100 reasons to visit Montréal in 2019

Montréal is always on travel trends lists, so destination hunters, look no further! 2019 promises to be a stunner of a year in the city of joie de vivre, with incredible new attractions, chart-topping dining and one-of-a-kind cultural events – not the least because Tourisme Montréal is celebrating its centenary. Come celebrate with us!

Season by season, here are 100 reasons to book your tickets NOW.

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WINTER

1. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks in the Old Port – just for starters! 

2. Take the kids skating at the beautiful outdoor rink in the Old Port, right on the St. Lawrence River.

3. Get in on the giant foosball game at the Fête des neiges de Montréal at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

4. Dance under the stars and snowflakes at Igloofest, a massive outdoor electronic dance party.

5. See how many different kinds of poutine you can try during Poutine Week.

6. Do the wave with Youppi at a Montréal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre.

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7. Learn curling outdoors during MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, a totally Montréal winter festival featuring fun, fine arts and fine food.

8. Make it an all-nighter with tons of free activities and events happening all night long during the Nuit Blanche à Montréal.

9. Add a little sparkle to winter with the light installations at Luminothérapie.

10. Marvel at Moment Factory’s Living Connections, a stunning illumination of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.

11. Dress in green from head to toe for the Montréal St. Patrick’s Parade, the oldest consecutively-held St. Paddy's Day parade in North America.

12. Treat your sweetheart (and sweet tooth) to a sugar shack experience (pork rinds included).

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SPRING

13. Discover cutting-edge artists at one of the shows or events during the Montréal Digital Spring.

14. Rave on to house and trance music with international DJs at the Bal en Blanc Easter weekend party.

15. Try a gourmet food truck at the First Fridays gathering at the Olympic Park – much more than just hot dogs.

16. Pop open the champagne and toast with locals on Montréal’s birthday on May 17! 🎉 

17. Get your cutting-edge dance and theatre fix at Festival TransAmériques.

18. Learn a French song or two at a free show during Francos de Montréal.

19. Witness the battle of the beauties at the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival’s Drag Race hosted by Mado, Montréal's eminent drag queen.

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20. Experience life in the fast lane with F1 races and all-night parties during the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.

21. Chat with authors and get that favourite book signed at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival.

22. Sample a brew or two (or three?) at the Festival Mondial de la bière!

23. Swing into spring and make beautiful music on the 21 Balançoires interactive art work in the Quartier des spectacles.

24. Pick a sunny spot, spread out a blanket and settle in for a day of folk, roots, and bluegrass music at the Montréal Folk Festival on the Lachine Canal.

25. Watch talented skaters compete in hip-checking action at a Montréal Roller Derby bout.

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SUMMER

26. Hear the city’s best electronic beats while picnicking in the park at Piknic Électronik.

27. Pack your light sabre and head for the Montreal Comiccon pop-culture fan convention – keep your eyes peeled for Star Trek stars!

28. Take a ride on Le Galopant, the oldest wooden carousel in the world at Montréal’s Six Flags amusement park, La Ronde.

29. Make like a local in the summer and kick back in one of the city’s great green spaces like Parc La Fontaine, Parc Laurier or along the Lachine Canal.

30. Cheer on the blue and black on the soccer pitch – go Montréal Impact, go!

31. Watch the streets change – literally – before your eyes at the MURAL street art festival.

32. Gather your friends (and your courage!) and get a bird’s eye view of the city from the MTL Zipline.

33. Play free video games outdoors at the Place des festivals during the Mondial des Jeux Loto-Québec.

34. Bike the island with about 20,000 of your new pedal-pushing friends during the Tour de l’Île de Montréal.

35. Gather the family for a wacky day of aquatic fun at Parc Aquazilla.

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36. Grab your rollerblades (or rent a pair) and skate the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Grand Prix track.

37. Celebrate diversity while sipping drinks on a patio in Montréal’s Gay Village.

38. Join a sea of blue and white at the free concert for Québec’s national holiday, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, on June 24. 

39. Stroll through the Village and pick up an original work of art during the Mtl en Arts festival.

40. Kick off your shoes and dance in the sand at the riverside Village au Pied-du-Courant.

41. Prove that all those childhood lessons were worthwhile by playing one of Montréal's many public pianos.

42. Make like a Montrealer and head out for brunch– it’s a bona fide art form in this city!

43. Dance along with brightly costumed performers at Carifiesta Montreal, one of the biggest Caribbean parades in Canada. 

44. Go star gazing in more ways that one with Downtown screenings under the stars.

45. Take in a show on the grass with Théatre de Verdure in Parc La Fontaine.

46. Fast-forward to see the future of digital arts at the Festival ELEKTRA.

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47. See Montréal from offshore on a boat cruise along the St. Lawrence River.

48. Hear big names and up-and-comers perform at the POP Montréal International Music Festival.

49. Let the world beats move you and dance with a stranger in the crowd at the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique.

50. Unleash your inner hepcat at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal – the world's biggest!

51. Take in over 800 street performances on Sainte-Catherine Street in July.

52. Stand mouth-agape watching circus performers from around the world at MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE.

53. Delve into the worlds of genre film at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Keep your eyes peeled for Quentin Tarantino!

54. Laugh out loud at the world’s best live comics at the Just For Laughs festival. Nap. Repeat.

55. Check out the hottest new alternative comedy, theatre and music at Zoofest & OFF JFL.

56. Catch the world’s hippest bands on-stage at the open-air music and arts festival Osheaga.

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57. Discover the art, culture and traditions of indigenous peoples at the Montréal First Peoples festival.

58. Dance to the summertime electronic beats at îleSoniq Montreal in Parc Jean-Drapeau.

59. Enjoy a match with the best in tennis at the Rogers Cup, one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournaments on the ATP tour.

60. Pick up the makings of a picnic at Jean-Talon Market and enjoy it in nearby Parc Jarry.

61. Drink in the view of a fireworks display from an Old Montréal rooftop patio, cocktail in hand.

62. Wander the leafy back lanes off-limits to cars of Montréal’s green, grassy alleyways.

63. See international-calibre skateboarders go head to head in heart-stopping competitions at the JACKALOPE action sports festival.

64. Find a new one-of-a-kind outfit at the pop-up shops at the Fashion & Design Festival.

65. Soak up the latest in international, avant-garde EDM at MUTEK.

66. Get into the groove at MEG Montréal Festival.

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67. Order a hot dog and check out the hot wheels at the iconic Gibeau Orange Julep’s weekly classic car meet-up.

68. Get in on some cosplay fun at the Otakuthon Anime Convention.

69. Be a pirate for a day and clamber around the ship at Voiles en voiles in the Old Port.

70. Discover the ephemeral summer markets like Le Marché des Possibles in Mile End, where open-air yoga is offered every weekend.

71. Get into the funky urban beat of Under Pressure, one of the longest running graffiti and hip hop festivals in the world.

72. Spend a summer Sunday grooving to the beats or just chilling on the grass at the Tam-Tams at the foot of the George-Étienne Cartier Monument at Mount Royal Park.

73. Take some quiet time to reflect and enjoy the beauty of the lush gardens at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.

74. Do a little cardio by climbing the 192 steps to the top of the Clock Tower in the Old Port and be rewarded with spectacular views of the city.

75. Take a beautiful stroll from the St. Lawrence River to the Mount Royal along the special Promenade Fleuve-Montagne.

76. Let the music move you during the OSM Classical Spree, the annual summer celebration of classical music.

77. Add a little oomph to the back-to-school season with the OUMF emerging art festival.
 

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FALL

78. Taste the best Montréal tables during MTLàTABLE, the city’s restaurant week.

79. Light up your fall nights at the Gardens of Light in the Botanical Garden.

80. Catch the fan fever at an Alouettes football game at the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium on Mount Royal, with great views of the skyline, too!

81. Check out the amazing variety of pumpkins at the Atwater Market just before Halloween.

82. Put on your dancing shoes and dance the weekend away at the Black & Blue Festival.

83. See the best of queer cinema at image+nation, Canada’s oldest LGBTQ+ film festival.

84. Go for a midnight bagel at Fairmount Bagel Bakery or St-Viateur Bagel.

85. Feed your appetite for great gastronomy experiences at Montréal food festivals like Oysterfest, Omnivore and the Festival YUL EAT.

86. Discover the wealth of public art as you wander through the Underground Pedestrian Network.

87. Dare to go up the world’s tallest inclined tower at the Olympic Park and be rewarded with incredible 360° views.

88. Visit the Fort Ville-Marie pavilion at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, located on the site where the first French settlement was built in 1642.

89. Attend a showing of AURA at the Notre-Dame Basilica and let yourself be enchanted by its beauty.

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90. Play the tables, catch a show or sample world-class cuisine at the Casino de Montréal.

91. Soak up Montréal from above on the 45th floor observation deck of Observatoire Place Ville Marie.

92. Get a feeling for Leonard Cohen’s Montréal with a visit to Parc du Portugal, near De Vallières Street, where Cohen lived until his death in 2016.

93. Visit the oldest chapel in Montréal, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, and climb to the tower to see iconic angels overlooking the port.

94. Rent a BIXI and pedal the downtown bike paths with locals.

95. Go for a little retail therapy in a downtown shopping mall like the Montreal Eaton Centre, Place Montréal Trust or Complexe Desjardins, all connected to the underground network.

96. Discover 115 animal species exclusively from Québec at the Ecomuseum Zoo, an ethically-managed outdoor zoo on the island of Montréal.

97. Snap a great shot of Buckminster Fuller’s iconic geodesic dome, now the Biosphère, North America’s only environment museum.

98. Take the kids for a day of wacky aquatic fun at the Olympic Pool during Wibit Sundays.

99. Lie back on a bean bag and immerse yourself in a high-tech audio visual experience beneath the dome at the SAT.

100. See Montréal’s splendour spread out before you from within your heated cabin at La Grande Roue de Montréal, a Ferris wheel perched on the Old Port.

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant, blogger

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s eclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.

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