Summer months mark the peak tourism season in Montréal. Most visitors choose to visit the city during the months of May through September. You will find festivals, open air markets, prime sidewalk shopping, and a host of natural attractions that will add plenty of excitement to your vacation. You will also find far fewer bargains on hotel accommodations and other goods. Vendors, too, tend to charge full prices. During this season, accommodations are less expensive on the weekdays, and you can find packages in advance that will reduce the expense substantially. Winter is also quite busy as the city makes the best use of its plentiful snowfall with fun outdoor activities and warm, cozy indoor ones as well.
Residents in this region know that fall and spring come quickly and don’t stay long. As a result, tourism lags in March and April – because the prime snow is gone but the grass and trees haven’t sprouted – and October and November, when the foliage has gone by but the beautiful first snow is yet to arrive. During this time, there are fewer events. On the upside, however, visitors will find discount rates at hotels and for other services and will have to contend with fewer lines. Attractions like the Biodome, Jardine Botanique and the many museums are always open and worth attending even if the weather is not perfect.
During Montréal’s coldest month, put on a hat and mittens and enjoy La Fête de Nieges, or the Snow Festival. Dogsled races, a mock survival camp, ice sculpture building, and much more whet your appetite for a hot cup of cocoa and make you glad you’re visiting this winter wonderland. Even in February, Canadians are still going strong and haven’t let the cold defeat them. The Carnaval de Quebec is another great festival in which Quebecois brave the cold to dogsled, slide, and gather at the amazing Ice Castle. And it’s time to come inside and warm up. The Festival Montréal en Lumière is Montréal’s answer to long winters. There are culinary competitions and wine tasting events, as well as concerts, multimedia lightshows.
Annual Events and Festivals
The City of Festivals slows down in April, but in May, it is time for Montréal’s Museum Day. Most of the city’s museums offer free admission and complimentary shuttles are available. A great time to enjoy Montréal’s culture – for free! June brings Grand Prix du Canada, Jean-Baptiste Day, a major Quebec holiday complete with festivals, and L'International Des Feux Loto-Québec, an international fireworks competition. July is a busy month with festivals dedicated to African, French, and Caribbean cultures, as well as the International Jazz Festival and Festival d'Eté, the Summer Festival. There is always something happening in Montréal’s warmest and busiest month.
The biggest party in August is the Divers/Cité Festival, a celebration of gay, lesbian, and transgender life. Art, dancing, and concerts are all free. Another major event takes place in this month, the Festival des Films du Monde. Actors, directors, and writers come together to form a jury in one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
September is a lovely month to be in Montréal. Mild temperatures beg you to come outside and enjoy the bright foliage. After the reds and oranges of September, try the Black and Blue Festival. This is another large-scale gay festival, in which a series of benefit parties is held. Montréalers are trying to bring cheer to dreary November with the Festival d’ Automme, a three day festival feature ice-skating, concerts, lightshows, and more. December and January turn on the lights in the city. From before Christmas, the beautiful snow is lit up with wreaths, decorations, and light.
Visiting many of the world’s top cities is hard on your wallet: getting there is expensive, staying there is expensive, and doing anything there is expensive. Montréal, while one of the most beautiful cities in the world, is also relatively inexpensive. Travellers on a budget will certainly have their choice of fun activities that require little or no money.
You could spend days and days walking through the streets of Montréal, especially the quaint cobblestones of Old Montréal, looking at the wonderful architecture, poking into cramped, unique shops, and window shopping. Montréal is a great city to walk in, so take advantage and get out there. Do some people watching as well-dressed, chic Montréalers walk through the neighborhoods. If biking is more your style, enjoy Montréal’s 350 kilometers of bike paths.
Many of the city’s attractions are also free: try the Jardin des Floralies, a beautiful garden with roses, perennials, and a lovely weeping willow tree. There are 25 acres to explore from spring to fall. Put your dancing shoes on and take part in Montréal’s outdoor ballroom dancing events. People from all walks of life gather to dance in the summer. It is unbeatable for soaking up real Montréal atmosphere.
Museums in the area often offer free admission. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, for instance, invites guests to come and browse anytime. The Redpath Museum, in McGill University, offers visitors a chance to glimpse at dinosaur bones and fossils, mummies, and more. A donation is always appreciated, and it is a steal to spend a few dollars on hours of entertainment and learning. Look for area museums that are free. Paid attractions, like the Biodome and Jardine Botanique are inexpensive as well, and perfect for families with children.
There is always something exciting happening in Montréal, the City of Festivals. And many of these Festivals, such as the Divers/Cite offer a host of fun, free activities. Enjoy free jazz at one of the best jazz festivals in the world, free concerts, free theatrical shows, and much more. They are there for the taking. Visit the Montréal Tourism Board’s Events Calendar to see what is going on – and how much of it is absolutely free. You will be surprised how much you can do in Montréal, and how little you have to pay.
La Fête des Neiges (Snow Festival)
Festival Montréal en Lumiére (Montréal High Lights)
Various venues throughout Montréal
International Festival of Films on Art
Various venues throughout the city
White Party Week
Montréal Bike Fest
Various routes throughout the city
Late May – Early June
Mondial de la Biere (Beer Fest)
Windsor Station and Courtyard, 1160 De la Gauchetiere Street West
Montréal International Jazz Festival
822 Sherbrooke Street East
June – Early July
Montréal World Film Festival
New Cinema Festival
Various theaters in the city
Various theaters throughout the city
Cinemania Film Festival
Imperial Cinema, 1430 de Bleury Street
Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts
Throughout the Year
5170 Cote Sainte-Catherine
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7746 Taschereau Boulevard, Brossard, Quebec, J4X 1C2, Canada
Introducing the Best Western Hotel National, conveniently located in Brossard, a suburb of Montreal. We are within walking distance to sensational shopping and fine restaurants and just a 10 minute drive to old Montreal where you can explore historic museums, churches,...
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