Entertaining kids over their summer vacation can get expensive: there’s so much to do (don’t forget to check off our Summer Fun Bucket List for ideas!) and visiting so many venues can certainly hurt the wallet. But don’t worry, there are numerous options for affordable and free activities and events around the city. Whether you want to be active, cultural and/or adventurous, we’ve got you covered with our Cheap Summer Activities Guide for Toronto!

Outdoor Recreation

Swimming
City-run outdoor pools, beaches and splash pads are all free to residents, and even visitors too, so take advantage while you can. Plus, don’t forget that indoor pools are still open (and free) throughout the year!

Hiking
Toronto’s hiking paths are bustling in warmer months but there’s still plenty of room to roam! If you want to go out a little further out of the city boundaries, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has even more nature paths to explore.

Biking, Skateboarding & Roller Skating
Daredevils can show off their tricks at one of the city’s bike and skateboard parks. Plus, roller skating is back at both indoor and outdoor rinks around the city. On weekends, the whole family can hit the streets with the ActiveTO program.

Playing
Of course, Toronto’s vast park system gives the perfect opportunity to spend a day for free. Many have exciting playgrounds and pools for built-in activities, and you can bring your dog along! Ontario Place also has beautiful grounds for a stroll and a free Imagination Playground.

Exercising
Planet Fitness is encouraging teens to get active and healthy this summer with their High School Summer Pass, and it’s totally free!

Exploring Toronto

Outdoor Movies
You can catch a flick under the stars in a number of different spots around Toronto this summer. Many are free and/or accept donations.

Summer Festivals
Many street festivals are free or by donation, including The Bentway, Big on Bloor, Beaches Jazz Festival, Salsa in Toronto Festival, Festival of South Asia, Buskerfest and more!

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Do your kids have an interest in politics? Or history, architecture and/or horticulture? You can tour Queen’s Park to discover the historic Legislative Building and surrounding grounds – all for free!

Public Gardens
Stroll through both indoor and outdoor gardens that are free and open year-round: Allan Gardens Conservatory downtown, Toronto Botanical Gardens in North York and Centennial Park Conservatory in Etobicoke.

Free Zoos
Riverdale Farm in Cabbagetown stays open throughout the year (though some animals stay in the barns) and High Park Zoo in the west end in (you guessed it!) High Park has numerous interesting animals from around the world.

Toronto Public Library Summer Wonder Programs
At home or out and about, there is always an adventure to be had at the library. Enroll in in-person and online courses, join the TD Summer Reading Club or just hang out to peruse the racks and read a book.

Tourism

Toronto History Museums
It was recently announced that all of Toronto’s historical museums now have free admission, permanently! Step back in time and learn about our great city.

Museum Free Admission Times
Aga Khan Museum: Free Wednesday nights from 4:00-8:00pm
Art Gallery of Ontario: Free admission for visitors under 25, with free admission for all to regular galleries on Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00pm
Gardiner Museum: Free admission for visitors under 18 at all times, plus free family activities on Sundays
Royal Ontario Museum: The main floor of ROM is free to visit this summer, which includes intricate decorated and remarkably preserved statues from Ancient Greece. They also offer free admission on the third Tuesday evening of the month throughout the year, starting at 5:30pm.

Toronto Railway Museum
Even if you don’t go into the museum, the Roundhouse Park trains are free to check out year-round. Plus, you can take the fun (and very affordable) mini-train around the yard.

Bata Shoe Museum Free Summer Activities
Bata Shoe Museum lets kids travel in time with “Tippy-Toes Time Travelling”, their free weekday drop-in activity program throughout the summer.

Toronto Public Library – Museum + Arts Passes
Did you know that all TPL branches offer free passes to museums? One pass is permitted per person, per week, which is usually good for two adult and two child admissions. Note: passes for some venues are only available at a limited number of branches.

Summer Arts Break in the Square
This summer, enjoy music, storytelling, dance and more with Prologue Performing Arts’ free family fun program on Saturday mornings at Eglinton Square.

Attractions Ontario Coupons
For cheap tickets to museums and attractions, be sure to check out Attractions Ontario coupons. They’re available for many popular summer venues, such as African Lion Safari, BATA Shoe Museum, Casa Loma, Legoland, Little Canada, Ontario Science Centre, Pirate Life Theatre and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Looking for more Summer Outdoor Activities in Toronto? Find them here!