Photo cred - Vieux-Port de Montréal
What's our favourite four-letter 'f' word? No, not that (though it comes mega-close) we're of course talking about the most magical word to attach to any event/food/activity: FREE!
Not everything worthwhile to do in Montreal costs some moolah, as there are plenty of things to do for zero charge. We've listed 30, so you don't spend too much this summer, because a larger drink fund is a good thing. Read on below:
1. Mural Fest 2014
- Happening this weekend (June 12th-15th), you can see the graffiti artist create Montreal's newest murals while a huge block party goes happens around them. Details at the FB page here.
2. Free Food Days
- You'd be surprised how often these pop up outta nowhere. Free pizza and hotdogs just passed, and free Starbucks is on the way. Make sure to always check back with us 'cuz finding free food is quite literally our day job.
3. Lachine Canal Bike Ride
- Enjoy the beauty of nature as you get some solid exercise. Borrow a friend's bike if you can't drop coins for a BIXI.
4. Chill at Tams
- The crown jewel of park-chilling, get to Mont-Royal park on Sundays to enjoy free live music (drummers and now DJs), a crazy cast of characters (Tams folk are special folk), and LARPers as you relax in the sun.
5. Mud Rocker
- St. Denis street will become a BMX/Mountain biking course the last weekend of June, and while it costs some dough to compete, viewers can enjoy some quality extreme sports for no charge at all. Find out more here.
6. Outdoor Free Jazz Fest Concerts
- Not every show costs a ticket, as there are a few free headliner performances at Jazz Fest every year. Don't forget the random streetside bands who play for free in Place des Arts either.
- Giving back isn't only for the truly altruistic, as you can have a selfish inspiration for volunteering. Help out at your favourite festival and get perks (like free shows) instead of being paid. A decent trade-off.
8. Yoga in the Park
- Every Sunday in July, from 11am to noon, Moksha Yoga gives free yoga lessons in Parc des Amériques on St. Lo. Head to the event listing here for all the deetz.
9. Free Comedy Shows
- You don't always need to pay to laugh, as Montreal has plenty of free and pay-what-you-can comedy shows. Check out our list here.
10. Listen to Street Performers/Buskers
- At any major metro station you'll find at least one musician singing their hearts out for spare change. There's a lot more to it than you think, and you can easily just enjoy the tunes and not really donate anything.
11. Parks on Parcs
- No, that wasn't a typo, just some bilingual humour. Montreal has a lot of nature to enjoy, all of which are free. See our listing of parks across the city to find out where you should head to.
12. Go see Arcade Fire...when they feel like it
- It's always hella outta the blue (at least the last one was) so make sure you've got your ear to the ground the next time Montreal's most famous band plans an impromptu jam.
13. Montreal's Clock Tower Beach
- No need to exit the city to enjoy the pleasures of the beach. Just head to the Old Port and post up at the Clock Tower Beach, no cover required. Get all the details right hurr.
14. Discover A New Borough
- Using your own to legs cost nothing at all, and Montreal, despite being relativley small, is still packed with wildly different neighborhoods and boroughs. Take some time while the weather is nice to walk through an unexplored part of the city.
15. Montreal Mural Scavenger Hunt
- In line with walking around, you can play the Montreal Mural Scavenger Hunt, for zero charge. You don't need to wait for Mural Fest, just walk around the city any time of the year and look for new pieces of graffiti, and admire the awesome urban artwork. Use this awesome app to find and map out new murals.
16. Tour A Church
- Religion doesn't have much to do with touring a church, and even the most secular among us can still appreciate the architectural marvels that are Montreal's many churches. Most allow walk-ins, or just a sign-ahead free tour. See some choice churches to check out here.
- Pretend to be a tightrope walker at the park as you finally try out slacklining. No need to invest in your own, as most folk who set up at Tams or La Fontaine are more than happy to let you try for a while. Beware, it is much harder than it looks.
18. International Firework Competition
- Starting June 28th, and every Saturday afterwards, the skies of Montreal will be painted with beautiful fireworks, all part of L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec. The Old Port is always a solid (and free) vantage point.
19. FrancoFolies Shows
- Even if you're not big into the French music scene, no one can pass up the opportunity of free shows, and FrancoFolies has plenty. See 'em all here, you just might find your new favourite band.
20. Go To A Museum
- Be cultural and classy without spending a dime, at one of the many free nights at a Montreal museum. McCord is free on Wednesdays, the CCA is gratis on Thursdays, the Museum of Fine Arts is free for all ages the last Sunday of the month (other days depending on age) and the Redpath museum is always charge-less, to name a few.
21. Learn The Underground
- Take an afternoon and truly map out the Montreal underground network. Probably not at the top of your list during the sunny season, but invaluable in winter.
22. Anything Going Down In Quartier Des Festival
- Aside from the obvious ones like Jazz Fest and Francofolies, there are plenty of free events to enjoy at the other festivals hosted at Quartier des Festival. JFL always has some weird comedy show going on, Nuit D'Afriques has concerts, and Nuit Blanche totally counts too.
- Think of this as a nerdy scavenger hunt, where people have placed objects in the city and mapped them out online. You gotta find them all, kinda like Pokemon. See the Montreal geocaching map here.
24. Walk Up Mount Royal
- It's been done to death, but that's only because the walk up is gloriously majestic and the view of the city you work towards is breathtaking. You also get some good exercise outta the whole thing.
25. Enjoy Beaver Lake
- While you're at the top of Mount Royal, you may as well enjoy Beaver Lake. An on-site chalet and picnic benches make for some splendid park-actions.
26. Floralies Gardens at Parc Jean-Drapeau
- Fawn over flora, free of charge, at Jean-Drapeau's mini-botanical gardens which houses all kinds of beautiful and rare species of trees, plants, and flowers.
27. Tango In The Park
- On Tuesdays at Parc Sir Wilfred Laurier you can tango fo' free from 7-9:30pm starting on June 24th and ending on August 19th. Check out Tango Libre's webpage for all the details.
28. Free Tour of City Hall
- From September to June, you can organize a free tour of Montreal's city hall, or just go and explore on your own during the summer. If you got a crew, contact the city hall-folk here. Maybe you'll see Coderre!
29. Online Tour of Old Montreal
- Use your smartphone for something other than Tinder/Grindr and go on a self-guided virtual tour of Old Montreal. Use this site and get discovering the old aspects of the city.
30. Hang at Café Résonance
- This café is home to some of the hippest live avant-garde music in Montreal, and the vast majority of their shows are pay-what-you-want. Of course, if you like what you hear, it's nice to give the musicians something, but you have no obligation to pay. It's a great way to hear familiar sounds, and discover new favourites.
What else is free to do in Montreal?
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte