Montréal’s event scene is out of this world. Think: circuses in the streets, high-speed car races, igloo raves, and neon lights illuminating the entire city. If you’re planning a trip and looking for a rockin’ Montréal itinerary, look no further than this list. There are endless things to do in Montréal for the event-fiend and festival-goer. So, check into your budget-friendly penthouse (we see you, Montreal Airbnbs) and get ready to explore 24 of the best Montréal events and festivals in the heart of the city.
January Events in Montréal
Feel the heat in the dead of winter at Igloo Fest: Montréal’s coolest electronic music event. Every January, thousands of music lovers huddle up (and bundle up) at the Quays of the Old Port for two weeks of ice cold jams. Check out Igloo Fest’s giant igloo village, enter yourself in the annual “Iglooswag” snowsuit contest, and keep yourself warm with endless hot adult drinks.
Montréal Igloofest Dates: January 19 to February 11, 2023
Location: Jacques-Cartier Pier, Old Port, Montréal
February Events in Montréal
Montréal en Lumière is one of the largest winter festivals in the world. For two weeks in February, the Quartier des spectacles is bright and buzzing with free activities for visitors of all ages, including a circuit of interactive and luminous art, a neon-lit ferris wheel, urban slide, zip line, free shows, and food kiosks for gourmet pit stops.
Nuit blanche à Montréal (the last night of the festival) takes over three districts. Throughout the night, these districts will be linked by a shuttle service, allowing the festival-goers to move easily and quickly from one district to another. In 2023, the festival brings back a fan-favorite program from last year skating! “Inscribed in the DNA of Quebecers, this winter sport will become a staple in future editions, allowing you to make winter even more yours in our city.”
Montréal en Lumière Dates: February 22 to March 4, 2023
Location: Quartier des Spectacles, Montréal
March Events in Montréal
The 198th Montréal St. Patrick’s Day parade is back with a bang in 2023 with a longer route (Sainte-Catherine Street, from Fort Street to Metcalfe Street.) and a ton of heart. Events kick off at noon sharp so paint your face green, grab a beer, and get ready to feel the love (and luck) this St. Patrick’s Day in Montréal.
Montréal St. Patrick’s Day Parade Date: March 29, 2023
Location(s): The Parade will travel from Fort and Ste-Catherine Street and end at Peel St.
April Events in Montréal
Blue Metropolis Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a focus on “The Future.” The festival aims to explore what lies ahead in terms of democracy, identity, languages, people, the planet, and imagination. Through literature, books, debates, and diverse voices, the festival welcomes authors, thinkers, and artists to discuss these crucial issues. With over 200 guests and authors, 140 events, and nine languages, join the festival either in person or online to explore the future.
Blue Metropolis Bleu Dates: April 27 – 30, 2023
Location(s): City-wide & online
May Events in Montréal
Mondial de la Bière, “America’s most important international beer festival,” features over 500 beers and 90 breweries over a 4-day booze-a- thon. Hosted in the historic Windsor Station, newcomers, casual beer lovers and connoisseurs can look forward to beer and food pairings, tastings, beer-making workshops, panels, music and more. This is one Montréal event that you’d be seriously sorry to miss.
Pro tip: Admission is completely free, but you’re looking to wet your lips, you can purchase virtual coupons that can be redeemed for workshops and tastings. Plan to stick around? Tasting packages are also available.
Montréal Mondial de la Bière Dates: May 18 to May 21, 2023
Location: Windsor Station
This summer, head to the Sir George-Étienne Cartier monument in Mount Royal Park for the Mont Royal Tam-Tams: a giant drum circle event that runs every Sunday from May until October. And okay, when we say giant drum circle, we mean it. Picture thousands of drummers, dancers, vendors and visitors filling the entire park each week. The weirdest part? No one knows exactly when and how the Tam-Tams started, and it’s neither officially sanctioned or sponsored by the city.
Pro tip: The festival has always taken a laissez-faire approach to cannabis and drinking (police would look the other way if you were chill and used digression), but the 2023 Tams will be the fifth season with 420-friendly events.
Montréal Tam-Tams Dates: May 1 to September 30, 2023
Location: Mount Royal Park
Marché des Éclusiers is an indoor-outdoor market with fresh produce, coffee & baked goods all summer long. Located on the waterfront at Place du Génie, le Marché des Éclusiers has a simple mission: to showcase Québec products. For that, they’ve created a community of farmers, businesses and consumers who are conscientious about their ecological footprint and what they eat.
Pro tip: The Farmers Market runs from May to November twice a week on Thursdays (2pm to 7pm) and Saturdays (9am to 2pm).
Farmers Market at Marché des Éclusiers Dates: May to November, 2023
Location: Marché des Éclusiers
Pack a picnic, head to Parc Jean-Drapeau, and get ready to hear some sweet, sweet tunes. Piknic Electronik is Montréal’s weekly outdoor electronic music event that takes place every Sunday from mid-May until the end of September. This summertime fest is so popular that it’s quickly spreading to other cities around the world: Barcelona, Melbourne, Dubai, and Santiago (to name a few).
Piknic Electronik Dates: May 21 to October 1, 2023
Location: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Festival Eurêka! is an invitation to discover, experiment, exchange and reflect on technological, social and environmental issues that we face today. During this free and fun festival, the public is invited to meet with researchers, engineers, technicians, and students and engage in conversations about science in 2019. Thanks to interactive activities, Eurêka! successfully shares their enthusiasm for science and brings together “those who perform science and those who experience it in their daily lives.”
Eurêka! Festival Dates: May 26 to 28, 2023
Location: The Old Port Montréal
June Events in Montréal
Hidden in alleys, on rooftops, in parking lots, and covering local businesses and restaurants: street art has become one of Montréal’s core visual identities over the last few decades. As an international public art festival bound to the celebration of creativity and the democratization of urban art, MURAL Festival Montréal transforms the famous Saint-Laurent Boulevard into a real open-air museum where local and international artists unite.
Pro tip: Want to spot some street art but not sure where to start? Check out MURAL Festival’s street art map.
Montréal MURAL Festival Dates: June 8 to June 18, 2023
Location(s): Saint-Laurent Boulevard; citywide
For a true taste of Quebec culture, head to Francos de Montréal for 9 days of French jams. Featuring over 1,000 French-language performers from all over the world, most of the events (which are held on several stages in and around the city center) are completely free and fun — whether you speak french or not.
Francos de Montréal Dates: June 8 to June 17, 2023
Location: Quartier des spectacles
The Montréal Grand Prix is the biggest sporting event in all of Canada; it attracts 100,000+ people per each day of competition, class, charm, and world-class parties. Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve (the racetrack), is located on Île Notre-Dame at Parc Jean-Drapeau, right in the heart of the Saint Lawrence River. Because of its tight 14 turns, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is conducive to a lot of driving errors and overtaking, making the Grand Prix du Canada a thrilling and spectacular race.
Montréal Grand Prix Dates: June 18, 2023
Location: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Set in the Quartier des spectacles, Montréal Jazz Fest (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal) is host to hundreds of shows that pop up from noon until night right in the heart of the city. In 2023, they’re pulling out all the stops with an extensive lineup of hundreds of artists. Best part? Over half of those Montréal jazz events are completely free, making this iconic Montréal event one of the best things to do in Canada.
Pro tip: Snag a Montréal Jazz Passport Package and gain unlimited access to 3 of Montréal’s coolest venues: MTelus, Club Soda and L’Astral. Includes: 3 nights’ accommodation, breakfasts, Jazz Passport, festival fun pack, and a guided tour of the Festival site.
Montréal Jazz Fest Dates: June 29 to July 8, 2023
Location: Quartier des spectacles
The largest food truck gathering in North America happens on the first Friday of every month at the Montréal Olympic Park from 4 pm to 11 pm. Whether you’re craving tacos, burgers, dim sum, grilled cheese, or ice cream, Montréal’s First Fridays event menu options are endless (and freaking delicious). Starting Friday, June 7, you can enjoy food offers from over 40 food trucks along with live music, DJs, activities, terrasses and more.
Montréal Food Trucks Festival Dates: June 2 to October 6, 2023
Location: Montréal Olympic Park
July Events in Montréal
For 10 days, Montréal moves to the rhythm of circus arts with Montréal Complètement Cirque. Montréal’s event venues, streets, parks, and sidewalks become colorful stages to showcase high-flying performances from all around the world. Look forward to participatory activities, international shows, outdoor street performances, electric surprises and magical moments galore.
Pro tip: This year, several Montréal districts will turn Complètement Cirque for an evening or a weekend. The official outdoor line-up can be found here.
Montréal Complètement Cirque Dates: July 6 to 16, 2023
For its inaugural fest, Soif de cidre Montréal (“thirst for cider”) offers total immersion in the world of Quebec cider. Look forward to onsite programming like tastings with over 30 cider producers and fresh local food to offsite events— Cider OFF— in Griffintown featuring local bars and restaurants tied to the local cider scene.
Soif De Cidre Montréal Dates: July 15 to July 17, 2023
Location: Réso Montréal Souterrain
Over 13 days of indoor concerts and 6 days of free outdoor programming, discover the multiple expressions of African, Caribbean and Latin American culture with Festival International Nuits d’Afrique. Each year, the Nuits d’Afrique’s village comes alive with 700 artists, concerts, activities for the whole family, dance and musical instrument workshops, a children’s place, and the legendary Timbuktu market with exotic food and drinks.
Festival International Nuits d’Afrique Dates: July 11 to July 23, 2023
Location: Quartier des spectacles
Just for Laughs (Juste pour Rire) Montréal is the world’s largest international comedy event, welcoming 2 million people each summer. Just For Laughs revolutionized the comedy world and launched the careers of hundreds of today’s most renowned comedians, like Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Fallon and Amy Schumer. Each day, performers, both vocal and visual, perform throughout the city. In the evenings, the nightclubs and live venue theatres offer a knee-slapping line-up of big-name acts and performers.
Montréal Just for Laughs Dates: July 14 to 29, 2023
Location: Quartier des spectacles
L’International des Feux Loto-Québec is an international fireworks show where world-renowned companies (representing their respective countries) show off the latest techniques and innovations in the field of pyrotechnics. On the evenings the fireworks are held, the Jacques-Carter Bridge is completely closed to traffic so that everyone can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Pro tip: The best viewing spot is from the grandstands at La Ronde (Canadian Six Flags), where spectators have the best vantage point, (and accompanying music!), to view the explosive light show.
L’International des Feux Loto-Québec Dates: Summer 2023
August Events in Montréal
Osheaga is a multi-day indie music festival that is held every summer at Parc Jean-Drapeau. A huge celebration dedicated to music and visual arts, Osheaga prides itself in discovering local and national emerging talent, and then offering them the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest international artists in the business. Over the course of several days, approximately 100 bands take to the stages and across the city for one of the best summer music festivals in North America.
Pro tip: Come dressed to the nines. There are countless vintage stores and thrift shops in Montréal that offer up eclectic clothes and accessories — perfect for festival-going!
Montréal Osheaga Dates: August 4 to 6, 2023
Location: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Founded in 2007 by Montréal’s sexual & gender diversity communities, Montréal Pride Festival, aka Festival Fierté Montréal, is now the largest Francophone Pride parade. The organization’s primary mission is to “support and promote local communities while serving as a beacon of hope for people around the world who continue to battle injustice.” This year, Montréal Pride Festival will attract more than 2 million local and international visitors over two weeks of community, cultural and festive activities including free shows, panels, the Community Day and the oh-so-famous Pride Parade.
Pro tip: The Parade wraps up Pride in Montréal on Sunday, August 13th. The 2.7 km route will “symbolically link the old and the new,” departing from the former west end LGBTQ+ sector to arrive at the very heart of the new Gay Village. The parade will begin at Metcalfe Street and end on Alexandre-DeSève Street. This year, the parade’s theme will highlight the color violet, which “evokes dreams, gentleness and peace.”
Montréal Pride Dates: August 3 to 13, 2023
Location: The Village
Celebrating Indigenous cultures throughout the Americas and around the world, the annual Montréal First Peoples Festival takes place over the course of ten days at Montréal’s iconic Place des Festiavls. Activities and programming include concerts, international film competitions, exhibitions, traditional dancing, live performances, seminars and more.
Montreal First Peoples Festival Dates: August 8 to August 17, 2023
Location: Place des Festivals
MUTEK Montréal is six days and nights of events: audiovisual performances, live electronic music and a full theatre of experiences that pushes the boundaries of digital art and turns Montréal into an epic digital playground.
Pro tip: In 2023 the festival will celebrate it’s 24th year with six days and nights of performances, live music and a full schedule of experiences that will “push the boundaries of digital art and engage you in the playground that is our city.”
MUTEK Montréal Dates: August 22 to August 27, 2023
Location(s): Quartier des spectacles
September Events in Montréal
A luscious green garden just outside the heart of the city, the Montréal Botanical Garden is 190 acres of thematic gardens and greenhouses. If you visit September-October, see the property set aglow with Gardens of Light, a massive and bright paper lantern event that lights up the Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens. Wander the meandering footpaths set ablaze in a million colours, with delicate silk lanterns and ethereal light projections, and watch nature come to life.
Pro tip: Come for Gardens of Light, stay for the Botanical Garden and Montréal Insectarium.
Gardens of Light Dates: September 1 to October 31, 2023
Location: Montréal Botanical Garden
Monster Spectacular is the biggest monster truck circuit in Canada with stops in Montreal, Quebec city, Ottawa, Regina and Saint-John. The show features impressive (and interactive!) events with monster trucks, freestyle motocross, BMX, ATV racing and more.
Monster Spectacular Date: September 30, 2023
Location: Olympic Stadium
The Montreal Cannabis Expo is one of the best cannabis-related industry events in Quebec. Attend the expo in September and network with industry professionals like licensed producers, growers, investors, suppliers, healthcare providers, job-seekers, and media. If you’re looking to get into the cannabis game, this is the place to learn and share everything there is to know about the cannabis industry.
Montréal Cannabis Expo Dates: September 13 to September 14, 2023
Location: Palais des congrès de Montréal
October Events in Montréal
The best event of the Halloween season is back (and with a vengeance). During Fright Fest, the park is completed reimagined with spooky rides, terrifying haunted houses, and chilling fun for the whole family.
La Ronde Fright Fest Dates: October 1 to October 31, 2023
Location: La Ronde Montréal
November Events in Montréal
Festival Bach Montréal is a multi-event ode to Johann Sebastian Bach. Through a series of concerts and educational programs, the Festival Bach Montréal showcases Canada’s elite musicians to the world and brings world-class performers to Quebec.
Festival Bach Montréal Dates: November 11 to December 3, 2023
A pioneer of LGBTQ+ cinema, image+nation is dedicated to sharing the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ people through film and media. image+nation’s mission is to “represent, protect and prepare present and future generations of queer storytellers and media makers while building empathy through sharing stories with audiences here in Canada, and throughout the world with our online initiative.” Their signature event, image+nation Festival Film LGBTQueer Montréal is an 11-day event featuring award-winning films that feature and elevate LGBTQ+ voices.
Image+Nation Dates: November 2023 TBD
December Events in Montréal
Place Jacques-Cartier is transformed into an ambient hub where light, sound and public art installations combine to create an intimate and enchanting holiday hot spot. Stop for a break and enjoy the magic of the holiday season while shopping in Old Montreal.
Merry Montréal Dates: December 2023
Le Festival Noël dans le Parc is a free outdoor music festival that celebrates the spirit of Christmas in all its warmth, while showcasing a variety of musical artists. Throughout the entire month of December, you will be able to enjoy this traditional experience, purchase an all-natural christmas tree for your home, and even treat yourself to a roasted marshmallow! What’s more, the event advocates for and commits to inclusive, multicultural and community values throughout all of its activites.
Noël dans le Parc Dates: December 1st to December 31st, 2023
Location: Place Émilie-Gamelin