37 FREE things to do in Montreal this September

Aug 29 2018, 9:35 pm

September still is technically the summer. So, don’t let the new school year or the declining temperatures fool you. Montreal hosts a bunch of great events and activities this month that are free.

To help you close the book on Summer 2018, we’ve put together a list of 37 free events to check out in September.

Summer Concert Series

Every Sunday, the historic Saint Joseph Oratory hosts concerts with live projections on giant screens inside. September’s musicians feature Jean-Guy Proulx (September 2), Jacquelin Rochette (September 9), Jacques Boucher (September 16) and Raphael De Castro (September 23).

When: September 2, 9, 16 and 23
Time: 3:30 pm
Where: Saint Joseph Oratory

Tam Tams

tam tams montreal


Sundays in Montreal in the summer is synonymous with Tam Tams. It’s a giant outdoor party with dancers, sports and drummers all gathered around the Sir George-Etienne Cartier monument.

With only five Tams left for 2018, the mountain’s longstanding tradition should be your go-to Sunday spot. Very 420 friendly.

When: September 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30
Time: Noon
Where: Mont Royal Park

Tattoo Festival

If you’re looking to add some more ink to your body, or you just appreciate the art, Montreal’s tattoo festival is on its way back to the city for its 16th edition in September.

The convention promotes tattooing and brings in over 100 artists from all over the world in to celebrate the art and its surrounding community.

When: September 7 – 9
Time: 6 pm – 12 am on Friday, 12 pm – 11 pm on Saturday, 11 am – 7 pm on Sunday
Where: Gare Windsor – 1160 Avenue des Canadiens de Montreal

Barbie Exhibition

The world’s largest permanent exhibit of Barbies is happening at Montreal’s Cours Mont-Royal. The upscale mall hosts over 1,000 entertainment industry Barbie dolls, all dressed by leading fashion houses.

When: The Barbie Exhibit happens year round
Time: 10 am – 7 pm
Where: Cours Mont-Royal, 1445 Rue Peel


food festival

Le Festival YUL EAT/Facebook

You can’t cap off a summer’s worth of festivals without YUL EAT.

The YUL EAT festival is the biggest food event in the city, offering over 40 restaurant outlets and food trucks from all over Montreal allowing foodies a chance to discover local grub and dishes they’ve never tried before on a huge scale.

New to the festival’s 5th anniversary, festival-goers will have a chance to attend live cooking masterclasses from some of the city’s most respected and renowned chefs.

Obviously, the food costs money, but the festival is free to enter.

When: September 10 – 16
Time: TBA
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Ukrainian Festival

The 18th annual Ukrainian festival promotes Ukrainian heritage and culture within the Montreal community and strives to increase awareness of the contribution of Ukrainian-Canadians to the society in Quebec.

Visitors who attend the festival have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Ukrainian traditions of folk crafts, music, dance, art, fashion and of course, food.

When: September 7 – 9
Time: Friday: 7 pm – 2 am, Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm and Sunday: 11 am – 4 pm
Where: Parc Beaubien – Intersection of Rue Beaubien Est and 9e avenue

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

Bike season is in high gear in the summertime. The Maisonneuve bike path runs throughout Montreal and has a gorgeous path from NDG to the East End. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the city as the bike path runs parallel with all of it.

When: The bike path is open year round
Where: Runs parallel with Boulevard Maisonneuve

OUMF Back-to-School Festival

block party


With the new school year right around the corner, the OUMF back-to-school festival aims to give students one massive block party to cap off the summer.

The 8th edition of the festival will host three music stages, live performances, art exhibitions and tons of street-side activities.

Besides the tunes, the fest is loaded with street activities including rock climbing, a Quidditch match, improv comedy, trampolines, a word-rap battle, pop-up shops and food from Montreal’s Burger Week.

When: September 5 – 8
Time: 3 pm – 11 pm
Where: Rue St.Denis – Quartier des Spectacles

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is a 19th-century church modelled after the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church opened in 1894 and is an absolutely stunning visual.

When: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is  open year round
Time: 8 am – 4 pm
Where: 1085 Rue Cathedrale

Grand Prix Cycling

Experience the intensity of the biggest cycling event in all of Montreal. The race starts at Jeanne-Mance park and cycles around the designated route around the city.

Registration for the race is full but it’s free to watch the hundreds of cyclists.

When: Sunday, September 9
Time: 10:30 am – 4:50 pm
Where: Jeanne-Mance Park

Station F-MR

metro cars


Station F-MR is an urban park that is headlined by 1960s Montreal Metro Trains.

The park is located alongside the Lachine Canal and its bike path. The station has a cafe, food counter, art gallery, community garden, stage and relaxation area.

When: September 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30
Time: 11 am – 11 pm
Where: Allee des Barges, Lachine Canal

Outdoor Yoga Classes

Inhale. Exhale.

Sivananda Yoga Montreal is offering free yoga every Saturday at two different locations.

Both classes start at 9:30 am to 10:30 am at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park
and Outremont Park respectively and stretch out throughout August.

When: Saturday 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Where: Park Outremont: St. Viateur & Avenue Outremont and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park: Rue Mentana and Avenue Laurier Est

Montreal RibFest



RibFest returns to the Old Port, bringing some of the best rib vendors from Montreal and abroad. Each serving up racks upon racks of mouthwatering ribs.

The festival will feature much more than just delicious ribs. There will be live music, local vendors, entertainment, and a huge kid’s play zone.

When: September 13 – 16
Time: Thursday: 5 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm
Where: Jacques Cartier Quay

Montreal’s International Literature Festival

If you’re a fan of books, poetry, art, music, and film, the Montreal’s International Literature Festival is for you. This event will feature talks and readings from local and international authors as well as live readings and musical performances and an art exhibit.

When: September 21 – 30
Time: Various times
Where: Quartier des Spectacle

BIXI Sunday


EQRoy/ Shutterstock

For the third summer in a row, BIXI gives away free rides on the last Sunday of every month.

All you have to do is swipe a credit card, just so you don’t take these mini-choppers home with you.

Maybe you can get so lucky and nab a new BIXI with a laser light, or the electric model.

When: Sunday, September 30
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various locations throughout Montreal

Lachine Canal National Historic Site

The Lachine Canal is the city’s link between urban and nature. The canal is a 13.5 km route that spans between the Old Port and Lake Saint-Louis, a completely navigable waterway.

The historic site features free tours and events like the Classic Boat Festival and a 90-minute tour of Silo No. 5 – Montreal’s first structure able to store one million bushels. The silo played a prominent part in the history of the Canadian grain economy.

When: The Lachine Canal is open year round
Where: From the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis

Yoga en Plein Air

Jardins Gamelins, Montreal’s resident summer garden, is hosting free outdoor yoga sessions every week in September. “Yoga en Plein Air,” invites Montrealers to practice yoga outdoors at Jardin Gamelins for free. The outdoor sessions are run by Yo-Yoga and take place every Tuesday morning from 7:30 am until 8:30 am.

The official site encourages Montrealers to “tone your body, awaken your senses in the heart of nature, and move through harmony.” No registration is required, however, participants must bring along their own yoga mat.

When: September 4, 11, 18 and 25
Time: 7:30 am – 8:30 am
Where: Place Emilie-Gamelin, 1500 Rue Berri

Notre-Dame Basilica

Easter events Montreal

jiawangkun/ Shutterstock

Celebrate Sunday mass at Montreal’s most viewed structure at 11 am and hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ. Or, take a walking tour of the basilica which is an absolutely gorgeous spectacle. It is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows.

When: The Notre-Dame Basilica is open year round
Time: 8 am – 4:30 pm on weekdays, 8 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and 12:30 pm – 4 pm on Sundays (mass starts at 11 am)
Where: 110 Rue Notre Dame Ouest

First Fridays

The largest food truck festival in the province has begun. Olympic Stadium is known for a lot of things but First Fridays have got to be high on the list. The city’s food trucks gather at Olympic Stadium showcasing an array of mouthwatering local food allowing Montrealers to sample dishes from over 50 food trucks. You can expect to find everything from tacos and churros, to mac and cheese and lobster rolls.

The event takes place on the first Friday of every month all summer. It’s free to enter but the food samples have varying costs.

When: Friday, September 7
Time: 4 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

Jean Talon Market

jean talon

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock

The highlight of Little Italy is undoubtedly the Jean Talon Market. The Jean Talon market has been supplying Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world since 1934.

The market is free to enter and is open every day. Visitors can find a wide variety of produce, flowers, fish, meat and specialty ice cream for sale, the area is also a great destination for lunch. Barbeque lamb, pork, and chicken sandwiches, as well as bison on a stick, are all available for a few bucks.

It’s a Montreal landmark.

When: Market is open year round
Time: 7 am – 6 pm from Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 7 am – 8 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 7 am – 5 pm on Sundays
Where: 7070 Avenue Henri Julien

Place Publique

Place Publique has nested itself on to Rue Ottawa every summer since 2007. The space is dedicated to the visual arts and its expanded audience. Site-specific artworks, performances and workshops enliven the space and transform it into an interactive platform by bringing together artists and citizens.

When: Every day in September
Time: 6 pm – 10 pm
Where: 745 Rue Ottawa

Shuttle Bus to Yamaska National Park

Yamaska National Park


Parkbus is offering free shuttle services from downtown Montreal to Yamaska National Park every Saturday in September.

Yamaska is located in La Haute in the Montérégie region of Quebec, northeast of Granby. Its hilly landscape hosts creeks, mountain trails, and breathtaking open spaces. The majority of the land is forested and boasts over 40 tree species including maple, fir, eastern hemlock, grey birch, and basswood. Not to mention a library of wildlife and birds.

The shuttle will depart every Saturday from the Montreal Tourism Info Centre on Rue Metcalfe. It leaves twice in the morning with two returns in the afternoon.

When: September 8, 15, 22 and 29
Time: 8 am and 6 pm
Where: Montreal Tourism Info Centre

Marché des Éclusiers du Vieux-Port

Set up by the water in the Old Port, the mission of Marché des Éclusiers (Farmers’ Market) is simple: showcase Quebec products. There is no middleman. The quaint market gives producers the chance to sell their organic products directly to the public.

Though offerings at the market are seasonal, you’ll typically be able to find vegetables, bread, pastries, organic juices, breakfast, beef, pork, sauces, and cheese – all locally made.

When: From now until mid-October
Time: Thursdays: 2 pm – 7 pm, Saturdays: 9 am – 2 pm
Where: 400 Rue de la Commune Ouest

Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park

The Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park is a large park on the northwestern part of the Island of Montreal. It is located in the cities of Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Dorval and is absolutely stunning. Especially in August when the weather cools down a bit.

Enjoy the refreshing breeze off the lake, the wildflowers in full bloom and the variety of birds.

If you’re looking for some new social media pics, Bois-de-Liesse is your go-to spot for the day.

When: Bois-de-Liesse is open year round
Time: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Where: 9432 Boulevard Gouin Ouest

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal museums

pbombaert/ Shutterstock

If you want to expand your knowledge just in time for school, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has got you covered. The MMFA offers free admission to all of their Collections and Discovery exhibitions to people under 30-years-old

When: Every day in September
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Vintage Cars at the Orange Julep

The Orange Julep is quite possibly Montreal’s most iconic restaurant. The roadside snack-bar has been around since 1932 and everybody in Montreal knows about it, regardless of how old you are.

This summer, like the summer before and the summer before that, the Orange Julep will host vintage cars and motorcycles in its parking lot every Wednesday.

Go check out some gorgeous old-school cars and motorcycles.

When: September 5, 12, 19 and 24
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie

McCord Museum

The McCord Museum is a public research and teaching centre that is dedicated to the preservation, study, diffusion, and appreciation of Canadian history. The museum features a variety of clothes, objects, and artifacts from dozens of different Canadian aspects.

The McCord Museum offers free admission every Wednesday after 5 pm all summer.

When: September 5, 12, 19 and 26
Time: 10 am – 9 pm
Where: 690 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Grande Bibliothèque


BAnQ, Bernard Fougères

The Grande Bibliothèque is a Montreal’s biggest public library. Its collection is part of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Quebec’s national library.

The Grande Bibliothèque is an absolute spectacle to see. Its winding staircases will make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts and it hosts an unbelievably impressive collection of books, magazines, records, CDs, and films.

It’s one of the most visited libraries in North America.

Membership is free to all Quebec residents.

When: The Grande Bibliothèque is open year round
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 475 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Est

Moving Dunes

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has unveiled a new exhibit in the Sculpture Garden – an optical illusion.

The exhibit features silver spheres, designed to look like they’re moving through a dessert, fusing notions of real and virtual to give downtown Montreal its very own urban mirage.

When: Every day in September
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Mont Royal Belvédère Kondiaronk Park

Hiking Mont Royal has its rewards besides the view. The tulips fused with the Montreal skyline are totally Instagram worthy and Mont Royal’s chalet is a perfect vantage point to see the leaves change colour.

You get to see the entire city lit up – especially in September’s cool weather. A 15-minute hike is totally worth it.

When: Mont Royal is accessible year round
Time: 6 am – 12 am
Where: 1196 Voie Camillien-Houde

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin/Facebook

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts arguably the busiest pub trivia in town. They do six rounds of ten questions. A winner is rewarded each round with either a round of drinks or a round of shots. A round for a round – solid deal. The questions are all general knowledge and the trivia host is interactive and funny.

When: September 4, 11, 18 and 25
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Atwater Market

The Atwater Market is a massive farmers’ market located in Saint-Henri that’s been running since 1933. The market features both indoor and outdoor vendors from a vast variety of local options: meat, bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, flowers, candy, pizza and ice cream.

The market is free to enter and a lot of outlets hand out free samples. Take a stroll through the market, it’s lovely.

When: Every day
Time: 7 am – 8 pm
Where: 138 Avenue Atwater

Public pianos

Treat your fellow pedestrians to some live music in the heart of downtown. The outdoor piano located on the corner of Rue Guy-Concordia and Boulevard De Maisonneuve is open to anyone with or without piano experience. Play something.

When: Until September 24
Time: 24/7, the Indigo piano is from 10 am – 10 pm
Where: Rue Guy Concordia and Boulevard Maisonneuve and Place Montreal Trust

Redpath Museum


Musée Redpath Museum/Facebook

Founded in 1882 at McGill University, the Redpath Museum’s aims to further the understanding and appreciation of biological, geological, and cultural heritage.

The comfortable, little museum has a variety of ancient Canadian artifacts.

When: The Redpath Museum is open year-round
Time: 9 am – 5 pm during the week, 1 pm – 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Promenade Fleuve-Montagne

You can experience two of Montreal’s most stunning landmarks in one trek: the St. Lawrence River and Mont Royal Park. Stroll from one to the other on a beautiful 3.8-km promenade that features wide sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks, rest areas, greenery and access to various restaurants along the route. The multimillion-dollar investment from the city’s 375th birthday celebrations is a site to see.

When: Every day in September
Time: The path is open 24/7
Where: Rue de la Commune Ouest and Place Royale to Avenue des Pins and Rue McTavish

The Port Centre

Sail back in time to relive milestones in the Old Port’s rich history. The ships and boat exhibitions give people the opportunity to explore and understand the maritime world.

When: Every day in September
Time: 11 am – 6 pm
Where: The Port Centre – Montreal’s Old Port

Cruise Ships


The Old Port is the best place in town to see these giants of the sea when they visit Montreal. Ships sail in from Europe and the Americas. Check out the website for arrivals and departures of cruise ship vessels.

The pier also hosts a slew of gorgeous sailboats and yachts.

When: Varying dates
Time: Varying times
Where: The Old Port Pier – Montreal’s Old Port

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