Montreal is a city with history and pride. It has a very long and beautiful French past and is one of Canada’s most historic cities. Montreal has countless museums and galleries; has the second largest botanical garden in the world, and offer parks scattered all over the city, often with free performances. The Old Town is beautiful and filled with jazz clubs, historic buildings, and world class dining. Montreal also has amazing French inspired cuisine, wonderful nightlife, and world class jazz bars. There’s not to dislike about this city.
- Hostel Prices: Hostels start et $18 USD a night for a dorm room.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Montreal is an expensive city and hotels, even the budget ones, are moderately priced. A room at a budget hotel will begin around $80 USD for something near the city center.
- Average Cost of Food: Restaurants will average $30 USD for dinner, including a glass of wine or beer. You can find some cheap eateries for around $10 USD, but if you want a nice meal, you’ll pay for it. If you are going to cook your own food, expect to pay between $50 to 75 USD per week.
- Transportation Costs: Tickets for one trip (including transfer) on the metro and buses cost $3.00 USD per trip. If you purchase six, they are $14.25 USD. Tourist passes offer unlimited travel on the bus and metro for periods of one day ($8.00 USD) or three days ($16.00 USD). Also check the unlimited evening pass (6 pm to 5 am) which is $4.00 USD. Weekly passes will set you back $22 USD.
Top Things to Do
- Museum of Fine Arts – Free entrance makes this a cheap place to spend the day while soaking in some culture. It showcases many types of art including textiles. Temporary exhibitions can incur admission fees (could vary between $12-$20 USD).
- Mont Royal – Whether you like to jog, picnic or just people-watch, this park offers a little bit of everything. During the warm summer months, the park is quite full.
- Old Montreal Walking Tour – Old Montreal is one of the fascinating and best parts of the city in many local and tourists’ opinions. Visit a museum, attend one of their many exhibitions, or learn about some of the city’s history.
- Jean-Talon Market – The city’s largest market hosts hundreds of stalls in the middle of Little Italy neighborhood. The square is surrounded by shops and small specialized groceries. It is a great place to have lunch or at least grab fresh food for later.
- Have a picnic at Mount Royal Park – During the summer months, this is a real happening part of the city. People come and play the drums while others relax and have a picnic. Every Sunday from May to October, hundreds of Montrealers gather near Sir George-Etienne Cartier monument to engage in various outdoors activities during a variety of summer festivals.
- Take a half-day bike tour – For $63 USD, you can take a bike tour around the city. It’s a three hour guided tour and takes you around all the major sites in the city. It’s a different way to explore this wonderful town and see much of the city in one day.
- Visit the Jardin Bontanique – Montreal houses the second largest botanical garden in the world. Opened in 1931, it offers something for the history buff as well, and showcases ten greenhouses. A beautiful day for an inexpensive price.
- Parc La Fontaine – Whether you want to play beach volleyball, play tennis in one of their many tennis courts or just have a picnic while people-watching, this park has a little bit of it all and offers a very cheap afternoon. It also shows a number of free performances.
- Le Plateau – This area combines scenic residential streets with hip shopping and dining. It’s the up and coming area of the city and is quite trendy.
- The Biodome – This biodome is the only one of its kind in the world and features four distinct ecosystems representing the four most beautiful habitats found in North, Central and South America. It is located in the former Olympic Games Velodrome.
- Ice Skating – In the old port, you will find the only outdoor skating arena. Bear the cold of the outdoors for a few laps around the massive rink, a figure skating class, or even an nightly concert.
- Calèche Ride – This adventure is a little on the pricey side, but a guided tour of the Old Port in a classic Calèche carriage offers a refreshingly different perspective of the area. Give your feet a rest and try it out.
- Boat Ride – There are 45 minutes tours of the harbor available, as well as 90 minutes tours of the Lachine Canal. Boat tours are up to 30 passengers only, which makes for an even more enjoyable experience.
- Place des Armes – This is one of three main squares in the Old City—this particular square is near the core of downtown and contains: the Notre Dame Basilica, the first building of the Bank of Montreal, the New York Life building, and the Aldred Building. Very neat place to check out a variety of history.
- St. Joesph Oratory – Second in height only to that of St. Peter’s in Rome, this dome is massive in sight and beauty. It is one of the most visited shrines in all of Canada. The view from the basilica is very impressive.
- Self-Guided Walking Tour - Montreal is a city best discovered on foot. It’s a cheap way to see the city. For a more serene walk – and less tourist crowded – head along the Lachine Canal. The nature an some historic buildings are worth seeing.
- Free Art - The Museum of Contemporary Art is free Wed. evenings 5 – 9 pm. Regular ticket cost vary between $6.00 USD (student) and $10.00 USD (adult). The Center of Design at the Université du Québec à Montréal presents works from Québec, Canada and international designers. Admission is free and hours are Wed to Sun, noon to 6 p.m. The Center Canadien d’Architecture is free on Thursday nights after 5:30pm. Also open from Wed to Sun, 11am to 6pm with free entry for students or $10.00 USD (adult). On the last Sunday of May, some 30 museums open their doors to the public for free, while six bus routes offer free transportation.
- Visit One of the Public Markets – The markets offer a look at local life and culture while having amazing cheap food and drinks.
- Free ice skating in winter – Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau has a skating pond during the winter that is a free. Other free rinks around the city include Lac aux Castors, Beaver Lake, at Parc Mont Royal, the Quays of the Old Port of Montréal, and Parc Jeanne-Mance.
- Free tour of City Hall - From May through October, the city hall has a free 45-minute guided tour.
- Dance for free – On Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday nights during the summer, dance instructors lead free ballroom dancing lessons in Parc Jean Drapeau.
- Eat Cheap Sandwiches - Montreal eateries have great sandwiches that are really cheap. They cost just under $6 USD and will keep your stomach full for a while.
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