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Our 15 Favorite Things to Do in Toronto for FREE

Our 15 Favorite Things to Do in Toronto for FREE

Just like any big city, Toronto can take a big bite out of your travel budget, especially with all the shopping, fancy dining, nightlife, and luxury stuff calling your name!

On the positive side, sometimes the freebies give you a more authentic taste of the city than the usual (costly) touristy stuff. Lucky for you, Toronto’s got loads of free things to do. 

Check out these fun activities that won’t cost you a dime on your next visit!

Enjoy a laid-back day at High Park

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Address: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-338-0338

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

While Toronto boasts numerous incredible parks, High Park just hits close to home for us locals. 

Nestled just beyond the downtown hustle, this sprawling public park is the place to go if you want a whole day of outdoor fun without spending a dime. 

Save money by checking out the park’s trails, taking a leisurely walk through the gardens, and bringing your own picnic kit. Of course, you can also take your friends or family here for a quick weekend getaway from the city. 

In the afternoon, hang out at High Park Zoo which sits right in the park. Here you can see various animals such as llamas, Highland cattle, and even those cute capybaras. It’s free to the public, though donations are appreciated!

Check out the cool tropical plants at Allan Gardens Conservatory

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Address: 160 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2E5, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-392-7288

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

For those of us who love seeing a bit of nature within the city, the Allan Gardens Conservatory is an ideal stop. This delightful 100-year-old greenhouse is home to vibrant tropical plants and blooms that are sure to leave you in awe.

If you time it right, you might spot ripe bananas among the tropical vines and palms in the Palm House. You can also catch sight of the Arid House, which boasts an impressive array of cool-looking cacti – no need to see the Sahara for that!

The whole place is a beautiful, quiet spot that’s perfect for spending a few hours, plus you can even bring your own picnic and snacks to enjoy outside in the park. Just a heads up: you can take photos for personal use, but stick to the paths and avoid the garden collections!

Relax at Cherry Beach

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Address: Cherry Beach, Toronto, ON, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Who doesn’t love a good beach – especially if it’s just a short block away? Cherry Beach is 

technically a walk from downtown, but there’s plenty of parking if you’re driving so there’s no need to stress. 

The beach is kind of low-key with not many facilities, which makes it less crowded than other Toronto beaches on a hot summer day. Don’t worry because the place still comes with standard washrooms and changing rooms.

Here, you can just enjoy the calm waves rolling onto the sand and catch some windsurfers from your spot. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a dip… but as usual, it’s advisable not to dive in without a lifeguard on duty for supervision.

See the skyline from Polson Pier

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Address: 11 Polson St, Toronto, ON M5A 1A4, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

For a cool view of the skyline, head to Polson Pier at night! It’s right by Cherry Beach, so it’s an easy add-on to your day by the harbor. 

From there, you can watch Toronto light up each evening and enjoy the views of downtown, the CN Tower, Lake Ontario, and the Toronto Islands. So many city-viewing opportunities in one spot!

If you want more than just watching, you can also do other free activities. Snap some pics of the cityscape to try your hand at night photography (your phone is enough!). You can also grab a bite at a nearby restaurant or cafe, or take a romantic stroll along the waterfront.

Catch a live performance at the Canadian Opera Company

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Address: 145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-363-6671

Operating hours: May – September

Between the end of September and May, the Canadian Opera Company puts on free live shows in the modern Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre. Simply put, a show like this isn’t something you should miss! 

These performances usually happen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. They showcase artists from around the world performing outstanding vocal, piano, jazz, dance, chamber, and world music pieces.

Friendly reminder, seating is a bit limited, so keep an eye on their website for updates and make sure to snag your spot early. Don’t forget to get tickets for your friends as well if you don’t plan on going alone. 

Have fun skating at Evergreen Brick Works


Address: Evergreen Brick Works, Koerner Gardens, 550 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON M4W 3X8

Contact Details: +1 416-596-7670

Operating hours: Winter Season (see website for the specific operating hours)

For a fantastic time in Toronto, Evergreen Brick Works offers seasonal free public indoor-outdoor skating (take note – seasonal!). 

It’s a great chance to get outside, stay active, and connect with the community during the winter months. Where else can you skate under the beams of a historic brick factory? It’s truly an experience you won’t want to miss. 

The skating rink is open to people of all ages, making it perfect not just for skilled skaters but for the whole family. They have skate and helmet rentals on-site, but if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it to save some cash!

Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario


Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-979-6648

Operating hours: Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM | Wednesday and Friday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM | Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

If you have a passion for all things art, make sure to explore the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)! For those under 25, the AGO offers complimentary admission. 

Well, even if you’re over 25, you don’t have to fret – the AGO extends free admission to the public every Wednesday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

The museum boasts a massive collection. We’re talking 90,000+ pieces covering Canadian, European, African, Oceanic, and contemporary art. 

Just a heads up to snag those free tickets online in advance. You can grab up to four at a time, so make sure to get tickets for the fam or your friends too. 

Explore art at the University of Toronto’s Museum


Address: 7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-978-1838 

Operating hours: Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Wednesday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Still can’t get enough of museums? If you’re in the city, consider checking out the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto 

It’s a nice, chill spot, and the best part is, it’s free! Offering readings, performances, screenings, and guided tours, it’s a good place to gain insights into art across different periods. Perfect for students or just art lovers in general.

Families can also enjoy spending quality time together here, as long as the kiddos behave well, of course! And before you wrap up your visit, you can support the gallery by making a purchase or donation at the gift shop. 

Snap a selfie with the Toronto sign

– Media by weston_travels

Address:100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, Canada

Operating hours: 24 hours

Everybody loves those landmark photos, right? So, why not try snapping a selfie with the iconic Toronto sign? You can find it easily in Nathan Phillips Square, right by Toronto’s City Hall. 

Each letter is lit up with LED lights that change colors based on current events or holidays in the city. 

That’s why it’s best to visit strategically, like during Christmas, for a picture-perfect backdrop. If you’re around in the winter, there’s even an ice skating rink for some extra fun.

Here’s a tip: during the summer months, there’s a staircase in the square that leads to an elevated walkway. It’s a fantastic spot to capture a selfie with the Toronto sign in the background.

Take photos at the St. Lawrence Market


Address: Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-392-7219

Operating hours: Tuesday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Well, going on a shopping spree is never free, but there’s a free activity you can try at St. Lawrence Market – taking an iconic photo! As long as you don’t get tempted by the bakeries, restaurants, and food stands, you can come out here without spending a cent (good luck!). 

If you’re into snapping those classic Toronto shots, this place is your jam. It has the perfect vibe for capturing the real feel of the city, whether you’re a serious photographer or just want a cool backdrop for your pics. 

To get a grand picture, snap the towering building’s exterior from Front Street. It’s a classic shot that adds to the charm of this timeless market.

Go window shopping in Yorkville

– Media by ferabrahamm

Address: Toronto, ON, Canada

Known for being one of the fanciest areas in Toronto, Yorkville is jam-packed with fancy fashion stores and posh restaurants. But that shouldn’t keep you from checking it out, because window shopping won’t cost you a dime!

Between Yorkville Avenue and Bloor Street West, you’ll come across some seriously bougie window displays that the city has to flaunt. So, take a casual stroll along Bloor Street and peep into some of the city’s coolest fashion boutique windows. 

Some hot spots for window shopping include Holt Renfrew, Hermes, Channel, and Gucci. Who knows, maybe for your next trip, you know enough to shop to your heart’s desire? 

Step back in time at Gibson House Museum


Address: 5172 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N 5P6, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-395-7432

Operating hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

If free history learning is your thing, this activity is perfect for you. For this one, take a trip back in time at Gibson House, a cool 19th-century farmhouse tucked away among the tall buildings in North York. 

This Georgian Revival farmhouse used to be home to David Gibson, a Scottish maan who did a bit of everything – from surveying land and farming to getting into politics and rebellion. 

Today, you can go back to the 1850s, surrounded by the sights of that time and see how Gibson left his mark on the community, the city, and the province. And the best part? Checking out this slice of Toronto’s history won’t cost you a thing!

Stroll the Distillery District


Address: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-364-1177

Operating hours: Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM | Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

If you’re hanging out downtown and want a break from the usual stuff, hit up the Distillery District in Toronto. It’s a chill, pedestrian-only spot surrounded by cool old buildings – the most extensive example of Victorian industrial architecture, to be exact. 

Bring some snacks and take a casual wander around – you won’t find any boring chain stores here! Every shop and gallery is totally unique, so you’re in for a fantastic experience even if you’re roaming around solo.

Bring the whole family to Riverdale Farm

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Address: 201 Winchester St, Toronto, ON M4X 1B8, Canada

Contact Details: +1 416-392-318

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Riverdale Farm in downtown Toronto is a seven-acre haven, with cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and other friendly farm animals. Families can freely explore the grounds for free and observe the staff as they go about their chores. 

What makes the farm special is its authentic representation of early 20th-century Ontario country life. There are no outdated soda machines or cheesy gift shops here, which can be unique from the typical Toronto urban life.

If you can’t resist a little spending, there are some homemade goodies available for purchase, all in line with the Riverdale Farm theme. Keep in mind, though, that parking is only available on the nearby residential streets – you’d have to do a bit of walking!

Take a midnight stroll in Toronto’s PATH Network

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Address: 1200 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Want a cool thing to do in Toronto? Head underground for a midnight exploration of the PATH network. This is the city’s pedestrian wonderland, making it an ideal place to do, well, just about anything!

While some shops and places to grub might have a price tag, just roaming around is totally free. You can come into this maze and find art, cool architecture, and hidden gems below the city.

You can check out the SkyWalk section and catch Toronto’s skyline above and the busy street action below. It’s a beautiful way to end your day and start the night without burning some cash.