Travel Blog

26 May

Things to do in Montréal: May 26 to June 1

As Montréal steps into June, outdoor events become a guiding lifestyle principle: enjoy open-air music and artistic performances, see the historic sights of Expo 67, join the Museums Day crowds, and party in the parks and pop-up villages.

Watch Montréal history come to life on the Saint Lawrence River in spectacular, free multimedia show Montréal Avudo every night in the Old Port. From there you’ll also see the city’s high-tech 375th anniversary light show on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. An eagerly awaited annual event, Museums Day means almost every museum and major gallery opens free of charge and features special 375th anniversary activities on May 28. The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under conductor Kent Nagano plays a Symphony for Montréal, with visuals by Moment Factory, May 31 and June 1-2 at Maison Symphonique. La Grand Tournée weekend events, presented by Cirque Éloize, runs throughout the summer and in every neighbourhood, from group picnics in the park and green alleyway tours to circus shows and cinema under the stars. See how new car trends serve the city at the Montréal Electric Vehicle Show at Place Bonaventure May 26-28. And expect more cyclists on the streets during the Go Bike Montréal Festival‘s Bike to Work Week – followed next week by massive public bike rides Tour de l’Île and Tour la Nuit.


Urban green space, outdoor eatery and bar in the heart of downtown, Les Jardins Gamelin hosts a musical breakfast on Saturday and an evening of salsa music, followed by Sunday morning family activities and a week of live music and more. Patio season in the  Latin Quarter opens with a live-music bang presented by Osheaga on Saint-Denis Street May 26-27. While downtown, grab a bite from one of Montréal’s great food trucks or pop by the Marché des Éclusiers market in the Old Port for a meal, a drink, local produce and other creations. Buy locally designed creations and have a drink while grooving to the beat of the Mile Ex Night Market at AlexandraPlatz Bar on May 27. And on June 1, drop by the annual grand opening party of Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, with funk, soul, jazz and reggae spun by The Goods. Find more outdoor activities in our guide to free things to do this Spring in Montréal.


Montréal celebrates the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 with entertaining and history-rich exhibitions: see colourful outfits and products created by Québec designers at the McCord Museum’s Fashioning Expo 67; photographs tell the tale in The Sixties in Montréal: Archives de Montréal at City Hall; marvel at the technological innovations of EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum and Écho 67 at the nearby Buckminster Fuller designed Biosphère; baby boomer youth culture is a blast in Explosion 67 – Youth and Their World at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal; it’s all about ’60s artistic expression in the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts’s Révolution: “You say you want a revolution” and the Musée d’art contemporain’s In Search of Expo 67; Arcmtl presents Expo 67: Avant Garde! – forward-looking, boundary-breaking art of the ’60s at the Cinémathèque Québecoise; and Centre de design de l’UQAM honours architect Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 in The Shape of Things to Come. Photography exhibition Aime comme Montréal celebrates the city’s diversity in an installation at Place des arts. Old Montréal landmark Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the city’s most stunning churches, lights up with beautiful high-tech spectacle Aura, while the surrounding streets are illuminated by the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire.


There’s nothing quite as exciting and fun as the circus, and Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA is the best circus around – see acrobats, dancers, parkour experts, motor bike athletes and many more incredible performers under the big top in the Old Port of Montréal. Opéra de Montréal presents Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece La bohème, May 20-27 at Place des Arts. Les Grands Ballets presents the contemporary dance of Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels and Evening Songs in a triple bill with Stephan Thoss’s Searching for Home, at Place des Arts May 25-June 3. Expect extraordinary, boundary-pushing performances in dance, theatre and art at the international FTA – Festival TransAmériques, including documentary and participative theatre piece 100% Montréal by Berlin-based experimental Rimini Protokoll collective, 7 Pleasures by choreographer Mette Ingvartsen and Time’s Journey Through a Room by Japanese theatre creator Toshiki Okada. And the eclectic and multidisciplinary Festival Accès Asie features free evening performances of nightlife-inspired Insomniaque on May 27 on Prince-Arthur Street and Les sons primordiaux with Indian Dhrupad singers and percussionist the Gundecha Brothers on May 28 at Bourgie Hall.

Dynamic Montréal art scenes come together at the Chromatic Festival, May 27 to June 1 – see work by local and international artists at Expo Chromatic at Studio l’Éloi in Mile End, while Nuit Chromatic opens and closes the festival with late nights of music and dancing, and families join in the creative fun of the Chromatic Kids activities on May 28. Colour and music converge in CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,  Hajra Waheed’s The Video Installation Project 1–10 and collections-based Pictures for an Exhibition intrigue at the Musée d’art contemporain and Mexican artist Gilberto Esparza’s Plantas autofotosintéticas has us rethinking how biology, technology and art intersect, at Galerie de l’UQAM. British artist Ed Atkins poses questions on human bodies, digital creation and reality in video exhibition Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum presents the fascinating Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest. And Parisian Laundry gallery presents intuitive experimental new work by collective BGL. Travel through virtual worlds in Felix Paul Studios Virtual Reality Garden at the Phi Centre, also presenting The Princess Bride 30th anniversary screening on May 27. Explore space in new double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Immerse yourself in wild audiovisual performances at the Satosphere surround-sound dome: dance work CORE to May 26 and the Sub-Strate party on May 27 with Archipel, Pheek and more electronic producers and visual artists.

Shake up Friday night with a massive outdoor concert by The 1975 with openers Pale Waves and Colouring at Parc Jean-Drapeau, or guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Johnson Band with special guest Arielle at Théâtre Corona, and electronic producers Com Truise and Clark at Théâtre Fairmount. On Saturday night, lose yourself in the sounds of Animal Collective and Circuit des Yeux at Théâtre Corona, head to Cinéma L’Amour for Gallery Never Apart’s Off-Site series with freestyle electronic music by V1984, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier and CECILIA, check out amazing musicians Patrick Watson, Gasandji and Elisapie at the 2017 Prix Ambassadeur De La Conscience at L’Astral, levitate on the dance floor with Blasterjaxx at New City Gas, or dress in your best summer duds and dance with friends and strangers alike at the Montréal Summer Slowdance at MainLine Theatre.

On Sunday afternoon wear your finest dancing whites for massive outdoor party Bal en Blanc dans le Parc at Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring electronic producers Martin Garrix, Borgore and more music on two stages. On Sunday night, incredible Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones and her brilliant band grace Place des Arts, Celtic punks Flogging Molly rock Metropolis, and Aussie singer and hip hop artist Tkay Maidza comes all the way to Montréal’s Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. The wonderous Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds make Monday night one to remember at Metropolis. Also wonderful: atmospheric Icelandic experimenters Sigur Rós at Place des Arts, May 30-31. Also on Tuesday, The Weeknd comes to the Bell Centre with opener Rae Sremmurd, and must-see British soul musician Michael Kiwanuka plays Théâtre Corona. Wednesday night welcomes Bonnie Raitt to L’Olympia. On Thursday night, it’s a party at the Bell Centre with EDM-pop duo The Chainsmokers and Kiiara, Lost Frequencies and Emily Warren, while supercool Montréal band She-Devils throws an album release show at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.

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