Your guide to Montreal's free, family-friendly summer activities

The city's numerous festivals, ongoing 375th celebrations and museum discounts make for a busy, budget-friendly hub of entertainment.

Festivals, 375th celebrations make for a busy, budget-friendly hub of activity

Complètement cirque offers a variety of free circus shows in different parks across the city. (Radio-Canada)

School is out for the summer and the kids have been set free.

The city's numerous festivals, ongoing 375th celebrations and museum discounts offer plenty of options when it comes to making the most of the long summer days.

For parents looking for ways to keep children entertained on a budget, Montreal's festivals and arts programming provide the answer.

Marché des Possibles

From now until August 13, the Marché des Possibles put on by POP Montreal is offering free events for families every weekend at the corner of St-Dominique and Bernard streets.

The programming, now in its fourth edition, offers workshops, music, food, vendors, activities for kids and a pop-up playground called the Lion and the Mouse.

Over the Canada Day weekend, the playground will be open July 1 from noon to 3 p.m., and a treasure hunt will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Find a full line-up of events here.

Delve into history

The Pointe-à-Callière Museum has special offers for children and families looking to visit some of their many exhibits, including one on the history of Montreal in honour of its 375th anniversary.

Every Sunday, the museum provides an intergenerational discount, granting free entry to grandparents who are 65 and older and grandchildren under the age of 17.

The museum notes that proper identification is required and that the free access will cover a maximum of two adults and three children.

In addition, Pointe-à-Callière is offering free admission to visitors who are 25, to celebrate the museum's 25th anniversary.

More information is available here.

Complètement cirque

The 8th annual Montréal complètement cirque festival is running from July 6 to 16.

The event features a slew of free circus events including neighbourhood park performances by international circus artists.

There are also more than a dozen free performances planned at the Jardins Gamelins from July 6 to the 29.

Find a full schedule of free daytime and evening shows as well as interactive sessions here.

Museum roundup

Montreal's McCord Museum offers free admission at all times for kids under 12.

Some of the current exhibitions include a retrospective on Expo 67 and a collection of original posters advertising famous magicians like Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston during the golden age of magic.

For adults, entry to visit the permanent exhibit at the museum is free on Wednesday evenings.

At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, it's always free for children 12 and under to visit the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. 


Repercussion Theatre is presenting a production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing as part of their annual 
Shakespeare-in-the-Park programming.

The performances take place in parks around the city and are pay-what-you-can donation.

The first show is July 13 and the final performance will be Aug. 15.

Check out the full schedule here.

Free Jazz Festival concerts

Along with numerous free concerts in the Quartier des Spectacles, here are a few family-friendly picks to consider.

  • Milk & Bone at the TD stage in Place des Festivals on June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Walk Off The Earth at the TD stage July 4, at 9:30 p.m.
  • Plants and Animals at the Rio Tinto stage at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance streets on June 28 at 5 p.m.
  • The Franklin Electric at the Rio Tinto stage June 28 at 6:20 p.m.

Full programming for the Montreal Jazz Festival can be found on their website.

La Grande Tournée​

As part of Montreal's 375th celebrations, La Grande Tournée is going around from borough to borough, making appearances in local parks and providing free family activities including crafts, performances and music.

The series is presented by Cirque Éloize and will work its way from one neighbourhood to the next all summer long.

The next Grande Tournée will be in Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce at Kent Park from June 30 to July 2.