It’s no secret, Montreal is a city bursting with culture, diversity, and creativity. It’s actually coined the Las Vegas of Canada since the legal drinking age is 18. It’s one of the things I love most about my hometown – not the drinking, but how alive the city is. Especially in the summer!
Whether you live here or are just visiting, you’ll never run out of things to do in Montreal in the summer. Montreal has no shortage of summer activities, so take your pick!
**Please note that due to COVID many of these events have been re-adapted. Make sure to check restrictions and opening hours before visiting.
The Best Festivals in Montreal
Montreal has festivals all year round but summer festivals are really the best time to enjoy the city. The summers are short here in Montreal. Winters are long and harsh. So when the sun shines, this city doesn’t waste a minute. Summers are one big party after another.
All held at Park Jean-Drapeau, the festivals are filled with amusement rides, interactive artist displays, and chill zones with hammocks when you need a break.
Heavy Montreal – Two days of blaring metal, hardcore, punk, and heavy rock. Heavy metal is not my kind of music so I’ve never been to this festival but in the past, it’s welcomed acts like Slayer, Ghost, Godsmack, Evanescence, Slash, Anthrax, and dozens of more artists.
Osheaga – Canada’s most popular music festival (basically the Canadian Coachella). Osheaga is by far my favorite to attend focusing on indie pop, rock, electro, and hip hop. Spread across 3 main stages some names in the past include The Lumineers, Flume, Childish Gambino, The Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala, and dozens of more artists.
Ile Soniq – Our electronic music festival. This festival is also a great time and will keep you dancing all day long! It’s impressive to see Parc Jean-Drapeau be reborn every weekend and transform to a colourful playground hosting some major acts like hometown boys Adventure Club, alongside Marshmellow, Above&Beyond, Kaskade, Kygo and more electro artists.
Lasso – Our first-ever country music festival which I was so excited for but was unfortunately canceled due to COVID. Headlines expected to attend were Luke Bryan and Brad Paisley, who have already been rescheduled to 2021. This festival is the last of the major festivals held at PJD, closing out the festival month!
Just for Laughs – It has become the world’s biggest comedy festival, attracting nearly two million visitors every July. Thousands of comedians visit from all over the world to take part in this festival. There are so free shows, stand-up comics, theatre shows, musical comedies spread all around the city. Who’s not up for a good laugh? The festival is in its 40th year already!
In the past Montreal has welcomed household names such as Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seth Rogen, Chevy Chase, and many more. I saw Russell Peters live front row before he was recognized worldwide and he did not disappoint!
Diner en Blanc
Started in Paris 30 years ago, Diner en Blanc is now an international event hosted in many cities. Everyone is required to wear head to toe white and pack their dinner, table, chairs, and make their way to an unknown location to dine with thousands of others all dressed in white. The mystery is half the fun!
The day of the even you meet thousands of others dressed in white and head to a mystery landmark. I’ve been fortunate to experience this event in both Paris and Montreal. It’s an incredible experience no matter the city!
A Sunday tradition that takes place every week near the monument to Sir George-Étienne Cartier. Tam-Tams are like a communal garden party where drummers, dancers, friendly “LARPing” combat (live-action role-playing), and artists assemble at the base of the mountain to beat away the weekend. Vendors set up on picnic blankets and you can buy craft jewelry, vintage clothing, and instruments.
It’s the best way to unwind and wrap up the weekend with friends. Pack a picnic and a few drinks and it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The tough part? Finding a free spot on the grass!
An outdoor music event aiming to bring together electronic enthusiasts every Sunday during the summer season. Every week Piknic showcases an array of both local and international DJs and artists. Typically people go spend the afternoon at Tam Tams and make their way to Piknic to enjoy the sunset – it’s a vibe!
The event is open to all, so it’s not uncommon to see minors/children there. Minors are allowed in, but alcohol may not be served to anybody under the legal age. You’re welcome to pack a picnic; however if you don’t Montreal food trucks are on site.
First Fridays take place on, you guessed it, the first Friday of every month from May to October. Hosted at the Olympic Stadium, it is labeled the largest street food festival in Canada.
It started a few years ago and has become a great way to showcase the best in the local food scene as well as make use of an empty landmark. If you love food trucks as I do then you have to experience this!
Helicopter Ride over Mount Royal
I’ve always had a fascination with flying. Seeing a city from above gives you a completely different perspective from a birds-eye view! My favorite part is seeing Mount Royal from above. It’s from that point that you can really see the resemblance with Central Park. Fun fact: it was actually designed by the same person who co-designed Central Park.
Hike to the Mount Royal viewpoint
One of Montreal’s largest greenspaces, the park spans 200 hectares of green, natural beauty and biodiversity and is active all year by locals jogging, cycling, boating, skating, skiing, and tobogganing, and dog walking.
Hiking to the viewpoint is a very typical tourist activity. Getting there you have a few options: hike it, rent a bike, or drive up to the parking lot. If you want to try something new, I recommend renting an electric bike. It was so much fun!
Personally, my favorite spot to visit during the summer! Although it’s about 40 mins outside of the city, I’m including it anyway. It’s our piece of Southern France! It’s beautiful any time of summer however if you want to experience the lavender fully in bloom, the best time to visit July.
Make a day out of it and pack a picnic so enjoy in the fields. They also have a cafe where they sell salads, sandwiches, ice cream, and my favorite lavender-infused lemonade! Lastly, before you go don’t forget to stop off at the gift shop! I can’t live without the lavender pillow spray!
Every year music lovers pour into the city to experience the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. For 10 days during the month of July, the area of Quartier des Spectacles welcomes over 2 million visitors.
During this time streets are blocked off, outdoor stages are set up, indoor concerts are held and the streets are filled with buskers and food stands fill the streets! It’s a vibe! Even if Jazz isn’t your kind of music, you can’t beat live music!
Montreal Grand Prix
Held every year on the first week of June at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Montreal Grand Prix is THE biggest sporting event in all of Canada. It attracts 100,000+ people per day! It’s 3 days of competition, class, charm, and world-class parties.
The liveliness in the city for F1 is incredible. I have been to the race twice and even for someone new to the sport you cannot deny the energy at the track. Even if you aren’t planning to attend the race, the events continue at night. Luxury cars line Crescent Street as music pours out of the bars and clubs.
Montreal loves it’s nightclubs so make sure you’ve packed a few evening looks because you’ll have your choice of events and clubs to attend.
Every summer Montreal hosts L’International des Feux Loto-Québec. Countries all around the world duke it out for the opportunity of winning a “Golden Jupiter,” which is basically like winning an Oscar for fireworks.
Each week a new country plays host as they light up the sky as they choreograph their light show to music. The event is held at La Ronde but you can catch the fireworks from many other places other than the amusement park. The most common place to view them is on the Jacques Cartier bridge. Every week, the bridge closes off to car traffic to allow tourists and locals to enjoy the show from the top of the bridge.
I hope this excites you to visit my hometown and if you’re planning a trip, I hope this helps you plan out your time in Montreal. Always feel free to DM me or leave comment if you feel like I missed anything!
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