The CN Tower, Toronto

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Arguably the most recognizable landmark in all of Toronto, the CN Tower is a monument to twentieth-century engineering and innovation. Standing at over 1,800 feet tall, the CN Tower is also among the tallest buildings in the world – it was actually the tallest building at the time of its construction in 1976! It’s still the largest freestanding structure in the West, too, making it quite a remarkable sight from basically anywhere in the Toronto area.

In 1995, the CN Tower was declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, placing it among such prestigious company as the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Panama Canal.

Today the CN Tower is commonly seen as a symbol of Toronto and of Canada more broadly, and it certainly lives up to its status. An estimated two million visitors flock to the CN Tower each year, and it’s definitely more than worth the visit for any interested traveler.

With several different areas to explore, tons of informative exhibits, and a number of exciting experiences to try out, the CN Tower is an engaging observation deck with much to offer visitors.

aerial view of Toronto center, airport on left side

What’s at the CN Tower

There are a number of different areas and components to the CN Tower experience. Most are included with general admission, although the SkyPod and EdgeWalk experience do com with an addition cost.

Here’s an overview of each area, and what you’ll find within.

The Main Pod is primary component of the CN Tower’s touring experience. It’s split into seven different stories, only some of which are open to the public. There are three main levels visitors can access: the Glass Floor & Outdoor Observation Terrace, the Indoor Lookout Level, and the SkyPod.

Glass Floor & Outdoor Observation Terrace

The lowest observation level is located 1,122 feet in the air, and contains a number of exciting features. First, there’s an outdoor terrace that winds around the entire tower.  It provides stunning views of the city below, the waterfront neighborhood, and Lake Ontario – even in bad weather! Expect high winds on the lake side of the outdoor observation space, and be careful walking with small children who may strongly feel the effects of the wind.

The indoor component of that same level features one of the more exciting parts of the CN Tower experience – a glass floor that lets visitors stand over the open space down to the ground below. It’s a bit dizzying but makes for great pictures, as you peer down from over 1,000 feet in the air! It was actually the first glass floor in an observation deck when it opened in 1994, too.

On this floor you’ll also find a number of graphics on the walls explaining the history and heritage of the CN Tower, like information about when and how is was constructed, and the value it holds on Canadian culture today.

CN Tower IMG_2872

Indoor Lookout Level

The next highest observation level is the Indoor Lookout Level, which is located approximately 1,135 feet above the ground. Here is where you’ll find a traditional observation deck experience, with grand windows looking out onto the city below in all directions. This is a good opportunity for photos as well, even in the rain, as the glass remains mostly clear and you can see for miles in any direction.

As with the previous floor, there are several informative graphics and exhibits located throughout this level that tell the story of the CN Tower. They’re perfect for children, but are also informative for adults and are genuinely engaging to readers.

SkyPod

As the highest observation level open to the public in the CN Tower, the SkyPod rises 1,465 into the sky, just below the metal antenna of the tower. It’s one of the highest observation platforms in the world, and provides impressive, unique views of the city below.

This area is accessed via a separate elevator from the Lookout Level, and comes with an additional ticket cost on top of regular admission. At 33 stories higher than the Lookout Level, however, visitors who really want a taste of being high up in the sky will find the cost worth it. In fact, if the weather is right, you can see as far away as Niagara Falls!

EdgeWalk

Opened recently in 2011, the EdgeWalk is a newer addition to the CN Tower. It’s a thrilling experience that’s only for the bravest of the brave. For an additional cost on top of general admission, visitors can actually walk along the edge of the top of the tower’s main pod – all while secured with a trolley and harness system attached to a safety rail above.

At 116 stories above ground level, the EdgeWalk is the highest experience of this kind in the world. The entire excursion takes about 1.5 hours, with 30 minutes devoted to the outdoor walk. This experience is surely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Dining & Shopping Options

There are two dining options at the top of the CN Tower – the Horizons Restaurant and the 360 Restaurant. The Horizons Restaurant is located on the Indoor Lookout Level, and offers beautiful views of the city. Spacious and comfortable, the Horizons Restaurant features a rotating seasonal menu with special children’s menu options like chicken fingers, pizza, and basic pasta. For adults, the menu is more nuanced but still essentially casual, with offerings like white pizza, caesar salad, an Asian-inspired Bamboo Basket, and curried lamb.  Prices are moderate.

The second dining option up in the tower itself is the 360 Restaurant. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner, and is an immensely popular destination for romantic dinners and special occasions. It’s actually ranked among Toronto’s finest restaurants, serving sumptuous haute cuisine with phenomenal views of the city over 1,150 feet in the sky. They’re also known for the award-winning selection of wines, earning them the nickname “cellar in the sky.” Because of the popularity of this restaurant, reservations are strongly recommended (although you may not need them for lunch). The prix fixe menu includes items such as beef tartare, heirloom tomato salad, and shrimp cocktail for appetizers, and main courses such as Atlantic salmon, Alberta beef, and Fogo Island cod.

For those looking for a more casual dining experience, there’s also Le Café, located at the base of the tower. They offer variety of affordable fresh fare like sandwiches and salads, as well as gourmet tea and coffee and fresh pastries.

As for shopping, there is a large gift store at the base of the tower, featuring a wide selection of CN Tower-specific and Canadian-inspired gifts. You can find everything from glassware to t-shirts to home décor to tote bags and more. Prices are pretty reasonable, too. Be sure to at least take a stroll through on your way out – it’s one of the best selections of Canadian souvenirs at the city’s major attractions.

Tips for Visiting

  • It takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to see everything in the CN Tower (assuming you don’t do the EdgeWalk).
  • While riding the elevator – be sure to look down! The glass panels in the floor providing exciting views of the ground below.
  • Don’t use flash when taking photos, as you’ll get glare from the glass on the Indoor Lookout Level.
  • Make a point of walking all the way around on the Outdoor Observation Terrace – you’ll get the best views of the city and of Lake Ontario that way.
  • With a Toronto CityPass, you get to skip the ticket line and go straight to the elevators!
  • If you want to visit the SkyPod, be sure to use the coupon in the back of your CityPass booklet for a discount!

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to CN Tower.

1. Purchase a ticket from CN Tower when you get there.

2. Purchase a Tourist pass. The CN Tower is available on the Toronto CityPass.

 

CN Tower IMG_2857