Toronto is made up of a diverse range of neighbourhoods. Located just 45 minutes east of downtown Toronto (by streetcar), the Beaches neighbourhood is a vibrant and exciting area that has the best beaches in the city of Toronto.
Having lived in the Beaches my whole life, I want to share all the fantastic things to do in my neighbourhood with you. So whether you’re looking to spend a day at the beach, strolling in one of the beautiful parks or ravines, relaxing at one of the many patio restaurants on Queen Street East, or taking in a special event such as the Beaches Jazz Festival, the Beaches has it all!
With so much to do and see, the Beaches is an ideal day trip for visitors to Toronto or locals looking for a fun-filled day out with the family!
Where is the Beaches Neighbourhood Located?
The Beaches are located along Lake Ontario in the east end of Toronto between Woodbine Avenue to the west, Victoria Park Avenue to the east, Lake Ontario to the south, and Kingston Road to the north. Queen Street East runs through the centre of the neighbourhood just north of the lake.
The Upper Beach is located between Kingston Road and Danforth Avenue.
The Beaches are easily accessible by car or TTC. Depending on when you visit the area, parking can be very limited, but there are several parking options if you decide to drive to the Beaches. The Beaches are especially busy on weekends in the summer months, on holidays, and during special events such as the Beaches International Jazz Festival or fireworks at Ashbridges Bay.
Is there Actually a Beach?
Yes! This neighbourhood is located right on the shores of Lake Ontario and encompasses about 6 kilometres of sandy beaches and parks along Toronto’s waterfront.
Woodbine Beach Park has the most things to do as it is the largest beach and is right beside Ashbridges Bay Park. As you walk east along the boardwalk from Woodbine Beach, you will hit Kew-Balmy Beach and then Silver Birch Beach. No one in the area really refers to the different beaches. To us locals, everything is “The Beach.”
There are several other large beaches located in Toronto, including Cherry Beach, Bluffer’s Park Beach, Sunnyside Beach, and the Toronto Islands, but they are not located in the Beaches neighbourhood and are quite a distance from one another.
What are the Best Things to Do in the Beaches Neighbourhood?
Having lived in the Beaches neighbourhood my whole life, there are so many excellent things to do in the area. Every season brings different activities and spectacular scenery. Read on to see my list of the best things to do while visiting the Beaches Neighbourhood in Toronto!
1. Spend the Day at Woodbine Beach Park
Obviously, one of the best things to do is to visit the beach! Woodbine Beach Park is a perfect place for lounging on the beach, swimming in the lake, playing beach volleyball, or riding the bike trails.
With lots of picnic areas, a large off-leash dog area, and lots of outdoor activities, spending a day at this large beach close to downtown Toronto is the perfect way to spend a summer weekend!
2. Stroll Along Queen Street East
Locals love to walk along Queen Street. There is a charming neighbourhood feel as people take their dogs for a walk, meet up with friends and family, visit one of the local boutique stores, or grab a coffee (or maybe an ice cream) while enjoying a stroll along Queen Street with friends.
The Beach is a food lover’s paradise. There is a wide selection of excellent restaurants and many excellent outdoor patios to choose from all along Queen Street. You can find pubs and bars, fine dining, breakfast and brunch, and fast food too!
The patios are also a great spot to visit in order to catch a front-row seat to the Beaches Jazz Festival!
4. Have a Picnic in Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a hidden gem that offers a relaxing spot with lots of green space for visitors of all ages. From the beautiful gardens, to the children’s playground and splash pad, Kew Gardens is the perfect spot to have a picnic lunch or relax in the park.
5. Watch the Fireworks at Ashbridges Bay Park
Ashbridges Bay has some fantastic firework displays on Victoria Day and Canada Day each year. The fireworks are beautiful to see, and they look stunning over Lake Ontario. The fireworks start at dusk and last about 15 minutes in total. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy these free fireworks displays on each of the holidays.
6. Enjoy a Festival at Woodbine Park
Woodbine Park is a 28 acre park located on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd. E. directly across from Woodbine Beach. It is a large open park that features many local food and music festivals, including Afrofest, Ribfest, the Toronto Food Truck Festival, Q107 Canada Day Weekend, and the Beaches Jazz Festival.
There are also lots of walking trails, a beautiful pond with a fountain, and an excellent playground and splash pad for children.
7. Enjoy the BEST Ice Cream in the City at ED’s Real Scoop
When you consider what to do in the Beaches, you must add a visit to ED’s Real Scoop ice cream store. Their famous roasted marshmallow ice cream is the stuff of legends, and people from all over Toronto come to get their hands on a scoop (or three). Sure, you might have to brave long lines on hot days, but trust me, it’s worth it.
8. Attend the Beaches Jazz Festival in July
Are you ready to experience Canada’s largest free jazz festival? If so, then mark your calendars for the last week of July because that’s when the Beaches Jazz Festival takes over Queen St. E. Every year, over 50 bands come together for a street festival that’s all about showcasing the city’s best jazz and blues talent.
The best part? The entire event is completely free! It is my absolute favourite event in the area, so if you are here in July, be sure to check it out!
9. Walk the Glen Stewart Ravine
The Glen Stewart Ravine is a picturesque trail that starts near Queen St. at Glen Manor Drive. This short hike takes you through one of the prettiest ravines in the city. There is a boardwalk trail through the ravine, which is a favourite Instagram spot for photographers in the fall and winter.
10. Take in the Sunset
The Beaches neighbourhood offers one of the best places in Toronto to capture a stunning sunset. There are several locations within the Beaches to capture the sunset, including by the Leuty Lifeguard Station, at Ashbridges Bay, Silver Birch Beach, and Tommy Thompson Park.
And a little tip from a local, winter brings some of the best sunset views in the Beaches! The location of the setting sun, combined with the contrasting snow, results in some pretty spectacular sunset views!
11. Go Skateboarding at Ashbridges Bay Skatepark
If you’re a skateboarder in Toronto, you’ll want to check out the Ashbridges Bay Skatepark, located at Coxwell Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard East near Woodbine Beach. This skatepark is the largest in Toronto and is an ideal location for pro skaters or those just starting out.
The skatepark also has a cool and unique design that sets it apart from other skateparks in the area. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your board and head down to Ashbridges’ Bay to experience this impressive skatepark for yourself.
12. Play Golf at Dentonia Park Golf Course
Tucked away in the heart of Toronto is a hidden gem that is perfect for those looking for a fun and affordable game of golf. Dentonia Park Golf Course is an 18-hole par-3 course that is open every day from mid-April to mid-November.
The best part? Anyone can easily book a tee time online and get ready to hit the greens. With reasonable green fees (less than $35 for 18 holes on weekends), Dentonia Park Golf Course is an ideal spot for locals and visitors alike. Head over there, tee up, and get ready for a memorable game of golf.
13. Go Swimming at Blantyre Outdoor Pool
When summer rolls around, there’s really nothing quite like taking a refreshing dip in a cool swimming pool, and Blantyre Pool is the perfect location to do this in the Beaches. Blantyre is an outdoor swimming pool located near Victoria Park Avenue and Kingston Road and is a popular destination for those looking to cool off on a hot summer day.
While swimmers do need to pass a swim test to go into the deep end, the deep end is just 1.5 metres deep, making it an ideal depth for families and those learning to swim. There is also a fantastic deep-end slide that makes the pool so much fun to visit! Finally, there’s a playground, baseball diamond right beside the pool, making it a popular place to visit with the whole family.
14. Ride Your Bike Along the Martin Goodman Trail
Looking for a picturesque bike trail with a waterfront view? Look no further than Toronto’s Martin Goodman Trail! This bike path runs from the bottom of Silver Birch Ave., near the Balmy Beach Canoe Club, all the way to Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay. In fact, the total length of the trail is about 56 kilometres, taking you from one side of Toronto to the other.
With stunning views of Lake Ontario and the beach, you’re sure to enjoy a leisurely and scenic ride.
15. Go Skating and Tobogganing in Glen Stewart Park
Looking for a fun way to spend your winter days? Look no further than Glen Stewart Park! Tucked away in the Glen Stewart Ravine, this hidden gem has a little something for everyone. Strap on some skates and glide around the outdoor rink, lovingly maintained by dedicated community volunteers.
And when you need a break from the skating rink, head over to the hills! While they may not be the biggest hills around, they’re perfect for an afternoon of tobogganing with the family.
16. Watch a Movie at the Fox Theatre
Looking for a theatre experience unlike any other? Look no further than the Fox Movie Theatre! This iconic establishment has been around since 1914, making it the longest running continuous theatre in all of Canada. And not only that, the Fox is also fully licensed to serve alcohol, so you can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine while taking in a show.
Whether you’re a film buff or just looking for a unique night out, the Fox Movie Theatre is the perfect spot for a fun and unforgettable evening. So grab your friends, order a drink, and settle in for a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience at the Fox!
17. Appreciate the Views from the RC Harris Water Filtration Plant (Water Works)
Have you ever heard of the RC Harris Water Filtration Plant? Locals like to refer to it as the “water works” and for good reason. This beautiful historic building was built in the 1930’s and sits right on the water. The RC Harris Water Filtration Plant is not only a feat of engineering, it’s also a sight to behold.
The architectural design alone is enough to leave you breathless. And the fact that this building has been providing clean water to Toronto for almost a century is truly impressive. If you’re ever in the beaches area, make sure to check out this iconic landmark.
18. Take in a Concert at HISTORY Toronto
Located very close to Woodbine Park on Queen St. E. at Kingston Rd. is the brand new concert venue HISTORY. This intimate concert hall with a capacity of 2,500 is a state-of-the-art live music venue. Opened in 2021, this concert hall has excellent sound quality a lots of washrooms! This premiere music venue in Toronto is worth a visit if you are in the area.
Where to Stay in the Beaches
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For those looking for accommodations, here are my two suggestions for where to stay when visiting the Beaches Neighbourhood in Toronto. Unfortunately, there are no hotels located in the Beaches.
The Broadview Hotel is not only a fabulous, unique boutique hotel in the city, it is the closest hotel to the Beaches and is my #1 top pick.
My second pick is the Delta Hotel in downtown Toronto. While not located in the Beaches, it is conveniently located beside Union Station, making it easy to get around Toronto and visit other attractions across the city.
Final Thoughts: What to do in the Beaches Neighbourhood, Toronto
The Beaches neighbourhood is a great destination for anyone looking to experience the best that the city of Toronto has to offer.
Come and spend a day in the Beaches where you can play beach volleyball, go swimming, walk the boardwalk and trails, ride your bike, and stop for a meal or a drink on one of the many outdoor beach patios.
If you are looking for some accommodations in the Beaches, you’ll want to read my post on the 10 Best Hotels near the Beaches.
So why not come and explore all that the Beaches neighbourhood has to offer? It’s the perfect spot to enjoy summer weekends, just 30 minutes from downtown Toronto!
Read More About the Beaches Neighbourhood
Visit one of these related posts to learn even more interesting things to see and do in this fantastic neighbourhood in Toronto.
- 10 Best Hotels near the Beaches, Toronto
- 20+ Best Things to Do at Woodbine Beach Park
- 10 Local Tips for Watching the Woodbine Beach Fireworks
- 16 Best Patios in the Beaches 2023
- Top 17 Things to do in the Beaches Neighbourhood
- The Ultimate Local Guide to the Beaches Jazz Festival
- Cherry Beach Toronto: Sandy Shores and City Views
- Glen Stewart Ravine: Beauty in the Heart of the Beaches
- Discover Kew Gardens Park in the Beaches