Toronto on a Budget
Toronto on a Budget
Toronto is no different to any other big North American city: it will eat up your budget if you’re not careful. The city is one of the world’s most diverse cities—with around half of the nation’s population born outside Canada—meaning there are endless things to do. Toronto is also Canada’s largest city, the fourth-largest city in North America, and its greater metropolitan area is home to 6.3 million people.
With its dynamic skyline, bars, restaurants, outdoor lifestyle, and museums, it’s no wonder people come here from every corner of the world. Although Toronto can be an expensive city, you can still enjoy some of its best attractions without breaking the bank and here’s how:
1. Wander Around High Park
Toronto has excellent summers with lots of sunshine. Of course, the winters are much colder—but still warm enough to enjoy the city’s free parksLink opens in a new tab. The most famous of these is High Park, a 15-minute drive from Toronto’s downtown area. The park offers 398 acres of gardens and forests that are ideal for playing sports, sunbathing, and picnics.
High Park also offers a pond, zoo, restaurant, labyrinth, hiking spots, and biking trails. The park is popular for running in the summer, skiing in the winter, and photography in the fall when the leaves turn color.
Address: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada
2. Explore the History of St. Lawrence Market
Toronto isn’t just pretty modern-day skyscrapers; it’s also home to some wonderful history, which is always attractive to tourists in North America. St. Lawrence Market—a free-to-enter attractionLink opens in a new tab—is home to three historic Downtown Toronto buildings. It consists of an antique market, a public space for more than 120 vendors, and a diverse food market.
One of the top budget attractions in the market is the antique market. Don’t miss the upstairs gallery that offers free exhibits highlighting the city’s excellent culture and history. Also, the outdoor patio is the perfect place to grab lunch due to its various budget food options.
Address: 93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
3. Walk Around the Distillery District
If you’re exploring Downtown Toronto, an excellent budget-friendly place to explore is the Distillery District. It’s perfect for anyone looking to get away from the usual tourist attractions. The district is full of 19th century buildings that were formerly used for a whiskey distillery. Locals regard this charming area as Canada’s primary arts, culture, and entertainment destination.
The Distillery District is home to 40 boutique shops with some of Canada’s top creative companies, various coffee shops and bakeries, and a wide range of theaters and galleries. Best of all—it is of course free to roam around the area and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Address: Distillery District Toronto, ON, Canada
4. Watch the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concerts
Toronto is one of the world’s most artistic cities, and the Canadian Opera Company regularly offers free concertsLink opens in a new tab. You can enjoy dancing and musical concerts in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. You’ll enjoy excellent views of the vibrant university through the all-glass façade at the concert hall.
You can find other performances in the evenings at the R. Fraser Elliott Hall. It’s a traditional European horseshoe-shaped auditorium that’s an entirely separate structure within the building. After catching a concert, you can walk around Chinatown, Queen’s Park, and Eaton Centre.
Address: 145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada
5. Trek Through Kensington Market
The Kensington Market is a hipster neighborhoodLink opens in a new tab next to the highly popular Chinatown. You’ll find retro furniture, vintage clothing shops, and tasty Latin American food. You’ll also find art spaces, bakeries, cheese shops, international restaurants, and popular Victorian houses.
One of the top benefits of visiting the Kensington Market is the diverse street food options showcasing Toronto’s immense diversity. Also, be sure to check out the live music evening at the Poetry Jazz Cafe and the street performers and musicians on Pedestrian Sundays (every Sunday from May through to October).
Address: Kensington Market Toronto, ON, Canada
6. Take a Trip to Centre Island
Visiting Centre Island is an excellent attraction for budget travelers in Toronto. It’s even more perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle—especially during the summer. It only costs about C$9 and takes between 15 to 30 minutes. However, it’s free for children under two.
Centre Island has over 820 acres of parkland, a small amusement park, restaurants, and plenty of picnic spots where you can save more money. The skyline views are also sensational from the island, with incredible views of the CN tower. Here’s the best news: there’s no fee to enter the island; you only need to pay a small amount for the ferry.
Address: Centre Island, Toronto, ON, Canada
7. Relax on The Beaches
Toronto is a massive, cosmopolitan city, but did you know it has a long stretch of waterfront space in The Beaches neighborhood? It’s the perfect place to relax during summer, with various shops, eateries, and spots to grab a drink. It won’t cost you a cent to relax there.
In addition, it’s a simple area to reach via Toronto's excellent public transport. Take one of the city’s street cars—such as the 501. It heads straight down Toronto’s main streets, offering sublime views along the way.
Address: The Beaches, Toronto, ON, Canada
8. Enjoy the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is a reasonably well-priced attraction for budget travelers in Toronto. The museum showcases some of the world’s greatest art, nature, and culture. It’s Canada’s biggest and most comprehensive museum and one of the biggest museums in North America.
The Royal Ontario Museum attracts over one million visitors yearly, making it the most visited museum in Canada. Entry fees are C$23 for adults and C$14 for children between four and fourteen.
Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada
Toronto: One of the World’s Best Cities with Excellent Budget Attractions
The world’s best cities—although often expensive to visit—always have excellent budget options if you know where to go. Toronto certainly ticks that box. You can enjoy the outdoors, history, markets, and museums without breaking the bank—making Toronto the perfect year-round travel destination.