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Montreal is one of my favourite cities – especially when I’m on a budget. There are a lot of free things to do in Montreal which is one of the top reasons I moved here.
Winter brings festive magic and art installments to Montreal, while the summer months bring the majority of free Montreal including circus performances to mountainside drum circles.
I’ve explained how to get settled in the city without breaking the bank, but this guide will point out some of my favourite things to do in Montreal for cheap.
This way, you can save the extra dollars for some cheap Montreal grub!
Top Recommended Free Things To Do in Montreal
Embrace Park Culture
In Canada, we take our summers seriously. Montrealers for example, take to parks for the majority of the warm weather months.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Montreal in the summer, it will be hard not to join in on the grass of the city’s many parks. Picnics in the shade at La Fontaine or on top of the city at Mont Royal aren’t rare.
Finding a cheap lunch and heading to a park is a great way to save money, and take in nature. You might even make some friends!
Even in the winter months, parks come alive with festive features to take part in. This list has some free park events to jump in on in the winter!
Take In a Festival
Tourists flock to Montreal for their lively festivals including Jazzfest and Just For Laughs, and a lot of them enjoy it all for free.
While Montreal’s major festivals have shows and events that cost a fee, most of these festivals have a number of free events too.
Montreal’s Jazzfest in July features both up and coming and established artists on stages around the city, while Montreal Cirque brings awe-striking performances to major streets and parks.
There’s never a dull moment in Montreal.
Hike the Mountain
Mont-Royal sits atop the city, making for great views (and photos) of Montreal. Getting to the mountain’s lookout is absolutely free and a great way boost those endorphins.
In the summer,
The name mimics the sound of drumming, which is what Tams is all about.
You’ll find a drum circle (or two) as well as a bunch of locals and visitors relaxing in the grass and taking in the sounds. You can also find arts, crafts and locally made snacks on sale.
If you’re brave, you can head to the mountain in the winter and take part in snowshoeing. The view is actually quite magical from the lookout in the winter months as well.
On the other side of the mountain sits Beaver Lake, which is great for ice-skating in the winter.
Self-Guided Walking Tour
I mentioned Montreal is a city that’s great for walking. So why not take yourself on a tour?
Depending on where you’re staying, you can create your own route and embark on an adventure. You can easily see many of Montreal’s popular sites in a day.
For example, start in Old Port and head towards Chinatown. From there, you can continue on to Places-des-Arts where you can decide to go downtown, towards the village, or keep climbing towards the Plateau.
If you don’t have any company, pop in your earbuds and create the ultimate walking tour playlist.
Check out the Markets
Going to a market doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Heck, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a damn thing (though you’ll be tempted).
Montreal has some amazing markets on the island; almost one for every neighbourhood.
The Atwater Market sits in St. Henri and is great for finding local cheeses.
These are two of my favourites but there are a number of others you can choose from.
Markets in Montreal usually offer up the chance to try some delicious food, and they’re often cheaper (and tastier) than dining out.
See Art (and museums)
Montreal is known for being an artsy city, and with a number of museums to check out, you can definitely get in tune with your inner art-lover.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts hosts beautiful exhibits like Andy Warhol and Montreal jazz history and is one I highly recommend.
What’s great is Montreal museums including the Fine Arts Museum offers free admission for visitors up to age 30. The first Sunday of every month also means free admission.
In the summer months, simply walking through the Plateau or Chinatown will bring you up close and personal to some of Montreal’s famous street art.
Another festival, Mural Fest is a great time to see some of the best graffiti the city has to offer.
So go ahead and get artsy for free!
Montreal is a hot destination for thrift and vintage shopping. Neighbourhoods like the Plateau and Mile-End are notorious for finding gems.
Whether you choose to spend a few dollars or not, taking a step into these stores can be quite a treat. If you choose to spend your money on other things, you’ll at least find some inspiration (and great photo-ops).
Start at one of my favourites, Eva B, in the lower Plateau, and head up St. Laurent towards Mont-Royal. Skip on to Mont-Royal and you’re sure to find a few shops to spark any
These are just a few of my favourite free things to do around Montreal. The city is brimming with activity, and when you’re short on money, Montreal is one of the best places to be!