10 Things to Do in Montreal on a Small Budget

Holidays in Montreal Don't Have to Be Expensive

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    Montreal features a good choice of things to do on a small budget. Known as one of the best budget travel destinations in Canada, Montreal is home to a great variety of very affordable places to stay, inexpensive restaurants, and attractions that can be enjoyed without breaking the bank.

    Download a free map and head off for a self-guided tour of Old Montreal, lunch in vintage iconic joints, go ice-skating on a free rink, and explore a majestic centennial forest. Even on a tight budget you can enjoy an action-packed vacation in Montreal. Check out below why holidays in Montreal don’t have to be expensive…

    1

    Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour

    Explore Montreal at your own pace

    Grab a pair of comfy shoes, dress up according to the season, and go explore the most beautiful districts of Montreal at your own pace. Historical districts such as the Old Port and the Old Town are especially recommended, but the downtown’s upscale Golden Square Mile and the Mount Royal Cemetery are also worth checking out. You can easily find Montreal self-guided walking tours online. They feature detailed itineraries with all the sights you shouldn’t miss. 

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    2

    Browse Atwater Market

    Hang around a genuine farmers’ market

    Get a glimpse of the daily life in Montreal at this popular farmers’ market. Settled in a splendid Art-Déco building, 2.5 km south of the city centre, Atwater Market is home to a great choice of goods including fruit, vegetables, cheeses, breads and more. You can browse the alleys of this lively market for a while, before stopping for a break at one of the many places to grab a bite, and drink a coffee or a glass of wine. Don’t miss the maple syrup products to bring a genuine taste of Quebec back home. 

    Sijainti: 138 Atwater Ave, Montreal, QC H4C 2H6, Canada

    Aukioloajat: Daily from 7am to 5pm

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    3

    Skate on a free rink

    Make the best of Montreal’s freezing winters

    Montreal winters are world-famous for their harshness, with snow covering the city mostly from November to April. The upside is that many outdoor ice-skating rinks can be enjoyed for free. The most popular of them include Parc La Fontaine, the Bonsecours Basin in the Old Port and Parc Jarry, just to name a few. Note that equipment rental is not always available on site but can easily be found in Montreal. As the saying goes: "Canada has four seasons. Almost winter, winter, still winter and construction."

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    4

    Get a Free Tour of Montreal City Hall

    Visit an iconic, historic building

    The Montreal City Hall is an imposing 5-storey building dating back to the end of the 19th century. Sat in the heart of the Old Montreal neighbourhood, it’s designed in a splendid Second Empire architecture style and is listed as a National Historic Site of Canada. Free guided tours in English and French are available from Monday to Friday in summer, and every Friday all-year-round. You’ll visit the council chamber, the terrace and the mayors’ gallery which house over 150 works of art.

    Sijainti: 138 Atwater Ave, Montreal, QC H4C 2H6, Canada

    Aukioloajat: September-June, on Friday at 1pm, July-August, daily from 11am to 3.30pm

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    5

    Visit Saint-Joseph's Oratory

    Wander in a historical basilica

    Erected on the southwestern slopes of Mount Royal, Saint-Joseph’s Oratory is one of the largest churches in Canada. Started in 1904 but only achieved in 1967, the basilica is a National Historic Site of Canada. Besides beautiful wood carvings, ceiling paintings and ornaments, it’s home to a notable statue of Saint-Joseph and to a crypt housing relics of Brother André Bessette, the holy man who built the original oratory. The front of the basilica also offers stunning views of Montreal. 

    Sijainti: 3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, QC H3V 1H6, Canada

    Aukioloajat: 24/7

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    6

    Attend free concerts at Schulich School of Music

    Classic and contemporary music performed by students

    Settled on the campus of McGill University, Schulich School of Music offers free classic and contemporary music concerts. All you need to do is to check the programme on the university’s website and get a ticket beforehand. Many concerts – from strings to wind orchestra to music ensembles are held every week and performed by the Schulich School of Music students. The university sits just west of the city centre and is only 200 metres from the McGill Metro station.

    Sijainti: 555 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 1E3, Canada

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    7

    Go see the McCord Museum

    Know Canada inside and out

    The McCord Museum is named after the family who assembled an impressive collection of native-Canadian costumes and objects since the end of the 19th century. Displaying textiles, photography, paintings and over 100,000 costumes and accessories both from indigenous and immigrant cultures, the McCord Museum is the right place to go if you want to fully and thoroughly grasp Canada. The museum is part of the McGill University, a stroll away of Downtown Montreal. 

    Sijainti: 690 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 1E9, Canada

    Aukioloajat: Opening hours vary but are usually from 10am to 5pm. The entrance of the museum is free on Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 9pm and every first Sunday of the month from 10am to 5pm.

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    8

    Tour the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex

    Enjoy many fun activities in a huge park

    Settled on a former limestone quarry and city dump, the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex has become a 192-hectare multi-functional park home to large green spaces, sport facilities, recycling plants and a circus headquarters. The visit of the park is possible for a nominal fee, including the tour of the Cirque du Soleil compounds. The activities at hand in the park include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter, cycling and skating in summer. Guided tours are also available.

    Sijainti: 2235 Michel-Jurdant Street, Montreal, QC H1Z 4N1, Canada

    Puhelinnumero: +1 514-872-1264

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    9

    Eat well for less than C$15 in Montreal

    Sample classic dishes in iconic joints at cheap prices

    Not only you can eat well for less than C$15 in Montreal, but you’ll also visit long-established venues that have become true institutions. Go to Wilensky’s Light Lunch on Fairmont Avenue West in Miles End District. Their ‘special’ – a grilled all-beef salami with all-beef baloney served on a tasty roll with a hint of mustard – is a must-sample that costs less than C$5. Another iconic restaurant is Lester’s Deli on Bernard Avenue, still in Miles End. Open for over 60 years, this vintage joint serves delicious meat sandwiches with a side of fries and a soft drink for around C$10. Last but not least, you can’t leave Montreal without sampling a hearty plate of poutine – Canada’s national dish. Head to La Banquise on Rachel Street East for a classic poutine that costs from only C$7.75.

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    10

    Explore Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park

    Discover a stunning diversified ecosystem 15 km north of the city

    Established in 1984 and covering no less than 158 hectares, Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park is the right place to go if you want to take a breath of fresh air in a stunning natural environment. Featuring 13 km of hiking trails and 8 km of bike paths, the park is home to an impressive range of plants and animals. The highlights of the park include the ‘attractions trail’, which hosts discovery stations, and the splendid Bois-Francs forest, home to century-old black maple trees. Grab a picnic and go explore this preserved enclave of nature.

    Sijainti: 9432 Gouin Boulevard West, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y 1T4, Canada

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