Things to do this Thanksgiving weekend in Montréal

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.

This article was updated on October 4, 2021.

Along with the changing season and cooler weather in Montréal comes Canadian Thanksgiving, or as we know it in Québec, Action de grâce, on Monday, October 11 this year. The holiday also means a long weekend full of things to do indoors and outside in the fine fall weather along with plenty to eat – from October 8 to 11.

Thanksgiving dinner and more

Montréal satisfies the seasonal palate with classic and non-traditional dinners alike. Fine-dining luxuries and local delicacies make these Montréal meals worth writing home about at famed restaurants. For more excellent Thanksgiving and seasonal means, dine at these top Montréal restaurants for the gourmet traveller and five restaurants with amazing chefs, such as Restaurant Toqué! And Europea. For twists on tradition, try Impasto for Italian comforts, Le Club Chasse et Pêche Restaurant Bar SalonLeméac and Maison Boulud, along with the delectable JatobaNacarat and Marcus downtown and Vin PapillonLiverpool HouseNora GrayCandide or Perles et Paddock in the south-west. Find Parisian flair at these authentic French restaurants or tap into Montréal's DIY spirit at these cheerful bring-your-own-wine eateries.

Whether you’re in Montréal this fall for a weekend with your sweetheart or a solo excursion, you’re sure to find food you’ll love – and for a families exploring the city, Montréal has plenty of great places to eat with kids. By day, go for an excellent brunch, and pick up something sweet or savoury at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops, sip the perfect latté at the city’s indie cafés. For something light, check out these health-conscious restaurantsgreat sushi restaurants and our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal.

Discover more Montréal neighbourhoods on a local food tour. Visit Montréal’s public markets, including Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market for in-season fruit and vegetables, meats and cheese and all manner of Thanksgiving-worthy pies.

Outdoor and family time

Roam through nature in the city at Mount Royal Park and see all of downtown and the St. Lawrence River from the lookout and chalet. Watch the leaves fall in beautiful Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau and cross the St. Lawrence River to visit Parc Jean-Drapeau and the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum. See the city from great heights on La Grande Roue de Montréal in the Old Port. Even take a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River with Croisières AML and Navark – one of many reasons to make Montréal your island getaway this fall. Or take a day trip to orchard Verger Labonté to pick apples and pumpkins and find your way through its massive galaxy-themed corn labyrinths.

Also in the Old Port of Montréal, climb high at the Voiles en Voiles adventure park every weekend in October, wander through the SOS Labyrinthe (dressed up for Halloween all month) or visit the newly reopened Montréal Science Centre for science activities, interactive experiments and 3D IMAX films. And add extra adrenaline to your month at La Ronde amusement park.

Urban sights and festival fun

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. Also downtown, Art Souterrain’s CRÉER DES PONTS installs 60 new works of public art in storefronts and transparent “exhibition cubes.” And cheer on the CFL action as the Montréal Alouettes play the Ottawa Rough Riders on October 11 at Percival-Molson Stadium.

For anyone who loves beers, the Montréal Beer Fest is ready to serve up over 500 products from 90 breweries, from October 7 to 10. For film fans, watch new films from around the world at Festival du nouveau cinéma, celebrating its 50th season this year from October 6 to 17. The Montréal OFF Jazz Festival returns with live jazz at Place des Arts and several other venues from September 30 to October 9, and MUZ brings live music to at L’Astral from October 7 to 10. Go for dinner and live soul and jazz music at Le Balcon. Or simply relax for an extended moment at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas.

Long-weekend art excursions

While the trees provide their own colourful display, Montréal’s galleries pop with bright offerings as well. In several of Montréal’s galleries and museums, the international Momenta Biennale showcases new contemporary art, including an Indigenous-led outdoor garden and augmented reality route in public space, from September 8 to October 24. Among other fall art exhibitions, see How long does it take for one voice to reach another?, work by photographer Yousuf Karsh and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and more at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Explore space and the International Space Station in The Infinite, the world’s largest multisensory and interactive VR experience, at Arsenal Contemporary Art.

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. Recline under the SAT's domed screen to absorb multimedia creation corps minéral par le désert mauve. At the Grand Quai du Port de Montréal, see Divina Dali, 101 works by Salvador Dalí illustrating Dante's Divina Commedia. Search out public art everywhere in the city, including murals and more. Bring a work of art home with you while gallery hopping and antiquing, and even pick up arts and crafts at these cool (no, really) souvenir shops.

History then and now

Downtown, walk among the McCord Museum outdoor exhibition All Together, while indoors see Exquisite Score by Caroline Monnet and Laura Ortman, works by cartoonist Chapleau, and new permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience. History buffs will also love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex exhibitions Italian Montréal, tracing the journey of Italo-Montrealers from the early 20th century, kid-friendly interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? and more. Or go back in time with the Château Ramezay exhibition 1812: Objects to Discover and seasonal show Pick a Peck of Pumpkins. And in Old Montréal at night, look for the historic projections of smart-phone enhanced tour Cité Mémoire.

With so many things to do, sights to see and amazing food to eat, a Thanksgiving long weekend in Montréal is truly something to be thankful for.

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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