25 free activities in Montreal this summer
Vacations can be expensive… Or not! Montrealers or visitors to the metropolis, know that the city is full of a ton of good deals that don’t cost anything at all. Now that’s a great way to enjoy summer. If you’re interested in this amazing post, you’ll love our top 35 things to do in Montreal!
The MURAL festival
From June 7 to 17, St-Laurent Street is closed to celebrate street art. Come and see the muralists paint and observe the results of their work in the open air. The MURAL festival also organizes a few paid events and offers a VIP pass to those who want to make the most of the event. Details, program and tickets on their website.
Museum of Fine Arts
For adults aged 31 and over, the collections and discovery exhibits are free on the last Sunday of each month, and are also free of charge on a permanent basis for those aged 0 to 30. Please note, however, that major exhibitions are always priced.
The Quai de l’Horloge Beach
Not free, but almost… for only 2$, you can go relax (and quench your thirst with sangria) on this beach that opens its doors on May 26th and closes them on September 3rd. The season pass for unlimited entries is 15$. Access is limited to 18 years old and over.
Since the Parc Émilie-Gamelin has undergone a facelift, it has become a very popular meeting place. Until September 30th, a few festivals will take place there, shows, workshops, and you can enjoy yourself on the terrace and have access to a market of local products towards the end of the season.all the details here.
Village au Pied-du-Courant
Come relax and play with the children at the very vitamin-rich Village au Pied-du-Courant.
Several free activities are organized during the summer, including yoga sessions every Sunday. See event details on the Facebook page.
Circus arts are featured at La TOHU, this emblematic building located in the north of the city. Much to the delight of families, certain shows are presented there free of charge. Many shows, workshops and events are offered free of charge. See the complete program.
Parc des Rapides
Getting out of the city without leaving the island is an objective sought by those who have a few hours to kill and want to enjoy a quiet place without having the time or the possibility to move far from the center. It is possible at the Parc des Rapides, a jewel of Lasalle, where relaxation is the main focus. Come for a walk and observe the river and its rapids just a few kilometers from downtown. Cycling the Lachine Canal is a guaranteed success.
Mundo Lingo Language Exchanges
These are regular meetings in a public place to learn and practice a new language. All this in a festive atmosphere and with the aim of making beautiful encounters. There are three Mundo Lingo groups in Montreal: in the Plateau, the Quartier Latin and Côte-des-Neiges.
Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
Admission is free at the CCA every Thursday from 5:30 pm to closing time (9 pm). The museum and research center has been open since 1979 with “the conviction that architecture is of public interest”. The museum is located at 1920 Baile Street, near the Atwater and Georges-Vanier subway stations.
Quebec’s National Day in Montreal
In addition to the big show on the Place des Festivals scheduled for June 23rd and featuring, among others, Claude Dubois, Michel Rivard, Brigitte Boisjoli, Vincent Vallières, Marie-Josée Lord, and Klô Pelgag, as well as the parade, there are countless neighbourhood festivals, presented on the Fête site, in an interactive map.
Drive-in theaters are becoming rarer. Stop by Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to see an outdoor movie. During Cin’Hoch de l’été, which takes place every Friday from June 29 to August 17, fairly recent Quebec films are shown.
Marché des Possibles
The Marché des Possibles organized as part of Pop Montreal is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. Every weekend from June 22nd to July 29th, several local artists will be performing for free at the corner of Casgrain and Bernard Streets East.
There will be a biergarten, a giant pocket game, ping-pong tournaments, family activities and several chefs offering themed cuisines.
Stay tuned by liking the Facebook page.
The first Grey Goose Market!
To enjoy good cocktails, you will have to pay a little if you want to drink, but you can still go for a walk in the garden of the Museum of Contemporary Art on June 29th and 30th – admission is free – to discover all kinds of fine products.
Fruits and vegetables in season, fresh baguettes, the finest cheeses, cold cuts, coffee from Café Olimpico, French pastries from Duc de Lorraine, honey from Alvéole, jams and preserves bursting with flavor from l’Étagère gourmande, flowers from L’Atelier Floral, sorbets from Bilboquet and cocktails at the cocktail bar Le Grand Fizz Grey Goose.
Lululemon organizes free outdoor yoga sessions throughout Montreal all summer long. All you need to bring is your mat and a bottle of water. Sessions are usually held on Wednesdays at 12:00 noon (Square-Victoria). Please check before you go, however, as some other events may cause sessions to be cancelled. Reserve your seats here. Are you a Fall-Lover? Take a look at our top 7 Cool Fall activities in Montreal and let us know what you think!
YogaTribes, a Montreal-based startup that offers a collaborative platform to search, find, book and pay for yoga classes here and around the world, is offering Montrealers over 75 free yoga classes this summer as part of their summer event Everyone Yoga. Discover the complete program here, which runs from June 21 to September 20.
Week-ends du monde
Join us at Parc Jean-Drapeau for the World Weekends on July 7,8 and 14,15. It’s an opportunity to bring together Montrealers and Quebecers of all origins and discover new cultures. Music, dance, activities and culinary discoveries are on the program. Admission is free for all!
Loto-Québec International Fireworks Competition
Yes, to see the fireworks up close, i.e. on the site of La Ronde, you have to untie your purse. Except that there is a way to attend the fireworks, at a greater distance, but in a certain comfort and, above all, without paying. There are five good locations on the site: the Jacques-Cartier Bridge (closed to traffic on fire nights), the Quai de l’Horloge, the Mont-Royal lookout, the Concorde Bridge and Cité du Havre Park. A well-kept secret is Bellerive Park, on Notre-Dame Street, not far from the Frontenac metro station. If you’re lucky, you may know someone who has access to the roof of his or her apartment block in downtown Montreal?
Here is the program of this year’s International des Feux.
Come celebrate diversity in Montreal and maybe even meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Pride Parade faithful.
From August 9 to 19, several activities are organized by the LGBTQ community. Check out the ones not to be missed here.
Fashion & Design Festival
All fashionistas and other curious people are invited to come to the Place des Festivals from August 20 to 25 for the 18th edition of Festival Mode & Design. Fashion shows – from lingerie to more eclectic designs -, live creations, and craftsmen’s exhibitions are waiting for you. A few notable conferences, some of them paying, are also on the program. The famous director Robert Lepage, the influential bikini designer Elisabeth Rioux and the president of Birks, Jean-Christophe Bedos, will lead discussions on various fashion issues.
Keep an eye out by browsing the programming here.
Mtl en Arts Festival
Formerly called the FIMA (Festival International Montréal en Arts), this event is “the largest open-air gallery in Eastern Canada”. For the occasion, Sainte-Catherine Street is occupied by artisans and artists from all walks of life who can sell their work directly to passers-by or simply present the fruit of their labour. The event is held from June 27 to July 1, 2018. The Mtl en Arts website
Tam-tams + Mount Royal gazebo
A classic for a very long time, Sundays at Mont-Royal are a must! Unpretentious and under the sun, go and relax either to the sound of percussionists (near the Georges-Étienne-Cartier monument) or DJs (further south, near the gazebo). Add to this a stroll along the marked paths to the observatory or Beaver Lake, if you have ants in your legs.
The largest cemetery in Canada and the third largest in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is a place of meditation and relaxation where you can get lost for hours as you wander between the graves of famous (Gilles Carle, Robert Bourassa, Pierre Bourgault, Thérère Casgrain, Pierre Falardeau and many others) and lesser-known people.
The Montreal Cycling Grand Prix
The cream of world cycling will still be in Montreal and Quebec City (two days earlier) in 2015! The 8th GP cycliste de la métropole will take place on September 9th. The start is at 11am, the arrival around 4:30pm. The start and finish will be on Avenue du Parc, a little north of the Georges-Étienne Cartier monument, at the foot of Mount Royal. The race consists of 17 loops, each with three climbs: Camilien-Houde, Côte de la Polytechnique and Avenue du Parc. Stay tuned for news on how to access the site.
The Garden of the Way of the Cross at Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Whether you are a practitioner or not, the Stations of the Cross garden offers a good way to meditate and reflect. According to the oratory’s website, it is one of the “best-kept secrets” in the area. You can wander at your leisure through the beautiful gardens or follow the 16-station itinerary that is proposed. They are open until October 8 and are located east of the basilica. You can get a panoramic view of the visit here.
Fill up on gourmet finds
Take a stroll through the Old Port to visit the grocery store of Portuguese chef Helena Loureiro, Cantinho de Lisboa, which is celebrating its 4th anniversary this year. The products are fine, often not to be found anywhere else. If you don’t buy, you will surely be inspired for your next meal.
If it whets your appetite, there is also a nice café-bistro with tasty Portuguese classics to eat in or take away.
356 Saint-Paul Street West, Montreal
Some more ideas…
In bulk, a few other ideas, if you are not satisfied! – As every year, several music festivals with free shows will be held in Montreal. The most famous are of course the FrancoFolies (June 7 to 16) and the Jazz Festival (June 28 to July 7). The Quartier des spectacles will be enlivened by countless other festivals. The Zoofest, the Just for Laughs Festival, Montréal complètement cirque, the Festival Nuits d’Afrique, and more… – Don’t hesitate to consult the event calendars of UQAM, McGill University, Concordia University and Université de Montréal. Screenings, exhibitions, conferences and other events take place there regularly.
If you are here for work but still want to enjoy Montreal to the fullest, take a look at top recommendations of coworking spaces in Montreal.