It’s officially summer, people! As we welcome the sunny season into our city, we’re looking forward to all the amazing events, activities, and experiences that come with it. Everyone knows that summertime is when Toronto comes to life. From amazing patios to awesome experiences, to nearby day trips, and more, your Toronto summer bucket list is sure to be packed this year. Plus, now that things are finally starting to reopen, the summer is looking better by the day.

Editors Note: Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, provincial and city guidelines are continually changing. Please double-check business closures and restrictions before proceeding. 

Here are 28 events, activities, and experiences you need on your Toronto summer bucket list.

Experiences & Activities:

RETRO ROLLA

 

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Throw it back to the 70s at this first Toronto summer bucket list pick. All the best retro vibes are headed to The Bentway this summer at the Retro Rolla pop-up. The roller skating rental event will have you gliding through one of Toronto’s best not-so-hidden gems. Enjoy great vibes under the Gardiner all summer long.

Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd

ONTARIO PLACE DRIVE-IN

It’s the summer of nostalgia! Another stellar throwback activity that you’ve got to hit this summer is the Ontario Place Drive-In. The waterfront destination is offering tons of great screenings for a second year in a row. Stop by for their regular programming, or hit up the joint from June 27th – July 17th to experience the Lavazza Drive-In International Film Festival.

Where: 955 Lakeshore Blvd W

MOVIES UNDER THE STARS

All July, you can enjoy screenings under the stars at Downsview Park. This awesome drive-in has loads of great stuff lined up for you. But their big attraction comes during the final week of the month. They’ve got a surprise movie in-store presented by the City of Toronto and Reelworld Film Festival. The title has yet to be released but keep an eye out for updates on that!

Where: Downsview Park, 70 Canuck Ave

CITYVIEW DRIVE IN CONCERTS

The third drive-in on our summer bucket list does more than just movies. CityView hosts tons of awesome live performances, concerts, and special events at their venue. The lineup this summer includes everything from the Drive ‘N Queens Summer Series to The Summer House Party Tailgate Concert.

Where: 20 Polson St

THE SMOOTH PUTT

Two great summer activities: mini-golf and boozing. Combine these summer classics at the limited-time-only pop-up hitting Toronto this summer. Presented by Grey Goose Vodka, The Smooth Putt is sure to be a summertime hit. Tickets are already on sale now!

Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W
When: Friday, July 9th – Sunday, July 18th

CANADA’S WONDERLAND

After a year-long closure this Toronto spot is back in business, and earning a surefire spot on our Toronto summer bucket list. Head out to Vaughan to enjoy a day of fun with great rides, games, and amusement park eats. Canada’s Wonderland is a Toronto classic, so it’s only natural it’s a must-hit this summer.

Where: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan

TORONTO ISLANDS

Speaking of Toronto classics, is it really summertime without a trip to the islands? We don’t think so. There’s tons of great stuff to keep you occupied on a trip to this spot; from beaches to boardwalks to loads of green space. We recommend packing a picnic and making a whole day out of a trip here.

Where: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, 9 Queens Quay W

TORONTO BEACHES

Or make a whole day out of a trip to the beach. As a waterfront city, Toronto has tons of great sandy spaces to choose from. All you’ve got to do is load up the sunscreen, put on your best beach outfit, and pick which spot you’ll be spending the day. There’s really no wrong answer here.

Where: Find your nearest beach here

Must-hit Patios:

CABANA WATERFRONT PATIO

As one of the biggest outdoor dining facilities in the city, Cabana Waterfront Patio is a must this summer. The spot offers incredible eats, waterfront vibes, and great views of the skyline. Plus, they’ve got ongoing events happening like the Vegandale Monday menu, Brunch Sundays, their dinner and a movie offer, and loads more.

Where: 11 Polson St

RENDEZVIEWS

Another massive and crazy popular patio to hit this summer is RendezViews. The brainchild of Toronto restos The Fifth and The Ballroom, this former-parking-lot-turned-Toronto-attraction has been pulling in the masses since it first debuted last year. Now they’re back and better than ever with a gorgeous immersive art experience happening right on the patio. Stop by for great eats and drinks, catch a game on the big screen, or just enjoy the great vibes.

Where: 229 Richmond St W

GRAND BIZARRE

 

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Live the life of luxury this summer with the must-see dining experience at the Grand Bizarre. This outdoor spot is loaded with luxurious pools and private cabanas that you can lounge in all summer long. Plus, they offer a gorge celebrity chef-curated menu you simply have to taste.

Where: 15 Saskatchewan Rd

GERRARD EAST MARKET

What if we told you there was a beach-themed patio in the city loaded up with real sand? This outdoor spot is perfect for making memories. Stop by to enjoy a cold brew outside, while living it up like you’re on the waterfront. This pick is a great one for a chill afternoon.

Where: 1018 Gerrard St E

TORONTO BEACH CLUB

Or head to an actual beachside restaurant with the Toronto Beach Club. New to Toronto this year, this spot is making a name for themselves on the shores of Woodbine Beach. They’ve got a great Mediterranean-inspired menu full of dishes you don’t want to miss. So, pencil this spot in to your summer bucket list.

Where: 1681 Lake Shore Blvd E

CAFÉ ARTOIS

Over in Yorkville, you can enjoy patio dining plus outdoor art all in one. The Café Artois experience is Brough to us by Stella Artois and Yorkville Murals. They’ve transformed an entire street into an immersive mural you’ve just got to check out in person. Enjoy great views of it from one of the many nearby patios in the area.

Where: Bellair Street, Yorkville

THE GARDENS AT CASA LOMA

 

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The last must-try patio on our list might just be the prettiest. As North America’s only real castle, Casa Loma has been serving looks for as long as we can remember. Well, now you can enjoy it all in person when you dine in the garden of the beautiful grounds. The gorgeous floral scenery, the castle in the background, your table overlooking views of the city… What more could you ask for?

Where: 1 Austin Terrace

Food Events:

STREET EATS NIGHT MARKET

This summer you can stop by the night market everyone’s been talking about. Street Eats is bringing late night goodies to a food festival near you. Stop by to enjoy the socially-distanced lineup of delicious eats from local vendors. The outdoor food event is one you’ve got to check out at least once.

Where: Scarborough Town Centre, 520 Progress Ave & Hillcrest Mall, 9350 Yonge St

TORONTO CARNIVAL FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL

Although Toronto Carnival can’t happen this year, there will be a food truck festival in its absence. At the end of July, you can check out tons of great Caribbean eats from local vendors. The regular festival normally draws in crowds in the thousands, so we’re sure this food-centred event will pull in the masses.

Where: Location TBA
When: Saturday, July 31st & Sunday, August 1st

Art and Exhibitions:

PLAYING IN PUBLIC

 

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Down at The Bentway, an interactive art exhibit is brewing that you will not want to miss. Playing in Public is the summer-long event featuring works dedicated to, you guessed it, play. Stop by to enjoy tons of socially-distanced but interactive art you won’t find anywhere else.

Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd

BEYOND MONET

One of the most highly-anticipated art exhibits in the city has got to be Beyond Monet. This immersive spot features over 50,000 square feet of incredible work. The display is made up of 100 million pixels, for a 360 degree cinematic experience you’ll never forget. Stop by to enjoy over 400 of Monet’s greatest works; animated and brought to life.

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St W
When: Opening Thursday, August 5th

IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH

If you still haven’t checked out Immersive Van Gogh, this summer is your chance to. The most talked-about exhibit of last summer is back this season. Stop by for a fully immersive display of the famous artist’s greatest works. This exhibit can be enjoyed in person or from the comfort of your car drive-in-style.

Where: 1 Yonge St

ILLUSIONARIUM

 

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The same folks behind Immersive Van Gogh have got a magical exhibit headed our way this summer. Illusionarium is all about, you guessed it, magic! There will be live magicians, holograms, 3D projections, and more at this exciting art event.

Where: 1 Yonge St
When: Opens Thursday, July 29th

Day Trips & Nearby Destinations:

RIDGE RUNNER BLUE MOUNTAIN

If you’re looking for an adventure outside of the city, the Ridge Runner coaster at Blue Mountain is a great place to start. This insane attraction will let you zip through the mountains at up to 42 km/hour, all while you’re controlling your own speed. You’ll enjoy a little thrill while experiencing the great sights of the surrounding nature.

Where: 150 Jozo Weider Blvd, Unit AY2, The Blue Mountains

INTERZIP

 

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Speaking of thrills, this insane zipline will have you gliding at 40 km/hour from Ottawa to Quebec and back over the river on 425-metre-long twin cables. The once-in-a-lifetime journey lets you soar over incredible sights like Parliament Hill and all its surroundings. You get to take in the views from an insane vantage point of 37 metres above the Ottawa River.

Where: 40 Rue Jos-Montferrand, Gatineau, Quebec
When:
Officially opens Thursday, June 24th

NIAGARA SPEEDWAY

If you like the speed, you’re sure to love this next nearby attraction. As North America’s largest elevated go-kart track, the Niagara Speedway spans a whopping four acres. It’s got four storeys of helical spiralled fun, followed by a two-tiered coaster-style ramp that runs into yet another spiral. The karts are powered by a large 4 stroke Honda motor, with 9HP and a max track speed of 32 km/hour.

Where: 4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls

ALGONQUIN HIGH FALLS NATURAL WATER SLIDE

Splash in the sun at the Algonquin High Falls natural water slide. This outdoor attraction lets you glide down a rocky slide into the swimming hole of the Barren River. It’s great for an outdoor adventure or day trip. Plus, the location has loads of hiking trails, canoeing opportunities, and campsites in case you want to extend your stay.

Where: Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario 60, Ontario

ELORA GORGE TUBING

Another great water-themed outdoor spot is the natural lazy river at Elora Gorge. With just a 1.5 hour drive from the city, you can wade in one of the most beautiful natural attractions. Spend the day floating along this insane waterway and take in all the gorgeous sights it’s serving up.

Where: Elora Gorge Park, 7400 Wellington County Rd, Elora

NIAGARA ZIPLINE WILDPLAY

For a truly unforgettable experience, add a ride on the Niagara Zipline to your summer bucket list. Your  day trip to the falls will be ramped up by 100 when you glide at insane heights here. The thrilling attraction is one you’ve got to hit up at least once in your life, so why not this summer?

Where: 5920 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls

THE JUNE MOTEL

 

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Last but not least, we’ve got a cool stay at the nearby June Motel. Whichever location of this adorable spot you choose, you’ll be met with vintage vibes and Pinterest-worthy decor. The place provides a perfect coastal getaway that will make any summer long weekend a surefire hit.

Where: 11 Sauble Falls Pky, Sauble Beach & 12351 Loyalist Pky, Picton

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start checking off items on your Toronto summer bucket list. Let us know which event, activity, or experience you hit up first!