The CN Tower is the most iconic image of Toronto, and for a time, it was the world’s tallest freestanding structure, looming above the city’s skyline like a beacon. For the undisputed best view in the city, the CN Tower definitely can’t be beat. It’s a great spot to include in a day of sightseeing. Every kid has to go up the tower at least once, and here’s what they can expect.
Best CN Tower Attractions for Kids
If you’ve been thinking about visiting the CN Tower with your kids, now is great time to do it, after a 2018 renovation that added accessibility improvements, including floor-to-ceiling windows on the LookOut Level, so young children can now see out without being lifted up.
There’s no getting around it. Lineups to get into the CN Tower are long. Even arriving at 7 pm, we had to wait in line for 40 minutes to get to the elevator up to the LookOut Level. Luckily, there were a few distractions along the way for antsy kids. The line for the elevator snakes through Skyquest Cinema, with a bunch of screens showing videos of the tower’s construction, the EdgeWalk, and more. There’s also a giant (well, probably regular-size) moose to pose with. And beyond the Cinema, a magician entertains the line. (He may even tell you how to do the trick!)
The ride to the top is half the fun! The elevators rocket up to the LookOut Level in only 58 seconds, and it was some kids’ favourite experience of the entire trip. With glass panels in the sides and floor, there’s a lot to see, albeit very quickly.
The floor-to-ceiling Window Walls, newly installed in 2018, allow even wee ones to see as far as New York State, and the new Glass Floor (also installed in 2018, a level above the original one) adds another perspective to their view. The Glass Floor can withstand the weight of 35 moose or more than 21,000 pounds, so kids are allowed—and even encouraged—to sit, lie, or jump up and down on the floor while parents quietly have an anxiety attack. And there are snack bars at this level, so children who are suddenly desperately hungry or thirsty need not interrupt the well-dressed patrons of the 360 Restaurant.
Outdoor Sky Terrace
One floor down from the LookOut Level you can head outside to the Outdoor Sky Terrace. Standing 1,100 feet above the ground feels that much more real when you can feel the wind in your hair and hear the sounds of the city! Heading inside, you will find the original Glass Floor, where you have another opportunity look down to the ground below.
CN Tower KidZone
Before or after your tower trip, plan some time at the base of the CN Tower where there are games and other diversions designed for kids ages 3–8 in the KidZone interactive play area. Sock-footed kids can climb through the play structure, ride some rocking toys, and slide down the slide. Opened in 2014, the 1,500-square-foot space is in the former arcade.
Where to Eat at the CN Tower
The formal dining 360 Restaurant does revolve, so it may not be suitable for those who tend to get woozy. It’s also populated by couples on the town in the evening, but it does have a kids’ menu ($40 prix-fixe for ages 12 and under; adults $65 or $79 prix-fixe, depending on number of courses). To grab a quick meal on the go, Le Café is located at the base of the CN Tower. There are cafés on the LookOut Level, too.
Tips for your CN Tower Visit
Brush up on your CN Tower history. Brush up on history, architecture, and science of the CN Tower before or after your trip to make it that much more interesting for the whole family.
Save with combo tickets. If you plan to visit other major attractions in Toronto, combo tickets can save you some money. The Sea The Sky ticket ($37) includes passes to the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium—and you can use it any time within a six-month period. A Toronto CityPASS ($59 per child) is an even better deal—it includes the CN Tower, Cast Loma, the ROM, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre—though it must be used within 9 days. You can also get 15% off your ticket price if you can show a Blue Jays ticket from the same day.
Consider skipping the SkyPod. The SkyPod is another 33 storeys above the LookOut Level, but costs an extra $15. Most kids will be satisfied with the view at the first level and it may not be worth the extra money to take that extra trip.
Go early…or late. The CN Tower opens at 8:30 am and doesn’t close until 11 pm. Early morning or during the evening are the least busy times, and you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and not have to be jostled when you’re trying to see the spectacular view. And also, if your kids are old enough to stay up a bit later, you can watch the sun go down!
No, kids can’t do the EdgeWalk. You must be 13 or older (and at least 75 pounds) to brave the hands-free external walk on a 5-foot-wide ledge 116 storeys off the ground.
Address: 301 Front Street West, Toronto (the entrance is on Bremner Boulevard). There are limited paid parking lots nearby and in the Convention Centre. There is also free street parking nearby, on the weekends, if you can find it.
Hours: Observation levels are open daily 8:30 am–11 pm.
Admission: General admission for the two main observation levels: $38 adults (ages 13–64), $28 kids (ages 4–12), $34 seniors.