December is a pretty crazy month regardless of where you live. Between the holidays and New Years Eve, there are tons of things going on from shopping and light displays to tree lightings and holiday markets. Though while there are tons of options for things to do, it can seem as if everything is going to cost you money and leave you with less cash to spend on gifts for your friends and family.
Luckily, we've compiled 40 free things you can do around the city to not only celebrate the holiday season but enjoy Winter in general! So whether you are the outdoorsy type looking for the perfect adrenaline pumping events or are obsessed with Christmas and are scouring for every free Christmas market imaginable- we've got you covered!
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Check out Santa in the Junction.
Santa is coming back to the Junction this year and it's sure to be the perfect way to channel your inner kid again! You are never too old for a picture with Santa!
Use this map to go on a Christmas light display adventure around the city!
Toronto holds no bars when it comes to getting decked out during the holiday season, and what better way to get in the holiday spirit yourself than to check out all the crazy set ups!
Visit the Distillery Christmas Market during the week!
The Distillery District Christmas Market is arguably one of the most popular events during the holiday season in the city. Luckily, while it does cost you to visit during the weekend, you can go for free during the week- so schedule your trip to the market accordingly to save some cash!
Visit the window displays at Saks and Hudson's Bay.
It's known that Hudson's Bay always decks out their windows for the holiday season, now with Saks decking out their windows too, you've got double the windows to check out! Just make sure to plan to excursion with a warm holiday drink to keep you toasty!
Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show // Dec 3rd - Jan 7th
Allan Gardens is the perfect place to escape the cold and pretend you are at at tropical destination instead of freezing in this Winter weather. Now with the Christmas Flower Show coming up on December 3rd and running until January 7th, you've got the perfect excuse to visit the spot- green thumb or not!
The Faraway From Nearby: Photo Gallery @ Ryerson Image Centre // Sept 11th - Dec 11th
If you are a lover of photography or are just looking to add to your list of free art galleries around the city, look no further than the Faraway From Nearby event taking place at Ryerson's Image Centre. Though, it only will be running until December 10th so make sure you head over ASAP and don't miss out!
Get some inspo for your Christmas list by window shopping along Queen West!
Whether you've already finished your Christmas list or not, a little more inpso for your list or what you can get other people never hurt anyone, right? Queen West is the perfect place to spot the latest trends and styles you might want to open up on Christmas morning or gift someone else!
Check out one of these free galleries.
Christmas can be a fun but stressful time, luckily art galleries can be a great option as a way to de stress and chill out and there are tons of free ones across the city that definitely will spark your interest!
Go for a bike ride through these trails before the snow finally hits!
Getting your cardio in and taking in the gorgeous views that come with Winter weather? What more could you want! This is the perfect idea whether you are looking to go on a sporty date, bike with a friend or go solo!
Icewave for Sickkids Winter Green Beach Holiday Market // November 23rd - December 23rd
Icewave is a great way to have a fun day out while simultaneously supporting a great cause! From the holiday market to the volleyball event, it's guaranteed to be a great time you don't want to miss!
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Skating at Nathan Phillips Square.
With the rink at Nathan Phillips Square now officially open and ready for you and your friends, what are you waiting for?! Just make sure to remember your skates considering it'll cost you to rent a pair on site.
Evergreen Brickworks Christmas Village.
Evergreen Brickwork's Christmas Village is back for another year and is sure to be a hit yet again. They are hosting tons of exciting vendors that make it the perfect place to scope for gifts for your friends, family and maybe even yourself!
Take a chilly stroll through Graffiti Alley.
Graffiti Alley is always an exciting place to check out considering there are always new additions to the walls. With the new dart guy tribute added to the area, it's the perfect time to check out the space with a festive drink in hand to keep you warm!
Celebrate 150 Years of Canadian Christmas at Casa Loma.
Casa Loma is surely to be a spectacle this holiday season considering they are celebrating 150 years of Canadian Christmas. So make sure to add this spot to your list considering you won't want to miss out!
Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice
While the date hasn't been set yet, it's assumed the Winter Solstice celebration will be coming back to the trendy neighbourhood of Kensington for it's 28th year this late December! So make sure to keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page!
Go to a monthly Pug Grumble! // TBA
Who doesn't love a good pug meet up? The monthly meet up at Trinity Bellwoods will be back for the Christmas edition so make sure to keep your eyes on their Facebook page for when the set date is announced!
Catch a Raptors of Leafs Game in Maple Leafs Square.
Who said you need seats in the ACC to enjoy the game?! Catch the game and save some serious cash by watching it outside in Maple Leafs Square, jsut maek sure to bring a coat or two.
Visit some permanent exhibits featured at the AGO.
The AGO is the perfect place to destress and enjoy some art, but if you are looking to save some cash then definitely make sure to schedule your next trip on a Wednesday from 6-8pm for free admission!
Catch a free show at The Drake Hotel!
The Drake Hotel is constantly hosting up and coming artists around the city that won't cost you a dime to see. So keep your eyes peeled on their website to see the next free set you can sit in on!
Visit the Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square.
If you are looking for as many free Christmas markets as possible in the city, make sure to add the Fair in the Square to your list! From pop up vendors to skating on the rink, it's a great way to ring in the holiday season!
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Toboggan down one of these hills.
Just because Toronto is a city doesn't mean they don't have some spots of greenery than house incredible hills that are perfect for tobogganing! Check out this list of the perfect hills that are tobogan ready for you and your friends once the snow finally hits!
Watch the sunset with a festive drink in hand at the Polson Pier.
Whether you are taking up this idea with your friends or a partner, it's a super relaxing way to cap off a fun day. Plus, with the weather being on the cooler side versus the typical Arctic kinda of weather we'll be expecting in the next coming weeks, this is the perfect time to do it!
Binge watch these Christmas movies before the big day comes!
Don't get me wrong, going to Christmas markets and checking out the lights is a ton of fun, but there truly is nothing that beats kicking of your shoes and curling up by the fire place while you watch a classic holiday movie.
DJ Skate Nights at the Harbourfront Centre.
DJ Skate Nights are almost back and are sure to be a blast! Who doesn't want to spruce up a typical night of skating with a DJ by the Harbourfront with all your friends!
Check out a screening of a holiday classic at Hot Docs Cinema.
While Hot Docs hasn't released the classics they'll be featuring this season just yet, it's guaranteed they'll be showcasing the holiday flicks you know and love!
It's a Wonderful Life Live at the Lower Ossington Theatre.
If you are a fan of this classic, check out the live performance that is playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre from December 1st up until the 30th! It's sure to be a great night and performance to sit in on. Grab tickets here!
Organize a night of shinny with friends at one of these rinks around the city!
What better way to utilize the Nathan Phillips Square rink opening than to organize a game or two of shinny with friends! Just make sure to plan to visit the rink later at night when less people are on it.
Escape the cold by visiting the Cloud Gardens!
Cloud Gardens is like Allan Garden's little sister. The spot is another great indoor tropical space that is the perfect place to hide from the cold and pretend its still Summer!
Visit some of these notable photography spots in the city to capture the perfect snowy shot!
The photography game in Toronto is officially out of bounds, so if you are looking to catch up with some of the greatest in the city, look no further than these spots to start building your portfolio!
Go skiing and/or snowboarding on Centennial Hill after closing!
While the conveyer belt won't be turned on and you'll have to hike up the hill, skiing/snowboarding on Centennial Hill is so much fun and definitely is something you need to try at least once in your life. Thankfully the hill isn't big so you wont' have to spend too much time trekking up it!
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Check out the Bata Shoe Museum.
If you are looking to check out the Bata Shoe Museum but are short on cash, you are in luck! On Thursdays after 5PM they offer a "pay what you can" policy, so you decide how much you pay to get in!
Our Journey: An Art Map of Canadian Identity @ Spadina Museum // 285 Spadina Rd. - Ends Dec. 31
You definitely will want to make sure to visit this exhibit of Canada seeing as it closes at the end of the month. Held at the gorgeous Spadina Museum, you'll definitely want to look around the actual venue hosting the exhibit as well!
Build a snowman in Trinity Bellwoods Park!
Who said building a snowman was just for kids?! Channel your inner kid this Winter season and visit Trinity Bellwoods to make an epic snowman that will have everyone turning their heads!
Go on a snowy stroll through one of these mini winter wonderlands in the city!
What better way to unwind after the big day than to walk through one of these winter wonderlands?! With the snow having surely hit the city by then, these spots turn into gorgeous spots that you are definitely going to want to check out with your own eyes.
Go back in history together at the Royal Ontario Museum.
If you are a student, you are in luck! The ROM hosts free entry to students every Tuesday if you bring your student ID, so make sure you bring it to enjoy the exhibits inside without having to spend a dime!
People watch at Yonge/Dundas square.
Yonge and Dundas is always a bustling area and full of interesting people, but during the holiday season it gets even more crazy and interesting. So in between all the rush of the holidays, give yourself some time to sit back and watch the rush unfold with your own eyes!
Venture through St Lawrence Market.
St. Lawrence Market is the perfect place to go if you are looking to cook up a good meal during the days following Christmas. From their Farmer's market to the other vendors inside serving up fresh foods, you are guaranteed to grab the perfect ingredients for a holiday feast!
Check out the thrift scene in Kensington.
The thrift scene in Kensington is always incredible, and what better way to spend the days after Christmas than do to just a bit more shopping!
Ring in the New Year at Nathan Phillips Square! // December 31st
What better way to ring in the new year than to attend the biggest party the city will host in 2017! From live performances to incredible firework displays, it's surely something you won't want to miss.