Located in the heart of downtown and a hub for the city’s Chinese-Canadian community, Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood lined with an appealing range of small businesses. Visitors and Toronto residents flock here to dine at the area’s popular eateries and shop for produce and imported specialty items at corner grocers.
Chinatown is within walking distance of Toronto’s downtown landmarks. As such, walking tours often include a stop here for a historical overview of Chinese immigration to Toronto. Private tours offer the option to add Chinatown to a fully customized itinerary. For an experience that focuses solely on the area's gourmet eateries, food tours visit hidden gems and establishments loved by locals, from Cantonese bakeries to Hong Kong–style dim sum restaurants.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Chinatown is a must for foodies.
- When possible, book reservations in advance to avoid the notoriously long lines at restaurants in the area.
- Bring cash: Some Chinatown businesses do not take credit cards.
- The time limit for street parking is three hours unless specified otherwise.
How to Get There
Chinatown is located in Downtown Toronto and is easily accessible using the city’s comprehensive transit system. To reach Chinatown, take streetcar 510 to Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West or streetcar 501 to Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue. Bus 505 stops at Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West, the closest stop to Chinatown.
When to Get There
Chinatown is busiest during typical lunch and dinner hours—go during these peaks to get a feel for the neighborhood’s atmosphere. To beat the crowds and enjoy a quieter experience, stroll through just as the shops open, around 9am–10am. A Chinese New Year festival (February) and a summer Chinatown Festival are held annually, offering a range of food vendors, cultural performances, and public-art displays.
Dim Sum with a View
Located on the fifth floor of the Dragon City Shopping Mall, in the heart of Chinatown, Sky Dragon is a hidden gem with a cityscape view. The dim sum restaurant, open daily, uses Hong Kong–style cart service to offer guests steamed treats. While you dine, look out onto Spadina Avenue and beyond for city views rarely seen by visitors.