When it comes to fabulous major cities that are highly worth visiting, it is difficult to top the amazing city of Montreal. For the discriminating traveler that wants to experience a true international city, and who doesn’t want to leave North America, a visit to Montreal is definitely a trip that should be undertaken. Montreal has a long history stretching back to the early days of European exploration and settlement of the continent. Today the city has a number of entertainment options there including museums, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, professional sporting events, stage productions, live music, and more. The city is also home to a great many free attractions that those visiting there could come to appreciate.
While some people may think that they are above going on a vacation and seeking out free things to do, there are many experienced travelers that know no-cost attractions are valuable parts of a vacation’s itinerary. Free things to do can offer experiences that would normally never get visited or participated in. Often free things to do involve attractions that are a little off the beaten path or somewhat forgotten about. Free things to do also offer the traveler on a budget a way to be entertained, yet save some of their vacation budget for the more costly other things that they wish to participate in or see. There is nothing wrong with seeking out free or low cost attractions while on vacation, in fact it is a very smart thing to do.
Travel Resources for Planning a Visit To Montreal
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Notre Dame Basilica
There is no better religious site worth visiting in the entire city of Montreal than the historic and famous Notre Dame Basilica. Tours of the church are provided by the church itself for a fee, but viewing and photographing it from the outside is completely free and also an experience that the traveler won’t soon forget. For those wanting to experience the inside of this magnificent church, but still not wanting to pay for the tour, the best way to do so is attend services there. This is also the best way to see the church and get a feel for all that it offers, from amazing architecture to find detailed glass work.
Situated on the McGill University campus, Redpath Museum is one of the oldest free standing museums in all of Canada. The museum concentrates on the world of natural history and includes wonder collections that feature artifacts from various time frames in the Earth’s history. The museum is interesting for adults, but also for children, especially when they see the amazing dinosaur exhibits there. All realms of natural history can be explored at the Redpath Museum, and all for the amazing price of free.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
One of the best places to go to get a taste of the culture that is available and that is so much a part of Montreal is the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. This museum features amazing works of art by amazing artists from around the world including North America, Europe, and Asia. Though there are events, temporary exhibits, and certain other goings-on that do cost, admission to the museum’s permanent collection is always free.
Jardin des Floralies
One of the most famous and well respected urban gardens in the Western Hemisphere is the Jardin des Floralies in the city of Montreal. These gardens are breathtaking to visit during anytime of year, but the colorful display that the plants and flowers put on in August and early September is truly something else. The gardens are a popular site for wedding and other celebrations, but they are also free of charge to visit during anytime of the year. The park covers approximately 25 acres of land are a great place for a picnic lunch or dinner. Any visitor coming to Montreal should definitely visit the Jardin des Floralies and they should also make sure they bring their camera.
One of the largest and most developed underground cities in the entire world can be found beneath the streets of downtown Montreal. The Underground City in Montreal is home to more than a thousand shops, cafes, and restaurants; and it is also home to a vibrant and popular tourist scene. There are a number of different portions of the Underground City that lend themselves perfectly to those seeking cool and unusual photographs. Walking for miles on the underground streets and passageways found there can be somewhat thrilling and extremely intriguing. This network of tunnels and underground complexes is modernly outfitted and very convenient for the shopper or visitor to experience. Shopping of course costs, but visiting the facility does not. Visiting the exciting city of Montreal and then venturing underground to the Underground City are both experiences that should not be missed.
One of the most popular free attractions in Montreal, for visitors and locals alike, is the Parc Jean-Drapeau. This large park area stretches over two small islands that are located offshore from Montreal proper in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. There are a number of things worth seeing and doing in the Parc Jean-Drapeau including a beach area, gardens, eating establishments, and a large amusement park. Like many places like this, some attractions do charge an admission, but admission to the park as a whole is absolutely free.
Visit the Art Galleries
Montreal is a city known for its appreciation of, and caring for, artists of all sorts. The city is home to an amazing amount of art galleries, many of them located in an area known for being somewhat of an art district. These art galleries feature works of art by both local unknown artists, as well as those with a reputation that stretches around the world. Walking through the downtown area and sampling what is on display at the many art galleries is a great way to spend at least part of the day.
Visit Old Montreal
Old Montreal sports a unique and gorgeous selection of landmark buildings and interesting architectural examples from a time gone by. Visitors coming to the city can simply head to Old Montreal and pick a direction to venture out on by foot to see what they find, or they can take advantage of a number of offered self-guided tours of the area. Maps and information for self-guided tours of Old Montreal can be found locally, usually through tourist kiosks or hotels, as well as online at no charge. T his is a beautiful area of the city that is sometimes overlooked.
Visit a Public Market
Along with fine art, Montreal is also famous for great food. One of the best places to experience the city as the locals do is by checking out one of the many public markets where they shop for food, whether it be commercially for a restaurant or personally for their homes. Three of the most popular and famous public markets in Montreal are Maisonneuve, Jean Talon Market, and Atwater Market. Here visitors will find an incredible selection of meats, cheeses, breads, crafts, and more. A visit to one of the many popular public markets of Montreal is a great way to get a feel for the city that most visitors miss out on.
Mont Royal Park
One of the best outdoor natural areas to visit in Montreal, Mont Royal Park is popular with tourists as well as residents. The park has a number of featured attractions, making it a hub of activity during certain times of the year. There are many activities and attractions at the park that do require admission, but the park itself and much of what can be done there is entirely free. Some of the many activities that can be participated in at Mont Royal Park include cross-country skiing, beach volley ball, tennis, biking, Nordic sledding, skating, snowshoeing, soccer, running, birdwatching, inner tubing, and pedal boat rentals. The park has a number of wide open spaces too which are perfect for outdoor games as well as quiet relaxing experiences spent either reading a good book or doing some old fashioned people watching.
There are a number of interesting, beautiful, and historically significant international cities in the world, but Montreal is one of the best. From the luxurious hotels, to the five star restaurants, to the incredible sights to see; Montreal offers something for everyone, including those with discriminating tastes. Montreal is also a wonderful place to travel to on a budget though. Experiencing the city through the many free things to do there is a great way to understand Montreal on a completely different level. For any vacationer on any budget, the city of Montreal is one of the best choices they could ever make when choosing places to spend their valuable and treasured vacation time.