Toronto on a Budget - What to do?

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Toronto on a Budget: Where to Go and What to Do

Toronto’s vibrant sports culture, lively music scene, and extensive  culinary options have propelled it to the forefront of people’s travel plans. It is a city of exceptional quality, which coincidentally comes with an exceptionally high cost. You should go north whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a hockey lover, a brunch fanatic, or you just firmly believe that “Drake” and “good rapper” go together. 

But hold on, nobody enjoys waking up to a depleted bank account, as alluring as it may be to squander money like á la 6 God. For the greatest ways to see Toronto on a budget, check out our recommendations below.  

Cheap places to stay in Toronto

Similar to other prominent urban areas, opting for accommodations in downtown Toronto will result in higher expenses compared to other locations. But it will also keep you right in the middle of all the excitement. If your priority is to be in close proximity to Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Ontario Science Centre, it may be beneficial to you to stay in the downtown area.

Nevertheless, Toronto is characterized by distinct areas, and it is evident that the average cost of a hotel room decreases after you move beyond the central business district. In addition, districts such as Kensington Market, which serves as a cultural center of the city, provide an excellent setting for individuals seeking an authentic local experience and a wide range of unique offerings that are not available in the central area. Toronto boasts a commendable public transit system that facilitates convenient access to all parts of the city. Therefore, there is no need to limit oneself to the downtown area when seeing Toronto on a limited budget.

Airbnb would be a wonderful choice if you are looking for more affordable lodging but do not want to share a space with someone. The farther you go from the downtown area, the more reasonably priced rentals you get, with overnight rates starting at $60. 

Creating a profile through trusted house sitters is an additional choice. Reliable home sitters are an excellent choice if you enjoy caring for animals and don’t mind leaving a furry friend alone for a bit. Through this website, pet owners may arrange for free pet care while they are away in exchange for lodging. For one year of free sitting job, there is a $169 sign-up charge. If you travel often, this can end up being far less expensive than staying at a hotel.

When to Go

It takes courage to travel to Toronto in the winter. Very brave. It’s a moment when getting from the hotel to the car door demands significant physical and mental effort. However, since more people travel during the summer, prices change correspondingly. Try to schedule your trip during the spring or fall, if at all possible. 

Traveling to Toronto in late September or May can be much less expensive, less crowded, and offer significant savings on airfare, lodging, and activities.

Things to Do

Many modes of public transportation, including buses, streetcars, and subway trains, are operated by the Toronto Transit Commission. Envy-worthy of most big cities, this network is orderly and effective. If you want to spend more than a few days in the city, check out the passes they offer. 

Note that routes are extended in the summer to well-liked locations such Ontario Place, Exhibition Place, and the Toronto Zoo. You will need to rent a car if you want to explore the extensive suburbs of Toronto.

Check out the Green Spaces

A affordable and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in Toronto is to visit one of the city’s numerous public parks, even in the spring or fall. The largest park in the city, High Park offers an endless array of amenities, including a zoo, hiking trails, gardens, greenhouses, a lakefront, and sports facilities.

Additionally, if you follow our recommendation to go there in the spring, you’ll get to see the stunning pink and white cherry blossoms, which typically bloom in April or May.

The Allan Gardens Conservatory is a great place for romantics, botanists, or anyone who just wants to wake up and smell some fresh flowers. Get lost in the maze of orchids, hyacinths, and early 20th-century buildings. After, consider getting on the $5.30 ferry and head towards Toronto Island. Take a leisurely stroll on the beaches, hire a bike, or enjoy a picnic to relieve stress.

Stroll the Markets

Toronto residents are renowned for appreciating the diverse culinary scene in their city, and visiting the markets won’t break the bank. Think of visiting St. Lawrence Market and exploring the vibrant displays of seasonal goods. 

There’s an old-world patio outside, and the art gallery upstairs hosts free shows honoring the history and culture of the city on Sundays. Food & Wine magazine has named St. Lawrence as one of the top 25 markets in the world, and Pope Francis even paid a visit to see if the produce met his expectations.

An alternative is Kensington, which is more of a bohemian neighborhood with eclectic shops selling everything from retro vinyl albums to trendy bargain furniture and coffee. It’s also close to Chinatown, so feel free to treat yourself to a full body massage if you have $10 to spare.

Art on a Budget

There are several museums in Toronto that have free or donation-based entrance hours. The Art Gallery of Ontario, for instance, is free on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.; the Bata Shoe Museum is “pay what you wish” on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.; and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is always pay-what-you-can.

Graffiti Alley, spanning slightly more than a kilometer between Queen and Richmond streets, is home to some of the most exquisite spray-painted artworks on the planet. Everything from childish comic series to political satire and abstract madness reminiscent of Pollack can be found here.

Go to the Queen West and Bloor West neighbourhoods if you’re in the mood for some live music. There are several divey live music places in this area that have affordable beer and excellent local talent.

Soak in the Squares

Although squares are not very common in North America, Toronto is home to two magnificent squares that are great places for people-watching and community gathering. 

Yonge-Dundas, also known as the Times Square of Canada, is the site of many free events, including street acts, concerts, and film screenings. Another excellent destination for vacationers on a tight budget is Nathan Phillips Square. It is well-known for being breathtakingly gorgeous during the holidays and for having an ice skating rink in the winter.

What to Eat

Toronto is well known for offering some of the world’s most delicious cuisines. Although there are plenty of upscale dining options that can cost up to a month’s pay, there is also a strong culture surrounding fast food, street food, and food trucks. Here are a handful of the best.

  1. Fat Lamb Kouzina – Authentic Greek food. Flavorful, freshly prepared ingredients presented tastefully in a styrofoam container.
  2. P.G. Clucks: spicy chicken sandwiches dripping with fermented chili sauce, enhanced with cayenne.
  3. The Bagel House serves cream cheese and smoked salmon bagels topped with tomatoes, onions, and capers. Available around-the-clock.
  4. Sichuan Gardens: Tuck into a spicy bowl filled with pork, tofu, and a variety of vegetables. This iconic dish is so saucy that it’s hard to say if it’s really a soup.
  5. Consider having High Tea as a huge indulgence. Complete with pastries and shortbreads, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel will give you the classic British mid-afternoon meal. It will set you back roughly the same as a fairly priced supper anywhere, but the fine dining experience will stick in your memory more than a regular meal. You can rely on The Royal York to provide you with a genuine experience, since they have been serving high tea for decades.

Plan on Visiting Toronto?

Exploring Toronto on a budget is totally doable! There are many affordable options to enjoy this amazing city without breaking the bank. From free attractions like parks and street festivals to budget-friendly activities like exploring neighborhoods and trying local food joints, you can have a great time without spending a lot.

Remember to plan ahead, take advantage of public transportation, and look for discounts to make the most of your budget-friendly Toronto adventure. So, go ahead, pack your bags, and have a fantastic time exploring the vibrant and diverse city of Toronto without worrying too much about your wallet!

Looking for a furnished apartment in Toronto?

If Toronto is your next destination and you are looking for a well furnished apartment, ready to move in for short term, look at our Toronto Apartment listings and choose the best one for you. All our apartments are fully furnished, well equipped, utilities included and you can move in anytime. Ernest Alfred will be more than happy to serve you. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Ernest Alfred

Ernest Alfred

Living in Toronto from the last 74 years. Managing Alfred Furnished Apartments to host hundreds of tenants every year.

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