There’s a certain accent to the way they do things in Montreal, and no we’re not just referring to the French one. Montreal has a style and attitude all its own and lots of free stuff and ways for you to experience it.
4 Hotels in the heart of Montreal
Hotel l’Abri du Voyageur, a TripAdvisor Award of Excellence Winner.
Auberge Le jardin d’Antoine, a TripAdvisor Award of Excellence Winner.
Petite Auberge Les Bons Matins B&B, a Trip Advisor Award of Excellence Winner.
Auberge Bishop Hostel, Trip Advisor Award of Excellence Winner.
More ideas: Cheap Hotels and Places to Stay in Montreal
Take time to smell the roses…
Escape to the fragrant scents of flowers in bloom for free.
The 25-acre Jardin des Floralies was designed by some of the world’s best landscape artists and features over 5,000 rose bushes and over 100,000 annuals.
After 6:00 P.M., from mid-May through Labour Day, admission to the Montreal Botanical Garden is free. One of the world’s largest and impressive botanical gardens, it features over 30 themed gardens.
Where else can you meander through a Chinese garden, the Sonoran desert, a classic French garden and the woodlands of the Laurentians all in just a few hours, for free?
Parks worth strolling
Great cities have great parks and Montreal is no exception.
Mount Royal Park is considered the jewel of Montreal’s park lands. Located in the middle of Montreal Island, it was originally landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same man who designed New York City’s Central Park.
Getting to Mount Royal Park is easy–just start up any hill from downtown and you’ll end up at the Park which includes the highest vantage point in the city.
Within Mount Royal Park you’ll also find Summit Park. This area is mostly forested which makes it an awesome spot for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city and for birding enthusiasts who want to catch a glimpse of woodpeckers, owls, and many other bird species.
Another free park worth a visit is Jean Drapeau Park. Situated on two islands which were the site of the Expo ‘67 World’s Fair, this Park boasts stuff like a beach, three heated pools and a network of trails that wind past beautiful scenery, intriguing artwork and gorgeous views of the river and downtown skyline.
A scaled-down replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome can be found right in Montreal. It’s called Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde.
Completed in 1894, the church echoes St. Peter’s Basilica’s Italian neo-renaissance style in almost every detail. Is it any wonder that this attraction has earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence?
One of Montreal’s most visited attractions is Basilique Notre-Dame. The first Gothic Revival style church built in Canada; when it was inaugurated in 1829 it was the largest house of worship in North America.
A TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice winner, the church features an 11-ton bell and a 100-year-old organ with over 7,000 pipes. The funerals for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and hockey legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard were held here, as was the wedding of singing superstar Celine Dion.
St. Joseph’s Oratory can be seen from anywhere in town because it sits on a ridge on Mount Royal. From afar or up close, this TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice award winner is a stunning structure. Its dome is the third largest of its kind in the world, and the cross that sits on top represents the highest point in Montreal.
A pilgrimage site for Catholics, many visitors will climb 99 of St. Joseph’s Oratory’s 283 stairs on their knees, in prayer.
The original, much smaller chapel was founded by Brother Andre, who was known as the Miracle Man of Montreal for the thousands of spontaneous healings he performed.
As a tribute to these phenomena, the walls of the basilica are covered with thousands of crutches from those who were allegedly healed. As he wished, Brother Andre’s heart was embalmed and encased in glass in the oratory museum to provide ‘protection’ for the basilica.
Always wanted to learn the cha cha, foxtrot, waltz or tango? Here’s your chance to learn for free. From June through August head over to Jean Drapeau Park on Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday night and participate in an outdoor ballroom dancing class.
Love classic cars?
Then you’ve got to burn some rubber and head over to the Orange Julep on Decarie Boulevard. Since the 60s, locals have cruised over to this famous landmark to showoff their classic hot rods and asphalt-kicking muscle cars—Panteras, TransAms, Cobras, Corvettes, Mustangs and more. Check them out for free on Wednesday night.
This place is on the money
Want to know how to identify counterfeit money?
Deposit yourself at the Bank of Montreal Museum.
Housed in Canada’s oldest bank building, dating back to 1847, the museum features an imposing columned-façade, and cool stuff like a display of old bank notes, mechanical piggy banks and a gold nugget from the Yukon.
Music in the air
The Montreal Tam Tams Jam is one of the most original musical events in Montreal.
For over 20 years, hundreds of percussionists have gathered inMount Royal Park forming what must be the world’s largest drum circle. Joining the drummers at this free event are dancers, vendors, tourists and locals. The festivities start at 1:00 P.M. and go till sunset.
In the mood for something classical?
McGill University’s Schulich School of Music holds free recitals. Enjoy every thing from classical, opera, chamber ensembles, orchestra concerts, jazz and experimental, all complimentary. Check their online schedule.
Every Saturday at 4:30 P.M. L’Oasis Musicale takes places at Christ Church Cathedral. These weekly classical music concerts feature some of the city’s most talented and accomplished performers. And the cost to enjoy the heavenly sounds they produce? It’s free of course!
Museums & Galleries
Make exploring the past one of the free things to do in Montreal by visiting The Redpath Museum.
This TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner features a collection of over 17,000 artifacts was started by some of the same people who established the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and the Royal Ontario Museum.
A showcase for paleontology, zoology and geology, a visit to the oldest free museum in Canada will allow you to see a wide variety of stuff including Egyptian mummies, Samurai armour, a T-Rex, ancient marine reptiles and more.
Art lovers will appreciate the permanent collection and the free admission price for visitors 30 years and under at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Established in 1879, this TripAdvisor Award of Excellence winner is Canada’s oldest art institution. Wind your way past artifacts from around the globe; a collection that holds both ancient and modern works including paintings, sculptures and artifacts.
The museum is also the site of the largest art theft in the country’s history, where, in 1972, thieves heisted jewellery, figurines and 18 paintings, including a rare Rembrandt.
Enjoy the waterfront of the St. Lawrence River and the sight of monumental sculptures by visiting Lachine Museum, one of the largest open-air museums in Canada. Stroll the path or breeze along by bicyclette for free and take in major works by noted artists like André Fournelle, Michel Goulet, David Moore and Bill Vazan.
Self-Guided Walking Tours
Montreal is a great city to explore by foot; what better way to do that than by taking a free self-guided tour.
Discover some of the City’s most opulent homes–the grand residences that belonged to the elite of Montreal society circa 1900, by taking the Golden Square Mile tour.
Are you a foodie? Then why not indulge your palate and your hunger for a hike by taking a food-focused tour of some of the City’s most appetizing attractions including the famous Schwartz’s Deli.
In the evening, Old Montreal looks like a fairy tale as the area’s many historical buildings are illuminated with lights; what better way to take it in than by taking the Old Montreal walking tour.
Plus check Groupon for more Deals on Montreal Things to Do
A great way to enjoy almost-free things to do in Montreal is to peruse Groupon, the money-saving website that features local discounts in 150 cities.
Visit the Montreal Groupon page and you’ll find savings of anywhere from 40-90% on attractions, tours, activities, golf, dinner spots and accommodations.
The Groupon Montreal page is a smart place to check out when you’re first planning your trip and even when you’re in the middle of your Montreal visit because new deals get added weekly and even daily many times.
Be thrifty and practical! This information was accurate when published, but can change without notice. We recommend you confirm all details with the provider in question before planning your excursion.