5 Budget-Friendly Things To Do in Central Toronto, Canada.
A week-long trip to Toronto was a huge surprise. Checking my bank balance after? An even bigger one. Multiple gasps entered the room. You only live once, right? The thing is, large cities like Toronto get that rep for being expensive. The type to suck your wallet dry the moment you step outside. However, your trip to Toronto doesn’t have to be like that. Just like any travel destination, it’s all about being savvy with activities. Thinking of visiting Canada sometime soon? Let me point you towards 5 affordable things to do in Toronto. Oh, and don’t worry. The fun factor is still there.
Explore Toronto Island For Less Than 10 Dollars.
My first encounter with Toronto Island was by looking down the CN Tower. You know, the experience promising you a bird’s eye view of Toronto’s skyline for 50 Canadian Dollars. Whilst I’d recommend the CN Tower to everyone for the scenes alone, you’ll find jaw-dropping views much cheaper from Toronto Island. We’re talking about a return trip for 10 dollars. Yes really.
The ferry to Toronto Island conveniently departs from Toronto Waterfront, located downtown. Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to be exact. Following the 10-minute boat ride, you’ll be able to experience the island to your heart’s content. Well, at least until the last boat rides back. At Toronto Island, you could easily spend half a day. I only checked out Centre Island region but was more than impressed. Yes, the island is cool to look at, but you’ll also find entertainment in the form of food stalls, sports, a beach and even rides for kids. Now, I may be biased toward Mediterranean cuisine, but the Greek food stand was exceptional. The tzatziki? *Chef’s kiss*. Although, if you’re particularly trying to keep costs low, settle for a picnic here after buying the goods back in downtown Toronto. The scenery + sunsets will not disappoint.
Instagram Spots in Toronto? Visit Cherry Blossoms Of High Park.
If you’re travelling between April – May, you’ve got a good chance of seeing the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. There’s something so peaceful about getting close to the blossoms, plus you’ve got plenty of photo opportunities here. That’s if you beat the crowds! I went on a weekend so it became a real mission to snap away without anyone in the background. Don’t just stop at the first trees you see though, if you continue walking you’ll notice a few cherry blossoms more hidden away.
To get to the cherry blossom trees, use the subway and stop at either ‘High Park’ or ‘Keele’. Both will get you walking the trails in no time.
Browse Street Art In Kensington Market.
Well, browse everything really. Kensington Market is such a vibrant + fun location, so put on your trendiest outfit and make your way down to admire street art. Oh, and the vintage shops are worth peeking into. Whilst a few tend to be more on the pricey side for second-hand clothing, you’ll find a handful along the cobbled streets which are more than reasonably priced. It doesn’t just stop there though, Kensington is also a fantastic place to re-fuel with street food. You can literally taste the infusion of different cuisines through the air. Very tempting, I must say. Personal suggestion? I loved ‘Dirty Bird Chicken’ for gluten-free fried tenders + loaded fries. Do you know how hard it is to find this sort of thing in size absolutely-totally-without-a-doubt gluten-free? I was living. There’s also a vegan + gluten-free bakery nearby. You can’t miss it, physically and metaphorically. I’ll attach a photo below so you know what I mean.
Foodie? Stroll Around St. Lawrence Market.
Whilst Kensington Market has a variety of things to do, St. Lawrence Market is exclusively for foodies. I say this because you’ll find two whole floors dedicated to edible products. You can practically see stall owners making food, such as fresh pasta or the dough for endless pastries. Don’t be shy to approach the stall owners either! It’s really interesting hearing about the items on offer, plus you’ll probably pick up a cooking tip or two. The stereotype of Canadians being a friendly bunch of people couldn’t be more true, from my experience. It’s the very first thing I mention when anyone asks about my trip.
*Just to point out, St. Lawrence Market is closed Sunday + Monday, so time your visit well!
Get Distracted At Distillery District.
The Distillery District is another good location to immerse yourself into artistic flair. You’ll stumble across statues, unique architecture and endless photo spots. It’s a one-stop location for culture and entertainment. Expect to see people chatting over coffee, keen photographers snapping away, and small boutiques to pass time in. However, ‘Spirit of York Distillery’ is where you need to go for a drink, or five. The interior screams sophistication and the menu has an ability to intrigue. Don’t know where to start? Warm yourself up with the mini tasting session. 3 sample drinks for 10 dollars, and yes you get to choose the selection from a list. If you’re not much of a drinker and have a sugar craving, ‘Cocoa 70’ is a total dream. Think THICK milkshakes, generously-layered cakes, and the smoothest chocolate fondue. Thank me later *wink face*
Side Note – Looking for sports merchandise but not feeling the vibes from standard stores? Distillery District will sort you out. Try ‘The Sports Gallery’. The clothing feels rare here. Now, this store is EXPENSIVE, but if you really want an item then you just gotta do it! Speaking from experience…
Pending is my Toronto Travel Diary – A chance for you to come through the trip with me from start to finish. Want to follow Toronto through visuals? Check out my socials for travel photos + let’s connect.
Until then, see you in the next post!
It’s been YEARS since I last visited Toronto…I was a young teen, and I don’t have much recollection of it (nor many good photos)! Fortunately, I have a cousin who lives there now, so a reason to return! It’s great you found some inexpensive, yet fun activities to do in the city (including some delicious eats)!
Definitely! Canada was never really a place I thought I would visit soon, but I’m so glad I did as I loved it! Next I hope to visit the US again for a longer trip – Do you suggest any states in particular that you feel are underrated from your experiences?
New Mexico is underrated, but I’d recommend it! But aside from low-key states, I do recommend visiting Colorado and Utah, as well as The Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington). And of course, my home state of California (but I’m a bit biased)! 😉
Thank you for these suggestions! ☺️