The 10 Best Free Things to Do in Toronto [2023]

Toronto, a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant culture and iconic landmarks, has more to offer than meets the eye. Beyond the hustle and bustle, a world of free attractions and experiences awaits. And if you’re willing to pay for fun, consider checking out our other pieces on:

Best Haunted Attractions in Toronto
The 6 Best Water Parks In Toronto
The 9 Best Live Music Bars in Toronto
The 13 Best Indoor Playgrounds in Toronto 

From captivating street art to tranquil parks and historic districts, let’s dive into a wallet-friendly adventure that showcases the best of Toronto’s charm.

How Should I Plan My Visit for the Best Experience?

Planning your visit to these free attractions in Toronto for the best experience requires a bit of organization and consideration. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the most of your exploration:

  1. Choose Attractions: Select the attractions that interest you the most.
  2. Check Operating Hours: Confirm the opening hours of each attraction before your visit.
  3. Create an Itinerary: Plan your day by grouping nearby attractions and starting with ones with limited hours.
  4. Plan Transportation: Decide on using public transit, walking, or biking to get around.
  5. Pack Essentials: Bring comfy shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, sunscreen, water, snacks, and a camera.
  6. Check for Events: Look for special events or exhibitions happening during your visit.
  7. Logical Route: Follow a route that minimizes backtracking and optimizes your time.
  8. Take Breaks: Allow time for breaks, whether it’s for a leisurely meal or relaxation.
  9. Embrace Spontaneity: Be open to unexpected discoveries along the way.
  10. Capture Memories: Take photos to remember the moments.
  11. Stay Comfortable: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and stay hydrated.
  12. Respect the Environment: Follow posted rules and respect the attractions and fellow visitors.

By following these steps, you can plan a well-organized and enjoyable visit to Toronto’s free attractions. Take your time to savor each experience and embrace the city’s diverse offerings without the stress of rushing through your day.

The Best Free Things to Do in Toronto

Now that you know how to prepare for your free, fun experience, let’s dive in!

1) Graffiti Alley

Vibrant street art comes to life in Graffiti Alley. Take a leisurely stroll through this ever-evolving outdoor gallery and immerse yourself in the colorful creations of talented artists. Capture Insta-worthy shots and witness the city’s dynamic art scene in action.

Business Information:

Address: Graffiti Alley, Toronto, ON

Customer Review Highlight:

“First time in Toronto and this was a great side treat to our already planned out day. Looks of beautiful artwork on display. We really enjoyed the walk.”
“Who knew Toronto has such a COOL place !!! That is one awesome place to go if you are in the area and wanna see what Toronto has to offer in terms of Graffiti ❤️❤️❤️ Great place to get great pictures!”

2) Allan Gardens

Escape to the lush oasis of Allan Gardens. Explore its diverse conservatories filled with tropical plants, cacti, and even roaming turtles. It’s a serene retreat for nature lovers, right in the heart of the city.

Business Information:

Address: 160 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2E5
Website: toronto.ca/data/parks/
Phone: (416) 392-7288

Customer Review Highlight:

“You find turtles roaming around one of the gardens. They have several tropical trees like papaya, and coffee plants. In the other conservatory you find many types of cactus from Mexico and Africa. Lots of flowers, some are wild flowers from Central America. It's a relaxing place. It's also quite humid and bearable hot where the turtles are.”
“A fantastic experience to behold within downtown Toronto that is suitable for any nature enthusiast or anyone look for an immersive experience amongst different flora.”

3) High Park Zoo

Animal enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to High Park Zoo. Home to bison, llamas, and more, this charming zoo offers a delightful experience for families. Donations are welcome to support the care of the animals.

Business Information:

Address: High Park Zoo, Toronto, ON
Website: highparkzoo.ca
Phone: (416) 396-7378

Customer Review Highlight:

“Love taking my son here on days off. You can make a donation, there is the animals in the zoo and a wooden playground within walking distance. Cars cannot enter the park on weekends so you will have to find surrounding street parking. During the week cars are able to enter the grounds and usually there is lots of parking from my experiences.”
“I finally found it and loved it! I can't believe there is a small zoo here. It was very nice and quiet walk through. My husband and I had a very good time seeing peacocks, bison and my favorite llamas. Plus its not a far walk to Bloor West Village to grab some food and coffee. I honestly had a good time here and will probably be back because I love animals so much.”

4) Nathan Phillips Square

Experience the heartbeat of Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square. Enjoy the iconic Toronto sign, fountains, skating rink, and vibrant events that often take place in this lively urban hub.

Business Information:

Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1
Website: toronto.ca
Phone: (416) 392-2489

Customer Review Highlight:

“A lively hang out spot for local folks, kids and tourists. Right beside the heritage Old Town Hall building across the street. Local administration offices and a branch of the Toronto Public library Ron along the far side periphery.”
“Great place to visit during winter. Place was crowded but everyone was keep moving around and were mostly in masks. Best place to capture the photos and there's lots of benches to sit and just enjoy the place.”

5) The Distillery Historic District

Step back in time at The Distillery Historic District. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with charming shops, galleries, and eateries. The atmosphere here is especially magical during festivals and special events.

Business Information:

Address: Distillery District, Toronto, ON
Website: thedistillerydistrict.com

Customer Review Highlight:

“The area is pretty small, but it's so pretty here! Mostly pedestrian streets during the day. Plenty of cafes, restaurants and other fun places here, lots of festivals and exhibits in the summer, always something going on. Really cool and highly recommended for a night out visit to Toronto.”
“Visiting the Distillery District in Toronto during Christmas time is like stepping into a holiday wonderland. It's one of the coolest places to get into the Christmas spirit.”

6) Bluffer’s Park and Beach

For a scenic escape, head to Bluffer’s Park and Beach. Marvel at the stunning Lake Ontario shoreline, sandy beaches, and impressive bluffs that provide a picturesque backdrop.

Business Information:

Address: 1 Brimley Rd S, Scarborough, ON M1M 3W3
Website: toronto.ca/data/parks
Phone: (416) 392-2489

Customer Review Highlight:

“Me and my husband LOVE Bluffers. Nestled along the stunning shores of Lake Ontario, this beach offers a breathtaking escape from the bustling city. The pristine sandy beach, clear blue waters, and majestic bluffs create a picturesque backdrop for relaxation and outdoor fun. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun, go for a refreshing swim, or enjoy a picnic with loved ones, Bluffers Park & Beach has it all.”
"One of my favorite beaches for summer in the city. Well maintained beach to visit, its a hidden gem in the city! Cleaned bathing station and washroom. You can also see geese walking and swimming. Ample amount of parking spots. Free parking 6AM-5PM and 9PM-11PM (Mon-Fri). ”

7) Evergreen Brick Works

Discover the beauty of nature at Evergreen Brick Works. Explore walking trails, witness Toronto’s skyline from afar, and learn about local ecology in this rejuvenating urban environment.

Business Information:

Address: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 3X8
Website: evergreen.ca/evergreen-brick-works
Phone:  (416) 596-7670

Customer Review Highlight:

“Nice trail with beautiful views of the Toronto skyline. The path was pretty clear and lots of interesting things to look at. I went at 7 at night and it was not busy at all. I like that they have information posted throughout to give you a better idea of the wildlife, plants and history of the area. I will be going back for sure!”
“Nice area to take a walk or a ride on a nice day. Has some nice views throughout and various walking and biking trails to choose from.”

8) Kensington Market

Immerse yourself in the eclectic energy of Kensington Market. This vibrant neighborhood is bursting with artistic flair, international cuisines, and a fusion of cultures. A must-visit for unique finds and a bohemian atmosphere.

Business Information:

Address: Kensington Market, Old Toronto, Toronto, ON
Website: kensington-market.ca
Email: info@kensingtonmarket.ca

Customer Review Highlight:

“Loved it. So much art, so much different foods and so much culture. Absolute must when visiting Toronto. It's easy to find rare things and even easier to get a little token that reminds.ypu of this beautiful place. It's easy to get there and you're with walking distance from Yonge Dundas Square”
“Fun place to hang out. Brings you back to a different era.diversity of cultures that make Toronto great. delicious quesadilla virrias 🐐.”

9) Spadina Museum

Delve into Toronto’s history at Spadina Museum. Admire the preserved architecture and explore the grounds of this historic mansion. During special events, experience the past come to life.

Business Information:

Address: 285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2V
Website:toronto.ca
Phone:  (416) 392-6910

Customer Review Highlight:

“Visited on Doors Open Toronto. The grounds and the exterior are the best part about it. Interior is nice and you get to experience old architecture. Some of the rooms are very well preserved. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.”
“Beautiful place to go visit! Slightly busy but worth the experience. It was historic and absolutely beautiful! Great place for picnics, tourism or just something to do!”

10) St Lawrence Market

Embark on a sensory journey at St. Lawrence Market. While some treats here come with a cost, the lively ambiance, diverse foods, and market charm make it a worthy free experience.

Business Information:

Address: 92-95 Front St East, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1C3
Website: stlawrencemarket.com
Phone: (416) 392-7219

Customer Review Highlight:

“One of the oldest markets in Canada, St. Lawrence Market is perhaps the most famous market in Toronto and is a must-visit with roots that date back to 1803. There are around 120 vendors and here is where locals regularly shop its stalls for produce, meats, cheeses, and more, while tourists come for the bustling atmosphere and tasty foods.”
“Had a great time at the Feast on St Lawrence. Chef on stilts, live music and an illusionist made the afternoon time there worth it. The Illy guy was sweet. Though went in the market to grab some grub”

FAQs

The CN Tower is often considered the #1 attraction in Toronto. It’s an iconic landmark and offers breathtaking views of the city’s skyline from its observation decks. It’s also renowned for its EdgeWalk experience, where visitors can walk along an outdoor platform at the tower’s top.
As of my last update in September 2021, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) offers free admission on the third Monday of each month from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. However, please note that this information might have changed since then, so I recommend checking the official ROM website for the most up-to-date information regarding free admission days and timings.
Queen Street West is often considered one of the most fun and vibrant streets in Toronto. It’s known for its eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and street art. The neighborhood offers a unique blend of culture, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The cost of public transportation in Toronto varies based on the type of transit service you’re using. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which includes buses, streetcars, and subways, typically charges a single-ride adult fare of $3.25 CAD (Canadian dollars) with discounts for tokens, Presto cards, monthly passes, and younger riders. However, fares can change over time, so I recommend checking the official TTC website for the latest information.

Conclusion

Toronto’s allure lies not only in its skyscrapers and urban energy but also in the pockets of culture, history, and natural beauty that can be experienced for free. Whether you’re seeking artistic inspiration, historical insights, or simply a moment of tranquility, these 10 free things to do in Toronto are your gateway to a memorable and budget-friendly adventure. So, lace up your shoes and embark on a journey without spending a dime!

Picture of Malaak Hamadeh

Malaak Hamadeh

Meet Malaak Hamadeh, a Middle Eastern resident of Toronto with a passion for writing! Learn More About Malaak Hamadeh

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