Skip to content

Tips For Exploring Montreal On A Budget


Montreal architecture. Photo via Floriane Vita/Unsplash.

Guest Post By Keith Holland  Montreal isn’t exactly known for being cheap, though it is worth exploring. One of the oldest cities in Canada, Montreal is filled with attractions for history buffs, night owls, nature enthusiasts and culture carnivores. To help you navigate the city on a budget, Keith Holland of JustFly provides some simple tips, including:

1. STM

First stop, any one of Montreal’s metro stations. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is Montreal’s public transit network. While the cars and stations are a bit dated — they look like something straight out of the 1970s — the STM is an efficient way of getting around, with most of the city being served well by both the underground rail and street-level buses. If you intend to use public transit make sure you take advantage of the weekly and/or monthly passes to get the best value.

2. Park Hangouts

Combine health, nature, beauty and budget by visiting one of Montreal’s many beautiful parks, each unique in their own way. That being said, they’re all governed by loose alcohol rules. Generally cops won’t bother you as long as you aren’t acting rowdy, so pack a Prosecco-laced picnic and head out. For park suggestions, one recommendation is Park Girouard in the Notre Dame De Grace neighborhood, famous for its massive dog park (so bring your four-legged companion if you have one!). In the Plateau area you also have two of Montreal’s most beloved parks. La Fontaine Park is a sprawling green space filled with trails and athletic facilities you can enjoy for free. Down the street is Mont Royal Park, a mountain top park with huge lookouts over the city and scenic mountain jogging trails.

3. Unique Neighborhoods

One of the best parts of your travels in Canada, particularly the cities like Montreal, will likely be exploring the neighborhoods. Sticking with the Plateau, you’ll find numerous shops and cafes that can be perused at your leisure. While many high foot traffic areas focus on fancy chains, typically the shops in The Plateau are second-hand shops, meaning you can find lots of great deals. In Montreal South West (Le Sud-Ouest) you have the Saint-Henri neighborhood, beautifully located along the Lachine Canal. This provides a great opportunity to go for a bike ride or relax with a good book. And in Old Montreal, you’ll never tire of admiring architectural gems like the Notre-Dame Basilica and the historic structures of the pedestrian-only Saint-Paul Street.

Notre-Dame Basilica. Photo via GPS/flickr.

4. Museums

Montreal is littered with museums, with a few being free to enter. One is the Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts, allowing free access to their permanent collection during all open hours. This collection holds over 41,000 works and you’ll see a great range of art from fine arts to fashion to design and beyond. Just down the street is the Redpath Museum. This small but packed (and free!) natural history museum on the grounds of McGill University features artifacts like fossils, shrunken heads, mineral and shell collections, space rocks, ancient cultural relics and more. Staff are actually McGill students, and are more than happy to further expand your knowledge on the specimens before you.

5. Ice Skating

In the colder months Montreal becomes a winter wonderland. As a passionate hockey city, it should come as no surprise that the city becomes dotted with outdoor rinks and maintained lake/river-bound skating surfaces. While some places charge for skating most rinks are free to use, like Beaver Lake and Jeanne-Mance Park. Moreover, certain skating spots are open year-round, like Atrium Le 1000, which costs $7.50 CAD (~$5.80 USD) for general admission. This indoor skating rink resides in Montreal’s tallest building, which reaches 673 feet. Need more Montreal inspiration? Check out this guide to going beyond the guidebook in Montreal. Additionally, consider heading to British Columbia to discover the many Victoria BC attractions, which are some of the most interesting in Canada!

What’s your favorite budget-friendly activity in Montreal?

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

Blogging Courses

Want to live your best life through travel?

Subscribe for FREE access to my library of fun blogging worksheets and learn how to get paid to travel more!


Leave a Comment