10 Free Things to do in Toronto

Toronto, the largest city in Canada, has always been a top travel destination, but many travelers always visit tourist places that cost them an arm and a leg. While going up to the CN Tower and taking a peek of the rays at the aquarium is fun, why do you not consider some unique and free things to do in Toronto that do not cost you anything?

401 Richmond Street West     

401 Richmond Street West is the art and creative hub in downtown Toronto and it has been kept secret for many years. It used to be a factory and has evolved into a work space for artists. Here, a number of art galleries and exhibitions are under the same roof but present in different mediums. Apart from cool galleries and museums, there is a design shop, a courtyard, a small museum featuring music instruments, and a swift bookstore. The coffee shop on the first floor has become my favorite place to work on my blog, and they offer scrumptious mushroom soup.

Free things to do in Toronto

Cherry Blossom at High Park

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, High Park is your place. It spans over 160 hectares and has countless walking trails, a beautiful waterfront, picnic areas, bike lanes, nature areas, an off-leash dog park, and a children’s playground. High Park is home to Sakura cherry trees where the full blossom in May attracts the crowds and photographers. My favorite thing to do in High Park was the afternoon walk at Grenadier Pond, where I saw ducks and geese by the lakeside. I enjoyed the tranquility and the green space the park had to offer and nearly forgot that I was in Canada’s largest city.

For more information on Cherry Blossom and other events inside the park, please click here.

Free things to do in Toronto, Canada
Blossom on Magnolia Tree at High Park, Toronto

Pillow fight on International Pillow Fight Day 

On one of the Saturdays in April (TBA for 2018), Nathan Phillips Square, where the city hall is located, turned into a chaotic place where pillows flew, teddy bears were tossed over the air, people swung and screamed, and the music blasted in the background. Here, you can see people bring soft pillows and wait for the signal to start the fight. Everyone was invited to join the fight, and pajamas were welcome.

Free things to do in Toronto
Pillow fight at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

Walk on Yonge Street

Remedy your itchy feet with a walk on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world. This world’s famous street was named by Ontario’s first lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe, for his friend Sir George Yonge, a Roman roads expert. Yonge Street starts from Toronto, bypasses lakes and national parks, and ends at Burton Avenue in Barrie. The famous landmarks Eaton Center, Yonge and Dundas Square and the Hockey Hall of Fame are all located on Yonge Street. It is also a place for hosting parades, performances, free concerts, and street festivals.

Free things to do in Toronto, Canada
Gay Pride on Yonge Street, Toronto

Rueda de la Calle 

If dance is your passion, Rueda de la Calle is a place to get your dance fix. On Wednesday evenings in the summer, a group from Rueda de la Calle dance outdoors from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at Ryerson. If the weather gets cold, the group will dance indoors. If you can dance Rueda-style salsa, this place is perfect for you. Even you are just a beginner and looking for fun, it is still worth going to meet people and embracing the Latino flair. This is a free dance event and you are guaranteed to sweat and laugh.

Taste of Danforth

Eating Greek food in Toronto does not have to be expensive. If you want to satisfy your taste buds with tons of Greek food in a short space, head to the Taste of Danforth, which is Canada’s largest street festival that takes place in August. The festival is in Greek town right next to the Broadview, Pape and Chester subway station. Countless local vendors serve Gyros that is made to order, a variety of seafood, grilled meat, soft drinks, and alcohol beverages.  There are live performance and concerts from 12 pm to 6 pm on three main stages.

Free things to do in Toronto

Art Gallery of Ontario

If you are a contemporary art lover, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is your style. Featuring the largest collection of Canadian art, this museum has over 90,000 artworks. There is lots of traveling, modern, and permanent art created by local and world-renowned artists, including The Group of Seven, Monet, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock, and Picasso. The admission is free Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

Free things to do in Toronto
Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard / Photo credit: AGO

Watch free shows and concerts at Dundas Square

Yonge and Dundas Square is an open public space that resembles the Time Square in New York, where free concerts, movies, promotions, and cultural activities take place. Take a look at the Yonge and Dundas Square event calendar for details.

Free things to do in Toronto
Yonge-Dundas Square/photo credit: Conociendo Canadá

Go to the beach

Woodbine Beach Park at the east side of Toronto is my favorite go-to spot for a relaxing walk. This beach has warm water for swimming in the summer, 90 volleyball courts, a swimming pool, and a boardwalk. It is a quiet place for people to escape the stress of city life. I enjoy my afternoons sitting on the benches on the boardwalk and soaking myself in the winter sun. This beach is pet-friendly so if you have dogs, make sure to bring them.

Free things to do in Toronto
Woodbine Beach Park, Toronto

View the Skyline from Riverdale Park

You do not need to go all the way up to the CN Tower to have an amazing view of the Toronto skyline. Riverdale Park on Broadview Avenue is another place to go for the best view of the city. You can take a stroll at the green space on the foreground and get a different perspective of Toronto.

Free things to do in Toronto
Riverdale Park/Photo credit: @scottday10 via Narcity Canada

Have you been to Toronto? I would love to hear your thoughts on unique and free things to do in Toronto. I am sure there are plenty!

Pin this post “10 Free Things to do in Toronto” to Pinterest! 

Free things to do in Toronto, Canada

Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

8 thoughts on “10 Free Things to do in Toronto

  • June 18, 2017 at 6:19 pm
    Permalink

    Riverdale is my favorite spot of your list, I had an amazing time there. The view is fantastic. Other thing I would say is to see the Scarborough Bluffs, the view there is so unique.

    Reply
    • June 19, 2017 at 2:59 am
      Permalink

      Hi Isabella,I am living in Scarborough but too bad I have never seen Scarborough Bluffs. It is crazy how I have taken my own backyard for granted. Definitely check it out when I return there (I am currently traveling). Thanks for the recommendation.

      Reply
  • July 15, 2017 at 11:29 am
    Permalink

    I haven’t been to Toronto but it is on my bucket list. I’m pinning this for later.

    Reply
    • July 16, 2017 at 3:40 am
      Permalink

      Thanks Allison! Hope you will get to visit Toronto soon!

      Reply
      • September 9, 2017 at 10:18 pm
        Permalink

        Let me know if you make it to Toronto. Would love to show you around!

        Reply
  • July 17, 2017 at 1:48 am
    Permalink

    The taste of the Danforth is definitely an event to attend. Note that it takes place along Danforth avenue between Broadview and Pape (not pipe) subway stations. It gets extremely busy on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday afternoon is not as bad. As well as the stages, there are a few rides and games for younger children.

    Reply
    • July 17, 2017 at 2:24 am
      Permalink

      Hi Ferne, thanks for reading and for the info. I have fixed the typo errors on Pape. I have walked to the event from Pape and Chester station, and I ‘ve updated the location (included Broadview) as well. Good to know the festival also family-friendly. Hope you enjoy the event this year!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons