Downtown Montréal is the place to be this summer!

Downtown Summer
  • Square Dorchester
  • Jardins Gamelin
Mark Andrew Hamilton

Mark Hamilton

Montréal shines in the summer and 2024 is another guaranteed stunner. If you’re looking for the perfect starting point for a season of adventure, look no further than Downtown Montréal with its packed calendar of performances, installations, pedestrianized streets and innovative urban flourishes around every corner.

National Film Board of Canada - Quartier des Spectacles

The island’s beating heart

Back for another vibrant season, Les moments du cœur de l’île transforms downtown and the Quartier des Spectacles boroughs into eye-popping hot spots of fun and frolic for all ages. Easily accessible via bustling pedestrianized streets, bike paths (try getting there and back with a BIXI!) and a multitude of easy to navigate métro stops (not to mention free parking on weekends), the city’s centre-ville glow-up promises #mtlmoments galore throughout the entire district all summer long.

Jardins Gamelin

Oases of calm perfect for people watching

Despite the seasonal heat, summer in Montréal is the perfect time to chill. From the Gay Village and the Jardins Gamelin at downtown’s eastern edge, the midtown Esplanade Tranquille right at the heart of things, and the Esplanade Place Ville Marie in the west, specially constructed relaxation installations plus over 300 seasonal terrasses promise both a well-deserved break and the perfect #selfie background to spark some true #FOMO amongst the folks back home.We’re particularly fond of the stately Phillips Square, spruced up with new comfy seating and one of sculptor Philippe Katerine’s Le Mignonisme series of 15 Mr. Pink sculptures on display throughout the district.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Art that moves!

Montréal is a mural city, and several stunners make for picture-perfect punctuation on any stroll through the downtown quartiers. It’s also worth keeping your eyes upwards for the chance to see world-class mural artists at work high in the sky. Local legends Belle Orchestre (featuring members of Arcade Fire and The Luyas) present the immersive Open House at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT). And after dark, you might notice some of those multi-storey artworks in full motion as cutting-edge video projections take over iconic downtown buildings like the Grande Bibliothèque—Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, the façade of the Wilder Building—Espace Danse, the wall outside of the Saint-Laurent métro station and the UQÀM campus’ Pavillon President-Kennedy. You can even conduct one such projection site at the Interactive Wall Insitu on the façade of the Maison Symphonique on the Esplanade de la Place des Arts. Created by artist Michel Lemieux, Insitu uses phone app technology to trigger and live mix a poetic tribute to Montréal’s cultural institutions, and it’s as cool as it sounds!

The urban future is here

Experience the latest in cutting edge urban design with the McCord Stewart Museum’s shady Museum Alley installation, the newly mounted Les fleurs sont partout : Le jardin du centre-ville sculptures (one of Montréal’s newest urban icons alongside The Ring at the Esplanade Place Ville Marie) and the trend-setting digital history lessons accessible by mobile of Ste-Catherine Circuit—Montréal en Histoires. And after-dark, Les moments du cœur de l’île pays particular attention to additional illumination throughout the downtown core, not only enlivening city life but further enhancing the feeling of safety once the sun has set.


Performance, performance, performance!

When it comes to public performances, central Montréal is home to outdoor stages and some of the city’s most celebrated venues. Performers from near and far take to the streets, while headline acts thrill the crowds both indoors and out at storied venues like MTELUSL’OlympiaLe NationalFoufounes Electriques and Club Soda. Special programming from the MUTEK festival, classical performances by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and pop-up open-air stages at Esplanade Tranquille, Phillips Square, Jardins Gamelin and the Zone Musique Place d’Armes, will definitely put the spectacle in the Quartier des Spectacles this summer.

Monastère- Cabaret du Jugement Dernier

The biggest big top of all

Circus lovers will flip for Le Jardin du Monastère, presenting open-air circus performances, or the specially constructed Géant on the Esplanade Place Ville Marie upon which some of the city’s top circus troupes will perform feats of derring-do free for all.

McCord Stewart Museum

A day at the museum

The Montréal-centric McCord Stewart Museum presents a jam-packed summer program including Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, ResiliencePortraits and Fashion: Québec Photographers Beyond Borders, and the North American premiere of Norman Parkinson: Always in Fashion. There’s also a rotating collection of local memorabilia at the MEM—Centre des mémoires montréalaises including a collection of iconic neon signs rehung and relit in the museum’s lobby. Natural history lovers won’t want to miss the Redpath Museum on the McGill University campus.

Francos de Montréal

Did someone say festivals?

Every summer in Montréal is punctuated by its unbeatable roster of festivals, encompassing music, film, food, comedy and more. This year is no different, with the downtown core playing host to the likes of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUEFrancos de Montréal, the Estival du nouveau cinéma at the Esplanade TranquilleAfroMonde FestivalThe Great Montréal PoutineFest and more.

Your summer hub

Created in collaboration between Tourisme Montréal, Montréal centre-ville, Ville de Montréal, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Les moments du cœur de l’île marks Downtown as the place to be this summer.

Mark Andrew Hamilton

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

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