Things to do in Montréal - June 1 to 7

As June begins, Montréal unleashes outdoor festival season in all its glory. This week features Go Bike Montréal Festival city-wide bike rides, First Fridays, Festival TransAmériques and Chromatic, and the start of MURAL fest and Formula 1 Grand Prix action.

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Outdoor festivities

Combining food, fresh air and family-friendly socializing, First Fridays, on June 1, features dozens of the city's gourmet food trucks plus music and activities at the Olympic Park Esplanade. The Go Bike Montréal Festival hosts massive public bike rides Tour de l'Île de Montréal on June 3 and Tour la Nuit on June 1 – watch the action or join in yourself. Stop by the Chromatic Festival until June 2 to experience cutting-edge art on all floors of the Ancienne École des beaux-arts and a stellar late-night party on Saturday night with music from Pascale Project, Bowly and more. Among the many free things to do this spring in Montréal, the Mont-Royal Avenue Foire Commerciale closes two kilometres of the street to traffic from May 31 to June 3. On June 3, the Port of Montreal opens its new Grand Quai du Port de Montréal at 10 a.m. with a big family party, and Exporail Museum adds music and picnics to a morning of vintage railroad and streetcar rides. MURAL Festival hosts a free opening party on June 7 with Fido on Saint-Laurent Boulevard between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal. Though the Formula 1 Grand Prix races don't begin until the weekend, the Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival and Peel Formula events kick off on June 7 with car demos, fashion shows, music and more. Pro sports fans can also watch the Montréal Impact play Houston Dynamo on Saturday, June 2 at Saputo Stadium.


June sights and sounds

June marks the opening of many of Montréal's ephemeral summertime spaces, including open-air markets and outdoor music venues like Village au Pied-du-Courant, the Old Port's Marché des Éclusiers and La Station F-MR, a boutique and café built using Montréal's signature-blue metro cars. On the evening of June 1, listen to uplifting summer music by Canicule Tropicale DJs. As downtown's busy Sainte-Catherine Street undergoes a 21st-century makeover, there's nothing stopping its annual summer transformation into a pedestrian-only zone in Place des Festivals and further down the street under the Aires Libres rainbow in the Village and at Jardins Gamelin, where you'll find activities for all ages and music of all kinds, plus great snacks and drinks. Explore the Montréal Botanical Garden on your own or on a seasonal harvest tour (keep your eyes open for sheep mowing the grassy areas!). See the city spring to life from the high-altitude comfort of Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium or La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. 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 Décalade and river cruise Bateau-Mouche. At night in Old Montréal, watch high-tech wonder AURA at Notre Dame Basilica and spot Cité Memoire 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. 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? The Montréal Beer Festival, also known as Le Mondial de la bière! The fest features local and international beer sampling, workshops, demonstrations and more June 6 to 9, with indoor and outdoor activities at Palais des congrès. 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 the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. Or if you love chocolate, look no further than boutiques belonging to Montréal's top chocolatières.

On stage

Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's contemporary ballet Vendetta - Storie di Mafia explores the human psyche and its violent impulses – presented and danced by Les Grands Ballets at Place des Arts from May 24 to June 2. World-renowned dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, the Boston Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet and more perform to classical music and the songs of Leonard Cohen in Les Grands Ballets's Soirée des étoiles – Dance Me to the End of Love, June 7 to 9 at Place des Arts. New graduates of the National Circus School present two amazing year-end shows at La TOHU this week: the multidisciplinary and spectacular Barok XXI and Sapience. See Tableau D’Hôte Theatre's award-winning production of Michel Tremblay's Hosanna at Centaur Theatre in English from May 15 to June 10. Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh portrays Israel’s first and only female Prime Minister in Golda’s Balcony at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts from May 22 to June 10. Multilingual, festive and an homage to innovation, Festival TransAmériques continues this week with incredible dance and theatre by Crystal Pite, Lara Kramer, Robyn Orlin, Paul-André Fortier and more artists. Go further off the beaten track with the live art of the OFFTA festival. And DIY theatre, dance, comedy and unclassifiable stage antics abound at the 28th St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival, running until June 17 at multiple indoor and outdoor venues. 

On screen

Relive the magic and mayhem of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the big screen accompanied live by an orchestra and choir performing John Williams's original score, June 1 to 2 at Place des Arts. Immerse yourself in high-tech new worlds in the 360-degree Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology: until June 2, experience the multimedia creations of Symposium iX, including the free Parcours iX virtual reality and augmented reality installation; and from June 5 to 9, a double-bill of Drichtel and Remote Sense alters perceptions with surround sound experiments and audio-reactive visuals. Roam the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia creations EXO, The Blind Man with the 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 a 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 beginning on June 5.

Museums and galleries

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 and see works by Canadian artists of African origin in Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art and more. 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. Discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a new exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière. 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. Dive into Montréal's past at the McCord Museum, featuring new exhibition Shalom Montreal – Stories and Contributions of the Jewish Community. Explore what life was like during the fur trade in the late 1600s in the Maison Le Ber-Le Moyne historical site's Scene of Dreams exhibition at the Musée de Lachine. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses interchanges between science and architecture. Machines make their own art in Adam Basanta's All We'd Ever Need Is One Another at Ellephant to June 2. 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 (plus outdoor performances on June 2). Or if you're a baseball fan, check out our exclusive peek into the world's biggest collection of Montréal Expos memorabilia.

Live music

On Friday night, rock out with Oregon's Typhoon and The Fourth Wall at Petit Campus or chill with British drum and bass musician-producer LTJ Bukem at Théâtre Fairmount. Starting June 1, check out the leftfield music, from jazz and classical to avant rock and folk, of the always impressive Suoni per il Popolo Festival. On Saturday, singer-songwriter Matt Mays and opener Modern Space rock Corona Theatre, Italian multi-instrumentalist and techno-house producer Giorgia Angiuli performs live at Théâtre Fairmount with openers Van Did and Riico & Kassian, Canadian power-pop psych-rocker Michael Rault comes to Bar Le Ritz PDB, Philadelphia indie-rock band Hop Along wows at Le Belmont, and L.A.-based EDM producer Borgeous and Niko The Kid make the dance floor move at New City Gas. Spend Sunday afternoon outdoors at electronic dance party Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau featuring Claptone, Durante and more producers.

Meanwhile in classical music, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal performs the last of its five Beethoven concerts at Maison symphonique, Joy and Grandeur: The Ninth Symphony from June 1 to 2. The 23rd edition of the Montréal Chamber Music Festival begins June 1 with a musical tribute to jazz icon Oscar Peterson. Discover the world’s finest lyrical singers at the Concours musical international de Montréal, June 1 to 3 at Bourgie Hall and final gala competitions with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at Maison symphonique from June 4 to 7. On Monday, June 4, hear California surf-rock for indie-pop punks with La Luz, Gymshorts and Chacal at L'Escogriffe. On June 5 and 6, U2 thrills fans and blows some minds with their eXPERIENCE + iNNONCENCE tour at the Bell Centre. On Wednesday, June 6, Michigan psych-rock band Heaters gets loud and fuzzy with The City Gates and Ostrich Bouquet at L'Escogriffe. And on June 7, sway to the beat of Australian electronic-folk-pop duo Flight Facilities with guests Humans at Corona Theatre, hear Vic Mensa rap some real-life truth at L’Astral, and Gardens Of God at Newspeak. 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, 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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