The city heats up with a bang at the massive Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations this Friday and Saturday, keeps sizzling with great food and drink at outdoor markets everywhere, and stays hot as the Montréal International Jazz Festival opens on Thursday.
The whole city celebrates Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, also known as Fête National, on June 24 – and on June 23 too! Find live music, food and general festivities at Place des Festivals, Jardins Gamelin and along St-Denis Street in the Quartier des Spectacles, at the Olympic Park and in every neighbourhood including at the Marché des Possibles in Mile End – plus the annual parade along Sainte-Catherine Street downtown starting at 1 pm on June 24. In the Old Port of Montréal, ride the zipline, climb on the rope structures of Voiles en Voiles, and find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe. At the foot of the Jacques-Cartier bridge you’ll find Marché du Village au Pied-du-Courant, featuring free music events, an outdoor bar, food trucks and more all summer. The Botanical Garden continues its outdoor arts series with live music on the weekend, this Sunday with Ingrid St-Pierre. When night falls in Old Montréal, the building’s facades light up with the 20 poetic and playful tableaux of Cité Mémoire. See even more of the city sights on a guided tour, public art tours and guided bike tours.
Festivals and free things
Spend summer days outdoors at Place des Festivals during the Montréal International Jazz Festival starting June 29, with free performances in the afternoons plus kids’ activities at the Rio Tinto Musical Park, and a whole world of jazz, blues, rock, hip hop and more as the day goes on – see Sharon Jones the Dap-Kings for free on opening night – for more Jazz Fest shows check the live music section below. The Montréal Baroque Festival continues with free concerts at Phillips Square and more concerts at the Redpath Museum. For the full Montréal festivals scoop, see our 2016 summer festival guide list of summer music festivals. Along with that, check out all the great stuff in our guides to free things to do in Montréal this summer and fun with kids this summer in Montréal.
Food and shopping
You could eat Chef Antonio Park’s amazing food at his restaurants Park and Lavanderia, but this summer, you can also pick up his themed Park Lunch Box at the Phi Centre in Old Montréal – stick around to shop at their unique Le Rhinocéros boutique. Further west in the
Old Port, you’ll find the Marché des éclusiers, a farmers’ market with excellent pop-up
restaurants, a café, bakery and even an on-site nutritionist, at the corner of de la Commune
and McGill. Cuisine de Rue food trucks and Alexandraplatz bar present Marché de Nuit
outdoor market on June 25 in Mile-Ex. 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. Shop
Montréal’s Eaton Centre – also home to the Grévin wax museum – and more brand names
throughout the underground city. 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.
Art, film and comedy
Robots, machines and questions of humanity collide in the Automata exhibition, part of the 3rd edition of the International Digital Art Biennial under the theme AUTOMATA: Art made by machines for machines – the show features the work of Canadian and international artists in the enormous Arsenal Contemporary Art gallery. The Musée d’art contemporain presents an array of incredible work by Canadian artist Liz Magor – a must see. Visit the Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden of VR films to July 3 and see Angela Boatwright’s doc Los Punks: We Are All We Have about the punk rock scene in South Central and East Los Angeles, June 27-30, with live performances by Age of Fear, Parasytes and FaZe on June 27. Photography fans will love the new exhibitions at the McCord Museum, including Montreal Mansions, 1974, by Charles Gurd, Summer Holidays! presented by Kodak, the Mtl Urban Museum, and photographs and fashion in the Eleganza: Italian Fashion from 1945 to Today exhibition. The Montreal International Documentary Festival screens Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words, on June 30 at Cinéma du Parc. And super popular Montreal comedian Sugar Sammy performs the Illegal English Edition of his stand-up show at L’Olympia on June 24.
On Friday night, JF Robitaille rocks out with songs from his new album at La Vitrola while producer Claptone revs up the dancefloor at New City Gas, followed by Tujamo on Saturday night. On June 25, an orchestra takes on a video game in The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert, featuring new music and videos from the latest game in the series, at Place des Arts. On Sunday afternoon, collective Crew Love returns to weekly outdoor dance party Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring Nick Monaco, Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb. And prolific NYC-based guitarist and singer-songwriter Steve Gunn, also formerly in Kurt Vile’s backing band The Violators, brings his band The Outliners to La Vitrola Sunday night. On June 27, Robin Thicke and his 14-piece band play a benefit concert for the Israel Cancer Research Fund at Place des Arts. Toronto-based RB/electro pop duo DVSN stay smooth at Théâtre Fairmount on June 28. As part of the Montréal International Jazz Festival acclaimed American singer and guitarist Melody Gardot plays Place des Arts June 29 and 30, while on June 29 Gregory Porter covers jazz standards and more at Place des Arts, Cat Power plays Métropolis, Arabic alt-rock group Mashrou’ Leila is at Club Soda. On June 30 composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis joins the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Maison symphonique, Japanese pianist Hiromi plays Théâtre Maisonneuve and Papagroove play the Casino de Montréal. And dance in the 360° Satosphere dome at the SAT’s weekly Domesicle party – this Thursday, Claire, Woulg and Cabaal make the tunes and Push 1 stop and AZYL light up the dome with visuals.
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