Free to Cheap Montreal Arts- Indoor Edition

Today it started snowing. I knew it was coming; it was getting chillier and later in the season. When I woke up this morning, though prepared, I still wanted to crawl back into bed and not leave the house. While I enjoy hibernating a bit, I still like to go out and have fun, and I love an artsy time. If it's cheap or free that's even better. 

Photo by LadyDragonflyCC

I think being creative is pretty good for us. Being witness to creativity is certainly helpful too. Not only is a concert or vernissage a nice place to gain inspiration, but also a nice place to meet people and entertain friends. I find it also helps to keep my energy a little higher than collapsing in front of the TV :P

In Montreal, we're pretty lucky in that we've got an abundance of cheap-to-free art throughout the year. In my quest for cheap and artsy entertainment, I've found too many options, here are a  few tips and places to check out when it's not outdoor festival season.

Warning- before you begin- if you're not sure, call first to make sure the event is free, that 'reoccurring' events are still reoccurring, and that there are no unforeseen changes.  Proceed.

Check out the Universities and CEJEPs in the area- you'll find music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, and many other artistic events at these locales. Be sure to call ahead, things can change at the last minute.

For music, I like Mcgill's and  Concordia's many recitals and concerts. They're not all free, but won't set you back the price of  Place des Arts tix. For Concordia, most student concerts will be 5$, free with student ID. Aside from classical and jazz fare, they also host various events from outside organizers. Universite de Montreal also offers a variety of concerts.

Photo by  Dino ahmad ali
Dawson College offers cheap theatre with  free preview nights while Concordia offers affordable classic and student-written productions. Concordia also has a dance department that puts on several productions per year.

While in the area, check out the galleries at both Dawson and Concordia if you're craving visual arts. They have strong student and guest shows throughout the year and particularly around spring graduation. Aside from Montreal's sometimes-free museums, a search in the paper or online will show lots of free exhibitions and vernissages.

For comedy, why not check out some the open-mics around the city. The Comedy Nest currently has a 5$ one that has the potential to tickle your funny bone.  If you feel like getting involved, but without doing stand-up in front of a room of strangers,  Montreal Improv offers free workshops as well as their classes and shows.

There are just too many places in the city to hear live music for the price of a meal or some drinks, but a look in The Mirror will give you an idea of what's on for the night. One of my favourite places is Burritoville on Bishop Street. They serve great Mexican, vegetarian food in a a laid-back atmosphere. They host a variety of music, poetry, and art shows, they also occasionally host discussions. Call them to find out what's going on. Shäika Café is another laid-back favourite of mine. For more poems- Throw Poetry Collective is currently holding slam-nights which cost 5-7$, though they state no-one is turned away.
Photo by  pdinnen
If you're looking for documentary film, community organizations, and universities are a good place to look. The NDG food depot occasionally hosts films and discussions. Cinema Politica offers by-donation politically-minded films at several locations in the city .
When it's real cold in February, those in Montreal can look forward to Nuit Blanche (White Night). The metros are open all night to accommodate those heading to the plethora of indoor and outdoor activities across the city. The last time I went it was a pretty good time. 

If you have a topic or artform you like and it's not in the papers, do a search for groups in Montreal. There are so many and they can tell you if they've got anything going on. Happy art-hunting.

Do you have a favourite place to see free to cheap art? Leave a comment and share it with us.


  1. The Biosphere is having its annual Recycling Artists Eco Fair from December 2nd until the 4th. Admission is free. I've been twice and I'm always in awe of the things people can make out of recyclable materials. It's also a great place to pick up some Christmas gifts for your eco-friendly friends & family.
    Admission is also free to view their "Outfits From A New Era" exhitbit where all the outfits are made from garbage.

  2. @Dee
    Thanks for tip. That sounds like an awesome event. It's always so exciting to see ways that people think of to make what seems to be trash into something beautiful.Gonna try to check it out next weekend. :)


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