Things to do in Montréal this November 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.

As the holiday season approaches, November in Montréal offers both excitement and relaxation. The crisp fall air calls for urban sightseeing followed seasonal meals and drinks to match from Montréal’s wide variety of restaurants. Entertainment abounds at music and cultural festivals as well as four international film festivals. For sports fans, it’s time to cheer on the Canadiens on home ice and the Alouettes on home turf. Indoors, let new exhibitions at Montréal’s museums and art galleries inspire you, take your seat for new theatre and dance, and hear all kinds of live music at venues throughout the city.

Autumn activities

Whether you’re exploring Montréal with your sweetheart, taking a solo trip or having a family adventure in Montréal, November’s activities are sure to suit. As the leaves fall and the seasons change, go out and explore Montréal's many parks and green spaces big and small, or try apple picking, corn maze walking and other fall harvest activities. See incredible city views in Mount Royal Park or reconnect with nature at the Montréal Botanical Garden.

In the heart of downtown Montréal, explore the Quartier des spectacles to see the photographed faces of Montrealers in Les Visages de Montréal, large-scale collages in Place des Arts, Complexe Desjardins and several other cultural venues. In Place des Festivals outside Place des Arts, explore an outdoor cinematic installation and a sound tour courtesy of film festival CINEMANIA.

Watch the seasons change before your eyes while sightseeing in Montréal this month. In Old Montréal and the Old Port of Montréal, walk along the riverside boardwalk or see the entire city on the Observation Wheel. Relax at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas. Or zip over the the port on the Tyrolienne MTL Zipline! Climb high at the Voiles en Voiles adventure park every weekend in November, wander through the SOS Labyrinthe, or visit the newly reopened Montréal Science Centre for science activities, interactive experiments and 3D IMAX films. Even enjoy a dinner cruise on the river with Bateau-Mouche. This fall, enjoy activities and outings in Montréal at a great price with the Fall 2021 Passeport MTL!

November festivals

Throughout November, Montréal’s fall festivals showcase the tremendous talent and entertainment the city has to offer, whether on outdoor stages, in indoor venues or online for all to enjoy. Music, dance, art, cinema and more is on the Arab World Festival of Montreal program dedicated to the meeting of Arabic and Western cultures, from October 29 to November 13 at Place des Arts and other venues. Music festival Coup de coeur francophone brings together French-language artists from across genres and across Québec, Canada and around the world, at several venues from November 4 to 14. While for gaming fans, MEGA+MIGS offers both an expo and a conference from November 10 to 13.

November boasts four Montréal international films festivals: CINEMANIA showcases the wide world of French-language film (with English subtitles!) from November 2 to 14; RIDM | Montréal International Documentary Festival, featuring hundreds of docs, a VR installation, talks and more from November 10 to 21; image+nation, one of the the longest-running LGBTQ+ cinema festivals, this year focused on #NewQueerStories from November 18 to 28; and the South Asian Film Festival of Montréal from November 19 to 28. Ending the month on a classical note, the Montréal Bach Festival celebrates the composer’s work from November 20 to December 12.

November city sights

Explore some of Montréal’s most distinct neighbourhoods, from Hochelega and Rosemont in the east to Outremont and Westmount in the west. Learn more about the Montréal’s unique history and culture on private walking tours with knowledgeable local companies or go on a Portrait Sonore sound walk downtown and on the Mountain. And hunt for more public art everywhere in the city. When the weather’s right, see the city from two wheels, on your own bike, a rental bike, with a bike tour, or on a BIXI shared bike. Explore further afield on these bucket-list bike rides.

Autumn activities also abound at the Biodôme, where the antics of animals are always a hit with families. Next door, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium's immersive films and interactive exhibitions offer a glimpse into the secrets of the universe (purchase fixed-time tickets online ahead of time). Visit Parc Jean-Drapeau, where the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum recently reopened with new exhibitions. Or head to the Ecomuseum Zoo to see local wildlife in their natural habitats.

Check out the pro-sports sights this season too: see the Montréal Canadiens on the ice at the Bell Centre all month, and catch CFL football team the Montréal Alouettes in action on November 13 against Winnipeg and on November 19 against Ottawa at Molson Stadium.

Seasonal food and drink

Along with fall harvest activities at Jean-Talon MarketAtwater Market and other markets in Montréal and farms just outside the city, autumn is truly in the air menus at Montréal’s incredible variety of restaurants. Take a seat at the city’s newest restaurants or long-time classics like smoked meat, poutine and Montréal bagels. Warm up with hot food for cold days in Montréal, including big bowls of ramen and a variety of Indian food. Whether you’re dining in person or ordering take-out and delivery, seasonal food and classic dishes are all on the menu in Montréal.

Get your caffeine fix at Montréal's indie coffee shops – and get a pastry to go with it at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops or even fresh-baked doughnuts! Sample chocolate creations at the best chocolate shops and the best places to get hot chocolate, indulge your sweet tooth at local candy shops or pick up other musts for foodies in Montréal. And the Montréal Vegan Festival hosts free cooking and lifestyle events online on November 6.

By night, these bars give us a taste of the tropics – or mix cocktails at home with gin, vodka, rum and more specialty spirits from these Montréal specialty alcohol and spirit makers. For the beer lovers, discover the downtown’s beer culture with a new initiative by Montréal centre-ville brassicole culturel gourmand – and pick up a six pack from inventive Montréal microbreweries

Local retail therapy

As the season changes so does fashion: find a fall look for yourself, your family or home in Montréal, where there’s something stylish for everyone, including unique clothing and accessories made by Montréal designers. Relax with these self-care staples or redecorate with these home decor musts. Buy that perfect piece of jewelry for your loved one – or yourself! – at the coolest Montréal jewelry stores or the SOUK HABITAT on the 20th floor of Place Ville Marie. Shop local and eco-friendly at the most fabulous vintage boutiques in the city. And make your holiday shopping local too at Montréal’s many holiday markets and craft fairs starting in mid-November.

Go shopping for clothing, accessories and more in Old Montréal, downtown on Sainte-Catherine Street, at the new Holt Renfrew Ogilvy and in the underground city's Centre EatonPlace Montréal TrustCours Mont-RoyalPlace Ville Marie or the Complexe Desjardins. Or check out the boutiques along Mont Royal Avenue, in Mile End and throughout the city. And fill your home with Montréal-focused books from Montréal’s bookstores and music from Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.

November exhibitions and experiences

Fall exhibitions excite and inspire at Montréal’s museums and art galleries. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see themed exhibition How long does it take for one voice to reach another?, highlighting major works in the Museum's permanent collection that touch on subjects that have affected us all over the past year, as well as Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet and work by legendary photographer Yousuf Karsh and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal offers online exhibitions like the immersive Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, a recreation of the MAC’s monumental show.

Explore space and the International Space Station in The Infinite, the world’s largest multi-sensory and interactive VR experience, created by the Phi Centre and Felix & Paul Studios, at Arsenal Contemporary Art until November 7. The Phi Centre illuminates the invisible in immersive multi-sensory installation We Live in an Ocean of Air. At the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, explore large-scale, multidisciplinary exhibition Larry Achiampong’s Relic Traveller: Where You and I Come From, We Know That We Are Not Here Forever, and see group exhibition … and room in the bag of stars and work that explores kinships with nonhuman life-worlds by artists Abbas Akhavan and Jamilah Sabur. The Phi Centre also features free fall programming, including an Augmented Reality tour, musical listening room, films and more. 

A massive immersive experience in surround sound and laser light, Oasis Immersion’s RECHARGER/Unwind and other sensory installations take over the ground floor of Palais des congrès – buy individual tickets or add it to your Fall Passeport MTL. At the Grand Quai du Port de Montréal until November 28, catch Divina Dali, 101 works by Salvador Dalí illustrating Dante's Divina Commedia.

Among many free things to do this fall, see new exhibitions at Never Apart in Little Italy, Bradley Ertaskiran in St. Henri, Hugues Charbonneau, Galerie B-312 and Elephant downtown, at Oboro and MAI in the Plateau, Centre Clark in Mile End and many other amazing art galleries in every neighbourhood – find out more in our Montréal guide to gallery hopping and these affordable places to buy contemporary art.

History past and present

History buffs of all ages will love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex whether in person or online: see exhibitions Italian Montréal, tracing the journey of Italo-Montrealers from the early 20th century, kid-friendly interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers?, fantastical and fun new exhibition It’s Circus time! and more. At the McCord Museum don’t miss Exquisite Score by Caroline Monnet and Laura Ortman, works by cartoonist Chapleau, fashion exhibition Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s (opening November 19), and new permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience – and in celebration of the museum’s 100th anniversary, visitors can enjoy free admission to the Museum until January 19, 2022!

See exhibitions Middleground: Siting Dispossession and The Design of Carpets That Design Us at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Or go back in time in Old Montréal as you tour the rooms of Château Ramezay and seasonal outdoor exhibition Pick a Peck of Pumpkins, on until November 8. Take a historic walking tour, like Beyond the Bagel Food Tour and Making their Mark, a tour of Jewish Montréal, with the Museum of Jewish Montreal. And discover the vivid history and present of Québec ceramics at the Musée des métiers d'arts du Québec.

On stage

The new fall season of theatre, dance and other creative performance continues throughout November! In theatre, the Segal Centre presents poignant and humorous one-man show Every Brilliant Thing, from October 24 to November 14, followed by famiy-friendly, larger-than-life stunt-dog show Superdogs: The Musical from November 28 to December 19. At Centaur Theatre, the holiday season is in the air already with All I Want For Christmas, from November 16 to December 5. Ballets Jazz Montréal teams up with musician Patrick Watson on new theatrical creation Vanishing Mélodiesfrom November 2 to 6 at Place des Arts. 

At Montréal, arts interculturels see interdisciplinary duet Whip performed by Ralph Escamillan and Daria Mikhaylyuk from November 3 to 6 and Élian Mata’s Trajectories from November 24 to 27. La Chapelle's season of multidisciplinary performances features Mélanie Demer’s autobiographical Confession Publique from November 29 to December 4. In dance, Danse Danse presents new, highly physical work by Parts+Labour_Danse choreography duo David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri on November 16 and 20 at Place des Arts. Five renowned artists from the Montreal street dance community perform in Creative Boost on November 21 at Place des Arts. And see a new season of contemporary dance in person at Agora de la danse and Tangente all month.

On screen

This month’s international films festivals bring the world to Montréal screens throughout November: see new features and shorts at CINEMANIA from November 2 to 14; RIDM | Montréal International Documentary Festival from November 10 to 21; image+nation from November 18 to 28, and the South Asian Film Festival of Montréal from November 19 to 28.

See independent features, family films, documentaries and more at Cinéma Moderne in person and online. See the art world in a whole new light thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art year-round ART FILM program. Discover new art house films and more from Montréal indie cinemas' programming, including in-person and virtual screenings from Cinéma du ParcCinéma du Musée and Cinémathèque québécoise. Watch cinematic nature documentaries for the whole family thanks to the Montréal Science Centre’s IMAX in-person and online programming. And explore the city through cinema in these Hollywood movies made in Montréal.

A classical music November

Classical music fans will also love November in Montréal, both for the Montréal Bach Festival and many other classical concerts. Spend an evening with violinist Isabella d'Éloize Perron in concert The Four Seasons of Vivaldi on November 13 at Maison symphonique. The Conservatoire de musique de Montréal preforms Symphonie no 3 de Schumann on November 14 at Maison symphonique. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents Schumann and Shostakovich: A Lifetime's Quest for Freedom with American conductor David Zinman on November 17 and 18 at Maison symphonique.

Opéra de Montréal's Mixtape features Atelier lyrique singers and Orchestre Métropolitan musicians at Place des Arts on November 21. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents A Symphonic Experience: From The Firebird to the Bell Orchestre on November 25 and 26 at Maison symphonique. And Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin present Leong & Tétreault: Shimmering Strings on November 30 at Maison symphonique.

Live music in Montréal

Along with music festivals and a several concerts of French song at Place des Arts, hear live music at city venues throughout the month. Montréal show promotors Greenland and Evenko help bring live music back to the city with shows almost every night this month. See JP Saxe on November 1 at Théâtre Corona, The Halluci Nation on November 3 at the SAT, electronic artist CRi on November 5 and 6 at the SAT, Nada Surf at Café Campus on November 6, Peekaboo (co-presented with electro promotors I Love Neon) at Club Soda on November 13, The Damn Truth on November 19 at Théâtre Corona, Genesis at the Bell Centre on November 22 and 23, Québec mainstay Les Cowboys Fringants at the Bell Centre from November 25 to 27, and more!

One of the biggest and most famed venues in the city, MTELUS hosts amazing shows this month too, including Thundercat on November 10, The Flaming Lips on November 18, Yann Thiersen on November 20, 24KGOLDN on November 21 and more. From music legends to the next big thing, Blue Skies Turn Black presents a variety of shows at Bar le Ritz, L’Esco and other venues this month as well as Caribou at MTELUS on November 22, The Weather Station at Sala Rossa on November 26 and more. And on November 20 at the Phi Centre, musicians Jason Sharp, Sam Shalabi and Annie-Claude Deschênes perform an immersive experimental show.

Go for dinner and a show or just go for the great music at Le Balcon this month with soul and jazz divas like Kim Richardson and Michelle Sweeney, gospel brunches on the weekend, flamenco performances and more. As more venues open, watch for performances by Montréal’s own queens of jazz, soul and blues

Montréal’s long and loved Indie Music history goes high class on November 25, 2021 when the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents A Symphonic Experience: From the Firebird to the Bell Orchestre. Featuring members of illustrious groups like the Arcade Fire, the Luyas and Snailhouse, House Music by local legends the Bell Orchestre with arrangements by Owen Pallett and under the baton of conductor André de Ridderwill be performed alongside the OSM in its North American debut. And when it comes to indie music, we all know it’s all about who heard it first!

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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