28 FREE things to do in Montreal this October

Sep 26 2018, 7:01 pm

As we usher in a new month and start planning what to wear on the 31st, the city of Montreal has plenty of free events planned out to help you coast towards Halloween.

As the weather begins to cool down, October could be the last chance to peruse the city before the inevitable snow hits.

So tuck your wallet into the drawer and check out the 28 free things to do in Montreal this October.

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 October to get those intellectual juices flowing.

When: Wednesday, October 3
Time: 10 am – 9 pm
Where: 690 Rue Sherbrooke 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 has been taking place on the first Friday of every month all summer, and October is the last First Friday month until May. It’s free to enter but the food samples have varying costs.

When: Friday, October 5
Time: 4 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

The Canadian International Organ Competition

Every October, the Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) presents the world’s finest organs and organists. The festival promotes increasing awareness and interest in organ music.

When: October 6,7,14,19,20,21,28,29 and 30
Time: Various times
Where: Various venues

Wind Instrument


Quartier des Spectacles

Six 28-foot-high steel ventilation tubes, positioned vertically, produce melodies and soothing sounds by reacting to different variations in ambient sound and the contributions made to the public.

When: From now until October 8
Time: 11 am – 9 pm (to 11 pm from Thursday to Sunday)
Where: Metro Saint-Laurent

MAPP_MTL Map Festival

MAPP_MTL is a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting and developing the boundless potential of projection mapping.

In collaboration with Moment Factory (known for illuminating the Jacques Cartier Bridge), the festival features music, visual arts and tons of you guess it, mapping.

When: October 6 – 19
Time: Various times
Where: Various neighbourhoods around Montreal

Vernissage: The Nature of Art Therapy

The Nature of Art Therapy exhibition explores the healing powers of art and nature as art therapists, artists and practitioners submit and study artwork created from natural materials.

When: Friday, October 12
Time: 6 pm – 8 pm
Where: La Ruche d’Art St-Henri

Vintage Cars at the Orange Julep

orange julep

Orange Julep/Shutterstock

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.

October is the last month of the Julep hosting vintage cars and motorcycles in their parking lot every Wednesday.

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

When: October 3, 10, 17
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie

Montreal Vegan Festival

vegan food festival

Festival végane de Montréal/Facebook

This two-day festival is headlined by Quebec-native Jean-Philippe Cyr, known as “The Buddhist Chef.” Cyr is a classically trained chef who specializes in vegan and cruelty-free recipes and cooking.

Besides offering a variety of vegan-based dishes for purchase, the festival will host a culinary demonstration where guests can witness a collection of renowned, local, chefs cooking up tasty vegan meals.

When: October 20 – 21
Time: 10 am – 6 pm (until 5 pm on Sunday)
Where: Palais de congrès

Arab World Festival of Montreal

The Arab World Festival presents a meeting of Arab and Western cultures. It welcomes artists, filmmakers and intellectuals while establishing an artistic space dedicated to encouraging a dialogue between cultural identities from different horizons by creating, producing and broadcasting projects.

When: October 26 – November 11
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Where: Place des Arts

BIXI Sunday

Bixi sharing program


Free BIXI Sundays are back for the third season in a row. On the last Sunday of every month, BIXI is offering free day passes to everyone in the city. All you have to do is swipe a credit card, solely for the fact that 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, October 28
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various locations throughout Montreal

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: October 2,9,16,23 and 30
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Marche des Zombies de Montréal

zombie walk

Marche des Zombies/Facebook

Montreal’s streets will soon be filled with hundreds of zombies, in a good way. On October 27, the annual zombie walk returns to Place des Festivals where ghouls, creatures and the undead will take over for a terrifying stroll around downtown.

The parade is an opportunity for people of any age to get doused in fake blood, creepy costumes and scary props in a slow trot with hundreds of other frightening characters.

When: Saturday, October 27
Time: 1 pm
Where: Place des Festivals
Price: Free

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

Notre-Dame Basilica

Mozart concert

A G Baxter (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: Every day in October
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 October, 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 October
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


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

Café Suspendu


Café suspendu du Mont Royal/Facebook

Café Suspendu is a one-of-a-kind cafe that dangles off Mont Royal overlooking the entire city. The cafe hosts live music, events and yoga sessions every weekend. (Coffees, teas and food available for purchase).

When: Every day until October 31
Time: 12 pm – 9 pm (10 am on Saturdays, closed Monday-Thursday)
Where: Mont Royal

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 October 14
Time: Thursdays: 2 pm – 7 pm, Saturdays: 9 am – 2 pm
Where: 400 Rue de la Commune 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 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 fall foliage and 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 October’s gorgeous 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 to see.

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

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

As bike season begins to dwindle down, get in some last minute riding before the snow covers our amazing bike paths.

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

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

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 October with the fall foliage.

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

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