CN Tower, Toronto
The tower does provie a great view of the city, but I'm not convinced it was worth the price of admission.
Unique Suggestions: Go to the gift shop--they did have some good deals on quality T-shirts.
Fun Alternatives: Take the Steamwhistle Brewery tour in the old train round-house behind the CN Tower. You get a tour of the facility, beer tasting, and a souvenir for 4 dollars Canadian. (Upgrade to the $7 tour and get a free steamwhistle).
In the base of the CN tower there is a large souvenir shop selling over priced Toronto and Canada gifts and trinkets. There is nothing here that you can't find much cheaper anywhere else in town. Sure it's convenient, and you can buy some small items without taking out a bank loan, but avoid the clothing. There are stores all over town, especially on Younge Street, that sell the same things for far less.
Unique Suggestions: Stop into the gift shop, look at all the nice stuff they have, and then go buy it elsewhere.
Oh, and get your picture taken with the giant bear.
Fun Alternatives: Eaton's Centre,
Someone once said that the best thing about the CN Tower is that when you are in it, it's the only place in Toronto where you don't see the CN Tower.
Let's face it, as a tourist attraction it is unfortunately not as graceful as the Arc de Triumph, St. Peter's Dome, or Chartres Cathedral. But it does have it's own post-modern charm, and is by all accounts very, very tall.
Unique Suggestions: Just take the basic ticket, and if you must -- eat at the little shop on the tourist floor rather than the expensive 360' restaurant. Jump up and down on the glass floor. Go outside and marvel at the views.
If it's your first time in Toronto, it's a given that you will/must go to the top of the tower and look out over the city. The views are amazing and you will find every type of person from all over the world taking in the same experience. The glass floor is what completes the observatory expereince. For $21.39 CDN ($19.99 plus tax), you get the observation deck and glass floor. Additional excursions of the tower will be extra.
Unique Suggestions: Even if you don't do the total experience, the observatory is a definite Toronto tourist MUST.
Fun Alternatives: You can eat at the restaurant or food court, or just check out the gift shops inside.
It's definitely a pricey excursion, with opportunities to spend at every turn, e.g. video games play place at the base of the tower.
Unique Suggestions: I've been to the CN Tower a few times. Being a TO resident, out of town guests have made it not exactly an obligation, but sometimes they really want to go. I have 3 bits of advice to offer. 1) The most important is that you'll want to avoid the busy times which can mean long lines ups for an anticlimactic experience. 2) To avoid the crowds, the best time the hour before sunset on a weekday. Watching the light change and getting both the day and night views can make it worth the ticket price. 3) For people with an interest in construction, the display that tells the story of the construction of the tower can make the destination of greater interest.
The CN Tower is one of Toronto's major attractions and looks like an interesting experience ( if you like heights). But when we went inside to check the price, we were surprised to see how much it costs to actually take the tour. It was about $ 40 for the tour and if you just wanted the elevator ride, that was $ 22. It just seemed too expensive......I think if it were about $ 12 for the elevator ride, that would have been more acceptable, but $ 22 was ridiculous.
Fun Alternatives: Just walk around the city and explore the streets, the stores, the cafes......Those are fun things to do and you wont spend a ton of money in the process.
Its touristy but when your in Toronto for the first time you should really go to the top of the CN Tower. You can get a tacky picture like this one of the two guys in hats taken for a really bad souvineer. You will note that I had the courtesy to remove my hat for the pictures...lol. It also offers a breath taking view of Toronto and the surrounding area.
The CN Tower was originally built as a communications hub. It is used for broadcasting, cellular relay, and communications trunks. It was never intended to be used as a way to soak tourists. This is the biggest ripoff in Toronto. I have never been up the tower myself, but I have been in the base. Ten years ago the admission to ride the elevator to the top was $14. It is probably more now. Furthermore, there is a restaraunt in the tower, so you have to pay to go up, then pay remarkable prices for mediocore food. I hear from others that the food is OK, but not worth the prices charged for it. In addition, the observation deck has a glass floor. Not a good idea for someone with acrophobia.
Also, if you are daring, you can use the stairs!
Unique Suggestions: There are things to do at the base, without having to go up.
Fun Alternatives: Anything other than the Tower.
Toronto's most famous, most visible landmark, the CN Tower is the world's tallest free-standing structure. Built in 1976, the tower measures 553 metres in height. From its Lookout Level it offers a stunning view of the city, especially at sunset. Daring visitors can test their courage by taking a walk across the glass floor 113 stories above the ground, or travel higher up the tower to the Sky Pod another 33 storeys above ground.
This is the my rule with every major city I go, if it's a familiar landmark, I'm on it! But then aren't we all? Aren't we all wanting a slice of that tourist pie? I wanted to cross visiting the CN Tower in downtown Toronto off my list before I left. Wow, it's just like Madame Tussauds or any other major cheesy tourist attraction in the world. You get great views, but that's about it. You have the typical tourist things like photographers trying to force you along to take a photo against a Toronto backdrop and the overpriced gift shop. I had a better time at the Seattle Space Needle. I wasn't too impressed with the waiting time either. But that's my fault for going mid-day. There is elevators and ramps inside for those with disabilities.
Unique Suggestions: If you decide to go, try and go during the off season. I was in Toronto right around the Labor Day weekend and it was butt-to-gut with families and touchy-feely couples. I had to have been the only solo traveler in that whole queue. Felt kinda awkward, but I didn't let that ruin my experience despite feeling slightly out of place amongst these types of people. I can't say how busy it'd be during an off-season, but it might be a bit more tolerable then summer or major holidays.
Fun Alternatives: Now, I didn't do this when I was there, didn't have the cash, but if you do visit the CN Tower, go on the Edgewalk. It's where you're strapped into harnesses and walking along the edge of the platform high above Toronto. If you got the funds, try that. It'll be a more memorable experience.
Okay, so it's pretty neat to be in the world's largest structure . . . for about a minute. Then the cold, clammy realisation hits you that you just paid money to be in a building. Personally, it was refuge from the bitter, cold rain outside for me. However, in retrospect, I should have just tucked into a shop or something.
Unique Suggestions: The one real saving grace of the CN Tower is how freakishly Canadian it is. You can marvel at the solar power (CNT runs off of solar, with excess) display or the respectfully polite mural depicting the architecture-related triumphs of other nations. Also, there is a glass floor in one part of the tower. If you can get past the throngs of Japanese tourists and little kids, it's really fun to jump on. This girl was totally freaking her brothers and sisters out by screaming, "It could give way at any time!" and then pogo-ing it all over the floor.
Fun Alternatives: The base of the CN Tower was the coolest thing I saw. There's lots of gigantic squirrels that hop around, and it's fun to watch bus loads of old folks go inside. Also, if you just have to say that you were in the world's largest structure, the gift shop is inside and accessible for free. I know it's a technicality, but it's better than feeling like an ass after shelling about over twenty bucks Canadian to stand in a building.
Ok, the CN Tower is a trap too, even though I think you have to see it. It's expensive and kind of touristy. And try not to get screwed over by the parking garage attendant like we were. The machine wasn't giving out tickets because we got there so early and it was a Sunday. However, when we left, we had to pay a full day's rate, which was $16. I feel much bitterness towards them.
Definitely number one tourist trap is climbing the CN Tower. It is a rip off and not worth the money you pay for.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to have a view at the city and enjoy much nicer atmosphere then go to 'Panorama' cocktail bar located on the 51st floor in Manulife Building (55 Bloor St. W.). In summer, their patio is open for a full experience. But also be ready - it is not cheap here and not very fancy as they say in city guides.
This actually turned out to be another tourist trap - well at least it is less painful than CN Tower.
The CN Tower! It's a nice view, but I thought that the tickets to go up were a little over-priced...the experience might have been worth half of what they charged.
**Something I learned too late was that with a Hostelling International membership card, you can get a good discount off of the CN Tower admission price. There's a useful tip for you.
Unique Suggestions: Look through the glass covered hole in the floor at the top...actually you can walk on top of it and feel like you're gonna fall through.
Fun Alternatives: A better idea is to go next door to the Sky Dome and catch a Blue Jays game.
not really a trap but...'tourist'ic: I didn't miss a visit on the CN Tower but I missed a pic of it because... too touristic... which is an example of inexperience and of stubbornness...
in the pic a view from up there...
the CN Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers together with the Ostankino Tower at Moscow, Tokyo Tower, Transco Tower in Houston, Donauturm in Vienna, Telecom Tower at Camberra, Calgary Tower, British Telecom in London, Euromast at Rotterdam, Belgrade Tower, the Olympic Tower of Montréal, Berlin Funkturm...
the tower is 553 m high and you reach its top by a glass faced elevator which brings you at 340 m but if you want, you can board another elevator on the indoor level and ascend additional 101 m to the space deck...