Fun things to do in Toronto on a student budget this winter

Written by Guest Blogger

Finding activities to enjoy with friends and entertain yourself is a great way to relax, boost your mental health and take a break from school. The great part about living in Toronto is that the city has a bunch of free and fun activities for you to explore. Put on your winter jacket, boots and mittens to explore some of Toronto’s winter activities. Skiing at Blue Mountain and walking around the Christmas Market are activities I look forward to doing every winter season. 

Find out more about other activities below and choose some you are interested in to entertain yourself this winter holiday season.

Free winter activities

Visit the Distillery District Winter Village

First off, we have the Distillery Winter Village, known as the Christmas market. Enjoy the holiday vibe while walking through the winter village to find delicious food. You can walk on the cobblestone streets, listen to music, and feel like you're in a holiday movie while visiting little market stalls like in European Christmas markets. 

Open free most days of the week, except Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays after 4 p.m. and on December 18 to 31 after 4 p.m.

Ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square

To me, ice skating under the magnificent view of downtown Toronto was such a wonderful experience. Seeing a big smile on everyone’s face doesn’t make me feel cold anymore. Ice skating is one of the best options to spend time with friends, family, or just yourself this winter. Enjoy free ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square, if you have your own skates. If not, you can rent skates for fee at the rink. 

Just a tip for beginners: do not be afraid to fall! It takes some time and practice to learn. 

Visit the Evergreen Brick Works Park

Evergreen Brick Works Park supports many community activities around the winter holidays. Enjoy multiple activities, such as the winter market, winter day camp and ice skating, at the same spot. Check their website for the schedule of upcoming events.

Fun winter activities at a small cost

Eating your way through Winterlicious

Winterlicious is all about food. Many restaurants across Toronto offer special menus with delicious dishes. There are many kinds of food and prices, so everyone can find something they like. It's a perfect chance to try new foods and enjoy Toronto's amazing food scene.

Make holday memories at Canada's Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland becomes a beautiful winter spot. There are lots of lights, holiday decorations, and fun shows. You can go ice skating, watch live performances, and try tasty holiday snacks. It's a great place for everyone to have fun and make memories.

From November 17, 2023, to January 6, 2024, starts at $29.99

Admire the Casa Loma Holiday Light Tour

Take some beautiful pictures with a nice view. Don’t miss out on the Casa Loma holiday light display. Casa Loma changes the theme throughout the season and delivers different seasonal vibes for Toronto. This winter, Casa Loma will turn itself into a magical Christmas Castle. Take a chance to visit before the season ends.

From December 1 – December 17, each person will cost $45 online | $50 onsite 

From December 18 – Jan 6, each person costs $50 online | $55 onsite

Spend time with the animals at the Toronto Zoo

Love animals? This is the place for you. Visit the Toronto Zoo with a special Christmas event happening during the Christmas holiday. Take some nice pictures with animals during the holiday enrichment hours from December 27, 2023 to January 7, 2024. Visit the website for hours and details. 

Stay Warm! Have fun! I will see you after new year.

Thomas Chau is a second-year kinesiology and Japanese studies student at York who’s passionate about sports and learning different languages. That said, he is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and at a conversational level of Japanese. Currently positioned as front desk receptionist at the York International Office, he aims to learn and help those around him.