Things to do in February 2024

L'hiver à Montréal
Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant

This article was updated on January 26, 2024.

Montréal has all kinds of reasons to celebrate February: it’s the month of Black History, the month of love, and the month of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the whopper of all winter festivals. Valentine’s Day aside, our February nights shine extra bright thanks to the interactive art of Luminothérapie and the season’s hottest outdoor dance parties: Igloofest. How will we fit it all in? 

Luminothérapie

Fun February events

Throughout February and across the city, winter shines bright in Montréal — especially at Montréal’s signature winter food and culture festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. Starting on February 29 and running into March, the festival welcomes visitors and locals alike to an outdoor site, culinary events and workshops, music and artistic performances and more. Ice skate on the raised loop above Place des Festivals, ride the Ferris wheel and play with light and sound art installations and more. Mark your calendars for March 2, too, when Nuit blanche brings all-night art, theatrical and musical performances downtown and in neighbourhoods across the city.

Get a slide on at Glissades Gamelinin a fun setting where sports, music and good food come together. Whether you prefer snowskates or snow scooters, bring your friends and family for some fast-sliding fun every Friday evening and all weekend, all through the month and into March.

Also downtown, Esplanade Tranquille proves itself to be much more than a typical skating rink: expect lighting displays, live music, performances, storytelling and sports activities, along with ice skating for all ages and levels. Rent skates or bring your own, learn a few moves from instructors, and go “dancing” on DJ nights. Throughout the Quartiers des spectacles, experience illuminated artwork, activities and more. This year’s Luminothérapie outdoor exhibition, running all month long and beyond, features illuminated interactive art that makes us all feel like kids again.

February is Black History Month, featuring artistic and historic exhibitions, as well as performances, film and more at several venues. You’ll find us at Fade to Black, a celebration of Black cultures currently in its 13th year, which presents films, discussion panels, live interviews, live music, comedy and family-friendly programming at various locations from February 7 to 11. 

The Vues d’Afrique Rallye-Expos Passport is also a great way to explore local Black cultures. Starting on February 1, the passport gives you access to a rich and varied program of exhibitions, conferences and film projections in a variety of museums, galleries, libraries and cafés.

On February 10, girls and women are the guests of honour at the Montréal Science Centre during Women and girls of science day, when women scientists lead workshops, give talks, do demonstrations and invite girls from far and wide to get right in there and start experimenting. 

 

Les Quartiers du Canal / SDC - Montréal Boréal - Le Jam du Nord

 

In its second edition, Montréal Boréal : Le Jam du Nord happens from February 17 and well into March at Sir George-Étienne-Cartier Square in Saint-Henri. Catch musical performances, games and activities for all ages. 

Parc La Fontaine turns into a hive of activity thanks to the Robin des Bois Chalet, where fun is available for the whole family — from dance classes to art lessons to yoga to a drag brunch.

Keep the new year party spirit alive with the Lunar New Year celebrations this month, as we welcome the year of the Dragon starting on February 10. The Dragon Ball Chinese New Year Gala on February 16 is a glamorous place to start: this family-friendly event at the Olympia Reception Hall will celebrate with an immersive cultural experience showcasing the vibrant traditions of Chinese New Year infused with modern elegance.

Stroll along the glittering boardwalk in the Old Port of Montréal — also where you’ll see a great view of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge aglow with colour-shifting light. And while you’re in the neighbourhood, dance under the stars and in the snow at one of Montréal's favourite winter festivals, Igloofest, on its sweet 16th edition this year! Prepare to dance under the stars in your best parka from until February 10. 

For more light play, head to the Casino de Montréal to play on life-size arcade games at their ARcade by Moment Factory: an augmented video game experience in two play areas that pits teams against each other in six interactive games. Each game combines motion-detection, projection technologies and videogame mechanics.

Get cozy for Valentine’s Day in the warmth of a luxurious hotel room, complete with perks for two thanks to these special packages. Experience the day of love in a totally Montréal way, or put a spin on the celebration with a jam-packed Galentine’s weekend — may the fun never end!

 

Tour guidé

Wintry attractions & tours

The easiest way to visit dozens of Montréal attractions, museums and more at a discount at any time of the year is by getting your own key to the city: Passeport MTL, whose special winter edition will help you experience the best of the season.

In Old Montréal, walk the cobblestone streets to the St. Lawrence River and visit the seasonally illuminated square outside Notre-Dame Basilica — inside, see the gorgeous multimedia Aura Experience, a wonderful way to feel the grandeur of this landmark.

In the Old Port of Montréal, you can see incredible city and river views from the great Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel, with its cozy heated cabins.

Stroll around the illuminated shopping mecca of Ste-Catherine Street and make a detour to see Claude Cormier et Associés’s massive The Ring installation aglow at Esplanade Place Ville Marie downtown. 

One of the best ways to discover the city is with expert guides on Montréal tours: in winter, you can dress warm and set your own agenda with private walking tours at your own pace. See the city like a local with MTL Detours, take a day trip outside the city with N-Tours, call upon the experts at Guidatours, or take yourself on self-guided audio tours thanks to TourBird.

If you’re wondering why Montréal has so many colourful murals, hear more about them and their artists on a street art tour with Spade & Palacio, including new murals from this year’s Mural Festival and others. 

 

Bivouac - Bubbles

February food and drink

Celebrate the month of love with a tête-à-tête in one of Montréal’s newest restaurants and buvettes, and don’t miss a classic Montréal brunch, whether you’re looking for elegance or comfort food. 

From some crowdsourced favourites, try Montréalers’ favourite lunch restaurants, from Old Montréal and downtown to Villeray or the South-West. Get a taste of long-time Québec classics like smoked meatpoutine and Montréal bagels and keep on ticking the boxes on your must-eat list with these other musts for foodies in Montréal. And enjoy dinner and a show at restaurant-cabaret Le Balcon’s nighttime parties or popular gospel brunch. 

Speaking of poutine: February means it’s Poutine Week! Eat your way across town at all the participating restaurants from February 1 to 7 and take notes on your fave incarnation of the province’s ultimate comfort food.

Get an incredible bird’s eye view on Place des Festivals from within the clear geodesic domes on the terrasse of Bivouac, where you can taste the best of the terroir, or from the Terrasse William Gray in Old Montréal, whose clear domes give onto the Grande Roue de Montréal. Stop for a bite with a view at Muze lounge & terrace in Hôtel HONEYROSE downtown, or eat well at globally inspired Azalea restaurant and seafood specialists Maestro SVP in the Plateau.

February is also an excellent month to have dinner and see a show at the Casino de Montréal: live music and cabaret shows will entertain you and your date while you enjoy incredible seafood and more on the grill at Le Montréal, a gourmet buffet at Pavillon 67, and quick delicious eats at L’Instant. 

Downtown, explore the wide variety of excellent meals at gourmet food halls  including Time Out MarketMarché ArtisansLe Cathcart and Le Central. Get your caffeine fix at Montréal’s indie coffee shops — and fresh-baked doughnuts to go with it! Add more sweetness to your life at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shopsbest chocolate shops and candy shops.

Eat plant-based with our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal or join the debate over who makes the best pizza in Montréal — or the best tacos. Warm up with authentic Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho. By night, discover the city’s 30 top cocktail barsinventive Montréal microbreweries and late-night eats

 

L'Hiver à Montréal

Winter sports & relaxation

As the snow falls, visit Montréal's parks for a natural winter wonderland experience. At the Space for Life museums, stroll the Montréal Botanical Garden grounds and sprawling tropical greenhouse, experience several wild ecosystems at the Biodôme (there are penguins, otters, monkeys and more), explore the mysteries of the universe at the Planétarium, and learn about the thousands of butterflies, moths and other insects at the newly renovated Insectarium.

The West Island’s Ecomuseum Zoo is a wonderful place to glimpse local wildlife in their natural outdoor habitats and even have breakfast with some of them throughout February.

For some fresh air, take the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal down to the Old Port of Montréal ice skating rink, where you can rent skates and glide next to the St. Lawrence River under twinkling lights. There are more great ice skating options in city parks throughout the city, and even indoors at Atrium Le 1000 downtown.

Among the many free things to do this wintersee incredible city views from Mount Royal Park: bundle up for a walk through the park and up the stairs to the lookout or bus or drive up to Beaver Lake. Stroll (or cross-country ski) around Parc La Fontaine, go to St-Michel’s Parc Frédéric-Back, or cross the river to Parc Jean-Drapeau for a riverside walk and a different view of the city. (While there visit the Biosphère too for environment-focused exhibitions and more.) And on snowy days, the list of outdoor winter activities is endless.

Watch the Montréal Ice Canoe Challenge from the shores of the St. Lawrence River on February 24, when the massive ice canoes slice through the slushy cold waters at breakneck speed. It’s thrilling!

Meanwhile, in pro sports: cheer on the Montréal Canadiens at home at the Bell Centre throughout the month. If you’re not at the game, watch hockey, football, basketball, fight nights and other sports at Montréal’s sports bars.

For ultimate relaxation after a day of winter sports (or just because you deserve it!), visit Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau, a spa in a moored boat on the St. Lawrence River, and other world-class spas like Scandinave Spa Vieux-MontréalAvie Spa & CoiffureRainspa and Strøm Nordic Spa.

 

Deux amies magasinant

February shopping

Shop for some new winter wardrobe staples in Old Montréal’s boutiques, downtown along Sainte-Catherine Street and in the underground city malls. Discover the latest styles at Montréal Eaton Center and Place Montréal Trust, including Uniqlo, Nike, Aritzia, Decathlon and many more boutiques (and remember to ask for a VIP Visitor Card at Guest Services for exclusive discounts only for tourists). 

Keep your eye out for items made by Montréal designers and relaxing self-care staples and plenty of sparkly goods from the coolest Montréal jewellery stores. Shop local and eco-friendly at the most fabulous vintage boutiques in the city. Pick out the perfect new books for friends and family from Montréal’s bookstores, and dive into a wide world of music at Montréal’s excellent vinyl stores.

 

 Musée McCord Stewart - Wampum perles de diplomatie

February art and exhibitions

Start the art year strong with a visit to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, where you can see Françoise Sullivan, a solo exhibition featuring the legacy of one of Québec’s great artists, on until February 18. At Fonderie Darling, presented in collaboration with the Musée d’art contemporain, you can see Jeremy Shaw: Phase Sifting Index until February 25, a vast, immersive, seven-channel video installation described as “an exhilarating, para-scientific reverie of enormous intellectual and artistic ambition.” Whoa.

Among the Montréal museum exhibitions this season, go to Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex in Old Montréal to learn about why Montréal’s river-based location was so important in St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores, among other exhibitions on show. You’ll also be near the kid-friendly Montréal Science Centre, where you can explore interactive exhibitions that investigate the scientific world.

The McCord Stewart Museum bridges past and present in its exhibitions, which in February include Wampum: Beads Of Diplomacy, featuring over 40 wampum belts that have traded hands for over two centuries, and Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan, artist James Duncan’s documentation of the city’s development from 1830 to 1880 alongside artist Iregular’s AI-powered digital reinterpretation of the paintings.

Visit MEM – Centre des mémoires montréalaises, a cutting-edge museum dedicated to the voices of Montrealers presiding over the corner of Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Rue Sainte-Catherine. At the Canadian Centre for Architecture, catch The Lives of Documents — Photography as Project, which will remain in the Main galleries throughout the month. 

Travel back in time as you tour the rooms of Château Ramezay and visit historical site Chateau Dufresne near the Olympic Stadium, currently featuring works by artist Guido Nincheri. The Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal marks the bicentennial of Mount Royal Park’s creator, architect Frederick Law Olmsted with exhibition Our Mountain: Memories of Mount Royal.

Not far from the city, climb aboard railway cars, learn about the history of the railroad and explore miniature railways at the Exporail the Canadian Railway Museum. At the Museum of Jewish Montréal enjoy Back River, a multimedia exhibition on throughout the month by Montréal-based artist Sonia Bazar that reveals the history and legacy of Ahuntsic’s Back River Cemetery — one of the city’s oldest Jewish cemeteries that has been largely forgotten.

Explore the Afromuseum, representing the contributions of Afro-Canadians to the cultural landscape of Canada. Discover the vivid history and present of Québec ceramics at the Musée des métiers d’arts du Québec. And for another slice of Québec history, visit Montréal’s stunning churches and sacred sites.

At the Phi Centre, the Habitat Sonorelistening room is an immersive experience that presents different musical artists until February 4. Catch it while you can! 

Experience a massive immersive art experience in surround-sound and laser light at Oasis Immersion, where Dreaming Asia explores Chinese and Japanese cultures in a big way. 

And don’t forget Montréal’s plethora of small, independent art galleries, from Bradley Ertaskiran to Hugues CharbonneauGalerie B-312SBC Gallery and Ellephant downtown, Oboro and MAI in the Plateau, Centre Clark and Dazibao in Mile End, Galerie d’Outremont in Outremont and many, many others in every neighbourhood.

 

Onstage in February

Montréal’s cultural calendar is packed this season, with entertainment for everyone on the city’s many stages. Among the world-class theatre, dance, opera, circus and more gracing the city’s stages throughout February, you’ll find Irish Celtic, an acclaimed show back in Montréal for the second year, featuring electrifying Irish dancing to the soulful sounds of bagpipes, guitar, accordion, piano or the wild melodies of the Irish fiddle. You can literally hear the heart of Ireland beating at Espace Saint-Denis, from February 1 to 4. 

All your senses will be awakened by Slava’s Snowshow, celebrating its 25 years in Québec at Espace Saint-Denis, on until February 11. This show is a poetic fairy tale that combines music, mime and theatre to create an epic tale set in a surreal universe featuring hypnotizing balloons and a hallucinating, larger-than-life snowstorm onstage.

Among the shows in Montréal’s vibrant English theatre scene, catch the return of the Wildsides Festival, until February 8 at Centaur Theatre. Among the plays there you can see The Flood, about women banding together in a Toronto prison during a life-threatening flood.

Montréal, arts interculturels presents two dance shows in February: Omaagomaan from February 8 to 10 and Deciphers from February 14 to 17. Danse Danse presents three shows at Théâtre Maisonneuve. Minuit quelque part on February 6 and 7, a fiery collection of choreographies exploring the night; on February 9 and 10 the lauded Margie Gillis choreographs 16 dancers in Literature of the body; then from February 21 to 24, catch Sankofa Danzafro, mixing African percussion, song, and urban and contemporary dance. 

Riopelle Grandeur Nature is a show that celebrates famous Québécois artist Jean-Paul Riopelle’s centenary. Presented by The 7 Fingers, the show will take you on journey through the artist’s work thanks to 360° projections, infrared motion capture and a state-of-the-art spatialized sound system.

 

La Magie des Impressionnistes, Espace St-Denis

Onscreen in February

Film festival Les Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma celebrates Québec cinema from February 21 to March 3: see feature films, shorts, documentaries and more, as well as talks and special events.

Get an eyeful (and then some!) at the grandiose Lasting Impressions experience at Espace Saint-Denis, a voyage inside the painting by Renoir, Degas, Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh and many others, presented in 3D on a gigantic ultra-high definition screen. Live among the brushstrokes and be part of the paintings, transported by a perfectly choreographed soundtrack, until February 11.

Experience family-friendly cinematic shows on the domed screens of the Planétarium, including nobElles, a show paying tribute to seven women scientists through unusual portraits by Montréal multidisciplinary artist MissMe. The Montréal Science Centre’s IMAX cinema puts nature on the giant screen in all its glory — this month see the incredible Animal Kingdom 3D: A Tale of Six Families.

See independent features, family films, documentaries and more at Montréal’s indie cinemas including Cinéma ModerneCinéma du Parc (including late-night cult classics at Parc at Midnight screenings), Cinéma du Musée at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, and the iconic Cinémathèque québécoise in the Quartier des spectacles. 

Explore the city through cinema in these Hollywood movies made in Montréal. And see the art world in a whole new light thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art year-round ART FILM program.

 

Live music in February

On February 2, set the tone for the month with a rousing gospel performance by Trey McLaughlin and The Sounds of Zamar at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, presenting opulent harmonies with 20 voices that transcend cultural boundaries. 

At the Bell Centre (between all the hockey games) catch Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and Ricky Martin on February 22 and Burna Boy either on February 28 or 29.

You’ll find all sorts of fun music shows at MTELUS: Patrick Watson from February 2 to 5, Machine Head on February 6, Tommy & Friends 3 on February 10, The Kills on February 21, Lil Tecca on February 27 and Half Moon Run on February 29.

At Théâtre Fairmount in Mile End, Discoño presents French DJ and producer Lazy Flow in a Canadian premiere on February 2, wild fun at a Justin Bieber Night on February 9, beloved South African performer Lorraine Klaasen on February 10, Ekkstacy on February 20 and Mr. Tout le Monde on February 23, among others. 

At Beanfield Theatre, you can catch a whole bunch of shows over the month including the Sam Roberts Band on February 2, Maggots on February 10 and Milk & Bone on February 16.

Over at Le Ministère, dance the night away at Afroton Vol. 8 on February 23, featuring a night of non-stop music merging the best of Afrobeats, Reggaeton & Amapiano.

Groove to live soul, disco, jazz, funk, salsa, Cuban music Fridays and more at Le Balcon, where you can have dinner with a show, go dancing, and enjoy a gospel brunch on weekends. Hear live jazz nightly at Montréal’s amazing jazz and blues clubs, like Diese Onze and Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill. And go out dancing late into the night at Montréal's dance clubs.

Indie venues Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa have chock-a-block full February programs featuring both local and visiting bands, which you can find here. Look here for the many live events at hole-in-the-wall Barfly. Same for Bar Le Ritz PDB, where there’s a show nearly every night. Follow L’Escogriffe on Facebook to stay on top of all their upcoming shows. L’Hémisphère Gauche, up in Little Italy, is packed with music lovers for their nightly shows, as is Quai des Brumes on the Plateau — it never has a night off.

 

TO GET AROUND TOWN

To get where you’re going hassle-free, public transportation is the way to go. The STM has special offers on fares and a handy tool to plan your trip quickly and efficiently. You can also download the Transit and Chrono apps for up-to-the minute bus schedules. 

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is a Montréal-based editor and storyteller with a curiosity that runs deeper than most. She has chatted life philosophies with celebrity chefs, gemologists, arena rockers and furries. (All were transformative.) Her free time is spent designing jewellery and laughing at her husband’s jokes.

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