Taking a vacation is necessary for one’s well-being, yet can sometimes end up breaking the bank. It doesn’t have to! Divine.ca wants to help you explore some great cities in Canada and abroad on little cash. Our first stop? Montreal!
- Go for a walk, run, or bike ride up the Mount Royal and take in a breathtaking view of downtown Montreal from the Kondiaronk Belvedere.
- To get a feel of old-time Montreal, wander along the cobblestone streets Old Montreal, down to the historical Old Port.
- Take a stroll down the ethnically-diverse Boulevard Saint-Laurent (a.k.a. the Main), with its neat cafés and shops.
- Check out the trendy and happening Saint-Catherine or Saint-Denis Streets for some window shopping.
- Montreal’s Chinatown is a lively area (especially in the summer) that deserves a walk-through while sipping on bubble tea, which is sold in a number of Chinatown establishments.
- A visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ collection is free of charge, although donations are always appreciated. (Temporary and special exhibitions require an admission fee.)
- Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art free of charge on Wednesdays between 6 and 9 pm.
- The Canadian Center for Architecture offers free admission on Thursdays after 5:30 pm.
- McGill University’s Redpath Museum, with its paleontology, zoology, mineralogy and ethnology collections, is free of charge to the public.
- Between May and October, you can get a free 45-minute guided tour of Montreal City Hall.
- Montreal is a bike-friendly city, so you can take a ride in any of the city’s many parks, or ride the bike path from the Old Port to Ile Saint-Helene.
- Put your dancing shoes on: every summer, dance instructors hold free ballroom dance lessons at Parc Jean Drapeau on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
- From early May to late September, you can sit in on the Tamtams every Sunday at the foot of the Mount Royal. People bring their drums for some outdoor music and dancing, rain or shine.
- From mid-May to late-September, check out some awesome DJs and electronic music every Sunday at Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean Drapeau. It comes at a fairly inexpensive cover charge ($5) if you show up before 3:30 pm.
- Whether you’re visiting in the winter or summer, there’s always a festival going on that offers free outdoor activities: in July, catch some free outdoor music at both the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Francofolies Festival. In February, check out the High Lights Festival that literally brings some light into an otherwise dreary winter.
- Fireworks at the Quays of the Old Port: You can catch winter fireworks at the annual Fire on Ice event in December; don’t forget to take in some free ice skating and purchase some warm beer at the Winter Bar. And every Saturday from June to August, you can watch the fireworks as part of L’International des Feux Loto-Quebec.
Eat & Drink
- A Montreal staple is pizza by the slice, and you can find a location at almost every turn. It’s cheap, filling, and you can hold a slice in your hands as you explore the city.
- Schwartz’s is a Montreal must; the prices are fair ($4.50 for smoked meat on rye) and the ambiance is quaint. You may even bump into a celebrity while you’re there! Be prepared to wait in line, though.
- Located on the Main, Le Bifteck is a great dive bar that offers inexpensive beer and 2-for-1 drinks, as well as all-you-can-eat popcorn.
- Rouge (located on Prince Arthur West) is a casual two-story club that has no cover charge and inexpensive coat check with an eclectic mix of 80s and 90s songs, as well as modern hip-hop and R & B sounds.
For more great ideas, check out Tourism Montreal.