What to do in Montréal on Labour Day weekend 2023

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 September 8, 2023.

The final long weekend of summer, Labour Day weekend in Montréal embraces everything that summer stands for: warmth, freedom and exuberance. Among the many things to do from September 1 to 4, spend time outdoors in the parks and markets, see the city sights, enjoy open-air entertainment downtown and in the Old Port, discover new art and incredible restaurants, and spend evenings under the stars. Let the Labour Day weekend begin!

Outdoor activities

Montréal is known for all kinds of free things to do in summer, including on Labour Day weekend! Relax, play and picnic in Montréal's parks and green spaces such as Mount Royal, where you can take in the view from the Kondiaronk lookout and chalet and hear Les Tam-tams drummers next to the George-Étienne Cartier monument. Or simply relax on a blanket near the fountain in Parc La Fontaine or in Jarry Park. If the weekend's warm, go for a dip at the Aquatic Complex and the beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau or many other city pools and beaches.

Downtown, the Quartier des spectacles surprises with outdoor performances, multimedia projections, and art installations that double as urban oases as part of Les aventures du cœur de l’île ‒ don’t miss activities at Esplanade Tranquille, performances and mini golf at Jardins Gamelin in the Quartier Latin, and free film screenings presented by Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. Gourmet food event First Fridays returns to the Esplanade of the Olympic Park on September 1 featuring a Vietnamese food and culture theme, with all kinds of food trucks, outdoor bars, DJs and more activities.


Festivals and entertainment

See incredible street dance performances at the JOAT Festival international de street dance from August 29 to September 4 in the Quartier des Spectacles. And catch short, family-friendly alleyway performances during Le FAR Festival des arts de ruelle from August 28 to September 10. And discover entertainment, food and drink at the city’s summer pop-up spaces, with urban oases like the Old Port’s Marché des Éclusiers, POP Montréal’s Marché des Possibles, Village au Pied-du-Courant and more.

Join the OFF Piknic Electronik outdoor dance party at Olympic Park on Saturday, September 2 with Berlin-based Italian electronic duo Tale Of Us and openers A-Drift Radio and Molyness. Meanwhile, Piknic Électronik’s regular Sunday parties continue at Parc Jean Drapeau on September 3 – and on Monday, September 4 too! – with Misstress Barbara, Manu, The Blessed Madonna, Alinka and more high-energy producers creating a welcoming party vibe under the sun.

There’s more music all weekend with The Teskey Brothers at L'Olympia and Jai Wolf at Le Studio TD on September 1, British rock band Arctic Monkeys at the Bell Centre on September 2 with popular Irish post-punks Fontaines D.C. while Wax Motif plays Beanfield Theatre. On Setpember 3, catch NF at Place Bell. And on September 4, it’s time to rock with Interpol at MTELUS and Hatebreed at L'Olympia. Dance all weekend at Festival Produktworld at New City Gas with electronic producers Armand Van Helden, Sebastian Ingrosso, and more.

MURAL Festival may be over, but you can still see all the newly painted murals on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and adjacent streets – hear more about the mural artists on a street art tour with Spade & Palacio. Or take yourself on self-guided audio tours of the murals, historic Montréal and other sights thanks to TourBird.

In sports, cheer for CFL team the Montréal Alouettes at home on September 2 against the BC Lions or catch Major League Soccer team CF Montréal at Saputo Stadium against Columbus Crew on September 2. And from September 1 to 3, the urban sports and arts festival DISTRIX brings together fans of rap, graffiti, 3X3 basketball and much more to the Quartier des spectacles. Bonus: all events are free of charge! Or watch free-climbers tackle the challenge of Psicobloc, a climbing contest above the diving pool at the Parc Jean-Drapeau aquatic complex on September 2 and 3.


See the city

In Old Montréal and the Old Port of Montréal, stroll the boardwalk for a great view of the Saint-Lawrence River and beyond. Or look out at the entire city on the Observation Wheel, relax with a river view at Clock Tower Beach and immerse yourself in relaxation at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas.

Kids of all ages can climb high at the Voiles en Voiles adventure park, wander through the SOS Labyrinthe, explore the Saint-Lawrence River by pedal boat, ride a mini-train on Bonsecours Island, and zip over the port on the Tyrolienne MTL Zipline! Take an eco-friendly cruise with Petit Navire, have dinner on the river with Bateau-Mouche, or indulge your need for speed by jet boating with Saute-Moutons and Jet Saint-Laurent.

Discover more of Montréal by bike, on a guided bike tour or on a BIXI shared bike. Keep an eye out for public art works along the way.In Old Montréal, see famed Notre-Dame Basilica and search out the projections of Cité Mémoire on historic buildings. Easily viewed from the Old Port, Living Connections illuminates the Jacques-Cartier Bridge every night. Follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see more of the city's major sights and architecture.

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

Family activities

Explore the nature-focused Space for Life museums at Olympic Park: walk around the themed gardens and greenhouse of the Montréal Botanical Garden; visit the Biodôme's beautifully renewed immersive ecosystems, from the fish, birds and plants of the Tropical Rainforest to penguins and ice floes of the Sub-Antarctic Islands (be sure to buy your timed tickets ahead of time); search the cosmos in immersive shows at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium; and learn about insects at the newly renovated Insectarium.

A few steps away on the esplanade of Olympic Park, kids can play at Îlots76 with bouncy castles, a play area, snacks and more, watch (or join!) skateboarding at Vans Skatepark and try rock climbing at Nomad Bloc.

Along with park playtime, swimming and boating, visit Parc Jean-Drapeau for the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum, featuring new exhibitions about the planet, from sea to sky. Or see a variety of Québec wildlife at the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo and all kinds of animals at the Zoo de Granby. For families, the Montréal Science Centre features interactive exhibition Hockey: Faster Than Ever as well as Dinosaurs of Antarctica 3D at the IMAX®TELUS Theatre. And, for the extra-adventurous, ride roller coasters and other rides both big and small at La Ronde amusement park!

The Museum of Illusions features over 70 exhibits designed to trick the mind and tease the senses, including optical illusions, stereograms, holograms and more. It's fun for people of all ages, including individual visitors or larger groups, the Museum offers engaging experiences that are innovative and educational!


Food and drink

Spend time on Montréal’s terrasses this weekend too: choose from top outdoor terrasses and amazing rooftop patios, or surround yourself with greenery at Montréal’s lushest garden patios. Try some of Montrealers’ favourite lunch restaurants, summer brunches, newest restaurants and “buvettes." 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.

Montréal's bountiful public markets beckon with seasonal produce and BBQ-ready food, delicious meals to go and a diversity of desserts. Speaking of seasonal, wherever you are in the city, treat yourself to the best locally made ice cream and frozen treats. Meanwhile, Le Burger Week serves up original and exclusive burgers from dozens of participating restaurants from September 1 to 14. And the city’s chefs create a variety of delicious tacos and spicy sides during Taco Fest from September 2 to 4.

Labour Day weekend is also a great time to have dinner and see a show at the Casino de Montréal, where live music and cabaret shows entertain every evening, 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 more sweetness to your life with creations from Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shopsbest chocolate shops and local candy shops. Sip a creative cocktail at happy hour. Or go for dinner and a show or just go for the soul and Motown music at Le Balcon. For more culinary discoveries, check out Tourisme Montréal's favourite year-round food picks and restaurant deals.


Art and history everywhere

Art enlivens every corner of the city this Labour Day weekend. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see blockbuster exhibition Portable Universe: Thought and Splendour of Indigenous Colombia, featuring 400 works of Colombian art dating from about 1500 BCE to the present day, including gold pendants and masks. Also see The Pop of Life! Pop Art in the Collection of the MMFA, iconic works of Pop art from the Museum’s collection, as well as award-winning master carver creations in Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob, and the colourful Inflorescence fresco on the pavement of Du Musée Avenue. At Place Ville Marie, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal presents Lili Reynaud-Dewar exhibition I Want All of the Above to Be the Sun at the intersection of sculpture, performance and video  

At the Phi Foundation, see multidisciplinary new solo exhibition Moridja Kitenge Banza: Inhabiting the Imaginary, painting, photography, video, drawing and installation work by award-winning Congolese Montréal-based artist. Experience life in space in incredible new VR exhibition Space Explorers: The Infinite, presented by Phi Centre at the Old Port. Meanwhile at the Phi Centre, step inside multisensory exhibition Sex, Desire and Data, a unique deep dive into the complex mapping of our sexualities as they merge with technology.

A massive immersive art experience in surround sound and laser light, Oasis Immersion takes over the ground floor of Palais des congrès, currently wowing visitors with the quirky world of Sweet Folie and the return of VAN GOGH - Distorsion. Under the 360-degree, surround-sound SAT dome, lose yourself in audiovisual experience Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary. And Arsenal Contemporary presents immersive exhibition Inside Dalí, exploring the world of Catalan artist Salvador Dalí, an icon of Surrealism. Discover more art in our Montréal guide to gallery hopping and these affordable places to buy contemporary art.

Montréal history museums and numerous religious sites blend history with art. Visit Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex for Egypt. Three Millennia on the Nile, while outside the museum and elsewhere in the Old Port catch historical demonstrations of musket firing and highland music. At the McCord Stewart Museum see Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan, permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience, and more – and don’t miss free outdoor exhibition Building Montreal, historic photographs of the city, located on McGill College Avenue.

Take a guided tour of Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site, where time has stopped in the days of Marguerite Bourgeoys or go back in time at the Château Ramezay, where you can also catch historical recreations during the day. Discover Montréal’s Jewish history and present in walking tours Beyond the Bagel Food Tour and Making their Mark by the Museum of Jewish Montreal. And don’t miss the always impressive and moving World Press Photo Montréal exhibition at Bonsecours Market, from August 30 to October 15.

Whether you're looking for outdoor fun and adventure, illuminating art, entertainment or simply a long weekend of relaxation, the Labour Day long weekend in Montréal is the perfect opportunity to explore what the city has to offer and soak up summer in September.


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.

Enjoy the best of Montréal

The Tourisme Montréal newsletter gives you the inside scoop on everything happening in the city.

Moments nearby