Things to do in Montréal - September 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.

September in Montréal is known for warm days and almost non-stop entertainment and cultural activities. Festivals like POP Montréal and Festival Quartiers Danses boast top-tier artists from around the world, while other festivals and events fill the city streets with performances and art. Experience the real Montréal in every neighbourhood, with picnics in city parks, walking tours, and food festivals featuring excellent local restaurants. Find inspiration at museums, galleries and film festivals, and experience live music, dance and more at Montréal’s unique venues.

September festivals and major events

Summer extends into September in Montréal, especially since festival season continues all month long. Music of all kinds, film, art, family events, late-night parties and more make long-standing festival POP Montréal a must from September 28 to October 2, this year featuring Allison Russell, Tortoise, The Linda Lindas, Martha Wainwright and many more artists. Festival MEG returns with three days of electronic, hip hop, indie-pop and more music at the Society for Art and Technology downtown and outdoors at Parc Jean-Drapeau in partnership with Piknic Électronik, featuring Dillon Francis, Misstress Barbara and more artists from September 2 to 5. 

Piknic Électronik continues every Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau until October 2, featuring Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin and many more producers throughout September. Dance to trance and techno with producer Armin Van Buuren and more at Elevation 002 at the Olympic Stadium on September 4. For more music events, see the music section below. 

Festival Quartiers Danses surprises in dance venues and in the streets with new contemporary dance creations from around the world, from September 7 to 18. Festival international de littérature (FIL) features readings, workshops, live music and more from September 23 to October 2. 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.  

North America’s only bilingual festival of Black cinema, the Montreal International Black Film Festival screens films from around the world from September 20 to 25. In Old Montreal, the always impressive and moving World Press Photo Montréal exhibition returns to Bonsecours Market from August 31 to October 2. MAPP_MTL, Montréal’s international projection mapping festival, presents lively, light-filled digital projections and musical performances in the Quartier des spectacles and in Mile End from September 21 to 25.  

And in pro sports: catch CFL team the Montréal Alouettes at home on September 2, 9 and 23; Major League Soccer stars CF Montréal at Saputo Stadium on September 9 and 13; andtwo big pre-season Montréal Canadiens games at the Bell Centre on September 26 against New Jersey and on September 29 against Winnipeg! Plus international cycling road race Le Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on September 11.

September outdoor activities

Take in all the summertime entertainment, food and activities throughout downtown’s Quartier des spectacles this month, from festivals at Place des Festivals (like Distrix Festival of urban art and sports) to food and cultural events at Esplanade Tranquille (like the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma outdoor film screenings), plus outdoor circus, dance, music and more at Jardins Gamelin outside Berri-UQAM metro station. Explore 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. And learn to dance with Festival L’Art en soi on the Esplanade of Place des Arts from September 15 to 24. You can also take a free walking tour of the Quartier des spectacles too! 

Stroll along pedestrian-only Ste-Catherine Street outside Place des Arts and in The Village ‒ and visit other pedestrian-only avenues throughout the city this month too, from Wellington St. in Verdun to Saint-Laurent Blvd. (check out BLVD Festival mid-month) and Saint-Denis Street, where you’ll find all kinds of entertainment during La grande rentrée du Quartier latin from September 8 to 10. 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. Meanwhile, downtown alleyways get a bright boost with the Murelles project’s incredible new mural art.  

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, 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!  

Take a river cruise with Croisières AML, Bateau-Mouche and Petit Navire, or go jet boating, spin boating and jet skiing. Stop by Marché des Éclusiers for a bite and a drink. By night, look for the history-illuminating tableaux projections of Cité Mémoire. And it’s a thrill a minute at  La Ronde Six Flags amusement park, with rides for all ages and adrenaline seekers. 

 

Parks, gardens and urban oases

Get social with the locals or relax and slow down at the city’s many urban oases and entertaining seasonal spaces and farmers markets: soak in the beach vibes at Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge; get some work done as DJs spin at Aire Commune green-desking spaces; visit the Marché des Possibles for music, films and other events at L'ENTREPÔT 77; or take a tour of downtown’s open-air activities and restaurants with Montréal Centre Ville Brassicole Culturel Gourmand

Montréal's parks and cultivated gardens are a highlight of summer. Summer is in full bloom at 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. 

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 Environment Museum too!  

September 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. And cool off at Montréal’s pools and beaches on a hot day! An oasis of a different kind, relax in the warmth of world-class spas, including Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau (their outdoor pools are open year-round), Strøm Nordic Spa (also with amazing outdoor pools), Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal and Spa William Grey.  

 

Seasonal food and drink

Montréal’s terrasses stay open throughout September from brunch to late-night wining and dining: choose from Montréal’s top outdoor terrasses and Montréal’s amazing rooftop patios, or surround yourself with greenery at Montréal’s lushest garden patios, among many more. Also outdoors, Montréal’s First Fridays gourmet food truck gathering is a must on September 2 at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park: this month’s new cuisine creations focus on Vietnamese food, along with outdoor bars, DJs and more activities.  

In Chinatown, visit the Marché Asiatique for Asian street food and more specialities at the corner of St. Laurent and Rene-Levesque every Thursday through Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. Le Burger Week serves up original and exclusive burgers from dozens of participating restaurants from September 1 to 14. Shoni Market celebrates pan-Asian street food and entertainment from September 8 to 11 downtown. And Martinique Gourmande Festival, from September 2 to 10, inspires special menus at a dozen restaurants plus a weekend Creole market. 

If you’re looking for a new lunch place, try some of Montrealers’ favourite lunch restaurants, from Old Montreal and downtown to Villeray or the South-West. Take a seat at the city’s newest restaurants and “buvettes." On a patio or inside, summer brunch is a must in Montréal! 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 shops, best chocolate shops and local candy shops – and of course, now that it’s summer, Montréal’s best ice cream! 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 - you’ll also find many of them during Festival Invasion Cocktail from September 20 to 30! 

 

September shopping

It still feels like summer, but it’s a great time to get your wardrobe ready for fall! Go shopping 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. 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

 

September exhibitions and experiences

Montréal’s museums and art galleries inspire all year – and there’s always something new to see. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, see L’heure mauve, an exhibition of work by Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party, new 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, 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. 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. Arsenal Contemporary presents the new immersive exhibition Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon, extended until October 2. Music fans will love Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition, exploring the Australian singer-songwriter’s creative world at Galerie de la Maison du Festival until September 25. 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. 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

 

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 the compelling portrait work of JJ Levine: Queer Photographs, learn from 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, opening September 16. 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 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 Montreal, newly relocated to 4281 Saint-Laurent Blvd. Explore the Afromuseum, representing the contributions of Afro-Canadians to the cultural landscape of Canada. And discover the vivid history and present of Québec ceramics at the Musée des métiers d'arts du Québec.  

Make the most of your visit and save big on museums and other attractions with the Passeport MTL city pass: discover five Montréal attractions for one low price, and get discounts at many more!

 

On stage in September

Montréal’s cultural calendar is packed this season, with entertainment for everyone on the city’s many stages. For high drama, fantasy and revenge, see Opéra de Montréal’s new production of Il Trovatore in mid-September at Place des Arts. Les Grands Ballets goes all out to the sound of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 with choreographers Mauro Bigonzetti and Uwe Sholz from September 22 to 24. See Cirque Éloize’s Celeste, a gorgeous cabaret circus show at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Les 7 Doigts circus company’s immersive show My Island, My Heart at Espace St-Denis' new Studio-Cabaret, and other incredible circus shows at La Tohu this month, including Hémisphère by Projet Sanctuaire. 

The high-energy street dance performances and battles of Festival JOAT ignite Club Soda from August 31 to September 6. Theatre, dance and multidisciplinary performances light up the stage at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines and MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), including Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ. See new contemporary dance and interdisciplinary works presented by Agora de la danse, Tangente and Danse Cité throughout the month. See Backstage at Carnegie Hall, a chamber opera about racism and the electric guitar at Centaur Theatre on September 23 and 24. And watch for performances, orchestras, film screenings and more outdoors in Parc La Fontaine at newly reopened Théâtre de Verdure

 

On screen in September

Festival Stop Motion Montréal presents award-winning short films from September 16 to 18 at J.A. de Sève Cinema. Cinéma sous les étoiles screens films outdoors in neighbourhood parks until September 5. Cinema Public presents indoor screenings at Casa d’Italia, and online films. And in the SAT’s 360° dome, experience immersive new audiovisual creations Biliminal and État Six. 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 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. 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 September

Along with music festivals like POP MOntreal and MEG, live music rocks the city’s many venues this month too.  In classical music, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal with Maestro Rafael Payare performs Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony and more from September 14 to 17, Payare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream on September 21 and 22, at Maison symphonique. The Orchestre Métropolitain performs concert Orchestral Auroras on September 25 at Maison symphonique. See more concerts throughout the month at Place des Arts, including Iranian singer Homayoun Shajarian on September 4 and 5, Angèle Dubeau and ensemble La Pietà in ELLE - 25th Anniversary Concert on September 7 and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on September 29.  

At the Bell Centre, see My Chemical Romance on September 2, Backstreet Boys on September 3, 77-year-old icon Rod Stewart in all his rock glory on September 9, and the good-bye tour of the “King of Reggaetón” Daddy Yankee on September 10, The Killers and Johnny Marr on September 24, and Panic! At the Disco on September 27. Also see Florence + the Machine at Place Bell on September 2, José González at Place des Arts on September 2, Animal Collective at Corona Theatre on September 4, Tom Jones at Théâtre St-Denis on September 21, and Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at Place Bell on September 26. 

At MTELUS see Tom Misch on September 1, Chet Faker on September 12, Lagwagon on September 14, NOFX on September 16, Bonobo on September 22, Carly Rae Jepsen on September 24, Father John Misty on September 26, Morcheeba on September 29 and more. Greenland presents Echo and the Bunnymen at Corona Theatre on September 12, Sarah Harmer on September 18, and more all month. Blue Skies Turn Black co-presents Laura Jane Grace at Le National on September 9, Spiritualized at Corona Theatre on September 19, and more at Bar Le Ritz PDB, Casa del Popolo, L’Escogriffe and other great venues throughout the month.  

At the Phi Centre, hear Eric Chenaux’s experimental folk songs on September 9, La Chica’s blend of latin and European sounds on September 15, and a solo piano performance by Collis Browne on September 24. Catch Montréal band Thus Owls in a new musical project at La Chapelle on September 15 and 16. 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. 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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