Things to do in Toronto

Indoor Activities in Toronto

Curious about the Canadian cultural scene? Toronto's exceptional indoor activities offer an immersive introduction.

Toronto is one of the most-visited places in Canada, and it's easy to see why. The city is packed with memorable buildings, a flourishing cultural scene, and exceptional restaurants.

Tourists flock to the CN Tower and stroll the scenic shores of Lake Ontario year-round. However, having a list of indoor activities ready is always a good idea because you never know when a winter blizzard or a spring storm will disrupt your day.

The good news? Canadians are accustomed to unpredictable weather, so you won't miss out. In fact, many of the best things to do in Toronto are located indoors.

Museums and Art Galleries

Museums in Toronto are among the best in the country. That’s no surprise given the city's sizable population and booming tourism sector. The options are many and varied, with some delightfully unexpected offerings.

Since many local institutions rotate their displays frequently, there's always something new to see. That's why museums are our go-to indoor Toronto activity.

1. Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum is the biggest museum in Canada and one of Toronto's most important architectural icons. You can't miss it — the facade is shaped like a giant crystal, complete with glass and aluminum facets and points that tower more than 121 ft. overhead.

Inside, a mind-boggling collection of cultural and natural historical artifacts transports you from the time of the dinosaurs through Ancient Egypt (don't miss the Book of the Dead) and up to Canada's First Peoples. Not into human history? Spend the afternoon looking at meteorites and crystals or checking out rare animal specimens.

Photographer: Alizain Hirani

2. Art Gallery of Ontario

Explore more than 1,000 years of art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It has historic photos, contemporary art, European art, and more, so there's something for every art enthusiast.

We love the Canadian collection, which features work from homegrown artists throughout the centuries. Check out an Anishinaabe gun stock club and see how the Group of Seven depicted Canada's intimidating wilderness. Looking for affordable indoor family activities in Toronto? The museum is free for visitors aged 25 and under.

3. Bata Shoe Museum

You don't have to have a passion for fashion to love the Bata Shoe Museum. It's impossible not to be drawn in by the fascinating footwear on display. Check out gravity-defying platforms from 16th-century Italy, moon boots made for astronaut Jim Lovell, and Tudor-era armored knight's shoes.

This remarkable museum skillfully guides you through the evolution of footwear, all while captivating you with weird and wonderful shoe designs. It's a fun activity for everyone. We're pretty sure it will be one of your favorite indoor activities in Toronto.

4. Gardiner Museum

Get ready for your new obsession: clay and ceramics. If you're doubtful, the Gardiner Museum will make you a believer. You'll no doubt want to create your masterpieces after seeing tiny earthenware people from 1100 BC and Italian dishes from the 1500s.

The museum hosts regular drop-in classes for adults and children. They’re a perfect rainy-day activity and teach the art of hand-shaping and wheel-throwing techniques.

Afterward, head upstairs to the Clay Restaurant for lunch with a view. Keep in mind that parking can be challenging in this part of the city. Fortunately, Bay Station is less than a block away.

5. Toronto Railway Museum

If your kids love trains, the Toronto Railway Museum should be high on your list of activities. Head to the historic roundhouse to explore memorabilia and equipment and learn about Canada's railroad legacy.

We recommend a guided tour; it's free with your ticket. Don't miss the train simulator, which puts you behind the controls of a locomotive. When the weather allows, head outside to ride on a miniature steam train and explore different locomotives and railway cars.

Photographer: Daniel Hodson

6. Museum of Illusions Toronto

Need a quick and entertaining indoor activity? The Museum of Illusions Toronto has you covered. Kids love the hands-on exhibits, which each feature a different trick.

From hilarious illusion rooms to creative installations, each activity makes you think harder about the nature of reality. The entire experience only takes 30 minutes, so it's manageable for people of all ages and attention spans.

7. Textile Museum of Canada

Just down the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Textile Museum of Canada is a must-visit destination for crafters. Here, you'll discover some of the most masterful thread-based works in the world.

Check out scraps of cloth made in Peru more than 2,000 years ago and marvel at the enormous, intricately made wall hangings by modern textile artists. You can even try your hand at weaving on one of the museum's looms or take a class in the Textile Learning Hub.

8. The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Head down to the shores of Lake Ontario to visit The Power Plant. This contemporary art gallery is one of Toronto's best free indoor activities. The repurposed industrial building is a striking backdrop for the museum's wild and thought-provoking modern art collection.

Our team always makes a beeline for its large-scale art installations. The immersive flood of sound, light, and color evokes the same wonder and awe as our multidimensional performances. Before you come, check the events calendar to learn about special exhibitions and events.

9. Spadina Museum

Ever wonder what life was like for wealthy Torontonians in the early 1900s? Find out at the Spadina Museum, a historic mansion restored to its original splendor. As you wander through the lavishly decorated rooms, you'll discover the fashion, decor, and cultural context of the roaring twenties.

Admission is free, and guides provide fascinating free tours from Wednesday to Sunday. Leave time at the end of your visit to explore the grounds and staff residences.

10. Hockey Hall of Fame

Experience Canada's national sport at the Hockey Hall of Fame. For hockey fans, this is the pinnacle of indoor activities in Downtown Toronto. After all, it's home to hockey's holy grail, the Stanley Cup. See the original trophy in Lord Stanley's Vault, or get your picture taken with the modern version.

Elsewhere in the museum, you can see the first Zamboni, learn about NHL legends, and travel back in time to see the origins of hockey. Don't leave without practicing your skills on the interactive model ice rinks.

Photographer: Mykola Swarnyk


Peaceful and colorful, aquariums are the ideal refuge from Toronto's summer heat and winter winds. Every visit brings you deep into an underwater world of color and creatures.

11. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is one of the best indoor activities in Toronto. Its massive displays allow you to get up close and personal with thousands of incredible sea creatures.

The highlight is the aquarium tunnel. The moving walkway allows you to glide through it as sharks swim overhead. The aquarium is right across the street from the Toronto Railway Museum. Combine the two, and you have a full day of indoor activities.

Indoor Farmers Markets

Farmers' markets are the ultimate community experience. In Toronto, visitors and tourists enjoy tasty treats and shop for fresh food. The fun doesn't need to stop at the city's indoor markets when the weather isn't cooperating.

12. St. Lawrence Market

With more than 100 vendors, the sprawling St. Lawrence Market can keep you busy for hours. Fuel up for some serious browsing with lunch or a snack. Try the peameal bacon sandwiches and custard tarts from Carousel Bakery and Paddington’s Pump if you want a full, true-to-life Toronto experience.

Alternatively, check out the lobster rolls at Buster’s Sea Cove or the unbeatable Greek food at Yianni’s Kitchen. These spots will give you the energy you need to explore multiple floors of produce, artisanal foods, and souvenirs.


Toronto has a thriving theater scene. Local venues host everything from big-budget Broadway musicals to new works by Canadian playwrights. Most weekends feature a full lineup of performances to choose from. You can even catch one of our awe-inspiring shows here!

13. Princess of Wales Theatre

Toronto music theater lovers know the Princess of Wales Theatre is the place to go for large-scale musicals. Most seasons are packed with fan favorites like Aladdin, Wicked, and Les Misérables.

The venue is worth visiting with its red velvet seats, soaring ceilings, and vibrant murals. Although the theater can seat 2,000 people, reserving tickets early is a good idea.

14. CAA Theatre

If you love indie performances and lesser-known works, the CAA Theatre delivers. It offers a mix of plays, musicals, and comedy performances throughout the year. There's always something interesting going on, and you never know when you'll be watching one of the rising stars of the Canadian arts scene.

15. Tarragon Theatre

When it comes to original works, Tarragon Theatre reigns supreme. The team and board of directors are passionate about supporting the next generation of Canadian playwrights, making this the best place in the city to see brand-new plays.

Our performers resonate with the theater's open-minded approach to artistic expression. Many shows feature innovative storytelling methods and nontraditional theatrical practices. If you want to get involved, check out the schedule of workshops and intensives.

Escape Rooms

Test your problem-solving abilities in an escape room. The only way out is to solve a series of challenges before the clock runs down. This fun, exciting experience is the perfect option when you need date ideas in Toronto, or you're planning an evening with friends.

The city's best escape rooms offer varying themes and ever-changing puzzles, so you can visit again and again.

16. Casa Loma Escape Rooms

Choose from five different escape rooms at Casa Loma Escape Rooms. It operates out of the castle, a Gothic Revival mansion that's straight out of a spooky movie. Each escape room has a different story. You might enter a mysterious world of dragons and alchemists or work to capture an evasive bootlegger.

Each quest takes about an hour and accommodates between 12 and 15 people. Before you reserve, examine the difficulty of each game and note the physical requirements, as some rooms require you to climb many flights of stairs.

Photographer: freebie

17. Captive Escape Rooms Toronto

With its creepy, slightly unnerving puzzles, Captive Escape Rooms Toronto will surely give you an adrenaline rush. Don't worry; the themes are a little dark, but there are no jump scares. In fact, the content is appropriate for anyone aged 13 or older.

Explore Dracula's library, escape from a strange farm, or navigate out of a haunted mansion. If you're searching for fun indoor activities in Toronto that won't break the bank, this is a great option. Captive offers some of the most affordable escape rooms in the city.

18. Escape Manor

Escape Manor is all about immersive entertainment. Although people of all ages are welcoming, you’ll find that it’s more geared at adult participants. There’s a full bar and an axe-throwing space on-site. The escape rooms range from whimsical to terrifying, so finding one that suits your vibe is easy.

In Sherwood Forest, you must solve all the puzzles to join Robin Hood and his merry band. Choose Death Row, and you'll have 45 minutes to save your own life. The hosts do a fantastic job of bringing you into the story, which adds to the thrill.


When you want a relaxed, quiet indoor activity in Toronto, look no further than the library. Bring your laptop or pull a book from the shelves and spend a few hours working, reading, and people-watching.

19. Toronto Public Library System

Finding a branch of the Toronto Public Library is a breeze regardless of where you are in the city. The system has more than 100 locations scattered throughout the metro area.

The biggest is the Toronto Reference Library, which features various seating areas and unusual, clear study pods. In addition to books, the library has music practice rooms, 3D printers, video studios, and interactive classes. The airy and artistic North York Central Library branch is also worth a visit.

Photographer: Nick Smith

Endless Indoor Discoveries Await in Toronto

Don't worry when the weather forecast is uncertain. Toronto's indoor activities are just as exciting as its outdoor landmarks. From world-class museums to experimental theater, this bustling Canadian city has an abundance of attractions.

Are you visiting when our performers are in town? Add our electrifying shows to your list of indoor activities. Under the big top, losing yourself in the story and the all-encompassing sensory experience is easy. Accompanied by otherworldly music, our performers execute gravity-defying, high-flying acrobatics and edgy choreography. Become part of our unique universe at one of our shows in Toronto.

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