The Best way to visit the Toronto CN Tower

The Best way to visit the Toronto CN Tower

I am back in Toronto! For just about a New York minute, but still. I am in town for the Ontario Library Association annual meeting, and it was the first time we put up our own booth. All around an exciting visit back to my old home town.

Toronto_300x250When I lived in Toronto, I’ve visited the CN tower a couple of times over the years. Twice I didn’t even take the elevator but sprinted upstairs. Who climbs 1,776 steps voluntarily? For charity of course! I climbed the tower once for United Way, and once for the WWF.  It only took about 20 minutes, which I thought was quite fast. There are many people who can do it even faster though, so I am not even all that exceptional a climber.
The CN tower is conveniently located right next to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where our conference was taking place. After all the work was done and the booth was taken down again, we decided to reward ourselves with a trip up the tower. After all, it was my colleague’s first time visiting Toronto, and the CN tower is a must-see for any first time visitors to the city. This time around no sprinting, just the elevator.

CN tower view

How to visit the CN Tower for free

In my opinion most tourists go up the tower the wrong way. How can you go wrong, you might wonder? One thing most tourists only find out about once they are upstairs is that the CN tower boasts a pretty good revolving restaurant. The restaurant is your free ticket upstairs. Regular prices are $29 + tax for adults, and $22 + tax for kids. When you make a reservation for the CN tower’s 360 restaurant, your trip upstairs is free. You take a different elevator up than everyone else, but after your meal you can walk around the regular viewing platform and enjoy the views before you take the elevator down again with all the other tourists (who paid full price).

Main courses in the restaurant start at $40, and the food is fantastic. If you are normally paying $29 per person to go upstairs, you might as well enjoy a fancy meal that effectively costs you only around $11. Or you look at it differently and just see it as a moderately pricy dinner and a chance to visit the CN tower for free.
CN tower food 360 restaurant

Best time to visit the CN Tower

.You have to eat anyways, chances are you will be eating out if you are visiting Toronto. Why not combine a trip up the CN tower with an early dinner? The best time of the day to go up would be the late afternoon: you still enjoy the view with daylight, then while you are enjoying your meal in the revolving restaurant the sun sets, and you get to see Toronto’s skyline light up



Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".


  1. Jackie

    7 February

    I wish I’d known this when I visited Toronto! Next time 🙂

  2. jeremy

    21 February

    Thanks for great article! I like it very much!

  3. Caroline

    1 June

    Done! it’s on the list for Toronto next month. I had no idea you could get your ride up the CN tower for free, so this is awesome.

    • Christine Buske

      1 June

      I am not sure if it is a well kept secret, but I know anyone I’ve spoken to who visit Toronto did not know this trick yet! Enjoy!

  4. Iga Berry

    26 November

    Sweet tips! I would love to visit Toronto sometime during late spring. What season would you say is best? Have a lovely day, Iga x

    • Christine Buske

      27 November

      You’re welcome Iga!
      I love summer and fall in Toronto. Fall for the lovely leafs, and the weather still tends to be really good. If you like warm weather, summer is great for that too. Late spring/early summer sits a bit in between: not too hot yet, but nice. So it really depends what you prefer!

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