13 Free Things To Do In Montreal This September

Give your wallet a break 💸

Staff Writer
Food at the Marché Shoni. Two people hold at Corgi at the Marché Shoni.

Food at the Marché Shoni. Two people hold at Corgi at the Marché Shoni.

Marché Shoni | Facebook, Jonathan Duval | Courtesy of Marché Shoni

What an incredible, (mostly) restriction-free summer it was! This festival season was one for the books, though going back to a pre-pandemic lifestyle probably made it challenging to maintain your lockdown-level savings for those of us who managed to pile a bit of cash during that period.

You can keep the fun going while sticking to a budget with these 13 free activities in September. From film screenings to street parties, food festivals and dance classes, you can still get out this month on a budget.

Attend Free Outdoor Movie Screenings By The Festival du nouveau cinéma

Still from 'Dune.' Right: Estival du nouveau cin\u00e9ma screen in the Quartier des Spectacles in 2021.

Still from 'Dune.' Right: Fstival du nouveau cinéma screen in the Quartier des Spectacles in 2021.

Legendary Pictures, Festival du nouveau cinéma - FNC | Facebook

When: September 1 to 4, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Esplanade Tranquille

Why You Should Go: The Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal (FNC) is hosting four free screenings as a prelude to its main event.

Bring a blanket to the Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des Spectacles and watch L'Infonie inachevée on September 1, La Main de Dieu on September 2, the documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, A Hymn on September 3 and Dune on September 4.

Website

Celebrate Vietnamese Culture At Les Premiers Vendredis Food Truck Fest

When: September 2, from 4 p.m to 11 p.m.

Where: Olympic Stadium Esplanade

Why You Should Go: Another month, another free-to-attend First Friday, and this time we celebrate Vietnam. You will have to spend some money to try their street food, but you will be able to enjoy cultural activities and music for free, including martial arts, a fashion show and dance performances.

Website

Meet Giant Puppets

When: September 2 and 3

Where: Promenade Wellington

Why You Should Go: The festival Marionnettes Plein la Rue is still on to amaze crowds in Verdun with magic tricks, marionette performances and giant puppets walking down the streets.

Website

Catch Rap Performances & Breakdance Battles During Distrix Festival

Someone poses on stairs in Place des Festivals in front of a massive basketball. Right: People paint a mural in downtown Montreal.

Someone poses on stairs in Place des Festivals in front of a massive basketball. Right: People paint a mural in downtown Montreal.

@distrixfestival | Instagram

When: September 2 to 4

Where: Place des Festivals

Why You Should Go: Distrix is a celebration of urban culture featuring graffiti and breakdance competitions, basketball games and two on-site bars.

Website

Party Like A Freshman At La Grande Rentrée

When: September 8 to 10

Where: rue Saint-Denis, Quartier Latin

Why You Should Go: Time to have some fun before studying hard! Local organizations and schools are collaborating to offer students three days of free-to-attend fun activities, including a street party, a jam session, musical shows, dance performances, an exhibition, screenings and more.

Website

Browse The Shoni Market

Famed Sheng Jian Bao, or fried pork buns, from Chef Lee. Right: Kpop dancers in front of a giant purple boombox.

Famed Sheng Jian Bao, or fried pork buns, from Chef Lee. Right: Kpop dancers in front of a giant purple boombox.

@shonimtl | Instagram

When: September 8 to 11

Where: rue Sainte-Catherine O., Shaughnessy Village

Why You Should Go: The sprawling Shoni Market will once again take over rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest with 30 food stands, a corgi parade, an open-air art gallery, a giant boombox and dance performances.

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Stop By The Jardins Gamelin

When: Every day until October 2

Where: Place Émilie-Gamelin, 1500, rue Berri

Why You Should Go: The Jardins Gamelin are open every day with free activities, workshops, concerts and performances. September events include karaoke on Mondays, bachata and salsa lessons as well as lots of game nights.

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Attend Festival Courts d'un Soir

When: Multiple dates throughout September

Where: Locations throughout the city

Why You Should Go: For another month, you can watch short films as part of filmmaking competitions at several locations throughout the city. Plus, you can even apply to become a member of the student jury for the closing event on September 30.

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Learn How To Dance At L'Art en Soi

When: September 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24

Where: Place des Arts, Quartier des Spectacles

Why You Should Go: For its last festival of the season, Place des Arts is transforming into a massive dancefloor for six evenings of introductory lessons to various styles of dance, such as samba, disco and waacking, Guinean dance, Bollywood and country.

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Visit The Marché des Possibles

When: September 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18

Where: L'Entrepôt 77, 77, rue Bernard E., Plateau Mont-Royal

Why You Should Go: This free-to-attend event by POP Montreal is dedicated to the discovery of new art trends in Montreal. This month is your last chance of the year to attend musical performances and the craft market. There's also a BBQ on September 18.

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Find Good Reads At FIL

When: From September 23 to October 2

Where: Venues and public squares around the city

Why You Should Go: The International festival of literature is an opportunity to discover the work of great authors from Quebec and the world. Perhaps, you'll find a French novel worthy of your nightstand. The festival includes both free and paid activities.

Website

Chill It Out At Village au Pied-du-Courant

When: After 4 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday until September 18

Where: 2100, rue Notre-Dame E., Sainte-Marie

Why You Need To Go: This month is your last chance to discover this groovy summer spot by the water with different DJ sets every day of the weekend.

Website

Go On A Boat Tour At The Old Port

When:

  • September 9 from 2 p.m to 6 p.m.
  • September 10 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • September 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Port d'escale Marine, Old Port

Why You Should Go: Before the upcoming Bateau à flot event at the Old Port, Canada Ocean Racing is offering free tours of their boat on a first-come-first-serve basis. The 60-foot yacht won't leave the dock, but you will get an insight into the life of a solo global sailor.

More info about Canada Ocean Racing

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