Things to do in Montréal in February 2021

Robyn Fadden

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.

Montréal’s famed wintery February days are here and there’s much to do outdoors as the snow falls and indoors as some restrictions lift!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with romantic meals from Montréal restaurants cooking up special take-out and delivery menus, visit the city’s reopened museums and galleries, dance to a virtual Igloofest, see downtown illuminated by Luminothérapie, experience the art and community of Black History Month in Montréal, and go shopping in person or online for unique local fashion, home decor and more!

 

Winter city sights

It’s a perfectly beautiful time to take a walk through Old Montréal and down to the Old Port of Montréal, where you can also take a whirl on the observation wheel or relax with a massage at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas. Downtown sparkles with the Lights on Peel illuminated artwork just off Ste-Catherine Street, honouring the Kanien’keha:ka clans. One of many free things to do this winter , Montréal’s annual outdoor art event Luminothérapie brightens the whole Quartier des spectacles until March 14 with interactive sound-and-light installations and projection art.

Explore different parts of Montréal, learn about the city’s unique history, culture and more on private winter walking tours with knowledgeable local companies. Take yourself on a Portrait Sonore sound walk downtown and on the mountain or on a tour of the city’s murals. And see more public art everywhere in the city.

Snow day activities

Bundle up and take your pick of outdoor winter activities. Winter wonders abound in Montréal parks and green spaces, from the incredible views in Mount Royal Park to the peaceful grounds (and warm greenhouse) of the Montréal Botanical Garden. Even take a stroll through Mount Royal Cemetery, especially picturesque at this time of year. Go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating in Mount Royal Park, where rentals are available on site. Go ice skating in Parc La Fontaine and other neighbourhood parks. And discover snowshoe paths and snow-covered domes in Frédéric-Back Park.

Make a day of it in Parc Jean-Drapeau where you’ll find new skating paths and ski and snowshoeing trails – if you don’t have your own equipment, rent it there! You can also rent cross-country skis, snowshoes, crazy carpets and snow racers in four Montréal nature parks this year: Cap-Saint-Jacques, Bois-de-Liesse, l’Île-de-la-Visitation and Pointe-aux-Prairies. 

Indoors, visit the Biodôme's five ecosystems (purchase fixed-time tickets online ahead of time) or stay in and play with Festival Montréal Joue from February 20 to March 7 this year: download game notebooks or pick up printed copies from Montréal libraries, and play quiz games, bingo and interactive adventures and more through Facebook.

This year, Valentine’s Day is far from ordinary, yet love is still in the air – especially in Montréal. If you’re still thinking up romantic ideas, find inspiration in these 10 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. By day, take wintery romantic walks with that special someone. By night, order fabulous Valentine’s Day take-out or delivery from your favourite restaurant or try something new to spice things up. You could even call it a mini staycation and book a Montréal hotel room for Valentine’s Day.

More food and drink

Along with Montréal’s food-filled Lunar New Year celebrations for the Year of the Ox in the middle of the month, February is all about comfort food and hot food for cold days. Montréal's many restaurants and cafés are set to satisfy all craving with special Montréal take-out and delivery offers – browse our updated list of Montréal restaurants open for take-out and delivery for the latest, including some of the best Chinese food in Montréal. Wander through the Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market to find ready-to-eat dishes and all the ingredients to make your own winter feasts. 

Get your caffeine fix at Montréal's indie coffee shops. Warm up with perfectly brewed tea from Montréal tea houses or a cup of the best hot chocolate in the city. Get a pastry to go with it at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops or get fresh-baked doughnuts! Sample chocolate creations at the best chocolate shops, indulge your sweet tooth at local candy shops or pick up other musts for foodies visiting Montréal. By night, mix cocktails at home with gin, vodka, rum and more specialty spirits from these Montréal specialty alcohol and spirit makers. Or for the beer lovers, pick up a unique six pack for take out (or even delivery) from inventive Montréal microbreweries.

Local retail therapy

Montréal shopping is back, baby! Whether you’re looking for a new spring wardrobe or gifts for friends, Montréal shopping has something for all styles tastes. Wrap yourself in something warm or find that perfect bath time candle with these hot local creations for winter weather and self-care staples and home decor musts. Buy that perfect piece of jewelry for your loved one – or yourself! – at the coolest Montréal jewelry stores. Peruse Puces POP's virtual catalog for Valentine's Day or any day to find jewelry, art and more creations by over 70 local artisans. Shop local and eco-friendly at the most fabulous vintage boutiques in the city. Shop for clothing, specialty food and more in the boutiques along Mont Royal Avenue or go shopping at the new Holt Renfrew downtown and in the underground city.

Winter art exhibitions

Museums and many art galleries have officially reopened this month with world-class winter exhibitions! Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures as well as Manuel Mathieu: Survivance and more, while online join art workshops, virtual tours and webinars. At the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal see the work of several Montréal artists in themed group exhibition La Machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux, John Akomfrah’s beautiful three-channel video installation Vertigo Sea, plus virtual creative workshops, talks and tours.

The PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art and the Phi Centre reopen on February 24 with new exhibitions: see the Canadian premier Lee Bae: UNION at the former and multi-artist exhibitions Parallel Lines and Three Movements at the latter. Part of Black History Month in Montréal, artists Émilie Régnier, Damien Ajavon and Shanna Strauss show their work in Communal Attachments: Creating in the Absence Of Each Other at Espace culture Georges Émile Lapalme in Place des Arts.

Festival Art Souterrain 2021 goes online from February 20 to April 30 (and in person starting April 10) – see artwork, dance performances and talks on this year’s theme of “Chronometry.” Step inside the wild worlds of the OASIS immersion experience at Palais des congrès starting at the end of the month. At Art Mûr see inspiring group exhibition Terra Nova: A look at the present and the future. The Goethe-Institut Montréal's The City in Times of the Virus projects video art in windows along St. Laurent Blvd. downtown. And explore more of Montréal’s amazing art galleries in our Montréal guide to gallery hopping and these affordable places to buy contemporary art.

History past and present

Montréal's history museums also reopen their doors and continue with online activities too this month! History buffs of all ages will love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex whether in person or online: see new exhibition A Railroad to Dreams, interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? and more. The McCord Museum's Christian Dior exhibition features over 50 classic designs as well as documentary Christian Dior: The man behind the myth, plus online urban tours of Montréal.

See new exhibition The Things Around Us: 51N4E and Rural Urban Framework and more at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Step into the neon glow and cabarets of virtual exhibition Scandal! Vice, crime and morality in Montréal, 1940-1960. Or go back in time with The Château Ramezay’s exhibition 1812: Objects to Discover.

Montréal music

Experience the enduring beat of electronic music festival Igloofest at home this February: the winter fest goes virtual – and free! – with international and local producers, DJs, hip hop artists and more, including CRi, Jacques Greene, Lou Phelps and Misstress Barbara, every Saturday night from February 13 to March 13.

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents concert Symphonic Love Stories: From Tchaikovsky to Bernstein online from February 9 to 23. Hear the Orchestre Métropolitain performing The OM Is Buzzing: GÉNIAL!, featuring Martin Carli, online from February 26 to March 7. And biennial electroacoustic festival Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques goes online from February 18 to 28 with over 20 concerts.

Hear more music online in Bourgie Hall’s virtual classical concerts and Pro Musica’s Cartes Blanches Series webcast. Catch Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal online show In Full Swing from February 18 to 28. The Ensemble Caprice performs Handel’s Messiah in a webcast on February 27. The Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières performs Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake online from February to 12 to 26. And fill your home with music from Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.

On stage

New cinema, live music, art, book launches and more honour Black History Month in Montréal: watch Overture with the Arts' Tracking Black Canada Part 2 online; listen to a conversation with author Desmond Cole on February 18; dance along with the music of Mi’gmafrica, Djely Tapa and Anachnid on February 26; see new films at the Massmadi Montréal Afro-Caribbean Film and Art Festival and more! It’s also the perfect time to read all about Montréal’s own queens of jazz, soul and blues

Dance fans won’t want to miss the Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris webcast performance of Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul from February 17 to 23. Watch Dynamo Théâtre’s webcast of theatrical circus show Life-Cycle from February 27 to March 7. Montréal’s Scapegoat Carnivale presents the free Soliciting Prophecy series online February 15, featuring several theatre pieces by truly talented local creators.

Opera Candy retells a classic fairy tale in musical show The Gourmet Adventure of Hansel and Gretel, webcast throughout the month. And sing along with the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts’ Broadway Happy Hour on February 20, hosted by Nick Burgess – outside the theatre see Black History Month light installation artwork Liberation’s Radiance every day starting at 5:30 p.m.

Discover new art house films and more from Montréal indie cinemas' programming, including virtual screenings from Cinéma Moderne, Cinéma du Parc, Cinéma du Musée and Cinémathèque québécoise. Explore the city from a cinematic distance in these Hollywood movies made in Montréal. Watch family-friendly adventure films and discover science activities online from the Montréal Science Centre. And the PHI Centre's VR TO GO delivers world-class VR content (and headsets) to your door until February 28.

Robyn Fadden

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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