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Discover Your City on a Budget: Montreal Edition

Rokhaya Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Photo via Rokhaya Rodriguez.

As summertime rolls around, it's a great opportunity to curate a bucket list that will keep you excited as you work through your newfound freedom. If you haven't yet created a list, don't worry, The Plant can lend a hand. This summer, let's embrace the chance to try new things and step outside our comfort zones. While some activities may be costly, there are always ways to save money and make the most of your summer. As we look forward to a summer with fewer Covid-19 restrictions, The Plant suggests leaving behind some of the more popular trends and focusing on new experiences. Rather than striving for perfect planning, take a moment to unwind and appreciate nature's simple pleasures.

If you love art but find museums too expensive or inconvenient, Montreal has some beautiful and colourful art-filled streets worth exploring. Take a stroll or bike ride down St-Laurent, Saint Catherine, St-Cuthbert, and St-Denis, and check out the mural at Sherbrooke and Jeanne-Mance. For street art lovers, the Mural Festival takes place in June from the 8th to the 18th, with tickets available on their website. If museums are more your style, take advantage of free admission at the McCord Museum on Wednesday evenings after 5 p.m. Additionally, visit the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Arts, McCord Museum, and Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts for free on the first Sunday of every month. And if you're 20 years old or under, admission to the Museum of Fine Arts is always free.

There are currently two exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts: Parall(elles): A History of Women in Design until May 28 and Views of Within: Picturing the Spaces We Inhabit from May 18 to July 2. More exhibits are coming up, such as Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob until September 10 and Thought and Splendour of Indigenous Colombia from June 3 until October 1. The Phi Center also offers free exhibits, including La collection d’oeuvres d'art de Phi until June 11, Conditions d'utilisation until July 9, and La route d'eau until July 10. Quentin VerCetty: Missing Black Technofossils Here – Promenade libre is also open until July 9, plus more. Check out their website for details if you're planning a museum visit. Mark your calendars for May 26; it is Museum Day, meaning all Montreal Museums will be free. If museums aren't your thing, plenty of art galleries around the Old Port area are worth a visit. If you're unsure where to start, Quartier des Spectacles offers many artistic and cultural activities.

Hello nature enthusiasts! For you, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Montreal's parks, whether you prefer reading a book or playing board games with loved ones. If you're not a fan of paying for parking or riding bikes, you'll be happy to know that entry to some metro stations like Saint-Laurent, Place-des-Arts, Peel, Champs-de-Mars, Place d’Armes, Berri-UQAM, and McGill is free during summer weekends. If you're into crowded events like music festivals or Formula 1 races, remember to book your tickets in advance. While at it, wander through Parc Jean-Drapeau, perfect for water sports lovers. For those who enjoy a good workout, you can hike up Mont-Royal, or take it easy by listening to the rhythmic sound of tam-tams while watching the sunset. Nearby, we recommend Parc La Fontaine or Parc Jeanne-Mance, ideal for picnics and sunbathing. Parc Jarry might be the perfect spot if you're looking to organize a big sporting or group event. And if you're an early-morning runner or just enjoy the fresh air, Parc Angrignon is a great place to visit. Finally, for those who love nature gazing, take advantage of Montreal's Botanical Garden’s beauty.

I have a few favourite spots and activities in Montreal that I always recommend. One of them is the Notre-Dame Basilica, a truly stunning building in terms of architecture. Keep an eye out for concerts and special events they sometimes hold there. Another spot I love is the Cathedral Christ Church, where you might even catch a free opera performance featuring professional singers. And if you have the chance, taking a nocturnal drive around the city can be a magical experience as you discover hidden corners and unexpected delights. Every Thursday night starting on June 29, enjoy the beautiful fireworks above the St-Lawrence River. For the best view, watch the shows from La Ronde’s grandstands or the Jacques-Cartier Bridge area. Finally, if you're feeling adventurous and have the means, consider trying a new hobby like outdoor yoga or pottery by taking a class. It's a great way to explore new interests and meet people!

If you feel uninspired, check out websites like Timeout or MTL Blog. Don't feel pressured to conform to society's ideal of a lavish and indulgent summer. Instead, make it your own by organizing activities or taking time to recuperate after a difficult semester. Best of luck with finals, and The Plant wishes you a wonderful summer.



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