Travel Blog

17 Jun

Things to do in Montréal June 17 to 23

The warm days and nights of Montréal’s festival season are upon us – hear a world of music for free downtown, in the Old Port and by the Lachine Canal, visit outdoor markets in happening neighbourhoods, see murals as they’re being painted, and as always, eat great food.

Francofolies_Eva_BlueFestivals for all

From pop to hip hop, folk to rock, music from Québec, France, Belgium, Mali and more French-speaking countries lights up the stages of Les FrancoFolies to June 18 – catch free outdoor shows, events for kids, and more at Place des Festivals. See some of best street art  in the county at MURAL Festival, closing St-Laurent Boulevard to traffic from Sherbrooke to Mont Royal to June 19 for live painting, music and awesome parties – plus some fascinating talks with entrepreneurs and artists. You won’t go hungry on St-Laurent Boulevard either – not only do restaurant terraces stretch out into the road, but BBQ festival  Grill St-Laurent pairs with MURAL on June 17.Have a fun, family-friendly time at the Montréal Folk Festival on the Canal – it starts June 15 with indoor shows by John McEuen and more artists, including a tribute to the Grateful Dead on June 16, followed by three days of free music outdoors June 17-19. And the Montréal Baroque Festival starts June 23 with free concerts at Phillips Square and an opening concert at Redpath Museum. For the full Montréal festivals scoop, see our 2016 summer festival guide.

Village_au_pied_du_courantMore outdoor entertainment

Walk along Sainte-Catherine Street to Jardins Gamelin near Berri-UQAM metro station in the Quartier des Spectacles, where food, drink and entertainment awaits – bring the kids for activities all day Sunday. Walk a little further and you’ll find yourself under a pink canopy and among the art of Aires Libres in the Gay Village. And continue to just past the foot of the Jacques-Cartier bridge to find Marché du Village au Pied-du-Courant, featuring free music events, an outdoor bar, food trucks and more all summer. In Mile End, Pop Montréal’s community-minded Marché des Possibles opens this Friday evening with live music, a market of local goods, and food and drink. The Botanical Garden continues its outdoor arts series with live music on the weekend. The SAT’s cinema under the stars screens Avi Lewis’s doc This Changes Everything. When night falls in Old Montréal, look up on the building’s facades and even on trees to see 20 poetic and playful tableaux of Cité Mémoire. And on June 23, celebrate the 180th Fête Nationale du Québec, also known as St-Jean Baptiste Day, with a huge party with live music in the Quartier des Spectacles downtown and at Olympic Stadium.

On stage

See one-of-a-kind performances for extremely affordable prices at the Montréal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival – stop by Fringe Park at the corner of St-Laurent and Rachel to find out about shows, grab a beer and hear live music with a friendly crowd – and check out  family-friendly show Checkout 606 in a truck next to the park. Canadian-American-Chinese dance theatre spectacular Pearl, based on the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, comes to Montreal, playing to June 18 at downtown’s Imperial Theatre. Fans of the King need to see Return to Grace, a musical celebration of Elvis Presley, at Place des Arts June 15 to 19. If you love show tunes, you won’t want to miss The Lyric Theatre Singers’ new musical theatre show Raise Your Voice! A Glorious Broadway Revue, at D.B. Clark Theatre, June 16 to 18.

A_taste_of_the_caribbeanDine and shop local

Montréal knows its Caribbean food and the Taste of the Caribbean Festival offers it up all in one place – eat your fill while listening to live music, watching dance performances and relaxing in the Old Port, June 16-19 – and there are kids activities too! Find dozens of food trucks parked around the city this week and all summer long – at festival sites, outdoor events, local markets, in the Old Port and beyond. The Great Poutinefest returns to the Old Port’s Quai de l’horloge June 23-26. Discover local beer varieties with the Beer Passport – a card that lets you sample a dozen local microbrews at a dozen artisanal-style bars for one low price. Stay caffeinated with top-tier coffee from these 15 must-try cafés. Find some of the best local places to shop, dine and relax in our Guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal. And experience why Montréal is as an official world-class city of design at architecture museums and landmarks and places to buy locals clothing, accessories and housewares.

Fitz_and_FollwellTour city sights and secrets

See the city sights in whatever way you please and with the added bonus of a knowledgable guide on a guided tour. Montréal’s many walking tours will take you as far as you’re willing to go, from the Old Port and the Quartier des Spectacles all the way to the Plateau, Jean Talon Market and several stops in between. Discover over 600 amazing art works throughout the city in self-lead public art tours. Speed up the pace on a guided bike tour that suits your interests and your style (rides through nature, foodie rides, historical sights and more) – and get the whole scoop on biking in our Guide to bike paths, bicycle Rentals, Bixi and all things biking in Montréal. And add some motor to your tour on a double-decker bus with Montréal City Hop-on Hop-off Tour or on a boat with Croisières AML, Bateau Mouche, Amphi Tours or Le Petit Navire. Or tailor a tour of your own to suit a bachelorette weekend or bachelor party spree.

Live music

Montréal’s many summer music festivals dominate the live music scene for the next several weeks – and yet there’s still more live music going on at venues citywide! Among the festivals not mentioned above, the the Montreal Chamber Music Festival keeps classical and jazz with cool at various venues including the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts to June 19. The Suoni per il Popolo jazz and underground music festival runs all month, presenting dozens of excellent shows: see Tashi Wada, Yoshi Wada and Julia Holter on Friday; Spike Taylor’s Piano Mécanique on Friday and Saturday; experimenter Daniel Menche on Saturday; Sarah Davachi, Wet Brain and Lungbutter on Sunday; Belgium’s Flat Earth Society ensemble on Wednesday, and more. On June 18, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding and Matt Kim put on a huge show the Bell Centre and Welsh alt-rock band The Joy Formidable gets loud at Théâtre Fairmount. Go dancing to high-rpm electro at New City Gas on Friday with L.A. producer Justin Jay and on Saturday with UK producer Jonas Blue. On Sunday, bring the kids to Piknic Electronik : urban arts festival Chromatic presents Petit Piknic featuring a family and kids’ activity zone – there’s also electronic music from local label Eresys and ROUX Soundsystem. On Sunday night, see Matt Corby and Overcoats at Métropolis, and RB-folk musician Justin Nozuka and Emma June at supper club Le Balcon. Monday night brings the sweet sounds of City and Colour to the Bell Centre and Kamasi Washington and Atlantis Jazz Ensemble to Métropolis. The city’s Digital Spring multimedia, multi-venue art event wraps up on June 21 with a music and multimedia blowout at the SAT, while none other than 80s soft-rock stars Daryl Hall and John Oates play the Bell Centre. Spend an evening with Grammy-award winning artist Paul Simon, featuring songs from across his repertoire, on June 23 at Place des Arts while electro, bluesy indie-rocker Allan Rayman plays a seated show at Petit Campus. And Piknic Electronik happens again on Thursday, but this time it’s downtown (and free!) at Jardins Gamelin with music by Mightykat and Eloïze starting at 5 pm.

Up nextA toe-tapping musical time at the Montréal Folk Fest


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