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12 Free Things to Do in Toronto

12 Free Things to Do in Toronto

There are actually plenty of fun and free things to do in Toronto, despite it being such an expensive city to live in.

Listen, I love vintage shopping and visiting Instagrammable brunch spots as much as the next basic Toronto girl, but I ain’t made of money.

And free doesn’t have to mean boring, friends!

If you’re looking for more stuff to do in the city, check out my post on the most fun things to do in Toronto (some of which are free and some of which are cheap.)

Here are some of the best free activities and things to do in Toronto.

Be sure to also follow me on Instagram and TikTok – I share a lot more content on those platforms that don’t make it to the blog!

More things to do in Toronto

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Toronto, you might enjoy these posts:

Guided tours in Toronto

If you enjoy guided tours, check out these fun and unique local tours in Toronto:

  • Downtown Toronto bike tour: explore the best of downtown Toronto via bike on a guided 3.5 hour tour, which takes you through Chinatown, City Hall, and the Entertainment District.
  • Distillery District walking tour: meander through the Distillery District on a guided 1-hour walking tour and learn about the history behind this super cute historical neighbourhood.
  • Kensington Market food tour: taste your way through one of Toronto’s most diverse neighbourhoods on this 2.5 hour tour.

Free things to do in Toronto

Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto

Check out art at the AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest museums in North America, and admission is free on Wednesday evenings.

You’ll have to book a time slot on Monday mornings on their website, or you can just grab tickets if you’re not able to visit on Wednesday evening.

If you’re 25 and under, you can always enjoy free admission!

Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto

The AGO is located close to Chinatown, so there are plenty of awesome Asian food spots in the neighbourhood that you can check out afterwards.

Pay a visit to Light Café for amazing sandwiches and Asian-inspired desserts.

LOCATION: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON

The Power Plant Art Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is a super underrated gallery in Toronto, and you’ll seldom find it very busy.

Though it’s not a very busy spot, the exhibitions are always very cool, and they change up by the seasons!

The Power Plant Gallery at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto
A past exhibition at The Power Plant.
Kapwani Kiwanga exhibit at The Power Plant Gallery, Toronto
Another past exhibition at The Power Plant.

The Power Plant is located in the Harbourfront neighbourhood, where you’ll find plenty of other cool activities and things to do.

You can rent a Bike Share and ride along the waterfront or head on over to the Toronto Islands!

LOCATION: 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON

Graffiti Alley in Toronto

Wander through Graffiti Alley

Graffiti Alley isn’t an official tourist spot in Toronto, but it’s very much populated by tourists and locals alike.

It’s basically a whole alley full of colourful murals and graffiti, and it makes for epic photos!

Graffiti Alley, Toronto

I love coming back here every now and then to check out new pieces that might have popped up.

I’ve also got a blog post all about cool Toronto murals to check out if you’re looking for more cool walls and murals.

LOCATION: Rush Lane (between Portland St & Spadina Ave), Toronto, ON

House of Vintage, Toronto
House of Vintage is one of my favourite vintage clothing stores in Toronto.

Window shop on Queen West

Queen West is one of the best neighbourhoods to shop in Toronto, and if you’re looking for something free and fun to do, why not do some window shopping?

Maybe you’ll be tempted to buy something, but at least you’ll be supporting local Toronto shops.

There are plenty of awesome vintage and non-vintage stores along Queen West, and it’s fun just walking down the trendy neighbourhood and peeping out all the shops.

If you’re a vintage lover, I’ve also got a blog post all about the best vintage stores in Toronto!

Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

Visit the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is home to city hall and the famous Toronto sign that was put there during the 2015 Pan Am Games.

It’s a cool spot to snap some touristy photos, and you can even go skating here during the winter!

LOCATION: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

Distillery District, Toronto

Explore the Distillery District

The Distillery District is a designated World Heritage Site, and it’s also one of the cutest neighbourhoods in Toronto.

It’s a historic pedestrian-only neighbourhood filled with restaurants, shops, art galleries, and so much more to explore!

During the holidays, the whole neighbourhood turns into the Toronto Christmas Market, and it’s free to visit on weekdays!

Distillery District, Toronto

I have blog posts all about things to do in the Distillery District and the best restaurants in the Distillery District.

If you’re interested in doing guided tours to learn more about the history of the Distillery District, you can also do a fun guided walking tour!

And if you’re into spooky things, you can go on the Haunted Night Walking Tour, where you can hear creepy stories about the neighbourhood’s past.

Cocktail Emporium in Kensington Market, Toronto

Explore Kensington Market

Kensington Market is one of the absolute cutest neighbourhoods in Toronto, and there are so many fun things to do in the area.

Plus, they have a thing called Pedestrian Sundays from May 31st through October 25th every year, which is when the neighbourhood is completely pedestrian-friendly and vehicle-free!

You can do all your vintage (window) shopping, ethnic grocery shopping, and just some good ol’ exploring without having to worry as much about bumping shoulders with strangers.

Little Pebbles bakery in Toronto's Kensington Market neighbourhood
Little Pebbles is a super cute café in Kensington Market.

I’ve also got blog posts all about things to do in Kensington Market and the best vintage stores in Kensington Market!

If you’re looking to do fun guided tours in the area, I’d definitely recommend checking out this Canadian food tour in Kensington Market, or this 2-hour Kensington Market and Chinatown walking tour.

Stand up paddle boarding at the Toronto Islands

Wander around the Toronto Islands

Okay, so you do have to buy ferry or water taxi tickets to get to the Toronto Islands, but exploring the island itself is completely free!

The Toronto Islands are a nice little escape from the city, without actually leaving the city.

There are plenty of fun things to do on the Toronto Islands, and you can spend a whole day just exploring around the different islands.

Toronto Islands ferry

If you’re interested in doing a guided tour, you can also do a fun 3.5 hour bike tour of the Toronto Islands, where you get to ride all around the islands and learn about the island’s 200 year history.

It also includes your ferry tickets, bicycle and helmet, plus water and snacks, which makes life a little easier!

Bike Lane at Toronto Harbourfront

Cycle along the Waterfront Trail

If you have your own bike, skateboard, or rollerblades, this’ll be completely free for you, but if not, you can rent a Toronto Bike Share for just $7 per person for the day!

The Waterfront Trail is the longest bike path in Toronto, and there are so many cool stops along the way.

Summer at Sugar Beach in Toronto
Sugar Beach is located on the waterfront.

From Sugar Beach (with its cute pink umbrellas) to Humber Bay Park (with the aesthetic bridge), there’s lots to see along the Waterfront Trail!

Adam and I love biking along the Waterfront Trail during the summer and checking out different parks and spots each time.

High Park, Toronto

Stroll through High Park

High Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Toronto, and there’s plenty of things to do here year-round.

Walk (or bike) around and enjoy the trails (fall is the best!), check out the cherry blossoms in the spring, stop by the High Park Zoo, or even catch a Shakespeare in High Park performance!

High Park cherry blossoms in Toronto
High Park is most popular during the spring for their cherry blossom trees.

You can even play pickleball or many other sports in all their sport facilities at the park.

If you’re looking to cool down with a sweet treat, iHalo Krunch is one of the best soft serve ice cream spots in Toronto!

LOCATION: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON

Toronto Botanical Garden

Stroll through Edwards Gardens

This gorgeous botanical garden in North York is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature.

It’s also located right next to the stunning Toronto Botanical Garden, so you can explore both!

Admission to the gardens is free, but there is paid parking.

LOCATION: 755 Lawrence Ave E, North York, ON

Scarborough Bluffs, Ontario

Explore Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs is located just outside of the city in Scarborough, and you won’t even believe it’s in Toronto when you see it.

It’s absolutely gorgeous all year-round, but fall is probably my favourite time to visit, with the leaves all changing colours!

Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto

There’s even a swimming beach at the Bluffs.

Afterwards, you can visit one of Scarborough’s best restaurants (or takeout spots) for a delicious meal!

LOCATION: 1 Brimley Road S, Toronto, ON

Free things to do in Toronto:

  1. Check out art at the AGO
  2. Check out art at the Power Plant Gallery
  3. Wander through Graffiti Alley
  4. Window shop on Queen West
  5. Visit the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square
  6. Explore the Distillery District
  7. Explore Kensington Market
  8. Wander around the Toronto Islands
  9. Cycle along the Waterfront Trail
  10. Stroll through High Park
  11. Stroll through Edwards Gardens
  12. Explore Scarborough Bluffs

These were some of the best activities and free things to do in Toronto!

What are some other awesome free (or cheap) things to do in Toronto? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

More things to do in Toronto

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Toronto, you might enjoy these posts:

Be sure to keep up with me on Instagram, TikTokTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

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