City living is a splendid thing! But as devoted city dwellers, there are many sacrifices we have to make. These include living in the confinements of a far too small and grossly overpriced condo/apartment; subjecting our epidermis to the cruelty of our winters and the intensity of our summers as we trek to our destination via TTC because cabbing it is just too expensive; having to dine on a budget because there are just so many fabulous restaurants and we want to try them all! Okay, so my last point isn’t really a sacrifice but I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down…?
It’s bloody expensive to live downtown right?! If, like me, you’ve enjoyed your city a tad too much this summer with endless concerts, stupidly fun but pricey events and, of course, far too much patio hopping, you may need to rein in the spending for a while. Have no fear because we have compiled a list of 25 things to do in the city that are totally free! That’s right, amigos, put your wallet away because your money is not welcome here! Well, actually we may need a beer break later, but we’ll make it a quick one…
1. Be a Beach Bum
No need to fill the car up with gas to get your sun and sand on! Toronto is home to many sandy dwellings including Woodbine Beach off Queen St E. and the charming Sugar Beach at Queens Quay and Jarvis.
2. Enjoy a Little Park Life
So many gorgeous spots to choose from. Grab a book and a blanket and chillax in one of the city’s many green areas. Trinity Bellwoods is a fan favourite and of course High Park can keep one amused with its beauty all day long.
3. Talk With the Animals
Speaking of High Park, did you know they have a zoo? And it’s free! Score.
4. Catch a Free Concert on the Water
Harbourfront Centre offers free performances during their Summer Music in the Garden concert series which runs from July through to September.
5. Support Kensington Market
Head down on the last Sunday of the month from May to October and enjoy music and dancing as part of ‘Pedestrian Sundays’ in one of the most interesting areas of the city.
6. Go Window Shopping in Yorkville
Slap on your biggest shades and act like you definitely can afford that $5,000 purse because one day, you will be making that purchase! Just not today… Today we’re merely researching.
7. Be at One With Nature at Riverdale Farm
Located in Cabbagetown, this cute little farm has all you need for a free day with the fam or even a romantic afternoon with someone special.
8. Burn Some Scenic Cals on the Don Valley
Enjoy the gorgeous views while you bike off any leftover beer cals from concert week.
9. Visit St. Lawrence Market Gallery
The market is an amazing place to visit on its own but it is terribly difficult to deny all that fresh produce, those tasty meats and oozy cheese. So if you’re easily coerced by these things like I am, head straight upstairs to the second floor gallery where the periodic art is not for sale. You’ll be safe there.
It’s free, it keeps you busy, and it will make you feel amaze-balls.
11. Get a Shoe In
Every Thursday evening the Bata Shoe Museum at Bloor and St. George offers pay-what-you-can admission from 5pm to 8pm. And if you can’t pay anything then that’s okay, right?
12. Scout for Celebrities at TIFF
September is kind of a glitzy month in our fine city. Red carpets are strewn all over the place and fortunate attendees are dressed to the nines. But there’s no rule that says us ‘normies’ can’t sneak around Yorkville for a major celeb sighting. I’m rooting for Gosling this year… see y’all in the bushes.
13. Get High at Scarborough Bluffs
I’m not sure what you were thinking but I meant go to the peak of the bluffs and get an eyeful of that beautiful lake view…
14. Check out the Toronto Sculpture Garden
The garden houses temporary artworks by various sculptors and also features a pretty waterfall fountain.
15. Take a Guided Walking Tour
Volunteers from the ROM kindly give up their time to host free walking tours of the city, usually on Wednesday evenings or Sunday afternoons.
16. Cool Off With a Dip
Take advantage of free public pools around the city to cool down after your trek.
17. Get Artsy at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
Another pay what you can dealio at the MoCCA.
18. Plan Your Future Wedding at Allan Gardens Conservatory
The Allan Gardens Conservatory is historic and features a cast iron and glass domed ‘Palm House’ as well as a garden full of exotic foliage. Gents be prepared if you’re bringing your gal for a date: she may hear bells ringing.
19. Go Get Beautified
You know all those makeup counters in the mall with girls just dying to glam you up so you’ll buy their products? Go get your makeup done and then tell them you’ll think about it. I’ve always wanted to do it but never had the balls. So I’m extending the challenge to you… let me know if it works.
20. Get Your Spook On With a Self-Guided Ghost Tour
Downloadable on the web this is a free and easy way to chase some ghouls. You should probably bring a buddy, you know… just in case.
21. Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare under the stars in High Park for free. What a great city we live in.
22. Get Artsy Again at the AGO
Take advantage of the AGO‘s Wednesday night offer: free admission to their collection galleries 6pm to 8:30pm.
23. Catch a Cult Classic at Dundas Square
Every Tuesday for the summer months, head to the square around sunset and enjoy a classic movie in the heart of downtown.
24. Bond With Your City
There is no better way to really get to know and appreciate your city than walking. Hit every neighbourhood, explore every street. It’s fun, great exercise and it will open up far more adventures for when your bank balance is up again.
25. Go Have a Chat With Your Bank Manager
Because it’s been fun and all, but now we need us a delicious dinner and some fine beverages to refresh…