Things to do in Montréal this May 2024

Mount Royal Park - Kondiaronk Belvedere
Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant

This article was updated on April 24, 2024.

With festivals dedicated to music, arts and culture, biking and food, there’s no shortage of things to do in May in Montréal. Soak up the splendour of (nearly) summer weather by dancing in the sun, cheers with some brews at Mondial de la bière, go for a celebratory Mother’s Day brunch or try out new flavour combinations during Pizza Week. There’s circus, theatre, dance, opera and film… and no shortage of live music to entertain all month long.

Festival TransAmériques

May unmissables

Spring has undoubtedly sprung, with the city burgeoning with possibility and blooming with excitement. 

Expect the unexpected at Festival TransAmériques, presenting innovative world-class theatre, dance and performance art on the city’s main stages and outdoors starting on May 22. At the same time, see even more live performances at the OFFTA festival! 

Soak up the sweet weather in Montréal’s beautiful neighbourhoods, newly opened terrasses or enjoy a celebration of the richness of Japanese culture in the city with Japan Week, returning with new activities and events from May 6 to 12.

Take a deep dive into history during the Festival d'Histoire de Montréal, held at 14 different Montreal museums from May 10 to 12.

Summer starts early at Piknic Électronik, where the world’s biggest electronic music producers and the greatest local talents get crowds dancing at Parc Jean-Drapeau every weekend beginning May 19 and 20 with Lis Dalton, Nico Moreno and more artists. 

A conference that seems like a festival, C2MTL welcomes all-star speakers and thousands of attendees from May 21 to 23. 

Let the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival surprise you with new theatre, dance and comedy shows —plus a free outdoor stage in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood — all starting on May 27.

 

L’île du savoir - Eureka! Festival

 

For kids of all ages who love science, Eureka! Festival presents hands-on activities and demos from May 24 to 26 in Parc Jean-Drapeau. 

Dance to the beat of the Fuego Fuego Latin music festival on May 25 and 26, with MalumaRauw Alejandro and so many more artists. 

The Montréal Comic Arts Festival brings Québec artists and their art to Saint Denis Street between Gilford and Roy, with free activities for all ages, from May 24 to 26.

Celebrating Montréal’s internationally-renowned indie music scene, leading local bands Half Moon Run and Men I Trust join forces to co-curate and headline L’Appel Montréal on May 30: it’s a full day of hand-selected artists from across Canada outside the iconic Olympic Park

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.

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

 

MTL Zipline and La Grande Roue de Montréal

Spring attractions & tours

We hope you make yourself at home in Montréal’s incredible hotels— there’s an accommodation option for everyone, from landmark hotels to family-friendly hotels and boutique hotels galore. 

In Old Montréal, walk the cobblestone streets to the St. Lawrence River and visit the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica — 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 along the glittering boardwalk to get a great view of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge aglow with colour-shifting light. 

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

Passeport MTL

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

MTL Detours Explore Old Montreal Walking Tour Group Photo

 

One of the best ways to discover the city is with expert guides on Montréal tours: 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. 

Mondial de la bière

May’s foodie adventures

Montreal’s many food festivals happen throughout the year. This month, don’t miss Festival Mondial de la bière (Montreal Beer Fest), which offers beer tastings, food pairings, workshops and demonstrations by local microbrews and international favourites. Another must is Pizza Week, happening from May 1 to 14, when many of the city’s pizza joints and other restaurants create signature pizzas — remember to vote for the one you like best!  The Québec tradition of sugar shack season extends into the beginning of May. For a real Québécois experience, visit some of the best sugar shacks in and around Montréal

Treat your mum like the queen she is on Mother’s Day this year, whether it’s with the classical Sunday brunch experience — so many Montréal restaurants are going the extra mile this May 12 — or a pinkies-up afternoon tea.

May also marks the start of terrasse season! And when you want to go indoors, check out Montréal’s newest restaurants and “buvettes” and don’t miss a classic Montréal brunch, whether for Mother’s Day weekend or any weekend! Also try some of Montréalers’ favourite lunch restaurants, from Old Montréal and downtown to Villeray or the South-West, and favourite French restaurants.

 

 Bistro Chez Roger

 

Explore more of Montréal’s renowned food scene at the legendary Eaton’s 9th floor restaurant, reopening this month as Île de FranceMaestro SVP, in the hottest heart of the Plateau, is always a fantastic choice for a romantic meal of oysters, buttery shrimp and lobster mac’n’cheese. At Bistro Chez Roger, you’ll quickly understand why it’s the favourite regular haunt of so many Rosemont residents, with a menu packed with French classics like tartare-frites and homemade boudin noir. Get a taste of Ethiopia at Nil Bleu with their incredible stews which you wrap into yummy injera bread. (The menu is very vegan friendly.) Bring your own wine to the French-leaning Les Oiseaux de Passage, on the Plateau—and make sure you save room for the seasonal crème brûlée!

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. Explore more of Montréal’s newest restaurants and buvettes, and don’t miss a classic Montréal brunch, whether you’re looking for elegance or comfort food. 

May 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

 

Vélo Québec - Go Bike Montréal Festival

Spring sports and relaxation

Until May 5, don’t miss Défi sportif AlterEgo, a sporting event that brings together 6,000 international athletes of all skill levels with functional limitations (hearing, motor, visual) to compete and have fun. 

Montréal is a biking city and Go Bike Montréal Festival celebrates that fact starting on May 26, when cyclists of all ages bike together for the Tour de Nuit, a night tour of the city, and Tour de l’Île, a longer group ride during the day. 

Cheer on the CF Montréal team at home at the Saputo Stadium throughout the month, and the Montréal Alouettes at the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in their preseason, starting at the end of the month! If you can’t make the games in person, watch all the soccer, football, basketball, MMA and more at Montréal’s sports bars.

 

Art Chaos

 

If you’re feeling artsy, Art Chaos is a fantastic family- or group-friendly activity in Mile Ex, where you can paint crazy creations on rapidly spinning canvases, for a truly interactive experience. And while you’re in the neighbourhood, stop into Boutique des 3 Sorciers on Avenue du Parc — it offers an immersive foray into the magical world of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts sagas, with a selection of official products. You can take your quidditch to the next level.

Wanna play? Head to the Eaton Centre downtown where the Playbox Centre has a game for everyone, from internationally renowned crane games to arcade games, skill games and VR attractions. 

As spring begins to spring, visit Montréal’s parks to watch all the burgeoning flora. 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 April.

Among the many free things to do this springsee incredible city views from Mount Royal Park: head for a walk through the park and up the stairs to the lookout or bus or drive up to Beaver Lake. Stroll 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.) 

For the ultimate relaxation session after a day of trekking (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.

 

Belle et Rebelle

Spring to the shops

Shop for some new spring wardrobe staples throughout Montréal, including Belle et Rebelle boutique in Rosemont, a great place to shop for clothing, jewellery, and accessories made in Canada (hello spring collection!). Shop also in Old Montréal’s boutiques, downtown along Sainte-Catherine Street and in the underground city malls. Discover the latest styles at Montréal Eaton Centrand 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). 

Find unique and locally made decor, clothing, jewellery, art and more at the Puces POP fair from May 10 to 12 at Église Saint Denis, just across from Laurier métro.

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.

 

The Horizon of Khufu

May art and exhibitions

Springtime is in hyperdrive in museums and galleries around town, so get the full low-down in our overview

The Horizon of Khufu is an immersive journey into Ancient Egypt on the Old Port of Montréal. Throughout May you can explore the archaeological treasure of the Giza Pyramid, constructed over 4,500 years ago. The experience allows players to physically move and interact within a shared virtual reality space.

 

Planétarium – Space for Life: Rouge 2100 - A Martian Adventure imagined by Cirque Éloize - Water sensor

 

Aerospace engineer Farah Alibay, alongside Cirque Éloize and the Planetarium, presents a new immersive exhibition dedicated to the Red Planet titled Farah Alibay fait voyager sur marsUncover the mysteries of Mars, its landscapes, its geological history and the challenges posed by its potential colonization.

Visit the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts to see the Canadian premiere of O’Keeffe and Moore: Giants of Modern Art, a large-scale exhibition that comingles 120 of the two great artists’ works, as well as recreating their studios. Runs throughout May and beyond.

Enjoy the monthly offerings of performance art in the Embodied Space series at the PHI Foundation, inspired by the intimacy, vulnerability and a moment of contemplation that live performance has the capacity to deliver in facing the void of our impermanence

Among the Montréal museum exhibitions this season, go to Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex in Old Montréal to learn about The Heart and Soul of Saint-Henri until May 11— Saint-Henri is a greatly storied neighbourhood of Montréal — or further afield, with the Olmecs and the Civilizations of the Gulf of Mexico exhibition, throughout the month. You’ll also be near the kid-friendly Montréal Science Centre, where you can explore interactive exhibitions that investigate the scientific world.

 

McCord Stewart Museum

 

The McCord Stewart Museum bridges past and present in its exhibitions, which throughout May includes a spotlight on fashion photograph, Norman Parkinson: Always in Fashion, as well as Presence of the Past by Kanien’kehà:ka artist MC Snow, as part of the museum’s first collaboration with the Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA). The BACA launches on May 4 and hold many interesting exhibitions centred around contemporary art gallery Art Mûr.

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. 

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.

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.

Experience a massive immersive art experience in surround-sound and laser light at Oasis Immersion, where Root for Nature extrapolates on biodiversity in all its splendour and  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.

 

Danse Danse - Gauthier Dance - Swan Lakes

Onstage in May

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 May, particularly in Montréal’s vibrant English theatre scene, catch the show Thy Woman’s Weeds until May 12 at Centaur Theatre. It features seven of Montréal’s finest actresses as they pull back the curtain on the Bard in a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to be a woman working with Shakespeare today. 

Starting on May 12 at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts, catch POTUS or Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. The premise: When the President unwittingly spins a PR nightmare into a global crisis, the brilliant and beleaguered women he relies upon most risk life, liberty and the pursuit of sanity to keep the commander-in-chief out of trouble.

Danse Danse presents Swan Lakes from May 1 to 4 at Théâtre Maisonneuve, wherein choreographers Marie Chouinard and Hofesh Shechter appropriate Swan Lake in two daring approaches that are respectively radical and explosive. 

À la une! takes over Théâtre Maisonneuve on May 19, shining with creativity and passion presented by the dance program of Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine. Under the artistic direction of Karine Laurendeau, the 180 students offer an expressive and diverse range.

Tangente presents three dance shows in May, including an experimental celebration by LABdifffrom May 4 o 6, Les danses à deux temps from May 15 to 17, featuring the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal’s first- and second-year dancers, and Les danses de mai by Ohad Naharin and Dorotea Saykaly from May 22 to 25.

 

Society for Arts and Technology [SAT] - Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon

Onscreen in May

Enjoy a larger-than-life (or certainly larger-than-screen) experience with the immersive Pink Floyd: The Dark side of the Moon, an overall-multisensory performance set in the SAT’s impressive Satosphere.

Experience family-friendly cinematic shows on the domed screens of the Planétarium, including Starmap to the Unseen Universe, throughout May — a show that will take you past the limits of our solar system and our galaxy to encounter undreamed-of splendours. The Montréal Science Centre’s IMAX cinema puts nature on the giant screen in all its glory — you can see the incredible Wings Over Water throughout May.

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

 

Festival des musiciens du monde

Live music in May

It comes as no surprise that Montréal’s famed summer festival season starts as early as May! During Asian Heritage Month, the Festival Accès Asie celebrates with live music, dance, art exhibitions, film screenings, culinary workshops and more. From flamenco to oud melodies to West African rhythms, the Festival des Musiciens du monde presents global music from May 17 to 19. Discover local musicians performing mini-concerts during PorchfestNDG in the neighbourhood of NDG from May 18 and 19.

Heed the call of L’Appel Montréal starting on May 30 at the Olympic Park — this new festival combines local and international artists, all brought together by local success story, the band Half Moon Run.

See the world’s top young pianists compete from prizes and grants worth $200,000 at the Concours musical international de Montréal, happening from May 5 to 16.

At Espace St-Denis you’ll find Elton Songs — Hommage à Elton John on May 2 and 3 (expect lots of glittery costumes) and on May 24, take in an Acoustic Saloon night with Michel Pagliaro.

At the Bell Centrecatch Tim McGraw on May 2 and Luis Miguel on May 24.

At Place des arts, catch Emily D'Angelo and the TSO at the Maison Symphonique on May 4 and La Traviata by Verdi sung by Opéra de Montréal at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier from May 4 to 14. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a classical concert at Théâtre Maisonneuve on May 5. Lovers of drag will celebrate a visit from superstar Thorgy & The Thorchestra at Maison symphonique on May 9! On May 10 catch a Tribute to the Beatles, the Philharmonic Experience at Maison symphonique, while on May 16 it’s The Simon and Garfunkel Story that’s on view at Théâtre Maisonneuve. See the complete programming here.

You’ll find all sorts of fun music shows at MTELUS including Architects on May 3 and 4, The Driver Era on May 6, Straight No Chaser on May 7, Grimskunk on May 10 and May 18, James Arthur on May 22 and 23, and Qw4rtz on May 31.

At Théâtre Fairmount in Mile End, catch Teenage Fanclub on May 1, DJ Habibeats on May 3, Uli Jon Roth on May 8, Must Die! on May 10, Lewis Ofman on May 14 and the Mirage Burlesque Experience on May 24, among others. And don’t miss their famous dance parties!

At Beanfield Theatre, you can catch a whole bunch of shows over the month including Giggson May 3, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets on May 13, SiM on May 21, Sebastian Bach on May 24 and ERRA on May 31.

 

New City Gas - Eli Brown à [DSTRKT]

 

The world’s best EDM artists come to New City Gas to get you moving, which in May includes Cosmic Gate in a 5-hour performance on May 4, Eli Brown on May 17 and Double Touch on May 19.

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 monthly 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. Explore the lineup at Le Ministère, and 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.
 

getting 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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