Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Ray Roman
When it comes to North America, it is true that Canada is a great place to visit – and one that remains popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
One of the most popular regions in Canada is Ontario – an area that has some of the greatest cities, attractions, natural wonders, and experiences to be had.
But this begs the question: what are the best cities in Ontario, and what makes them so special?
Where Is Ontario?
Located in the center of Canada, Ontario remains the most populated region within the country and is home to roughly 39% of the country’s population.
Much of Ontario consists of arable farming land, not to mention protected wilderness areas that hold great importance within the fabric of the country.
However, it is also the home of the nation’s capital – Ottawa – as well as one of the most popular and well-known cities in the country – Toronto.
What Is The Weather Like In Ontario?
As many might expect with Canada in general, the weather can get colder – especially in the winter months – and the country is subject to cold spells and adverse weather throughout the year.
However, in the summer months, the region of Ontario, in particular, is a warm and inviting place that has more than its fair share of sunny days – meaning that you just have to pick your moment when making your own trip to the region.
10 Best Cities In Ontario
Now that we know a little more about the region of Ontario, and the statistics therein, it is now time to take a closer look at the great cities within the region and what makes them so special for locals and tourists alike.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
First, on our list, we have Ottawa, the capital city of Ontario and one of the most well-known and popular cities in all of Canada.
With some of the best local amenities – including shopping, activities, experiences, and cuisine – as well as a thriving nightlife scene and numerous historical sites to explore, there is no wonder why Ottawa remains so popular amongst such a variety of different people.
And what’s more, the city is really accessible, meaning that there are numerous tours, excursions, and trips you can take once there.
Often described as ‘New York run by the Swiss’, Toronto is undoubtedly one of the most popular cities on the planet and is definitely the most popular city in the whole of Canada.
And it really isn’t hard to see why. With a thriving music and nightlife scene, as well as countless restaurants, shops, activities, sights, and sounds to experience, it really does have everything you could ever want from a city.
What’s more, like much of Canada, you are never too far from the countryside, meaning that those who have (inexplicably) lost their love for the city can also find refuge in the glorious nature for which the country has come to be known.
A largely popular city with plenty for people to see and do, Windsor is something of a hidden gem in Ontario, hosting historical significance and city-style amenities in equal measure.
Once an important stop on the Underground Railroad – which saw the clandestine transportation of slaves from North America to the freedom of foreign climes, it also became an important whiskey distilling city during the Prohibition era – illegally smuggling and supplying liquor to people all over the United States and beyond.
If all of this wasn’t enough, Windsor is also a great vacationing and sightseeing town, boasting numerous high-quality restaurants, nightlife spots, and casinos – as well as the malls and shopping destinations you could ever hope for.
A smaller city within the fabric of Ontario, Burlington is still a popular destination for many, and offers the perfect coming together of city life with rural living – boasting a ton of green space and nature on all sides for people to see and enjoy.
There are also numerous parks, a harbor, sightseeing tours, historical locations, and all manner of city amenities – including shopping spots, restaurants, and the perfect places for a great night out.
Pitched as a perfect mix of the modern and the traditional, Markham is an underrated gem within the region of Ontario, offering much in the way of natural beauty, city-style amenities, and all manner of activities to keep the family happy.
It also boasts some of the best restaurants in the region, as well as nightlife, live music, and all the shopping and activities you could hope for from a city.
It also boasts some of the best rural landscapes in the region, making it a great place for those who love the outdoors and everything it has to offer.
Named for the capital city of England, London is a great city within Ontario and has much to offer both locals and tourists alike.
This charming coastal city is still held up as one of the best cities to visit (and to live in) in Ontario and draws visitors from all around the world every single year.
With plenty of amenities, woodland, green spaces, lakes, and rivers, as well as some of the best cuisine and nightlife in the country, London more than lives up to its namesake.
Kingston, Ontario, is a popular Canadian city with a rich, vibrant history behind it. The home of numerous historic sites – including Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, Fort Henry National Historic Site, and Queen’s University – Kingston has much to offer those seeking a little history and culture.
It also has a rich supernatural following, hosting numerous ghost tours and walks around the city throughout the year – especially coming to life at Halloween, when countless people from far and wide descend on the city to hunt some ghosts for themselves.
If this wasn’t enough, it also has all the amenities you could want, including shopping, restaurants, and nightlife – as well as various activities and experiences to whet your appetite.
Once again known for its great mix of culture, nature, history, and city life, Cambridge is another great city that receives countless visits from Canadian locals and tourists alike.
With some of the best natural beauty spots in the country, as well as a series of waterways, historic sites, and breathtaking cityscapes, Cambridge is a great place for those wanting to have the best of both worlds: a lush, enchanting natural beauty, and all the shopping, restaurants, and bars you could ever want.
Known for its breathtaking architecture, Guelph is a great city for those seeking a little culture, nature, and history – not to mention some of the best spots in the country for food and drinks, the latter including some of the best local breweries in the region.
With plenty of places for relaxation, shopping, nighttime excursions, and coming into contact with nature, Guelph is an understated and indeed underrated spot in Ontario that people of all ages can enjoy.
Also, for those looking to see their lucky star, Guelph is also home to an observatory, allowing you to check out the cosmos in the comfort of this charming city.
Last on this list, but by no means least, we have Barrie – another underrated city in the heart of Ontario, but one that truly deserves a place on this list.
This sleepy, charming city has all the allure of a small town, with a sense of intimacy and detail that can often be lost in larger areas.
And what’s more, there couldn’t be more for you to do and experience while there – including the best breweries and restaurants in the country, some great shopping, and some unforgettable sights.
Is Ontario Safe?
One question that many travelers ask – especially when it comes to cities – is whether or not the city itself is safe and whether there are any things that people need to be aware of on their trip to the country in question.
As far as Ontario is concerned, the region is generally clean, safe, and full of opportunities for tourists, and while violent crime can be an issue in all cities, those in Ontario have some of the best safety and crime records around.
What’s more, the people are generally friendly, welcoming, and hospitable, making Ontario both one of the best places to live and one of the best places in North America for tourists to visit.
Best Cities in Ontario Final Thoughts
And there we have it, everything you need to know about Ontario, and the best cities within the region.
It’s true that Canada has much to offer locals and tourists alike, with Ontario, in particular, being a popular destination that people like to visit.
So if you are headed to Ontario, then why not check out some of these cities? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!