Attention students! We know how difficult it is to live off of OSAP or, if you’re lucky, a part-time job while you’re studying. Some of you might even find yourself at that inevitable stage of being “broke”, and we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of 11 cheap or free things to do (and eat, and drink) in the city.
1. High Park: Grab some friends and head to this urban nature sanctuary. Have a picnic, go for a hike through the park’s multiple trails, enjoy the beautiful lakefront views and visit the zoo (it’s free!). The only thing you might spend money on is the TTC to get there and back. (1873 Bloor St. W.)
2. Thursdays & First Tuesday of every month @ Madison Avenue Pub: If you’re on a budget but love to go out (in Toronto, this can be a deadly combination), then hit up the Madison on a Tuesday. It’s a multi-level pub that was built out of three Victorian homes and houses a piano room, dance-floor, and four more pubs that suit your comfort level. They’re celebrating their 30th Anniversary by offering prices from their menu in 1983 on every first Tuesday of the month. You can enjoy bar rail drinks, burgers, pints, grilled cheese sandwiches and many more for only $3. If you can’t go on a first Tuesday of the month, they offer $3 drinks every Thursday. (14 Madison Ave.)
3. Half-priced Cinema Tuesdays: Next time you want to watch a movie without breaking the bank, go to the theatre on a Tuesday. They only charge 50% of the admission price, so you can get away with going to the movies for under $10. Unfortunately, they don’t offer 50% off the food (they’ll still charge you an arm and a leg for popcorn and drinks).
4. Kensington Market: One of our favourite neighbourhoods, Kensington Market is a great place to explore unique shops, art galleries, coffee shops and parks. It’s free to walk around, window shop and see the multi-colored homes and graffiti. (Btwn Bathurst St. and Spadina Ave., Dundas St. and College St.)
5. The Green Room: Located in a back alley by Bloor and Bathurst, the Green Room is a super-hip dive bar that is very easy on the wallet. Their appetizers are all in the $3-$5 range (with the exception of a few), and their entrees are in the $7 range. Every day of the week they have drink deals like Beer Bottle Tuesdays with imported bottles at $4.50. With those prices, you can eat out and have drinks without feeling guilty or overspending. (296 Brunswick Ave)
6. The Java House: Don’t shy away from this place when you see the mismatched wallpaper and furniture inside. What it lacks in décor, it makes up for in cheap drinks and cheap food. Their meals don’t go over ten bucks, and their pitchers aren’t over $14. Just don’t go there expecting the same service you would get at a high-end restaurant. Bonus: they have a great patio! (537 Queen St. W.)
7. The Distillery District: Home to many designer boutiques, cafes, restaurants and venues, exploring The Distillery District is a great and affordable way to spend an afternoon. For $19 (+Tax) you can get the 60 minute Historic Walking Tour and learn more about the history of the district, prohibition, alcohol production and more. If you don’t want to spend any money, you can walk around for free and check out the vintage buildings and boutiques in the district. (Btwn Parliament St. and Cherry St. & just south of Mill St.)
8. Wednesdays @ The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario): Head to the gallery on a Wednesday between 6 and 8:30 and you won’t have to pay for admission. On any other day (the gallery is closed on Mondays, though), admission costs $19.50 for adults and $11 for students (with valid ID). And don’t worry; you don’t have to be an art fanatic to enjoy the gallery. The AGO offers various exhibitions and displays for everybody to enjoy! (317 Dundas St. W.)
9. Scarborough Bluffs/Bluffer’s Park:Don’t be afraid to venture outside the confines of Downtown Toronto. Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment with climbable cliffs that rise 65 metres from the water and the park has trails, picnic areas and beaches. From the top of the cliff you can enjoy gorgeous views of Lake Ontario (and more on a clear day). (1 Brimley Rd. S.)
10. Canadian Broadcasting Centre Museum: Check out Canada’s history in broadcasting at the CBC Museum. Admission for the museum is free at all times, and their hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. (250 Front St. W.)
11. Polson Pier: To get the best views of downtown Toronto, go to Polson Pier (especially at night or on a clear day). If you have some extra cash, check out Polson Pier Go-Karts while you’re there. It costs $2.50 per lap, or $23 for 20 minutes (about 17 laps). They currently have a Manager’s Special. When you buy 20 minutes of Go-Karting between Monday-Friday you get an extra 10 minutes free! (190 Cherry St.)