No need to break the bank for winter fun in Toronto. Layer up and let Toronto show you what winter in the city has to offer.

Toronto is not a city that hibernates. It's a city that takes the winter months head-on and embraces the colder days and longer nights. There are so many ways to enjoy the city; best of all, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Embrace winter (with your parka, toque and gloves all on) in Toronto with these inexpensive events and experiences.

Skate under the Gardiner

Cost: Starting at $10 to rent skates
Where: The Bentway TrailI

In Toronto, you can skate downtown with the skyscrapers towering over you and even under major overpasses.

The Bentway Trail is transformed into a unique, 220-metre figure-8 skate trail running under the Gardiner Expressway overpass. The skate is free if you bring your skates to lace up or rent a pair for two hours  some for $10 (kids, helmet included) or $12 (adults). 

Get your street art on

Cost: Free
Where: Augusta Avenue and Rush Lane

Graffiti Alley may be something you think of during the summer months, but here's why it's a true gem in the city come winter. It's far less busy, so getting the perfect Instagram shot in front of one of the murals is much easier.

Meander the back alleys along Queen Street West and see some of the city's best street art. It's like a free exhibit showcasing immense talent.

Grab a hot chocolate or gingerbread latte from the nearby Jimmy's Coffee (a Toronto fave located on Portland Avenue) to keep those fingers warm from all your photo snapping.

Skate by the lights of City Hall

Cost: Starting at $10 to rent skates
Where: Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is the perennial skating spot in the city, where you can skate in front of City Hall and grab a hot cocoa afterwards.

Plus, you can snap a photo of the "Toronto" sign. Skate rentals cost $10 (kids) and $15 (adults) for two hours, but you can also bring your own.

Winter hike 'til your heart's content in Rouge Park

Cost: Free
Where: Rouge National Urban Park

Rouge National Urban Park is a true Toronto gem, no matter what season you visit.

The park encompasses farmland, camping grounds, a lakeshore, and Indigenous sites woven through with trails for hiking and dog walking. The park's 15  trails offer a variety of landscapes, distances and intensity levels for every hiker, including a few wheelchair accessible options. (There is no winter maintenance, however, which may limit seasonal access.)

See also: 5 Amazing Ways To Explore Rouge National Urban Park This Winter

Dive into the Don Valley wilderness at Evergreen Brick Works

Cost: Free
Where: Evergreen Brick Works

For those looking for something less intense than a traditional hike but still want to get out into the wilderness, the Brick Works offers a balance of park space, outdoor art, and wooded trails.

The free skating rink is a beautiful must-see, along with the Saturday farmers' market.

See also: 3 Amazing Ways to Explore Evergreen Brick Works This Winter

Warm up in a tropical paradise

Cost: Free
Where: Allan Gardens

Toronto's only downtown botanical garden at Allan Gardens is the perfect spot to warm up and get a blast of the tropics (all while still seeing a snowy winter wonderland outside the glass walls).

The landmark has been in the city since 1858 and is home to some of the most exotic plants in Toronto.

Step into the Palm House under a giant glass dome and towering palm trees, or into the Arid House full of cacti, sand and desert plants, or smell the orchids and begonias in one of the two Tropical Houses.

Head here on a weekday if you want a quieter experience. Or, tuck in when it's blustery outside to enjoy the view of winter from inside a lovely tropical paradise.

Wednesday Nights at the AGO

Cost: Free
Where: Art Gallery of Ontario

What's better than seeing some great art exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)? Getting to do it for free! From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. every Wednesday, you can get free access to the museum to check out their galleries and special exhibits. Even better: art lovers ages 14 to 25 can sign up for a free annual pass!

The collections showcase more than 95,000 pieces of work, including Canadian art, modern and contemporary, European art, Indigenous art, photography collections and much more.

Winterlicious for everyone

Cost: Starting at $20 for three-course prix fixe meals
Where: Over 200 restaurants around Toronto

From January 26 to February 8, 2024, you can dive into some of the all-time best eats in Toronto at a reasonable price.

It's an opportunity for locals and visitors to eat incredible food at upscale, trendy and hip restaurants around the city made by some of the top-notch chefs Toronto has on hand.

Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, but all restaurants participating in Winterlicious offer prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus and often come in at half the price of a regular meal.

Calling all art and design lovers

Cost: Most exhibits are free
Where: Throughout the downtown core

The DesignTO Festival (formally the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) will hit city streets inside and outside again this year from January 19 to 29, 2024.

With over 100 exhibits, many of which are free, it's a chance for art lovers to see the design scene in the heart of downtown.

Highlighting art, design, culture, and more, this festival is an inspiring light in the middle of winter (and can help you get over those post-holiday blues in January).

Catch a seriously Canadian sugar high

Cost: Free
Where: Sugar Beach

Unlike in warmer parts of the world, March still means winter in Toronto—but we don't let that get us down.

For a dose of something sweet, Torontonians hit up the iconic Sugar Beach Sugar Shack for a fest that celebrates a popular Canadian export—maple syrup!—with games, live music, tastings, and more. It returns to the Waterfront on March 9 to 10, 2024.