A sunset view of the Toronto skyline from the Centre Island ferry.

Toronto Islands | Destination Toronto

Plan a budget-friendly trip in Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara Falls

A sunset view of the Toronto skyline from the Centre Island ferry.

Toronto Islands | Destination Toronto

From iconic attractions to unique city experiences, explore Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara Falls on a budget. Take advantage of city passes offering great discounts on popular experiences, as well as guided tours and fun activities at affordable prices.


When you’re in Toronto, you’ll never run out of exciting things to do. Visit museums, indie cinemas, and beautiful city parks.

Save with Toronto CityPass

The Toronto CityPass is a discounted ticket package that saves you money on admission to top attractions in Toronto. The CityPass includes admission to the CN Tower, plus four more attractions of your choice:

  • Royal Ontario Museum: A museum showcasing art, culture and nature from around the world and across the ages.
  • Casa Loma: An urban castle and heritage landmark of Toronto built in 1914.
  • City Cruises Toronto: A 60-minute Toronto Sightseeing Harbour Tour.
  • Toronto Zoo: The largest zoo in Canada with over 3,000 animals.
  • Ontario Science Centre: A museum that focuses on science, technology and innovation and encourages learning through play.

Sign up for PRESTO Perks

PRESTO is a reloadable payment system that allows you to pay for public transit in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Ottawa using their physical card or Google Wallet.

PRESTO Perks provides PRESTO card owners with discounts on sporting events, musicals, entertainment, attractions and more in the city. Check the PRESTO website for their current offers.

If you don’t have a PRESTO card, get information on how to buy one.

Free admission to museums and galleries

Get a dose of culture by visiting one of Toronto’s museums and galleries at discounted prices or for free on certain nights of the week or month.

Art Gallery of Ontario

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of the top art museums in North America.

The AGO offers two versions of its annual pass, the free annual pass for those who are 25 years and under and a $40 annual pass for those who are 26 years and older. Both passes give you unlimited visits to the gallery for a year.

In addition, the AGO hosts First Wednesday Night Free on the first Wednesday night of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Royal Ontario Museum

On the third Tuesday of each month, admission to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is free for everyone from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The ROM also offers Plan Ahead Pricing, which means that if you purchase tickets in advance, you save money. The earlier you book your tickets, the more money you save.

Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto

Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum explores the 4,500-year history of footwear in its permanent and special exhibitions. General admission is free every Sunday.

Location: 327 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum provides a window into the artistic, intellectual, and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations to world heritage. Admission is free every Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: 77 Wynford Drive, North York

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is an artist-focused museum that displays rotating exhibitions of contemporary art. Admission is free every Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Location: 158 Sterling Road #100, Toronto

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and the Harbourfront Centre

Located in Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, the Power Plant is a public art gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art. With different exhibitions available throughout the year, admission to the Power Plant is always free.

While you’re there, spend some time in the Harbourfront Centre, an organization that promotes contemporary arts, culture and ideas through year-round programming. Many of their exhibitions are free and you can consult their website to explore what other events are currently running.

The Power Plant: 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Harbourfront Centre: 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Gardiner Museum

The Gardiner Museum displays incredible ceramics from around the world, with a collection of over 5,000 objects. The museum offers free admission every Wednesday evening from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Interested in learning more about working with clay? Check out one of their affordable drop-in classes for potters of all levels.

Location: 111 Queens Park, Toronto

Watch a feature film

Hot Docs

Dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary filmmaking, Hot Docs is a non-profit organization that showcases and supports the work of Canadian and international filmmakers. Browse their calendar to see what’s playing at the cinema for the current week.

Join the Hot Docs membership program for an affordable yearly price and receive access to free special events, discounted movie tickets and more. If you’re 25 or under, you can sign up for a free membership.

Location: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Fox Theatre

Get a dose of retro flair at Fox Theatre, a cinema committed to upholding the tradition of independent cinema and sharing its rich history with generations of film lovers.

Watch new and acclaimed indie movies or rediscover beloved classics. You can get an annual membership which offers discounts on regular ticket prices and a free movie during your birthday month.

Location: 2236 Queen Street East, Toronto

Toronto Outdoor Picture Show

This charitable organization brings high-quality, diverse, and engaging films to communities across Toronto. Every summer the Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (TOPS) features popular and critically acclaimed movies, as well as local Canadian short and feature films in parks across the city.

There’s no admission fee, but since TOPS is a charitable organization, donations are encouraged if you are able.

Location: Various parks throughout Toronto

Explore the outdoors

Kensington Market

Known as one of Toronto’s most culturally unique and colourful neighbourhoods, Kensington Market is a popular location for its unique shops, delicious food and great atmosphere.

From Caribbean and Latin American cuisine to Middle Eastern and Asian flavours, you’ll find a wide range of affordable eateries and cozy cafes. Browse through vintage clothing stores, vinyl record shops, bookstores, arts and crafts boutiques and so much more. Check out their Market Directory to find a full list of businesses.

Visit the market on the last Sunday of the month from May to October for Pedestrian Sundays, a car-free festival with live entertainment and delicious eats.

Location: Kensington Market, Toronto

Toronto Islands

Located just 15 minutes from Toronto by ferry, spend a day exploring the Toronto Islands. Go cycling, relax at one of the beaches, walk along the boardwalk or dine at one of the many restaurants and cafes.

Take a ferry to the Toronto Islands from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal for a low price and enjoy great views of the city skyline.

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal: 11 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Toronto city parks and animal experiences

Toronto is home to around 1,500 parks with large greenspaces, beautiful landscapes and captivating gardens. High Park offers themed gardens, walking paths, a zoo and picnic areas.

Head to Riverdale Park East for amazing skyline views and sunsets, or Riverdale Park West to visit the horses, pigs and chickens at Riverdale Farm. Both High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm are great for families and free to visit.

Visit the Toronto website for a full list of parks in the city.

High Park: 1873 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Riverdale Park East: 550 Broadview Avenue, Toronto

Riverdale Farm: 201 Winchester Street, Toronto

Rouge National Urban Park

One of the largest urban parks in North America, Rouge National Urban Park is an outdoor gem in the Greater Toronto Area.

Trek through forests, meadows and wetlands, go camping, take a free guided walk or paddle along the river. Winter activities include hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Admission to the park is free.

Location: 25 Zoo Road, Toronto

Find more free things to do in Toronto.


As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa offers a mixture of history, culture and unique experiences. From heritage landmarks to spooky ghost tours, this city is unforgettable.

Ottawa Summer Savings Pass

Make the most of your trip to Ottawa with the 3-Day Ottawa Summer Savings Pass. This pass allows you to save on admission to seven of Ottawa’s top attractions:

  • Camp Fortune: Twist and turn down an exhilarating one-kilometre monorail track on Camp Fortune’s Mountain Pipe Coaster.
  • Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals–Ottawa: See the best of Ottawa’s attractions, key neighbourhoods and nature by bike.
  • Ottawa Boat Cruise: Journey around the national capital by boat and take in some of the finest views of the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal.
  • RentABike: Explore the city on two wheels with a variety of bicycles available for rent.  
  • BeaverTails ByWard Market: Savour the irresistibly delicious Canadian pastry.
  • Parc Omega: Observe a variety of North American wildlife on a 12-kilometre self-guided safari.  
  • The Haunted Walk: Join a lantern-lit walking tour of some of Ottawa’s most haunted locations and learn their ghostly stories.

Free admission at museums and galleries

Canadian War Museum

Discover Canada’s rich military history through artifacts, photographs, personal accounts and more.

The museum offers free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa

Canadian Museum of History

Learn more about Canadian and world history and civilizations at The Canadian Museum of History. This museum is one of Canada’s oldest public institutions and is the country’s most-visited museum, located just across the Ottawa River.

The museum offers free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: 100 Laurier Street, Gatineau

National Gallery of Canada

View one of the finest collections of Indigenous and Canadian art in the world, as well as notable international pieces.

The gallery offers free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa

Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

This museum and national historic site was once a top-secret, four-storey underground bunker.

Purchase an annual pass for unlimited general admission to the museum priced at $30 for individuals and $75 for families.

Location: 3929 Carp Road, Ottawa

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Experience a collection of more than 130 aircrafts and artifacts from both civil and military service at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Located on a former military air base, this museum displays the history of aviation in Canada from its beginnings in 1909 to today.

The museum offers free admission from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. It’s recommended to book your tickets in advance.

Location: 11 Aviation Parkway, Ottawa

Canadian Museum of Nature

Learn about fossils, mammals, minerals, birds, plate tectonics, Arctic discovery and more at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This educational and scientific institution is housed in a historic castle-like building, minutes away from Parliament Hill.

The museum offers free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

Location: 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa

Ottawa Art Gallery

Home to the art and artists of the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) is a space for reflection and dialogue through art. Its permanent collection contains over 1,000 works including paintings, sculpture, graphic arts, photographs and new media.

Admission to the OAG is free.

Location: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Located on a national heritage site, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is the world’s only working farm in the heart of a capital city. The museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to see diverse breeds of farm animals and to learn about the food they eat.

The museum offers free admission daily from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

Location: 901 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Discover Canada’s story of science, technology and innovation at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. This immersive museum allows visitors to discover, play and experience innovation in an educational and fun way.

The museum offers free admission daily from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. It’s strongly recommended to book tickets in advance.

Location: 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa

Tour the city

Guided tours of Parliament

No visit to Ottawa is complete without exploring Parliament Hill. Free guided tours of Parliament are offered daily in both English and French. Tours are available for the Senate of Canada Building, the House of Commons at West Block, the East Block and for Parliament: The Immersive Experience.

The main Parliament Building is currently closed for rehabilitation.

Location: Wellington Street, Ottawa

Ottawa Free Tours

Offering some of the best walking tours of downtown Ottawa, Ottawa Free Tours makes history exciting with passionate guides who take you on an entertaining trip around the city. Listen to captivating stories of Ottawa’s colourful past, witness unique landmarks and experience the city’s vibrant culture.

The Capital City Tour provides an overview of the city’s main landmarks, history and local gems. The Ottawa After Dark Tour showcases the city’s skyline at sunset, monuments lit up at night and recounts the “darker” sides of the city’s past with humour.

Location: 150 Wellington Street, Ottawa

Spend time outside

ByWard Market

Ottawa’s number one tourist attraction, ByWard Market is a premier destination for shopping, dining, arts and entertainment. Explore the outdoor farmer’s market, specialty shops and colourful street art at this Ottawa gem.

Throughout the year, the market hosts free live music shows, art exhibitions, street performances and more.

Location: ByWard Market, Ottawa

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular spot for walking, biking, paddling or relaxing by the water.

Try kayaking, canoeing or boating down the river during the warmer months. As the water freezes over in the winter, the canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink stretching over 7.9 kilometres.

Find more free or nearly free things to do in Ottawa.

Niagara Falls

Home to the world-famous horseshoe falls, Niagara Falls is the ultimate destination for spectacular views and endless fun.

Save with attraction packages

Niagara Falls Tourism offers a variety of packages with discounted rates to top attractions. Choose the package that best suits your needs and the season you’re visiting.

For a comprehensive list of discounts offered in Niagara Falls, visit their coupons, discounts and special offers page.

Niagara Falls Adventure Pass

Experience the thrill of Niagara Parks’ beloved attractions with the Adventure Pass.

The pass comes in three different tiers: Adventure Pass Classic, Adventure Pass Plus and Niagara Falls Pass. Each tier offers different experiences, including the popular Journey Behind the Falls, The Tunnel, and the White Water Walk.

Clifton Hill Fun Pass

Enjoy fun for all ages at up to six iconic Clifton Hill attractions with The Fun Pass.

Location: Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls

Ripley’s Combo Tickets

If you love all things Ripley’s, this three-attraction combo provides admission to:

  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not: This museum is dedicated to all things odd with over 400 eye-popping exhibits and interactive displays.
  • Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks: See actors, musicians, historical figures, politicians, heroes and villains all as life-like wax figures.
  • Ripley’s Selfie Studios: Perfect your Instagram feed at the Selfie Studios with 23 themed installations and a variety of props.

Location: Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls

Learn from historic museums

Niagara Falls History Museum

For a unique perspective on the history of this famous city, visit the Niagara Falls History Museum. Three galleries tell compelling stories of Niagara Falls with hands-on exhibitions.

The museum offers free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Location: 5810 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls

Battle Ground Hotel Museum

Located on the hallowed grounds of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield and National Historic Site, the Battle Ground Hotel Museum is a restored 1850s tavern. It displays furnished period rooms and artifacts from the War of 1812. It also provides a presentation about village tavern life and early tourism’s fascination with the famed battlefield.

The museum is open from May to August and admission is by donation.

Location: 6151 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls

Willoughby Historical Museum

This humble, one-room schoolhouse displays the charm of early life in the area known as Willoughby. On display, you’ll see former report cards and photographs, as well as farming tools and family heirlooms from early life.

The museum is close in proximity to the site of the Battle of Chippawa, so you’ll also find displays explaining the experiences of different people at this battle and throughout the War of 1812.

The museum is open from May to August and admission is by donation.

Location: 9935 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls

Explore parks and gardens

Niagara Parks’ Botanical Gardens

Located just 10 minutes from Clifton Hill, the Niagara Botanical Gardens are spread across 40 hectares and feature award-winning landscapes and vibrant seasonal blooms. Stroll along walking trails and indulge your senses in the aromatic gardens.

Admission to the gardens is free and guided tours are available for a fee. 

The gardens are also home to the Butterfly Conservatory, where you can see over 2,000 tropical butterflies in a beautiful rainforest setting. Admission to the Butterfly Conservatory is included in the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Plus.

Location: 2565 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls

Dufferin Islands

Escape from the city’s bustling downtown to 10 acres of pristine greenspace at Dufferin Islands. Explore winding paths and wooden footbridges that connect to small islands and spot a variety of wildlife, all for free.

In the wintertime, Dufferin Islands hosts the annual Winter Festival of Lights, which features millions of dazzling lights set up throughout the islands.

Location: Dufferin Islands, Regional Municipality of Niagara

Oakes Garden Theatre

Nestled at the base of Clifton Hill, this garden offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Falls. Decorative iron gates, stone gardens, water features, ponds, shrubs and more create its formal garden design and offer a relaxing escape. Admission to the garden is free.

Location: 5825 River Road, Niagara Falls

View the Falls from above

Skylon Tower

Standing at a height of 236 metres, the Skylon Tower is an iconic landmark and observation tower. It offers a 360-degree view of the Niagara Falls and its surrounding area.

There are two observation decks at the Skylon Tower, one at 160 metres tall and the other at 236 metres tall. Both decks provide stunning views of the area and are the perfect spot for taking photographs.

Skylon Tower offers combo packages for daytime and nighttime views up the tower, as well as access to their 3D/4D movie theatre.

Location: 5200 Robinson Street, Niagara Falls

Find more free things to do in Niagara Falls.

Last updated: May 6, 2024

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