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Free Things to Do This May 2017 in Montreal
Free things to do May 2017 in Montreal? When the weather warms up in this town, freebies multiply like cliched bunnies in heat.
Not that heat has hit the city just yet. No risk of cloying humidity nor sunstroke in May, barring climatological exceptions. Rather, the weather is PERFECT to get out there and take in the following 45 free things you can experience in Montreal this May 2017.
Truth be told, there's more than 45 freebies out there, but I'm picky about what I put on this list. See, I want you to have fun when you go out, not send you on a wild goose chase that turns into a letdown. I want that freebie to be worth it because time, my valued readers, is finite. You can't ever get it back. So squeeze every bit of worth out of it. Get out there and live a little, with or without that wallet ;-)Continue to 2 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Tam Tams
A popular drum and dance activity with locals and a hit with tourists, anyone can join in the Tam Tams every spring and summer Sunday on Mont Royal, whether musician, onlooker, or tribal beat dancer.
Keep in mind that it's hard to predict when the Tam Tams start up again. It's anyone's guess every year.Continue to 3 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Garden
And you thought Japan and D.C. had the monopoly on cherry blossoms. With any luck, the Montreal Botanical Garden's cherry blossoms will begin blooming before the garden's short-lived freebie window closes after May 14, 2017.
Many locals don't know about this insider loophole. That's probably because the Garden doesn't go out of its way to mention it. I only found out myself by fluke a few years back when I was visiting on assignment and noticed a few people walk in without paying admission.
So the freebie deal works like this: walk anywhere you want in the outdoor gardens. You don't have to pay a penny of admission for outdoor access until May 14, 2017. The only way to get free year round access to the outdoor gardens is with an Accès Montreal card. As for the greenhouses, you always have to pay to see them. There's no way around that.
As for those cherry blossoms, it's going to be hit or miss if you plan on catching them by May 14. The window for cherry... blossom gawking is notoriously short, a week at most, and it generally happens mid-month.
Good luck.Continue to 4 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Swings
You've got until May 28, 2017 to hop on these musical swings.Continue to 5 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Asia
A celebration of Asian culture through film, song, art, food, and more, admission varies by event at Festival Accès Asie but some are completely free of charge, notably photo exhibits, talks, and the festival's opening cocktail on May 2, 2017, offering a sneak peek into this edition's activities. Accès Asie runs May 2 through May 28, 2017.Continue to 6 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The McCord
Attention history buffs. Everyone gets into the McCord Museum free as of 5 p.m. on May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24 and May 31, 2017. It's a Wednesday thing ;-)Continue to 7 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Village
The Montreal Gay Village is car-free by the beginning of May, an annual tradition since its debut in the spring of 2008, making way for a slew of free spring and summer events, notably the neighborhood's terraces which open in tandem on May 4, 2017.Continue to 8 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Puces
Four words: perfect Mother's Day gift ideas.
See Also: Montreal's Hottest Sales
It's free to get in, running from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Count on 115 vendors on site.Continue to 9 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Atelier
Ever been to Les Faubourgs? Over 90 artists -painters, sculptors, fashion designers, metalworkers- with studios located in Les Faubourgs' perimeter including the Grover building, a former textile mill, are opening their doors to the public this May, giving a behind-the-scenes look at their day-to-day creative process. And if you like what you see? You can buy it on the spot. In 2017, La Virée des Ateliers is from May 4 to May 7, 2017. Admission is, of course, free.Continue to 10 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Walking Tour
Discover the Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal's entertainment district, via a free walking tour May 4 through October 8, 2017.
See Also: Old Montreal Ghost Walks
Guided tours in English are every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tours in French are on Thursdays from 5:30 pm. to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon. Tour are always free but registration is required.
Visiting the Entertainment District? Stay in Montreal's Best Nearby HotelsContinue to 11 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Comic
Mark May 6, 2017 on your calendars for Free Comic Book Day, when participating Montreal comic book stores give out free comics, usually editions specifically distributed on Comic Book Day. So yeah, you can't just walk in and grab whatever you want, but still. Free comics!Continue to 13 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Maestro
Take control of Place des Festival's water jets at the flick of a baton courtesy of Maëstro, an interactive digital arts project running May 8 to May 18, 2017. Either show up on location or contact Quartier des Spectacles for details.Continue to 14 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Redpath
One of the best Montreal museums for families, or anyone really, the Redpath Museum is a perpetual freebie in these parts. But do consider giving a donation. It makes all the difference in keeping this local science treasure preserved.Continue to 15 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The VR
View seven virtual reality films free of charge at PHI Centre now through May 29, 2017 produced by Felix & Paul Studios. Details.Continue to 17 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Science
From taste-testing honey from Montreal's urban beehives to observing Parc La Fontaine's aquatic life under a microscope, several medical facilities, academic departments, and museums across Montreal propose science workshops over a 24-hour period.
It's free admission for access to over 300 activities throughout the province of Quebec, though reservations are often required. In 2017, 24 Hours of Science runs May 12 and May 13, 2017.Continue to 18 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Oasis
L’Oasis Musicale is the name of Christ Church Cathedral's free Saturday afternoon classical music concerts. Sandwiched between downtown Montreal's malls, the cathedral itself is a five-minute walk from Place des Festivals and an even shorter stroll from my favorite pizza joint in Montreal.
See Also: Montreal's Best Brunch
Consider grabbing a bite to eat before or after the concerts, which start at 4:30 p.m. Donations in the range of $5 to $10 are welcomed to help support performing artists as well as fund ongoing building repairs and maintenance.
And given how popular the free concerts have been at Christ Church, St. George's Church added on its own series of concerts, this time on Sundays at 2 p.m. Classical, jazz, and popular tunes are performed by emerging artists. As with Christ Church, donations are welcomed.Continue to 19 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Bulles
Hôtel le Crystal, one of Montreal's most luxurious hotels, proposes a monthly event dubbed Soirée Arts et Bulles. The next 5-à-7 free admission event which typically includes a complimentary glass of bubbly, is on May 10, 2017. Artisan of the month is Horace Jewelry, a Quebec line of handmade jewelry and accessories.
Visiting Montreal? Stay Near the Palais des CongrèsContinue to 20 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Compost
Twice a year, Montreal residents are given access to a heap of black gold free of charge at the St. Michel Environmental Complex and other sites across the city.Continue to 21 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: Avudo
Catch a free 30-minute presentation of Montréal Avudo May 17 through September 2, 2017 outside at the Old Port near the Montreal Science Centre. Water jets, 3D animations, and archival images superimposed on the water and surrounding port make up the experience. Reservations required.
Visiting Montreal? Stay Near the Old PortContinue to 22 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Gamelin
You couldn't ask for a better revitalization story. Jardins Gamelin used to be the equivalent of a drug-dealing dump. Now it's a gorgeous public square featuring gardens, food, drink and loads of free activities and performances all spring and summer long.
See Also: Montreal's Best Terraces
Reopening May 19, 2017 with a bang, count on a Jardin Gamelin opening party with DJs, a salsa presentation, live music, drinks, tasty treats, and more. The evening starts at 5:30 p.m.
Stay Near Jardins Gamelin: Montreal Festival HotelsContinue to 23 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Porch
First came Ithaca, New York's Porchfest in 2007. Then the idea spread across the United States and Canada. In 2015, the idea came to the Montreal neighborhood of NDG. And locals loved it so much that buzz on the street is this event's a keeper.
See Also: Does This NDG Brunch and High Tea Locale Make the Best Scones in Montreal?
So what is Porchfest? A bunch of professional and amateur musicians basically play music from the comfort of their porches for a weekend, with residents and friends checking out dozens of musical acts in the process. It's like a musical walking tour. NDG's Porchfest goes down the weekend May 20 through May 21, 2017.Continue to 24 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Books
From May 20 to May 28, 2017, Montreal's public libraries join forces to sell over 100,000 books for tiny prices at Aréna Martin-Brodeur. Think $3 or less per book. Most of them are in French, with up to 15,000 in English in addition to foreign language books, audio tapes, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs. It's fun to browse and free admission, as always.Continue to 25 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Architecture
In addition to granting free access as of 5:30 p.m., free film screenings and gallery talks are often part of the package every Thursday at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.Continue to 26 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Giants
Catch two giants up to five stories high walking the streets of downtown Montreal May 19 through May 21, 2017. Spot them in Jeanne-Mance Park, Pointe-à-Callière, and south of the Gay Village. Route details here.
Visiting Montreal? Stay in Old Montreal's Top-Rated HotelsContinue to 27 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Pouzza
In addition to Pouzza Fest's regular pay-to-see programming is its FREE BEER GARDEN PARTY! Running May 19 through May 21, 2017 catch over 25 punk, reggae, dub and ska bands playing live at the Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles (if you can find Place des Festivals, you'll eventually spot the Parterre).
See Also: Montreal's Hottest Music Venues by Genre
And be on the lookout for family-friendly activities for the little punks in your life on Saturday, May 20 at 12:30 p.m.Continue to 28 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Greenhouses
Starting May 20, 2017, the Verdun Greenhouses serve as a hub for free dance classes, events, and workout programs nearly every day of summer.Continue to 29 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Salsa
Saturday nights at Jardins Gamelin will never be the same starting May 20, 2017. On that eve and then nine more Saturday nights until September 30, 2017 is Salsafolie, a chance to learn the basics of salsa and bachata from scratch or practice your moves like a pro from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
All levels are welcome, from newbie to professional dancer. And it's FREE to learn. Just get there early if you're new to the art. Instructors are primed to teach the basics from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Food and drinks (beer, wine, cocktails) can also be purchased on site. Note that there are no Salsofolies Saturday June 24 through July 29, 2017.Continue to 30 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Family
Every Sunday at Jardins Gamelin starting May 21, 2017 and all through summer is Family Sunday. Anticipate face-painting, garden talks, dance and theatre workshops, and other family-friendly surprises geared towards ages 0 to 8. Communication is predominantly in French.
See Also: Montreal Family Events and ActivitiesContinue to 31 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Yoga for Punks
It's not just yoga. It's yoga for PUNKS, a part of Pouzza Fest's freebie programming. Catch the class this Sunday, May 21, 2017. It's held outside as 12:30 p.m. at the Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles near Place des Festivals.
See Also: Montreal's Best May Concerts
If you're coming from Ste. Catherine Street, just walk up Place des Festivals, take a right when you reach the far end of the square and boom, there's your Parterre.Continue to 32 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The St. Denis
Lounging at most of these top Montreal terraces -locals call them terrasses, by the way- costs money. And if you decide to linger on one of St. Denis Street's patios on May 26 and May 27, 2017, it'll still cost ya.
See Also: Montreal's Best Sidewalk Sales
But a little section of the street -from de Maisonneuve to Sherbrooke- will be closed off to cars to make way for free concerts, a climbing wall and other surprises on Friday as of 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Presented by Osheaga.Continue to 33 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Chromatic
Families are invited to bring the kids to Chromatic Kids from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 28, 2017 at Studio l'Éloi. Cost? Nada. But reservations are recommended to ensure access to fifteen different creative workshops offered throughout the day.Continue to 34 of 47 below.
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Free things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Rome
Visit a replica of Rome's St. Peter's Basilica in the heart of downtown Montreal.Continue to 35 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Photo
Catch a free photo exhibit of the works of Harry Benson at Old Montreal's Galerie Got until May 28, 2017. Benson is an iconic photographer perhaps best known for his work from the '60s, capturing everyone from Queen Elizabeth and John F. Kennedy to Mohammed Ali, Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Mia Farrow, Alfred Hitchcock, and more.
Travel in Style: Montreal's Hottest Boutique HotelsContinue to 36 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The BD
Festival BD de Montréal offers residents and visitors the opportunity to meet French comic book artists and participate in on-theme activities at Parc La Fontaine. In 2017, the Festival BD runs May 26 through May 28, 2017. As always, admission is free.Continue to 38 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Cycle
It's days like those in May that remind the masses why hopping on a simple bike is so alluring, a free activity as long as you've got your own wheels. Here are my favorite cycling destinations in Montreal.Continue to 39 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Night Market
DETAILS FOR THE 2017 EDITION OF THE NIGHT MARKET WILL BE REVEALED LATER IN MAY. BELOW FEATURES LAST YEAR'S DETAILS.
Food trucks, DJ sessions and a night market converge from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on May 28, 2016 at de l'Esplanade above St. Zotique courtesy of Marché de Nuit.Continue to 40 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The TransAmériques
Every year since its 2007 inception, Festival TransAmériques features free theatrical and dance performances typically held outdoors. And 2017 is no different.
Among other freebies, catch Blank Placard Dance: replay, a two-hour performance featuring a brigade of performers protesting across downtown Montreal holding blank placards, begging the question ''what do you want to protest,'' with the circuit starting at Place des Festivals at noon on both May 26 and May 27, 2017.Continue to 41 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2016: The Anarchy
Montreal's annual Anarchist Book Fair proposes folks “come learn more about anarchist ideas and practice. Workshops, theme rooms, films, art and more will take place on both days." Running May 27 and May 28, 2017, the event is free admission.Continue to 42 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Museums Day
Explore Montreal's museum network free of charge over the course of one day courtesy of Montreal Museums Day. In 2017, that would be Sunday, May 28. Free shuttle bus service available during the city-wide event.
See Also: 15 Montreal Museums You Have to SeeContinue to 43 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: Free BIXI Sunday
After a successful debut run in 2016, BIXI Sundays are back in 2017 proposing free access to its fleet of public bicycles on select Sundays. The first one of the season is on May 28, 2017. Details here.
See Also: How BIXI WorksContinue to 44 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Off
Performance art festival OFFTA: Festival d'arts vivants "is an artistic event created by Montreal artists on the edge of Festival TransAmériques. The OFFTA offers a multidisciplinary program centered on contemporary creation and the encounter of various art forms.”
Admission varies by event but there's always a freebie going on. Think DJ sets and contemporary dance performances. In 2017, OFFTA's free contemporary art performances and installations are held May 30 through June 8, 2017 and surround the theme of complexity.Continue to 45 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Miracles
The site of thousands of alleged miracles attributed to a recently sainted doorman, admission to St. Joseph's Oratory is technically free if you avoid the museum which does charge admission. Parking is also free on Sundays before 1 p.m. But if you can spare a little, please give a donation. Proceeds go toward maintaining the site.Continue to 46 of 47 below.
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Free Things to Do in Montreal May 2017: The Piano
British artist Ed Atkins premiere Canadian exhibit at the PHI Centre runs now until September 3, 2017 presenting five recent digital video works by the Berlin-based artist exploring loneliness, alienation, and the invasive security of modern life. Entitled Modern Piano Music, admission is free.Continue to 47 of 47 below.
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