The CN Tower, Toronto’s icon. It dominates the skyline, the city’s identity and the face of every souvenir in every gift shop in town.

If you speak to a Torontonian (which I encourage) and identify yourself as a visitor, it’s practically guaranteed that they’ll ask you if you’ve been up the CN Tower yet.

What is the CN Tower, anyway? It’s a communications tower built by Canada’s CN Railway in 1976. It was the tallest unsupported structure for 30 years now (it’s the Burj Khalifa in Dubai). At 553 meters (1815 feet), CN is still the world’s tallest freestanding tower.

What makes a communications tower an attraction? The opportunity to go up to the top of it!

If you’re visiting on the right weekend in April and register in advance, you can climb up the CN Tower to help raise money for WWF, but if you’re like the other 1.5 million people who visit the CN Tower each year, you’ll take the 58-second ride to the viewing platforms in a glass-enclosed elevator.

The top of the tower has two viewing platforms: the LookOut platform at 346 meters, and the higher Skypod at 447 meters. Both have indoor and outdoor viewing areas. The LookOut platform has a well-regarded rotating restaurant.

The CN Tower is easy to get to from Toronto’s central subway station, with most people walking though the glass-enclosed Skywalk right to the Tower entrance.

We took Wandering Family Boy and Girl to the CN Tower in 2018 when they were 7 and 20 months respectively, and couldn’t pull them away from the glass floor!

The glass floor of the LookOut level of the CN Tower
Wandering Family Girl stood like this for almost 15 minutes!

Combining a visit to the CN Tower with a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium (they are right next to one another) makes for a full, but fun and definitely manageable, day.

Here’s everything you need to know to have a great visit to the CN Tower, including hours and ticket prices, discounts, Skywalk directions, nearby hotels and parking, and tips only a local would know.

CN Tower Basics

Best suited for ages: All

CN Tower Hours: 9 am to 10:30 pm

Time required: 2 to 3 hours

CN Tower Price: At time of writing, the Tower Experience cost $28 child/$53 adult (but see the discount section below).

What to expect: You’ll enter the CN Tower from the bottom, buy tickets if you didn’t buy them in advance, pass by some informative exhibits about how the Tower was built, and head to the elevator.  

At the bottom of the elevator you’ll be prompted to have souvenir photos taken that will later be superimposed on cheesy but fun CN Tower backdrops. The elevator will whisk you to the viewing platforms, where you are free to roam until you line up back at the elevator for the descent.

CN Tower Discounts and Money-Saving Tips

  • Everyday discounts: Discounted tickets are offered at the tower to CAA/AAA members (10%), AirMiles card holders (10%), students (10%) and holders of an UP Express Long Layover ticket (20%).
  • Skip the Skypod. Ticket options include with or without the tallest lookout, the Skypod.  Non-Skypod tickets are cheaper and unless you are a super-fan of tall structures, you won’t miss the Skypod.
  • Planning ahead? Score a deal from the CN Tower email newsletter. If you’re planning your trip well in advance, you can sign up for CN Tower’s email newsletter and try to take advantage of any deals they promote that way. There is a CN Tower twitter feed but I’ve never seen a discount published that way.
  • Seeing a few attractions? CityPASS: Toronto has a CityPASS that provides a deal on admission for Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma and the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre. If you plan to see at least three of these attractions within a period of 9 days, the CityPASS is almost definitely your cheapest ticket option: click here to buy Toronto CityPass.
  • Our favorite: Combined ticket with CN Tower: If you won’t get value from the CityPASS, we strongly recommend the Sea to Sky Combo ticket, which provides for admission to both Ripley’s and the CN Tower for the same price as the CN Tower normally costs alone. The Sea to Sky ticket is is a great value, especially for kids and seniors. There are a limited number available, so click here to buy Sea to Sky Combo tickets.
  • You can bring your own food. Bringing your own food and drinks is a money-saver at any tourist attraction. If you’d rather not, there snack bars at the base and Lookout levels of the tower.

Tips for visiting the CN Tower

  • Book ahead. We recommend buying your tickets online, as line-ups at the tower ticket desk can get very long.
  • Bring snacks; strollers are fine. The CN Tower is stroller and mobility-device friendly, and has change tables in the washrooms.  Viewing windows go right from ceiling to floor, so littles can see whether they are walking or strolling.
  • Sunsets are outstanding, but busy. Sunset is lovely to see from the CN Tower, as is the lit-up city at night, but these are also the times when the crowds will be largest.  With small children we recommend sticking to mornings or right after naptime.
  • Want to avoid the gift shop? The elevator coming down discharges you right into a tempting gift shop, which you have to walk through to exit the building. There is a good selection of items that differ from those offered at Ripley’s Aquarium, but if you want to buzz right through, veer slightly left when you exit the elevator.

Are you a thrill seeker? Or want your teen to love you again?*

Who can resist doing the highest outdoor walk on a building in the world? From April to October, visitors who are 13 years of age and older weighing at least 75 lbs/34 kg can sign up for EdgeWalk.

Edgewalk is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft (1.5 m) wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 stories) above the ground!

EdgeWalk runs for 1.5 hours, with the outdoor walk lasting approximately 30 minutes. Tickets are in the $200 range and include a keepsake video, printed photos, a certificate of achievement, and admission to the CN Tower valid for up to 2 days following your EdgeWalk. You must book ahead.

C’mon, you know you want to.


How to get to the CN Tower

If your accommodation is downtown, look up, find the CN Tower, and walk in that direction. Toronto streets are usually laid out in a grid and with the tower always visible, it’s virtually impossible to get lost on the way there.

The closest subway station is Union Station. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the CN Tower and you can walk one of two ways: either through the enclosed overpass (called the Skywalk), or outside.

If you have a stroller or mobility device, we recommend walking outside. The elevators in the Skywalk are not reliable. I speak from experience.

Hotels near the CN Tower as well as CN Tower hours, ticket prices, discounts and tips
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If you pin this to Pinterest you’ll be able to refer back to this post just before your trip

CN Tower Skywalk: How to Walk from Union Station

The way to the Skywalk from Union Station is not as well signed as one would like, so here’s our guide:

When you arrive on the subway platform, take the stairs or elevator up one floor to the main entrance/exit turnstiles. There are turnstiles on both the north and south sides, and you want to exit the south side.  You’ll know you’re facing south when you see this sign:

Union Station sign for the Skywalk to the CN Tower

Exit the turnstile, turn right, and keep walking until you find this stairwell, which has a ramp to the right of it.  Go up the stairs or ramp to the next level up.

CN Tower Skywalk stairs out of Union station

When you get to the top, head to the right to find the long wide corridor that continues in that direction (west).

Toronto Skywalk sign to the CN Tower

Follow the signs up into old Union Station and keep walking in that direction, following the signs to either the CN Tower or Ripley’s Aquarium (they are in the same place).

View through Union Station to the Skywalk to the CN Tower

The corridor will eventually angle left and take you across a glass-enclosed bridge to the CN Tower and Ripley’s. The entire walk from Union Station to the CN Tower takes about 12 minutes.

CN Tower Parking

The CN Tower does not have its own parking lot. There are several underground lots nearby, all of which charge a fee. The closest parking lot is at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building (222 Bremner Blvd). At the time of writing this lot cost $12.

Another option is the Impark lot on Navy Wharf (along the west side of the Rogers Centre just north of Bremner Blvd), which costs $3.00 per hour.

Hotels near the CN Tower

If your Toronto visit is focused on the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and/or an event at the Roger’s Centre, the Toronto Mariott City Centre Hotel is your best bet – it’s the closest hotel to the CN Tower, is moderately priced for downtown Toronto, and has a pool, hottub and it’s own decent restaurant (a real plus, as good restaurants are few and far between in this area). This is also a good option for parents of small children who need to return to the hotel for a mid-day nap.

For nearby luxury accommodation, look to the Toronto Radisson Admiral Hotel.  In summer, the rooftop pool is a great place to be, and the hotel’s Watermark Restaurant is a going concern in its own right – as in, people who are not hotel guests make a point of eating there.

If you’ll be zipping around Toronto on the subway, the Fairmont Royal York is a Toronto institution. It’s perfectly situated right across from Union Station, the UP Express train to/from the airport, and the shuttle stop for Billy Bishop Airport. It has an indoor pool and the restaurant’s chefs grow herbs on the roof.

Want to get out of the financial district and get into some downtown Toronto neighbourhoods, simultaneously saving some money? The Toronto Super 8 by Wyndham Downtown is right in Chinatown, about 4 subway stops from Union Station, and walking distance from Kensington Market and independent boutique-filled Queen Street West.

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Resources to Get You There

  • This Toronto map includes a subway map, a close-up of the downtown area, and a full index.
CN Tower: Everything you need to know to have a great visit
#Toronto #familyattractions #CNTower
Everything you need to know to visit the CN Tower: hours, ticket prices, discounts, tips and nearby parking and hotels. #CNTower #Toronto #Edgewalk

Looking for more things to do in Toronto? Check out our tips for a great visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, right next door to the CN Tower!