Free Things to Do in Toronto

Are you planning a trip to Toronto on a budget and want to know what are the free things to do in Toronto? Or you’re a local looking for fun things to do without spending a dime. Look no further! Toronto is full of free activities and attractions that will keep you entertained for days without ever having to reach for your wallet. You might never have complimentary things to do in this vibrant city.

Downtown Toronto is a hub of activity and attractions, and luckily, for budget-conscious travelers, many of them are free. From exploring the beautiful architecture of the historic Distillery District to taking a stroll through the picturesque High Park, there are plenty of budget-friendly options. 

In this article, you’ll know the 40 best free things to do in Toronto. You’ll learn about top attractions, Toronto activities, and significant free events you will attend. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the city without spending a dime.

Table of Contents

History and origin of Toronto

Toronto, the largest city in Canada and the capital of Ontario, has a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. The area that is now Toronto was originally inhabited by Indigenous peoples for several millennia. The Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River were among the prominent groups living in the region prior to European contact.

The name “Toronto” is likely derived from the Iroquoian word “tkaronto,” meaning “place where trees stand in the water.” This name originally referred to the area around The Narrows, a channel of water between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, but was later applied to the area that became Toronto.

European settlement began in the late 18th century when the British Crown purchased the Toronto land from the Mississaugas. In 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe established the town of York on the site, naming it after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. York was designated as the capital of Upper Canada and was a major site during the War of 1812.

In 1834, the town of York was incorporated as the City of Toronto, reverting to its original native name. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century, driven by a wave of immigration, and became a major destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto’s growth was also fueled by its strategic location and the development of the railway and industrialization.

Throughout the 20th century, Toronto expanded through a series of annexations and amalgamations, becoming a melting pot of cultures, languages, and communities. Today, it is known for its diverse population and as a major international center of business, finance, arts, and culture. Toronto’s rich history is reflected in its architecture, museums, and cultural institutions, making it a dynamic and vibrant city with deep historical sites.

40 Free Things to Do in Toronto

40 Free Things to Do in Toronto

Toronto, a vibrant city bursting with culture and charm, offers an array of exciting activities that won’t cost you a dime. From scenic parks to captivating street art, the city is a treasure trove of free experiences. Here’s a guide to the best free things to do in Toronto, ensuring a memorable visit without straining your wallet.

1. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the most famous museums in Toronto and offers free admission every Wednesday evening from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Explore the museum’s extensive art, culture, and natural history collections.

2. Explore High Park

High Park is one of Toronto’s largest parks and offers a variety of activities for visitors, including walking trails, a zoo, and beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring.

3. Go Distillery District

The Distillery District is a historic area of Toronto that has been transformed into a pedestrian-only village filled with art spaces, restaurants, and shops. Visit during the holiday season to enjoy the Christmas Market.

4. Go to St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market is a must-visit for foodies. Enjoy free entry and browse through the market’s many vendors, selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses.

5. Walk Along Harbourfront

Stroll along Lake Ontario’s shores and enjoy the beautiful views of Toronto Harbour Lighthouse. The Harbourfront area is also home to many free events and festivals throughout the year.

6. Enjoy Allen Gardens

Allen Gardens is a free indoor botanical garden that is open year-round. Escape the cold in the winter or enjoy the beautiful blooms in the summer.

7. Tour Casa Loma

Casa Loma is a stunning castle in the heart of Toronto that offers free admission for children under three and discounted admission for children under 13. Explore the castle’s beautiful gardens and take in the breathtaking views of the city.

8. Visit Toronto Islands

Take a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a fun day trip. Enjoy the beaches, go for a bike ride, or have a picnic in one of the island’s many parks.

Related Read: 10 Best Things to Do in Detroit Indoors for Adults

9. Explore Kensington Market

Kensington Market is a vibrant and eclectic surrounding filled with street art, vintage shops, and delicious food. Window shop or grab a bite to eat at one of the many budget-friendly restaurants.

10. See City Hall

Toronto City Hall is an iconic Toronto landmark in downtown’s heart. Take a free tour of the building and learn about its history and architecture.

11. Wander Queen Street

Queen Street West is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. Enjoy this trendy street’s many shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

12. Go to Chinatown

Toronto’s Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood filled with delicious food, unique shops, and cultural events. Explore the area and try some of the best dim sum in the city.

13. Visit Art Gallery

The Art Gallery of Ontario offers free admission on Wednesday nights from 6 pm to 9 pm. Explore the gallery’s extensive collections of Canadian and international art.

Read More: Top 10 Things to Do in Cosa Vedere a San Diego

14. Explore Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre is a fun and educational attraction for visitors of all ages. Enjoy free admission on the third Monday of every month.

15. Walk Through Yorkville

Yorkville is a chic and upscale neighborhood with boutique shops and high-end restaurants. Window shop or picnic in one of the area’s many parks on a summer day.

16. Enjoy Trinity Bellwoods Park

Trinity Bellwoods Park is a popular park in downtown Toronto that offers a variety of activities, including walking trails, a dog park, and a community garden.

17. Go to Riverdale Farm

Riverdale Farm is a free farm in the heart of Toronto that is open year-round. Visit the animals and learn about farming in the city.

18. Visit Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is one of the best places in the city to see various animals from around the world. Enjoy free entry on select days throughout the year.

Read Also: Best Things to Do in Alamo Heights, San Antonio

19. Explore Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs offer stunning views of Lake Ontario and are a great place for a hike or a picnic. Visit on a sunny day for the best views.

20. Walk on The Beaches

The Beaches is a popular neighborhood in Toronto that offers a beautiful beach and boardwalk. Take a walk and enjoy the views of Lake Ontario, or visit on a rainy day and browse through the many shops and boutiques.

21. Visit Fort York

Fort York is a historic site that played a significant role in the War of 1812. You can explore the grounds for free and learn about the site’s history.

22. Explore Humber Bay Park

Humber Bay Park is a beautiful park located on the shores of Lake Ontario. You can enjoy a picnic, walk, or birdwatching in this peaceful park.

23. Go to Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works is a former brick-making factory transformed into a community environmental center. You can explore the site, attend events, and learn about sustainable living.

24. Walk on Bloor Street

Bloor Street is one of the most famous streets in Toronto. You can walk along the street and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.

25. Enjoy Toronto Botanical Garden

Toronto Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden located in the city’s heart. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, enjoy beautiful flowers, and attend events.

26. Visit the Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library is one of the largest library systems in the world. You can visit any branch, borrow books, attend events, and use the resources for free.

27. Explore Leslie Street Spit

Leslie Street Spit is a unique park located on a manufactured peninsula. You can explore the park, go birdwatching, and enjoy the beautiful views of the city.

28. Go to Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach is a beautiful beach located on the shores of Lake Ontario. You can enjoy a swim, have a picnic, or take a walk along the beach.

Also Read: Best Things to Do in the Windy City

29. Visit Tommy Thompson Park

Tommy Thompson Park is a beautiful park located on a manufactured peninsula. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, go birdwatching, and take in the beautiful views of the city.

30. Explore Edwards Gardens

Edwards Gardens is a beautiful garden located in the heart of the city. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, enjoy beautiful flowers, and attend events.

31. Walk in Don Valley

Don Valley is a beautiful park located in the heart of the city. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, go birdwatching, and take in the beautiful views of the city.

32. Enjoy Sunnyside Beach

Sunnyside Beach is a beautiful beach located on the shores of Lake Ontario. You can enjoy a swim, have a picnic, or take a walk along the beach.

33. Visit the Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum is a beautiful museum in the city’s heart. You can explore the exhibits, attend events, and learn about Islamic art and culture.

34. Explore The PATH

The PATH is an underground walkway connecting many of downtown Toronto’s buildings. You can explore the walkway and take in the sights and sounds of the city.

35. Go to Toronto Music Garden

Toronto Music Garden is a beautiful garden located on the shores of Lake Ontario. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, enjoy beautiful flowers, and attend events.

36. Visit David Pecaut Square

David Pecaut Square is a public square located in the city’s heart. You can attend events, enjoy a picnic, or take in the beautiful views of the city.

37. Explore Corktown Common

Corktown Common is a beautiful park located in the heart of the city. You can enjoy a peaceful walk, picnic, or take in the beautiful views of the city.

38. Walk Through Roncesvalles

Roncesvalles is a beautiful neighborhood located in the west end of the city. You can take a walk through the neighborhood and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.

39. Enjoy Guild Park

Guild Park is a beautiful park located in the city’s east end. Enjoy a peaceful walk, take in the beautiful sculptures, and attend events.

40. Visit East York Town Centre

East York Town Centre is a beautiful shopping center located at the city’s east end. You can explore the center, attend events, and enjoy the beautiful architecture.

Read Also: 7 Exciting Things to Do While Visiting Singapore

How Many Days in Toronto is Enough?

If you’re planning a trip to Toronto, you may wonder how many days you should spend in the city. The answer is that it depends on what you want to see and do.

If you’re interested in checking out some of the city’s top attractions, such as the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, or the Art Gallery of Ontario, you could quickly fill a few days. These attractions are all located in different parts of the city, so you’ll need to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your time.

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in exploring the city’s neighborhoods and local culture, you could spend a week or more in Toronto. Many unique neighborhoods exist, such as Kensington Market, the Distillery District, and Little Italy. Each neighborhood has its character and charm, and you could easily spend a day or two exploring each one.

If you’re on a tight schedule, you could see some of the highlights of Toronto in just a day or two. However, remember that you’ll be rushing from place to place and will only have a little time to soak in the local culture.

Ultimately, the length of your trip to Toronto will depend on your interests and schedule. Take some time to research the city’s attractions and neighborhoods, and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Is It Worth to Visit Toronto City?

Absolutely, visiting Toronto is well worth it! As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is a bustling metropolis filled with a diverse array of cultural, culinary, and artistic experiences. Its iconic skyline, dominated by the CN Tower, offers breathtaking views. The city’s multicultural fabric means a plethora of authentic global cuisines, vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy, and an array of festivals celebrating this diversity.

Toronto’s arts scene is thriving, with world-class museums like the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum. Green spaces such as the Toronto Islands and High Park provide a serene escape from urban life. Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, or outdoor enthusiast, Toronto’s blend of friendly atmosphere and cosmopolitan charm makes it a must-visit destination.

To Know More: 6 Best Free Things to Do in Alamo Heights at Night

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Free Things to Do in Toronto

Here you can find a few commonly asked questions about the topic of Free Things to Do in Toronto.

What are some popular free outdoor activities available in Toronto?

Toronto has a lot of free outdoor activities to offer. You can stroll in High Park, home to a zoo, gardens, and hiking trails. Another popular outdoor activity is visiting the Scarborough Bluffs, which offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. You can also explore the Evergreen Brick Works, a former quarry turned into a park and community center.

Can you recommend some lesser-known free attractions in Toronto?

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, consider visiting the Allan Gardens Conservatory, which houses a variety of plants and flowers. Another hidden gem is the Bata Shoe Museum, which offers free admission on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm. You can also check out the Graffiti Alley in the Fashion District, a colorful and vibrant display of street art.

What are the best free activities for families with young children in Toronto?

Toronto has plenty of free activities for families with young children. You can take your kids to the Harbourfront Centre, which offers free events and activities throughout the year, including music, dance, and theatre performances. 

Another great option is the Toronto Public Library, which has a variety of free programs and events for children of all ages. You can also visit Riverdale Farm, a working farm in the city that is free to enter.

Where can one find free entertainment in Toronto after dark?

If you’re looking for free entertainment after dark, consider visiting the Distillery District, which has a variety of outdoor art installations and light displays. Another option is the Toronto Music Garden, which offers free concerts throughout the summer. You can also check out the free comedy shows at the Comedy Bar, which offers free Monday-night admission.

What are the top free events happening in Toronto this weekend?

There are always free events happening in Toronto. Still, some of the top events this weekend include the Winter Stations Design Competition, which features interactive art installations along the beach, and the Toronto Light Festival, which features light installations throughout the Distillery District. You can also check out the Winter Craft Beer Festival, which offers free admission and samples of local craft beers.

How can one celebrate Canada Day in Toronto without spending money?

There are plenty of free ways to celebrate Canada Day in Toronto. You can attend the annual Canada Day Parade, which takes place along University Avenue and features floats, marching bands, and performers. Another option is to visit the Harbourfront Centre, which offers free concerts and activities throughout the day. You can also check out the fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay, which is free to attend.


Toronto offers a plethora of free activities that are perfect for budget-conscious travelers. From exploring Graffiti Alley to visiting the High Park Zoo, there is something for everyone. Remember to check out the Evergreen Brick Works, where you can enjoy a scenic walk and learn about the city’s history.

Remember, taking advantage of free activities saves you money and allows you to experience the city like a local. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, exploring Toronto’s free attractions is a great way to make the most out of your trip.

So, why plan your next adventure and try some free activities mentioned in this article? Remember to share your experience with us and encourage others to explore Toronto’s hidden gems. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy your next visit to Toronto.