Things to do in Montréal this October 2022

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.

Experience the vivid colours and immersive culture of Montréal in October, as autumn leaves turn the parks into bright landscapes and fall festivals bring the creative world to Montréal’s doorstep with music, film and art festivals like Festival du nouveau cinéma and Montréal OFF Jazz Festival. Spend the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend – or any long weekend – eating fabulous local food, walking in Mount Royal Park, visiting museums and galleries, or relaxing at a spa. And dive into Montréal’s nightlife with live music, theatre, dancing and more downtown and throughout the city.

October festivals and major events

Summer festival season may be over, but Montréal’s fall festivals continue the city’s celebration of music, culture, art and creativity. Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) screens hundreds of films from around the world from October 5 to 16 – see features, shorts, a VR series, panel discussions and more. Join in free, one-of-a-kind art and cultural activities at museums, galleries and in the streets during Journées de culture from September 30 to October 2. Festival international de littérature (FIL) features readings, workshops, live music and more from September 23 to October 2. Bring original art books, art and more home from Volume 5 MTL FAIR on October 1 and 2. And digital creativity, culture and development take centre stage at <MTL> Connect from October 17 to 23, including late-night dancing with OCTOV @ MTL Connecte at the SAT.

This season, POP Montréal brings music of all kinds, film, art, kids activities, late-night parties and more to venues across the city, from September 28 to October 2. It’s your last chance to dance outdoors this year at Piknic Électronik: the festival brings Cri, Partiboi69, VTSS and more electronic music poducers to two stages at Parc Jean-Drapeau on October 2 and October 9. Dive into the eclectic world of jazz this fall at the Montréal OFF Jazz Festival at Place des Arts and several other venues from October 6 to 15.

The MUZ festival celebrates the mixing of musical genres, from world music to jazz and blues at Studio TD from October 6 to 9. The Montréal Ska Festival returns with headliners Ska Sound System, The Beatdown and more artists at Petit Campus from October 20 to 23. Experience a variety of music, dance, film, discussions and multidisciplinary exchanges at the Arab World Festival of Montréal from October 28 to November 13. See Nordic-focused live music, films and more at FIKA(S) festival from October 18 to 23. And Festival Japania fuses traditional and modern Japanese art and culture at Marche Bonsecours on October 15 and 16.

Stay up late into the night this Thanksgiving weekend at the LGBTQ+ celebration Festival Black & Blue, with the main event on October 9 at La Tohu circus centre from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. with incredible DJs and circus arts performers. Related to the festival is Carnaval des Couleurs from October 7 to 9  at the Esplanade Tranquille (corner Clark and Saint Catherine streets) in the Quartier des Spectacles, featuring live music, drag shows and more on the outdoor stage.

If you’re in Montréal for Halloween, you’re in the right place: Montréal throws an array of Halloween parties to suit all tastes and costumes, from the Botanical Gardens’ pumpkin displays and witchy storytimes to the Halloween-themed SOS Labyrinthe and amusement park La Ronde’s Fright Fest to Rocky Horror on stage and late-night parties in venues citywide.

Meanwhile, in pro sports: catch the Montréal Canadiens at home at the Bell Centre throughout the month, starting with exhibitions games October 3 to 6 and regular season games starting October 12 against Toronto; see CFL team the Montréal Alouettes at home on October 10 and 22; Major League Soccer stars CF Montréal in their final home match of the year at Saputo Stadium on October 1; and the Toronto Raptors play the Boston Celtics at the Bell Centre on October 14 as part of the pre-season NBA Canada Series!


October outdoor activities

Whether you’re in Montréal for the Thanksgiving long weekend (October 7 to 10) with family and friend or enjoying a sweet solo long weekend for yourself, take in the full spectrum of the changing season outside in the crisp October air. An enchanting autumn must-do, visit the Botanical Gardens to walk along the illuminated paths of exhibition Gardens of Light, featuring hundreds of colourful lanterns inspired by Chinese, Indigenous and Japanese cultures. Experience some of the city’s harvest season activities at the Botanical Gardens too, visit farmers markets, go apple picking and more.

Downtown’s Quartier des spectacles continues to shine this month with festivals, outdoor activities and more, including a trip through Quebec history in new outdoor exhibition and video projection L'Espace René-Lévesque à Montréal : le parcours d'un homme d'exception on the Promenade des Artistes. You can also take a free walking tour of the Quartier des spectacles too! MURAL Festival may be over, but you can still see murals from this year and years past on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and adjacent streets – find the murals and hear more about the artists on a street art tour with Spade & Palacio.

In Old Montréal, walk the cobblestone streets to the Saint-Lawrence River to visit the peacefully illuminated square outside Notre-Dame Basilica – inside, see gorgeous multimedia show AURA. In the Old Port of Montréal, you can see incredible city and river views from the Observation Wheel, climb high at Voiles en Voiles adventure park, ride the new mini-train, find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe Halloween experience every weekend (wear a costume for a 15% discount and for fun!), explore the scientific world with kids at the Montréal Science Centre (currently hosting The Science of Guinness World Records Exhibition and Beyond Human Limits), and even fly high on the MTL Zipline!

Embrace the crisp autumn air and see the leaves turn colour on a river cruise with Croisières AML, Bateau-Mouche and Petit Navire. By night, look for the history-illuminating tableaux projections of Cité Mémoire and see Claude Cormier et Associés’s massive The Ring installation aglow at Esplanade Place Ville Marie. And for ultimate relaxation, visit Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau on the Saint-Lawrence River in the Old Port and other world-class spas with indoor and outdoor options like Strøm Nordic Spa.


Autumn parks and gardens

See the fall colours in Montréal's parks and cultivated gardens, including the Space for Life's Montréal Botanical Garden, both in the expansive outdoor gardens and in the tropical greenhouses. Experience several wild ecosystems at the Biodôme, where you’ll see penguins, otters and more. Explore the mysteries of the universe at the Planetarium Rio Tinto Alcan. Outside Olympic Stadium, Îlots76 is a blast for kids, with bouncy castles, a play area, snacks and more, or try bouldering at Nomad Bloc, an outdoor climbing area. Learn about the thousands of butterflies, moths and other insects at the newly renovated Insectarium. Or head to the West Island’s Ecomuseum Zoo to glimpse local wildlife in their natural outdoor habitats.

Among the many free things to do this fall, see incredible city views of the city from Mount Royal Park: take 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 Frédéric-Back Park to ride bikes or learn to fly big kites! Or cross the river to Parc Jean-Drapeau for long riverside walks and a different view of the city – while there visit the Biosphère too for environment-focused exhibitions, animated short film The Orchid and the Bee by Frances Adair Mckenzie, the interactive Ecolab and more. October is also a wonderful time to see the city from two wheels, whether on your own bike, a rental bike, with a bike tour, or on a BIXI shared bike.

Fall food and drink

Discover new wine, beer and spirits – and bring home your favourites – at La Grande Dégustation de Montréal from October 20 to 22, gathering wine producers, distillers and brewers from Quebec, Canada and around the world. Montréal’s First Fridays gourmet food truck gathering is a must on October 7 at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park: dive into new food creations with a “smoke show special” theme, along with outdoor bars, DJs and more activities.

Experience vegan cuisine, cooking workshops and demos, and more at the Montréal Vegan Festival at Palais des Congrès on October 8 and 9. A perfect warm-up for the changing weather, Ramen Ramen Fes celebrates the Japanese soup and noodle dish from October 11 to 16 at restaurants and pop-ups around the city.

If you’re looking for a new lunch place, try some of Montréalers’ favourite lunch restaurants, from Old Montréal and downtown to Villeray or the South-West. Take a seat at the city’s newest restaurants and “buvettes” and don’t miss a classic Montréal brunch! Dig into long-time classics like smoked meat, poutine and Montréal bagels. If you’re craving pizza, join the debate over who makes the best pizza in Montréal or the best tacos. And it’s a great time to have dinner and see a show at the Casino de Montréal, where live music and cabaret shows are back, along with 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 Market, Marché Artisans, Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten and Le Central - Manger Montréal. Get your caffeine fix at Montréal's indie coffee shops – and fresh-baked doughnuts to go with it! Add sweetness to your life with creations from Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shopsbest chocolate shops and local candy shops.

Eat plant-based with our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. And check all the boxes on your “must-eat list” with these musts for foodies in Montréal. By night, discover the city’s 30 top cocktail bars, inventive Montréal microbreweries and late-night eats. Or mix Montréalesque cocktails at home with gin, vodka, rum and more specialty spirits from these Montréal specialty alcohol and spirit makers.


October shopping

A new season means new additions to your wardrobe! Go shopping for fall staples and dinner-party glam in Old Montréal’s boutiques, downtown along Sainte-Catherine Street and in the underground city malls, or head to the Plateau and Mile End for unique finds. Keep your eye out for items made by Montréal designers, relaxing self-care staples and plenty of home decor.

Add sparkle to your life at the coolest Montréal jewelry stores ‒ dive deeper into the jewelry world at the Montréal Gem & Mineral Show, featuring over 100 dealers selling precious and semi-precious stones, jewelry and tools, from October 28 to 30 at Palais des congrès de Montréal (tickets over here). 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 a wide world of music from Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.


October exhibitions and experiences

Montréal’s museums and art galleries inspire all year – and there’s always something new to see. At the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, see L’heure mauve by Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party until October 16, exhibitions Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me and Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956-1971, plus collections exhibitions Views of Within: Picturing the Spaces We Inhabit and new blockbuster exhibition Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music opening October 15. While outdoors see mural Niamh by artist Dora and stay past sunset to see animated digital artwork Contre-espace by Sabrina Ratté, projected on the museum’s facade until 11 p.m.

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal presents colourful and surprising video installation and sculptural work by NYC-based Argentine artist Mika Rottenberg until October 10, followed by TimeTraveller™ by Skawennati, an on-screen postcolonial rereading of the history of Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, starting October 13. At home, explore immersive online exhibition Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, a recreation of the MAC’s monumental show, and comprehensive new digital platform MACrépertoire.

The Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art celebrates its 15-year anniversary this year, so watch for exhibition announcements and see Yayoi Kusama’s DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE - tickets are available for free on the 15th of each month! Meanwhile, experience award-winning virtual reality at the Phi Centre in Horizons VR, as well as Marco Brambilla: Heaven’s Gate Renaissance tableaux, experimental documentary exhibit Inverse by Nicolas Jenkins, and more.

A massive immersive art experience in surround sound and laser light, Oasis Immersion takes over the ground floor of Palais des congrès – don’t miss its newest creation, VAN GOGH-Distorsion, a 360° experience with surround sound, featuring 225 paintings, drawings and sketches by the Dutch-born painter. And in the Place des Arts exhibition space, don’t miss As Water Falls, an virtual interactive waterfall installation.

At Galerie de l’UQAM see new group exhibition à corps perdu | sharing madness and video installation work by caroline pierret pirson Plus jamais silencieuses. Watch for local artwork in vacant downtown commercial spaces as part of the Créer des Ponts project. Also see new exhibitions at Bradley Ertaskiran in St. Henri, Darling Foundry in Old Montréal, Hugues Charbonneau, Galerie B-312 and Ellephant downtown, at Oboro and MAI in the Plateau, Centre Clark and Galerie Elektra in Mile End and many, 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. Take a Portrait Sonore sound walk downtown and on the Mountain to discover Montréal art and culture. And hunt for more public art everywhere in the city.

Come to Montréal for festivals and events, outdoor activities, museums and more on VIA Rail – and if you’re a regular train traveler on the Québec CityꟷWindsor corridor, take advantage of VIA Rail’s “Midweeker” discount card to save 25% to 40% off your ticket! 

History past and present

History buffs of all ages will love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex in Old Montréal: see Vikings – Dragons of the Northern Seas with 650 objects and artifacts from the collections of the National Museum of Denmark, environmentally themed exhibition Frédéric Back: A Passion for the Planet, and kid-friendly interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? and more.

Go to the McCord Stewart Museum to witness Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience, Alexander Henderson: Art and Nature, see free outdoor exhibition Eating Local on McGill College Avenue, and glean insights from new photography exhibition Incipit - COVID-19 by Michel Huneault. At the Canadian Centre for Architecture, see Retail Apocalypse, examining the entangled worlds of architecture, fashion, business and art, and ᐊᖏᕐᕋᒧᑦ / Ruovttu Guvlui / Towards Home, an Indigenous-led exhibition and publication project exploring Arctic spaces.

Travel back in time in Old Montréal as you tour the rooms of Château Ramezay (hosting fun seasonal event Pick a Peck of Pumpkins.) and historical site Chateau Dufresne. Climb aboard railway cars and learn about the history of the railroad at the Exporail the Canadian Railway Museum. Take a historic walking tour of Jewish Montréal, with the Museum of Jewish Montréal, newly relocated to 4281 Saint-Laurent Blvd. – see new exhibition Public Intimacy by Berlin-based artists Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger. 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.

Make the most of your visit and save big on museums and other attractions with the Passeport MTL autumn winter to discover five Montréal attractions or the Passeport MTL + Montérégie autumn winter to plan a great fall or winter getaway. These passports offer activities for a low price, ranging from Museums, tours and beer tasting packages - and get discounts at many more!  

On stage in October

Montréal’s cultural calendar is packed this season, with entertainment for everyone on the city’s many stages. In international contemporary dance, Danse Danse presents iconic choreographer Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring at Théatre Maisonneuve from October 5 to 8), followed by Silvia Gribaudi Performing Arts company’s Graces at Théatre Jean-Duceppe from October 11 to 15. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal presents Carmen, a contemporary dance program headlined by choreographer Étienne Béchard from October 20 to 23.

Circus is never in short supply in Montréal: see Cirque Éloize’s Celeste, a gorgeous cabaret circus show at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth and other incredible circus shows at La Tohu throughout the season. Also, Québec circus arts troupe Les 7 Doigts explore the theme of immigration, belonging and city identity in My Island, My Heart at Espace St-Denis' new Studio-Cabaret until October 16, 2022, this new creation is the perfect mix of acrobatics, theatre, dance and multimedia.

For kids of all ages, Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate thrills at Place Bell in Laval from October 6 to 10. And the Phénomena festival hosts wildly creative cabarets, performances, puppeteering, dance and more from October 2 to 21.

Theatre, dance and multidisciplinary performances light up the stage throughout the fall. In English theatre, see Cyclorama, an immersive bilingual documentary performance about the history of the Centaur Theatre and Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, at Centaur Theatre from October 11 to November 5. A new stage production of Frankenstein blends immersive comic book design and playful theatrical techniques in a family-friendly show, from October 19 to 30 at the Segal Studio. The Segal Centre also presents Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, where classic horror meets satire with an all-star cast and special effects, from October 23 to November 13. And a musical-theatre experience like no other, Mainline Theatre presents its annual Halloween musical production of The Rocky Horror Show from October 20 to 31.

See Imago Theatre’s production of British playwright Dawn King’s acclaimed rural drama Foxfinder from October 5 to 15 at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels). Journey through three landscapes of survival in Kimberley De Jong and Jason Sharp’s interdisciplinary creation The Day The Wild Cried at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines in late October. Discover new contemporary dance and interdisciplinary works presented by Agora de la danse, Tangente and Danse Cité throughout the month. And sing along to ‘80s rock classics while watching musical Rock of Ages at Espace St-Denis from October 27 to November 6.

New York Times bestselling author David Sedaris headlines Théâtre Maisonneuve on October 2. Filmmaker Kevin Smith comes to Montréal for the Clerks III: The Convenience Tour at the Olympia on October 17. Laugh with comedian Sarah Millican on her Bobby DAzzler Tour at Place des Arts on October 14, Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng at the Corona Theatre on October 25), and Moroccan-Canadian comedian Gad Elmaleh at yhe Bell Centre on October 30.

For circus fans, Cirque du Soleil will present its brand new show under the Big Top ECHO. With a bold visual and a different aesthetic than usual, this show will explore the balance between animals, humans and the world they share, and will debut on April 20, 2023. Tickets are on sale.

On screen in October

Canada’s longest-running film fest, the star-studded 51st edition of the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) screens hundreds of films from around the world from October 5 to 16, opening with Charlotte Le Bon’s Falcon Lake, Canadian and closing with Léa Mysius’s Les Cinq diables (The Five Devils) – in between see features, shorts, documentaries, a VR series, discussions and more. In the Society for Art and Technology’s 360° dome, experience immersive new audiovisual creations État Six + Biliminal until October 7 and new audiovision creation Entangled Structures starting October 18.

See independent features, family films, documentaries and more at Cinéma Moderne in person and online, including Film POP programming during POP Montréal. 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 at Cinéma du Parc (stay up late for their Parc at Midnight series), Cinéma du Musée at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, and Cinémathèque québécoise in the Quartier des spectacles (featuring a retrospective of queer Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce from September 27 to October 26.) The Montréal Science Centre’s IMAX cinema puts nature on the giant screen in all its glory. And explore the city through cinema in these Hollywood movies made in Montréal.


Live music in October

Along with music festivals POP Montréal, the Montréal OFF Jazz Festival, and MUZ, hear live music at all the city’s music venues this month too. In classical music, Maestro Rafael Payare conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in concerts Shostakovich, Ravel and Liszt on October 12 and Shostakovich and Ravel on October 13. The Montréal Bach Festival presents András Schiff - Variations Goldberg on October 5 at Maison Symphonique. The Orchestre Métropolitain with conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and lautist Emmanuel Pahud performs Pahud’s French Melodies on October 16.

French Maestro Alexandre Bloch conducts the Orchestre Métropolitain and soloists for the 2022 Azrieli Music Prize Gala Concert at the Maison symphonique on October 20. See more concerts throughout the month at Place des Arts, including Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt on October 2 and 9 and David Bowie tribute Heroes/Bowie/Berlin near the end of October. Orchestre Classique de Montréal kicks off their season with the Boris: His Life in Music aon October 18. I Music de Montréal Chamber Orchestra performs concert First Nations on October 20 at Pierre-Mercure Hall. And hear chamber orchestras, soloists and more all month at Bourgie Hall at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts.

At the Bell Centre, see Gorillaz on October 8,  Michael Bublé on October 18 and The Smashing Pumpkins on October 26. See The Avalanches at Corona Theater on October 5,  Nick Mason and his band Saucerful Of Secrets at Théâtre St-Denis on October 11, Montréal rockers Suuns at Cabaret La Tulipe on October 13, Demi Lovato at the Olympia on October 16, Kurt Vile and The Violators at the Corona Theatre on October 27, and more bands and solo artists. At MTELUS see Cigarettes After Sex on October 4, Moderat on October 5, The Flaming Lips on October 21, The Dead South on October 15 and more, with those and more shows co-presented by Greenland, Blue Skies Turn Black and other show promotors at venues citywide, including Bar Le Ritz PDB, Casa del Popolo, L’Escogriffe and elsewhere throughout the month.

At the Phi Centre, hear Safia Nolin perform a "Nordic Covers" evening on October 20, Brooklyn artist serpentwithfeet on October 22, and more. 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 ‒ or have meal and drinks on Le Balcon’s new terrasse right on Sainte-Catherine Street downtown. Hear live jazz nightly at Montréal’s amazing jazz and blues clubs, like Diese Onze and Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill ‒ see great jazz guitarist (and former Miles Davis sideman) Mike Stern on October 21 and 22. And go out dancing late into the night at Montréal's dance clubs.

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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