It is officially the Winter season, and with the holiday markets and festivities beginning to pop up all over the city, not even the biggest grinches can hold back their excitement for the holidays! While you may still be finishing up classes or working your 9-5, neither are real reasons as to why you can't get up to some fun this Winter before your break hits!
So whether you are looking for free things to do that won't break the bank, shows and concerts to sit back and enjoy, fun markets and fairs, or just winter-themed activities in general, you've come to the right place! Get ready to prepare the perfect bucket list to complete with your friends starting now!
For Free Activities, Click "NEXT"
Check out all of these Christmas markets across the GTA.
One of the best parts of the Christmas season here in the city is all of the markets that pop up across the GTA! Whether you are in the downtown core or live in the suburbs, it's practically guaranteed there is a Christmas market close by just waiting for you to explore it!
Channel your inner foodie and use this list to go on a Christmas-themed 'Instagrammable Food Hunt'.
Who doesn't love camera-ready eats? The only way you could make any kind of food that's as appealing to the eyes as it is to the stomach any better is making it Christmas themed! Just make sure you start your hunt with an empty stomach!
Toboggan at Riverdale Park.
Once the snow finally falls one of the best Winter activities becomes relevant again- tobogganing! There are a ton of hills across the city you can slide down for free instead of paying to hit bigger slopes, but Riverdale Park's slope is a personal favourite!
Escape the chilly weather by checking out Allan Gardens.
Winter is great, the holidays are almost here, but it doesn't take long before most people get a little sick and tired of the cold weather and always having to bundle up before they step out of the house. Luckily, Allan Gardens serves as the perfect little tropical sanctuary where you can spend some time and forget it's almost December!
Use this map to check out all of the Christmas light displays across the city!
Toronto is home to some crazy light set ups and overall Christmas displays. Whether it's gigantic Christmas trees or huge light installations, companies across the downtown core go hard for the holiday season. What better way to check out all of the displays than to turn the endeavour into a exploration of your own! Just grab your friends and some hot chocolate to keep warm!
Head over to DJ Skate Nights once they hit the Harbourfront Centre this Winter!
The DJ Skate Nights at the Harbourfront were crazy popular last year, as in so popular you could barely find room to skate around some nights because it was so crammed. It's pretty obvious why it was such a hit considering who wouldn't want to skate around with their friends or partner by the Harbourfront with a DJ playing some Christmas favourites?!
Check out the Cavalcade of Lights!
There is no better way to officially ring in the holiday season than to witness the Cavalcade of Lights at least once in your life! From the live performances to the actual lighting of the tree and fireworks display that follows afterwards, it's a great experience that is perfect for anybody who is already hyped AF about the holiday season.
Have a snowball fight at Trinity Bellwoods Park.
There really is no better free activity best suited for Winter than a snowball fight! Bring your most competitive friends once the snow falls and get ready to get all of your pent up stress over work and school out after tossing a snowball or two!
Go skating in Nathan Phillips Square once the rink opens!
Whether you are skating fanatic or not, it's always a fun time to lace up the skates and enjoy the open rink downtown! Just make sure you bring your own skates so you don't have to pay for rentals on location.
Watch the fireworks display on New Years Eve in Nathan Phillips Square.
If you love big events and don't have any New Years plans as of yet, look no further than Nathan Phillips Square! They'll have live performances happening all through the night in celebration of the coming new year before a massive light show display lights up the sky at midnight!
For 'Romantic Dates,' click 'Next.'
Check off the ever-so-important couples date at Distillery's Christmas Market.
The Toronto Christmas Market hosted at Distillery has practically become a relationship milestone in itself. If you want to really impress your partner, have them tag along for a cute date checking out all the pop ups and light displays that have been set up in the area- all for the small cost of $6!
Visit Evergreen's Winter Village to find the perfect Christmas gifts!
If you are on a Christmas market mission with your partner, follow up your Distillery visit with a trip to Evergreen's Winter Village! They'll be hosting tons of pop ups and adorable decor inside that will definitely help fuel your hype for the holiday season.
Make your own Christmas decor at Crown Flora's wreath workshop.
What better way to grab some holiday decor than to make it yourself?! Crown Flora is hosting it's very own wreath workshop where you get to design and build your own wreath before you take your creation home with you!
Visit the Christmas Fair In the Square.
Still looking for more Christmas markets to visit? Add the Christmas Fair In The Square to your list! Pair this date with a skate around Nathan Phillips Square's rink and you've got yourself the perfect romantic day with your significant other!
Grab your skates and travel through this ice skating trail.
What better way to take in the unbelievable sights Winter has to offer than to go on an ice skating trail?! This is a super romantic way to take your typical Winter stroll through the park to the next level!
Escape the city and rent out one of these cozy spots in Ontario.
If you are looking for the perfect romantic weekend away for an escape away from work or school, we've got you covered! These spots in and around Ontario make for the perfect places to host your cozy weekend away!
Create your own gingerbread house at this workshop!
If you want to do something super Christmas-y and festive with your partner, go to a gingerbread house workshop! Not only is it a ton of fun but you get a delicious (and depending on your gingerbread skills) pretty gingerbread house to take home!
Get your game on at Snakes and Lattes.
If the Winter weather has got you and your partner holed up in your house in efforts to escape the cold, look no further than Snakes and Lattes! It's a great way to get out of your funk of staying-at-home-watching-Netflix all the time considering you can just relax, enjoy a warm brew and play some board games!
Join the Toronto Polar Bear Club in diving into Lake Ontario in January!
If you are your partner are thrill seekers or looking for the perfect adrenaline-pumping event, you're in luck! The Toronto Polar Bear Club's dip into Lake Ontario this upcoming January will definitely get your heart racing! Couples that nearly freeze to death together stay together, right?
Grab some decadent marshmallow toasted hot chocolate from Bobette and Belle!
Whether you did that dip in Lake Ontario or not, Bobette and Belle is the perfect place to warm up considering their marshmallow toasted hot chocolate is crazy delicious!
For 'Outdoor activities,' click 'Next.'
Skiing at Mount St. Louis Moonstone // 24 Mount Saint Louis Road West
Winter is the best time of the year for fellow snowboarders and skiiers! Whether you are a beginner or more athletically-inclined, Mount St. Louis Moonstone is a great place to enjoy the slopes and chilly weather for a day of fun!
OPG's Winter Festival of Lights // Niagara Falls, ON
If you are looking for some more festivals to check out that are decked out in lights, check out OPG's Winter Festival of Lights! The event is dedicated to some insane light installations that will make the drive to Niagara, so worth it.
Gage Park // 45 Main St S
Who doesn't love a stroll through a decked out park during the Winter time?! Gage Park transforms into a holiday-wonderland come the Winter season and even features ice pathways you can skate on once it gets cold enough!
Go on one of these magical Winter walks in and around the city.
If you are the more outdoorsy type, the perfect activity this Winter can end up being the most simple. Just grab your dog, friend or just go on your own and enjoy the crisp air and crazy views that come with the colder months!
Go ice skating on these awesome rinks to make the most of the skating season!
If you are an ice skating fanatic, Winter is probably your favourite season considering how many rinks across the city open to the public for the season. If you are looking to lace up your skates as much as possible before Spring comes, check out all of these rinks across the city!
Ice Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park
What better way to experience the outdoors than to skate through them? It's the perfect way to take a typical hike to the next level by lacing up some skates and heading to Arrowhead Provincial Park!
Chicopee Tube Park // 1600 River Rd E
Want to take typical tobogganing to the next level? Look no further than Chicopee Tube Park, the place to hit the slopes if you aren't a skiier or snowboarder. You'll be able to slide down the massive hill with an inflatable tube all day and night long, your first visit definitely won't be your last!
Gifts of Lights // 425 Bingemans Centre Dr
Bingemans is kicking off the holiday season with a crazy tunnel of lights that you can drive through this season! While you'll have to venture outside of the city to check it out, it's definitely worth it considering you can't get an experience anything like it anywhere else!
Catch a Christmas movie at Hot Docs Cinema // 506 Bloor St W
While Hot Docs hasn't released their projected features for the holiday season, it's assumed they'll be following their past traditions of having ton sof Christmas movies ready for you to check out with friends, family or your partner!
Channel your inner adventurer and try out dog sledding sports and skijoring in Ontario.
If you are a thrill seeker and want a unique experience this Winter, try your luck at dog sledding! It's a very different way of appreciating nature during the Winter but it's definitely a cool way to get some fresh air!
For 'Groupons/Getaways' click 'Next'
Explore the stunning holiday light display at Casa Loma for Winterland Nights.
Date: December 18th or 19th
Take in a medieval horse show while eating a 4-course royal dinner at Medieval Times.
Date: Through January 31st
Book a luxury staycation in the Queen West neighbourhood for a weekend getaway.
Drink cocktails and plant tabletop gardens for your home with your best friends or S/O.
Stay in the adorable Riverbend Inn for a weekend getaway in Niagra-On-The-Lake for a romantic winter getaway.
Take a helicopter tour over Niagra Falls for magnificent views of one of the 7 great wonders of the world.
Enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner on a Jubilee Queen Cruise boat with views of the Toronto skyline.
Price: $32 for brunch or lunch, $40 for dinner
Explore Toronto the fun way with a Big City Hunt scavenger hunt for two this winter season.
Take a 120 km aerial tour of Toronto with stunning views from above for one or two people.
Stay in an adorable winter townhouse in Blue Mountain perfect for a ski vacation getaway.
For 'Concerts/shows,' Click 'Next'
The Tenors Christmas concert // 1 Front St E
Date: December 12th
If you love a good trio belting out some Christmas favourites then look no further than The Tenors! Their voices are incredible and they've got some tracks on their own Christmas album that gives Michael Bublé's a run for it's money!
Ross Petty's A Christmas Carol // 189 Yonge St
Dates: November 24th - December 31st
Who doesn't love A Christmas Carol? The iconic Christmas film will be taking the stage as Ross Petty's own production this upcoming weekend, so make sure to grab some tickets for the perfect night out!
Home Alone in Concert // 60 Simcoe St
Dates: November 30th - December 2nd
Who doesn't love Kevin?! The massive holiday hit will be paired with a symphony this holiday season to make for the perfect way to get in the Christmas mood. Though, make sure to grab tickets fast considering the event will only be running for a short three days!
Twelve Days of Christmas // 60 Simcoe St
Date: December 11th
Love a good orchestra? Check out the Twelve Days of Christmas event being hosted by the Toronto Orchestra! Head over to Roy Thomson Hall this December to have your ears filled with Christmas cheer!
Elf The Musical // 244 Victoria St
Dates: November 21st - November 26th
Buddy the Elf is coming to Toronto this year for the musical event of the holiday season! This is perfect event whether you are going with your family, friends or significant other. So get ready for some laughs and a night of fun!
The Nutcracker // 145 Queen St W
Dates: December 9th - December 30th
The Nutcracker is a timeless Christmas tradition that makes for the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season without freezing in the cold at a Christmas market. From the incredible music to the crazy-talented dancers, it's a spectacle you've got to sit in on at least once in your life.
Holidays in Harmony // 273 Bloor St W
Date: November 26th
Holidays in Harmony is pretty self explanatory considering it's a holiday-themed concert that features everything from choirs to orchestras. It's perfect for any music-lover or person who's just looking for as many holiday-themed events as they can to check out this season!
JUNGLE // 722 College St
Date: November 28th
If you are looking for a good concert in general, definitely check out JUNGLE's show at Mod Club. Not only is the venue a great place to check out any show, but they've got some incredible music and a killer setlist!
Ruth B // 508 Queen St W
Date: November 30th
Canada's own Ruth B blew up from Vine and has since then become a powerhouse in the music industry. Her debut EP featured notable tracks like "Superficial Love" and "Lost Boy." She'll be playing at The Velvet Underground at the end of November, so much sure to save the date if you plan on witnessing a great show!
Barenaked Ladies // 178 Victoria St
Date: December 9th
The Barenaked Ladies will be taking over Massey Hall this December and are a great band to check out if you are looking for a great show to sit in on. Not only is Massey Hall a stunning venue, but they've got a great setlist lined up for this upcoming show that you don't want to miss out on!