Travel Blog

23 Sep

Things to do in Montréal: September 23 to 29

As the fall season begins in Montréal, the warm weather holds as art and entertainment abounds: walk through lantern-lit gardens and markets, see the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, watch world-class dance, rock out at POP Montréal, and even run a marathon.

Warm days, bright nights

Nature meets the soft glow of lantern light at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – start your walk at sunset for the full effect. Excellent food, drink and entertainment (especially on Friday nights) await at open-air markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Croisières AML cruises offer laid-back brunch and gourmet dinners on the Saint-Lawrence River. See the city in a different way during the Montréal Rock’n’Roll Oasis Marathon on Sept. 25 as over 20,000 runners wind their way from Île Notre Dame through Old Montréal and into the Plateau, finishing at Parc La Fontaine. And the Canadiens start the NHL pre-season with games at the Bell Centre, Sept. 26, 27 and 29. For more, see our guide to Free things to do this fall in Montréal.

POP sounds and city beats

Music and arts festival POP Montréal celebrates 15 years of fun with shows, talks, art exhibitions, Puces POP craft fair, films, kids events and more to Sept. 25 – get the low-down in our Survival Guide to POP Montréal and check out our picks for 15 shows to see at POP. Among the Friday highlights: singer-songwriter Angel Olsen, saxophonist Colin Stetson, harpist Emilie Ogden, art-punks Psychic TV. On Saturday there’s Win Butler’s POP vs Jock basketball game, Hayden, The Luyas, Diet Cig, 69Boyz and more. And on Sunday: IMTL’s day party and brunch at Divan Orange, while Annette Peacock, Wolves in the Throne Room and more bands close out the festival.

Also starting this weekend: musicians, artists and music industry movers and shakers come to Montréal for this year’s Red Bull Music Academy starting Sept. 24 – the multi-faceted event opens with dance night Never Apart: Equinox, a conversation with Iggy Pop on Sept. 26, F*cked Up and Tanya Tagaq at Cabaret La Tulipe on Sept. 28, and more events to the end of October, including a digital exhibition by Björk!


Art and film

The Montreal Fine Arts Museum presents major North American retrospective exhibition Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe – plus, on Sept. 23, see musician John Cale in conversation. The World Press Photo exhibition features 150 striking photos of powerful moments in international events, to Oct. 2. The Montreal International Black Film Festival opens with documentary Maya Angelou and Still I Rise on Sept. 28. Take a trip around the universe in animated film We Are Stars on the 360° dome at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montréal Space for Life. Artist-run centre Eastern Bloc hosts the fascinating Sight Sound Festival of cutting-edge multi-media art, Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. And see virtual reality exhibitions and short films curated by Red Bull Music Academy and the Phi Centre at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal.

On stage

Tragic love story AIDA captivates as the Opéra de Montréal illuminates Verdi’s classic Egypt-based drama at Place des Arts, to Sept. 24. The fall dance season kicks off as Danse Danse presents the grand dame of flamenco María Pagés in Yo, Carmen, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at Place des Arts, and dancer-choreographer Daina Ashbee’s Pour exposes the transformative nature of menstruation, Sept. 26-30 at Theatre La Chapelle. In comedy, the wonderful Tig Notaro performs at Monument-National on Sept. 23 and Toronto’s Michael Harrison headlines Comedyworks Montreal Sept. 23-24. In theatre, follow the compelling story of a young artistic talent in a traditional religious family in play My Name Is Asher Lev at the Segal Centre, and laugh it up at the Montréal Clown Festival at Mainline. And in circus, David Dimitri performs his acrobatic, wire-balancing and comedy-filled one-man show L’Homme Cirque, an event for the whole family at La Tohu, to Oct. 2.

More live music

Along with live music at POP Montréal and Red Bull Music Academy, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal co-presents trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf in tribute concert to Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum at Place des Arts’ Maison symphonique on Sept. 23. Also on Friday night: psych-electro duo Infected Mushroom grooves at Métropolis. On Saturday, New Jersey ska punk stalwarts Streetlight Manifesto get Métropolis hopping, electronic producers Session Victim and Project Pablo take a techno-soulful turn at Newspeak, and Dutch electronic producers Bakermat and Sam Feldt make the dancefloor move at New City Gas. Sunday afternoon’s Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau features German electronic producer Ellen Allien and more music until after the sun goes down, while that night, country-folk crooners The Devil Makes Three play Théâtre Corona. 

On Monday, British punk originators Buzzcocks make some noise at Théâtre Corona. The Montréal Symphony Orchestra plays some pop with Québecois music star Roch Vosine and guests, conducted by Simon Leclerc, Sept. 27-28 at Place des Arts. On Wednesday, one of the great experimental rock bands to come out of the early 80s, The Legendary Pink Dots, get nice n’ weird at La Sala Rossa. On Thursday, British blues rock band The Temperance Movement jams at Petit Campus, while formative British rock band The Levellers energize La Sala Rossa, and DJ Deeon, DJ Gary Chandler, Just Blaze and Red Bull Music Academy participants make music to dance to at Le Cinq.

Up next:15 shows to see at the 15th POP Montréal


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