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13 Free Things to Do in Toronto

13 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!

Hotels in Toronto

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you’re in Toronto, these are some great options:

  • Annex Hotel: a contemporary 3-star hotel in the Annex with bright and airy rooms.
  • Yorkville Royal Sonesta: this chic 4-star hotel in the Yorkville neighbourhood offers up stunning views of the skyline.
  • Bisha Hotel: a cool 4-star hotel in the Entertainment District with a swanky rooftop restaurant and pool offering up CN Tower views.
  • Radisson Blu: a modern 4-star hotel along the Harbourfront with a rooftop pool and a close-up view of the CN Tower.
  • Broadview Hotel: a historical 4-star hotel in Toronto’s east end, housed in a Victorian-era building with elegantly modern rooms.
  • Fairmont Royal York: a luxurious 5-star hotel right by Union Station, newly renovated but still retaining most of its original features. The Queen is known to stay here!

You can also check out my post on the best boutique hotels in Toronto if you’re looking for a more unique stay!

More things to do in Toronto

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

Or, check out some local tours if you’re looking to do even more fun and unique activities, like these ones:

  • 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

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room – Let's Survive Forever

Check out art at the AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest museums in North America, and they’re located close to Chinatown in Toronto.

Admission is free on Wednesday evenings, but you have to book a time slot on Monday mornings.

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

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat afterwards, PanPan Noodle Bar is one of the best Chinese noodle spots in Toronto and it’s nearby!

Light Café is another adorable spot with amazing sandwiches and Asian-inspired desserts.

If you’re into Chinese food, check out my posts on the best Chinese restaurants in Toronto and the best Chinese takeout in Toronto.

LOCATION: 317 Dundas St. West, Toronto, ON

The Power Plant Gallery at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is a super underrated gallery in Toronto, so 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!

It’s not open just yet either, but definitely add it to your radar for when things open up in Toronto!

It’s in the Harbourfront neighbourhood, where you’ll find plenty of other cool activities and things to do.

LOCATION: 231 Queens Quay West, 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!

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. West, 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!

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.

LOCATION: The Distillery District, Toronto, ON

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.

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.

LOCATION: Kensington Market, Toronto, ON

Toronto Islands ferry

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.

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!

LOCATION: Toronto Islands, Toronto, ON

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.

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.

Cherry blossom trees at High Park in 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!

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. West, Toronto, ON

Biking at Trillium Park in Toronto, Ontario

Stroll through Trillium Park

Trillium Park is one of the newer parks in the city, and it’s one of the nicest ones in Toronto.

It’s located along the waterfront, and it’s the perfect spot to have a picnic with the Toronto skyline in the background!

I’ve got a separate blog post all about things to do on the Toronto waterfront if you’re interested.

LOCATION: 955 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto, ON

Sugar Beach, Toronto

Relax at Sugar Beach

While Sugar Beach is not much of an actual beach, it’s still a super cute spot to hang out (and take photos at!)

Catch some shade under the pastel pink umbrellas or get your tan on while sitting on one of the white Muskoka chairs!

LOCATION: 11 Dockside Dr, Toronto, ON

Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto

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, Ontario

Afterwards, you can visit one of Scarborough’s best takeout spots for an affordable and delicious meal.

LOCATION: 1 Brimley Road South, 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 Trillium Park
  12. Relax at Sugar Beach
  13. 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!

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

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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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