-foot ceilings. Guaranteed, you won’t find a better view of the whole of Toronto to wake up to in the morning.
Four guests, two bedrooms
Price: $113 per night
Stunning luxury two-bedroom walking distance of Chinatown and Kensington Market
Toronto’s main Chinatown at Dundas and Spadina is always busy and atmospheric, especially on weekends. From this luxurious Chinatown apartment, go for dim sum (arrive by 11 a.m. to get a table), then follow the crowds of shoppers into Asian grocery stores, bakeries, and shops. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dundas. If you’re around later in the day, have an early dinner at Lee Garden. To the west of Spadina is Kensington Market, the most multicultural area of the city. Walk around this bohemian neighborhood and pop into vintage clothing stores. Take a break at one of the small family eateries running the gamut from Lebanese to Mexican. Admire the urban art or shop for fresh food.
Six guests, two bedrooms
Price: $135 per night
Sunny downtown apartment near Harbourfront and Toronto Islands, CN Tower view
This apartment has open views of downtown and toward Lake Ontario, and the surrounding Harbourfront area is where all downtown sites and tourists converge on a warm sunny day. Start early to avoid the crowds and take the ferry at the foot of Bay Street to Centre Island. Rent a bike or walk to Hanlan’s Point and its clothing-optional beach, or take a shorter walk to Ward’s Island. Have a bite to eat on the shady terrace of The Rectory Café on the way to Ward’s old-fashioned residential community. Back on the mainland, head west along the lake to Harbourfront. Take a cruise on tall ship Kajama, enjoy the buskers or a free show on the open-air stage, then try some tasty snacks at the food stands (summer only). If you can afford the admission price, go up the CN Tower (on a clear day).
Three guests, one bedroom
Price: $119 per night
Stylish and modern fully furnished Yorkville apartment
This apartment is above Yorkville and offers easy access to the entire neighborhood. Start at Yonge Street and walk west on Bloor, window shopping at the upscale boutiques and department stores. Pop into the Manulife Centre at the corner of Bay Street and have a drink at The One Eighty on the 51st floor for amazing views of the city. Pay a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum and its jaw-dropping architecture or the unusual Bata Shoe Museum. In the early evening, people-watch while sitting on “The Rock” in Cumberland Street’s urban park, and see how many luxury cars you can spot on Yorkville Street. Wrap up the day with a meal or a drink on the rooftop patio at Hemingway’s or with sushi at Asuka.
Price: $307 per night
Private loft with balcony at boutique hotel
The Sonder Toronto is among the city’s most elevated hotels, a boutique establishment that offers a refined downtown aesthetic while still remaining quirky and personable. This room shows exactly why — trimmed to hipster perfection and with easy access to the best of the Financial District, Old Toronto, Chinatown, and the neighborhoods closer to the waterfront. Walk the streets, popping into cafes and bars wearing your best outfit — this is the financial district after all — and experience the casual elegance that Toronto is known for.
Two guests, one bedroom
Price: $376 per night
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