We all do it. A coffee here, all you can eat sushi there, $10 gone all for a can of beer at the Jays game for the Insta. Translation? It's real easy to let your money slip away when we live in a city that has so many options for us to live like Fergie (G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.) There's literally something going on every day in this city, and we absolutely love that (keeps the soul young you know?). Our wallets, though? Not such fans.
When the party gets going it always seems like the bank account total goes down as low as Flo Rida's Apple Bottoms Jeans gal. But what are we supposed to do? Stay home and wallow in our financial sorrows? NO! Luckily, Toronto is also a place that offers a huge variety of amazing activities, classes, bars, restaurants, markets and way more. You name it and you can bet we have it for free or a relatively cheap price.
It takes some digging to find out how a grade A babe like yourself is going to enjoy the best the city has to offer without breaking the bank. Thankfully, we got that all covered for you. From random classes you never even knew you wanted to take, things to do around the city, shows to see, to cheap eats and bars to dance the night away at - get ready to get out there, knowing you won't have to worry about how you're going to make it rain the next day.
Things to do and see for the ultimate Toronto adventure...
1. Take a walk through stunning tropical plants from around the world at Allan Gardens Conservatory
2. Go to the Harbourfront Centre to check out their innovative exhibitions
The creative and cultural Harbourfront Centre has been a centre for Torontonians (and Instagram addicts looking to up their feed) to check out their awesome art and cultural programming. They have free admission to check out their exhibitions as well as comedy shows, skating nights, dancing on the pier in the Summer, dance parties, and many more events. Check them all out here.
3. Take a break from the craze of the city and have a picnic at one of our beautiful parks.
There's almost nothing that can compare to a picnic lunch in the sun after months of a brutal winter in the 6ix.
4. Spend hours in another era browsing cool antique shops in Toronto.
Whether you're hitting up the St. Lawrence The Sunday Antique Market, the Leslieville Flea Market, or little boutiques like A Homerun - it's an interesting way to spend a day with your beau, bestie, or alone (like the independent person you are, you go).
5. Take a free walking tour from the Tour Guys through the bustle of the Downtown core.
Their Downtown Toronto Tour: "Power, Politics, & The PATH" runs every day except Monday between April and the end of October, in the winter they run the tours exclusively on the weekends. Meet inside the Great Hall of Union station to start the tour!
6. Head to TIFF Bell Lightbox for some free film talks.
Calling all cinephiles! This is your chance to get your film nerd fix for free, TIFF offers free facilitated talks after some of their screenings, giving you the chance to meet some new people and talk about the thing you love most. Check out their schedule here.
7. Unleash your inner diva and join Choir Choir Choir!
Bring your shower head out to the real world and head to this $5, no commitment, weekly drop-in choir to meet other Torontonians and sing some awesome covers. Every Tuesday and Wednesday they meet at Clinton's Tavern, and with the lost cost/no commitment, it's a cool new thing to try out that may lead to your next passion! Covers range from Madonna, The Sex Pistols, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Nirvana, U2 and so much more, so you're sure to find a week that fits your genre (or try out a new one).
Check out these videos to see some of the awesome works they've done in and outside of their drop in times!
8. Browse the galleries in 401 Richmond
This heritage building is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. It has over 140 artists with a ton of their works open to the public daily, head here for a cultured stroll sans snobbery.
9. Join a Toronto Meetup group instead of taking a class to save money and meet some rad people.
Want to take up photography but don't want to drop hundreds of dollars on private classes? Want to learn a new language? Salsa dance? Practice your improv? Meetup groups are free to join, and they have groups for literally any kind of interest you could have. Some of the groups are totally free (like this photography meet up), but some require a small fee per meet up (like this pickup soccer group). Find your group here!
10. Take a cheap classes at Sony Centre for the performing arts with their community programs.
What kind of classes are we talking about you may ask? Literally, every single one you can think of. This March they're holding circus classes, last month it was slam poetry, they've also done Beyography, comedy, dance and yoga - keep your eye on this page for all the info!
11. Feel like a VIP and rent a penthouse, private island or a private pool for cheap with the ultimate squad weekend.
I'm sorry what's that sound? Just you and your squad being boujee AF.
12. Get your quiz on.
Useless knowledge is useless NO MORE with these epic trivia nights held around the city. Almost every bar/venue has picked up on the fact that people are competitive AF in this city and love to compete in random trivia.
These are some cheap/free options- Drake Hotel, every Wednesday, $2 cover, and a chance for a $80 Drake gift card! Clinton's Tavern, every Monday they have their Drinkin' and Think' Pub Quiz for free. 3030 Dundas West every Wednesday for free, The Ossington has free trivia nights every Sunday, The Duke of York has Pub Stumpers hosting their weekly trivia nights Tuesdays with no cover. Finally, Pour Boy (583 College) has trivia nights Wednesday nights for $10/team with the entrance fee and 10% of all sales go to Horizon Children's Center!
Museums and Art Galleries...
13. Head to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.
MOCA is moving and will be located in the Tower Automotive Building situated in Toronto's Junction Triangle starting Fall 2017! They show works by local and international artist who address the themes of our world today for some amazing artworks.
14. Head to Ryerson Artspace to check out contemporary Canadian film, photography and digital works that'll switch the way you see the world!
Fittingly, this innovative gallery is in the heart of Toronto's art and design district and even better? It's free to the public. Head here for works from innovative artists like Grayson James (current show, 'What's the Problem with Working Together?', on now), who see the contemporary problems in our world in a whole new lens.
15. Be amazed by the beauty and history in the Aga Khan Museum.
This stunning museum is dedicated to Islamic art, Iranian art and Muslim Culture. Check out Parviz Tanavoli's Horizontal Lovers sculpture on display for the first time ever now until October 2nd, 2017. Their, Syria: A Living History exhibit is not to be missed either!
16. Marvel at the stunning works in the Art Gallery of Ontario
The AGO is one of the countries most acclaimed art galleries for their stunning collections of international art. They have over 80,000 works and their upcoming exhibit features the incredible American modern, Georgia O'Keeffe!
Pro tip: AGO offers their free after three series for anyone 14-25 to drop into one of their workshops/events/classes. Did we mention it's all for free? Check out all the events they have here.
Price: FREE admission every Wednesday between 6:00 to 8:30 pm.
17. See free works that show the history of contemporary art, interdisciplinary works, and emerging artists work that'll blow you away at The Art Museum at U of T.
The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House) and University of Toronto Art Centre (University College) make up this hidden gem right in the middle of the city, iconic because it's actually one of the largest gallery spaces for visual art exhibitions in Toronto. With international and local works and exhibitions like All This Time, The Art of Devotion: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Icons, and Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, you'll see everything from unbelievable paintings and icons to diverse media - all for free!
18. Get ready to never see shoes the same way by heading to the Bata Shoe Museum!
This is an awesome way to switch up your typical idea of a day at the museum. Check out shoes and material related to shoemaking that shows the culture and customs of people who wore them. They have 13,000 artefacts that come from over 4,5000 years.
Price: Regular admission is $14, but they offer pay what you can admission on Thursday's from 5-8pm.
19. Take a tour of the Market Gallery at St. Lawerence Market for free.
After you're done munching on a delicious veal sandwich from Uno Mustachio's, head to the second floor. Get ready to see the remains of what was once City Hall in the 1800s and paintings, photographs and more on how Toronto got to be the legendary 6ix that it is today.
Places to go to get your sweat on...
20. Ditch the stair master and go for a hike in the real world on one of these awesome routes through Toronto.
21. Head to Lululemon for one of their free community classes.
At every location, they offer different kinds of classes for every single level of athlete. Run club, yoga, HIIT training - you name it, they probably have it. Check out the classes going on in your community here.
22. Try a free dance class to step up your club moves.
Dance classes are always a good idea; they are a hilarious way to meet people, try something new, get a good sweat on, and be in a place where everyone is dancing like no one is watching. Here are some spots that offer free options - The Bees Knees swing dancing (free intro), Fusion Cardio Toronto (select free classes during March), Steps Dance Studio offer free classes once a month (next one is March 6th), the Kangoo Club has free trial classes. and first-time visitors can get a free pole class at http://brassvixens.com/apps/mindbody/classes/146Brass Vixens! BONUS: Toronto Salsa Practice $5 every Saturday.
23. When the sun comes out the wheels start turning, try it out or just check out the awesome talent at the Dunbat Skatepark!
This Alexandra Park gem includes ledges, manual pads, banks and a 5' mini ramp built by local skateboarders (redesigned and rebuilt every year). Let's learn from Avril Lavine's mistakes, don't say see you later boy, head here. Open spring to fall with lights on until 11pm.
24. All you need is a pair of shoes and you're good to go for a run on one of these beautiful routes through the city.
Gourmet cheap eats...
25. Eating cheap around the city is a breeze if you put in a little bit of work. Thank goodness we already did that for you with these awesome spots!
Under $15, under $10, under $9 (East Toronto), under $6, under $5, cheap food for vegans, cheap eats by neighbourhood, cheap eats in North York, near Ryerson, on Queen West, on King West, and in Etobicoke,
26. If you ain't got no money don't take your broke ass home, head to these cheap bars.
27. Here's a list of awesome bars that you don't have to pay cover at.
No cover no problem you feel me?
28. Two words, cheap sangria.
Let the night begin at these bars.
29. Laugh your ass off without shaking your cash off you at Longform Thursday's at The Second City.
The roundabout way to say that this is a dope free show held at The Process Theatre on Peter St is only 5$. It starts at 10 every Thursday, but show up at 9 for a free preview of the laughs to come!
Pro tip: Want to get on stage? Go to See You Next Tuesday every second Tuesday of the month for $5. Anyone can take the stage for some stand-up, improv, sketch, twerking - whatever. The best part is it supports the Redwood Women's Centre for women and children living with domestic violence.
30. Take your earbuds out and hear some quality music live at these awesome venues.
The live music scene in Toronto is nothing short of BUMPING. We have unreal local talent (Drake, the Weeknd, Alessia Cara), and there are a ton of places that let you listen for free, these are some of our favourite cheap ones. The Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel have a lot of music that's free or relatively cheap (10 dollars). 2 nights a week there is free music at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern, the Dakota Tavern, 3030 Dundas, also has a line up of shows you can enjoy for free.
Feeling more of a classy vibe? Head to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (in the Four Seasons Centre for the Preforming Arts) through the Canadian Opera Company most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Wednesdays at noon or 5:30 pm for free shows, here's all the info!
31. Check out amazing live shows at these theatres!
Theatre shows can get super pricey if you go for the big ones, but there are lots of ways to enjoy the city's Theatre scene on a budget! Some other specials from this list - Factory Theatre has Toonie Tuesday Preview Night, all tickets only $2 cash. Theatre Passe Muraille also has amazing shows from Canadian artists for $17 for anyone under 30, check out their tickets here.