Looking for something to do this summer? Are you broke AF? Or saving up for that life-changing trip abroad? Whatever your budget, look no further! There are a bunch of fun things to do this summer if you’re broke af in Toronto – for free (or nearly free)! Keep reading to be inspired for the perfect squad adventure!
1. Take a dip at a not-so-average pool – around the city
These aren’t your average community centre pools – they’re so much better. From the elevated Donald D Summerville Olympic Pool (with 5m and 10m diving boards) by Woodbine Beach to the Gus Ryder Pool (also by the waterfront, pictured below) to the indoor Regent Park Aquatic Centre and more, the City of Toronto has you covered. Be sure to check online for drop-in swim times!
Wear: your favourite swim gear and sunscreen
Bring: flip flops for the deck and some quarters for change-room lockers
2. Go mural hunting – around the city
Toronto has an abundance of amazing street art, whether commissioned or improvised. Choose a sunny day for mural hunting off the beaten path, grab a bike or get a TTC daypass. Mural Routes partners with communities and artists to create stunning public art (part of a whole long list of great things they do) – check out their mural map here! Admire the art, take lots of photos, and maybe even change your profile pic!
Wear: comfortable shoes
Bring: a camera
3. Enjoy rooftop views on a budget – 4 Avenue Rd.
Go for beautiful views of the city skyline from the Park Hyatt Roof Lounge. A non-alcoholic mango fizz is just $11, and desserts before 4pm range from $13 to $15. You can dress nice and be fancy, sip a drink, and be boujee on a budget! Get there early and order from the before 4pm menu for extra savings.
Wear: an outfit to accompany the view
Bring: your wallet
4. Explore the wilderness – Lower Don Parklands / Evergreen Brickworks
FREE (not including any treats you might buy)
Well, as wild as you can get in the city. There are a variety of paths to follow, along ravines and rivers. One of the best places to go is en route to the Evergreen Brickworks – a short walk from Castle Frank station. Dodge the low branches, pet some cute doggos and puppers on walks, take some photos, and if you’re there on a Saturday, enjoy the farmer’s market from 8am to 1pm (every week all the way until November 4)!
Wear: walking shoes and sunscreen
Bring: water and snacks (but don’t litter!)
5. Take that perfect profile pic – around the city
Gather your squad and go for a photo shoot day! There are a bunch of very aesthetic public spaces in Toronto, the perfect backdrop is just around the corner. My recommendations? Start at Union Station, and walk around to places like Brookfield Place and the Skywalk (pictured below). Alternatively, head east along Front St. towards the St. Lawrence Market, and make sure to take a photo in front of our flatiron building (the Gooderham Building)! Wherever you go, you’ll be guaranteed to have a perfect profile pic by the end of the day!
Wear: anything that looks good in photos
Bring: a camera and friends
6. Take a stroll through the Art Gallery of Ontario – 317 Dundas St. W.
FREE (Wednesdays 6-9pm)
Enjoy the AGO’s permanent collection every Wednesday night from 6-9 for free! Stroll through the art, bask in the beauty, and enjoy the quiet hush of the amazing space. Take some photos.
Wear: a black turtleneck (optional)
Bring: a sketchbook (optional)
7. See movies under the stars – around the city
Want to go to a film festival for (almost) free? Well, the Christie Pitts Film festival will be showing films every Sunday from June 25 all the way until August 13. The screenings are pay what you can, suggested donations are $10. Be sure to join the closing ceremony celebrations on August 19-20! See the season lineup here. Be sure to bring a picnic blanket, arrive before sundown to secure your spot, and some snacks or enough change to buy some from vendors.
The Harbourfront Centre is back with its Wednesday Free Flicks! They run every week until August 30 – check out the film listings here! Enjoy the warm weather, beautiful night sky, and watch Hairspray and more this summer without paying a cent!
No free time on a Wednesday? Trinity Bellwoods Park has movies on Tuesday July 11 and Tuesday July 25. It’ll be the perfect end to an afternoon adventure on Queen West. For more information, click here.
There are lots of free outdoor movies this summer, maybe even in your neighbourhood park!
Wear: comfy clothes and pack a sweater for chilly nights
Bring: a blanket, some snacks, some water, and maybe some bugspray
8. See Kensington Market alive and bustling – Kensington Market
FREE (except for foods and drinks and trinkets you might end up buying)
Kensington Market is usually pretty lively, but it gets better on Pedestrian Sundays. Streets in that area are closed, and pedestrians mill about smelling the amazing food and eyeing the wares for sale. It feels like a parade, it feels like a festival, it feels like the best thing. June 25, July 30, August 27, September 24, October 29, from noon to 7pm.
Wear: that fringed/tie-dyed/weird top you bought but never wore
Bring: your smile and your wallet
9. Escape the city for a few hours – Toronto Public Library locations
Not to sound cheesy, but books are portals into other worlds! Stop by a public library and take out a book or two (or two dozen) and satisfy your wanderlust. Don’t forget, there are magazines and movies too! Find a branch near you – hours and locations here. Bonus: stay in the library for blissful air conditioning.
Wear: an outfit for your imaginary vacation
Bring: your library card if you want to borrow books (or ID requirements to get a new one)
10. Travel through time and space at the Royal Ontario Museum – 100 Queens Park
FREE general admission (on Tuesdays for students at Canadian post-secondary institutions and every day for Indigenous Peoples)
Wander through the exhibitions, marvel at ancient civilizations, gasp at the crystals and gems and crane your neck to see dino fossils. See some history, see some taxidermy animals, see some pretty mosaics on floors and ceilings. Spend a whole day, or just an afternoon!
Wear: walking shoes (you’ll be on your feet!)
Bring: a camera and any required ID for free admission
The conclusion? You can have fun no matter the size of your budget. Whether broke AF or a big spender, you’ll enjoy these experiences. Try something new this summer and explore the city! What are your favourite things to do in the city? Comment your favourite ideas below!
What else is there to do if you’re broke af in Toronto? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image source: pinterest.com
Just a girl who loves food and fashion. And everything else in the world.