Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Photo © Art_InTheCity, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Montréalers are all about having the highest standard of living on the smallest possible budget. That’s part of what makes Montréal such an attractive city in the first place. Sure, you can still enjoy exclusive shops and four-star restaurants, but you don’t need a bank loan to do it. Here are a few tips to get the most from your travel budget.


When downtown, Asian eateries are often a budget-friendly choice. Try Qing Hua Dumpling and Kazu.

Dining alfresco is a Montréal tradition. Dinette Triple Crown makes it easy by supplying you with a picnic basket filled with a tablecloth, cutlery, extra hot sauce, and your order of southern favorites like fried chicken and grits. All you have to do is cart it over to the adjacent park. Farther south on the Main, the mini-burgers and fries at Patati Patata are the ultimate takeout, especially for an alfresco dinner at Parc Jeanne-Mance.

A number of upscale restaurants offer affordable lunchtime meals. Some of the best include Toqué!, Kitchenette, and Graziella.

Diners in the know bring their own bottle to La Colombe and Le Quartier Général.

The king of upscale late-night dinners is the classic French bistro Leméac, where they serve a table d’hôte special for $22 after 10pm.

Vegans and vegetarians should head to the Mile End for some of the best and most affordable vegetarian food in the city. Top spots include Le Cagibi, La Lumière du Mile End, Le Panthère Verte, and Dépanneur le Pick-Up.


Most bars have nightly music and impromptu dancing for the price of a drink. Check the listings at Bar Plan B, Korova, Casa del Popolo, L’Escogriffe, and Brutopia.

Museums and Galleries

Most of the city’s independent galleries are free and host weekly or monthly vernissages (exhibition openings) with complimentary drinks. Top spots include Belgo Building, DHC/ART, and Parisian Laundry.

At the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal many exhibits can be viewed free of charge, and the museum offers half-price admission on Wednesday nights.

Admission is free on Wednesday nights after 5pm at Musée d’Art Contemporain.


Vieux-Montréal is the ideal place to stay, but the prices can be polarizing. If you’re on a budget, try the welcoming hostel Auberge Alternative de Vieux-Montréal, which offers private rooms, or the affordable and charming bed-and-breakfast Le Petit Prince.

Move away from the tourist areas and stay in the residential neighborhood Plateau Mont-Royal at a bed-and-breakfast like Gingerbread Manor or Pensione Popolo.

Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Montréal & Québec City.