Top 18 Best Cities in Canada to Visit Right Now

Canada is the second-largest country in the world by land area, but despite its vast size, it’s known for its close-knit communities and friendly residents.

It’s a country that thrives on diversity, welcoming people from around the globe with open arms and celebrating the multiculturalism that makes it so unique.

Let’s see why people say they natural beauty is the stuff of legends, with the following list of the Best Cities in Canada to visit.

Best Cities in Canada to Visit Right Now

Right now is the perfect time to visit Canada, eh? With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and multicultural fabric, it’s a destination that ticks all the boxes. Each province presents a new adventure, a new story, and a new cultural tapestry that reflects the richness of this great nation.

But with so many cities, each unique in its own way, deciding where to go can be a bit overwhelming. This is where our list of the best cities in Canada to visit comes in handy.

Canada’s weather is as varied as its cities, offering something for every season.

Looking for winter wonderland experiences? Cities like Quebec City and Banff turn into snowy paradises, perfect for skiing, snowboarding, or simply enjoying a cup of hot cocoa by the fire.

Summers in cities like Victoria and Halifax are pleasantly mild, with plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, take part in water activities, or enjoy a leisurely walk on the beach.

Fall is a spectacular time to visit cities such as Ottawa and Montreal, where you can witness the foliage turning into vibrant shades of orange, red, and yellow.

And if you’re keen on experiencing the magic of the spring bloom, cities like Vancouver and Calgary come alive with cherry blossoms and colorful gardens.

Each city in Canada has its own personality, its own flavor, and its own way of embracing the four seasons. Whether you’re a fan of the hustle and bustle of big city life or prefer the laid-back vibe of a coastal town, Canada’s cities offer a multitude of experiences that cater to every preference and interest.

So grab your map, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on a journey through the top cities in Canada to visit.

British Columbia

Vancouver

It’s impossible to talk about the best cities to visit in Canada without mentioning Vancouver. This coastal gem, framed by the stunning North Shore Mountains and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, is a must-visit city in Canada for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, Vancouver’s culinary scene is like no other. It’s diverse, innovative, and absolutely delicious. You’re in for a treat whether you’re into seafood, Asian cuisine, or want to try authentic Canadian poutine. Let’s not forget about the world-class wine from the nearby Okanagan Valley.

Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, Canada | Copyright: Infobae

Also, Vancouver is home to the infamous Stanley Park, a colossal urban park that has it all – the iconic Seawall, a forest with over half a million trees, beautiful beaches, and even a mini train. Now, that’s a park worth visiting!

The locals here also have a soft spot for art. You’ll notice this at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the largest art gallery in western Canada, showcasing both historical and contemporary art.

Victoria

Victoria is another city in British Columbia that deserves to be on your list of cities in Canada to visit. It’s not just the city’s picturesque waterfront location that makes it unique, but its rich history as well.

Victoria is known as “The Garden City”, and for a good reason. The city’s Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site, is a magical place. It’s an old quarry transformed into a series of spectacular gardens that bloom throughout the year.

Victoria, Canada
Victoria, Canada | Copyright: IndiaTimes

And if you’re a history enthusiast, you’re in luck. Victoria’s British colonial past is beautifully preserved in its historic sites. The BC Legislature Buildings and Craigdarroch Castle are perfect examples of the city’s British heritage.

Alberta

Calgary

Are you ready to visit one of the most exciting cities in Canada to visit? Calgary, in Alberta, is waiting for you with open arms.

Calgary is a city that exudes a charming blend of modern and traditional. This is evident in its skyline, dominated by skyscrapers and backed by the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Calgary, Canada
Calgary, Canada | Copyright: Google

Moreover, Calgary is home to the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo, exhibition, and festival that is billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. It’s ten days of pure fun that you don’t want to miss!

The city also has an impressive number of parks and pathways, with the beautiful Prince’s Island Park being a local favorite. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful picnic spot or some fun outdoor activities, Calgary has you covered.

Banff

No list of the best cities in Canada to visit would be complete without including Banff. Located within the breathtaking Banff National Park, this city offers an unparalleled mountain town experience.

As a gateway to the Rockies, Banff is the perfect base for those who love outdoor activities. From hiking and biking in summer to skiing and snowboarding in winter, Banff is an adventurer’s dream come true.

Banff, Canada
Banff, Canada | Copyright: Google

The city itself has an inviting atmosphere, with its quaint shops, cozy restaurants, and charming art galleries. Moreover, it’s not unusual to see wildlife roaming the streets or grazing on the outskirts.

Saskatchewan

Saskatoon

Saskatoon, often referred to as the “Paris of the Prairies,” is a lively city in Saskatchewan that’s more than just a pretty face. It’s one of the beautiful cities in Canada to visit, filled with enriching experiences and delightful surprises.

For starters, you’ll find a plethora of bridges here. Seriously, Saskatoon has seven major bridges, each with its own character and architectural flair. Taking a stroll along the South Saskatchewan River and crossing these bridges is an experience in itself.

Saskatoon, Canada
Saskatoon, Canada | Copyright: Destinationcanada.com

Culture lovers, Saskatoon has something special for you. This city is a hub for arts and culture, with thriving theater and music scenes. Visit the Remai Modern, a museum of modern and contemporary art that’s known for its innovative exhibitions.

But let’s not forget about Saskatoon’s culinary scene. The city is buzzing with creative chefs and a variety of restaurants that celebrate local and sustainable ingredients.

Outdoor enthusiasts, the Meewasin Valley Trail awaits you. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or simply taking a leisurely walk, this trail offers a scenic view of the city’s natural beauty.

Manitoba

Winnipeg

Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital and a city that combines urban sophistication with a strong sense of community. Among the top cities in Canada to visit, it boasts a rich history, diverse culture, and plenty of fun activities.

Ever heard of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights? Winnipeg is home to this architectural marvel. With its cutting-edge design, it is the world’s only museum entirely dedicated to human rights education and awareness.

Winnipeg, Canada
Winnipeg, Canada | Copyright: National Geographic

If you’re looking to step back in time, don’t miss the Forks National Historic Site. Here, you can explore preserved historic buildings, shop at the public market, or relax by the riverbank. It’s a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Oh, and if you’re visiting in winter, guess what? Winnipeg is known for its fantastic winter festivals and outdoor activities, including skating, snowboarding, and ice-fishing. So, who’s up for a winter adventure in Winnipeg?

Ontario

Toronto

Ah, Toronto! Known as Canada’s financial hub, this cosmopolitan city is a mixture of cultures and one of the best cities to visit in Canada. It’s where modern urban life meets friendly Canadian charm.

First on the list has to be the CN Tower, an iconic symbol of Canada’s prosperity. Take an elevator ride to the top for a panoramic view of the city, or if you’re feeling brave, how about the Edge Walk?

Toronto, Canada
Toronto, Canada | Copyright: Pixabay

Shopping in Toronto is a shopper’s paradise, especially along Queen Street West, where you’ll find everything from top brands to unique boutiques.

But Toronto is not just about skyscrapers and shopping. It has vibrant neighborhoods like Kensington Market and Chinatown, where you can experience diverse cultures, food, and street art.

Ottawa

Welcome to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and a city that’s brimming with history, culture, and governmental grandeur. Among the popular cities in Canada to visit, Ottawa offers a unique blend of French and British influences.

Parliament Hill is an absolute must-visit. Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, tour the iconic buildings, or just relax on the green lawns.

Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa, Canada | Copyright: Google

Don’t miss the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, especially in winter when it becomes the world’s largest skating rink.

For art enthusiasts, the National Gallery of Canada houses an impressive collection of Canadian and Indigenous art.

Thunder Bay

If you’re in the mood for something different, Thunder Bay in Ontario is one of the fun cities to visit in Canada. Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, this city is a gateway to the rugged beauty of Northern Ontario.

Outdoor lovers, Thunder Bay is your playground. From hiking the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park to sailing on Lake Superior, it’s a paradise for those who seek adventure.

Thunder Bay, Canada
Thunder Bay, Canada | Copyright: Marinas.com

Ever seen an amethyst mine? Thunder Bay is rich in these beautiful purple gems. Take a tour of the mines, learn about amethysts, and even dig for your own.

Thunder Bay’s culinary scene is also something to talk about. With its Finnish influence, you can enjoy traditional Finnish pancakes and coffee in a local café.

London

London, Ontario, known as “The Forest City,” is one of those cheap cities to visit in Canada without sacrificing quality or excitement. Its blend of urban living and natural beauty makes it an appealing destination.

Explore the Thames River, which runs through the heart of the city. Take a canoe trip, walk along the riverbanks, or enjoy a riverside picnic.

London, Canada
London, Canada | Copyright: Flickr

Don’t miss Covent Garden Market, a local favorite since the 19th century. With its vibrant food stalls, fresh produce, and unique crafts, it’s a lively place to explore.

Love theater? London’s Grand Theatre hosts top-notch performances all year round.

As you can see, Ontario’s diverse cities offer something for everyone, from adventure to art, history to culinary delights.

Quebec

Montréal

Montréal, the largest city in Québec, is known for its dynamic arts scene and diverse culinary offerings. But did you know it’s also home to a thriving street art movement? You can take walking tours to discover amazing murals and graffiti that tell stories of the city’s history and culture.

But let’s not stop there. Montréal offers a blend of old-world charm with its cobblestone streets and modern marvels like the biodome. You might want to visit Old Montréal, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Europe. The Notre-Dame Basilica, with its stunning interior, is a must-see.

Montreal, Canada
Montreal, Canada | Copyright: Google

For those who love to shop, the Underground City provides a unique experience. It’s a multi-level network of shops and eateries connected by underground tunnels. Can you imagine shopping without stepping foot outside, especially in winter? Montréal makes it possible!

And don’t forget to try the city’s famous bagels and smoked meat sandwiches.

Quebec City

Quebec City is another gem in the province of Quebec. It’s one of the beautiful cities in Canada to visit and holds the title of North America’s oldest walled city. Now, that’s history right there!

Strolling through the historic district of Old Quebec, you’ll feel transported to a charming French village. The narrow streets, stunning architecture, and the famous Château Frontenac make for an enchanting experience.

Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City, Canada | Copyright: National Geographic

And did you ever wish to attend a winter carnival? Quebec City’s Winter Carnival is one of the largest in the world, featuring ice palaces, snow sculptures, parades, and lots of winter fun. You’ll even meet Bonhomme, the carnival’s beloved mascot!

Quebec City also offers an array of outdoor activities. From hiking at Montmorency Falls to skiing at nearby resorts, nature enthusiasts won’t be disappointed.

Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown

Welcome to Prince Edward Island, and more specifically, to Charlottetown, a city that might just steal your heart. Known as the “Birthplace of Canada,” this charming city is packed with history, culture, and some of the most incredible coastal landscapes you’ll ever see.

You’ll find history at every turn in Charlottetown. A visit to the Province House National Historic Site will take you back to the days of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, leading to the formation of Canada as a nation.

But Charlottetown isn’t just about history. The city’s vibrant arts scene comes alive, especially during the summer months, with music festivals, theater productions, and art exhibitions.

Charlottetown, Canada
Charlottetown, Canada | Copyright: 123RF

Love seafood? You’re in the right place. PEI mussels are famous worldwide, and Charlottetown offers numerous restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a traditional PEI lobster supper!

And let’s not forget the stunning coastal landscapes that are just a short drive from Charlottetown. Whether you’re up for a bike ride on the Confederation Trail or a leisurely stroll on one of the Island’s red-sand beaches, Charlottetown offers something for every kind of traveler.

Nova Scotia

Halifax

Halifax is up next, and it’s one of those cities in Canada to visit that leaves an imprint on your heart. As Nova Scotia’s capital, it combines a welcoming harbor town vibe with the hustle and bustle of city life, offering you the best of both worlds.

One of the city’s crown jewels is the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. This star-shaped fort offers stunning panoramic views of the city and harbor. And if you time it right, you might just catch the noon cannon fire – a tradition dating back to the mid-19th century.

Halifax, Canada
Halifax, Canada | Copyright: Google

Halifax is also renowned for its seafood. If you’re a fan of fresh lobsters, clams, or scallops, you’re in for a delightful culinary journey. Coupled with local wine or beer, it’s a dining experience you don’t want to miss!

But the true soul of Halifax lies in its waterfront. The vibrant harbor walk is filled with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, especially during those warm summer evenings.

Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John’s

When talking about best cities in Canada to visit, St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador stands tall with its unique charm and vibrant personality. It’s North America’s easternmost city, known for its jellybean row houses, rich history, and friendly locals.

Signal Hill National Historic Site is one of the city’s top attractions. Not only is it a historical landmark, but the view from the top of Cabot Tower is awe-inspiring. Imagine a panoramic view of the city, harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see!

St. John's, Canada
St. John’s, Canada | Copyright: Todocanada.ca

Next up is Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. It’s home to the historic Cape Spear Lighthouse, where you can get a glimpse of what life was like for a 19th-century lighthouse keeper. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some whales from the shore!

Downtown St. John’s is another must-visit area. From shopping and dining to art and music, there’s so much to see and do here. Plus, the locals are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet.

Northwest Territories

Yellowknife

When it comes to exploring the north, Yellowknife is undoubtedly one of the top cities in Canada to visit. Located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, this city in the Northwest Territories is known as the “Diamond Capital of North America”.

But diamonds aren’t the only gems you’ll find here. Yellowknife’s vibrant indigenous culture shines brightly, with numerous cultural centers and festivals showcasing the region’s traditions and heritage.

Yellowknife, Canada
Yellowknife, Canada | Copyright: Pixabay

Outdoor enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either. Yellowknife’s surrounding wilderness offers countless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping during the summer. And in winter, there’s nothing quite like snowmobiling across the frozen lake or going for an exhilarating dog sled ride.

However, Yellowknife’s real magic begins after dark. The city is one of the best places in the world to witness the Northern Lights. Seeing the sky illuminated with dancing hues of green, blue, and purple is an experience that’s sure to take your breath away.

Yukon

Whitehorse

Our journey through the best cities in Canada to visit takes us next to Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. Known as “The Wilderness City”, it sits in the heart of one of North America’s most impressive wilderness regions.

The city’s claim to fame is the SS Klondike, a National Historic Site. This sternwheeler is a relic of the Yukon River’s paddle steamer era, and a visit here feels like a step back in time. You can take a guided tour or explore the ship on your own to discover what life was like during the gold rush.

Whitehorse, Canada
Whitehorse, Canada | Copyright: Pixabay

Whitehorse also serves as the gateway to Yukon’s natural wonders. Whether it’s exploring the wilderness, fishing in pristine lakes, or hiking the scenic trails, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Not to mention, Yukon’s clear skies make it another great spot for Northern Lights viewing!

The city’s vibrant art scene is also worth mentioning. The numerous galleries and craft shops showcase the work of local artists, while the annual Yukon International Storytelling Festival brings together storytellers from around the world.

Santiago
Santiagohttps://itineranthorizons.com/
I'm Santiago, a devoted traveler, husband to Karol and father of two beautiful children. As co-founder and writer of Itinerant Horizons, I share what I've learned from my adventures with other explorers. Let's embark together on an exciting journey to discover captivating destinations!
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