26 FREE Montreal events worth checking out this December

Nov 28 2018, 4:56 pm

Look, we’re all looking forward to the holidays. But let’s be honest, we’re dreading that credit card statement come January. With all the lead-up expenses to the holidays, it might be soothing to know there are a bunch of free Montreal events in December.

Tuck that wallet away for now, you’ve earned it.

Here are 26 free things worthy of checking out in Montreal this month.

Ogilvy’s Christmas Display

Ogilvy's Christmas window display

McCord Museum

Ogilvy’s Christmas window display, a holiday fixture at the corner of Ste. Catherine and rue de la Montagne has found a new home.

The annual scenes of stuffed animals interacting in mechanical settings, which has delighted Montrealers since 1947, has been donated to the McCord Museum where they will be on display every day in December.

When: December 1 – 31
Time: 24/7
Where: McCord Museum

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts a phenomenal pub trivia. 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.

Buy him a shot and you just might get that European geography question right after all.

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

The Nutcracker Market- Montreal

Every holiday season, the Nutcracker Market brings together hundreds of local artisans for a magical shopping experience.

The market started in 2010 in support of The Nutcracker Fund for Children, the country’s first charity Christmas market symbolizes the kick-off of the holiday celebrations.

10% of all exhibitor’s sales go towards the Fund that each year gives disadvantaged children a unique holiday experience that includes a free performance of The Nutcracker, animated creative workshops and gifts.

When: From now until December 9
Time: 11 am – 7 pm (Monday – Wednesday), 11 am – 8 pm (Thursday and Friday), 11 am – 5 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Palais des congrès
Price: Free

Village de Noël de Montréal

Christmas village

magicbeam / Shutterstock

Montreal’s iconic Atwater Market is being transformed into a Christmas village.

Did you honestly expect anything less for the holidays?

The 3rd edition of the Village de Noël will feature “twice as many kiosks as years past,” vendors, concerts, light shows, a giant, decked out evergreen tree, holiday treats and outdoor screenings of classic Christmas movies.

As a bonus, the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be on site every Saturday until Christmas.

When: From now until December 23
Time: Weekends from 11:30 am – 9 pm
Where: Place du Marche, corner of St-Ambroise and Atwater
Price: Free

Christmas on Mont-Royal Avenue

Mont-Royal Avenue will be getting a holiday makeover, featuring a slew of Christmas activities this month.

The festival will kick off with the Marche de Noël aux flambeaux, an illuminated Christmas market.

This year, 10,000 people are expected to take part in the Marche de Noël. The march starts off at des Compagnons (corner of Mont-Royal and Cartier) and the walk continues through La Fontaine Park. Marchers will be given an illuminated candle while walking to music by three different choirs, Les Voix ferrées, Montréal Gay Men’s Chorus, and la Clique vocale.

When: December 8 to 23
Time: 10 am – 8 pm
Where: Mont-Royal Avenue
Price: Free admission

Dream Land

Christmas display

Sami Hajjar’s Christmas Display/Facebook

Once the ‘Christmas Display House’ gets going, it’s officially the holidays. Sami Hajjar of the West Island will be continuing his ‘Christmas Display‘ house again this holiday season, but he’s upping his game.

Compared to last year’s ‘Frozen Land,’ the upcoming ‘Dream Land’ will feature 250,000 lights, inflatables and synchronized music to five Disney songs, four times a day.

When: From now until December 25
Time: 6 pm – 9 pm (Every hour)
Where: 9035 Jean-Bourdon Avenue, West Island
Price: Free

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 is offering free admission on the first Wednesday of December to get those intellectual juices flowing.

When: Wednesday, December 5
Time: 10 am – 9 pm
Where: 690 Rue Sherbrooke

The Nutcracker Market – Montreal

At the end of the month, the Nutcracker Market brings together hundreds of local artisans for a magical shopping experience.

Exhibitors will be selling everything from gourmet food and hand-knit mittens to gorgeous jewelry and sweet-smelling candles. The market will display gifts for everyone in your life – children, partners, friends, and family.

When: From now until December 9
Time: 11 am – 7 pm (Monday – Wednesday), 11 am – 8 pm (Thursday and Friday), 11 am – 5 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Palais des congrès

Le Marché de Noël chez Maison Pepin

alleyway

tfsmarchedhiver / Instagram

Maison Pepin has channelled their inner-Harry Potter and have transformed their charming alleyway into a breathtaking rustic Christmas market.

The market itself will feature a variety of locally-made products for sale and DIY workshops from gift packaging to wreath making.

Think about all the Instagramable moments this alleyway presents.

When: From now until December 24
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 378 Rue St-Paul Oues

Le Village du Vilain Sapin – Ugly Christmas Tree Launch

Ugly Christmas tree

shaunethompsonphotography / Instagram

It’s important to laugh at yourself. And, that’s exactly what this year’s ‘Ugly Christmas Tree Village’ in Whoville Montreal will be doing this holiday season, literally.

The second edition of Le Village du Vilain Sapin will feature more than just an ugly, Charlie Brown-esque tree as this year’s evergreen will be ticklish.

Yes. A ticklish Christmas tree.

Motion detectors and built-in loudspeakers will be incorporated into this year’s Frankentree that will bellow out laughter when guests shake the bottom branches to tickle it.

When: Every day in December
Time: 5 pm, illumination of the laughing tree at 6 pm
Where: 57 rue Prince Arthur Es

Luminothérapie

Place des Festivals

Quartier des Spectacles

Place des Festivals is fusing dominos, music and lights in bringing Montreal the holiday cheer.

The ninth edition of Luminothérapie, Quebec’s largest temporary public art installation, is called “Effet domino” by Ingrid Ingrid. The installation will feature 120 giant dominos spread out across several different stations. The public is invited to play with them, each creating different music and luminous effects in the process.

The dominos are all topple-able as a musical orchestra of dominos illuminates in a rainbow of pastel hues and sounds.

When: December 11 – January 27, 2019
Time: 12 pm – 10 pm (Monday, Wednesday and Sunday) 12 pm – 11 pm (Thursday – Saturday)
Where: Place des Festivals, Jeanne Mance

Vegan Christmas Market

Buddhi Bistro is launching their first-ever Vegan Christmas Market in Montreal.

On Saturday, December 15, Montrealers will have an opportunity to discover a variety of vegan products offered by local merchants in an enchanting Christmas atmosphere.

When: Saturday, December 15
Time: 11 am – 4:30 pm
Where: 50 rue Ste. Catherine Ouest, Maison du développement durable
Price: Free admission

Natrel Skating Rink Fireworks

holiday fireworks

Old Port Winter Fireworks/ Facebook

The Old Port is about to get lit in December. Actually.

On four select dates this holiday season, the Old Port’s Natrel Skating Rink will fuse ice with fireworks.

The 2,500 square metre rink, just off Promenade des Quais, will be open to the public and will host a firework display overhead. The rink costs money to enter, but standing outside and watching the fireworks is as free as it is delightful.

When: December 15, 22, 29 and January 5
Time: 8 pm
Where: Old Port, Rue de la Commune Ouest

Merry Montreal

Old Montreal

montrealenfetes

Merry Montreal returns in December for its fifth edition with a slew of free events to kick your Christmas spirit into high gear.

Along with the Old Port’s historical cachet, restaurants, boutiques and renowned hotels, Merry Montreal features the Nordic Place, Music on the Docks, and a massive New Year’s Eve bash (one of the only free New Year’s Eve events in the city).

The Nordic Square features DJs, live theatre, a band, interactive installations, and a winter beer garden. Local artists will be performing on stage to keep you entertained while a giant fire keeps you warm (the alcohol will help too).

When: December 21 – January 1
Time: Various times
Where: Montreal’s Old Port
Price: Free

Casino de Montreal

free

Casino de Montreal/Shutterstock

It’s tough to associate casinos without money, but it’s true.

The Casino de Montreal is free to enter. If you don’t feel like blowing money at the blackjack table, head to the Casino de Montreal and simply take in the sights and sounds, it’s quite spectacular. The casino offers free refreshments and coffee, maybe you’ll find a loonie on the ground and even win big?

The Casino is decorated beautifully for the holidays and is worth the trek off-island just to marvel in its beauty.

When: The Casino de Montreal is open year round
Time: The Casino de Montreal is open 24/7
Where: 1 Avenue du Casino

Notre-Dame Basilica

Mozart concert

AG Baxter (Shutterstock)

One of Montreal’s most-viewed structures is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows. Take a self-guided walking tour or visit the church every Sunday at 11 am to hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ.

When: Every day in December
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

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

If you want to expand your knowledge this December, 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 December
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

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: The Jean Talon 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

Barbie Exhibition

barbie expo

joshuajacobs81/Instagram

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

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

Grande Bibliothèque

bedbug

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 film.

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

Mont Royal Belvédère Kondiaronk Park

Hiking Mont Royal has its rewards besides the view. The winter’s snow fused with the skyline are totally Instagram worthy and Mont Royal’s chalet has some nice historical elements as well.

You get to see the entire city lit up – especially in December’s chilly 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

Atwater Market

Jean Gagnon

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

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 and a sight to see.

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

Redpath Museum

free

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

Foonzo Arcade Bar

Foonzo is a retro arcade bar that features hundreds of old school video games, consoles, and board games. If the December weather has you down, head to this nostalgic little bar. It’ll make you feel like you’re jamming out in a buddy’s basement in the 90s.

They offer a variety of classics on everything from N64, Playstation, Super Nintendo, Sega, Gameboy, and Xbox. When was the last time you beat a friend at Mario Kart? Could be this June.

When: Foonzo is open year round
Time: 5 pm – 3 am
Where: 1245 Rue Drummond

See also

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT