With all these big festivals coming to town, summer in Montreal isn’t always easy on the wallet. Fortunately, the city offers many free activities.
From outdoor cinemas to craft and food markets, there’s plenty to do in August while living on a budget. Here’s a list of 11 free activities so you too can get out this month and enjoy the warm weather, while it lasts.
Discover the Asian market in Chinatown and attend the night market
- Asian Market: Thursday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. until October 2
- Night market: from August 25 to 28; Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.
Address: Place des rêves at the intersection of boulevards Saint-Laurent and René-Lévesque E.
Why you should go: The Asian Market in Chinatown hosts a nighttime market with over 20 local food vendors serving up Asian street food. You can enter for free and food prices range from $4 to $12. Arrive early to avoid the queue!
More info on the Asian Market
More info on the night market
Watch the last summer fireworks display
When: August 3 and 6
Address: The best areas for free public viewing include the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, the Old Port and the Village au Pied-du-Courant.
Why go: It’s almost the end of the 36th edition of L’International des Feux Loto-Québec. There are only two shows in August, including the grand finale. The Jacques Cartier Bridge will be closed to traffic, opening up the best views to pedestrians.
Watch a show packed with drag superstars
When: August 4
Address: Olympic Park Esplanade, TD Stage, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Why you should go: Montreal Pride is finally back in full swing this year. This special will feature 18 internationally renowned queens, including drag race former franchisees. Montrealer Rita Baga will host the free three-hour event, double the “largest free drag show in the country”.
Explore the Salon de la Grande Fabrique
When: August 6 and 7
Address: rue Sainte-Catherine E. east of avenues Bourbonnière
Why go: Located in Hochelaga, this eco-responsible market brings together more than 150 local artisans and designers. It’s an opportunity to meet these talented creators and, if you’re ready to spend a little money, to go shopping.
Watch the Pride Parade
When: August 7
Address: René-Lévesque Boulevard, between Metcalfe and Alexandre-DeSève streets
Why you should go: If there’s one pride event you can’t miss, it’s the parade. You can join thousands of walkers in celebrating 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. There will be two viewing areas designated for people with reduced mobility.
Dance all day at the Village au Pied-du-Courant
When: After 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until September 18
Address: 2100, rue Notre-Dame E.
Why you should go: It’s the perfect place for a fun happy hour. At the Village au Pied-du-Courant, you can enjoy a varied program of shows, dance with your friends and, if you’re ready to drop a few boobies, try a cocktail. Dogs are welcome. Plus, the view of La Ronde amusement park isn’t too shabby.
Stop at the Jardins Gamelin
When: Until October 2
Address: Plaza Emilie-Gamelin, 1500 Berri Street
Why go: Les Jardins Gamelin are open daily with free activities, workshops, games and shows. August events include shows in collaboration with Montreal Pride, a Bollywood dance show and karaoke. In addition, on August 7, you can participate in a butterfly release.
Meet giant puppets
When: Fridays and Saturdays from August 26 to September 10
Address: Promenade Wellington
Why go: The Marionnettes Plein la rue festival is back for its 11th edition to amaze the crowds along Verdun’s pedestrian commercial artery. In addition to magic tricks and puppet shows, giant puppets will walk the streets in highly Instagrammable displays.
Watch a show at the outdoor theater in Parc La Fontaine
When: August 3, 12, 19, 24 and 25
Address: Parc La Fontaine, on a small island in the pond in the center of the park
Why you should go: Parc La Fontaine’s Théâtre de Verdure has finally reopened for the first time since 2014. The newly renovated hall is hosting more than 30 free shows this summer.
In August, Montrealers can soak up the culture of this verdant environment with an acrobatics show, an evening of Colombian music as well as performances by Les Grands Ballets and I Musici of Montreal.
Attend this Asian street food festival
When: August 19-21
Address: Site MR-63 (corner of Peel and Ottawa streets)
Why you should go: Asian street food market and Montreal cultural festival POCHA is back in Griffintown. You can attend for free and dance to K-pop tunes. Those willing to spend a little can buy snacks such as fried chicken and KOGOS.