UP Express Connects You to The Best Sights, Restaurants & Attractions Near Toronto's Union Station
Published: June 6, 2022
To truly experience how diverse, welcoming, and exciting Toronto is on your next visit, make sure you explore the area in and around UP Express Union Station in the heart of the Toronto’s downtown core. When you arrive at UP’s flagship station, you’ll enter a world filled with tonnes of options to choose from including must-visit restaurants, shops, attractions, parks, museums and much more!
Begin your visit by taking a tour of Union Station itself – this beautiful, historic building has truly photo-worthy architecture and design. Check out the PATH, the world’s largest underground shopping area or make connections to one of Toronto’s many must-see neighbourhoods. Union Station is only a 25-minute ride on UP Express from Pearson Airport making it a stress-free connection to the heart of the city for all visitors. Remember to buy your ticket before you board or use your PRESTO card and start exploring!
If you are travelling through Pearson Airport with a layover flight of up to seven hours in Toronto, UP Express Long Layover Return Ticket can help you get to Union Station to discover Toronto’s top attractions. Plus, your UP Long Layover ticket gives you admissions discounts to some popular attractions in/around Union Station including the Hockey Hall Of Fame and CN Tower.
Pro Tip:Before you head out: Make sure to check that specific destinations, attractions, restaurants and shops are open for you to visit in case restrictions have changed.
Union Station is the largest and busiest travel hub in Canada connecting passengers to their destinations across the city and the province including Pearson International Airport. It’s convenient, easy to navigate, and the perfect place to start your next local, national, and even international trip. Union Station houses multiple bus and train routes like UP Express’ direct connection between Pearson Airport and downtown Union Station, GO Transit which serves the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), Toronto’s local subway and bus system, the TTC, and VIA Rail, the country’s national railway system. Interested in winging it? Head over to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport for national and international flights. Your travel options are all just a short walk from UP Express Union Station.
Historical Downtown Toronto
Even though Toronto is fairly young compared to other major cities around the world, there’s a lot of cool history, world-class developments, and quirky nostalgia to discover as you tour through the streets near Union Station. This part of the downtown core was originally dubbed the Town of York in 1793. While the area earned the nickname “Muddy York” due to the clay soil and little-to-no maintenance at the time, you’ll be glad to know we’ve really cleaned up our act since then! Toronto is chock full of history, art, culture, and so much more. As you stroll down the city streets, you’ll find yourself snapping tons of Instagrammable photos as you take in the awesome architecture, cool street art, and fascinating heritage sites.
Before heading out into the city, remember to take a photo of Union Station itself! Construction began in 1914 in the middle of a materials shortage in World War I before being completed in 1927. Union Station was designated a National Historic Site by Parks Canada as the country’s preeminent example of a classical beaux-arts railway station and one of the largest of the great urban train stations built in the early 20th century. There’s been plenty of modern updates since then including the addition of more than 100 shops and food vendors to offer visitors a creative culinary experience.
Walkin’ on the Waterfront
Shimmering across the southern-most edge of Toronto is Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes and a favourite feature for both locals and visitors. It’s easy to bask in this gorgeous waterfront neighbourhood, complete with lots of paths, parks, restaurants and attractions and just a 10-minute jaunt south of UP Express Union Station! Stop and relax at HTO Park, a truly “urban beach” with grassy hills, long sandy beach, cool umbrellas and comfy Muskoka chairs. A little further west, stroll along the winding paths of the Toronto Music Garden. Nestled between the trees of Queen’s Quay and Toronto’s shoreline, this idyllic park originated from a film series by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma called “Inspired by Bach” and is quite a magical and serene scene of artistic expression.
If you’re into having an island adventure, take a short walk to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and head over to Toronto Island for a day at the beach, a bike ride along the shoreline or a picnic with an amazing view of Toronto! Getting here is easy—just exit Union Station and head south for about eight minutes on Bay Street until you hit the water!
Explore Toronto’s PATH Network
For a unique shopping and dining adventure, check out Toronto’s amazing PATH network, the largest and most expansive underground mall in the world that sprawls 30 kilometres below the downtown core. The PATH also links over 50 buildings, office towers and condos, six subways and, of course, is only a few minutes’ walk from UP Express Union Station. And, as much as we love experiencing the beauty of our varying seasons here in Toronto, this “commercial canopy” with over 1,200 shops and services is great for ducking out of the cold weather in the winter and even offering some cool relief in the summer when it gets a bit hot and humid. Drop in and check out these cool corridors to buy a few things, grab a bite or simply get to where you need to be, safe and dry!
Around the Downtown Core
Got time to explore more of downtown Toronto? It’s easy to discover lots of vibrant neighbourhoods that make up this awesome city from UP Express’ Union Station hub. Head east to St. Lawrence Market and walk around the delicious specialty food stalls and artisanal shops in this iconic, thriving bazaar, which first functioned as Toronto’s first City Hall in 1845. On your way there, check out the Gooderham Flatiron building and drop in on some of the nearby stores and coffee shops to get a taste of the local flavour. Keep your camera handy because you’ll want to snap some pics in this historic area.
To experience world-class shopping and an energetic city vibe, go north to the Eaton Centre—only a 10-minute walk from UP Express Union Station. Browse all manner of goods up and down the levels of this famous Toronto mall and find that perfect gift for someone special or go on a shopping spree to treat yourself! To grab a bite and fuel up before you hit the stores, take your pick of delicious food court restos or head outside the Eaton Centre to Yonge-Dundas Square—an urban park surrounded by a bustling area choc-a-block with great eateries and shops.
Experience more of Downtown Toronto
Getting out of the downtown core to explore unique neighbourhoods where both locals and visitors love to hang out is easy from UP Express Union Station. Experience cool and trendy Queen Street West or go even further west and you’ll get to the distinct and eclectic West Queen West with its unique mix of boutiques, restaurants, street art and galleries. For a different vibe and a bit of history, take a turn around Kensington Market where you’ll find amazing eats from around the world and far-out fun stores. This iconic area is bordered by a vast and vibrant Chinatown on Spadina Avenue—a must-visit for those who love authentic Asian cuisine. From the Far East to fashionable and fabulous, swing over to Yorkville for a bit of glam as you peruse designer boutiques and top eateries and galleries.
Close by Union
You won’t believe the number of amazing attractions to explore close by Union Station— you’ll have a tough time choosing what to do first! Exit UP Express Union Station and take a five-minute walk to the Hockey Hall of Fame and stare lovingly at the Stanley Cup that’s always on display (this is a favourite pastime of many Torontonians). Score 20% admission discount at the Hockey Hall of Fame – just flash your PRESTO card and enjoy the perk. With PRESTO PERKS, you can enjoy admission discounts to some of the top attractions and events in the city. Leave the car at home and create a fun-filled day with family and friends. Children 12 years and under always ride for FREE on UP Express.
If you want to continue your sporty trek, drop by Scotiabank Arena, where the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs play then head over to the Rogers Centre, home of the Blue Jays.
No trip to Toronto is ever complete without seeing the CN Tower (even though you’ll see it from every vantage point we’ve mentioned in this article). To get up close and personal, take the Skywalk that’s just beside UP’s Union Station hub and you’ll be at the foot of the tower in no time. While you’re in the neighbourhood, drop in at Ripley’s Aquarium and the Toronto Rail Museum.
Phew! That’s a lot to do and see so close to UP Express Union Station and we hope you’ll visit them all! To prepare for your adventure in downtown Toronto, UP Express made it easy for you to pay for your fare. We’ve made it easier and more affordable for everyone to travel on UP. You can purchase your UP tickets online, in person from ticket vending machines at our stations, or you can simply tap to pay using your credit card, debit card, mobile wallet or PRESTO card. Teens and post-secondary students receive 40% off standard adult fare when using PRESTO. Discounted fare is also offered to Seniors.