With an impressive population of over 2 million residents, Toronto sits at the top of the best places for solo travelers to visit. Toronto is Canada’s capital and is well known for its warm, welcoming hospitality and cleanliness. One of Toronto’s proudest features is how diverse the financial capital is.
The urban city is filled with lush landscapes, smooth bike paths and gives off energetic vibes that excite locals and visitors alike. This is one feature that really makes a city for me.
Toronto features several fun festivities such as art galleries, museums, aquariums, and jaw-dropping views, in addition to delivering delicious foods and engaging activities. While some areas of the city can be quite costly, it still offers a diverse selection of budget-friendly things to do in Toronto.
When to visit Toronto?
The best times to visit Toronto is from April to May and September to October. Toronto is one of the safest cities to explore and probably one of the friendliest destinations.
That said, Toronto is not exactly a cheap place to visit. It is not uncommon for travel budgets to get used up fairly quickly by the enticing shops that fill the streets, yummy foods, thriving markets, and appealing attractions. However, the experience is worth every penny.
Cheap and Free Things to do in Toronto
Toronto focuses on quality over quantity, ensuring its inhabitants and guests have an unforgettable experience of what the city is all about. Here are 12 best things to do in Toronto for free and exciting places to visit.
Brunch at St Lawrence Market
Start the itinerary off right with a nutritious breakfast or lunch at St. Lawrence Market. Home to 120 vendors, retailers, and artisans, St. Lawrence Market, is filled to the brim with authenticity and passion.
Not to mention, the Market is a culinary hub in the city of Toronto. One foot in the door and you can sense the wholesome vibe from the shopkeepers and the lovely aroma of food wafting through the air.
Every Saturday, the Market hosts a Farmers Market from 5 am to 3 pm. The Market’s operational hours are open from 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday.
I recommend stopping by on a Saturday morning to skip the crowd and also get a taste of both worlds, including the Farmers market. After a couple of shopping rounds, stop by one of the tasty food carts for authentic cuisine. On average, visitors tend to spend 2 to 3 hours here, and entry is entirely free.
Browse the shops of Yorkville
In the heart of downtown Toronto rests a chic neighborhood called Yorkville. This great neighborhood is a residence for luxury retailers, high-end restaurants, art galleries, museums, and more.
Yorkville is the place to go for retail therapy. While most shops come at a price, Yorkville is still very much a beautiful site to see. It features stunning Victorian architecture throughout the region and represents some of Canada’s finest artists.
Visiting Yorkville is one of the most popular things to do for free in Toronto. Visitors enjoy Yorkville for window shopping and appreciating the unique upscale vibes.
Free Walking Tour of Downtown Toronto
Traveling alone in Toronto is a fantastic experience. It could be overwhelming to absorb all of the city’s beauty and history at once, so it is best to do it at a relaxed tempo. The best way to get familiar with Toronto is to stroll the streets and casually explore at your own pace.
Tour Guys offers an excellent selection of free walking tours to help tourists get the best experience possible in a solo trip to Toronto and maximize the time spent there. The journey usually starts at Union Station and ends at City Hall.
Explore The Distillery Historic District
The Distillery District is widely recognized for its supreme arts, diverse culture, and amusement. It is a wildly creative space filled with equally creative people aspiring to fulfill their dreams.
The district is a one-stop-shop for entertainment and features flourishing retail shops, galleries, restaurants, theaters, cafes, and more. The Distillery Historic District is open from 10 am to 7 pm daily except for holidays.
The ideal time of day to visit this creative community would be mid-day. The district offers the opportunity for guests to take a 30-minute tour of the Distillery District on a Segway.
Travel by Ferry to Centre Island
Embark on a 10-minute ferry ride to Centre Island. This little adventure is an excellent addition to some of the free places to visit in Toronto. While the ferry admission starts at $4 per person, entry to Centre Island does not cost a single dime.
Hosted on Centre Island is a family-friendly amusement park, restaurants, and more. It might be more convenient to pack a light lunch to avoid spending any extra travel budget on these additional attractions. Stop by some of the boutique food outlets for a small bite to eat located in Centreville, or the mini food stands established around the island.
I went during off season and the island was relatively quiet with not much open. The upside is that you get the nature totally to yourself.
Meet the Rare White Squirrel
Trinity Bellwoods Park is infamous for the rare white squirrel passersby might see scurrying about the plant life. Traditionally, Toronto squirrels are commonly black. The park promotes engaging activities such as swimming, volleyball, tennis, track, and more. It also serves as an excellent park for off-leash pets.
A trip to the park is one of the many excellent free things to do in Toronto because it is the perfect place to relax, nap, read a book, and enjoy the fresh air.
You know what I always say about parks in metropolitan cities. It’s a good place to pack your own lunch and have a picnic.
Embrace creativity at the Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario rests in the heart of downtown Toronto. Admission to this unique gallery is FREE on Wednesdays after 6 pm. The gallery offers extraordinary exhibitions, collections, and exciting programs that showcase a reflection of what Toronto and its residents are all about.
The gallery features a vibrant cafe, bistro, bar, and lounge that provides a space to relax and refresh in a cozy environment. Additionally, you’ll find a thriving gift shop filled with exclusive art prints, books, jewelry, home goods, and so much more.
A solo trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the most creativity inducing and also free places to visit in Toronto.
Catch Sports Matches
Ice Hockey is a universally celebrated sport throughout all of Canada. It is almost as if no other sport exists because Ice Hockey is much more prominent over different sport types. The season usually begins in early January and ends in early May.
The best time to catch a game is during the Winter season when pop-up ice rinks are sprinkled across the city. At times, admission to the rinks is entirely at no cost but is time-limited to allow others to engage in the fun. Games are hosted at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.
The NBA Champions – Toronto Raptors play at the same arena, but tickets are hard to get on the spot. It is definitely something to book in advance. However, sometimes they do screen matches on the big screens right outside the arena. This will usually entail crowds of fans to gather and watch as well.
While baseball is not as popular a sport in Canada, catching the Blue Jays play can be interesting for baseball fan. The good thing is that tickets are not too expensive and can usually be purchased on game day. They play at the Rogers Centre, just a few blocks from the Scotiabank Arena.
Explore the monumental Eaton Centre
Eaton Centre is a massive mall that features over 230 restaurants and retail shops and accommodating space for several business offices. On average, the Eaton Centre receives at least a million visitors weekly, making it by far one of Toronto’s most popular destinations.
Some significant retailers include Saks Fifth Avenue, Indigo, Nordstrom, and Samsung, among many others. Take a walk through the mall and explore all of the colorful and trendy shops available at your fingertips.
The Eaton Centre is open free to the public from 10 am to 9:30 pm. The recommended allotted time to spend here would be about 2 hours and is a fun visit for solo travelers looking to escape the city with some satisfying retail therapy.
Take a stroll through Kensington Market
Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most lively and eclectic enclaves. The Market provides a little something for everyone. Some might consider it an artistic oasis filled with unique shopping experiences and intricate Victorian architecture.
Kensington features a diverse community of artists, merchants, and restaurants. Taking a walk through Kensington features one of the most colorful and vibrant experiences Toronto has to offer. Kensington is a perfect recommendation for some of the best free places to visit in Toronto.
View Niagara Falls From A Distance
Niagara Falls is not in Toronto; however, it is a common day trip when visiting Toronto. You can take a greyhound bus there or simply book a trip!
The falls are free to enjoy and it is already very impressive just experiencing from the common viewing points. You can also choose to take a scenic cruise up to Table Rock and admire the astonishing view of Niagara Falls.
This view makes the perfect backdrop for a selfie to add to any solo traveler’s scrapbook. The scenery is quite priceless, let alone breathtaking. At the peak, close your eyes, take a big inhale, then exhale and allow the sound of the water flowing down cliffs to soothe the soul.
Solo Travel Toronto
Apart from the cost, Solo Travel in Toronto is not too challenging. The city is a reasonably safe destination and easy to navigate for solo travelers. Despite being a metropolitan city, Canadians here are quite friendly to international guests.
For the most part, the city is quite walkable with various convenient transportation methods provided, whether it be by train, bus, taxi, or subway.