Things to do in Montréal - June 15 to 21

Spring officially turns to summer this week in Montréal and we're celebrating outdoors with festivals: hear live music at Les Francos and the Folk Festival, explore the urban art of MURAL and see theatre at Fringe Fest. Along with all that comes great food, innovative art and much more!

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Outdoor music and art

Welcome to June festival season in Montréal! Hear music from every corner of Place des Festivals during Les Francos de Montréal, with free outdoor shows this Friday and Saturday by Joseph Edgar, Ariane Zita, hip-hop group Dead Obies, Vincent Vallières and Rainmen along with many more artists, plus a Sunday gala concert with Yann Perreau, Ariane Moffatt, Betty Bonifassi and more stars. Join the MURAL Festival street party on Saint-Laurent Boulevard between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal from June 7 to 17 – watch artists paint murals on building facades (including for the first time at the Museum of Jewish Montréal), take an art tour, dance at the ÎleSoniq Block Party on the evening of June 16 and more. Hear folk, roots, bluegrass and more sweet sounds under the sun at the Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal, June 15 to 17, featuring plenty of food and drink, an activity-filled family area and three stages of live music from artists such as Josh Ritter, Plants and Animals, Royal Wood, Catherine Leduc, Leonard Sumner and many others. Spend some time discovering Montréal's ephemeral summertime spaces this week, including open-air markets and outdoor music venues like Jardins Gamelin near the Aires Libres rainbow downtown, Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and the Old Port's Marché des Éclusiers and La Station F-MR, a boutique and café built using Montréal's signature blue metro cars – it's also where Fred Everything launches a new album with a karaoke party on Friday night at 7 p.m.


June sights and sounds

If you're here with dad for Father's Day on June 17, see the city from above in the high-altitude comfort of Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown (also where you'll find restaurant Les Enfants Terribles), La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port or the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium. Fun-seekers of all ages need to check out the Old Port of Montréal's pirate ship ropes course Voiles en Voiles, MTL Zipline, SOS Labyrinthe, high-tower experience and river cruise Bateau-Mouche. Explore the Montréal Botanical Garden on your own or on a seasonal harvest tour (keep your eyes open for sheep mowing the grassy areas!). At night in Old Montréal, watch high-tech wonder AURA at Notre Dame Basilica and spot Cité Mémoire projections on the sides of historic buildings – follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see more of the city's major sights and architecture. Relax indoors and in the sun at some of Montréal's best spas. Check out what's in style and scoop it up when shopping at Montréal designer boutiques. Go antiquing along the Canal for unique treasures or gallery hop for that one-of-a-kind work of art. We've also got the intel on where to watch World Cup 2018, from packed sports bars to old-school cafés citywide, June 14 to July 15. Find all this and more at your fingertips with My Official Montréal City Guide, a travel app that lets you experience the city like a Montrealer.


Food and drink

Now that the weather's warm, it's time to head to the park and picnic like a Montrealer or explore Montréal and its culinary delights on foot or by bike with Montréal's best food tours. What else goes with warm weather? Take it easy at these new casual restaurants and lunch counters in Montréal. Discover Montréal's many brunch options and more local food and Québécois classics in our guides to the best poutine, the best Montréal bagels and the best smoked meat, along with more musts for foodies visiting Montréal. From creatively casual to classically French, these restaurants let you bring your own wine. If you're on the hunt for a favourite haunt, try these restaurants open from brunch to well past dinner, caffeinate with a perfect espresso at Montréal's indie coffee shops, go out for creative cocktails or spend time sampling your favourite tipple in the mood lighting of Montréal's coziest bars. Try these great health-conscious restaurants and their many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. If you love chocolate, look no further than boutiques belonging to Montréal's top chocolatières.


Stage and screen

Don't miss out on the wild and wonderful DIY theatre, dance, comedy and unclassifiable stage antics of the 28th St-Ambroise Montréal FRINGE Festival, running until June 17 at multiple indoor and outdoor venues – the outdoor Fringe Tent is also a must with its free music and theatrical performances day and night. Fans of musicals are flocking to The Lyric Theatre SingersJourney to Broadway revue at D.B. Clarke Theatre from June 14 to 16 and to Motown The Musical, based on the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy, from June 19 to 24 at Place des Arts. On June 20, artist, poet and performer Juliana Huxtable reflects on gender fluidity, bodies and identity at the Phi Centre. Immerse yourself in high-tech new worlds of entertainment and art in the 360-degree Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology: from June 12 to 15, see several new creations at SAT Fest 2018, and from June 19 to 22, see artist Yan Breuleux's multimedia piano concert Les Planètes, based on the music of composer Walter Boudreau. Roam the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia creations EXO, The Blind Man with Starry Eyes, Continuum and Aurōrae at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Go on a wild ride in IMAX at the Montréal Science Centre with Tiny Giants 3D, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D, plus new addition America's Musical Journey – while at the Science Centre, be sure to see the 400 original art objects and drawings of DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. And see the world anew in virtual reality at the Phi Centre: Particles of Existence is an immersive experience that lets you travel through the universe at non-human scale while delving into global concerns. The Phi Centre also celebrates the 10th anniversary of Denis Villeneuve's spectacular short film Next Floor with an installation and screenings.


Art for all

Among the blockbuster Montréal museum exhibitions this summer, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see how From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present tackles the complex question of “primitivism” in art history, see works by Canadian artists of African origin in Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art and much more. Outside the museum, the sun glints off gorgeous glass sculpture Chihuly's Sun and, on the evening of June 20, the museum launches outdoor installation Moving Dunes with a party featuring a DJ set by Pierre Kwenders. Immerse yourself in architectural “anti-monuments” and other large-scale, participatory installations of artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in new exhibition Unstable Presence at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal – the MAC also hosts its Nocturne night event on June 15, featuring workshops, interactive tours, tequila tasting and DJs Foxtrott, CFCF and Priori. At DHC/ART, Bharti Kher: Points de départ, points qui lient explores hybridity, the female body and the nonphysical in the material world in works woven through with the artist's signature use of the bindi. Interdisciplinary group exhibition Refus contraire looks at current and historical themes of revolution and challenging the status quo through collective actions in Québec at Galerie de l’UQAM up to June 16. Stop by Mile Ex gallery Never Apart to see the spring 2018 exhibitions. See art by master engraver Ludmila Armata in Field Walk Works at Galerie D'Este. Playful and critical, WORLD CUP! takes a different look at soccer, community and national identity, at articule. And on June 20, the Phi Centre launches the fourth edition of art magazine THEFINEPRINT with new art installations, a pop-up store and music.

Local history and beyond

Dive into Montréal's past at the McCord Museum, featuring new exhibition Balenciaga – Master of Couture, a haute couture retrospective of the legendary Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, as well as remarkable exhibition Shalom Montreal – Stories and Contributions of the Jewish Community. Stroll through the City of Light and explore Parisian boutiques of the 18th century at the Stewart Museum. Explore what life was like during the fur trade in the late 1600s in the Scene of Dreams exhibition at the Musée de Lachine. The Exporail Museum adds music and picnics to a morning of vintage railroad and streetcar rides. If you're a baseball fan, check out our exclusive peek into the world's biggest collection of Montréal Expos memorabilia. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses interchanges between science and architecture while Utopie Radicali: Florence 1966–1976 explores the Italian radical movement's utopian architectural visions. And travel way, way back in time to discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a blockbuster exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière.

Live music

Les Francos takes over some key downtown venues this weekend: from June 15 to 16, intense showman Pierre Lapointe performs his La science du coeur at Place des Arts, while Brel Symphonique sees l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and several stars pay homage to the famed French singer at Maison symphonique. Also on June 15, folk-pop singer-songwriter Andréanne A. Malette is at Cinquième Salle and the poppy Latin-beat-meets-French-electro of Polo & Pan gets us dancing at MTELUS. On June 16, Florant Vollant sings delicate, poetic folk songs in Innu at Place des Arts and charming French singer Arthur H. comes to Club Soda, while on June 17 rapper-singer-songwriter Eddy De Pretto performs at MTELUS. Beyond Les Francos, on Friday night, hear the chill electro-pop of HAUX and Henry Jamison at Le Ministère. On Saturday, eclectic Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Hannah Epperson comes to Bar Le Ritz PDB, Ocean Alley and Matthew Chaim at L'Escogriffe, and factory turned dance club New City Gas features electro producers Tritonal and APEK on their 10 Years of Enhanced Tour. Spend Sunday afternoon outdoors at electronic dance party Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring a 30th birthday party for Paris' Rex Club with Molly, Traumer and more producers, while on Sunday night, NYC psych rock band Blac Rabbit gets loud at Bar Le Ritz PDB. Also check out the leftfield music, from jazz and classical to avant rock and folk, of the Suoni per il Popolo Festival, including Chemistry! A Vogue Ball and Danish musician Croatian Amor on Friday, Esmerine, Thus Owls and Chino Amobi on Saturday, Beverly-Glenn Copeland on Sunday, plus workshops and more.

In classical music, the 23rd edition of the Montréal Chamber Music Festival runs up to June 17 – hear charismatic musical prodigy Grace Kelly and her jazz trio on June 15, the New York Philharmonic String Quartet on June 16 and a grand finale cello concert on June 17, featuring 12 cellists, including festival artistic director Denis Brott. Not music per se, but music-related, Dave Lory's lecture Jeff Buckley: From Hallelujah To The Last Goodbye is being held on June 18 at L’Astral, while later that night at the same venue, retro-leaning, guitar-riffing English rock band The Horrors lets loose. On June 19, British singer-songwriter Sam Smith croons to fans' delight at the Bell Centre and Sub Pop, Georgia-based musician Washed Out comes to L’Astral. In cloaks and masks, electronic trio Magic Sword descends on Bar Le Ritz PDB on June 20. On Thursday, June 21, Le Choeur classique de Montréal performs an eclectic concert of Cherubini, Verdi and Poulenc at Maison symphonique, Australian singer and songwriter Vance Joy plays the Bell Centre, blues-rock icon Carvin Jones and band play Club Soda, and noisemakers Tonstartssbandht return for a 10-year anniversary show at Bar Le Ritz PDB. For more live music throughout the week, check out our picks on how to get your nightlife on in Montréal, where to hear live music in Montréal, 10 great places to see indie bands, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our guide to electronic music in Montréal.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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