Toronto is a beautiful place to be in the fall. But after a summer of patio drinks, music festivals and sweet outfits, many wallets find themselves wanting in autumn. Worry not! Though this city can get pretty expensive, there are still a few free options about town. Here are ten of our favourite free things to do when the leaves start to turn:
1. Explore a new neighbourhood. Now that you aren’t choking on Toronto’s summer humidity, a brisk fall walk is in order. Maybe you’ve never been to Leslieville, or it’s the Junction that eludes you. Toronto has so many hidden neighbourhoods, there’s sure to be at least one you’ve never explored. And we’ve even planned it all out for you here!
2. Take a hike. We are a city of trails, and of diverse ones at that. No matter where you live, there is a hiking trail close by that suits your activity level. Check out our list of great trails around the GTA.
3. Visit the Christmas Market. It kicks off Friday, November 28th, it’s absolutely adorable and most importantly, free.
4. Check out a free concert. There are plenty of no-cover shows around the city. That being said, bands make their money off the bar in this scenario. So, if you can’t afford a pint this time, consider picking up a CD or other merch when you next see the band play. You can search for free shows in NOW’s concert listings here.
(Benjamin Booker, NXNE, 2014)
5. Join a game night. There are plenty of Toronto pubs that host weekly game nights, but opting in without buying a pint or two is frowned upon. As an alternative, you can join any number of game nights hosted by members of the public. Some of these are long-standing and include dozens of members.
6. Visit the Power Plant. It’s not an energy provider; it’s an art gallery! Check out this free contemporary art gallery down on Queen’s Quay.
7. Read a book. Did you know that libraries still exist? Well, they do. And they still lend out books for FREE. Check out the 7-Day titles if you’re looking for a popular option. Or just browse the shelves like it’s 1998. Here’s the Toronto Public Library’s website.
9. Volunteer. Not to tug on your heartstrings or anything, but this is a season of need. As the weather cools down, shelters get crowded and food drives ramp up. Donate your time — it’s free — and you’ll feel pretty great about giving back. Check out Volunteer Toronto for more info.
10. Organize a game of pick-up whatever. Whether your sport is football, soccer or eating, this is a great season for pick-up. We have plenty of city parks for your leisure, so send out a group message for a Saturday game of pick-up football. Or if you’re the couch potato type, organize a Saturday fall picnic.