37 FREE things worth checking out in Montreal this June

May 28 2019, 8:15 pm

Along with officially reigning in summertime, June in Montreal is also boasting a selection of great events to check out for free.

Here is what’s happening around town that won’t even cost you a penny. You know, so you can save for all those upcoming weddings.

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L’Avenue du Mont Royal Street Fair

The annual open-air street fair (say that ten times fast) is set to return to Mont Royal Avenue at the end of May and will trickle into June.

From May 30 to June 2, the popular street will be completely closed off to vehicular traffic as 300 local merchants will take over a 2.5 km stretch of the popular avenue.

The massive sidewalk sale will feature more than shopping bargains as tons of family-friendly activities are also lined up including a DJ lounge area, a family zone with various activities for children, and thirty-five terraces, restaurants, bars, and food trucks

Once you’ve satisfied your inner shopaholic, you can wander to the designated family area where you’ll find face painting, mini golf, a flying elephant ride, inflatable games, and a build-your-own birdhouse workshop.

When: June 1 and  2
Time: 10 am – 8 pm on Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday
Where: Avenue Mont Royal

Tam-Tams

Tam-Tams

nadimsoued/Instagram

Tams, the weekly outdoor party at the base of the mountain, is a perfect summary of Montreal, open to both locals and tourists.

The magical outdoor bash is where Montrealers from far and wide, gather in Parc Mont Royal for an afternoon of food, vendors, fun, music, and maybe even a couple beers and some smoking (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

When: Sunday, June 2
Time: 12 pm until sunset
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin/Facebook

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts a phenomenal pub trivia every trivia. They do six rounds of ten questions and 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: June 4, 11, 18, 25
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Orange Julep Vintage Car Night

orange julep

Orange Julep/Shutterstock

Montreal has its fair share of well-known local restaurants – Schwartz’ Deli, Joe Beef, and Chalet Bar-B-Q – but you’d be hard-pressed to find one more obvious than Gibeau Orange Julep.

Obvious is the proper word here because the place sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s a giant, orange sphere that stands three stories high and is forty feet wide.

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.

Grab yourself some OJ, poutine, and marvel at a parking lot full of gorgeous vintage cars.

When: June 5, 12, 19, 26
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie

Village au Pied du Courant

beachside

@djamishere/Instagram

Montreal’s man-made beachside venue, Village au Pied-du-Courant is open all June for the summer.

Every year, dozens of teams of collaborators and designers come together to set up the man-made village for Montrealers and tourists to join for a view of the St. Lawrence River, Lotto Quebec’s fireworks, and the famous Jacques Cartier Bridge.

(Not to mention a slew of summertime parties.)

The reinvented site is a place for citizens, designers, volunteers, and participants to create a unique and collaborative community.

When: Thursday – Sunday in June
Time: 4 pm – 9 pm (Thursdays), 5 pm – 12 am (Fridays), 4 pm – 12 am (Saturdays) 3 pm – 8 pm (Sundays)
Where: 2100 Rue Notre-Dame Est
Price: Free admission

MURAL Festival

The seventh edition of MURAL fest returns this month.

The flagship summertime festival brings together world-class visual artists and musicians who collaborate for a cultural celebration in the heart of Montreal’s Boulevard Saint-Laurent.

The facade of buildings, roads, parking lots, and public spaces are taken over by immensely talented international and local artists, turning The Plateau into a massive urban art playground.

When: June 6 – 16
Time: Various times
Where: Saint Laurent Boulevard, between Sherbrooke and Mont Royal

EUREKA! Festival

Eureka! is a three-day long science and technology event that takes place at the Old Port of Montreal. The festival features tons of interactive presentations, demonstrations, workshops, and scientist/programmer speeches.

When: June 7 – 9
Time: 9:30 am – 6 pm
Where: Old Port of Montreal

First Fridays

Les Premiers Vendredis/Facebook

Montreal is about to keep on truckin’ as the second First Friday of 2019 kicks off at the beginning of the month.

First Fridays is a special culinary event in which a variety of the city’s food trucks gather at the Olympic Stadium allowing Montrealers to gobble up dishes from dozens of local spots.

The festival, which calls itself “the largest street food fest in Canada,” is known to dish off everything from tacos and churros, to mac and cheese, burgers, and lobster rolls from over 40 participating eateries around Quebec.

Check out a list of participating spots right here.

When: Friday, June 7
Time: 4:30 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

Montreal Grand Prix

Formula 1

Montreal Grand Prix/Shutterstock

The Canadian Grand Prix’s only trip to Canada happens in Montreal and it is the city’s biggest weekend of the year.

The festival is set to enjoy its 41st year and is full of events and activities for locals and people from all over the world to enjoy.

Though a lot of cocktails, dinners, and the race itself costs money, walking around the festival’s two busiest streets is free. Rue Crescent and Rue Peel are completely closed off to traffic as it hosts luxurious cars, food outlets, bar kiosks, and prizes. The city is vibrant and it’s an absolute joy to see.

When: June 7 – 9
Time: Varying times
Where: Peel Street and Crescent Street

Folk Fest Sur le Canal

Fuse a stunning canal-side location with folk music and then offer free admission and you’ve got yourself a summer party.

That’s exactly what the 12th edition of the Folk Fest sur le canal has in store for Montrealers this June.

Inaugurated in 2008 with 500 festival-goers, Folk Fest has since attracted more than 30,000 music fans per year, according to the festival’s website.

The Folk Fest sur le canal is run by a not-for-profit organization that is sustained through the effort of a crew of more than 100 volunteers for all labour segments.

The site features food trucks from a variety of Montreal spots, a VIP and family area as well as the Artisan Alley where the Folk Fest welcomes art in a variety of forms.

When: June 13 – 16
Time: TBA
Where: Lachine Canal

FrancoFolies

FrancoFolies de Montreal is the world’s largest French-speaking music festival. This June’s edition will be its 31st overall and will host 50 concerts on seven different venues across the city.

You can expect to hear a variety of genres including hip-hop, rock, folk, and electro. The majority of the outdoor shows are free.

When: June 14-22
Time: Varying times
Where: Various venues around Montreal, check the festival’s website for details

Cité Mémoire

levieuxmontreal/Instagram

Head to Old Montreal to admire 25 of the world’s largest projection circuits. Montreal’s history is displayed on buildings and streets throughout the Old Port. Download the free “Montreal en Histoires” app for destinations, details, and schedules.

When: June 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: From nightfall until 11 pm
Where: Old Montreal

McKibbin’s Pub Stumpers

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Test your trivia knowledge at McKibbin’s Irish Pub every Monday.

The pub’s trivia has five rounds, general knowledge multiple choice, short answer, a picture round, and a music round. The winner of each round receives free drinks or a round of shots.

When: June 3, 10, 17, 24
Time: 7:30 pm – 10 pm
Where: 1426 Rue Bishop
Price: Free to play (with purchase of a beverage)

Celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day

Whether you love the historic parade or visiting Quartier des Spectacles for a massive free outdoor concert, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this provincial holiday. Montreal honours Quebec by providing a bunch of free entertainment scattered throughout the city (the days off aren’t so bad either).

When: Monday, June 24
Where: Various locations

The Montreal International Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival

@festivaljazzmtl/Instagram

The Montreal International Jazz Festival was named the largest jazz festival in the world in 2004 according to the Guinness Book of World Records and it’s only gotten bigger since. The 39th edition of the festival features over 500 artists from all over the world who will perform over 150 shows during a three-week span.

The streets are completely closed off to traffic and the festival is full of music-hungry fans. Some specific shows cost money to enter but the majority of the shows, both indoor and outdoor, are free.

When: June 27 – July 6
Time: Varying times
Where: Quartier des Specatcles

R1-B1 at Le XVI XVI

robot bartender

robotbarevent/Instagram

Remember the old days when regular human bartenders would pour you drinks? That is so 2017. The world’s first interactive robot bartender serves up drinks at Le XVI XVI (Le 1616).

Le XVI XVI offers a Franco-Quebec culinary experience fused with technology as their robotic bartender, R1-B1, serves drinks at the restaurant’s first-floor lounge.

What makes R1-B1 stand out (besides the fact that it’s a robot) is that it doesn’t only serve drinks, it interacts with clients, making it the first of its kind in the world.

R1-B1 (no relation to R2-D2) understands drink orders, quantities and interacts with customers with a sense of humour, in French.

The drinks cost a few bucks but interacting with the robot is free and let’s be honest, how many times can you say that?

When: Every day in June, except Sundays
Time: 5 pm – 11 pm (Monday – Wednesday) 5 pm – 10 pm (Thursday – Saturday by reservation only)
Where: 1616 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Yoko Ono’s “Arising”

Reykjavik Art Museum/Facebook

As part of the Japanese multimedia artist’s ongoing installation called “Arising,” Yoko Ono is asking women to share stories of harm that has been brought on as a result of being a woman. Participants are asked to also send in a photo of their eyes as part of the project.

Both projects take an important stance about the condition of women, particularly in regards to the #MeToo movement.

Submissions can be made by email, regular mail or in person and will be accepted at any time before or during the exhibition. Every and all submissions will be displayed.

The display kicks off at the end of the month and will be on display until September.

When: Every day in June
Time: 12 pm – 7 pm (Wednesday to Friday), 11 am  6 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain, 451 rue St-Jean

Cherry Blossom Trees

cherry blossom

mtlwang/Instagram

You can’t consider it spring or summer in Montreal without soaking up some cherry blossoms.

Head over to Westmount Park where the 26-acre park has dozens of fully bloomed cherry blossom trees for you to enjoy.

When: Every day in June
Time: 6 am – 11 pm
Where: Westmount Park

Give Peace A Chance – The Exhibition

fairmonthotels/Instagram

From May 26 to June 2 of 1969, The Queen Elizabeth Hotel welcomed John Lennon and Yoko Ono for their famous Bed-in for Peace.

In honour of the couple’s 50th anniversary of the famous bed-in, the hotel’s lobby will transform into a showroom that showcases photos and guest testimonials pulled from the book, “Give Peace a Chance: John and Yoko’s Bed-in for Peace” by Joan Athey and photographer Gerry Deiter.

Deiter was the only photojournalist covering the 1969 event.

The free exhibition will be on display until October 9, Lennon’s birthday. Visitors are encouraged to share peace vows on their social networks with the hashtags #bedin50 and #givepeaceachance.

When: Every day in June
Time: 8 am – 10 pm
Where: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 900 René-Lévesque Boulevard Ouest
Price: Free

Tulips atop Mont Royal

tulips

inkedmtl/Instagram

Fuse hundreds of tulips with Mont Royal’s picturesque views of the city and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous photo waiting to happen.

A beautiful uprising of tulips has bloomed atop the mountain, signalling that Montreal’s well-deserved spring and summer weather is finally here.

Sprouted at the lookout, in front of the Mont Royal Chalet are hundreds of tiny, beautiful orange, red, and yellow tulips.

When: Every day in June
Time: 24/7
Where: 1576 Voie Camillien-Houde

Free BIXI Sundays

BIXI

lesquartiersducanal/Instagram

Exploring Montreal is great but checking out the city on a bike is even greater. Add on scoping out the city on a bike, for free, and you’ve got yourself a dandy of a day.

For the fourth year in a row, BIXI Montreal wants to make sure you’re hitting the road for free all summer.

On the last Sunday of the month, the city’s bike sharing program will be offering free rides for everyone throughout the city.

When: Sunday, June 30
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various docks throughout the city

Les Jardins Gamelin

garden

Le Jardins Gamelin/Quartier Des Spectacles Montreal

Just in time for the surge in spring weather, one of Montreal’s favourite spring and summer past times makes its return.

The open-air space will play home to both cultural and citizen-driven events, taking place every day and night of the week.

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, Les Jardins Gamelin is an ideal place to meet friends and enjoy new cultural experiences, Les Jardins offers a rich, original, 100% made-in-Montreal program – all for free. There’s something for everyone, with daily culture and entertainment all season long.

When: Every day in June
Time: 9 am – 11 pm
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Montreal Clock Tower

Clock Tower

oldportofmontreal

The 45-metre-high tower, built in 1922, marks the entrance to the Old Port and is free to climb, all season long.

The Clock Tower pays tribute to the sailors lost at sea in wartime.

According to the Vieux-Port de Montreal website, the clock mechanism was made in England and is a replica of London’s Big Ben. “Like Big Ben,” reads the page, “its accuracy is legendary, and sailors would set their own timepieces by it.”

To get to the top, guests need to climb 192 steps before being rewarded with spectacular views of the island and the St. Lawrence River.

When: Everyday in June
Time: 9 am – 10 pm
Where: Quai de l’Horloge, Old Montreal

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

Bike season kicks into high gear in May.

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: Every day in June
Time: 24/7
Where: Runs parallel with Boulevard Maisonneuve

Orangetheory Workout

Orangetheory is a workout that, according to the website, is scientifically designed to give guests more energy, more strength, and more results. Orangetheory combines cardio, power, and strength training to “transform your body and your life.”

They offer free classes to everyone who signs up online.

When: Every day in June
Time: 5:30 am – 9:30 pm
Where: 6275 avenue Somerled, 1056 rue Ottawa, 2380 chemin Lucerne

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 June
Time: 6 pm – 10 pm
Where: 745 Rue Ottawa

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: Every day in June
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 June
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 May, 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 June
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Jean Talon Market

jean talon market

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 every day in June
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: Every day in June
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 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 spring sunshine fused with the skyline is 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 June’s summer 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 in June
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 June
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: Every day in June
Time: 9 am – 5 pm during the week, 1 pm – 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

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