If you’re planning a trip to Toronto on a budget, you can find a variety of free things to do with kids. From exciting free events to family activities that are appropriate for both younger and older children, Toronto’s museums and attractions have no shortage of fun experiences for the whole family. Best of all, winter brings some of the city’s most entertaining festivals and events for an unforgettable family vacation experience.

Here are 10 free things to do with kids in Toronto in winter to ensure a budget-friendly and exciting trip.

1. Explore the Children’s Garden

The Children’s Garden at Evergreen Brick Works is part of a spectacular environmental centre that offers unique and fascinating free activities in Toronto for kids. The facility works to connect children to the environment through creative activities such as art, song, and storytelling. The Children’s Garden is free to attend, though donations are accepted.

2. Attend the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is a prestigious nature photography competition that showcases some of the most beautiful photographs of exotic animals. Hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has a stunning exhibit that features submissions from all ages and skill levels that are perfect for animal lovers. The museum is inexpensive to visit, especially with children’s pricing, but it also offers free general admission and extended hours on the third Tuesday night of each month.

toronto zoo

Toronto Zoo

While you’re there, you can take the kids through the rest of the museum to see fascinating and educational world culture and natural history exhibits such as mummies, dinosaurs, and the highly praised Bat Cave, an exhibit that focuses on the wonders of bat species all over the world.

3. Enjoy Family Activities at the Art Gallery of Ontario

On Wednesdays, the Art Gallery of Ontario offers free admission in the evening and an array of family activities. The gallery hosts drawing stations and workshops as well as a special kids gallery, so you can get creative with the children or keep them occupied while you enjoy the exhibits. During the day, the gallery has a hands-on activity centre for more fun with the kids.

art gallery of ontario

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

4. Ring in the New Year at Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square hosts a huge outdoor celebration for New Year’s Eve, complete with performances and fireworks that are ideal for a family excursion. With ice skating in the outdoor rink, live music, and fireworks, this is one of the best free events for kids in Toronto.

5. Skate to Music on the Harbourfront

The Harbourfront Centre opens its doors for a fun-filled DJ Skate Night, turning the rink into a live party. Both local and international DJs play music while you skate under coloured lights with stunning views of the city and harbour. This event runs from December to February and is free to attend.


Harbourfront, Toronto

6. Marvel at the Toronto Light Festival

Each year, the Distillery Historic District is illuminated by thousands of lights during the Toronto Light Festival. It features light installations from both local and international artists and runs from January to March. This event is one of the best in Toronto and is among the most enjoyable family activities for kids.

distillery historic district

Distillery Historic District, Toronto

7. Enjoy the Winter Festival at Ontario Place

The winter festival at Ontario Place offers an array of free things to do in Toronto with kids, all in one place. From November to March, Ontario Place is transformed into a winter wonderland with a Winter Lights Exhibition, a skating rink, bonfires, and the Aurora Winter Festival that features carnival rides, a holiday market, and Santa’s Workshop.

8. Go Swimming

Even though the weather is cold, Toronto has numerous locations with indoor pools for a bit of fun in the water. Admission is free for leisure swimming, and you have plenty of options for where to take the kids for a day of water fun.

9. Go for a Walk

Toronto has an array of walking tours that are a great option for free activities in Toronto for kids. During a tour, you’ll walk along leisurely nature trails to see the sights of the city and the local wildlife in the area, and you may come across a playground for the kids to play during the tour. Toronto can get cold in winter, so be sure to dress warm and bring drinks and snacks for the walk to keep everyone comfortable and happy.

high park things to do with kids in toronto

High Park, Toronto

10. Attend an Event at the Solar Observatory

On occasion, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada offers free events at the Solar Observatory in the Ontario Science Centre. These events include presentations from astronomers, stargazing, solar observing, and more, so your kids can learn all about the wonders of space. Even if you don’t catch a free event, the Ontario Science Museum is inexpensive to visit.

Plan your Toronto trip

Toronto has plenty of options for how to enjoy a family trip that doesn’t break the bank. You can find numerous free activities and events for kids, as well as inexpensive attractions such as Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Toronto Zoo, the Black Creek Pioneer Village, and the High Park Zoo. No matter the season, you can find great ways to make memories with your children in Toronto.

If you’re ready to plan your trip, visit Expedia to check out the deals on Toronto vacations. You can find budget-friendly options for hotels, transport, flights, and vacation packages so you can save on your family trip and make the most of your experience.