There’s so much to do, see and eat in Toronto, but with inflation hitting your wallet harder than usual, it can be difficult to enjoy yourself in the city knowing what your bank account will look like when you get home. We’ve rounded up some of the city’s best (and worst) kept secrets when it comes to deals, bargains sales and even free stuff to make everything from shopping to nights out painless. Here are our best tips for finding cheap and free things to do in Toronto, from art to making your own beer.
SWAN LAKE BY THE LAKE
Get all the beauty of the ballet without the ticket price! Sharing the Stage is coming to Harbourfront Centre to offer free National Ballet performances, from Chroma to Swan Lake. Happening from Aug. 16 to 20, arrive early to grab a seat.
ENJOY ART FOR LESS
The Art Gallery of Ontario
Enjoy this Dundas West art institution for free on Wednesday nights. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance! If you happen to be under 25, no need to wait until Wednesdays – the AGO is free all year long for Toronto’s youth! 317 Dundas St. W.
The Royal Ontario Museum
Until Sept. 25, you can visit the first floor of the ROM for free as part of a new branding campaign that you can take advantage of. You’ll find the First Peoples gallery, China and Korea galleries and two pandemic-focused special exhibitions on the first floor. 100 Queen’s Park
The Aga Khan Museum
This museum of Islamic and Iranian art and Muslim culture offers free admission Wednesday evenings — get in on the action by reserving your timed-entry ticket in advance. 77 Wynford Dr.
Yoga is fun, but it can be expensive. Luckily, Toronto has plenty of free yoga classes to take advantage of, including at Downsview Park until the end of September. All you need to bring is a yoga mat, water and sunscreen! Make sure to register in advance online for each class.
BIG SCREEN SAVINGS
Carlton Cinema and Market Square Theatre
This duo boasts the cheapest movie ticket prices in Toronto. With just $10 general admission year-round and a special $7 deal on Tuesdays, you’re not going to find better prices anywhere in the city. 20 Carlton St. and 80 Front St. E.
For the movie buffs, it doesn’t get better than Fox Theatre, which offers an annual membership price that will save you plenty if you’re a frequent movie-goer. For $14.99 per year, you’ll get $3 off the regular ticket price, $5 off the regular ticket price during Discount Tuesdays and double features for $16 (plus a free movie during your birthday month). 2236 Queen St. E.
Toronto Outdoor Picture Show
For an absolutely free movie experience paired with a picture-perfect outdoor setting, the Toronto Outdoor Picture Show offers free movies on select dates all throughout the summer. Catch Learn to Swim at Christie Pits Park on Aug. 7 or Charlie Chaplin’s Circus at Bell Manor Park on Aug. 11.
Toronto Community Gardens
Do it the old-fashioned way and plant a veggie garden. If you’re lacking in backyard space, secure a plot in your own ’hood, courtesy of the Toronto Community Garden Network. Nominal fees for plots may apply.
Bike Pirates is a not-for-profit shop that provides low-cost bike parts to cyclists and teaches customers how to make their own repairs. The shop also offers a pay-what-you-can minor repair service. 1564 Bloor St. W.
Fermentations Beer School
If you’re a beer lover on a budget, making your own beer could be your next adventure. Fermentations offers Beer School, where you can choose from over 100 recipes to make lagers, bitters, pale ales, wheat beer and more. 201 Danforth Ave.