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12 Things You Can Do on a Layover at Toronto Pearson Airport

12 Things You Can Do on a Layover at Toronto Pearson Airport

12 Things You Can Do on a Layover at Toronto Pearson Airport

Airport layovers can often be the keys to discovering more about a certain place. This allows one to explore a city or country even just for a short while. 

Time is of the essence if you happen to have a 4-hour layover in one of the biggest cities in the world, Toronto. There are plenty of  fun things to do  in the city and the choices are overwhelming. 

Here is a guide on how you can productively and pleasurably spend your 4-hour layover at Toronto Pearson Airport. Safe travels! 

What To Do During a 4-hour Layover in Toronto?

Within a 4-hour layover at Toronto Pearson Airport, one can already enjoy some of Toronto’s iconic spots, best restaurants, beauty services, art galleries, and more. 

The location of Toronto Pearson Airport is practically less than 30 minutes from Union Station, the intermodal transportation hub of the city. 

This means that once you get here, it will be easy for you to explore Toronto and get to where you want to go. 

We know that it could be hard to decide on what to do within a 4-hour layover, so we curated this list of 12 things to help you: 

  1. Visit the iconic Toronto CN Tower
  2. Eat
  3. Explore St. Lawrence Market 
  4. Pamper yourself
  5. Go shopping
  6. Take a photowalk
  7. Have a picnic
  8. See a movie
  9. Step into an amusement park
  10.  Do sports
  11.  Bask in the beauty of nature
  12.  Relax or sleep in

What is a Layover? 

For those of you who are still confused, a layover is a period or time before another trip. This is basically the time spent in the airport or in your corresponding airport’s city before boarding your connecting or next flight. 

Where is the Toronto Pearson Airport? 

Where is the Toronto Pearson Airport

Image source: crazycroat via IStock

Toronto Pearson International Airport is formally known as Lester B. Pearson International Airport. It is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. 

It serves as the main Toronto airport and is very popular in the Greater Toronto Area. The surrounding region known as the Golden Horseshoe also regards this airport as its main terminal. 

Just to give you a general overview, the airport is not that far from all the places you can see in Toronto. In most cases, it will take you a 20 to 30 minute taxi ride to where you want to go — be it a restaurant, salon, spa, a city landmark, or park. 

Taking a taxi or a car is the best way to go, especially since you only have 4 hours. We also advise that you look at a map while planning to figure out the best routes. 

You can save up by taking a bus or train from the airport, but these usually take 30 minutes to an hour for a one-way trip to or from the airport. This is also doable, you just have to spend your time wisely. 

We also recommend taking the train to Union Station from the airport, which takes 25 minutes. You can figure out your way from Union Station as many landmarks and famous spots are accessible from that area. 

12 Things You Can Do on a Layover in Toronto Pearson Airport

You can either stay in the airport or maximise your 4-hour layover by stepping out and seeing the city. 

Here is a comprehensive guide on the 12 things you can do during a 4-hour layover in Toronto: 

1. Visit the iconic Toronto CN Tower

Visit the iconic Toronto CN Tower

Image source: Marcin Skalij via Unsplash

The Canadian National Tower has held the title of being the tallest freestanding structure in the world for about three decades. It is still recognised as the tallest man-made structure in Canada, standing at 553.3 meters high. 

This concrete building, apart from its primary function as Toronto’s telecommunications hub, is also a sight to behold.  In 1995, it was even designated as a Wonder of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Apart from admiring its beauty and being astonished by its height, there are several activities you can do in CN Tower. You can see a beautiful view of the city from its LookOut level, which can fit about 700 people. 

If you want a more thrilling experience, you can also walk around its EdgeWalk, which is the surrounding path of the tower’s main pod. This costs around CAD195. 

There are also restaurants and cafés within this majestic structure and you can also purchase a few souvenirs from a gift shop inside. 

Ticket prices to get in the CN Tower vary. The average ticket price for basic admission is CAD60, but you can select a ticket depending on your budget and intended stay. 

Getting to the CN Tower from Toronto Pearson Airport

Here are your travel options to get to CN Tower during your 4-hour layover: 

Transport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Taxi or Rental car20 to 25 minutesCAD100
Train to union station, then walk to CN Tower via THE PATH or Skyway35 minutesCAD13
Direct train50 minutesCAD18
Bus1 hour and 22 minutesCAD15

2. Eat


Image source: Eaters Collective via Unsplash

There’s a reason why people say that Toronto is a paradise for foodies. The city can literally be tagged as a food city, having one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.

Over 7,000 restaurants can be found within Toronto. Choices range from Italian, Asian, Mexican, Spanish, and more. 

If you’re strictly vegan, the city also boasts of great vegan restaurants

For a food trip, we recommend going to Union Station as soon as you get to Toronto Pearson Airport. The choices are endless once you get to Union Station, travel times aren’t that long, and you wouldn’t have to spend much for transportation. 

During your layover, you can visit the long line of food spots near Yonge-Dundas Square. Restaurants, cafés, pubs, and bars can be found in Bay, College, and Queen West Streets.

Turn your layover into a Toronto food trip. You can’t go wrong and you definitely won’t run out of options. 

Getting to Toronto food streets from Toronto Pearson Airport

Here is a summary of travel options you can choose from for your Toronto food trip during your 4-hour layover: 

RouteTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Directly from the airport to Yonge-Dundas SquareTaxi or Rental car23 minutesCAD130
Directly from the airport to Bay StreetTaxi or Rental car29 minutesCAD150
Directly from the airport to College StreetTaxi or Rental car28 minutesCAD200
Directly from the airport to Queens West StreetTaxi or Rental car25 minutesCAD180
Airport to Union Station to Yonge-Dundas SquareTrain to union station, a taxi to any restaurant30 minutesCAD50
Airport to Union Station to Bay StreetTrain to union station, walk to any restaurant30 minutesCAD13
Airport to Union Station to College StreetTrain to union station, taxi to any restaurant45 minutesCAD70
Airport to Union Station to Queens West StreetTrain to union station,40 minutesCAD60

3. Explore St. Lawrence Market

Explore St. Lawrence Market

Image source: tommao wang via Unsplash

While you can literally go on a food trip by exploring Toronto as a city, visiting St. Lawrence Market is an entirely different experience. 

This is the city’s largest public market and is considered as Toronto’s culinary center. You can have a taste of different local and international dishes here. 

You can also purchase fresh produce, jams, pastries, and other food that you can bring as souvenirs or just as snacks for the rest of your trip. 

Aside from food, the market is also home to vendors who champion local products such as accessories, hand-made items, local clothing, and more. 

If you like old buildings, just a sight of this historical Toronto edifice will already allure you! 

Getting to St. Lawrence Market from Toronto Pearson Airport

All of these options take you directly to St. Lawrence Market. It’s up to you whether you’d rather go for a cheaper ride or a shorter travel time. 

Transport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Taxi or Rental car19 minutesCAD100
Train36 minutesCAD13
Bus1 hour and 29 minutesCAD11

4. Pamper yourself

Pamper yourself

Image source: imaginima via IStock

Some girls like to relax by having pamper dates with friends, or even alone. You can also do this during your 4-hour layover in Toronto. 

The city has some of the best salons, spas, and beauty clinics. If you’re eyeing to get any treatment, we recommend contacting places prior to your trip so you can set an appointment and make sure everything fits in your schedule. 

We do note most of the treatments take more or less than an hour, so you can definitely squeeze them during your layover. Many places are also minutes away from the airport or Union Station, so you wouldn’t have to worry about travel time. 

You can go ahead and get eyelash extensions just to feel prettier or treat your skin to a refreshing procedure or get a facial among the top spas and clinics in Toronto

If you feel like getting a new look or just going for a relaxing hair spa, you can check out some of the best hair salons in the city. Korean hair salons are also available. 

Many of the Korean salons are in Bloor Street and there are also plenty of great salons that you can find in Yonge Street. 

If you don’t want to travel far for some of the city’s best salons, there are several ones that you can find along Airport Road, Derry Road, or Lloyd Manor Road. 

Some of the most prominent salons in the mentioned roads are Hair Beauty Master, The Hair Factory, and VSS Salon. 

Don’t limit yourself to these options. You can go as bold as getting lip fillers, a microdermabrasion, and other beauty treatments. 

Take the 4-hour layover as an opportunity to spoil your body! 

Getting to Toronto salon streets from Toronto Pearson Airport

These are the quickest ways for you to get to a salon in Toronto during your 4-hour layover: 

RouteTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Directly from the airport to Bloor StreetTaxi or Rental car32 minutesCAD150
Directly from the airport to Yonge StreetTaxi or Rental car21 minutesCAD100
Directly from the airport to Airport RoadTaxi or Rental car10 minutesCAD50
Directly from the airport to Derry RoadTaxi or Rental car14 minutesCAD60
Directly from the airport to Lloyd Manor RoadTaxi or Rental car11 minutesCAD50

5. Go shopping

Go shopping

Image source: Scott Gummerson via Unsplash

What else is there to do within a few hours than grab a few bags? Toronto has a very appealing shopping scene, so you can definitely treat the city as a mall during your layover. 

We recommend that you visit some of the best clothing stores in Toronto or go for a jewelry spree by checking out a few pieces in the city’s popular jewelry shops

If you ought to surprise your furbaby once you get home, there are also plenty of pet shops within the city where you can purchase pet items and even food. 

We do remind you to make sure that you have room for these in your luggage to avoid any airport issues. Only buy what you can so you don’t have to pay for extra (unless you’re willing to!)

Window shopping wouldn’t be a bad idea either. You can always look at various items and come back for them later, or perhaps find ways to have them delivered to your doorstep. 

Most of the shops and stores in Toronto malls can help you get your hands on their items, so don’t fret. Happy shopping! 

Getting to Toronto malls from Toronto Pearson Airport

You can choose to visit any mall you want and estimate the time to spend your 4 hours wisely. Here are some popular travel options for smarter time management during your 4-hour layover:

Shopping MallTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Yorkdale Shopping CenterTaxi or Rental car15 minutesCAD70
Vaughan MillsTaxi or Rental car17 minutesCAD80
CF Toronto Eaton CentreTaxi or Rental car25 minutesCAD100

6. Take a photowalk

Take a photowalk

Image source: Dan Newman via Unsplash

If you love documenting your travels, then going for a photowalk within Toronto is a great activity to do so as to not let your 4-hour layover go to waste. 

There are so many iconic spots in the city that are worth a shot. You can also stand in some of the city’s tallest buildings and capture the cityscape, as it can look different from various angles and locations. 

You can also hire a sightseeing agency in Toronto which can help you plan the photo walk properly. 

Should you have a budget and want professional guidance during your photowalk, consider reaching out to some of Toronto’s best photographers to accompany you. 

We assure you that the city is picture-perfect, so you will definitely have a good experience. 

Getting to picture-perfect destinations from Toronto Pearson Airport

We made some suggestions for your photowalk. Here’s how you can conveniently get to them: 

DestinationTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
CN TowerTaxi or Rental car24 minutesCAD100
Distillery DistrictTaxi or Rental car26 minutesCAD100
Royal Ontario MuseumTaxi or Rental car30 minutesCAD110
Casa LomaTaxi or Rental car28 minutesCAD100

7. Have a picnic

Have a picnic

Image source: Yi Wei via Unsplash

A picnic can be a great way to unwind. You can eat, read a book, have a drink, and enjoy the natural surroundings by simply laying a soft linen on green grass. 

The city of Toronto has amazing picnic spots where you can stay while you wait for your next flight. These spots can also act as your rest areas should you push through other activities. 

Having a picnic or simply staying in one of the prominent picnic spots could also be your key to meeting locals and learning more about Toronto culture! You can also just observe the surroundings and enjoy fresh air. 

Getting to Toronto Picnic spots from Toronto Pearson Airport

Most of the picnic spots in Toronto are less than an hour away from Toronto Pearson Airport. We made this sample table to help you get to the closest Toronto picnic spots: 

Picnic spotTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
High ParkTaxi or Rental car16 minutesCAD75
Humbay Park EastTaxi or Rental car15 minutesCAD70
Toronto Music GardenTaxi or Rental car23 minutesCAD90

8. See a movie

See a movie

Image source: Marius GIRE via Unsplash

You have 4 hours. A good movie that is less than 2 hours won’t hurt. 

If you’re lucky, you can also take part in the Toronto International Film Festival. This will however need proper timing and you can only witness it if it is the same schedule as your layover. 

Should you be a movie geek but are not interested in seeing a movie during your 4-hour spare time, you can simply explore Toronto and discover why it is very popular in the film industry

Getting to Toronto cinemas from Toronto Pearson Airport

There are a lot of cinema options from Toronto Pearson Airport. Here are four that are less than 20 minutes away: 

CinemaTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Cineplex Cinemas QueenswayTaxi or Rental car13 minutesCAD50
Cineplex Cinemas CourtneyparkTaxi or Rental car14 minutesCAD50
Cineplex Cinemas MississaugaTaxi or Rental car17 minutesCAD60
Central Park Cinema in BurnhamthorpeTaxi or Rental car13 minutesCAD50

9. Step into an amusement park

Step into an amusement park

Image source: Filip Mroz via Unsplash

Feeling like you have more energy to spare? Check out some of the city’s best amusement parks

You can hop into rides, play games, enjoy the fun food stalls, and just have a lively experience by visiting any of them. 

We do remind you to take extra caution and stay hydrated. Be wary that you still have a plane to catch, so just enjoy to the best of your ability. 

Getting to Centreville Amusement Park from Toronto Pearson Airport

The most popular park in Toronto is arguably Centreville Amusement Park, as it does not charge any entrance fee and is even home to some animals. 

Here’s how you can get there from Toronto Pearson Airport: 

Amusement ParkTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Centreville Amusement ParkTaxi or Rental car20 minutesCAD70

10. Do sports

Do sports

Image source: Robert Ruggiero via Unsplash

If you follow an active lifestyle, we’re pretty sure that you would take a layover as an opportunity to do something athletic. 

We recommend playing going for a quick swing and hit in any of the public golf courses in Toronto. If you have friends in the city who are private club members, you can also have the opportunity to see at least one of the best private golf courses in the city. 

One of the closest golf clubs to the airport is the Royal Woodbine Golf Club, which is only 6 minutes away. The famous Flemingdon Park Golf Club is 21 minutes away directly from the airport and is 13 minutes away from Union Station. 

Golf would be a smart choice as it isn’t as strenuous as other sports. 

Tennis clubs are also present throughout Toronto. You can also interact with locals who play basketball within their neighbourhoods. 

Just keep track of your time and of course, check on yourself. Remember that you’re traveling, so you shouldn’t push your body too much. 

Getting to Toronto golf clubs from Toronto Pearson Airport

For your convenience, it is best to take a taxi or rental car going to any Toronto golf club. Here are two of the closest and most popular options: 

Golf courseTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Royal Woodbine Golf ClubTaxi or Rental car6 minutesCAD30
Flemingdon Park Golf ClubTaxi or Rental car21 minutesCAD100

11. Bask in the beauty of nature

Bask in the beauty of nature

Image source: Maarten van den Heuvel via Unsplash

For a more laid back experience, you can simply admire the natural surroundings and appreciate nature from Toronto’s point of view. 

Depending on your schedule, you can watch the sunrise or sunset in Toronto. At night, you can do stargazing while enjoying the breeze and admiring the sky. 

Toronto Zoos are also well-maintained with greenery. If you would like to see animals, you can pay a visit during your layover.

Take note that Toronto has 18% green space and pockets of these can be seen in between famous buildings and structures. 

Getting to Toronto nature spots from Toronto Pearson Airport

Here are a few convenient travel options for nature-related activities during your 4-hour layover:

Toronto spotTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
Riverdale ParkTaxi or Rental car30 minutesCAD145
Millenium SquareTaxi or Rental car38 minutesCAD160
Toronto ZooTaxi or Rental car33 minutesCAD153

12. Relax or sleep in 

Relax or sleep in

Image source: Usen Parmanov via Unsplash

Of course, we also have an option for those of you who do have enough energy to go around Toronto. You can use the extra 4 hours to rest or even get extra sleep. 

The Toronto Pearson Airport itself has a nice lounge that you can just stay in. You can also connect to their WiFi and just surf the internet as you wait. 

Should you want to step out of the airport but go for a relaxing experience, you can check out some of the best massage spas in the city. Some of them would let you sleep in, which is perfect. 

Getting to Toronto spas from Toronto Pearson Airport

Here is a quick table to help you get to any of the three most popular spas in Toronto: 

Toronto spaTransport TypeEstimated Travel TimeEstimated Cost
York Mills Spa & Wellness CentreTaxi or Rental car24 minutesCAD100
Elmwood SpaTaxi or Rental car33 minutesCAD153
Spa at Four SeasonsTaxi or Rental car36 minutesCAD155

Gently reminding you to have your alarms set so you wouldn’t miss your flight! 

We hope that this article helped you decide what you should do during a 4-hour layover in Toronto. Should any of you have experienced a Toronto layover already, feel free to share your stories in the comments!