31 best free things to do in Montreal right now

31 best free things to do in Montreal right now

Montreal offers so many great things to do—and we’re here to help you find them. So whether you want to get a great breakfast or head out to explore a museum—we’ve got you covered.

In this article we’re going to show you some of the best free things to do in Montreal, Canada. You won’t believe how inexpensive some of these activities are, and you can enjoy them without having to spend money.

So if you’re planning a trip to Montreal, get ready to take advantage of these great free activities. Today, we’re going to highlight the best free things to do in Montreal this month.

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Best free things to do in Montreal

1. Enjoy over 30 free performances in the park

The Orchestre Métropolitain will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 and Les Grands Ballets at the Théâtre de Verdure in Montreal’s Parc La Fontaine this summer, as well as circus acts and movie evenings.

2. Watch the city transform into an open-air museum

For the month of June each year, the streets of Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood are transformed into a canvas for some of the world’s most renowned urban painters.

When The Main shuts down for the festival weekend, you can wander around and see all of the 30-plus artists at work while enjoying street sales, live music, and other free events.

In spite of the fact that the event is over, the murals are there to stay. Take a self-guided walking tour at any time of the year and upload pictures to your thread.

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3. Hang with the happy hour masters

Designed for a happy combination of work and play, Aire Commune’s 40 ephemeral outdoor areas span the city from Lachine to Mile End, downtown and the Old Port.

Designed for greendesking, relaxing, enjoying live music or grabbing snacks from the Cantine Bar à Vin, their shaded sites are built out of wood, include free Wi-Fi and electric plugs (especially useful when your phone needs a recharge).

And are free of use for all from June to October (some on a first-come, first-serve basis, some requiring an online reservation) (some on a first-come, first-serve basis, some requiring an online reservation).

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4. Shoot some arcade-style hoops

How about some glowing hoops? Check. Is there a scoreboard with an electronic display? Check. Retro arcade-style graphics?

Check. It’s a no-brainer to find these customized courts immediately outside the Delta Hotel in the center of downtown.

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5. Hit the beach

Located in Montreal’s Old Port, Clock Tower Beach is a great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

The urban beach venue replaces standard terrace seating with sand, plastic chairs, and parasols, making it a hybrid of a bar and a park.

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Located near the International Fireworks Festival and evocative of the French Rivieria, this area of the city is an excellent place to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

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6. Frequent the Fringe Fest

There’s never a dull moment around Boulevard St-Laurent in the summer.

Head to the Parc des Amériques on the junction of St-Laurent and Rachel during the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival during a couple of weeks in June and you can take up some free entertainment anytime of day, whether that’s music or samples from some of the shows on exhibit.

It’s a terrific way to taste before you buy tickets. That’s also where the beer tent is, if you feel like dishing out a couple of dollars for some bevvies.

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7. Get runway-ready

Festival Mode + Design, a fashion-focused festival of creativity, takes over Place des Festivals every August.

Attend one of the many free live events, such as music performances or full-blown fashion displays, and pick up a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry designed by a local artist.

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8. Check out the fireworks above the Saint-Lawrence River

Beginning in late June and continuing until mid-July, the International Fireworks Competition is held twice weekly.

Local amusement park La Ronde will be the site of the real fireworks, but you may catch a glimpse of them from the Old Port shoreline or the Jacques Cartier bridge, which will be closed to vehicular traffic just for this special event.

9. Soak up some circus acts

This July, three 52-foot steel constructions designed like giants will serve as living stages for free performances of circus arts in central Montreal as part of Cirque du Soleil’s “3 Giants” celebration.

A separate local circus group performs twice a day for ten days at each location—Cirque Éloize, Machine de cirque, and 7 doigts—all for free.

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10. Dance your heart out at the Quartier des Spectacles

Montreal is clearly a festival town, as seen by the number of people who take advantage of every opportunity to consume food, drink, and have a good time in the open air.

You don’t have to pay a penny to attend any of the several music events that take place throughout the year, such as the International Jazz Festival, Les Francofolies, Les Nuits D’Afrique, and the indie music festival Pop Montreal!

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11. Fuel your inner folk-lover

In June, the Festival sur le Canal welcomes everyone to spread out their picnic blankets along the grassy banks of Lachine Canal and enjoy live music for free.

In a wonderful summer environment, both local and visiting artists perform here. Bixi users can easily get there.

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12. Indulge your inner history buff

City Hall, a Second Empire statement structure located between Place Jacques Cartier and Champ de Mars in Old Montreal, is open to the public for free to learn about the city’s history.

You can learn about the building’s architects, Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison; about the massive 1922 fire that destroyed half of the city’s records;

Or about the building’s significance in historic moments—like in 1967, when French President General de Gaulle made his famous “Vive le Québec libre!” speech from its balcony.

13. See the exhibits in the city’s best museums

The world-class shows of the Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain in Old Montreal are completely free. In addition, there are a slew of free museums, including the Redpath Museum of Natural History at McGill University, which is worth a visit just for the architecture.

If you’re a student, the Canadian Centre for Architecture is free every Thursday evening and the first Sunday of the month.

All museums in Montreal will be free on May 26th, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art, on the first Sunday of every month.

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14. Ride the metro for free on weekends

During the summer weekends, seven stations near popular tourist attractions in downtown Montréal will provide free rides:

Saint-Laurent, Place-des-Arts, Peel, Champ-de-Mars, Place-d’Armes, Berri-UQAM, and McGill, all of which are within walking distance of the Eaton Centre, home to the Time Out Market Montréal.

There are elevators in all three of these locations, making them accessible to people of all abilities.

15. Laugh it up at Just For Laughs

The Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montreal is transformed every July by one of the world’s major international comedy festivals, which features a variety of live performances, events, parties, and shows.

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It’s true that the Just For Laughs festival has high-profile galas with some of the biggest names in comedy (such as Kevin Hart and Sarah Silverman), but there’s also a lot to see and do for free on the grounds.

Every year, their program undergoes revisions, so be sure to double-check.

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16. Find the secret garden at the Westmount Library

The gorgeous library and greenhouse of this affluent municipality are located close to the picturesque Westmount Park and are free to the public, save for the privilege of borrowing books.

If you are looking for something to do with the kids or adolescents, the library has plenty of resources for them, as well as a freshly refurbished greenhouse just next door where you can get your fill of vibrant flowers.

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17. Explore the forests of Mount Royal

Mount Royal, the centerpiece of Montreal’s Island, is located right in the midst of the city.

Some of the most beautiful vistas, nature walks, parks, picnic places, and pathways for bicycling and hiking may be found at this little mountain and Quebec Heritage site.

Visiting the mountain is a great way to spend a beautiful day, especially on summer Sundays when the Tam Tams, a freeform drum circle that has been taking place at the foot of the George-Étienne Cartier Monument regularly for over 40 years, takes place at the foot of the monument.

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18. Climb to new heights at Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Even though the Oratory is the biggest church in Canada, it’s also a lovely spot to roam around for free if you’re not very religious.

Enjoy the lovely gardens, which border Mount Royal on the Côte-des-Neiges side, and snap photos of the city from the two outdoor observation platforms while ascending the almost 300 stairs.

Lunch on Chemin Côte des Neiges is an excellent option thereafter.

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19. View media history at La Cinémathèque québécoise

There is no better place to access the Cinémathèque québécoise’s entire library of films and other media than the Médiathèque Guy L. Coté.

There are tens of thousands of films from across the world to choose from. This area of the Cinémathèque is available to the public without charge for screenings and performances.

20. Create your own island bike tour

Getting on your bike and exploring the region on two wheels is free thanks to the city’s extensive network of bike trails, which span over 500 kilometers.

From the Lachine Canal through Old Montreal, past Parc La Fontaine and around the Olympic Village, cycle your way off the island to discover the city’s north and south coastlines from the saddle of your bike!

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21. Read all about it at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

In the heart of Vancouver’s downtown, this massive wood and glass building houses the province’s biggest and busiest public library.

Indulging in a few hours of browsing through their millions of titles—30 percent of which are available in English—or perusing their dozens of audio and visual stations is as simple as a few minutes here.

Residents of Quebec may join for free, but even if you’re only passing through, it’s worth checking out. The library’s book fair, held at the end of May, is a good place to get bargains on out-of-print items.

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22. Relax and wander through the city’s parks

The city of Montreal is plenty of green places, so why not spend some time in one of them?

The sunbathing and people-watching places in Parc La Fontaine, Parc Jeanne-Mance, and Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier all include seats and ping pong tables, while the courts in Parc Jeanne-Mance and Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier are ideal for summer picnics.

Parc Jarry or Westmount Park, both in Montreal, offer broad open grounds excellent for a variety of sports, as well as beautiful maple trees and a duck pond. All of them are excellent choices.

23. Take a dip at a public swimming pool

To cool off during the oppressively hot and humid summer days in Montreal, there is no better option than diving into a local pool to cool down.

When the scorching heat and harsh concrete of a public pool is not your cup of tea, take advantage of ParcJarry’s newly refurbished free pool, which features a large grassy space for you to spread out your towel.

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During weekends and holidays, the pool in Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier is free for anybody who wants to swim in the heart of the Plateau. In addition, the city’s beaches are a must-visit.

24.  Soak up some local art in the Belgo Building

From its location in the Quartier des Spectacles to its collection of modern artists, the Belgo Building is an ideal location for art-lovers in Montreal.

Six levels of the building are home to 27 galleries, artist studios, and dance studios, which are available to the public.

Gallery Laroche/Joncas, Project Pangée, CIRCA art actuel, Centre des arts contemporains Skol and Galerie Lilian Rodriguez should not be missed on your next trip to Montreal.

25. Wander along the Lachine Canal

An artificial river that extends from Lachine to Montreal’s Old Port offers stunning views of the city, pleasant breezes, and a concrete promenade on each side of the waterway.

In the Southwest, the Lachine Canal is a favorite destination for strolling, riding, running, or just relaxing on one of its numerous public benches or Adirondack chairs.

A free mist shower and chess may be found at Atwater Market in the summer.

26. Discover hidden attractions at Parc Jean-Drapeau

You don’t have to leave the island to have a rest. There is an enormous green space in the middle of a man-made island south of Old Montreal called Jean Drapeau park.

Here you’ll find a slew of attractions like La Ronde Amusement Park and the world-famous Montreal Grand Prix F1 Race Track as well as the Montreal Casino and numerous summer music festivals.

There are also public beaches and swimming pools as well as trails for walking and viewing art, as well as the 25-hectare Floralie Gardens.

27. Walk through the Underground City

Temperature extremes are making you uncomfortable in the city. Fortunately, we constructed a 33-kilometer network of subterranean tunnels through retail malls, office buildings, hotels, and other commercial establishments.

You’re under no obligation to go outdoors if you don’t want to. There’s no better place to locate some of the city’s greatest chefs and restaurants under one roof than Time Out Market Montréal.

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28. Catch a parade

Montrealers enjoy parades as much as they enjoy parties. So when Pride Week, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, or Halloween rolls around, we’re eager to dust out our floats, dress up, and throw some liquor in our coffee and head out onto the streets to celebrate.

From Santa Claus to a pipe band, dancing drag queens to zombies, we have you covered for your free Christmas parade entertainment.

29. Listen to live opera in Little Italy

For a week each August, Little Italy’s streets are closed to traffic so entrepreneurs may put up food stalls and sell their wares.

During this week-long event, you’ll be able to sample some of Italy’s finest cuisine, including pizza, spaghetti, cappuccino and cannoli.

Whether you want to sit on the grass in Dante Park or the enormous stage outside the Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense Church, you can experience world-class art for a fraction of the normal fee.

30. Grab your copy during Free Comic Book Day

The first Saturday in May is a celebration of comic books and the local stores that sell them.

Stores like Drawn & Quarterly, Crossover Comics, Brave Comix, Omnibus Bookstore, Chez Geeks, and Komico are among those offering free comics and events this year.

At addition, several of these stores provide kid-friendly events in nearby parks.

31. Walk the lengths of a street fair

Summertime is a great time for this city to close down main streets so that people may eat, drink, shop, and dine their hearts out.

It can be difficult to narrow down the options, but some of our favorites are the Masson Street and St-Hubert Plaza street fairs in Rosemont; the Saint-Laurent street fairs that occur at the beginning and end of summer;

Mount-Royal Avenue street fairs in NDG; a Monkland street fair in Verdun; a San Marziale Street Fair on Saint-Viateur in the Mile End; and a Greek street fair on Saint-Roch.


We were happy to hear that people were so interested in the tour. We hope that you enjoyed learning about the history of Montreal and the best free things to do in Montreal. Let us know your favorite free activities in the comments below.

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