The 20 Best Free Things To Do in Montreal

From free attractions to free summertime activities and fun birthday freebies, here are 20 of the best free things to do in Montreal.

Here are the best cheap things and free things to do in Montreal during the day and night.

This is a definitive guide to the top free things to do in Montreal. Whether you live here or are travelling on a budget, you’ll soon find out that there are many free activities in Montreal. Keep reading for a great mix of free indoor and outdoor activities, free guided tours, free activities for summer, fall, winter and spring, and even birthday freebies!

Our selection includes prime choices for all tastes. We did the research and now all you need to do is sit back and read our well-researched list of free things to do in Montreal. 

Free Things To Do in Montreal

Free Activities in Montreal

1. Gilles Villeneuve Circuit 

Gilles Villeneuve Circuit has free activities in Montreal
Formula 1 Grand Prix in Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. (Photo by Eva Blue©)

The famous F1 racing track is open to visitors during the spring, summer and fall seasons (April 15th to November 15th). It’s one of the best free activities to do in Montreal as you can walk, ride your bicycle, in-line skate and even drive (with a strict low-speed limit) the circuit. All you have to do is get out at Parc Jean-Drapeau subway station (yellow line). 

2. Jazz Festival

Enjoy free activities in Montreal during Jazz Festival
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. (Photo by Eva Blue©)

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is held every year in the Quartier des Spectacles and offers many free outdoor concerts. It’s always a pleasure enjoying live music in the sunshine and being a part of something larger than yourself. This is one of my personal favourite free things to do in Montreal during summer.

3. Free Museum Sunday 

A place to visit in Montreal for free is the CCA
Shaughnessy House Tea Room at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. (Photo by Richard Burley©)

There are free museum visits on the first Sunday of the month at many Montreal museums. The Montreal Contemporary Art Museum and The Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) are good choices. The former requires proof of Quebec residency for free entry. The CCA is also free on Thursday nights and the McCord Stewart Museum is free on Wednesday nights. Check out this map for more free museums in Montreal and throughout the province.

4. Free Museum Visit 

Lachine Museum a free place to visit in Montreal
Lachine Museum (Photo by Arrondissement de Lachine©)

On the topic of free museums, some are free all the time. They make for excellent free places to visit in Montreal, especially on a rainy day. They include (but are not limited to) the Lachine Museum, the Redpath Museum, the UQAM Center for Design and La Guilde.

5. Ice Skating

Ice skating is a free activity in Montreal
Beaver Lake ice skating rink (Photo by Eva Blue©)

If you’re lucky enough to have your own pair of skates, Montreal has a ton of free ice rinks where you can glide to your heart’s content. This free winter activity is also one of the best free things to do in Montreal at night. Top options include Beaver Lake, Esplanade Tranquille (the city’s newest and largest outdoor refrigerated rink) and Parc La Fontaine.

6. Watch a Game in a Sports Bar 

Watch sports at Bier Markt, free to do in Montreal
Relax and have fun at Bier Markt in Montreal. (Photo by Bier Markt Montréal©)

Montreal is, among many other things, a hockey city. That being said, there are many wonderful sports bars where you can go and watch a free game. You will have to buy food and drinks, of course, but the atmosphere is totally worth it. MVP Bar Sportif, La Cage Brasserie Sportive, Bier Markt and McKibbin’s are all choice options. 

7. Place des Arts Fountain 

Place to visit in Montreal for free is Place des Arts Fountain
Esplanade de la Place des Arts. (Photo by Eva Blue©)

One of the best free things to do in Downtown Montreal with kids is visit the Place des Arts fountain. Especially on a hot summer day, this place is a haven of refreshment for anyone who isn’t afraid of getting wet. It’s very easy to get to (Place des Arts metro station on the green line) and is close to both Downtown and Old Montreal. Make sure to bring towels and a dry set of clothes. The fountain doesn’t operate during the outdoor music festivals that happen regularly during summer.

8. Wet Playground at St-Peter Claver Park

Wet Playground Montreal St-Peter Claver Park
The wet playground at St-Peter Claver Park is a nice activity for kids on a warm day. It is completely free. (© Photo by Quebec Wonders)

Located in the more residential Rosemont district, the wet playground at Saint-Peter Claver Park is a sight to behold. It is one of the best free family things to do in Montreal in summer. If you bring your kids to this park on a scorching hot day they’ll be thrilled and so will you. 

9. Molson Park

Place to visit with family Molson Park in Montreal for free
Molson Park (Photo by Alexandre Choquette©)

Molson Park can boast about having a lot of toys and traditional modules for kids of all ages to play on for hours. Its large open grassy areas make it great for family picnics too, so a visit here is a wonderful free thing to do in Montreal. It’s in the Villeray neighbourhood.

10. Loto-Quebec Fireworks

Watching Loto-Quebec Fireworks is a free thing to do in Montreal
L'International des Feux Loto-Québec Fireworks. (Photo by La Ronde©)

This international fireworks competition runs all summer and witnessing its dazzling displays is a great free thing to do in Montreal on a summer night. Popular spots to see them for free are the Jacques Cartier Bridge and the Clock Tower in the Old Port. Check out their website to see which country is presenting.

11. Birthday Freebie at Krispy Kreme

Free thing to do in Montreal on your birthday Krispy Kream

In recent years, more and more Krispy Kremes have opened their doors in Montreal. Go to one (there are currently two Downtown) on your birthday to redeem a free donut and a small coffee. There are quite a lot of birthday freebies in Montreal, but this is one of my favourites because you don’t need to sign up for anything to get it.

12. Cycling Along the Lachine Canal 

Free family things to do in Lachine Canal in Montreal
Les Quartiers du Canal – Lachine Canal. (Photo by Eva Blue©)

There are far worse things to do in Montreal in summer than cycling along the nine-kilometre Lachine Canal. This is a glorious free outdoor activity to do in Montreal during summer and one of the loveliest free Montreal attractions. It's also close to other free places to visit in Montreal. If cycling isn’t your thing, then you can always walk, jog or simply bask in the sun along the Canal.

13. Visit an Open-Air Market

Maisonneuve Market, a place to visit in Montreal
Maisonneuve Market (photo by Simon Lanciault©)

Montreal is replete with open-air markets. It’s always a joy to go to one and take a stroll while absorbing all the lovely sights, smells and sounds. Visiting an open-air market is one of the best things to do in Montreal for free, as when you go you don’t ever need to buy something. Atwater Market, Jean-Talon Market and Maisonneuve Market are all beautiful open-air markets. 

14. Christmas Decorations at Quartier des Spectacles

Visit Quartier des Spectacles for free in Montreal in winter
Quartier des spectacles – Christmas market. (Photo by Susan Moss©)

Not only does the Quartier des Spectacles get fully decked out during the holiday season but most of the city does too. The decorations at Quartier des Spectacles (whose Christmas Market opens up right after the Santa Claus parade in November) are especially magical. Hunting down and enjoying Christmas decorations is one of the most wonderful free attractions in Montreal. 

Read next: Here are even more Christmas activities in Montreal to enjoy this season.

15. Old Port Stroll

Walk along Old Port with family for free in Montreal
People enjoying their walks in Old Port on a summer day. (Photo by Old Port of Montreal©)

All year round (but especially during summer), taking a stroll in the Old Port is one of the most pleasant free things to do in Montreal. Even if you don’t do any of the paid activities, there’s still lots of action and fun to be had. Watch people glide by on the Tyrolienne MTL Zipline, look at La Grande Roue and of course, enjoy the pretty sight of the docked boats on the St Lawrence River. There’s also a nice free playground for the kids.

Free Walking Tours in Montreal

16. Old Montreal Free Walking Tour

Book free walking tours in Montreal
Old Montréal West Tour. (Photo by Guidatour©)

Incredibly enough, Montreal has free walking tours you can book almost any day of the year. Enjoy this free walking tour of Old Montreal that shows you the beauty of this neighbourhood. Your great guide will even give you a rundown of the city’s history along the way. Their website has more information about the route and how to book your tour.

17. Quartier des Spectacles Free Walking Tour

Get free walking tours in Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal
Quartier des spectacles during Francos de Montréal. (Photo by Eva Blue©)

This free walking tour in Montreal is only available during summer, but it’s without a doubt worth your time. You’re led by a certified guide who highlights the creative and historical charm inhabiting this 1 km² part of town. Their website has more information.

18. Hidden Montreal 

See Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal in Montreal for free
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal. (Photo by Alain Régimbald©)

If you’re a fellow adventurous soul, you'll probably enjoy this free activity in Montreal. It’s not like the other tours on this list as it’s a self-guided tour, so you’re your own guide. The concept of this tour is to uncover the city's hidden artistic and cultural gems. This website has a great list of hidden gems and their approximate locations. After visiting these places and seeing them for yourself, you will leave feeling more like a Montreal local than you were when you woke up.

19. Make Your Own Tour of Montreal

Montréal Olympic Park is a free place to visit
The Olympic Stadium. (Photo by Yves Tremblay©)

Pack a little lunch, put on your most comfortable walking shoes, grab your phone or camera and head out for a free self-guided tour of Montreal. There are so many free places to visit in Montreal, including Mount Royal Park, Jeanne-Mance Park, Beaver Lake, Olympic Park and Jean Drapeau Park. You could also concentrate on a specific neighbourhood, like Downtown Montreal, Old Port, Old Montreal or Mile End.

Related: Get inspired with one of our Montreal itineraries.

20. Window Shopping at The Underground City 

Visit the Underground City place in Montreal for free
Underground City. (Photo by Frédérique Ménard-Aubin©)

There are a lot of wonderful shopping experiences waiting in Montreal. But, if you’re looking for one of my favourite places to visit in Montreal for free window shopping, head straight for The Underground City. Nothing is stopping you from perusing your favourite items at your favourite stores and making mental notes for the next time you go on a shopping spree. The Underground City is a huge network of four interconnected malls, so window shopping here is one of the best free things to do in Montreal in winter (especially when it gets very cold).

There’s bound to be something new and exciting on this list of free activities in Montreal. Even if it’s just a free donut on your birthday! Have a great time visiting Montreal and soaking up all of these wonderful free attractions.

Joshua Marc Seguin Quebec Wonders

About the Author

Joshua is our Montreal expert. He has been living in Montreal for over 15 years. He is passionate about sharing his love for Montreal and some local tips with our readers.

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