I was born and raised in Toronto, and it’s safe to say that in 26 years of living here I have gotten to know Toronto pretty well. People have different things they look for in their neighbourhoods, so these picks are based on what I feel makes a neighbourhood a great place to live. I love a neighbourhood where you can walk from your place to get most of your errands done, be close to a subway, be near lots of nature AND entertainment, and have the overall feel of living in a community.
Too much to ask for from a Toronto neighbourhood? Not so!
Just because you live in the big city of Toronto doesn’t mean you cant find a great community where you’re able to get to know your neighbours. Even in the heart of downtown!
As someone in my twenties, I am definitely drawn to the more active parts of Toronto where you can feel the pulse of the city. Having a lot going on around you is extremely motivating but a neighbourhood where you can get the best of both worlds, a bit of quiet and the hectic city life is ideal. Here are my top ten picks for the best neighbourhoods to live in, ones that I feel meet the criteria I listed.
Where to live in Toronto – My top ten picks
Yonge and Eglinton can be called midtown Toronto, but really its on the upper half of midtown. This area has undergone a development boom in the last couple years but even before that, it was a popular place in the city. Iconic bars including the Duke of Kent and Rose and Crown line the streets here, along with pretty much everything else you would need. Medical offices, grocery stores, bars, subway, and great restaurants. It’s ideal for people who want the feel of downtown without being right in the thick of it. Lots of apartment buildings and condos and its uptown location make this one of the more affordable places to live in Toronto. It’s less than a twenty minute ride to Dundas station and less than twenty minutes to get to the burbs in the other direction. This rental is just a hop and skin from Eglinton station.
Church and Wellesley is a beloved neighbourhood in Toronto. The LGBTQ enclave, otherwise known as The Village is home to one of the friendliest and welcoming communities in Toronto. The nightlife is exceptional, especially if you love a good drag show. It’s downtown location means it has a lot of accessible amenities to forget needing a car. One of the biggest and best Loblaws is there. What makes this Loblaws so special you may ask? Two words. It has a Nutella café in it! The area also has a lot of history and holds a lot of meaning to Toronto. In the summer the biggest Pride Parade in Canada is held there and it is one of the best parties and events you can go to in the city. Infact, there is usually one event or another going on in The Village, which you can look at by clicking here. Definitely busier than midtown, definitely worth it. And when you are feeling sick of the concrete jungle just head over to the free Allan Gardens for some nature. If this sounds like your kind of area, click here to look at one of the buildings in the area. It is smack-dab in between The Village and Cabbagetown! Prime Toronto Real Estate.
The Harbourfront in Toronto is one of the best neighbourhoods you can live in. The view and proximity to the lake makes you forget that a 10 minute walk away is the heart of downtown and all the fun stuff that comes with that. Do you feel like a quiet walk along the water? This is your area! Do you want to be able to walk to baseball games and the biggest concerts in the city? This is your area! This is one of the most sought after neighbourhoods for a reason. You have Union station right there along the VIA rail station and GO bus station. Billy Bishop Airport is also close by for when you feel like taking a quick trip! Click here to see an example of some of the gorgeous units available in the area. It has one of the best views in the city!
Liberty Village is full of young creatives working in Toronto and the area reflects that. Super hip and fun, there are a lot of cafes and bars there. The architecture is mostly converted warehouses which give it that super modern and cool aesthetic. The water is also close by enough for when you are feeling like a nice bike ride or walk along the lakefront. The only thing about Liberty Village is that it is a ways a way from a subway station, but thank goodness for buses and streetcars. Click here to look at some gorgeous, newly renovated rentals available in Liberty Village!
Cabbagetown is perfect for the socially conscious hipster, here you will find your people. Do you make your own kombucha? Do you enjoy an independent coffee shop over Starbucks? Looking for the perfect Yoga studio? Look no further. Cabbagetown went from being one of the poorest areas of Toronto to one of the most unique and interesting with lots of offer. There is a farmers market, and Cabbagetown has a bunch of local festivals giving you an opportunity to really get to know the people who live alongside you! It’s downtown, has a lot of amenities to offer, and just has a super positive vibe in it.
The Annex is a very student heavy neighbourhood but don’t let that scare you off. That just means you have a lot of cheap food options around you, bars with great drink specials, and you’re downtown! The houses in the neighbourhood are beautiful and a lot of them are frats and sororities from nearby UFT so if you’re the kind person that misses the Greek scene from uni, The Annex is for you.
Kensington Market may just be my favorite neighbourhood in Toronto. Yes you have to take a street car if you don’t like to walk but it is so worth it. The houses are unique and gorgeous, it has some of the best food in the city, the community is full of quirky personality, and China town is right there to meet all of your shopping needs. Not enough people appreciate the kind of shopping you can do in China town. The prices are cheap and you can get all kinds of groceries. Also dumplings, delicious delicious dumplings on every corner. The business in the market features quaint cafes, little fruit and veg markets, amazing ethnic food, and vintage hippie shops. Kensington is just a dream come true in Toronto. A good way to gage if Kensington is right for you is one simple question, do you like incense? If yes Kensington will probably make you very happy.
Queen St. West
Queen St. West is one of the most fun streets to walk down. You can plan to do some of the best shopping in the city, drink at some of the most popular bars, and eat some great food all while walking along this one street. It is one of, if not the coolest neighbourhood in Toronto. There are stores to meet every fashion style from super chic to punk. Click here for a shopping guide to Queen St. West! Definitely one of the busiest neighbourhoods in Toronto with a whole lot to offer in the way of excitement.
Yorkville is definitely one of the more high-fashion bougie areas of Toronto and it is one of the more expensive areas but hear us out. Yes, Yorkville has a lot of offer to people who have deep pockets. It is also smack dab in the heart of midtown. You have Bloor and Bay station right there, and the accessibility you have to other fun neighbourhoods like Church and Wellesley or Yonge and Eglinton is key. If you don’t feel like travelling you can go to one of the many popular bars or restaurants that are right there. Hemingway’s is great! Just look at this gorgeous condo up for rent in Yorkville.
The Beaches may seem like it’s only for older people and families but that just is not the case. It’s for people who like to live near water and have cottage views 20 minutes away from downtown Toronto. It offers some peace from the city with lots to do around. The rent is a bit cheaper since it is slightly off the main line but if you don’t mind streetcars The Beaches is a great place to live. In the nice weather people will be walking the streets popping into the cute cafes and restaurants and night there is certainly a party scene. You will never feel like you need to leave for a weekend to get away from the city, and when you do miss the hustle and bustle its 20 minutes away! Click here to look fully a renovated Beach suite for rent! The great thing about the Beaches is that it is less crowded than the city core and for people looking to rent but not necessarily live in an apartment building would have the best luck finding that here.