Kensington Market & Chinatown
Skip the generic, tourist-trap sights and join this Toronto tour to see two of the city's coolest communities. Hit Chinatown to see where China and Canada collide, then visit the Kensington Market area for graffiti, vintage shops, coffee houses, comic book stores, and everything else decidedly hip.
Toronto Walking Tour Highlights
- Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Toronto’s legendary Chinatown
- Explore the unique, bohemian atmosphere of Kensington Market – one of Toronto’s most famous and eclectic neighbourhoods
- Check out locally-owned and operated eateries, shops, and produce markets
- Walk the hidden lanes and alleys to discover amazing graffiti art
- Keep a tally of all the places you’re going to want to come back to later (trust us)
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, snacks, and beverages.
Exclusions: Souvenirs and tips and gratuities for your guide.
- Duration: 3 hours
- Meeting point: The SW Corner of McCaul St and Dundas St West, beside the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).
- Starting time: 10.00 AM
- Ending point: Dragon City Shopping Centre (SW corner of Spadina Ave. and Dundas St. West)
Ask any local and they’ll tell you – one of the best things to do in Toronto is to explore two of the city’s most colourful and multicultural neighbourhoods – Chinatown and Kensington Market. On this Toronto walking tour, you have the chance to get up-close and personal with both of these local favourites, experiencing the rich history, vibrant cultures, and iconic uniqueness both Chinatown and Kensington Market are known for.
The streets around Chinatown and Kensington Market are often crowded, but always friendly. With a reputation for local and international delicacies, unique vendors, and specialty shops, there really is nowhere else like this in Toronto. Distinctively different, yet undeniably and inherently similar, these two neighbourhoods sit right next to each other, offering both a wonderful juxtaposition, and interesting compliment to one another – perfect for exploring together on this unique tour of Toronto.
In Kensington Market, learn how the neighbourhood has evolved from a working-class Jewish market into a working-class bohemian market. Several waves of immigrant settlements over the past century have splashed colours, sounds, and flavours from the four corners of the earth throughout Kensington Market, and yet there is not a McDonald’s or Starbucks to be seen. Large multinational corporations are decidedly unwelcome, and unlikely to migrate their way in anytime soon.
Aside from its aversion to corporations, the neighbourhood is known for its festivals (Pedestrian Sunday is a favourite), vintage shops, cafes, bakeries, hole-in-the-wall bars, and the many, many bare brick walls that have long been covered with graffiti murals (often at the request of the buildings’ owners). These murals are nearly all stunning, and have become one of the iconic features of the neighbourhood. Your local guide is happy to elaborate on any element of the neighbourhood you find particularly interesting on this Kensington Market tour in Toronto – we all love this area a lot!
As we said, right next door to Kensington Market is Chinatown, one of Canada’s largest Chinese communities, and one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. One of the busiest areas in the city, there’s always something happening, and always tales to tell. On this part of your Toronto tour, your guide enlightens you with some favourite local stories and intriguing history surrounding Toronto’s Chinatown. Along the way, you’ll also likely get restaurant recommendations, which can really come in handy for after your Toronto Chinatown tour – trust us, there are a lot of places to eat around here.
By the time your Toronto tour is over, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll want to hang around Chinatown and pop back into Kensington Market on your own for a while to pick up some vintage or one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts, and to devour a truly delicious meal at any of the dozens of tasty spots nearby.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, snacks, and beverages.
Exclusions: Souvenirs and tips and gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: Summers can be hot and humid, spring/autumn can be cool, and winters downright frigid with snow. Dress according to weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Your Trip: This trip is offered on a “join-in” basis. Maximum group size is 12.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the starting point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Additional Information: This tour finishes with plenty of time to travel to the “Beer Makes History Better” tour’s starting point if you wish to do both in one day.
Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of six and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of six are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of six. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.
Ms. Suzanne H. from USA travelled on 10 Apr 2018:
Excellent tour of Kensington Market and Chinatown and Mike was highly knowledgeable not just of those neighborhoods but of Toronto as a city. We had a great time exploring and going behind-the-scenes to meet some fantastic shop owners and sample some great snacks along the way. I highly recommend Urban Adventures and Mike.
Mr. Rebecca P. from Australia travelled on 05 Mar 2018:
Mike was an excellent guide. Funny, passionate, friendly and full of knowledge. He showed us a side to Toronto that I never knew existed and took us to places we would have never found on our own. Highly recommended.
Ms. Theresa H. from USA travelled on 30 Nov 2017:
Great tour; I recommend it.
Mrs. Alejandra L. from Mexico travelled on 25 Oct 2017:
Mike is great! he’s funny and easy going. We feel lucky to meet him.
Ms. Maria S. from USA travelled on 12 Aug 2017:
The trip was more than I expected. Mike was great and very knowledgeable about the area and it was perfect as it was small and he could help us find our way around easily! Would do another adventure with Mike again!!
Mr. Lawrence W. from USA travelled on 18 Jun 2017:
Mike,our tour guide,was outstanding. Heknew everything and we developed a friendship in minutes. As good as it gets. Totally familiar with all facets of the tour area. A must do.
Mr. Sunny B. from Canada travelled on 04 Jun 2017:
Mike had a great knowledge of the area and Toronto in general. The walk had an excellent flow and Mike really made the walk engaging and fun. He was professional and creative, would recommend him to others!
Mrs. Amber T. from Canada travelled on 31 May 2017:
Tim was very friendly and went above and beyond our expectations by allowing us time to explore things we were specifically curious about in the Kengsinton Area.
Mrs. Marlene W. from USA travelled on 12 Sep 2016:
Mike was really well informed and a delightful tour guide. He was opened to learning new things and answered many questions about life in Toronto. The tour of Kensington Market and Chinatown is highly recommended by me.
Mr. Kim H. from Australia travelled on 23 Aug 2016:
Our guide, Mike is a fast walker and the group had a difficult time keeping up. Would have enjoyed him walking with us and chatting. I understand that he was keeping us moving, but still…
Mr. Michael R. from USA travelled on 25 Jul 2016:
Mike was an amazing guide with a great sense of humour. We shopped around at some of the places he showed us and came home with an armful of tasty treats. Really enjoyed the history and the pace of the tour
Mr. Kevin R. from USA travelled on 05 Jul 2016:
Mike did a nice job. Very interactive tour with lots of questions and good answers. Mike lived in the area and that helped make the tour that much more insightful. Group was only 7 people making it very nice experience for all parties
Mr. Jerome K. from USA travelled on 12 Apr 2016:
Mike was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The use of his iPad to show different pictures and information was a great way to augment the tour.
Ms. Brandy D. from Canada travelled on 04 Apr 2016:
Great tour! The tour and Mike’s conduct of it surpassed expectations – thanks!
Mr. Michael H. from USA travelled on 03 Apr 2016:
Can’t say enough good things about the tour. Had a great time. Mike is an awesome guide who seems to know all of Toronto’s most interesting stories.
Mr. Jeff H. from Canada travelled on 29 Mar 2016:
Michael, the tour guide, was excellent
Ms. Caroline C. from Canada travelled on 02 Dec 2015:
Mike was great! I have lived in Toronto for three years and my friend was visiting for the second time so it was the perfect tour to delve into something a bit more interesting than the standard city tour. Mike was great at relating Toronto information to the respective home cities of the people on the tour (Dublin & Detroit) so that we could better understand the context of the neighbourhoods. Great service, very friendly and funny! Meeting the local business staff and owners and sampling some food was such a treat! Thanks Mike
Mr. Nicholas B. from USA travelled on 09 Sep 2015:
This tour was the highlight of our time in Toronto. Mike did a great job sharing his knowledge of the local area. We can’t wait to visit again and take one of the other tours offered!
Mr. Hector B. from USA travelled on 03 Sep 2015:
Re: 5 below – would need to get their permission first
Mrs. Judy H. from Canada travelled on 26 May 2015:
Loved the tour, thanks Dave
Ms. caroline v. from Belgium travelled on 28 Sep 2014:
I sprang my ankle and Mike was so nice to help look for a pharmacy. Thanks again.
Mr. QINGHUA L. from Canada travelled on 04 Sep 2014:
Excellent guide made the trips meaningful, interesting and memorable. However, when I book this adventure the first time, I did not pay attention to the departure date. As a result, I misssed the trip. So I had to book the same trip and pay again. I am wondering if the booking service could be improved somehow. Also, it was not easy to communicate with the booking service. No one answer the phone and my email got no response either.
Ms. Sally C. from Canada travelled on 30 Aug 2014:
Jason was very knowledgable and enthusiastic. I’ve already recommended the tour to friends and family
Mrs. Dorte J. from Denmark travelled on 08 Jul 2014:
Very good service and atmosphere. I was even having a tour as the only participant and really enjoyed it. I think the tours were insightful, humorous and great and I will definitely recommend this to friend and family.
Mr. Jean S. from Australia travelled on 09 Jun 2014:
I had a great time walking around Kensington markets and Chinatown on this tour. On the day I went, I was the only person booked to do the tour, but the tour guide didn’t mind and he happily showed me around, chatting away to me in an informative manner for the two hours.
Mr. Robert H. from USA travelled on 24 Aug 2013:
James was amazing. I can’t wait to take our next tour the next time we visit Toronto.
Mr. Timothy N. from USA travelled on 31 Jul 2013:
Met James at 10 am on a Saturday and gave us a great tour of the local neighborhood and afterward g gave us some local places to eat which were good. Well worth it, great way to see the city.
Ms. Mila R. from Canada travelled on 02 Jul 2013:
I was very pleased! I learned about the gritty side of TO which is what I asked for! It was amazing to learn about the underground graffiti scene in Kensington Market! And Jason’s local knowledge is fantastic! First time trying butter tart made it a memorable experience.
Mr. Michael H. from USA travelled on 20 Jun 2013:
Mike is a great guide
Ms. Carole Ann D. from Canada travelled on 31 Oct 2012:
Jason is an amazing tour guide. His enthusiasm is real and he’s full of fun facts. We had a wonderful time on this tour and were happy to find out that Jason would be our guide for the Beer Makes History Better tour as well. A great day getting to know our city better. Thank you! 🙂
Mr. Andrew c. from Canada travelled on 22 Oct 2012:
I’ve had the chance to do these tours a few times now, and everytime the tour exceeded my expectations. Whenever I have friends visiting from out of country, more often than not, I have them take part in these tours, and the feedback they give me is always positive. Plus, it’s always great to spend time with these guides who share my enthusiasm for Toronto! I always like learning (and re-learning) more about my own city. The three tours I’ve taken part in: Beer Makes History Better, the Street Art Tour, and the Kensington/Chinatown tour were all exemplary.
Jason, you continue to impress! Keep up the good work!
Mrs. Sabine S. from Germany travelled on 13 Oct 2012:
Thank you for a great tour!
I appreciate that you do your tours even if there is just one person booked;so I had a really personal one.I was so glad when Jason showed up, because two days before on a tour with another company nobody met me at the given meeting point. I travel a lot and from now on Urban Adventures will be first on my list to check for available tours.
Mr. Hameed A. from USA travelled on 13 Sep 2012:
Dave was wonderful. He really knew how to show us a great time and was the perfect tour guide. I would definitely recommend that everyone take this tour at least once. Great job!!!!!!!
Mr. Margaret W. from Canada travelled on 27 Aug 2012:
This was a great chance to learn more about my own city. Very informative and Jason proved to be a charming ambassador for Toronto.
Mrs. Tanya K. from Russia travelled on 20 Aug 2012:
We were so happy we took this tour. The guade was awesome! Great experience. Thanks so much.
Mrs. Nickie P. from Australia travelled on 17 Aug 2012:
Jason was a great guide. He was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. My husband didn’t even know what Kensington Market was and he gained a lot of new information. Thanks for a fun experience.
Mrs. Tani A. from Canada travelled on 11 Aug 2012:
We spent a great informative 2 hours with Jason wandering the streets in Kensington Market and Chinatown. We definitely heard some stories and learned some interesting history. We’re planning to go back on our own to try a couple of the restaurants. Thanks Jason!!!!!!
Mrs. Sharon M. from Canada travelled on 01 Aug 2012:
We had a wonderful Kensington market tour with Dave on Saturday July 28th at 10am.
Walt and Sharon
Mr. David L. from Canada travelled on 01 Aug 2012:
Really enjoyed the experience! Dave was a great guide who pointed out some interesting spots for us to come back and visit.
We moved to the Toronto area 6 years ago and this was definitely a great way to get to know our new “neighbourhood”. Looking forward to the beer tour next.
Mr. Rosemary A. from Australia travelled on 16 Jul 2012:
It was a great way to spend the morning to learn something that I wouldn’t have known about my own city. I would recommend the tour to native Torontonians and tourists alike. Jason was very enthusiastic and informative.
Mr. Bryan L. from Canada travelled on 24 May 2012:
We really enjoyed our tour – only wish we had had time to sample some of the delicious food that was available in the area!
Mr. Daniel V. from Canada travelled on 11 May 2012:
We were particularly impressed with our guide Silvia. She was very knowledgeable,accommodating and completely charming. She also speaks so many languages she was able to answer in-depth questions from everyone in our group. Silvia is definitely an asset to your team!