CN Tower

Top choice tower in Entertainment & Financial Districts

Toronto's iconic CN Tower, a marvel of 1970s engineering, looks like a giant concrete hypodermic needle. Its function as a communications tower takes a backseat to relieving tourists of as much cash possible – riding those glass elevators up the once-highest freestanding structure in the world (553m) is one of those things you just have to do in Toronto. Even if you don't, you're bound to catch a glimpse of the tower at night, when the entire structure puts on a brilliant free light show year-round.

On a clear day, the views from the top are astounding; if it's hazy (often) you won't see a thing. Queues for the elevator can be up to two hours long in each direction. Buying tickets online saves 15%. There's an obligatory revolving restaurant (called 360°): it's expensive, but the elevator price is waived for diners. Cashed-up daredevils (13 years plus) can now opt for the EdgeWalk ($175), a 20-minute outdoor walk around the unbounded perimeter of the main pod (356m). Not for the fainthearted. For an even loftier, though indoor, view, opt for the SkyPod (447m; an extra $12) – though you may not notice much difference to the regular view.

The best street-level vantage of the tower is at the intersection of McCaul St and Queen St W, due north of the tower.